April 20,  2008

Wow! It's been way too long since I last wrote you guys with the latest. Here's what's been happening..

Weird Al came down the other Saturday and played on several tracks. He is an amazing musician and a really nice guy. The parking was a bit hectic that day, and Al and Bill had to park around the corner from the studio.  Now, it just so happens, a medical marijuana place recently opened a few doors up from us. Saturdays are a busy retail day over there.  Lots of folks coming and going. 
While walking to the studio, all sorts of guys hollered at Al, "Hey Weird Al, I'm a musician, too", and "Hey Weird Al! What's up?", etc. etc. Al, carrying not one, but two large accordions (what else?), long hair flying in the wind, was gracious with everyone, as always.

I was driving around the other day listening to rough mixes of our tracks, thinking about vocal parts, other overdubs and all my mistakes I want to fix. I have this groovy new Kenwood sound system in my Audi TT that has a touch screen. I must have had it on shuffle and tracks from Bill's new record, "Circular" (soon to be released!) came on. I listened to "Man of Pride", a song he co-wrote with Gerry Beckley. I listened to it again. I called Mumy (Kids, don't use the phone while driving!!) on my hands free phone and asked him if I could record it. He said, "Sure!" and the next day I had the guys in to cut a different version for my record.  We worked on it for a couple of hours, trying different approaches.  After a short break, the guys were jamming on various classic rock tunes. Without warning, someone started playing The Beatles' "I Got a Feeling" from "Let It Be" (I think..). It sounded amazing. We ended up recording it. We phoned Dave Pearlman up at midnight and asked him to come down and be George Harrison. He happily obliged and showed up the next day. Hopefully, it'll end up on the new record, as well.

A couple of days later, I was so lucky. Gerry came down and played acoustic guitar on this new version of  "Man of Pride". It's really cool to hang out and watch him work. He is a great musician. And, a really nice guy! 
We are getting close to 17 songs! Too many for one CD. How am I going to choose? 
My friend, Kevin Campos, sings with Enrique Iglesias. Before leaving for the South American leg of the tour, he was able to come down and sing some of the background tracks with me. You can hear/see him on his myspace page
This past week, Paul and I have been working on Bill's CD design and packaging. I did all of the illustrations. There are some cool photos Lilliana, Eileen and Angela Cartwright took, too. My husband, the fabulous recording engineer, Paul, did the design. He and Bill worked arduously this week, perfecting all the little details. Paul amazes me! He really has an artist's touch not only with music, but with design, too. I am looking forward to designing my own CD cover with them!  But, let's not get too far ahead of things!

Today, Paul mastered Bill's new CD. He and Bill worked most of the day. I showed up for a minute to listen. It sounds great! I think this is one of Bill's best!  He is such a talented guy..

Monday we are back in the studio, working  on my album. We will pick a date for a deadline this week. 
Nose to the grindstone, or the microphone, so to speak!

I'll write soon. I promise!
March 13, 2008:

Here it is, almost midnight  on Thursday, March 13, 2008!  We are going on our 12th hour today! Bill and I are sitting on the leopard couch in the control room of ReadyMix Studios, where we are listening to the latest rough mixes of our record. I gotta say, it sounds great. We have cut 14 songs!  Today Dave Pearlman came down and overdubbed pedal steel on 5 tracks. Besides being an amazing player, he also designs and makes hand wired tube microphones. They are used by everyone now. Paul and I are lucky to have one. All of my vocals are recorded with the Pearlman TM 2. We started around noon, finished the pedal steel around 5 o'clock. We broke for lunch, pizza, pasta, salad and brownies. After a quick break, Bill did more guitar overdubs. He also just put a harmonica solo on one of the songs.  What a taskmaster! No rest for the wicked.  He has nicknamed my husband Paul, the engineer on this project, "Good Call Paul".

Hey, our great friend Jenerator Dave Jolliffe stopped by last week to check out the scene. The same day, Frank Wolf, long time pal and collaborator stopped by and hung out for quite a while.

I should tell you who has been playing on these sessions. Of course, first and foremost, Bill Mumy on guitars, piano, bass, percussion, banjo, harmonica, melodica, stomps and hand claps.

