May 8th, 12:00pm UN Plaza – Lane solo
September 1st, Harvey’s outdoor arena with Sammy Hagar, Chickenfoot and Wabos also Montrose tribute
May 8th, 12:00pm UN Plaza – Lane solo
September 1st, Harvey’s outdoor arena with Sammy Hagar, Chickenfoot and Wabos also Montrose tribute
Lane will be at San Gregorio store this Saturday, July 23, from 2-5pm with some great musicians. Come on down!
Check out Lane live on KZSU August 30, 2010: http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/45296&66361
I thought I would share with those of you who may be interested information about my recording at Sun Studio.
It seems like at least two years ago now Bird celebrated many of the Sun Studio artists and taught our students some of the history of Sun through researching the internet and the music about this that was created in this special place. Funny, we never really touched on Sam Phillips so much as we did the artist themselves that you all know. We were really only able to scratch the surface of this historical landmark and the music that was created there and that still is being made there today. sunstudio.com
Anyway, at that time I got the bug in my head to go record there after teaching the kids a little about the history while we all taught them the songs of EP, JC, CP, RO, JLL and so on…
I had pretty much forgotten about the little dream I had to record there until, by way of a trip to SXSW I took with my dear friend and business partner Laurie. Laurie suggested we check out Amy Levere. Laurie found a song of hers on a Paste CD that we had been listening to some months or even a year before. At SXSW during Amy’s set Laurie turned to me and said, “we should ask her to play the Gracenote opening”. A few days after we got back I got a call from Laurie stating that she had booked Amy Lavere for her party.
The day before the Gracenote wine opening happened I was asked along to meet Amy and some dear friends of hers who had just moved to San Francisco from Memphis for a homemade pizza party (amazing pizza it was). Ben Kweller showed up at the party as a total suprise. He had also been booked on the Gracenote opening which was a surprise to everyone. We all went up on the roof of the building at one point to check the view and I think that is where my idea that I had put aside for some time came back to me. I had learned that Amy Lavere, when she is not on the road touring works as a tour guide at Sun Studio. I got to talking with her drummer and things like “you should come to Memphis” were flying around on the roof. “You should make it happen”
Fast forword… Memphis….. I was too tired to write last night when I got home and also way to wide awake to sleep. One thing before I start, Get yourself to Memphis and take Amy’s tour or for that matter any other persons tour of Sun Studio. Get to Graceland and get to Beale Street and get to the Stax Muesum which I’m headed to today.
Ok, so last night I got to Sun at 6:00pm and Met Matt Ross-Spang (assistant Engineer…don’t get hung up on his title, he is the man) who I had been communiicating with about the session for some time. Shortly after that James Lott who has been the for 23 years house engineer came in. These southern cats know how to run a session, create a warm vibe and truly must understand that they are in the business of facilitating dreams, not only for artist, for everyone who hears their work. (you’ve heard it many times and did not know it) Shortly after speaking with James I was introduced to Rick Steff, Pianist, Hammond B3 and Accordion…. RIck is a first call guy and might I ad, a one take jake FO SHOW! The next fine southern gentleman to roll in the door was Dave Smith. Dave is currently the bassist for Johnny Lang. His studio and touring credits are amazing. If you want me to list them I’d be happy to but, this already long blog is going to get a lot longer. Last but not least, Robert Hall (Jerry Lee Lewis’s drummer) He is a hard hitting rock n roll drum master. Robert just finished a record with Lenny Kravitz. This allstar rhythm section showed up, smiled and bascially said lets have some fun.
The first tune we began tracking was “The Sweetest Song”. Rick Steff took the lead at charting it for everyone. Any musician who has played with me with tell you (cause they always tell me) there are always some twist in my tunes that make them interesting to play but also challenging. As my friend James Nash says, “you never play it straight and thats what I love about your tunes”. I have more than a few photos of Rick scratching his head while trying to grasp my wacky arrangments that usually at first don’t make sense unless they are taken in the context of the whole song. Many of you know, I have been playing the drums since I was a young kid. I think that is where these odd arrangements come from which for the record are not odd at all they just have a few simple twist and turns although again…I say simple and then guys like James say…. “You always say these are easy and they are never that easy, there is always something in there to throw everyone off” Speaking of another James….Thanks to James Lott’s lovely wife Hettie who snapped lots of pictures for me while I was at Sun today. I’ll try to see if I can figure out how to post one.
