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Five Days in Burbank, Hawks in CyberMode

It’s been a rainy January, and the Hawks have been in semi-hibernation, emerging only for a few Coles shows with Mike Stinson and Carlos Guitarlos, a fine Coffee Gallery evening with Rick Shea, and an electric Lava Lounge excursion with Molly Howson–but Lo:

And it was Tuesday morning, the second of February in the year of aught five, and time to begin the new I See Hawks In L.A. record. Our good pals at our new label Sovereign Artists (http://www.sovereignartists.com/pages/newmusic.html) gave us the green $$ light, and The Two Pauls and Rob trekked to the Third Paul, producer Paul Dugre, in modest flatland Burbank, loaded our guitars into his studio, and tuned up. Paul D. placed gigantic 1950’s RCA microphones in front of us, and ancient wooden baffles signed by Hal Blaine, and we commenced to sing and play. Paul Dugre is using ancient pre-amps and compressors glowing with tubes and VU meters, but feeding the sounds into Pyramix, a super high resolution digital recorder, ProTools on steroids with a morphine drip for smoothness.

We recorded the guitar/dobro/acoustic bass of the first three tunes live, including vocals: “Hard Times Are Here Again,” “Byrd From West Virginia” and “Slash!” We listened back to several takes of each, were well pleased, and returned to our respective Tujunga, Highland Park, and Atwater Adjacent abodes, and Paul Dugre went deep into his computer to ponder the cyber consequences of what we had done.The next day we returned with our drummer Shawn Nourse, and stuck with our acoustic instruments. Shawn set up his kit in the main studio room in a cramlet between the mixing board and the wall, played brushes on kick and snare, no toms, and first overdubbed a drum part on “Byrd From West Virginia,” taking multiple brilliant drum ideas from the four non-drummers egging him on. Starbucks break (it’s the only game in northwest Burbank), and we returned to chez Dugre and recorded: “Golden Girl,” “Midnight In Orlando,” “Raised By Hippies,” and “I Am Not A Donkey.” The last song sounded more jarring than in its planned electric version, so we’re going to keep it all acoustic. Our only long day (we’re mostly doing five hour days, very civilized and no one gets cranky), all keepers, and we drove off into the rainy night.

Next day, Thursday, we decided to stay with the acoustic instruments because it felt right, and we were getting a good driving feel with two acoustic guitars playing rhythm. Paul M.’s bass sounds grand, the father figure of all fundamentals, and tightrope walking producer Paul Dugre is recording Shawn’s drum kit with one (1) microphone only. Oops, we gave away his trade secret! The playback is getting us very enthused, as the drums sound detailed as can be, and big. It’s our best sounding record, and we have just begun to groove. We launched into the harder stuff: “Last Man In Tujunga,” “I Did Go Back To Jackpot Again,” and cut a quiet, reflective “Take My Rest,” with Paul M. on quiet reflective lead vocals.Friday arrived, and we did a Sharky’s (organic tofu tacos!)/Starbucks run, came back pumped and tore into two songs Rob and Paul L. wrote with Paul’s brother Anthony: “Barrier Reef” and “Houston Romance.” These are intended as full on country rock, sound very cool with Shawn’s increasingly amped up drums and our acoustic guitars, Paul M. switching to Fender bass. In between takes and goofing around we posed for pictures with Katie and Lecie, and Paul photographed a Rob W. art project that is as yet unnamed, but involves semi-nudity, Paul Dugre’s pool, a hallucinegenic San Carlos cactus, and two steel balls found in Paul D.’s shed. Next we cut a Waller/Lacques/Marshall brand new song called “California Country,” about watching concrete pour in the high desert. We finished writing the song a few days ago, Paul M. came up with a bridge melody today on the spot, we arranged it in the recording room with our headphones on, and cut it. Always an exhilarating process, try it!

Saturday we came in knowing we had our album done, cut two more for fun: a Tujunga style funk version of “Hunger Mountain Breakdown” (written with our good pal Carter Stowell in Vermont, about Vermont) and another brand new one, “I Tried To Ride With The Motorcycle Mama (But The Motorcycle Let Me Down).” More photos for Rob’s art project, a quick home movie of our dynamic fivesome frolicking across the chez Dugre backyard, and we were done. More Sharky’s/Starbucks, and we came back and listened to a song or two. Shawn drove east for his gig in San Bernardino, and the Three Pauls and Rob kept a-listening to our five days work, pleased as we could be. On to overdubs!The next week Rob came in and soldiered through lead vocals on all fifteen songs, and Paul L. started electric guitar overdubs, using his Deluxe Reverb, Peavey Classic 20, and a 1950’s tape recorder Paul D. dragged out of the closet–no pedals except the same Phase 90 Paul used in his 70’s country cover band (in the 70’s, really!). Paul finished Jackpot,” “California Country,” and “Barrier Reef,” which is now officially psychedelic. .