MIKE PORTNOY Issues Studio Update On Project With BILLY SHEEHAN And
RICHIE KOTZEN - "Five Songs In The First Three Days; We Are Cooking!"
Drummer Mike Portnoy
(ADRENALINE MOB, FLYING COLORS, ex-DREAM THEATER)
has checked in with a new update on his project with bassist Billy
(MR. BIG, TALAS) and guitarist Richie Kotzen
"Start the session by diving into another one. This one is one we
developed in the second writing session back in February called 'The
Other Side', a really driving, pumping bass and drum groove with a super
cool guitar and vocal on top and a super hooky chorus. Hell, what else
could you want? Oh yeah, how bout a super jamming solo section and outdo
jam...OK, you got it!
About one minute into my first take, I ended up going through my
bass drum head which put a halt to the flow of the session and the
momentum of my tracking. I don't usually have a drum tech with me in the
studio, so guess who had to change the bass drum head? ME!!!! Yes, it
only took me about 50 minutes! (kidding...but shhh, don't tell Jose!).
Crazy... this is the third session in a row that I've gone through
my kick drum head! I've RARELY done it in over 30 years of playing, and
now I've done it three times in the past few months (today, during the
DEE SNIDER video shoot in March, and also during the recording session I
did back in April with ______ ).
Anyways, after putting a new head on we get back to tracking. I only needed to do two takes and nailed it pretty easily.
At the end of the song, it goes into an outro jam with a total tempo
change. On the first take, Richie preferred the slower tempo but I
didn't like my performance. On the second take, I really liked my
performance but Richie thought the tempo was too fast, so I had the
idea of taking the second take I like, but then slowing down the tape
(well, these days it's not tape, but slowing down the track in the
computer) to a tempo that Richie was happy with and it turned out to be a
pretty cool effect! Being it's a whole different feel and tempo from
the rest of the song, it is pretty cool and gives the drums a real, cool
Around 6:00pm, we take about a 20 minute break and sit out by
Richie's pool. We snap a few pix, which are actually the first official
pictures of the three of us together and I tweet this one:
We then dive into the next song, another from the first writing
session in January, tentatively called 'Time Machine'. We end up
spending a few hours re-working the arrangement: re-writing the
pre-chorus, changing melodies on the verses, do this four times, no
let's try it eight times, etc., etc.... only to ultimately come back to
pretty much the same way the song started!
I lay down three takes of this one and then we break for dinner.
After eating, Richie plays and sings me two REALLY cool ideas I
can't wait to further develop later in the session. One is a really cool
upbeat riff with a KILLER chorus and the other is something on piano
that could be an amazing ballad.
Anyways, I sit with our trusty engineer Alex and we put together a
drum comp and then call it a night. Five songs so far in the first three
days...we are cooking!