The New Man Cave

   As many of you may or may not know, Red Mojo Studios was created from my garage/man cave in 2011. My trailer was parked there with equipment for my live shows and after awhile I decided to sell off the trailer and bigger equipment. 36 aluminum par cans and a three way P.A.system was sold off to make way for newer and lighter LED lights. A newer PA system was phased in that took up less space and weighed much less, yet more powerful. With the trailer sold off, I now how all this leftover room in the garage and wondered if I could record out here without disturbing the neighbors and hopefully not freeze to death in the winter. I set some lights up and a few tables and picked up a Hammond CV organ from a church that was looking for a good home for this organ. Sales from some of the bigger equipment allowed me some funds and my Boss 8 track recorder was outdated and sounded bad. I soon found a deal on a Fostex 16 track, but then fell into another deal with a Tascam 24 track digital machine. I upgraded this machine to the 24 track NEO and learned my way around the menus in no time. I managed to record both Fez Kings CDs in this garage and then winter hit….

      Next door to the condo was a Lowes Home Center and I set about researching what mode of heat could be used. I tried an electric oil filled heater and froze my toes off! Looking for another source, I picked up a kerosene heater that did wonders for my man cave and allowed me to maintain near 60 degree heat on most days. I put up a thermometer and a clock to keep track of time and temps and even an alarm to warn me of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

      One day I brought home a Hammond L100 organ that was in decent shape. It wasn't long before I was looking for something better. I found a buyer and then went searching for a step closer to the holy grail… the B3!  The Hammond CV and Hammond M3 spent their allotted time with me in the studio until I found my Hammond B3 and 122 leslie in Lincoln. Three Hammonds sat in the garage for a full year before I could find new owners for the CV and M3.  My move from Maple street to a house over on Harrison allowed me to move the studio downstairs into a finished basement which is no bigger than a decent bedroom and I've managed to fit my corner desk with a single basement window where I have some stain glass hanging. My Crush drum set is a few feet away behind a plexiglass shield and a Fender and Marshall amp each sit behind me. I went into debt this last year and bought an iMac 5 as well as a Pro Tools 11 software and Presonus preamps. Thanks to the generosity of Mike Adkins, I inherited some more pro recording gear and the studio has grown by leaps and bounds. I now have 16 XLR inputs and a MIDI keyboard by my side for playing keys. My Hammond B3 and 122 sit in the garage awaiting the call someday when I can actually use them. I've even acquired another Hammond M3 and 145 leslie from Little Ronnie Brown from Quincy Illinois. I can't let go of either Hammond and now they both sulk in my garage. Sadly neither organ will fit down the steps, nor is there room in this cozy little cave. I am so grateful for heat and AC as well as a clean place to record. Someday I will tell the spider story!

       When my new wife Elaine walked back into my life from thirty years ago, I felt alive again and started writing and recording material i'd never thought possible. My growth process was stunted over 2013 and no album had been recorded or even thought of. I hoped I'd find the reserves to start writing, but found the well totally dry. After Elaine came back, I was creating and recording with no end in sight. Sadly she had to go back to Canada for work and green card status and I stopped recording and even found it difficult to even pick up my guitar. The house became as quiet as a church on a Friday night and I didn't know how to fix it. Something changed inside me and I decided to take a trip to go see her in Canada. After making my mind up that it had to be done, I first had to conquer my life long fear of flight. I found a pilot at the local airport just down the hill and booked a flight for instruction. After this liberating trip into the sky in a small two seat plane, I was felt ready for a trip in the big commercial airliner. I started to get my groove and passion back again! 

       My trip to Canada was awesome and I came back after twelve days a new man. I've spent the last six months or so learning about Pro Tools and working my way back into digital recording thanks to the advice of Mike Adkins and Alex Austyn. I've picked up some neat tricks and of course I can't forget some of the crew at Guitar Center for giving me great advice and tips! 

     I even managed to take a paying client on and learned much along the way. I'm looking forward to the next album which is titled "Dark Bridges". Elaine even became a part of this project while snapping photos from her iPhone on our trip back to see family last summer. Crossing the Memorial bridge into Quincy, Illinois, she remarked on what a wonderful bridge this was and decided to process the image through photoshop and then paint that image with a different sky. Strange things happened with this bridge photo and I ended up writing a song about it. The painting is a work in progress itself and I hope to use it for the album cover. 

    The music on Dark Bridges is still blues flavored, but has a funky jazz groove as well. I feel that my sound is evolving even further from the last album and sadly I am missing my co-writer from the "It's Good To Be The King" release. Steve Erlewine wrote half the lyrics and had more insight to bar life than any person I know. Being a musician and bar owner for years, Steve could paint a picture that captivated me. Sadly he passed away last spring from liver failure and  has left me searching for another co-writer. So far, I've run aground in this search, but I've been writing all the same and hope to do this one solo if need be. 

     The recording quality and writing should improve quite a bit from the last effort  with any luck and my muse should be returning this summer. I look forward to releasing my third album by next winter of 2014 if all goes well. Until then, I'll post some snippets of raw tracks for a taste of what's to come!

May, 2014