Friday, March 16, 2012

Steve Poltz and DMC in studio for Monday Night Football

Steve Poltz and Darryl McDaniels
Members from the band The Rugburns recorded what could be ESPN's new Monday Night Football theme song at Studio West this past month.  Read what some of our staff had to say about the project....

Kellogg Boynton: 
Shawn Rohlf, Kellogg Boynton, Darryl McDaniels
"The song is a rendition of an old Rugburns song which includes a new twist that features Darryl from Run DMC rapping over the middle section of the song.  Band members included Stinky, Shawn Rohlf and Steve Poltz who co-wrote much of Jewel's first album, Pieces of You.  Steve was really the inspiration behind the song and Darryl was amazing to work with. Darryl knew exactly what he wanted to do the minute he heard the section of the song he would would be rapping over. Working with someone as accomplished, yet still as nice, as he was reaffirms my faith that there's still lots of great music be be made right here in San Diego!"

Shawn Rohlf:
"I’ve been performing and touring with Steve Poltz for about the last 5 years and have performed with his former folk-punk band, The Rugburns, in their reunion shows.  One of their popular songs from the 90s was called Football Tonight.  After Hank Jr. got the boot from ESPN earlier this year, disc jockey Mike Halloran (94.9 FM and 91X) talked Steve into re-writing a version of the track to be pitched to ESPN as the new Monday Night Football song. Steve called me and asked if I could help produce the track and Mike would arrange to bring Darryl McDaniels (a.k.a. DMC from rap pioneers RUN DMC) to do a rap segment in the middle. We recorded the basic tracks in one session with Steve on vocals and acoustic guitar, Rugburn “Stinky” on drums and myself playing bass, acoustic and electric guitars and Hammond B3 organ.
Hunter Levy was our engineer for the basics session and Kellogg engineered and mastered the track on the second day.  The following day DMC came in and did the rap section in the middle. This was a huge thrill for of all of us as he was so enthusiastic and such a down to earth guy! His driver later told us that in the car after they left, DMC said that was the most fun he’s had in the studio in 20 years. Now we’re all hoping ESPN will catch on to the magic that we created in those two days here at Studio West!"

Listen to the track here.

Photos used by permission of Rebecca Joelson Photography

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gregory Page and Studio West Go Old School

Over the past few weeks we have had the good fortune to host Mr. Gregory Page as he creates his latest album. To date, Gregory has recorded 10 songs featuring some of San Diego's most talented musicians.

In addition to Gregory on guitar and vocals, we recorded Sky Ladd on piano, Bob Magnusson on upright bass, Duncan Moore on drums, the Art of Elan String Quartet and a host of amazing brass players.

The December 8 session was the most technically demanding as we recorded 26 players live in Studio A. Gregory's aim is to create a contemporary record that pays homage to some of the great jazz that was recorded in the 30s and 40s so we went with the spirit and tracked everything live, with most songs recorded in 3 or 4 takes with very few punches or after the fact solos. Kellogg Boynton was the lead engineer with Henrique Landim assisting. Numerous other Studio West Staff and Interns helped ensure the day went smoothly.

Gregory has been updating his blog with videos from each day.  SoundDiego also aired a piece on the project - watch it here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jenni Barber Loops for NBC's SMASH!

NBC's new musical drama, SMASH, premiers on Monday, February 6, starring Katherine McPhee (also featured in an earlier blog entry), and Debra Messing. While the premiere is still a little more than a month away, we got our own sneak-peak when actress Jenni Barber visited Studio West to loop lines for the show. It was an ISDN session with The Soundtrack Group in NYC. Pictured below with Jenni are Amy Ziegelman and Canon Smith of Studio West, who were on hand to assist with the session....

Jenni is currently starring in Some Lovers at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego's Balboa Park, and she had us rolling on the floor with her hilarious sing-along to McPfee's cover of Gretchen Wilson's Redneck Woman! We wish Jenni the best of luck on the show!

Read more about the series on NBC's official Smash site.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bill Walton and The Grateful Dead

 From the Speakeasy page of the Wall Street Journal:

The Grateful Dead is getting a videogame. Through a new deal with an independent games developer, the band hopes to turn young folks on to the music and culture of the late Jerry Garcia and company.

The surviving band members gave the project their blessing, but the agreement was brokered by Rhino Entertainment, the Warner Music Group subsidiary that has managed all of the band’s intellectual property since 2006.

“We can’t wait for everyone check out the fun new toys we are building,” said David Lemieux, the band’s longtime archivist, in a statement.

