September 13th, 2012
Liner Notes is a feature here on Figment News that spotlights a top selling or classic album by asking the band who recorded it to take us on a song by song guided tour of the recording process. In short, it’s a chance for the rest of us to be a fly on the studio wall during the genesis of a great album. “Werewolf Concerto” by Werewolf Concerto was not only one of the best selling albums ever on Figment, but it was also the band’s debut record. What went into this seminal self-titled debut? Let’s talk to the Wolfman himself…
HOWLING AT THE MOON: LOOKING BACK AT THE MAKING OF “WEREWOLF CONCERTO”
Whats up dudes and dudettes everywhere! It is I, Jacob Wolfman from Coffin Lords, Witchkrieg, and the recently reunited Werewolf Concerto! We’re back, and there will be a tour and a new record very very soon. So get psyched! Anyways, the fine folk at Figment News asked me to write a Liner Notes thingy on our first record.
So, it began in the small town of Wilbraham, Massachusetts. Its kind of a lame place, no Metalheads, and a ton of stuck up sucky people. Except for me, and our fantastic bald/deadly ass ripper/drummer extraordinaire, Kyle Davidson. Kyle and I were into Metal majorly. It was our lives. We spent untold hours thrashing around to Exodus, Maiden, Exhumed, Crowbar, Testament, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Kreator, Autopsy, Heathen, etc etc. We also spent stupid amounts of time watching horror movies. We were into cheesy gore fests, zombie flicks, actual scary movies, and for me especially, old black and white classics. So after one intense night watching “Evil Dead II” and screeching along to King Diamond, we decided to start our own Metal band.
Fast forward many Taco Bell trips and a few years later…we were writing songs, having recruited bass player “Bloodthirsty” Jim. We had about three or four songs written, and then we began playing shows like crazy. Wherever we could get booked, we’d play. Now, that lead to us being on some interesting bills. I remember we once got put on a gangster rap show, due to the promoter thinking we were a ICP-esque horrorcore group due to our name.
After an entire year of rambunctious show playing, the lovable gang of misfits learned that a buddy of theirs had started an independent record label, Music From The Crypt Records. So, they used their incredible powers of persuasion to get themselves to be MFTC’s first signing.
We rented out a studio in West Springfield, a town about 10 to 15 minutes away from our homestead. I had an uncle who was a record producer, so I learned my way around a control board from him. So, I set out playing the role of producer, vocalist/guitar player, and drunken taco consumer. We drank a lot during the recordings of the first record-I remember totally destroying the house of Eric LeDuc, drummer for Rise Against Authority, and my cousin. We held many a rager there during the sessions for “Werewolf Concerto” and I still apologize every chance I get. I still don’t know how the TV got into the shower, or how the oven blew up, or the walls got smashed-well, you guys get the point.
I believe the first song we recorded was “Carrion Death”. It was a very Dark Angel-esc tune, with a extremely-heavy-yet-fast-as-fuck riff, powered by some gnarly drum work from Mr. Davidson. Lyrically, the song was a simple idea. Some dude gets hurt in the desert, and lays there, slowly and painfully dying alone, as vultures eat him alive.
The next song we recorded was “Creepshow” a tune inspired by and named after one of my favorite flicks of all time. The bass line at the beginning was written by Kyle actually, and it fit really well with leftover riff I had from “My Scream Queen” which was already written, but we didn’t record till “Graveyard Ghoul Fiends”.
After that, we recorded “Undead Attack” and “Blood And Guts” in the same day. The former was supposed to be just what it is-an incredibly simple, but stupidly fast, short burst of energy. The latter was supposed to be a more chunky, grooving song, very Exhorder-ish, but turned into more of what “Undead Attack” is. I realize now that placing the two songs together on the track listing was pretty stupid, but hey, we were young and unexperienced.
Next up, we did “Slayed” which was had a very crossover thrash-ish riff, with heavier vocals from myself. Jim also through in a gnarly bass solo towards the end, which I still get psyched about every time I hear it to this day.
Next up, were the pain in the ass songs. Getting the arrangements done for the ballad-y-but-still-heavy-as-balls “By The Fright Of Silvery Moon” took forever. We argued a lot over that song, Kyle and I wanted a more odd time signature than Jim did on the verse, and we eventually got our way, but he got to throw in a riff he wrote into the bridge. In hind sight, we probably should have realized that he didn’t work well with us enough to be in the band, but we thought he was cool and we just wanted to get the record done and get out on the road.
“Frankenstein V.S. Dracula” (sometimes I wonder what I was thinking with some of these songs titles…) was a pain simply because of the guitar solo. We had decided to do that song in Drop C, instead of D Standard like the rest of the album, because the riff worked better in that tuning. It was a pain because I had to set up the Floyd Rose on my guitar to Drop C, and every time during the solo after I did the sweep arpeggio part and jumped into that crazy whammy dive, the guitar would go out of tune. Took forever to get a decent take of that.
“Abra Cadaver” and “Dragons” were both done on the same day. The recordings of both songs were relatively uneventful, but the former turned into a classic for us, and the other one was just sort of there. Looking back, it had a promising and cool riff, but we fucked up on the rest of the song.