Nervous… (imagine standing in a spot that many of the greatest artist of our time have stood on and doing your own thing with the very best in town. I do it at home everyday with the Bird guys so I guess I have been there many times working with great players but, not like this. There is voodoo in the room on top of all it it. Forget the pop stars that put Sun on the map or more litterally the globe. for one minute think of the blues legends that recorded there first. The Howling Wolf was once working in that room and I believe he still is and I don’t believe in ghost but lets just say there are spirits in the air or at the very least thoughts of spirits in the air which put the ideas in your head that there are spirits in the air… Anyway, back to Rick… that’s the way these guys do it They all make their own charts their own way or really.. one guy makes one and hands his to another guy who reads it and ultimately makes his own chart anyway. It’s a fast process and the energy level when way up when it was going down. It’s a serious thing. Dave Smith showed much care and concern for my tunes. He is a calm and collected cat. Did I mention he’s made records with Cat Power and toured with her as well? I think for the most part I tossed a few sliders and curve balls but, they figured out how to hit them and I felt that very quickly there was mutual appreciation and the very best parts of everyone’s egos were ready to kick ass. Ask me about my thoughts on ego some day. For shorts ego will kick prides ass anyday….more later.
Next song (I hope you read this whole part) “The Healing Hurts Everyone” Ok So I wrote this song about music or rather rock n roll. It got ahold of me very early on and has never let go. The song is written around the idea that the world is a healing place. Things require healing/growth. If that stopped, we would not exist. Duh. God or rather in my mind every single thing there is is the creator…. Music however IS the Healer. The whole checks and balances system ya know? There is a price to be paid for all endeavors for all beings and organisms. Healing pays that price and lets things start over again or change. It’s like that whole born again christian thing only it’s already there and you don’t have to act a fool or believe in ghost to get it. (one mans opinion) It’s the idea that healing has to occur and that’s why we get hurt physically and mentally in our lives or why everything has to be broken down a bit at times to rebuild (hopefully) stronger. The song and idea also touches on the fact that no one or thing is immune to dying. No Duh.. Stuff has to die in order to make the stuff that makes all of the healing….I could go on and you’ll think I’m a bigger nut than I think I am so… Before I tell you about the song I want to go backward in time to just after I my first call to Sun. Everybody knows that I have been teaching music to kids and adults for a good while now, first as the traveling pre-k music guy and than came our Bird. I think I just logged eight or so years singing and doing musical movement with kids and now another 5 or 6 working with a great staff to build the Bird. I was successful at getting results teaching music early on and I owe lots of the success to the movement part of the music, and the many pre-k teachers, directors, board members and kids and families I worked with along the way that offered pointers and still do, not to mention many of my friends and my mom who taught me to find success in everything you attempt….even failure! when I first started getting kids dancing and working to get a large group of kids to do the same thing at the same time. what a trip, talking about it makes me want to go do a class or a show even though I have to say it will kick your ass (as one old friend put it) for a field goal! talk about being in the moment…
anyway, this idea hit me that i should try to involve some kids on this project and extend a musical hand. Kids have afforded me my musical success and kept me grounded while still shooting for the stars. Many other great and wonderful people have helped me along my path as a musician as well. I could probably name all of them but, you know who you are. Also, I hate the word fans so I’ll say friends and closer friends, business partners and family. Fans are for real rock stars. I’m a fake. I believe most of what I do as a writer is sort of paying all of those experiences a tribute and honestly, I don’t know what a writer is and shouldn’t claim to be one. Again, a strong theme in my work is about working toward higher ground whether you hear it in there or not.
Anyway, I got this idea to contact a music school in memphis to see if they had some students that would be up for recording at Sun Studio, I guess another way to say it is that I wanted to share the experience with others. And another way is… At this point in my career it just seems like the right thing to do as long as it’s done right. I googled music schools and the first one that came up was The Stax Music Academy. Name recogitition is a good thing for any school or for that matter anything. I called them on the spot and left a phone message. The following day I got a sweet message that the students were on break and that they were going to bring up my inquirey in a staff meeting. I got a few other nice phone messages and basically my idea was being considered. A couple days later I got the word in a wonderful phone conversation with the coolest lady named Jackie and of course I blabbed the poor woman’s ear off. Jackie turned me on to the music director Paul Mckinney and again, I blabbed his poor ear off too. Musicians are communitcators. Not to toot my own horn but, we are the most sensative communicators on the planet, One problem is we are all emotion and sometimes that is not enough to get it all done. I hope you get the idea here that I’m saying we are important but no more important than you. I have learned that from great and wonderful teachers. Ah Teachers.. Paul is a teacher and a family man. People with kids rule. I hope I have my own family some day.
We booked the kids on the session and paul set up what he felt were the most deserving and best guys for the job. I have there names but, will ask permission before I give them to you. Two bone players, a sax and trumpet.
the second day of recording was overdubbes. I asked the kids to come in at 6pm. The studio cleared at 6:15 and by 7:00pm we were tracking. Matt booked Jeremey Shrader – trumpet and Jim Spake -sax on the gig. Originally I thought Ben Cauley would play trumpet but, he was ultimately not available. I didn’t know this and blabbed it to a few guys in Memphis who I hope don’t think I’m a big liar… When he booked them I told him to keep them in hopes that they would provide great leadership to these young folks. Jeremey was there early and we got right to work. I found out later that he is also a teacher. he is a great guy. Jim is a legendary session musician and was not available to make it in early but did lend a great hand on the track and to the overall vibe. In hind site i’m so glad that he was not there early. It put me in the hotseat and I had to direct the kids and talk them through creating an arrangement of my line. When they warmed up they had a thing going and all I said was do that same solid thing only different add it to this percussion and I hummed away what I heard against the track. They were on it in a second and we were off rolling. I hope and pray as I say this that I get to direct a horn section again. after we worked out parts my hands were flying and I sweated like a preacher delivering a sunday sermon. I pointed and made faces and chose one horn or groups of two and the ending idea was a cacoffanie. I think we nailed it. The night before when Rick, Dave, Robert, Matt, James and I had tracked the basics the thing went on for ever as you’ll hear because we were having so much fun playing it.
