I first met Stewart Simon when I was 12 years old. Someone had told me he was a good guitar player. He was a big heavy set kid with long red hair; I knew who he was, so I introduced myself and we made arrangements to get together and play.
It would turn out to be an arrangement that lasted on and off for more then 30 years. He had equipment, I brought equipment and we made music. I would venture to guess that he probably pulled out his Craig 212 reel to reel recorder that day, thus sealing the deal and our friendship.
We played in bands together and eventually he and I moved to NYC together to go to the same school (The Institute of Audio Research). We played in bands together until I moved to Pelham.
When Tammy and I moved to Michigan from Vermont, it was a pretty natural transition for me to start playing music with Stew again. Stewart's folks had died and he was living in their old house on Columbia, in Berkley. I had spend so many thousands of hours in that house as a kid, it was revisiting to my adolescence and childhood.
On the first stuff we did, we used a drum machine because the virus of recording equipment acquisition hadn't really taken hold of Stew yet. He had a half in 8 track tape recorder and some kind of mixing board (maybe Tascam). We recorded half a dozen tracks with that. I think Missing you More and It's Not Over started out in that format.
Later, Stew got three Alesis ADAT machines and an Alesis console, much nicer stuff. Initially, we were just getting together and recording for something to do, it wasn't until I had dealings with Jerker Emanualson that we had a goal in mind.
Typically we would record a click track, then a guide guitar and vocal track, than I'd lay down drums and we'd build it up from there. There wasn't a band that could set up and play together, it was just the two of us and from time to time we would get guys to come in and participate. A couple of times (for better or worse) I even re-cut the drums after we had recorded the bass and rhythm guitars.
Also on that record is stuff Jamie Hoover, Graham Maby and I did in Charlotte NC. Other than bass and lead vocal it's pretty much all Jamie, he is The Man. I sprinkled that early stuff with him on all three CD's.
At some point I got asked to contribute a song to one of Jerker Emanualson's 'Hit The Hay', on his Sound Asleep label. Jerker lives in Sweden but really loves American Pop music; I was honored to help up. There were a lot of interesting people contributing to those records, Brad Jones and Bill Lloyd to name a couple. After that, we started talking about doing an album. I felt invigorated.
When the record came out, we got a box of CDs to sell for our efforts, but Jerker managed to get a fair amount of European press that was pretty cool. I even saw a Japanese version of it.
I wanted to sell it through a local record chain called Harmony House. I set up a meeting with one of the buyers and through a simple twist of fate ended up meeting Mitch Cantor of Gadfly Records and got him to release it in the US. We weren't selling tens of thousands of records, but it was fun and now you could get the record almost any place that sold records. It was legitimate.
We put a band together and practiced at Stew's, we did some shows around the Midwest and New York. It was really fun. I felt like I had a foot in the music business again. I talked to people I hadn't talked to in years.
There's some singing on that record that makes me cringe. Maybe it makes you cringe too. Vocal pitch can really get the best of you if you get paranoid about it. All in all I think despite that, it's a pretty god listen. I think one of the coolest things somebody said about it is "this doesn't suck". That's sometimes all you can ask for.
There's a bunch of special guest stars. Marshall came into town one day and we recorded a version of 'This Guy's In Love With You', he also played some guitar on some stuff. After all of the stuff we had gone through, it was really nice to do something with him again.
It was also great to do stuff with Gary Sussman and all my homies in Detroit, not to forget on Dixon and Marti Jones.
I don't talk to Stewart as much as I should these days, life happens. Hey Stew, if your out there. Thanks again.