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The deepest secrets and drunkenest rantings from Australia's premier pop combo

Saturday, June 24, 2006

And there you have it. Album finished. 10 days, 27 songs. That's 2.7 songs a day. about 4 hours per song. That rules. Friday was indeed party day, as the photos below will attest. We also did an audio commentary for the DVD that's gonna come out sooner or later. Cheers to Mick and Uncle Bruz for the humourous (and possibly defamatory) assistance. We start mixing in about a coupla weeks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh yeah, about 8 songs left to sing. All good.

Well, it’s taken us three and a half albums, but we finally got Gordy onto a microphone. Don’t worry, just backing vocals, but he’s there. Worldwide superstardom is only moments away. Won’t it be nice to hear an album not bathed in Aborto-tune for once…

We’re over halfway through the vocals now, so pretty much on the home stretch. So much so that Gordy’s just decided that Friday is officially “Party Day”. So feel free to drop on by. We’re at the Sausage Hotel, on Coo Coo Street.

We had a large Indian dinner, and listened to TOTO IV for inspiration. So far, potential album titles are “Pappadum Preach”, and “Lukather love in all the wrong places”. We’ll keep thinking.

Remember, as Bobby Kimball says “Why don’t we make believe we’re in love again”

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So, two days off, one day on. The doctor’s sick, but he finished his guitar parts yesterday, so that makes him fully sick. Which means that all the musical instruments are done. Drums, Bass and Guitar. That’s right: no pianos, no tubas, not even the farfisa that’s been beckoning to us from the corner. Wait a second, there is one more piece of musical instrumentation left for the album – the vibraslap. Once we work out where it’s going to go.

So halfway through yesterday Jason and Tom started on the vocals. They’re doing them song by song, all the leads, doubles and backing vox. There is even talk of letting the Doctor and maybe even Gordy near the mic. The preferred method thus far is to stand in front of the speakers in the control room and bash it out into some fancy mic. No headphones, no worries.

Tom’s singing some backing vocals right now, and he’s singing, this may give you an exclusive insight into the lyrical depth on this album: “Cool, whoah-oh-oh… Mule whoah-oh-oh-ohh”

Oh, and Nigel Roberts from Ray White Industrial has got a little shed just round the corner for auction. We weren’t interested, but if you want to take a look, here’s his card:

Lesson for today: Don’t fret when your choruses sound more bombastic than Toto, more harmonies than a Stryper song. Don’t feel bad about losing that all important top harmony: That’s why god invented the third chorus. For the specific purpose of overloading with more decadent vocal layers than David Coverdale ever poked a mic stand at. Here endeth the lesson. Amen.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday, June 17

Day off. Phil McKellar prefers to spend his weekends with his two near-newborn twins. Apparently, compared to us, he prefers their mature conversation skills and superior toilet-training. Jets whipped Wests arses, 54-10.

So Tom and Gordy finished their basic tracks on Thursday night. 23:37 to be precise. And that included a time signature change and everything. Aren’t they just wonderful? So we all celebrated, although the Doctor went home, because the next day he had to start laying down the second guitar parts for all of the songs.

And that’s what happened. 22 out of the 27 songs now have all the guitars, bass and drums. This includes all rhythms bits, solos, pickslides, feedbacks and fingertapping. Yes, even a bit of fingertapping. Just a bit.

Here’s some pictures.

Some amp heads:

Some more amps and boxes:

Some more amps and boxes from the other side of the room:

Amps and guitars:

Tom laying down the groove (that means playing his bass):

Gordy, having finished the thing he’s second best at, begins doing what he’s best at:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

15th June

Hey there partygoers. No photos today, we got lazy on the snap front. Been taking a lot of video, so if you like the idea of a camera sitting behind Gordy, shooting his arse, and Tom and the Doctor’s fine licks, then stay tuned. Once we work out how to put em online of course.

Yesterday morning was spent fixing the snare drum: Gordy, in his super-rockness snapped the snare wire and it pierced the bottom skin. That’s punk rock for you. Or ineptitude. Thankfully a dreadlocked ranga who looks like the guy from Killing Heidi has been conscripted to make Gordy’s drums good. He also came back round dinnertime, to make the toms sound nice as well.

The Doctor has used the following guitars so far. Mostly a Gibson SG, but also an Epiphone SG, which has more gain and a little chunkier sound. The green ESP thing also has got a run, for our new metal stylings. A Kasuga Les Paul from the 70s found it’s way onto a track, mostly coz it sounds better than Jason’s Gibson Les Paul. And last, but not least, a big motherfucking pointy red thing, the preferred axe for such people as Dimebag Darrell and Goonbag Gordy.

The Marshall JCM 800 is the amp of choice so far, with a Boss SD-1 to make it sound like murder. There’s also a hot cake pedal being thrown around. And a Fender Deville amp for when we want to sound retro, as is the style of the times. Amps not used so far include the Doctor’s Mesa Boogie Dual Rectalfryer and Peavey 5150, Jason’s JCM 2000 a UniValve and Framus lying around, and some funny looking 10 watt Fender and Orange combo things.

