My personal history includes many attempts at original music with bands that were intent on “making it.” To do so required songwriting. With only a rudimentary knowledge of sheet music (could read it well, but writing it was a whole different animal) it became necessary to find another way to preserve my work. Luckily, there was the good old four-track recorder.
The four-track was a great writing tool but to make a record you really had to have more tracks. The easiest way to get more tracks was to rent studio time. But, as usual, there was a catch. The key element (other than talent) was time. Stories abound about rock groups taking weeks or months to record albums. Not only were these folks talented players, singers, and writers, but they also had the backing of major labels that paid the bill for these long sessions. We all thought if we just had the opportunity (time) we could make great music, too. But little guys like me (us) had to save up money from our day jobs to pay for just a few hours of studio time. And it just never seemed to click. I don’t know if it was the songs or the players. Who knows?
Meanwhile, home recording gear kept getting better and better. Four-track became eight-track; eight-track merged with midi/SMPTE and before long, home recording began to rival the best of studios. And then things went digital.
Like it or not (some audiophiles abhor it), digital recording changed everything. Home studios now had an unlimited number of tracks and editing tools that were a pipe dream just a few years ago. What might take hours in an analog studio now took just minutes. Experimentation and production became the focus instead of “hurry up we’re on the clock.” I loved it, and I got good at it.
Taking a talented (Foxes) and seasoned (Fossils- not that we aren’t talented) group into today’s home studio environment was a piece of cake. Not only does the advent of digital production make things quick and easy, but the vocal blend and musicianship that defines our live performances also shine through in spectacular form. We can even include members who now live in other states via the Internet. Everyone left his (her) ego at the door and came to the sessions with an open mind and eager to work. I’ve been truly blessed to have these wonderful people in my life. I’ve had a saying now for a while; “In music, as in life, surround yourself with people who are better than you. If you are the weak link, then it will only be as good as your best effort.” My best effort is starting to pay off.