Mesa Boogie Mark IIC

mark-iic-002This is a blast from the past. Kevin Anderson lent me his cream Mark IIC so I’ve been playing around with it a little bit. My first good amp was a Music Man 210 Sixty Five but that soon gave way to a cream coloured Mesa Boogie Mark IIB which I used for many years before I replaced it with a Mark IV, then a Maverick, and then off into boutique amp world I went with a Bad Cat, a Fuchs TDS, etc, etc. Playing this thing really brought back memories. I wish I knew then what I know now in how to get a better sound out of the amp by pushing the master volumes up more but back then I didn’t have iso-cabs or an attenuator to get the volume back under control.

So with this amp kicking around I thought I’d record a theme song for my son Ben’s video blog. I took the amp straight into my AxeTrak iso-cab and then into a Presonus Firebox. No effects on the amp but a little delay in post production on the lead sound. The Peavey Cropper Classic and my Gibson Les Paul Jeff Beck were used for the rhythm sounds and the lead was done on the Les Paul.

I first recorded this version entitled Rock Theme 1 (pretty creative I know)…

But when Ben reviewed it he said it was too long so I cut it down to about 18 seconds…

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Bring It On Home To Me

Bring_it_On_Home_CookeHere is the classic Sam Cooke tune, Bring It On Home To Me, sung masterfully by Rick Davie and played by the “B” Side Champs. Recorded live off the floor at our secret and undisclosed

I’m posting this on May 15th, the day after the passing of great BB King. As I listened to the mix I’m reminded of how influenced I am by BB’s vibrato and phrasing. BB came up listening to the call and response of the church and cotton field and he listened to horn players. I can hear those influences echoed in my solo on this track. Thanks BB.

Rick Davie – Vocals
Gary Brenner – Keys
Carl Strempler – Guitar
Rob Smith – Bass
Ted Wolstencroft – Drums
Deano Dean – Tenor Sax
Dave Pletz – Alto Sax
Andrew Littleford – Trumpet
Jon Amadatsu – Trombone

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Treat Her Right Revisited

IMG_1132The “B” Side Champs have evolved quite a bit since I posted our first version of Treat Her Right in the fall of 2014. We are now a 10-piece band with a 4-piece horn section.

We’ve been working on some recordings of our tunes live off the floor of our practice space so here is Treat Her Right with the full horns. The rhythm guitar riff is done with my Telecaster into the Divided By 13 FTR37 live off the floor with the band. I then overdubbed the solo in my home studio using my Gretsch 6118 with a boost into the Swart Atomic Space Tone amp. Its amazing how much little gain you need to create a very distorted sound on a recording. One of the secrets of getting a very hard hitting lead sound is to turn down your gain, give the guitar room to breathe and allow for dynamics. Cleaner is meaner!

Rhythm Guitar: Fender Telecaster with OC Duff Whiteguard pickups -> Durham Sexdrive -> Divided By 13 Amp
Lead Guitar: Gretsch 6118 with TV Jones Filtertron Classics -> Diamond Boost EQ -> Swart AST

Rick Davie – Vocals
Gary Brenner – Keys
Carl Strempler – Guitar
Rob Smith – Bass
Ted Wolstencroft – Drums
Deano Dean – Tenor Sax
Dave Pletz – Alto Sax
Andrew Littleford – Trumpet
Jon Amadatsu – Trombone
Ken Krotowich – Percussion

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I Thank You

Antigua Tele UpgradedFinally the “B” Side Champs project guitar is ready to roll. Starting with a rare Fender MIM Antigua finished tele the fun customizations began. It has custom wound O.C. Duff Whiteguard pickups in it, a brass compensated Joe Barden bridge, reversed wiring so the volume is up front, new locking Sperzel tuners, and a Ilitch Electronics noise cancelling coil. It’s a silent tele!

Here is the first track I’ve recorded with it. The great David Porter and Isaac Hayes soul classic, I Thank You, played here by the “B” Side Champs.

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the “B” Side Champs – Mustang Sally

Here is a clip from the band’s first public performance at the Park Theatre. Our focus in this band is to have fun pure and simple, plus who doesn’t love playing with a horn section backing you up.

