Music Notes & Trills…

06/01/11 “A Classical Beginning

My music career started in the sixties and seventies and continued through the eighties and nineties…up to  the present. Actually, it started in the mid-fifties with my first classical piano lessons…I will forever be grateful to my parents for instilling the discipline in me to make the commitment to take lessons at an early age, because this action set up what was to come.

Back in those early formative years, when the fascination of playing in bands first started in my head (after seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show), there were no computers, sequencers, digital audio workstations, drum machines or synthesizers (at least not at first), to accompany your playing. So, real humans were needed, and, of course, they all had to learn how to play proficiently…practice, practice, practice…and more practice…those endless hours spent in your rehearsal studio (bedroom)…to be good enough to play in a band, and book work at local pubs, high schools, and dance halls.

06/15/11 “All of my Vintage Keyboards now have plugin emulations

I love all the vintage instruments I’ve accumulated over the years…my modified Hammond B-3, modified Leslie 122, Minimoog Model D, Sequential Circuits Prophet 600, and Yamaha DX7. Considered by many to be keyboard’s greatest hits from the late thirties (in the case of the Hammond) up until around 1986, all of the aforementioned now have plugin emulations, some better than others, and are for the most part very genuine sounding and very useful, especially when tracking in the studio and time is of the essence. But playing live, in concert, is an entirely different matter. These beasts of the past still sound better and have a bigger impact visually, I believe, in a live setting.

Other analog and hybrid gear still in my arsenal include TOA D4 and D4E mixers, a versatile, “Swiss Army Knife” ten channel rack mounted mixing system that delivers great sound and flexibility, TOA 280ME Near-Field Monitors, an Alesis RA-100 Reference Amp, Roland U220 PCM sound module, dbx 160XT, ART Proverb 200, Digital Music MX8 MIDI patchbay, BBE 462 Sonic Maximizer, SM 57 & 58 microphones, and Symmetrix normaled patchbays. But I’m certainly not averse to updating my studio gear and my live rig as well.

I have two digital audio interfaces with MIDI: a PreSonus 2-channel Audiobox USB and a 4 channel Akai EIE Pro, MXL 4000 large diaphragm and MXL 603s small diaphragm condenser microphones, NADY PCM 900 LDC, Audio Technica  ATH-M40fs headphones (an amazingly flat frequency response), Tannoy C-6 Near Field Monitors, and a Behringer four channel mini amp for headphone distribution, for starters.

So it’s the blending of the old and the new, analog coexisting with digital, using what was and what is, and embracing what will be. And although new technology will always inspire new attitudes and new levels of creative thinking, these vintage keyboards continue to remind me just how far we’ve come, and how much further we’re sure to go.

06/26/11 “Buxx tracking/ mixing/ mastering sessions

Presently, I’m involved in tracking and mixing sessions with the band “Buxx”, working in four separate, independent studios in Los Angeles, to remix, embellish, and ameliorate the present ten song offering, which will be promoted and distributed through Retrospect Records in Las Vegas. We’re on schedule for a late fall release.

07/01/11

“Buxx” is taking a short break this 4th of July weekend, and will resume tracking and mixing again on July 5th and 6th. The remixed album is on course to be ready for release by Labor Day, hopefully sooner. It was truly a difficult task selecting the additional tracks on this disc, given the fact that our entire catalog of songs have all been very well received. However, that said, we decided on a select combination that truly reflect the band’s best efforts and compliment the existing tracks quite well.

I’ll have more information in the few next weeks. I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.

07/09/11

We had a great session last night at our engineer’s place and finished all the tracking for the upcoming album. All that’s left to do is mix and master. Hopefully, the mixing will be done before month’s end, with the mastering chores to follow very soon after. After so many lulls over the past two years, it’s great to see everything coming together so quickly now, and our engineer is working at breakneck speed to complete the project.

Looking back at the point when we first received interest from our distribution company in Las Vegas, initially, it seemed like the preparation process started out so slowly, what with reviewing and selecting  material, and embellishing all these songs to see how they’d fit with the existing tracks, to many dynamics issues as well, since all were recorded at different times and in various recording studios throughout upstate New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles.

