Friday, June 26, 2009

Another review of The Perfect Age of Rock N' Roll

Thanks, Jay!

Monday, June 22, 2009

One day in the life of a performer who always needs to be on or next time I wonder what it will be like if I just go out & get drunk the night before

Last Wednesday, I went to the studio w/ The Dirty Pearls to record a song which has become our anthem, "New York City is a Drug" with Daniel Rey producing.

The night before, I decided to stay clear of drinking/partying/trouble of any kind in an attempt to get a decent night's sleep for once. Well that was a fucking great idea. I had a Grolsch beer to stabilize my system, read from Bukowski's Women (an old favorite of mine that I've been revisiting lately), listened to some Gram Parsons....and tried to sleep. Well, that didn't work. I tossed and turned, as if my bed was a washing machine set to the goddamn "Spin" cycle. You know how that it is when you know that you need your rest, and the pressure thereof prevents you from getting that rest? That was me. So, I wound up getting two hours of it. I fell asleep around 8am...and Daniel called me up at 10:15 to tell me he was on his way to pick me up....well....I remember what Klaus Meine of the Scorpions once said, "Being a Rock N' Roller is a lot like being an have to perform no matter how you feel." Damn right!

So, I put my Thin Lizzy shirt on, grabbed my cymbals, and walked downstairs into the pissing rain, and got into Daniel's car. I told him immediately that I was going on two hours' sleep. He laughed and said, "Yeah, well, you can never sleep the night before a session...I got four hours' sleep myself!"

Yeah, I like this guy. So we drove over, talked about the Ramones, Circus of Power, and whatever the fuck else. Daniel had told me that he had called Tom (an awesome engineer, owner of Nuthouse Studios, and a stand-up dude) the night before w/ some specs re: mics and shit in order to cut down set-up time. Awesome.

I like working with a producer - at least one like Daniel, who understands the band's vision and how to achieve it....and creates an atmosphere that's comfortable for everyone to play their best. His authority in the studio goes without saying, but in such a way that allows the band to be itself and themselves. It was a great balance, and a great dynamic. It looked like a winning team between the 7 of us, and I knew I could do my part no matter how much sleep I'd had. Hell, I played a gig one time on less, w/ guys I was unfamiliar with, and it went down without a hitch...I could certainly kill it in the studio with the Pearls.

After spending some time with drum sounds and getting the drum to sound like the artillery needed to blast this song into Rock N' Roll oblivion (which, of course, takes awhile, but not nearly as long as I'm used to for this sort of thing)....Daniel told me to step out and grab a bite to eat and some coffee, because it was going to be time for me to go to work soon.

So I went to this diner down the street. They wouldn't serve breakfast items (it was "lunch time"....fuck....) I ordered something called "pretzyl bread", a french onion soup, a buttered roll for one of the guys, and a couple of coffees. Simple enough, right? Nope....I waited like a HALF HOUR for this crap. While I was waiting, the Rolling Stones song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" came on the radio. While I sipped a coffee and sort of swayed my head along with it, some numbskull in a booth across from me said to the waiter, "Hey Man...who sings this song?"

I rubbed my temples and shook my head in my hands....

The WAY overpriced food/coffee items, after an extended wait? $16....witnessing the stupidity of one who should be old enough to know who the fucking Rolling Stones are? Priceless!

I went back and ate while the other guys got set up for their rhythm tracks (which they were to play along with me) and Tommy's scratch vocal...which again, took awhile, so I rested for a bit...then it was time to go forth and thrash.

We ran through the song a number of times, only stopping occasionally to make sure we were on the right track in terms of sounds and parts, and to make some adjustments with tempos, etc....after a couple of hours or so of this, I was about done, and someone else mentioned being hungry, so we all ordered these kickass italian subs and bs'd about this and that. Afterwhich, Daniel asked us to do one more take....I decided, since the mozzerella was so fresh on my sandwich, that I'd play some of it a little differently this time....which seemed to be to everyone else's liking. After that, I was through with my biggest responsibility, and could sit back and relax. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Dougie's bass playing was so spot-on from the rhythm takes, I don't think he did any overdubs at all....he's a genius, that boy, he really is.