The gear used for this tune is a PRS McCarty with Lollar P90 pickups into my new GigRig G2 switcher. The pedals engaged for rhythm guitar sounds is just a Durham SexDrive on low compression and for lead a KLON KTR, this then goes into my Divided By 13 FTR37.

Sax solo: Deano Dean

Catch this band in action: January 16, 2015 at the Park Theatre, see Gig Calendar for details. Buy tickets at TicketFly.

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Treat Her Right

The "B-Side" ChampsThe “B-Side” Champs is a band dedicated to reviving the songs and sounds of the great 60’s R&B of the likes of Sam Cooke, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and others. I’ve been recording the practices for the band in our practice studio and captured this tune, Treat Her Right, based on an arrangement we found by Tom Jones.

Gear: PRS McCarty with Lollar P-90’s -> Durham Sexdrive (slight compression) -> Divided By 13 Amp

Rick Davie – Vocals
Ken Krotowich – Backup Vocals, Keys
Gary Brenner – Keys
Carl Strempler – Guitar
Rob Smith – Bass
Ted Wolstencroft – Drums
Deano Dean – Sax

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Super Geek – Techapalooza 2014 Winning Band

This is the third year for Techapalooza, the CancerCare MB fundraiser that brings IT people together for Battle of the Bands. We raised $60,000 for CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.

Music and computers seems to go well together. I’m proud of this band because the horn section is all Geeks in IT, Randy the bass player hadn’t played in years and works for MTS, Hal did a great job on drums. We had two ringers Rena Semenko and Katherine Penfold, both on vocals. We tried something different this year, I figured we needed to get the dance floor full and the party jumping. It worked out great, we won Fan Favourite. In fact it went so well we reprised this set at our Memorial Concert for Dean Clarke on June 10.

Here is the set from Techapalooza in its entirety. Kat swears to never wear that outfit again, apparently it is a bit itchy.

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Dean Clarke – 1965-2014

Dean Clarke - Super Geek Practice

Our friend and band mate, Dean Clarke, passed away suddenly last Saturday. Here is a recording we did that features a solo by Dean on Trumpet. You were a great friend, golfer, technology leader, and committed band member. You will be missed.

Bill Kirkpatrick – Vocals, Guitar
Carl Strempler – Guitar
Gary Brenner – Keys
Adam Halstrom – Bass
Greg Boettcher – Drums
Dean Clarke – Trumpet Solo

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Great Quote

“The best songs don’t get recorded, the best recordings don’t get released, the best releases don’t get played.” – Jim Dickinson

But… I’m trying to change that by recording a lot of bands and a lot of live shows. I’m getting ready to do the mix down of Techapalooza 2014 and there should be some really good video and audio coming from the event.

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Jammin’ on Jefferson – 1982

Marshall JMP 50 watt head - similar to what we used on the recording

Marshall JMP 50 watt head

I’ve only had one formal guitar teacher in my life and that was Lloyd Plueschow. I met Lloyd when I went to Guitarland on Broadway (don’t look for it now it was demolished to make way for a Great West Life Building Expansion). I used to take private lessons from him at his home, first on Grosvenor Ave and then on Jefferson Ave. I took lessons for just over 2 years.

Lloyd was a good teacher and showed me how to play a bunch of tunes and taught me scales and modes. We recently reconnected on Facebook and were messaging back and forth and he told me he had found an old cassette tape of us jamming. I had a copy of it somewhere as well but hadn’t seen it for a long time. Last time I looked for it I couldn’t find it. This recording was done near the end of the time I took lessons from Lloyd. I’m 16 years old and this was recorded in his apartment on Jefferson Avenue. We have decided to called it “Jammin’ on Jefferson”. Lloyd was good enough to digitize the recording and send me an MP3.

I recall playing a mid-70’s Tobacco Burst Les Paul and Lloyd played his custom Penner guitar on this. We both ran through a 1976 50 watt Marshall Head into a cabinet with a 12 inch Black Widow speaker. I played the rhythm guitar track and that was done with an old Roland Space Echo. I think Lloyd may have played the bass part. Drum machines have come a long way since then that’s for sure. The recording was mono to an Akai reel-to-reel if my recollection is correct. I’ve spliced it up and enhanced the audio a bit. Now you can hear me on the the first solo on the left side and Lloyd on the right side.

 

Here is the original mono version for comparison…

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