Thursday, January 11th
The morning started out right smooth, by any rock n’ roll standards. Duane Lundy, ambassador of rock from the land of KY and the producer/mixer of this EP had arrived by jet aeroplane late Wednesday evening and pretty much crashed straight away with LFA (Lord Fat Ass, Matthew Harrison) in his ultra-hip pad on the Lower East Side. The following Thursday morning, all had arrived, contrary to rock n’ roll’s general fashion, rather punctually for the 9:00am rendezvous in the scenic and olfactive Gowanus Canal area of Brooklyn. Holt being latest, bringing with him the gear necessary for nearly all extenuating circumstances he could possibly imagine. Andrew earned his honorary title as the Clark W. Griswold of The Bosch in short order by summarily stuffing every last bit of needed gear into the rather small confines of one Subaru Outback. He was unable to fit the four band members and Lundy into the car with the gear, so Valerie and Matthew (LFA) volunteered to take the scenic trip north by Metro-North rail, as their attendance wouldn’t be critical for hours to come…
As circumstances tend to provide, the escape from the city was laborious, but Duane, Andrew and Holt found themselves skimming out of New York City proper, in the heavily-laden all-wheel-drive wagon. As the three boys proceeded into the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, they discussed the great works of EARL GREYHOUND, ALICE COOPER, and the current projects of the respective members of Bosch allies THE APPARITIONS (including Scourge of the Seas and Vandaveer).
Arrival in the hamlet of New Paltz was heralded by a brief sojourn at the local filling station, where Kevin McMahon, engineer extraordinaire of MARCATA Studios, would meet Holt, Duane and Andrew. Seeing the hornsman, skinsman, and knobsman lurk about the convenience mart for 20 minutes seemed to provoke a blood-pressure increase in the gentleman manning the cash register, so Holt provided the ice-breaking comment to alleviate his fears: by purchasing a couple bottles of Tonic Water and some Big League Chew (a Bosch Staple). Holt explained to the attendant that Tonic Water would prevent malaria- especially important for the 45 degree weather upstate. Also, of course, his purchases provided more practical uses: One, a taste-enhancing additive for his blood replacement therapy of fermented juniper berries, and the other, the gum, would serve as a fine toothbrush substitute the following morning…
Kevin arrived, wearing a fine fur lined Eastern-Bloc Military hat, which he would have no compelling reason to remove for the ensuing 36 hours. It was gonna be a chilly one, as Kevin explained to Holt, as the two rode in an all but identical Subaru Outbacks (Kevin’s finished red, instead of Andrew’s black) down the bending country roads to the new location of MARCATA Recording Studios. Much of the equipment in-house was an amalgam of the former MARCATA studios in Harlem, and the venerable BEARSVILLE studio in Woodstock, where Kevin had also spent some time as knob-turner. Mr. McMahon also revealed to Holt his previous career, as house soundman for the much mourned BROWNIES, perhaps the only New York City venue of its size/era with a proper backstage area.
The Threesome (truly, with Kevin, now a foursome) arrived at the converted barn where the next two days would be spent laying the foundation of the Bosch’s next great piece of musical history. After a quick tour of the expansive studio space, Holt got to work reassembling his drumkit, nearly completely distilled to its respective components, to accommodate the confines of Japan’s fine and efficient engineering marvel, the Subaru Outback. Andrew left within a half hour of perusing the grounds, in order to meet fair Valerie and Matthew for their arrival at the Poughkeepsie train station- from studio to train station, a relatively brief ride across the Hudson from New Paltz. After Holt completed the emotionally stressful recombinant therapy on his drums, he had a bit of time to kill and stalked about the farm, shooting pictures of the gorgeous mountain scenery and authentic pastoral divinity in which, as his mother would say, his “smashin’ and crashin'” would be captured- the real mission of the days to come.
As 6pm rolled around, the drums had been tuned, assured of their sound-quality by playing, and Kevin having mic’ed them in the most thorough fashion Holt can say he’d ever experienced. Holt’s salivating rock appetite, having seen the 30 foot ceilings and vintage RCA ribbon mics, would now be put to the proverbial taste-test. Matthew would perform in the large room with Holt, his amp isolated in a large closet space to the side; Valerie and Duane together and visible through the glass-paned secondary control room straight ahead from Holt’s perspective, and poor Kevin and his hat relegated to the large control room outside of the finished part of the barn space. Andrew was in a narrow hallway between the finished section and Kevin’s domain, all being heard and not seen, as the band played as one to capture the live performances.