It was very important to me that you could here the kids take runs on the thing at the end so they and you can hear them/themselves. I think it came out great. I hope you get to see the pics. The kids were very excited to be in a legendary recording studio with all the gear and memorabelia and pro horn players like jeremey and Jim Spake and James Lott who has been engineering there for 23 years. I intend to give James a co-producer credit and hope assistant engineer Matt will take the credit of engineer.
Day three, no big deal, show up overdub some acoustic guitar and mix this puppy. Isolation booths don’t have air conditioning or at least it has to be turned off when you are tracking. It was another sweat fest.
I believe the tracks are all first takes with the band with the exception of one song. We tracked Piano, acoustic guitar, drums and bass in one room live. Bleed and all just like they did it back so long ago.. My vocals took a couple of passes and there are no edits and maybe only two punches. You can hear that i miss pronounced the word song and also started a line to early and re-sang it. You’ll also hear some barking and screaming and honestly, It came out of me but, I don’t know where it came from…. Back to the spirits in the room. I love it this recording. One thing I know is… A good song can be played in any genre fast or slow, good playing or bad playing and it will always remain a good song. I cried and did not sleep for weeks before this project. I was afraid and of what I don’t even know. I sat next to a lady on the plane that asked me what I was listening to that I loved so much on my way home. I pulled my headphones off and let her listen to the healing hurts everyone through the little iphone speaker pressed to her ear. She said, this makes me want to cry. When we mixed it and listened back there were tears being held back in the room and lumps in throats… Probably all mine… I don’t know what it or anything means. I know I will return to Memphis to work with this finest team again. I was told that it was a miracle all of these players were in town off the road at the same time. James Lott, had just returned from two weeks in Europe and I know what it’s like to get a break from your baby and get back to it. He was as fresh as a daisy. I feel it was one of those gigs where everyone was at their best. I feel I came home with new-found friendships. I should have stopped writing this back when I said I don’t know what anything means cause that would have been a cool ending. I don’t know what anything means. -L
After we finished the mix James Lott invited me out with him and his wife Hettie to an area called something like coopers district. This small area was just like home. Nice restaurants, locally owned boutique shoppy kinds of places. We went to a large coffee house/cafe/art gallery just like we have here in so many of our neighborhoods. There were 3 gentleman songwriters doing a show and the place was packed. I met a nice woman named Phoebe Lewis and many other musicians. The southern hospitality is really something special. James Lott is some kind of musical mayor. He knows everyone and everyone knows him. The room went a buzz as he entered. I can’t say enough about this guy. He’s as tough as nails and and nice as pie. He loves his wife and family and they live the rock n roll. I told him that I feel I learned more about communication from him in 3 days than I have learned in a lifetime. Matt, did exactly what he said he was going to do. He got me the best players in Memphis, we made something cool. He is also the fasted one line digger in the south. I can’t tell you how many times he tagged one on after someones comment about anything and how many times we all laughed our asses off. James gave me a ride back to my hotel after we heard 3 amazing songwriters go at it for about an hour or two and after he managed to introduce me to everyone in the room and let them all know, “this kid is good” I love that I still get called a kid at 43. Anyway, his truck ignition is sort of busted and it sort of thinks that the driver door is open so as you drive you here, ding ding ding ding. The ding is like a metronome. James told me him and his son make up tunes to the thing and he rattled off an a verbal jig. I joined in and we sang to that door buzzer the whole way back to my hotel. Riffing the whole time in harmony. I hope he takes my advice and hooks a microphone out of the back door of the studio and starts tracking people singing over his busted door dinger. He could single handidly revive do wap if he just did it for 5 minutes with every group that comes through the studio. Anyway, i will miss those guys and hope it’s not long before we can make music together again. Bye.
Not that you care but, I have not changed my strings since I made that record at Sun Studio in early August. They were old before I went there to record. For some reason they just won’t wear out. I have played more than two handfuls of gigs since August and rehearsed the dickens on them before I went to Sun, took them through Boston and Rhode Island before that rehearsing them all the while. I’m ok with voodoo and devils and the like and don’t buy any of it but, the south put a number on my old guitar. A good number. Now I’m superstitious and just ain’t gonna change them anymore unless they break. Who knew??? and yes I said ain’t, even though it ain’t a word…. As if anything in the language isn’t a full blown GO now a days. Ha!
I play 2-5pm today. Highway 1 at 84 up the road 1 mile