I'm Confessin'

January 30, 2010 4:05 PM

Ok...time to 'fess up (as I believe is the vernacular across the pond). A few days ago I put a track up called "Danny Steel - Private Eye". The blurb with it said I was playing with other people. Which is true... Except they didn't know I was playing with them and there was a 30+ year time-lag. Morally questionable or circumstantially justifiable? Read on.....

I got hold of the 16-track multitrack of Long Train Runnin' by the Doobies (ask no questions, I'll tell you no lies). I stripped out all the guitars and vocals, and wrote something over the top of the bass, drums and percussion. Came together very quickly indeed, and was fun to do. Frankly, unless I pointed this out I doubt whether anyone would have cottoned on. Taking account of a bit of editing and cutting & pasting, if you now listen to the track you'll immediately hear that this is indeed part of the backing track for LTR.

So the bass on this track is played by Tiran Porter, the drums by John Hartman with Michael Hossack on congas (or it may be vice versa). There is definitely only one drummer on the multitrack (even though the DB's used two live). As a technical aside - interesting that they only direct mic'd the snare and the kick - they used OH mics (probably ribbons or C414's) to pick up everything else. No direct mic on the hi-hat - which surprised me to the extent that I thought at first there was a track missing. Therefore only three drum kit tracks + three percussion tracks (tambourine and stereo congas - one mic on each, panned hard L&R). Ted Templeman and Don Landee clearly knew what they were doing because it sounds great.

It makes such a difference to play with other people - even if anonymously and 30 years apart (!) - that it kind of justifies the undoubtedly questionable morality of doing this kind of thing. This has not been done for any other reason than the desperation to play with a good drummer rather than a fucking machine. There is absolutely no commercial motive.

That said, I obviously feel rather uncomfortable and deceitful about this though - comments and opinions??
posted by MajorDundee (10 comments total)

Hmm... I'll give it some thought!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:59 AM on January 31, 2010

I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's not like you were trying to deceive us or anything like that.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 9:44 AM on January 31, 2010

I also think it's a cool and creative way to do it.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 2:14 PM on January 31, 2010

Yes indeed LOOM - using rhythm tracks from other songs does act as a sort of trigger or catalyst. It's quite a challenge to work within set parameters and come up with something entirely different. In some respects it's akin to people who cut up bits of text and then rearrange them into something new (I think Bowie used this method at one point). Or it's like a kind of musical collage. The main thing though is that it is definitely not cool to use the top melody, lyric or any distinctive chord patterns or riffs. My reasoning is that rhythms and even bass notes do not in themselves comprise a song (bearing in mind my "no riffs" rule), so they're fair game.

That does not, of course, justify using recorded, copyrighted tracks. Which is where, in all conscience, I have crossed the acceptability line here. Put it this way - if I had released a record and some git started ripping out the backing track and fucking around with it I wouldn't be overly amused. What the hell though - no harm done and I enjoyed it!
posted by MajorDundee at 2:39 PM on January 31, 2010

Just gave it a listen (missed it the first time) and it's damn solid. I don't think you're a dirty rat lying bastard, but I AM glad that you posted the additional info above. I'm always trying to learn here, so additional info is always awesome.

The only thing that pisses me off is that whenever you mention your 335 I weep at having lost my '71. Ah, it was beautiful.

Also, breaking that song down to the rhythm section and recording with it was an excellent idea brilliantly executed.
posted by snsranch at 2:51 PM on January 31, 2010

Thans sns - you're always very positive and supportive. If I do this kind of fakery again, I'll make sure I'm upfront about it. I just posted a comment about the RPM challenge and you, me old mate, have gifted me the band name. "Dirty Rat Lying Bastard" is a great name for a band.....!
posted by MajorDundee at 3:07 PM on January 31, 2010

!Awesome! Good luck with the challenge!
posted by snsranch at 3:09 PM on January 31, 2010

I think you're a dirty rat lying bastard. Dundee, you're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, you're not a friend. I don't want to know you or what you do. I don't want to see you at the hotels, I don't want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won't be there. You understand?

Otherwise, Major, I went with your "traditional" suggestion for this month's Challenge! Yay!

And micayetoca, just in case you're reading this, I have it on good authority that we'll be implementing your Challenge idea... you know the one I mean. It's gonna be a hoot!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:18 PM on January 31, 2010

Also your hair smells.
posted by cortex at 8:38 AM on February 1, 2010

You're all perfectly howwid and I shall scweam and scweam until I'm thick, so there.....
posted by MajorDundee at 12:27 PM on February 1, 2010

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