So...onto guitars....Ritchie was first....he added some great parts on there, as well as, most likely, the best solo I've ever heard him was fucking awesome....nice one, Rich! Then Johnny sat down and added this fucking "spaghetti western" western part that really added depth and dimension to the sound...

This was really turning into something.

The guitarists had had enough at this point, and split....Dougie and I decided to stay and sit in on Tommy vocal takes....which went pretty much without a hitch. I like to be there after I finsih just to add encouragement and all that shit. Tommy batted it out of the park, and finished up his lead vocal lines and the harmonies he wanted to do rather quickly.

Then Daniel, Tommy, Dougie, and I went in to do the gang vocal parts in the choruses (which for me, is the most fun part of a session).....

....and that was it....the track is in the can....we should have it ready in a couple of weeks.....

...the track will go directly to Sirius/XM Radio, and we will be doing a Single Release Party @ Santo's Party House on Thursday, July 23rd....Eve to Adam and Midnight Fistfight and other special guests are on the bill, and it will be an awesome Rock N' Roll event, and there will be lots of surprises....stay tuned!

I, for one, can't wait!

Thanks for reading!

Marty E.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Rock N' Roll version of "Pay It Forward", or "Working My Way Back to..."????

If you know anything about me, you know that music, especially Rock N' Roll music, is my passion, joy, and pain. From a very lean age, great Rock N' Roll has inspired me to seek out what inspired it, as much as it has to create my own.

I discovered this a LONG time ago, when Guns N' Roses released Appetite For Destruction. For a young lad such as I was at the time, there wasn't ANYTHING that sounded quite like it (especially since I was used to....well, shit like Motley Crue and Kiss, etc, which are fine and good in their own right...but comparatively dim in my view). The music was raw, real, honest, deep, and made no apologies, whether it was about Sex, Drugs, Love, Paranoia, Struggling, Starving, or whathaveyou. But, in hindsite what I REALLY liked about Gn'R was that they name-checked their influences in a LOT of their interviews, and insodoing, they not only did a service to those bands that influenced them by exposing and paying tribute to them, but they were also doing just as much of a service to pint-sized, impressionable fans like myself.

The first band that Gn'R were responsible for turning me onto (besides, perhaps, Aerosmith) were Hanoi Rocks. And the influence was evident right away, not only visually (Axl Rose and Izzy Stadlin', in the early days, certainly resembled Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy), but musically as well. Guns, surely by no coincidence, lifted the title, "Welcome to the Jungle" from a lyric in the chorus if Hanoi Rocks's "Underwater World". That being said, Guns made sure that the first 4 Hanoi Rocks studio albums (and later their live All Those Wasted Years album) got released in the US via Geffen on their Uzi Suicide imprint. You have to admit, that's pretty fucking classy.

The Guns N' Roses/Hanoi Rocks connection didn't end there by any means. First of all, it was then via Hanoi Rocks that I got into the New York Dolls (and of course various spin-off/solo projects rose from their ashes)....for which not enough has been written and there's just too much to write...but case in point, I loved/related to the Dolls pretty quickly and the older I get, the more I love them and what their music represents...which is close to what Gn'R represented, but it was much more controversial to dress up and live that level of decadence in the 70's, which proved, in a nutshell, to be the Dolls' undoing....and the Dolls were and are a New York institution, and as far as Rock N' Roll goes, probably the best and most definitive, for my ears.

Furthermore, it was via Hanoi that I really started to appreciate Punk Rock....sure, I was into the Sex Pistols and the Clash to a minimal degree (at the time), but I didn't quite "get it" yet. Then I read an interview w/ Sami Yaffa in a Hanoi fanzine about how The Damned were his biggest influence, or something along those lines (I've since been able to thank Sami in person, hahahahaha). THIS I understood. They were fun, didn't take themselves too seriously (until much later), wrote great songs, and played them well. And via the Damned, I was able to appreciate what the other Punk Rock bands of that era (especially) had to offer. And that has certainly done a service to me and the music I've played.

