Long-winded read. So maybe skip this if you can't stand long posts.
I'm assuming that aside from the forum regulars here who are fans of EA and members of bands that have recorded at EA, there are also some employees that post here, interns and such. I guess I'd just like to give everyone a hello before I arrive @ EA Nov 17 for a few days of recording/tracking etc. with Steve. So yeah, hello.
This is only happening because of a friendly interaction with Steve via email (and a resulting phone call) after I had account activation at this forum; I had emailed EA asking for help as was interested in at least getting more information on costs for either my band or myself to get an album recorded. I'm mostly a drummer (at least over the last few years) and my band Cheebahawk has enjoyed playing some kickass shows with the likes of Midnight Ghost Train, The Flying Eyes and Weedeater. But the sludge/doom thing isn't what I do when I'm on my own. I make simple hard rock with a touch of weird; and I've done a lot of home recording over the years using a lot of low-fi DIY ethic.
I feel a lot different from many of my fellow musicians at shows, as well as the lot of you here. I didn't go to school for music. I didn't attend assloads of shows, or get hooked up with a scene. I was however an always-evolving music fan and for many years I was only an occasional musician, usually in small towns. I had kids early in adulthood and resigned to become a worker ant; feeling almost sure that if anything my love for playing music was going to be relegated to a hobby. In the back of my head I kept my skill growth and mental approach, I knew somehow that I would need to call upon rock & roll musicianship someday. My family separated in '05 though and my role as a father became really limited in a way that I never had much control over, depressingly so. But I used my newfound extra time to do things like convert my bedroom into a recording studio and record an album's worth of material. I did it for me; I didn't expect to be signed, I wasn't looking to start a band, no, I just wanted to make some rock music.
Then I got sick. Turns out it was testicular cancer. But the biopsy showed weird stuff and I had a 9 lb tumor in my abdomen. The surgery just about killed me, and I had tons of chemotherapy which was all hail-marys as not even the best minds in cancer knew how to treat what was some undocumented presentations of several types of cancer that had evolved from the original testicular cancer I had. Then more cancer was found in my chest. This was cancer type number 5, and was even rarer and harder to treat. More surgeries, more chemo, and some radiation. I almost died many times. But in November of 2008 I was in remission, and we all thought I was in the clear.
So I started working again (Creative Director at a software company and then landscaping... I needed to leave the office and get outside!), I spent a lot of time with my family, and I converted my attic into another low-fi recording studio. I never got myself to 100% physically speaking, not quite; but I tried my arse off. I never psychologically recovered from all of that stuff either, and I was thrown for a hell of a loop in spring '10 when I was told that I had a mass on my lung. The resulting major surgery ended up being unnecessary, all it was was scar tissue. But by then I had helped form Cheebahawk, and I recovered quickly and we started gigging in December of last year. We worked hard, scored some fun gigs including a great show @ Fontana's in NYC, and we kept developing newer and more complex material. So life without cancer was getting better. I even got some help from a shrink to help me better deal with all that had happened to me and my family due to my disease(s).
Then I had a scan this summer and we found out it was back. Biopsy showed that the 5th type of cancer had returned, and I had some scans that were supposed to show the surgeon an easy route to removing two small tumors, one on the front side and one on the backside of my lung. But that's not what happened. They found several other tumors and took them out, but could not totally remove the one on my heart... and the backside of my lung tumor had grown to the size of a nerf football, and has started to kinda merge with my lung which is a bad, bad thing. They can't take it out.
My body can't take any more chemo. Only certain areas of my body can stand radiation as I did get blasted in a few different areas over the years, and as I said earlier that big tumor can't be removed as it's too involved with other tissue and it's in a bad spot. Also it's clear to me and my longtime surgeon that it's likely that if I have another surgery, i'll likely shut down and pass away on the table. I have sooo much scar tissue, and I'm in a lot of pain a lot of the time. So what I'm doing now is radiation. Basically "comfort care" radiation, to try and shrink stuff so that I can be comfortable for as long as possible, especially that big tumor... when it grows back, or just continues to grow, nothing can be done about it, and it will likely be what claims me.
So after years of fighting it finally has a grip on me. I've had the best doctors in the country as well as some major cancer panels (consortiums of the best minds in the biz) looking over me, and honestly I wasn't supposed to last this long. I'm facing reality head-on, with realism, with a sense of humor, and with love for life, love for those I love, and love for rock & roll.
So I'm kinda in bucket list mode. And one thing I wanted to get done was an album, regardless of my skill as a musician. So Steve telling me on the phone that he'd like me to come down for a few days and get this done - it's a dream come true. It'll only be a five or six track album, and it won't light the world on fire, but I'm going to distribute it and promote it somehow, and will make sure a large percentage of revenues go toward cancer research.
I have financial backing from my family as well as from an online fundraiser that was started yesterday...
... and my brother who is a much more educated and accomplished musician is coming with me on this road trip from NY to Chicago; and he may rent a high-quality camera and do a bit of documentary-ish filming... he's also going to help with some bass and maybe some lead guitar duties.
And I just got word that Jason Bonham wants to help me in some fashion. Sheesh!
In my darkest days, in the twilight of my life I'm finding love and support in the most unlikely of places. I'm only 33, I feel like I have a lot of life to live, and I want to do this not just for me but also to show my kids that anything is possible especially if you approach things from a different angle than most others do.
So my brother and I will be showing up on the 17th, ready to go, with some cool equipment and some ideas that I have crafted. I'm looking forward to working with Steve and the whole crew at EA. I've never been in this sort of recording environment, and again I'm not technically versed with regards to gear and song construction, but I know what I'm about to make, and I'll be proud of it.
I've been asked a million questions about alternative treatments; those things are not options for people in my position. The reality is that my time is limited, my number has been called. But I gotta get this done first, and I want to have a great time doing so. I hope to have the support of this community as well as the folks at EA (Steve and Steve have been great), and I'm looking forward to moving from tracking/recording/mastering to distribution/promotion and people's enjoyment of my creating soon thereafter.
Oh and what kind of tunes will this solo album with no name (yet) contain? Well, I think right now it'd be best if I'd just say these will be simple and enjoyable rock songs with caustic guitars, sparse vocals and some mean and simple drums. I mean, although I really love 1969-74 King Crimson, Lightning Bolt and Don Caballero, I get the biggest high off of Josh Homme's weirdest stuff, a lot of Steve's work with Shellac, Gay Witch Abortion and The Melvins. ... But I'm quite certain that what ends up being recorded will pale in comparison to even the shadows of all of that stuff. But hey, I'll have fun, and hopefully Steve will too.