Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Recording Stuck With Chuck

When I was still working as a computer test engineer, I decided to start a music business to market my songs.  It was a logical step, since I had been playing music and writing songs for over 20 years.  After I was unceremoniously booted out the door of the computer industry due to "downsizing," I went full time into learning recording technology, music business legalities, internet promotion, and all the tools I would need to sell music online.

The first song I wanted to record was "Stuck With Chuck."  I had never been able to get a good recording of it when I was playing in a band.  I was preparing for it even when I was still working as a test engineer.  Whenever I found a song stuck in my head, I would start singing "Stuck With Chuck" so it would be stuck in my head instead.

I started by laying down a scratch drum track with a simple beat that I could use to record a basic guitar rhythm track.  Then I put a scratch vocal track on it so I would know where I was in the song while I was recording guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards.  Since it was the first song I had ever recorded at home, I was learning the technology as I went.  It was a long process, and I ended up re-recording and remixing it 41 times before it got to the point where I was pretty much satisfied with the result.  It has 16 tracks of rhythm and lead guitars, bass, drums, percussion, piano, organ, and lead and background vocals.

Along the way I learned how to make samples by recording one hit of a drum or cymbal from my Alesis drum machine, then use the samples to build a drum kit in my recording program.  It's not as easy as you might think, because you have to have just the right number of miliseconds of silence at the beginning of the sample.  But you end up with a natural sounding drum kit that you can play with a midi controller.  If you mess up, you can correct and adjust the beats visually in the midi track on the computer.  Pretty cool.

Some of my fans and listeners have told me that "Stuck With Chuck" is one of their favorite songs.  It's about a girl I was enamored with in my school days, and the lyrics are imbued with my characteristic dry wit...tongue planted firmly in cheek.

You can hear a clip of "Stuck With Chuck" on my web site and maybe grab a copy while you are there.
Check it out at http://pwcarrmusic.com/store.html