Make no mistake-it took quite some time just to select the right combination of songs, which we believe best represent the style we established and were known for by our fans.

We’re shooting for a late fall release, hopefully sooner.

07/21/11

We listened to the latest mix of our album last week, and it’s definitely made some progress…giant strides on some songs. Still a lot to be done, but a large portion of the mix improved dramatically. More mixing to come this week, of course, as we have the good fortune to have four different studios at our disposal. Also, we’re putting together a tentative video idea for one of the songs, which will be totally conceptual, in all likelihood. The preliminary content is in place, and we’re tweaking it on the fly…relying on the ebb and flow of our creative juices. These video updates should be in place very shortly, perhaps in the next few weeks. This has certainly been a great deal of work, but it’s been so much fun! In the process of getting a better sonic picture, half the fun is getting in there and getting your hands dirty. Seeing all of our efforts start coming to fruition is quite satisfying. We’re very pleased up to this point.

07/25/11

An absolutely great night of mixing and we’re one step closer to finishing the album. More video ideas were introduced yesterday evening as well, and they’re moving us ever closer to the finish. It looks like we’ll be meeting our deadline in fine shape, and that’s no small feat. More to come during the week.

08/05/11

We got the final mixes back, but there’s still some tweaking left to do before the mastering process begins. The video is in its final stages as well, and that should be ready as soon as the mastered mixes are finished and we can drop the finished song into the video. This has been a labor of love for us all, but it certainly has been fun, and, as always, we learn something new with every session. That’s the beauty of the tracking and mixing process-something new and unexpected always comes into the fold.

I’ll let everyone know more in the coming weeks, since this project could be ready for release by month’s end.

08/09/11

Still tweaking, tweaking…these final mixes take FOREVER…yeah, baby. Well, the final mix is never done, so it’s been said. You can listen to a song today, and listen to it a month from now, and find something “you should have done differently.” It’s common, but it’s frustrating to hear something you didn’t hear before, and have the situation be out of your control at that point. So, that’s why you’ve got to listen to a song a zillion times before it’s released to make absolutely sure it’s “right”, and yet, it may still not be right!

Ha ha! The trials and tribulations of mixing songs…we’re almost done…you’re gonna love it!

The video we’ve been working to complete is also very close to finishing as of this writing. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking. More on that soon.

08/18/11

The final mixes are finished now, and the mastering process is the next step. As well, our video should be finished by Labor Day at the latest. A lot of work had to be pushed further back due to vacation schedules and other commitments. Keeping everybody on the same page and everything in sync is the big test now. Our record company is eagerly anticipating the arrival of our new offering, and the promotional campaign that will ensue. The CD’s will be made available through our label’s website. I’ll have more information as it’s made available.

08/23/11

As of today, the album is officially mixed, the song order has been chosen, and now we await the mastering process. The video will be finished soon as well, and we will return to the project shortly, after a brief hiatus to tend to other matters. We’ll resume after the end of August, and we’ll use the the majority of the month of September to launch our promotional campaign and all the planning that goes with it. It should be a lot fun…and a lot of work.

09/14/11

The album mastering is now completed. The album artwork is receiving the finishing touches, and it’ll be just a short while longer until our record company will have the final product in their hands. Definitely before the month is over. We’ll take a short break after that, and then resume promotional efforts. Can’t wait!

09/28/11

The artwork is finished now, so the music masters and artwork are all in the record company’s hands. Plans for new videos have also initialized, so I’ll have to keep everyone posted on that as well.

10/20/11

The Buxx Facebook page is up now. The new e=mail address is buxxband@yahoo.com. There is new video material on the Facebook page along with new uploaded photos. More will be added as we acquire and/or finish them. If anyone has appropriate photos they’d like to post, please feel free.

11/07/11

The Buxx Channel is now available on You Tube. All of our videos are available for your viewing pleasure with more to come very soon. Feel free to leave a comment on the site if you wish. Enjoy!

