Archives for August2013

The Story Behind Each Song On Garbles

Each song has its story! … The story behind each song on our debut album, Garbles.


1. The story behind the first song on Garbles… “Thinking Parts”. Thinking Parts is actually the last song that we wrote for the album. We wrote most of the music while messing around during a practice and we added the lyrics later. The lyrics are written from the perspective of a public figure losing their mind in the middle of an election.

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording:
Bass – Kevin
Rhythm Guitar / Guitar Solo – Canon
Guitar riff in verses and chorus – Derek
Drums / Percussion – Spence

*****


2. The story behind the second song on Garbles… “We Both Do” is one of two songs on the album where Spence wrote the music and Canon wrote the lyrics.

Spence came to practice and mentioned that he was working on a song, but didn’t have any lyrics to it or a melody for the vocals. He played through the song on guitar while Kevin worked up the bass line and we made a rough recording of it with a mic in the middle of the room. The next practice, Canon had written lyrics to the song and we played through it a few times until everything fit together.

After laying down the drums, bass, and guitar tracks (played by Spence), we felt like there was something missing in the song. Shank suggested playing acoustic guitar during the verses and it really brought the tune to life.

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording:
Bass – Kevin
Guitars – Spence and Derek
Background Vocals – Derek
Vocals – Canon

*****

3. The story behind the third song on Garbles… “Phil” is a song about the worlds most famous weather man, Punxsutawney Phil.

Most of the music for Phil came out of a riff that we were messing around with at practice one day. The lyrics focus on various aspects of Phil’s life: his responsibility to predict the weather, the loneliness of the other 364 days of the year, and the repetitive nature of his situation (a nod to the movie Groundhog Day).

The recording… The intro is an outtake from one of Derek’s and Spence’s backing vocal tracks they did together, we like to think of it as the sound a groundhog makes when you poke it. Phil is the first song to feature Shank’s Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier guitar amp. After recording the first guitars through Canon’s Tweed Fender Deluxe, we thought that the guitars needed more gain and more clarity… we got that with the Mesa and then some! This song also is the only appearance of a harmonica on the album.

A few sh** bombs in the lyrics. Parental guidance suggested.

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Guitars – Canon
Background Vocals – Spence and Derek
Harmonica – Canon
Vocals – Canon

*****


4. The story behind the fourth song on Garbles (and the beginning of the band)… “Bury” is the first song that Rock Bass ever played together as a band. The music and lyrics were mostly written by
Canon and Kevin before Spence joined the band. When Spence showed up to audition, and after he realized that we weren’t the craigslist killers, this is the first song that we ran through. Within the first few minutes of jamming on the song, Spence came up with a very unique drum part that fit the song perfectly; Rock Bass had found it’s drummer. Luckily Kevin’s beard and Canon’s whiteness didn’t scare Spence off, and we now form a trio of rock & roll goodness.

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Piano – Derek
Vocals – Canon

*****


5. The story behind the fifth song on Garbles… “Killing It” was not originally going to be on the album, it was part of the 2nd group of songs we tracked for the album (along with Thinking Parts, I Think You Think, and This Is Not A Test).

This is another song that we mostly wrote before Spence joined the band. Originally, this song didn’t rock as hard as it does now (it was more of a mid-tempo tune), but after Spence joined the band, it morphed into a much tighter and rocking tune. The lyrics center around moving forward no matter what the cost and not looking back. The music was written in two different sittings by Canon and Kevin. At first, the whole song didn’t have any changes in it musically, but it seemed stale, so a second part (the chorus) was added.

This is the most straightforward rock tune on the album. Derek suggested that we make it sound as much like a live performance as possible. So there is very little studio magic on this one (i.e. no doubled guitars, no rhythm guitar during the solo, no doubled lead vocals, etc.). We couldn’t be happier with how this one turned out!

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Guitar – Canon
Backing Vocals – Spence / Derek
Vocals – Canon

*****


6. The story behind the sixth song on Garbles… “Obviously” is the second song on the album that Spence wrote the music to (the first one being We Both Do); he also wrote the lyrics to half of the chorus on this one. During practice one day we made a rough recording with Spence playing the song and singing the lyrics that he had. Canon then wrote the rest of the lyrics while listening to the rough recording. We thought that the song needed a middle part, so Kevin came up with the breakdown (the part that begins with the fuzz bass of course) and the song was complete.

