Friday, December 23, 2005

Fayde - Part 1

Pete Manno and Robin Russo were both guitarists for Sacred Sword at different times. I knew Pete from working at the parking lot, and when he and Robin decided to put a band together, they asked me to play bass.

They were both very good guitar players, and both very different. Pete was technical, where Robin played more by feel. They complimented each other well.

On drums, they got Jim Paxson. Jim was, and still is, one of the best drummers I ever played with. His father was a drummer in a casino band at the time, and his mother is Sunnie Paxson, a jazz keyboardist who once recorded and played with Stanley Clarke. Jim is responsible for introducing me to jazz fusion, which would ultimately become my favorite form of music and would drastically change my playing style.

First up on vocals was Zack Bocelle, an excellent singer who I would end up working with more later.

The 5 of us practiced every night writing new material, and Jim set up a recording session for us in North Jersey. None of our songs had vocals yet, but still the date was set. So, after working a full day at the parking lot, I picked Zack up and the two of us set off in my truck for the two-hour drive to the studio. Zack had a cassette from one of our practices, so we just played that over and over so that he could write lyrics to the two songs we were recording. They ended up being Gettin' Ready and I'll Be Back Again.

The studio itself was at the top of this run-down office building. The accoustics were terrible. During recording of the rhythm track, I unveiled my new bass line for the break in Gettin' Ready. I knew it needed something, so I worked on it the night before, to be ready for the recording. Everyone was very happy with what I was playing, so after we finished up the rhythm track and some of the guitar work, I went into the hall and fell asleep on the floor for a couple of hours.

At about 2:00 am, Pete woke me up, excited with the vocals that Zack layed down, so I watched him and Robin do their guitar solos. We mixed it all down and left the studio just in time for me to go to work the next morning for my shift the following day. In all, I'm fairly happy with the recording. It was a rush job, so there are quite a few mistakes on it, and you can barely hear the bass line in the break I worked so hard on, but they're good songs.

In the end, though, Zack and Pete just couldn't make it work, and so Zack left (or was asked to leave, not sure) the band.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Nitro was really more of an idea than a band. Jerry Johnson was a guitarist for the local heavy metal band Sacred Sword who wanted to form a band of his own. He asked Joe Lamaina and me to join up with him to form Nitro. Jerry was probably best known for attaching a cheese grater to the back of his guitar and punching it during his guitar solo to make his knuckles bleed while he played. He reminded me very much of Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P.

We played a few times together, writing songs and jamming, but didn't have a singer. Still, that didn't stop us from booking studio time in the same Northfield studio Rekkless recorded in earlier. For vocals, Jerry got Ted Ellis from another local band Altoona Works to sit in. He sat in the engineers booth while the three of us recorded the rhythm tracks, listening to the song and writing lyrics.

When it came time for the vocals, I got my first real lesson in the "magic" of the studio. While Ted had a good, powerful voice, he was unable to sing more than two lines of the song in a row. So the engineer had him record two lines, stop the tape, back-up a little and record the next two lines. This was done for the entire song. Still, Demons Cry is a pretty cool song and we had a lot of fun recording it.

Things fell apart pretty quickly after that though. Shortly after we finished the song, Jerry set up a radio interview for the band. Unfortunately, he failed to check with us first on the date. I had already scheduled a trip to visit family. So, while I was away, Jerry and Joe did the radio interview and played the song on the air. My apparent punishment for failure to appear on the radio show was to have Jerry forget to mention my name as a member of the band.

Needless to say, that was it for me.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Sideman's Journey

I finally put the finishing touches on my CD today. This CD represents 8 very active years recording and playing in bands between 1984 and 1992. The song list is as follows:

  1. Little Killer - Rekkless
  2. Get Ready - Rekkless
  3. Lucky 7 - Rekkless
  4. We Like It Hot - Rekkless
  5. Demons Cry - Nitro
  6. Never Look Back - Tom Howard
  7. Gettin' Ready - Fayde
  8. I'll Be Back Again - Fayde
  9. Turn Me Loose - Fayde
  10. Shoot You - Fayde
  11. Don't Tease Me - Jinxx
  12. Jennifer - Jinxx
  13. Carnival - Craig Koons and Tom Howard
  14. Back In The Swing - Hard Knox
  15. To The Heavens - Rhythm Tribe
  16. Walkin' Over - Rhythm Tribe
  17. Can't Absorb The Madness - Vince Valore
  18. Remember Her - Tom Howard