Also playing guitar is Doug Hamblin. Doug is an accomplished musician; he is the musical director for Bruce Willis and Johnny Rivers and has played or written with many great musicians including Stephen Stills, Edgar Winter, Ivan Neville and Ray Charles.

David Sutton has been playing upright bass on all of the tracks except "Little Eyes", a song I wrote with Bill. He plays electric on that track. David currently plays with Lucinda Williams and has played with Tears for Fears, Liz Phair, Tracy Chapman, Ben Harper, Melissa Etheridge, to name a few!

Jenerator drummer Chris Ross has been laying down the groove. He plays with Sam Moore and has played and produced many artists. He recently finished a run at the Geffen Playhouse playing percussion for the new contemporary musical, "Atlanta" and of course he played drums on Bill's next abum, "Circular" (featuring yours truly on lots of harmony vocals!)

Steve Baxter played a very groovy trombone solo on "Great Domain". He plays with Barry Manilow, Joss Stone, Macy Gray, Chaka Kahn, Elliot Yamin (yes! American idol!) and so many other great artists.

Rumor has it Weird Al Yankovic is going to play accordian on some of  the tunes.

I have been playing violin on tracks. I recently restrung one of my violins with "octave" strings. The tuning stays the same, just an octave lower. It sounds like a cello. It's my new favorite thing. Besides the Foo Fighters. 

Paul and I saw the Foos at the fabulous Forum last week. Bill's son Seth went, too. (He went with Miquel Ferrer's ex-wife, Leilani and her two boys.)  While I was out buying scalped tickets to the show, Bill and Paul told me Dave Grohl had stopped by and put down a quick solo on "Haunted By Your Love". Bill knows what a huge fan I am. (Like, Foo Fighters T shirts at least once a week!!) He went so far to tell me Dave was at Shaun Cassidy's office at Disney discussing a kids' project. (You know how Dave is into his little daughter!) and Mumy called Shaun. One thing led to another and Dave agreed to stop by our studio in North Hollywood (just a few minutes from Burbank) and play before heading down to the Forum for his show that night!!!  They even set me up with a fake autograph and kept a straight face for a pretty long time! Somehow I keep thinking (hoping) Dave will end up playing on this record!!!

Bill and I bicker like the Bickersons. You would crack up. We have known each other for, like, 30 some odd years. He thinks he knows everything. But he forgets I know even more!!!  lol!!  Paul stays pretty neutral. He tries to mellow everybody out.

Well, looks like I have to go. Bill and Paul are telling me to get off the couch and do some singing! I'll keep you up on the "making of"..

Sarah Taylor

March 4, 2008:

We just wrapped another long day of tracking our new record. Bill has amazing ideas and has been able to inspire great performances from the musicians. I think we have 11 or 12 songs! It has been really fun to cut "live", as a group. I will do my vocals separately and we have some overdubs to do, but all in all it has been done old school. 

Since Paul and I are working in our own space, we don't have any time constraints. We can take as much time as we like. The studio has a great vibe, and everyone who has come over comments over and over how much they "like it so much they could live there"!

Here I am with my husband, Paul,
who is engineering/recording the 
record with Bill and me. This was
taken last summer at Abbey Road!!
February 2008:

I just got home from a really fun day in the studio with Bill. We got talking about the website and I told him I would love to update you on what we have been doing. I think he told you that he and I are working on a new recording together. We have 13 songs, and are really excited about starting the project. All of the tunes are original, written by Bill (and one by Bill and me), except one cover of a Neil Young song. Today we started getting basic arrangements down before  the band comes in.

My husband, Paul, is a recording engineer and will be doing all the really hard stuff!! He and I recently had the great fortune to get a space and have spent almost 3 months renovating it. This studio was originally the rehearsal/writing studio used by Jackson Browne and Little Feat in the 70's and 80's. So much original memorabilia was still there. We have tried to preserve all of it and have managed not only to keep the good vibe, but enhance it. This is the first project, and the beginning of many, we hope!

The songs that Bill has written are fabulous. He is such a talented guy! I just love working with him. Some of the songs go way back, some are new. The instrumentation is pretty basic. Guitars, stand up bass and drums. We plan on adding various instruments like a slide guitar, pedal, concertina, cello, etc.

I am also fortunate to have sung on Bill's newest solo album. Today we recorded my vocals on several of his new tunes. I am thrilled that he asked me to do the cover art for this new one.