Working on this blog sometimes can be frustrating. Although I'm not exactly writing at my full strength it still takes a significant amount of time, usually with many false starts, dead ends and multiple rewrites. I'm not a proficient typist and my computer skills are, shall we say, limited. I know my grammar and punctuation is dicey (or is it 'are' dicey?). Occasionally I finally break pace and get about three-quarters into a post only to accidently miss-key something and erase the whole goddamned thing. But it still remains one of my favorite things to do, a nerdy hobby that finally has something of legitimate purpose.
So, uh... yeah, once again I have lost another draft. I was writing my memories of how I came to join the band. I'll probably revisit that subject again at a later date. Right now it's too daunting to start over and rewrite. There's still plenty of stuff in the works that I wanna write about and really the timing is just about right to discuss the new album. So check this mess...
Last year, after recording the "WE'RE # ONE" record and touring Europe, we came home and sorta took a break. We all had our next project in mind, a full length album. This would be the first full length LP of new material in nearly 15 years, so in my mind it was very important. I wanted it to be a little different, something special - after all this was my first real album since joining. It might be ANTiSEEN's umpteenth album, but it is my first. So mentally I set the bar high.
At some point I approached Jeff with the idea of trying to do something cohesive, almost a sort of concept album. Not necessarily something that told a linear story like 'Tommy' or 'The Wall', yet still generally thematic. Each song would stand independent of the other, but when taken in a larger context, the theme would be apparent. It was an ambitious idea, particularly for an ANTiSEEN album, but I felt confident it was something we could accomplish. Jeff seemed skeptical, but he didn't shoot the idea down. He asked what the concept would be.
Times change, we don't.
He liked it. In fact he already had a title for the next project. It fit perfectly with what I was talking about. "OBSTINATE". With that idea in mind we began puzzling together different ideas for songs. We all worked on each song with pretty much equal involvement. Some of the ideas took a little time to gestate and evolve and I personally didn't want to force it. I was enjoying seeing the songs take their own respective direction without consciously discussing what it should be like. Different influences flooded in - from the obvious hardcore punk and heavy-metal to funk, soul and country - all carefully woven and lovingly crafted with the subtlety of a sledgehammer...
In the midst of our work we were often interrupted by our continuous schedule of shows and the external forces of our own individual lives. We never lost focus and always managed to drive forward, even when we lost the lease on our practice facility and were forced to vacate. We quickly rented a tiny storage facility; a cramped sweatbox that gave our endeavor an almost- 'Rocky'-like feel. We were really preparing for another heavyweight contest - no draws, no disqualification.
We recorded again up at Eddie Ford's place. Eddie is the lead singer of Self Made Monsters. He had previously opened the tiny rehearsal studio behind his house to us when we recorded "WE'RE # ONE". We were very happy with the results so we decided to return. Barry supervised the recording. Gooch got a head start recording his parts mostly alone without accompaniment - one of the craziest things I've ever encountered. By the time I had arrived he was halfway finished. I set up after he was done and began the laborious process of tracking my guitar parts. The playback in my headphones only offered a hint of what we were doing, but as the session progressed I could feel we were on to something pretty strong.
Jeff did his vocals the day after I recorded my parts. I wasn't present for that. He brought in his brother Greg and also Doug Canipe, both long serving veterans of the band, to assist in the backing vocals. I believe Gooch and Eddie were involved as well.
Over the years the band has had members who also happen to have certain skill sets and talents that might otherwise go unnoticed. Jon Bowman and Phil Keller, having played bass and drums respectively during the 'New Blood' era, still are heavily involved. Jon had developed a knack for recording and mixing long before he joined the band, and has assisted on virtually every ANTiSEEN release in the last ten years. It was the task of Jon to mix and master the new recording. Phil has always had a keen sensibilty for art and design. He has laid out the artwork for the album cover and, as always, knocked it out of the park.
When I finally heard the final mix and saw the artwork I was pretty overwhelmed. I knew the performances were strong, I knew the songs were there but this was beyond what I expected. We have made an incredible album. This is something I have no hesitation on holding next to any of ANTiSEEN's previous albums. Call it bragging, call it arrogant, but I'm proud I've participated in creating a record that carries the ANTiSEEN name. I feel very strongly that it stands both as a tribute to Joe Young and as testimony to what the band is today and will continue to be in the future. Which aren't mutually exclusive ideas. No, it is in fact very much the same...
We hit the road for another long weekend across the Deep South at the end of the month. Jacksonville/Atlantic Beach, FLA, Hattiesburg, MISS, and New Orleans, LA are all in the line of fire. We are gonna be rolling out some of the new songs and polishing up some stuff from the recent reissues so it's gonna be a lot of fun. Hope to see old friends and make some new ones so come out!! Details as always on www.antiseen.com and our facebook page.