11/27/11

We’re still waiting for our record company’s release date notice, and that should be any day now.

12/12/11

Retrospect Records has announced on their website that the release of the “Buxx” album “Knickers Down” is expected shortly, re-mixed and re-mastered on CD with new tracks added as well. It won’t be long now…

01/20/12 “NAMM Show 2012

Heading to the NAMM Show in Anaheim tomorrow, which I really look forward to again, and we got word from our record company that the CD is nearing the release date, so we’re setting up shop on CD Baby and iTunes, to get that phase of the project rolling. Seems like it’s been such a long time ago, that we were actually tracking and editing. Well, all good things take time, I suppose. We’ll address our Facebook friends and fans when the release is official.

01/23/12 “Buxx CD officially released

Well, it’s finally official. Although the CD’s not on the Retrospect Records website yet, it IS available on CD baby and iTunes as of today, downloadable either as singles or as an entire album.

01/25/12

As of today, the Buxx CD is available as a digital download from the Retrospect Records site, although it’s not yet available as a hard copy. I’ll keep you posted on that…. By the way, I’ve recently updated my computer to an Intel Core i5 running Windows 7 SP1, so I can do a lot more now than three months ago.

03/04/12 “A great inspiration early in my career passes

Just learned that legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose died today. He was a major inspiration, early in my career, and listening to his music drove me to create mine. I’ll always respect and be grateful for the music that he gave the world. R.I.P. Ronnie, you will be missed.

05/03/12

The Buxx CD hard copy has been available on the Retrospect Records website for a few days now (I made the big announcement on Facebook), and we’ve gotten a few people commenting that a certain song that was on the original album (Out on the Rocks) was missing. So we decided to start sessions today to upgrade the tune and make it available as a download. Today’s sessions went well, so we’re moving forward.

11/21/13

Since the release of the CD, Buxx has been busy with video compilations for these songs, and has added quite a few offerings on the You Tube Buxx Channel. The link is at the top of this page…so enjoy, and let your friends and colleagues know of this too. Thanks.

11/27/13 “Black Pearl Sessions

Just finished a session with Black Pearl’s producer Ric Stevens, doing some overdubs and solos for the upcoming single “Heaven Knows” on Wired Records. Lots of Hammond organ…what a blast. I’ll keep everyone posted on what happens next with this band.

01/29/14 “NAMM Show

Missed the NAMM show this year. I really had a lot on my plate and couldn’t get away. I read about about all of the cool gear that was showcased though, through all the online merchants and publications that were involved with the show. A lot of great products were introduced, too numerous to mention, and accompanied with so much technical jargon I don’t want to bore you with. Suffice to say the show was a success- I just didn’t get to partake in the festivities this year. Maybe next time.

05/26/14 “Memorial Day

Today is the 32nd anniversary of Buxx Memorial Day Outdoor Rock Show in Rochester, NY, where an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 people congregated for some good music and good times, basking in the warm sunshine of Charlotte Beach on a cloud free afternoon. The crowd was massive, not unruly or destructive, but the aftermath was a mess that took days to clean up; more importantly, though, it made MTV news, a coup for the band. Fans who attended and even those who didn’t still remember that day quite well…I doubt those memories will die soon. If you’d like to read more and see the video that was inspired by this event, check out the Buxx page on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/KnickersDown/30/

01/30/15 “NAMM Show – missed again!

Wow! I missed the NAMM show again! My life’s getting busier all the time. Didn’t think I would miss two years in a row. Just goes to show…life happens to everyone. Once again there were some really cool products that were showcased- these manufacturers don’t take any breaks. That’s a good thing, or we’d never have new ideas to look at and lust after. I’ve got to make it a point to go next time. Take care everybody.

05/25/2015 “Memorial Day revisited

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Charlotte Beach Memorial Day Concert in Rochester, NY, where the band Buxx rocked an estimated 50,000 people in an unforgettable afternoon under sunny, cloudless skies, for what seemed like an eternity. What a day it was for the band…and for all of our fans who attended. The video of this event is available at the Buxx Channel on You Tube.