Three songs saw their satisfying completion on Holt’s trash cans, as Lord Fat Ass had taken to calling them of late, and the gathered gang had the opportunity to meet the first of many of the characters who would pop by over the next night and day at MARCATA. Jimmy was the heir to the property upon which MARCATA rested, a former veal farm, long ago turned recording studio. The Bosch collectively imagined and spoke of their fears that the evening’s repose would be interrupted by the silence….of the veal.
At the night wound on, the cold outside began to permeate the studio’s inner sanctum, but the temperature seemed to sharpen the band’s collective senses, providing their traditionally sharp focus an extra edge. Never ones to have too difficult a quest for keeper-quality takes- after all, it was only rock and roll, and they all liked it. When a suitable moment to break presented itself, all six visited a local brew-pub for some much needed caloric intake- Andrew’s cup of soup was complete with a sour cream smiley face. An extra taste of small town life indeed. The return trip from the brew-pub to MARCATA was without note, with the exception of an unexplained addition to the caravan: the two Subarus were followed by a third automobile the entire way. As the third vehicle rolled up to the barn space with Kevin’s and Andrew’s cars, Holt palmed a small emergency flashlight, would it be required to smash some faces to save the lives of his rocker family. Fortunately, the additional traveler turned out to be a young gentleman come to replenish the kerosene supply for the night’s warmth. Classic Horror Story averted.
The three completed tracks were reviewed on MARCATA’s exceptional monitoring system- 8 speakers featuring festival-worthy chest thump, with woofers that were easily 14″. As the boys and lady were well on their way, the restful peace of sleep was sought.
The upstairs of the finished portion of the barn proved comfortable enough- the proof in the pudding being Holt’s lack of disturbance by Matthew’s sometime nocturnal episodes, in spite of the old friends sleeping shoulder to shoulder. All slept easily on MARCATA’s provided mattresses, pillows and blankets, and not one reported the sounds of screaming veal during their evening’s rest.
FRIDAY, January 12th
Andrew was the first to rise, quietly taking himself downstairs to attempt to do some work before enjoying a bit of Sid Meier’s CIVILIZATION, while the remaining foursome slumbered. Holt awoke shortly, ready to begin anew, following heavy nicotine intake and respiratory clearing into whatever available paper-based media he could find. After a brief reflection onto his MS-DOS based gaming childhood with Mr. Raff, the twosome woke the remaining three in as gentle a manner as possible, The Bosch and Mr. Lundy soon found their way to a local diner for the morning rations.
WHERE’S THE BEST SH*T?
As the fivesome sat down in the local greasy spoon, the spot stimulating appetites, by bearing so many familiarities to any diner one might enjoy imagining, it became apparent that the two gentlemen at the neighboring table would be a force to be reckoned with. In the far corner of the diner proper, next to the Bosch’s table, sat two gentlemen, one reading aloud headlines from the NY Post to his companion, then offering his commentary to his partner, and truly, anyone within 30 feet. While the Bosch sought to focus on their appetites: morning desires for hash-browns, eggs, and Belgian Waffles, it was clear that there would be a moment of reckoning by which the two fellows would have to be acknowledged. Being sensitive, intellectual sorts, The Boschers sought to stick to the business at hand, and their own affairs. Before long, however, Holt overheard (by no effort on his part) one of the gentleman ask his partner: “Are they in a band?”
Soon the question was asked aloud to the rockers, and Holt affirmed that they were. Among the ways they sought to affirm their suspicions, based on a by-design Keith Moon inspired haircut for Holt; it turns out, their inquiry seems to have been based on practical evidence: frequenting the Pussycat Lounge, and dating members of its female staff, the two fellows probably had in fact seen The Bosch in the flesh, at one of NYC’s premiere flesh emporiums, as they had previously performed in the Pussy Cat Lounge’s upstairs venue. By the third or fourth question proposed by the two fellows: their underlying intention was revealed: they wished to know the where in The Bosch’s travels, the band had found a region with the kindest attributes—in deference to the presence of Duane, ambassador from the Blue Grass state, Kentucky was offered as response, but the two fellows shot down their own inquiry by practically demanding that NY State was the home of the finest. To each his own.