Long time San Diego resident and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton was in Studio C last week to record dialog for an upcoming Grateful Dead video game. Most people recognize Bill from his contribution to amateur and professional basketball, but few realize that he's also a serious Dead Head. Bill has an incredible collection of Dead memorabilia and is also very close friends with Dead drummer Mickey Hart. We're hoping that the game is a huge success and maybe we'll have the pleasure of more sessions with Bill. The session was a phone-patch with Somatone Interactive in the San Francisco Bay Area and was engineered by Studio West's Brandon Papsidero. As usual, everyone at the studio that day said Bill was fantastic to work with!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Studio West Provides Last-Minute Solutions for WDCW, Philip Rivers & Activate Water

To keep one step ahead of the competition, you need to stay flexible.  When Los Angels-based advertising agency Wong Doody Crandall Wiener contacted us to record voiceover with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers for Activate Water, naturally we were excited.  The radio spots would run in conjunction with a new photo/billboard campaign Activate is running with NFL quarterbacks Phillip Rivers and Josh Freeman as brand ambassadors.

The plan was to complete the photo shoot earlier in the morning, then have Philip drive to Studio West to do the recording for the radio spots.  As things would turn out, scheduling conflicts arose that didn't allow time for both the photo shoot and the recording session in the same morning.  The agency asked if the recording could be done at the photo studio.  Never a dull moment in the world of high stakes audio for radio!

We arranged with our liaison at WDCW to bring the necessary recording equipment to the photographer's studio in Solana Beach where the shoot was taking place.  With the help of Studio West intern extraordinaire Alfonso Wong, we turned an open-walled upstairs loft office with no AC into a usable booth for recording radio-ready v/o, all while Philip was being photographed downstairs. 
Alfonso testing the gear
Equipment included a MacBook Pro with a new MBox 3 interface as our input to Pro Tools.  On the front end, we used a Focusrite 430 Mic Preamp connected to a Sennheiser 416 shotgun microphone.  The output of the Focusrite was connected to the line input of the Mbox.  A six-channel Rane headphone amp provided audio confidence monitoring for the client, engineer and Philip.  Pro Tools 9 software ran without any hitches.  As it was a remote record and we didn't have a backup recorder running, we stopped record and saved after each set of lines.  The recording took about 30 minutes, and we were able to sneak this picture with Phillip after the session.  Go Chargers! 

L-R: Mark Kirchner, Philip Rivers, Alfonso Wong
So, in the space of about 90 minutes, and with the help of 25 spring clamps holding 10 packing blankets from rafter beams above our loft, we turned an unlikely recording space into a workable v/o booth. The client was happy, Studio West was happy, and Alfonso was happy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Billy David Band Records at Studio West

Studio Engineer Brandon Papsidero has just finished up work with The Billy David Band on their latest reggae/rock release.

"The live band was recorded in Studio A to get the groove of the songs," says Papsidero.  "We recorded through outboard preamps and some outboard gear, straight into Pro Tools 9."

"We then worked on the arrangement and overdubbed keyboards, guitars and vocals from a variety of singers featured on different songs all in Studio C using Avid Eleven for guitar amp emulation and Avid Instruments for MIDI keyboards. All vocals were done with a u87."

"Finally, we brought the tracks back into Studio A and Dennis Thorbourn mixed using the SSL and outboard gear like Distressors, Avalon Compressors, and API Equalizers."

The album is being mastered in L.A. and will be released late 2011/early 2012.

The Billy David Band is:
Billy David - Vocals
Michael Hyde – Keys (from Ziggy Marley’s Band)
Chris Armes - Guitars/Bass
Wade Youman - Drums (from Unwritten Law)
Rex Costales – Bass
David Moxley – Backup Vocals
Vincent “Billy” Newman – Backup Vocals
Carlton Coffie – Guest Singer (from Bad Boys)
Bunny Rugs – Guest Singer (from Third World)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scott Gordon's New Release Recorded and Produced at Studio West

(L-R) Engineer Caleb Keiter, Scott Gordon, Producer Marti Amado 
Singer-songwriter Scott Gordon is getting ready to release his 6 song EP, Believin' In Love, recorded and produced at Studio West. Marti Amado arranged and produced the CD, Caleb Keiter recorded and Kellogg Boynton IV and Caleb mixed at Studio West.  Listen to Believin' in Love.  Read more about Scott and his inspiration for the project in this article from the San Diego Union Tribune.