07/09/2015 “Band Reunion?

I met with my old band mates from Buxx yesterday, over lunch at the Pink Taco Bar & Restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. We talked about old times, of course, and then possibilities were addressed concerning new times, which would be just what I need right now. Don’t know how things will fly from here, but it will be a situation that bears watching. Two of us live in LA, while the other lives in Toronto. That would make it difficult to organize and move things forward, but not impossible. If the spirit is willing….

01/31/2016 “Missed NAMM Show again! Yikes!

Third year in a row now. I’m sure I’ll get back soon. Really busy…

03/25/2016 “SSL Workshops

I’ve been attending a few SSL workshops around LA lately. Solid State Logic products are made in Oxford, England and their products have been revered for decades. Lots of information to absorb in short periods of time, but I need all the info I can get my hands on. Improving my engineering chops has been on my mind for a while, and this is a great way to get started and put some quality time into this area of my education. I’ve been recording in studios for over thirty years, but I’ve always been the musician or singer. Now, I’m getting more practice being the guy behind the mixing desk, not that I won’t continue playing and writing- far from it.

08/24/2016

I’m breaking in a new D.A.W. this week, breaking from the Steinberg products I’ve used for years. Still going through growing pains, but things are progressing. It’s a little less cluttered and that will help tremendously. Doing a little vocal and string tracking for the next while. Well, back to work!

12/23/2016

Merry Christmas everybody! Have a happy, safe, and eventful holiday season, wherever your travels may take you.

12/27/2016

Got myself a brand new Casio Privia PX-350 at an after-Christmas sale. It’s a fantastic keyboard with the best grand piano sound of any board I’ve played in the last 10 years. And the price was especially enticing. It’ll be the centerpiece of my studio and I can’t wait to delve into all it has to offer.

12/31/2016

Happy New Year everybody! I wish you joy, love, and prosperity each and every day.

02/23/2017

The band Buxx has released a new video for the song “Out on the Rocks”, which is an homage to the bars and nightclubs that existed in and around Rochester and Buffalo, NY in the ’70’s and ’80’s. For those of you not from or not familiar with the area, it’s still filled with lots of scenes that you might find interesting. You can check it out here. Enjoy!

07/11/2017

I’ve been in my studio the past month laying down some new tracks and some overdubs along writing new material. I’m working with a new audio workstation called Tracktion 7, so it’s coming together. It’s got a layout I’m comfortable with, and that’s important.

08/18/2017

I’m really leaning on video training to help me get up to speed with Tracktion 7. It’s been a great help to getting these mixes going on my CD project.

10/11/2017

I recently added a new piece of gear to my studio: a dbx 286s Mic Preamp/ Processor. This mono channel strip comes with phantom power and has a compressor, a de-esser, an enhancer, which acts like a simple EQ, and an expander/ gate. It sounds great and it’s definitely been a game changer. Still tweaking to get specific settings, but it’s improved my sound tremendously.

05/29/2018

Took a break from my studio work this evening to catch Todd Rundgren’s Utopia at the Wiltern near downtown Los Angeles. Great show, fantastic musicianship and singing – couldn’t have asked for anything more. I hadn’t caught this act in quite a few years, so it was refreshing to hear their material again. If they tour anywhere near you, go see them – you won’t regret it. Here’s a snippet:

07/11/2018

I went to the Hollywood Bowl last night to hear a Leonard Bernstein tribute performed by the LA Phil. That place has such amazing acoustics it’s beyond belief. The orchestra was superb and I had a great time listening to timeless music. If you’re ever in LA, you owe it to yourself to check this venue out, regardless of performer. Well worth your while. 08/29/2018

Caught Yes tonight at The Greek Theater in LA. Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman – these guys can still bring it. Sound was impeccable, and Jon’s voice was crystal clear. Amazing that he can still hit those notes with clarity and conviction.


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.