Shortly, The Bosch and Mr. Lundy returned to MARCATA to plow into the remaining tracks- starting at noon, instead of Thursday’s 6pm, the added time allowed for further adventures into the ass-shakin’ rock that is The Bosch’s preference. Tunes rolled out smoothly, including the desired-but-unexpected addition of BROOKLYN CARS, an extra tune added to the first six staples intended to be laid down in the whirlwind adventure in progress. This song, in particular, offered the most organic recording experience of any in The Bosch’s catalog to date with lots of “bleed” across the analog tape tracks to best capture the fiery intensity that Matthew and Holt had spent so very much of their “adult” lives honing. Timing was such, that additional tracking time was available for finishing a few saxophone tracks, putting the foursome slightly ahead of schedule for their coming three days in Matt Verta-Ray’s (of Speedball Baby and Heavy Trash fame) NY HED recording studio. Throughout the listening and recording experience Matthew consumed quantities of Genmaicha worthy of Guiness book notification, Genmaicha being a roasted rice barley tea, which Matt explained was in order to prep his voice and care for his needed sprightliness for the coming days of hard rockin’. No one else seemed to be operating as carefully and as intent on optimum performance as Matthew. Nonetheless, everyone’s individual methodology was working like clockwork.
The evening concluded much as the trip thus far had begun, with Andrew taking Valerie and Matthew back to the Poughkeepsie train station for their ride back to Manhattan. While away, Mr. Lundy and Mr. McMahon discussed their common musical tastes, in particular their mutual admiration of the Daniel Lanois school of production and recording, while simultaneously backing up the analog tape thus-far recorded into two digital formats- 7 Data CDs and upon the hard disk of Matthew’s MacBook. While wrapping up the first part of the session, Kevin shared with Duane and Holt his own excellent musical works.
Matt and Valerie’s trip back to the city was in the company of fine stereotypes, young ladies trainin’ it into the city for a big night on the town, replete with noxious perfumes choking Ms. Sauvé and Mr. Harrison, all the while discussing adventures past and future in NYC nightlife, at locales as diverse as CROBAR and WEBSTER HALL. Andrew, Holt and Duane made as efficient as possible the return of the drumset and other gear to the rehearsal studio in Gowanus. Andrew dropped Mr. Lundy and Mr. Richardson at a nearby car service, and made his way back to Brooklyn Heights for the ominous prospect of parking a car in the settled-and sleeping neighborhood at 2 AM.
Duane and Holt carried the trips essentials with care- both Matthew’s laptop and 3 reels of analog tape that had captured all The Bosch action, probably 45 pounds of hard work so far. Arriving at Bay Ridge Manor, Duane and Holt briefly enjoyed each other’s company, and the sights of a Gene Simmons solo of blood-spitting and squealing bass mutilation. Duane collapsed into Holt’s spare bedroom for his first night of rest off of a floor so far, and Holt found himself too energized to sleep immediately. Pounding 4 beers in an hour, and listening to old favorites, like Springsteen and Man… or Astroman? before finally feeling the call of the slumber. Matthew’s evening was similarly long-winded, upon his return to the isle of Manhattan, some more hours lived in Dionysian spirit, bouncing across the downtown scene with friends whose nights were already in progress.
SATURDAY January 13th
Holt awoke at 9:30, unlikely to be needed for the day’s coming activities- principally to be focused on the bass mastery of Valerie Sauvé- his only essential function of the day to transport Duane Lundy, now officially being recognized as Count Chocula, along with the master copies of the recording so far- to NY HED. Mr Lundy and Holt exited the comfort of Bay Ridge Manor, and Bay Ridge’s bounty of tracksuits and its palatable hangover from the Disco-era, and proceeded back into the lion’s den of creative activity at Matt Verta-Ray’s house of rock on Ludlow Street. Duane proved an excellent travel partner, regaling Holt with tales of Los Angeles’ golden rock era, particularly the lore surrounding the Whiskey A Go-Go and the legendary touring proclivities of LED ZEPPELIN. Travel to NY HED couldn’t have proved much easier, maneuvers through the city based more upon sense-memory than anything else. Holt and Duane found themselves parked exactly across the street from NY HED’s subterranean entryway. Mr. Verta-Ray answered the door himself, letting the two men inside, Valerie was already brimming with anticipation to begin her day in the spotlight. Introductions of Mr. Verta-Ray to Mr. Lundy being made, The capable and gentle Mr. Verta-Ray got down to the business of setting his lovingly-cared-for tape machine to accept the particulars of MARCATA’s goings-on.
