Thursday, October 14, 2010


Actually, the new drum room is the new mini-home recording studio. The emphasis is on simple and effective. The ability to boot up the mac laptop, turn on the interface box, climb behind my electronic drums (or bass or guitar or keyboard controller) and go when a musical idea hits me or when Billy Ray and I work out and especially when El Fisho Jr and I jam.

Like fishing and shooting, El Fisho Jr. can play the drums already and will soon be in the band. He has some solid rhythm guitar skills and like me, struggles but optimistically with the bass beyond a simple bass line.

He and I have been listening a lot to the band WAR lately, and like me, he thinks the bass playing is some of the best he's heard. Little does he know, he's right. There might not be a better bass performance, simple yet as funky and groovy was there ever was, than the one in Slippin' Into Darkness by War.

El Fisho Jr. is understanding the role of latin percussion and rock drumming, and how you can combine them both on the drum set. This is something I didn't figure out until about age 12 after two years of private lessons, intense listening to the popular music of the day (like War) and band program, so he's way ahead of the curve I think. Sure, after about a year of private lessons I knew about latin rhythms, but didn't really understand how you can merge each on the drum kit, if done right and if you're not too busy. It's what you dont say, not what you play. Those spaces between notes left are unsaid in music I like.

So the drum room is part learning factory for El Fisho Jr. (none of his compadres allowed), it's also where we gather with Billy Ray to work on music we write and play. I've had drum rooms in the past, with the longest one a ten year home we owned with a HUGE loft, the most excellent recording and listening area ever. A cathedral roof, just the right size made Billy Ray's Klipsch speakers sound full.

A variety of electronic and acousitic drums have come and gone in the past, but I've basically had some kind of home recording for drums and music for about of the last 25 years, with about five years of the recording being done at the former swankienda of good friend El Bar and lots of recording done at small studios in Houston and Austin as well as the home studios of others.

My earliest home studio was in mid- law school, using midi drums and various samplers and drum machines to create various songs and backing tracks. One good tune, for me anyway, came out of that time.

Having an ace guitar player like Billy Ray on call is handy for augmenting all the ideas I can voice on guitar but not really play a whole song well enough that I knew someone else needed to do the part better than I can. I can pull off simple bass lines, and yearn to practice more on being a better bassist. Billy Ray and I have untold amounts of songs to catch up on, plus finishing an rock and roll ode to the investigation and prosecution of the famous killer of a poor girl named Lana in LA some years ago. It's almost done.

So I'll be blogging some about my home musical setup, simple as it is, and along the way will tell of the other methods I've used in the past, including four track, six track and eight track analog and digital recording. The wonderful device known as the SONY DATMAN (DAT format), or digital audio recorder, that became commercially and viably available for the consumer in 1992, and of which I bought one the day they arrived in Houston, was used with all these other methods of live and mastered recording as a mixdown stereo tape or as the live source.

Years ago, when commercial CD recorders became available, Mrs. El Fisho lovingly gifted me with one to put the years of live musical performances I've recorded, first on cassette and then on DAT or MiniDisc. That one still works, some 12 years later, despite heavy use but great care. Likewise, a Sony unit augments it now, using more modern cheaper discs to make the mixdowns and copies.

Garageband will be the format right now for a quick start, although I just got some very good Ableton software that will ultimately probably be what we use. A four input user interface is ready to go and up and working.

More later about the simple aspects of my home studio and the next piece will be about the electronic drums I've been using off and on for the past 25 years.


  1. Can't wait for the jam sessions. Are you going to play them on your blog?

  2. We'll see about that. But I do need to get off my butt and put some of the original music by great local Texas artists that I've played with over the years, those that will let me. There has been some really great music I got to play drums on over the past 30+ years, with a few artists that Texans and original Blues and Blues rock music fans might recognize.

    But there's no telling.

    You'd appreciate the pro-crime victim stance of our latest song effort, a song about the successful investigation and prosecution of Phil Spector in LA and that poor girl Lana.

    I'm trying to get a female fed prosecutor I've played in a band with and a local gospel raised female to sing on the recording.

    I get a lot of milage out of my longtime best friend Billy Ray. I'm a great drummer, and Billy can do everything else, ceptin' neither of us sing too well. But Billy can play guitar and bass quite well in a variety of genres and between us, we write some interesting tunes. Our third member commutes via email and recordings from West Virginny, where he moved a few years ago.

    So yeah, I'll find some gadget and post some songs.

  3. And thanks for stopping by! And Be Careful Out There!