Friday, 17 June 2016

I Am Elvis...

The summer of 1995 was off with a huge bang, and it was quite possibly one of the most memorable summers of my life. Wiggaz had been playing lots of live shows, we had a new jam space, new songs, and we had made a lot of new friends. Black Belt Jones were also performing frequently, we were still riding the wave of our second demo we had released earlier in the year, and we too had been making new friends and new connections.

The next event that transpired came out of left field. Wiggaz were set to record a second demo. If I remember correctly it was Frank who acquired a place for us to record through a friend of his. Essentially it was an empty office space that was quite large and located in the Rexdale area. We brought in none other than Steve Donohoe to be our sound engineer, and with him was his trusted 8 track recorder.

The first day of recording was fairly unexciting, as it consisted of the usual primary steps. Getting the drums set up with various microphones in their proper places which was followed by an hour or two of single hits on each drum piece as Steve fine tuned them into the mix. After that long but necessary task, the next step was getting the guitar and bass amps set up, once again setting microphones up and having Greg and Rob strum along until Steve had everything sounding the way he wanted it. We only had a weekend to get this demo complete, and the first day was practically spent on achieving the sound we wanted.

Day two would consist of the guys playing every song while Steve recorded, which generally took a few takes per song as we wanted everything to be perfect with no mistakes. The space we were recording in had an upstairs area, where I spent a lot of time just laying on the floor staring at the ceiling listening to the sweet sounds my band members were pumping out. It got a bit boring at times, but thankfully there was a strip joint within walking distance, which served its purpose well when it came to battling boredom.

After a very long Saturday of recording music, all of the songs were finally done. We had re-recorded new versions of a few songs from the original demo including: Carnivore, Death Metal Mama, Spray Cans, and Toad Loads. We also had quite a few new songs we had written in the past year; These Shoes, Wiggaz, R.C., Seed, and Field Party, which was our newest song complete with lyrics inspired by numerous outdoor parties I had attended over the years including Woodstock 91' and the infamous Barn Bash, both of which have been mentioned in this blog if you are keeping up with things.

When it came time to hit the vocal booth I was pretty hopped up from a days worth of beer drinking and whatever other recreational activities I had been partaking in. After we got a few songs done my throat was getting a bit sore, which in turn was affecting the sound of my vocals. Greg rushed out to the store and quickly returned with a package of extra strong halls, fisherman's friends, and a bottle of Buckley's cough syrup. The trifecta combo worked wonders  and my vocalizer was back in full function. I didn't know it that day, but the Buckley's would become a staple for me in future recordings. Most people can't handle a spoonful of it, but I've developed a taste for it over the years of recording which has enabled me to drink it straight from the bottle as if it was water.

After a sweaty, beer, metal, and stripper fueled weekend, our new demo was now complete. The only thing missing was a title for said demo. It felt like we were toiling with title ideas for weeks, although in reality it was probably only days....perhaps even hours. Nobody seemed to be coming up with any ideas, when from out of left field our drummer Frank proclaimed "I've got the title! I am Elvis, I died for your sins!" We all laughed in hysterics at his suggestion before unanimously deciding it was a keeper.

It was so irrelevant and odd, which is why I feel we liked it so much. I had never been a fan of Elvis by any means, but the thought of myself in an Elvis suit with the devil mask amused my mind to no end. We had now paid for hundreds of tapes to be manufactured and we had been selling them, even though they were absent of a cover and title. Once the title was finally agreed upon, I got into the drawing, cutting and pasting, and arranging of our new cover. A homemade DIY job which was standard in the pre-computer days. I combined images from comic books and my own illustrations to complete the final product. I was quite cheesy, which I felt was very suiting given the nature of our band and our music. 

Now that this order of business was done, we had another to return to,
completing our music video...

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