Not only were the Boschsters impressed by the selection of vintage instruments and amps in the studio, but by the spread provided by Mr. Verta-Ray which included fresh fruit, organic juice, nuts, bagels and bialys.
Careful selection of the rig for bass-reproduction was underway, multiple amps and axes were considered, settling on NY HED’s house AMPEG and a certain Frankenstein monster of a bass- a combination of body and fretboard from two separate Fender guitars, complete with a 7″ record set around one of the pickups, to offset its rather natural appearance. The rig sounded like a charmer. Valerie set about thumping on through the tracks, and eventually Andrew and Matthew showed up, Andrew from a morning of automobile rasslin’, which could only be described as pure New York, and Matthew finally arriving from his very late night of swingin’ in the city, lookin’ like a million bucks, feeling like a buck-o-five, carrying glutenwheatlactoseandtastefree cupcakes as offerings for his tardiness. No matter. It was Valerie’s shining moment, and she was linin’ ‘em up, and knockin’ em down. Holt eventually collapsed behind Verta-Ray’s vintage Rogers drumkit, the sound of repeated fragments of Bosch tunes, heavy on the bass presence, was the lulling soundtrack to nappy-time. After a brief meal break at about 5:00pm, the assembled gang returned to the studio to wrap bass tracking, and concluded the evenings affairs with the recording of handclaps to BROOKLYN CARS, all assembled in the isolation room, and now joined by Ms. Nella Liuzzi, ladylove of Holt, to add her own particular hand clapping expertise as former cheerleader, to the mix.
A brief end-of-day celebration at Local 138, and Holt and Ms. Nella went home to enjoy a bit of peace amidst the hard work. The remaining group went out and about the town, Duane eventually returning to Matthew’s LES pad, left alone to his own devices, and enjoying a full second night of sleep in an actual bed.
SUNDAY JANUARY 14th
Sunday began with Harrison, Lundy and Verta-Ray geeking out on finding the glassiest guitar tones using various guitar and amp-combinations. Harrison worked through his inner-obsessive guitar geekdom, playing a number of hollow body electrics, including an old Hagstrom and Gibson, active parts of Mr. Verta-Ray’s work in Heavy Trash. So much was the rock, that two pieces of equipment gave out under the load- one of Mr. Verta-Ray’s vintage amps, a small tweed wrapped Premiere, as well as one of his monitor speakers sounded their death knells. Huzzah!
Equipment malfunctions proved to be a minor inconvenience to the session. Amazing sounds were captured, and all was moving along quite well, but there was beginning to be the sense of urgency that accompanies any recording process in its final hours. The cold focus of MARCATA, the able assistance of Mr. McMahon and Mr. Verta-Ray, and now the snuggling warmth of NY HED, along with Duane’s discerning taste and knowledge of the band’s style and how to capture it aside, nonetheless- there was only so much time left. The Bosch worked on through the remaining time until the nights final activity- the arrival of the Porn Horns to lay down the smouldering horn track to BACK TO REALITY. At this point, some drinking had begun, Wild Turkey 101 and several sixers of microbrews readily at hand. Perhaps most suspicious was Holt’s consumption, especially considering his less-than-usual food intake. Something sinister was floating, floating, in the ether……
THE PORN HORNS
Matt Kelly, Will Hoffman, and Scott Zillito arrived around 8:30 pm, with Mr. Kelly and Mr. Zillito sporting much cleaner-cut appearances than last some of the Bosch had seen them. Mr. Hoffman was still rockin’ it long-and-loyal. As always, the three hornsmen quickly went to work, true musicians in every sense of the word. With Andrew, straight into the isolation room they went, to lay out the sax-heavy, horny goodness that they always can turn on, instantly. 20 minutes of setup and reviewing the few changes that had been made to the tune, including a remarkable (and fortunately, video recorded) a capella rehearsal of the parts they’d shortly play, and off they went, nailing in short order the hugest sounding Bosch tune in the band’s 10 year history.
