Hats off to Mike Berg. Mike is formerly of the Seattle bands BRAD (Stone "Pearl Jam" Gossard's side project) and Satchel. He is also the father of two girls, the eldest of whom has been friends with Kayleigh since they were both in kindergarten. And when Sam was sick, the Bergs would often take Kayleigh to her dance class or keep her for an overnight. She was away at one such overnight the morning Sam died.
So naturally when I was planning the And Tears Fell tribute CD last year, I asked Mike Berg to sit in on bass, knowing that, even as rusty as he might be, he could play circles around my just-barely-adequate bass chops. Once we practiced together and I heard Mike play, I swore I would not pick up a bass on this project. He's the one.
Today, Mike & I went to a recording session at Brian Chase's studio, Kayleigh in tow. The girl has a real connection to this music, like it's a channel to her mom. And since we weren't recording anything with live mics, K could sit in the doorway and sing along.
Mike hammered out SEVEN of the eleven total tracks on the CD in a three-hour session, and I even added the electric textural and lead guitar to "Tapestry", the song Sam & I composed with then-bassist Chris Palmer for our second album in 1990.
It's really great to hear these songs filling out. Until today, most of them consisted of acoustic guitars and either placeholder vocals by me, or more finished vocals by Muriel. I've enlisted Bay Area drummer Steven Fox to fly up for a weekend and lay down drums for the album, which should sound great with Mike's bass. This will definitely be the fullest and best-produced And Tears Fell has ever sounded, but as I was plucking out the lead line on "Tapestry", I was struck by just how inferior I felt in the presence of professional-level musicians. Don't get me wrong - I love the music dearly, and I think I could write a pretty catchy shoegazer song, back in the day (which was a Wednesday, according to Dane Cook). But sometimes I wonder how mope rock from 15+ years ago will translate now. I mean, obviously there are neo-shoegazer acts around now (The FLIR, Autumn's Grey Solace, etc), and it could be argued that the genre never really died (see Robin "Cocteau Twins" Guthrie still at it), but really - this And Tears Fell music is a decade and a half old.
It's probably all in my head, and the finished product will be a joy to behold. And having such good musicians working on this project will end up making me sound much better than I really am. I just want to work hard and get these projects completed.
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The flooring crews - both of them - arrived yesterday and installed ALL THE REMAINING FLOORING. The tile guy finished the grout in the master bath today. Insane. It's actually resembling a home. I added more pics (with floors, dirty as they are) in the flickr photo album.