Recording "Mock Tudor"
Some of you may have seen a recent edition of the U.S. "Modern Drummer" magazine that contained an article entitled "Inside Track" ; the subject centering around the recording I did in Nov '98 for Richard Thompsons' wonderful "Mock Tudor" . I thought it may be of interest if I elaborated with notes on each song.
An overview: I used two sets for the recording - set up side-by-side - tuning & mic'ing techniques were quite different for each and with the agreement of the producers - Tom Rothrock & Rob Schnapf both great engineers too - I chose one or the other depending on what I thought pertinent for each song. I also "mixed and matched" snare drums and cymbals accordingly. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had only a small selection of my 'Zildjian' cymbals with me so I'm indebted to Ross Garfield of Los Angeles' " Drum Doctors " for supplying a whole bunch of stuff very close my requirements - thanks Ross!
Set' #1 : Yamaha Maple Custom: 10" x 8", 12" x 8" rack toms, 14" x 14"[floor] , 22" BD / Evans coated G1's on toms / EQ 4 on BD .... hole in front head. I went for a more convential "rock tuning" with this set (the exception being when I "cranked" the 10" tom only for "Crawl Back" ) with medium to low tensioned heads throughout. This kit was essentially close-mic'd .
Set#2 : Leedy set [circa 50's]: 24"x 14" BD with a 13" x 9" rack and 16" x 16" floor tom - coated heads throughout with no hole in front head of BD. This set was tuned medium/high and although drums were individually mic'd, the "size" of the sound came mainly from overheads and room mics'.
Yamaha set. Multi-rods on the snare drum - I think this was the second or third take ... to give the track even more "drive", Rob suggested I overdub another 16th note snare part which I did with brushes but played with no accents, unlike the part on the basic track. This overdub starts on the line " She gives me one pill ..."
Leedy. Multi-rods again ...... the intro and first sixteen bars - from the vocal entry - are played on the floor tom (the rack gets hit every eight apart from the intro! ) .... then from the bridge ( "Like a myth ..", 16 bars in) when I go to backbeat, I deliberately left beat two out of the next 8 bars - until the second part of the bridge when the tune goes to the 6 minor chord (" ..did the teatime of your soul..") ..... when we'd got "the" take, I then taped a small tambourine (with a head attached) to the top of another snare and overdubbed the missing beat # two in that section each time it came around ....
The Yamaha. ... there's a tambourine taped to the hi-hat rod that supplies the 4-to-the-bar sound (I overdubbed the up/in-between beats in the bridge with a different sounding tamb' - you can hear some of this arguably subtle stuff best on headphones). There was a medium tensioned snare with a thin o-ring in place of the floor tom - this supplied the 8th notes through the song except for the bridge which is played on the ride cymbal. The main off-beat snare was a high tensioned 4" Noble & Cooley, I believe. NB: After the sessions finished, I returned to Boston (to do some tracks with Linda Kennis - nee Thompson - incidintally!) and while continueing to work on the tracks in Los Angeles, Tom felt he needed extra hi-hat and cymbal crashes to help move the song along .... enter Joey Waronker ! You can hear his overdub from the first chorus onwards ... it should have read "additional cymbals" rather than "additional drums" on the sleeve notes - good job, Joey!
Two Faced Love
Played on the Yamaha ... I mirrored Richards' guitar riff on the ride cymbal ... a tambourine doubles the same pattern just on the chorus' .... check out the handclaps (RT., Rob & myself) on the chorus - every two bars (only on beat four) when my right hand comes off the ride cymbal and hits the rack tom!
Hard On Me
The Leedy - you're probably getting the hang of this! The main snare was a brass Ludwig 400 ... I used my favourite set of cymbals on this song - 13" 'hats - the ones that used to belong to that wonderful player 'Kenny Clare' - and two very thin crashes (both K's) a 15" and a 17". Also included were a 60's era medium weight 20" ride and a 20" Pang .... in case you're not familar with that last model it's almost a cross between a crash and a chinese cymbal .....
Recorded - first take - on the Yamaha set with multi-rods. The cymbal on beat 4 of the opening drum fill (also reprised after the bridge) is an 11" Oriental Trash Splash .... the 8th notes are played on the top of the bass drum hoop .... the snare was deliberately played off to the side for more ring/resonance ...... wonderful backing vocals on this - and listen for Mitchells' keyboard part ; note how he drops out for the chorus!!
Played on the Leedy - right hand is holding a Vic Firth/Emil Richards Maraca/Timp' beater & pretty much playing time on my right thigh (!) with the odd cymbal (that 20" Pang again and a very thin 15" Azuka Multi-Crash) hit .... my left hand simply plays cross-stick .... I found a Cabasa with similar sound characteristics to the maraca/beater used on the track and then doubled-tracked the continuous 8th notes played throughout ... listen for Danny's great part on this one .....
Dry My Tears
Take two, if I recall - on the Yamaha set. I also recall a tricky left hand change ; because I felt that sticks were too heavy/big for the song I went with "Blasticks", but needed to change to cross-stick for the backbeat on the verses and guitar solo - just about managed it!
Walking The Long Miles Home
Tracked on the Yamaha. After we'd done the take, Rob suggested - similar to "Cooksferry .." that I overdub another 16th note brushes-on-snare pattern with no accents - you can probably hear the flams proving that my accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.
The Leedy drums - wonderful sound Rob & Tom get on this. It's a very similar set-up to "Hard on Me" ... I only wish you could have heard more of the playout at the end - it really took off !