Tom’s using his wings of fire Shadow-Sky bass, into his garden of Eden head. And plugged it through some things. A Sanspants amp thingy, and some MXR other thingy. As you can see, we pay attention.

We’ve done about 12 or 13 songs so far, almost halfway through the first stage of tracking. That's the drum tracks, all the bass, and one guitar track (there's at least two guitar parts for each song, for that stereo vibe).

Tracking live is so much bloody better than laying it all down separate-like. It’s a lot easier to play in time when you can see Gordy’s snare drum, look at Tom’s slappy fingers, and laugh at the Doctor’s terrible emo fringe. Jason has been keeping Phil company in the control room, where all the knobs are; warming his fingers by the whirring 2 inch tape machine and singing guide tracks when the other pricks get lost.

More later, time to eat.


Frenzal Rhomb.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday, June 13

Some nice little pictures for you all:

Jay and Phil McKellar playing with all the Shiny things

while gordy and tom look on very interested note TAPE MACHINE (don’t worry we’re still using bro tools as well)

gordy reacts well to us replacing him with a drum machine

whereas tom is not so impressed us replacing him with the foot pedals of a Hammond

and here’s the Doctor, seconds before handing the guitar back to his army of official stringers.

Day 2 is over.

Drums, bass and one guitar - 9 tracks down, about 16 to go. (we're musicians, not mathematicians).

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday June 12, 2006.

Day one. 6:40pm. Wow, haven’t we achieved a lot. So far we’ve set up the drums, spent 5 hours tuning them, which is pointless since BANG is not a note. I’ve lined up a dude to root and Gordy’s half drunk on Heineken already. Smooth sailing. More tomorrow.

There’s a conga line of amps set up that could probably circle the earth twice, if they weren’t busy sitting there waiting to have guitars plugged in to them and played loudly. The guitars, well it’s Ebay’s finest: Kalugas, Squires and Auditions, with a couple of Gibsons, Gretchs and Danelectros to lend some credibility to the whole process. There’s enough pedals to replace every unexploded mine in Afghanistan: distortions, overdrives, fuzz, flangers, phasers, choruses, delays, wahs, whammys, and octavers. All this at our feet, and what have we gone with so far? Gibson SG plugged into a Marshall. Fuck you.

Here’s a tip though. Next time someone starts telling you the Boss SD-1 is better than the Tubescreamer or vice versa - they both sound exactly the fucking same. As does every other overdrive pedal from ’75 to ’92. End of story.

Oh yeah, the bass. Tom’s got one. And he plugged it into an amp. Sounds bassy.

Later that night…

We could bang on about all the banging going on in the search for the perfect snare sound, the building of a bass isolation enclosure, and the vintage of the microphones used to mic up the guitar amps, but we feel this photo is a clear indication, on day one, of how the recording is going to go:

One song down, about 20 to go.

Sunday 11th June.

So we just finished two days of rehearsals, the last before we go in to record tomorrow. Traditionally these last preparations are full of blank stares, wrong chords and lots of infighting over which songs are gonna make it to tape. And the last two days were no different.

We’ve spent about a year on and off writing songs for this album, stealing weekend here and there between talking shit on the radio, playing in hardcore bands, and sailing (try to guess who’s been doing what). So we’ve written a sum total of 63 songs. That’s right. Sixty motherfucking three biatch. Sandinista get fucked. We here at Frenzal Rhomb strongly believe in the quantity over quality theory. It’s the whole put 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters for 100 days and they’ll rewrite Shakespeare kinda thing. Of course that cliché has been disproved conclusively, but put 4 arseholes in front of 4 musical instruments for 4 seasons, and they’ll write sixty motherfucking three songs. All of them good.

Well, no. They’re obviously not all good. Which is why we spent the last two days arguing over which ones we are gonna record. Previous to that we had exchanged emails, phone calls, tabulated votes, tried to coerce each other’s decisions, there was even a spreadsheet or two doing the rounds.

On Saturday our manager, the ever-despotic Christopher Moses was on hand to “help us make the right decision”, much in the way the Indonesian Government “helped the West Papuans make the right decision” in the “act of free choice” of 1969. Except there was less bloodshed all those 37 years ago.

A far more benevolent dictator, our producer Phil McKellar came in to the rehearsal studio today, and humbly put in his 3 cents. Of course, he’s in charge of pushing the buttons, so if we don’t agree with him then tape don’t roll.

What I’m trying to say is, we wrote 63 songs, we’re gonna record about a third of that. If you don’t like em, don’t blame us. Blame the top brassholes. Don’t shoot the messengers.

Tomorrow we put all of our gear on the back of camels, and ship it down to the St George area, to a secret recording location which I have been led to believe is sandwiched between an open sewer and a morgue.

Rock on. Rock off.

Yours ever-faithfully,

Frenzal Rhomb.

Ps – we’re gonna try to do one of these every day, maybe even with photos. Let’s see how far we get.

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