While recording “Obviously” though, we felt like it was always missing something. We tried doubling vocals, adding more guitar parts, changing parts, but nothing really fit. Finally, Shank, our fearless producer, added some simple acoustic guitar parts and keyboard parts in the verses and it really seemed to bring the recording together.

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Guitar – Canon and Derek
Keys – Derek
Backing Vocals – Spence and Derek
Vocals – Canon

*****


7. The story behind the seventh song on Garbles… “I Think You Think” (WARNING: EXPLICIT LYRICS) is probably the darkest song on the album. The lyrics are inspired by “The Graveyard Book”, a children’s fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. Canon had written the music a few years back, but could never find the right lyrics to fit it. After reading “The Graveyard Book”, he decided to try to incorporate some of the themes of that book into the lyrics of the song.

The recording of “I Think You Think” was all about layers and textures. Usually, the more parts you add to a recording, the more it takes away from the overall experience of the tune. But in this case, each part was added to fill a specific space of the song.

While practicing and putting this song together, we thought, man… it would be cool if we had an accordion to play during this tune. Fortunately, One day in the studio, we stumbled upon an accordion that Shank had. After about 30 seconds of practice, Shank was laying down the track (A funny side note… the according didn’t have a strap, so Spence had to hold it in place while Derek played it).

More fun facts:
* This is the only song where the upright bass is played throughout
* A Roland Space Echo was used for the Delay and the vocals (thanks Sean Hur)
* This is the only song to use a wah pedal

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Upright Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Guitars – Canon
Accordion – Derek
Piano – Derek
Banjo – Spence
Keys – Spence
Vocals – Canon

*****


8. The story behind the eighth song on Garbles… “Too Much Space” is the oldest song on the album by far. It was mostly written by Canon in 2002 and resurrected in 2011 when Rock Bass was first formed. The song itself went through many variations trying to find the right instrumentation mix. Finally, we landed on acoustic guitars in the first two verses and a screaming distorted guitar in the third verse. Clocking in at a crisp 1:42, “Too Much Space” is the shortest song on the album.

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Acoustic Guitars – Canon and Derek
Electric Guitars – Canon
Vocals – Canon

*****


9. The story behind the ninth song on Garbles… “This Is Not A Test” is another song that came out of a jam during practice. The intro and outro of the song was originally called “Garbles”, but we eventually decided to call the album “Garbles” and drop the name from the title of the song.

The lyrics focus on taking responsibility for your own actions and not relying on others to make a decision for you. The spoken word part, performed by Steve Amtower, is an excerpt from Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress on November 14, 2012 and seemed to fit the underlying theme of the song perfectly.

This song almost wasn’t recorded, we thought that the time changes would be too difficult to put down in the studio, but Kevin insisted on at least trying it out. Luckily, we nailed the time changes the first time through and never looked back!

Random Notes on the recording:
* This is the only song on the album not to use a click track
* The verse guitar is actually the scratch track that was recorded directly (no amp)

Written by Rock Bass
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording
Bass – Kevin
Upright Bass (with bow) – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Keys / Synth – Canon and Derek
Speaking Part – Steve Amtower
Guitars – Canon
Vocals – Canon

*****


10. The story behind the tenth (and last) song on Garbles… “Something More” is the only song on the album not solely written by Rock Bass, it was written by Canon and Jim Cordovana (of The Luckies) before Rock Bass was born. The Luckies also play a variation of the same song under the name “Hello To You”. When Rock Bass started playing it, we switched a few lyrics around and added some different parts, but most of the basic riffs and music are the same.

“Something More” is usually the last song of the night during live shows, so we thought that it was only fitting to have it close out our debut album.

Other fun facts:
* The guitar solo was “re-amped” after we decided that we liked the melody of it, but the tone didn’t have enough “Umph” behind it. So we put it through a fuzz pedal and the Mesa.
* The acoustic guitars at the end were doubled live with Canon playing a 12 string and Derek playing a 6 string.

Written by Jim Cordovana and Canon Fazenbaker
Produced by Derek Shank

Performances on the recording:
Bass – Kevin
Drums – Spence
Keys – Derek
Electric Guitar – Canon
Acoustic Guitars – Canon and Derek
Background Vocals – Spence and Derek
Vocals – Canon

Hello world!

Garbles.