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Space Bar

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From Demo to Decimation

By Adam Sullivan, March 12, 2013

As we drag our broken bodies over the home stretch of this weeklong blog-fest in celebration of the release of Space Bar, we thought you’d like to hear how two songs began, and how they ended up. It’s damn interesting if ya ask me.

It’s no secret that my initial recordings of these songs were a whole different animal compared to what the group dynamic of these three other ne’er-do-wells transformed them into. It’s mighty fun to listen to some of ‘em side-by-side. How to begin? Hmmmm….howzabout…

Old Man Rabbit

Here’s the demo…

…and here’s the album track…

Wow. What a difference. There’s about 95% less hugeness to this whole thing. Not necessarily bad, but definitely WAY different. This for sure feels like a demo to me now, though at the time (pre-band) I thought this was the real deal.

Melty Baby

Listen to how tightly-clipped the rhythm guitars are: that’s just me playing both parts, so there are no contrasting guitar styles at play. The drums are really sparse as well, and pretty “metronomic”. My bud Paul Bertolino, whom you’re hearing on the skins, had pretty much a single rehearsal session for him to learn this song, and a second session to record. No time for the development of embellishments. Also, obviously, way less harmony vocals. The addition of the dissonant vocal harmonies on the chorus in the final version was a huge plus for the “spooky factor”.

On the plus side for the demo, I’d forgotten about the pedal steel part I put down (a keyboard sample actually), and I’d also forgotten the superb Wurlitzer appearance courtesy of my pal Pascal Garneau from the amazing The Visibles. Cool shit. But when things got huge, there just wasn’t the room. Sometimes, things you love have to be sacrificed.

The solo, interestingly, is nearly unchanged save for the application of a Leslie effect on the album track. There’s also a chromatic run connecting both halves of the solo that I added on the album track that just slays me, if I do say so m’self.

Okay. What else? Let’s check out…

Look at Yourself


Album track…

Damn. I haven’t listened to these in a while, and the things I thought would be different often are not. Again we have a slightly more metronomic (and slower) feel to the drums, and those clipped guitar parts that reveal my metal roots a bit. Plus it’s a Les Paul, not a Telecaster.

Great Magnet with Virtual Nate

But what’s really blowing my mind here is how the vocals are following a totally different cadence dictated by the slower tempo. There’s this slip-n-slide thing happening on the demo vocals that’s gone in the album track. The album track vocal is so much more raw…so urgent. This is for sure a result of playing this thing live over and over again, plus there’s no doubt that copious amounts of vodka had a really positive effect. I shit you not.

I actually love the feel that Paul brings to the intro drums on the demo (his Kinks/Beatles/Who fetishes are really winning the day), but my slacker tempos on the remainder of the song just rob it of soooo much of the energy it really needs. Kudos to Jeff for bringing this up-to-speed…literally. There’s even time for accent riffs in the verses on the demo that just could not possibly work on our zippy final track.

This has been fascinating for me, personally. Hope you agree. Let us know what YOU think! Oh, and of course…GO LISTEN TO THE WHOLE ALBUM!