Posts Tagged ‘Studio’

Art in the control room between takes

Our CD is nearing completion! As we speak, hamsters are working overtime on their treadmills and minions are feverishly scurrying around the office typing liner notes & finding suitably tasteless graphics. Vintage tapes are being remastered and digitized, new tracks are being remixed and committed to hard drives and frightened villagers are fleeing New Westminster after the berserk thrashing Art has given the studio Les Paul. We are now aiming for a summer 2012 CD release party (although we said that LAST year, didn’t we?) to commemorate the planned demolition of the Flamingo Hotel in Whalley. Advance warning will be posted here and on Facebook, to give each of you ample time to either find higher ground or to gird your loins for the Sparkling Apple onslaught, the likes of which has not been since the Dawn of Time (or last week, anyway).

So in honour of our threatened and as yet unnamed CD, we present exclusive never-before-seen outtakes of the band in a sound studio environment in 1978 — for further photos, go to “Windmills of Your Mind” on the Road Stories section of the Official Sparkling Apple website, and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

On November 20th and 21st, 1978, Sparkling Apple recorded Killer By Night, Roll Em On Down and Play At Your Own Risk in Ocean Studios which was still located in North Vancouver (the studio later moved to larger premises in Kitsilano near Granville Island). Production and engineering were ably handled by the amazing Dick Drake and Dave Thomas (not the SCTV guy). Shown on this page are two of the few existing photos of our manager, Bob Burrows, who single-handedly (OK, Simon Gunn helped) launched us on our spiraling journey to the depths of obscurity! Without his able assistance and direction, we could be languishing in the depths of Walmart cutout bins or whimpering in The Middle of Nowhere, BC, anguishing over why we’re not as big as Twitch! Although we didn’t say so at the time, we now offer our heartfelt thanks, and offer you a laurel and hearty welcome to our blog. (Hey, how about that — a rhyme for languishing is “anguishing”. Not bad, eh?)

By the way, readers — to see these photos at full size, just click on each one. We now return control of your computer to you, until next week at this same time when the Control voice will take you to… Out of Limits!

Art on guitar in the studio, with his favourite adult beverage close by. Note the shape of the beer bottle!

Buzz in the studio, on the fabled White Bass.

Colin on the drums in the studio. For those of you keeping score, the kit is Ludwig, but the snare drum is a wood shell Camco.

Bob in the studio, while Dave Thomas (not the SCTV guy) sets up microphones.

Bob in the studio control room with Ding.

Scott Young and Kevin Swain at the Board

It’s 2012, so before the End of The World As We Know It, let’s hit the studio! As mentioned in previous blogs, our plans for a 2011 CD release had gone sideways due to circumstances beyond our control. However, the band is finally back on track, and recording sessions are now underway and taking place as we speak.

Up until recently, we were confident the CD’s title was going to be the typically irreverent “Show Us Your Hits”. Unfortunately, it has come to our attention through some judicious Googling that a recording act called The Bloodhound Gang already has a greatest hits CD with that same title. Now we could be absolute jerks and steal the title (hell, they’re in Pennsylvania and we’re on the Wet Coast, so who’s to know). But not wishing to risk a lawsuit or a cease-and-desist order, we will therefore rename our disc to something that hasn’t yet been used. Something like Greatest Hits, or The Best Of… (yeah, right). We do have a multitude of potential choices already, but we may indeed leave the new title to our fans, the Apple Corps. What do you think, gang? If YOU could pick a title for a Sparkling Apple CD which features remastered versions of previous records as well as two newly-recorded tracks, what would it be? Tell you what: to the person who comes up with the title of our forthcoming disc, we will award a Free Trip to Ladner on a Torpedo, and a warm beer with Captain Maniac. How’s THAT for incentive? Go ahead and leave a comment on this page. Go ahead. Make my day. Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you?

So about the CD: our plan is to do the Pink Floyd thing and digitally remaster our back catalog, as well as include two brand new recordings featuring the surviving members of Sparkling Apple (Art, Colin & Kevin). To this end, Ray Roper has transferred our old tapes (some of which are at least 30 years old) from the old master reels to a digital format in his own studio. This process involved playing the tapes on a vintage tape machine, graciously borrowed from the Smithsonian Institute. This operation proved to be frustratingly time consuming, due to the fact that crud and grunge buildup from the ancient reels would throw a Spaniard in the Works; frequent cleaning of the tape capstans would be mandatory. Like Capstan Maniac! However, the tapes have ultimately been transferred and are awaiting further instructions.

For the two new songs, we have chosen to utilize Alchemy Sound Studios in New Westminster, BC, with Scott Young (Chairman of the Board) engineering. The name of producer will be whoever is not afraid to admit being involved with this project. Vocals and drum tracks have already been contributed by Captain Maniac, as well as Kevin’s bass tracks, so last night (February 16, 2012) it was Art’s turn to record guitar solos. Armed with a vintage Gibson Les Paul and a combination of Mesa Boogie/Crate/Fender amplification, Art was given free reign to go nuts — the resulting guitar tracks have been said to sound like a hybrid of AC/DC and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. A loud and proud wall of sound! And NO keyboards in sight!

The Beast Is Back!

Scott in story-tellin' mode!

Sparkling Apple 2012

Louder. Much louder. Louder than 11.