9.5 OUT OF 10
After wrapping up the nights’ recording with the Porn Horns, the assembled gang headed over to The Magician, a suitable location for the night’s self-destruction. The Porn Horns three, along with the four Boschers, and Mr. Lundy, claimed a small segment of the bar proper to themselves, and Holt set about buying up drinks while more members of the Bosch & Porn Horns entourages arrived. Unwittingly, while Holt had been waiting on his second round, KAREN O of the YEAH YEAH YEAHs was standing alongside him at the bar. Holt, hardly a starfucker, would have no idea how to identify half the celebrities he had certainly passed in his 10 years as a New Yorker, only Jackie Mason and Gabriel Byrne stood out in his mind as recognized “persons of special importance.” With the unwitting Mr. Richardson standing at the bar, The Bosch crew brainstormed the best way for him to capture Ms. O’s attention and create a scene worthy of notoriety in the pages of PAGE 6 or even STEREOGUM.
Fortunately, the drinks, numbered maybe 6 or 7 since the drinking had begun at NY HED, and without Holt having any real concrete nutrition for the day, flipped his “time-to-go:NOW” switch, and he quickly hailed down a cab, and stumbled upstairs into Bay Ridge Manor, broke into a can of honey roasted peanuts, and proceeded to pass out in short order- after all, he did have to work the next day.
MONDAY January 15th
Keyboards and Vocals were the name of the game today. But the day started out with the Mr. Verta-Ray’s best provisions of the session—bialys and caviar cream cheese from Russ and Daughters. The productive part of the day began with Andrew’s work on the keys, utilizing even more of Mr. Verta-Ray’s treasure trove of gear, including Farfisa and Korg organs and various amps (including an enormous Vox AC30). Andrew completed keyboard parts on three songs and Matthew finished up 3 lead vocal tracks before Holt’s arrival post workday, packing boxes of Japanese tea-based beverages for UPS shipment. At this point, most guitar work was already complete, as well as the keys and most horns, so vocals became the name of the game.
Tea consumption was at an all-time high, Holt even entering Moby’s TEANY emporium on Matthew’s behalf, and in order to gather his requisite hatred of man-at-large to aid in his vocal delivery later that day. Recalling Sunday’s trip for coffee at the natural food market across the street from NY HED, where a young woman practically eviscerated another for stepping ahead in line, Holt couldn’t help but to say out loud, these folks wouldn’t be so aggro if they’d just eat some meat once in a while.
Vocal recording went down by-the-numbers, and Matthew was operating in top form all day, nailing songs in a more satisfying manner than he had achieved in any previous experience. All was done, and time for Holt to get started, as always, as almost the very last thing to happen in the entire process. This, as always, after an entire day of sitting around, doing nothing.
Mr. Lundy had provided an incredible anecdote about an agreement with a Lexington cab driver gone awry, which provided the levity needed to overcome the hellish physical and mental reciprocity Holt’s body had been visiting upon him since the previous nights, er, um, you know.
Background vocals went down for all the tunes needed, and BROOKLYN CARS was wrapped in a few takes, “special” choices and a group chorus from Andrew, Matt and Valerie making it all the sweeter, and more fun.
The last thing to go down was Andrew’s sax part to COUNTING, a challenging piece by any standards, made even more so by the long day that already had transpired. He rocked it out beautifully, and the group powered down their gear for the last time.
MAX FISH Was the location of the final eve’s reflection, a quiet affair spent in a reflective mood, and discussion of possible video ideas. Toasts were made, the newfound friendship of Mr. Verta-Ray a particular pleasure, and off they all went.
The Bosch were not yet at rest, as they found within the next two days that they’d have an
extra- sweet gig in the two week’s time- Saturday night at The Mercury Lounge. Keep on Truckin’, as they say.