Hail hail, folks.
We are very excited to release this Punk EP to the world.
Starting last year, The Brothers Comatose made an EP for Halloween release. The idea is that we dress 4 of our songs up in a different genre. Last year it was Metal. This year, a bit less heavy, but no less dear to my heart, we did Punk (more pop punk really, but it really depends on how you’re defining these things, and genre splicing and delineation has never been my strong suit).
The first year it was easy to convince everyone in our string band to make a Metal EP because we had been running a Kickstarter campaign, and I – quite literally – had to make 4 of our songs into Metal Songs. They didn’t have to be full on, out-and-out attempts to be an actual metal band… but because I – quite literally – want to be in an out-and-out metal band, they were.
And so, through one year of necessity and pure love of metal, a tradition was born.
It’s not a tradition if you only do it once. So this summer I started my pitch for Halloween Covers EP episode 2: The Pop Punk EP. This is a natural because it was proven by punk scientists Me First and the Gimme Gimmes that any song with a melody and chord progression becomes better if you make it punk.
The band is, generally, enthusiastic about fun and ridiculous ideas, so this was a shoe-in. The real rub was in getting a budget from the powers-that-be to hire a drummer and book a day in the studio. Once this (miraculous) feat was accomplished, the sky was the limit. I came up with 4 songs and worked up demos – songs that I thought we could re-arrange well for the genre at hand. Then I hired James Allen – drummer for rad local band One Armed Joey – to track some real drums. (Last year’s EP had MIDI drums. A regret I’ll carry with me forever…) We went to White Whale Studios in Santa Rosa where James smashed on drums while I played super loud electric bass – my music room/home studio is right under the girls’ bedroom. No drums and super loud electric bass allowed here.
Drums and bass were tracked – hanging like full, lush, ripe musical fruit to blend into a punk-rock smoothie and then … we ended up on a 3 week tour. Campfire Caravan Part 1.
No problem. I love smoothies and will not be thwarted from a good smoothie, even if it is only metaphorical. I brought my portable studio with me – laptop and interface – and Ryan had his trusty LesPaul on the road. So the guitars got tracked in various backstages across the Northwest. I mixed and mixed in the van, and had things mostly ready for Ben and Alex to track lead vocals in our brief time at home between tours.
Ryan sent me guitar solos that he did in his home studio (superb, as I’m sure you’ll agree), Ben and Alex came in and shredded some vocal tracks (Alex’s Joey Ramone vibe is off the charts, and Ben’s evil talk-vocals on Tops of the Trees was difficult to track because we were both laughing so hard), I threw down tons of background vox, and other tidily little bits where I thought they would be cool, and – the piece de resistance – Jenny (my amazing and stunningly talented wife) stepped in and crushed the lady vocal parts on Morning Time.
Finish it up, tie it with a bow, and send it off to the amazing Jeffrey Norman at Mockingbird Mastering to make it huge and shiny… and we have our EP. Still warm from the oven, and ready for you to enjoy.
I’m really happy with how it all came out. I’d never mixed live drums before, so that was a pretty substantial learning curve. The process of mixing and then mastering is still somewhat shrouded in mystery to me, and so this project – just like last year’s – was nutty in a great way. Like being thrown into the deep end of the pool… but the pool isn’t really too deep, and it’s filled with delicious Mango LeCroix, so even if you did sink, you could still drink your way out… I guess, what I mean is, challenging, but without life-and-death consequences.
Hope you enjoy, Happy Halloween, and I can’t wait for next year.