Of paramount importance, though, is the fact that the GnR/Hanoi Rocks/Aerosmith/Dolls/English Punk lineage led me, once and for all, to the Rolling Stones....who, like AC/DC and the afrementioned Punk bands, I didn't understand fully until I had been drinking for a little while, hahahaha. I can't really say a goddamn thing about the importance of the Rolling fuckin' Stones that hasn't already been said 75 Billion times, was through those bands who took their style and spun it into their own who brought me to them......

Anyway, I could write a lot about all the directions this could go in, from Motown to Trip Hop to Death Metal (well...a little bit anyway), but who has the time?

My point is, that while listening to your idols is important, it's just as important to listen to your idols' idols...(and maybe a little Billy Idol, for that matter) then they become yours too. And furthermore, if you have an opportunity to tell people who are into what you to, you're doing a service not only to the bands in question, but to your listeners. My hope is that one day I find myself on a level at which I can make that matter to lots of people as much as my boyhood icons made it matter to me!

Thanks for reading!

Marty E.

You know that you're a full-fledged New Yorker when...(part 1) can explain, with some degree of sophistication, why a slice of pizza at one place is SO MUCH BETTER than slice of pizza at another place right across the street.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Has it been THAT long? difficult as it is for me to believe....I moved my hungry, hopeful, freaked-out, and fed-up self to New York City a whopping 9 years ago today.....

....what I marvel at the most is the fact that one year seems to be more awe-inspiring and crazier than the last. I've had the chance to work in various capacities with some of my heroes, made friends with people who will one day be your heroes, worked my ass off, and partied my face off afterward to celebrate it all. I've experienced joys and pleasures untold that I once didn't think I had the capacity for, and....occasionally, momentarily, felt like chucking it all....but I've always snapped out of that! Thank God...and Thank You! Ahahahahaha.....

As Steven Tyler says, "...see what happens next week!" He's absolutely right.

I have no delusions about the fact that I'm still struggling in a lot of ways. Being too comfortable, though, I guess, removes ones hunger....or at least that's what I've heard....I've rarely ever been terribly comfortable.....and I'm still extremely hungry. That's a damn good thing, because there's just so much more to do. I don't care how shitty the music industry or the economy is...I moved here to make my dreams come true, and have accomplished that in more ways than I ever really knew was, it's time to conquer the rest! That's a tall order....

Anyone who tells you that something can't be accomplished is speaking merely for himself, and that's fine. Anyone who says that nice guys finish last is completely full of shit, missing the point, and merely justifying his own failures and shortcomings (and chances are damn good he's not THAT nice many NICE people have you met who are bitter drama queens? That's what I thought). It depends on how hard the said nice guy is willing to work and how much he believes in himself. And people can read that on your face like a fucking traffic sure isn't rocket science. And sure, a little bit of talent, brains, style, tact, and personality don't hurt either, but hard work and self-confidence sire the rest of these things. Put them all together, and with any LUCK, you move up the ladder, get EXPERIENCE and learn....then....the cycle begins again. As Skynyrd once said, it "Ain't No Good Life" -but if you accept and embrace that fact.....perhaps you can make it so.

I know I'm going to! How about you?

That's what I thought....

For my part, I have recording, gigs on the East and West Coasts, a movie screening, and God knows what else to look forward to for the rest of the year.....thanks to everyone who made it all possible....

Your Good Friend,

Marty E.


We enter the recording studio later this month with Producer Daniel Rey (Ramones, Misfits, Richard Hell) to record our anthem "New York City Is A Drug". SIRIUS/XM will be supporting the single as well as hosting the release party! More info on that soon!! In the meantime, here is a video of "New York City Is A Drug" from our performance at our sold out Bowery Ballroom show in April!