It’s a beautiful mid September day in San Francisco, and the Hawks are tucked into Studio A at venerable Hyde Street Studios, home of musical legend and lore.
It’s been a pleasant late night drive up the 5 to the Bayaria, Rob, Paul L., and Brantley listening to an amazing Wynton Marsalis CD in the toxic farmland darkness, and a reasonable night’s sleep in Marin.
Gabe Shephard, who recorded and mixed the Hawks debut CD, is back at the Neve console, and whilst Gabe downloaded the songs from our 160 gig hard drive, Rob hit the streets in search of victuals, and returned with brilliant success: Laphroaigh single malt, Murphy’s Stout, bananas, ginger echinacea lemonade, mixed berry fruit laces, and Scharffen Berger 60% dark chocolate. We’re ready to mix.The first tune, “Hard Times (Are Here Again)” went great, featuring Hyde St.’s famous subterranean reverb chamber and some large old compressors knocking the tune into CD territory. We have four, er, now 3.5 days to mix 13 tunes, so there won’t be time to quibble. This is a good thing.
“Take My Rest” came next. Paul Marshall’s smooth, mature baritone sounds beautiful. The groove is flawless. Gabe is revealing the true spirits in the tunes. Equalizing their frequencies, coating them in ancient chamber reverb, tweaking their nipples. “Motorcycle Mama” takes to the road. We’ve carried the load and it’s getting to be time to lay back in the lord’s big musical chair. Relax at last in the pleasure mellow vibe. Christ is not king he’s just a halfway decent guy who’ll loan you his pickup since he’s got one on moving day.
Faeries are not necessarily small, and can vary their size when presenting themselves to the shaman, or ordinary person thrust into shamanic experience. A near death experience is often the price of admission to the faerie realm. Perhaps only the human who grasps how poetic and passing is our link to this green earth is worth the faeries’ time. Like all of us who commute to a job with questionable purpose, the faerie probably wonders if it’s worthwhile imparting knowledge and powers to the clumsy earthbound clods who stumble into his emphemeral lair. But he reveals the purpose of St. John’s Wort; she explains why the bog harbors spirits.It’s evening, and we’re feeling the ghosts of this cathedral of San Francisco rock, this Studio A in Hyde Street Studios (formerly Wally Heider Sound). The young spirits of John Fogerty, Carlos Santana, Grace Slick and Marty Balin, Van Morrison, Phil Lesh and Jerry dart through the halls and sleep in dark recesses. A Leslie speaker whirls in the big room, and the ghosts do the same, like faeries teasing, raising a dust devil on a summer road in County Kilkenny.
Jerry. It all comes back to Jerry. The visionary who gorged himself on Americana, the murder ballads and the chromaticism, the banjo and the steel, the mountaintop and the valley below. Jerry let us all see the eternity in the church lick, holiness in the three finger roll and the harmonies stacked recklessly. And above all, harmony, with dissonance only as answering vinegar, the flat seventh as daily doom haunting the green paradise Jerry spun from his six string. Jerry was a holy man, and pity the soul who knows him not.American Beauty was recorded in the room next to our mortal beings, and it haunts us. Will the faerie recognize our longing effort and reward us with a glimpse into the Hollow Earth? We practiced so hard.