The making of "Does Not Play Well With Others"
2003



Testing new songs at The Hideaway in Houston, Texas.


(top row) - Westone Fretless Bass, Martin Acoustic, Unknown Acoustic, Ibanez  Lonestar Acoustic
(bottom row) Fender USA Precision Bass, Gibson Les Paul Custom, Washburn,  Hamer Echotone, Hamer 8-String Bass, Hamer CruiseBass


Scratchy insisted on his own stool whenever vocals were being recorded.


Christy adds her magic touch to "Sleep".


Max provided backing vocals on two tracks, as well as some advice and encouragement early in the project.


Brian was always willing to be the guinea-pig for song fragments and new ideas.


Don't tell him, but Scratchy's tracks did not make the final cut...


Tukatz Studio.

Howdy ho boys and girls!

 I'd like to share with you a bit about how "Does Not Play Well With Others" came to be...

 In early 2002 my last band finally dissolved after being together for six years and I did some soul searching for an appropriate way to scratch my musical itch. I think I’ve always been more the independent type, so it seemed natural when the idea came to start working on a solo project.

 My original intent was to record five or six songs for a short demo. However, as I dug deeper into the writing process I began to discover new ideas and themes that I couldn’t ignore. Like a snowball rolling down the hill, gaining mass and momentum as it travels, “Does Not Play Well With Others” soon took on an energy all it’s own. 

 Working from my home studio, I sequenced all of the drums, played everything except for the violin (“Sleep” -- Thanks Christy!), and sang nearly every vocal track as well. The advantage of this was that I could re-do tracks until I was happy with the way they sounded, yet this also can be a bit of a hindrance if you are as anal-retentive as I am. Imagine playing the same bass line over and over for hours because you think that one note is a little off in the last part of the second verse. It became like an obsession for me, nearly drove me nuts for a while. I discovered that there comes a point when you can get lost in over-analyzing and looking for problems where none exist. 

 Hats. One has to learn to wear many hats on a project like this. Objectivity is the key—only wear one hat at a time so that you can honestly look at the work of the other “hats”. The “vocalist hat” may listen to what he just sang and cringe, but the “producer hat” listens to the same thing and hears a great recording. The “drummer hat” wants more drum rolls and fancy foot work, but the “bass player hat” slaps him back into submission… I imagine this could be either amusing or disturbing to watch if there is only one person wearing all of the hats. 

 In the summer of 2003, with the recording of the individual parts complete, I proceeded to the mix-down and mastering phase. This too, drove me bonkers as I listened, tweaked, and learned for the remainder of the summer. Finally in early September the master went to the manufacturer for duplication and a month later I got a shipment of defective CDs. This was just par for the course, and everything was made well with a re-do a few weeks later. 

 “Does Not Play Well With Others” was officially released November 1, 2003. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed the challenge of creating it.

-John

 

 

All Contents © John P Barton/Cats Crying To The Music  except as noted.