Finally, we come to the last two days of recording. We spent a whole day tracking “Radioactive Warfare” because we wanted perfection on it, since we had this idea of it being our epic. It turned pretty rad, I thought, but not nearly what we had in mind.
On the last day, we got bored and decided to do the Morbid Angel cover, but had no intentions of releasing it. It got sent in with the rest of the tapes, and the label threw it on the record. I love the song, and I had fun covering it, but I didn’t want a cover on the record.
Well fiends, we’ve reached the end of our devilishly dumb, but fun ride. I hope you enjoyed this testament to our stupidity, and learned about what I hope is one of your favorite records. If I could go back and change a few things, I would, but I’m also very happy with how came out in the end. It did after all, kick start our career, and it remains our best seller and most popular album to this day. I hope to see you crazy fuckers on the reunion tour, and be on the lookout for a new album!!
September 20th, 2011
Liner Notes is a new feature here on Figment News that spotlights a top selling or classic album by asking the band who recorded it to take us on a song by song guided tour of the recording process. In short, it’s a chance for the rest of us to be a fly on the studio wall during the genesis of a great album. Given our current punk rock gig flyer contest we thought it might make sense to start with an album that certainly captures that DIY spirit, so we asked Cherry Vendetta to give us the “liner notes” on their seminal debut EP “Screw The Scandals”. Take it away Cherry…
Screw who? Screw you!: A “Screw the Scandals” retrospective.
It began in the fall of 2010, more as a joke, as something to do, than anything else. I [Eve “Cherry” Locaine] had made quite the sensation shanghaiing a band that was playing at a party, just to scream out lyrics that mostly involved telling my boyfriend at the time, Billy Jameson, to go screw himself over and over. The beat was pretty frenetic and the people at the party loved it. Things were smashed and the cops came and had to break things up, but that night a legend was born. It was probably the best (and worst) break-up ever.
The bassist of that band, Jenna “Bombe” Kauffman, enjoyed the night so much she soon invited me to jam with her on a regular basis. Billy would try and drop by and get in on the action, wanting to be a rock star himself and seeing the potential there and wanting to milk from it with minimal effort on his part. He offered to manage [us] and we told him to go blow. But he planted the idea in our drunken heads: Let’s make a band.
Bombe: We put up fliers and kept our ears to the ground, circuited parties and small events to see if we could find what we were looking for. We found it in Mara [Adrienne “Maraschino” Jackson] and muffin [Jane “Muffin” Morris], cousins who would jam together on their guitar and drums quite frequently at parties and bars, just for fun. The four of us got together, got drunk off our asses, and almost started a riot at the next party where we ‘performed’ angry, raucous music.
Mara: It was unpolished, and needed some work badly, but it called back to the days of riot grrrl bands when they were at their best. People loved it. They couldn’t get enough of it and at every place we showed up, Billy was there to piss Cherry off. She decided it would be our personal vendetta against him to create a successful band, a special “fuck you” to him and every other man who would seek to bring us down.
Thus the band name Cherry Vendetta.
Muffin: We got together in my friend Andre’s garage, trying to sort out some sort of EP to put together and sell at shows. We recorded two songs – Rotten Alibi and Lithium Crash. It was basic shit, your typical ‘taped from a stereo’ thing, completely unprofessional. But the people loved it, and we saw a chance to do something with it. We started to try and save some money to get some studio time, and then tossed together a few songs. But the anger in us (especially Cherry) was too wild for a small studio, and we went completely broke making it (and paying off for repairs to damages incurred during the making of said album). I… did some things I’m not proud of, to help keep a roof over our heads. Andre, sorry I never called you back…
Cherry: That being said, the look of our first EP, “Screw The Scandals”, is unpolished and messy as they come, simply because Cherry Vendetta could not afford any better. But we felt it suited the raw, angry energy that exploded out, and fuck the album cover anyway – it was about the music, bitches. It’s always been about the music.
Song one – Rotten Alibi
First recorded in Andre’s garage, and then in a small studio (lamely named “The Studio”). They barely had room for the four of us in there but it made for some interesting sounds.
Dedicated entirely to Billy, the song’s title should say it all – he gave some pretty rotten alibis when he was sleeping around on Cherry with some girl named Kelly. We believe that this is when Cherry smashed a studio window with her mic stand…
Song two – Lithium Crash
Recorded first in Andre’s garage and then in The Studio, Bombe’s bass amp pretty much exploded on the last few runs but it made for some AMAZING sound that we have been hard-pressed to duplicate… basically we kept her busted amp around to use specifically for that song when performing it live now.
Inspired by Nirvana’s “Lithium”, with more of an angry twist – the convulsive feelings in the stomach tripled by the vibrations you feel off Bombe’s bass licks and Muffin’s drum beats mirroring the feelings one would get coming off this drug. Dizziness, confusion, dehydration, ringing in the ears. You will have all these symptoms in spades listening to this too often.
Song three – Rejections All Over My Face
This might be one of those things Muffin had to do to keep us afloat that she wasn’t very proud of. Certain aspects of it were recorded in Andre’s garage… the musical bits were at the studio. Muffin just about smashed her foot through her drum kit on this one.
Song four – Scissor Sex
Yes, boys, it’s exactly what you think. And no, we won’t tell you who and who. It was also a bit of a fuck you to the government over who you can and cannot marry.
Song five – Screw the Scandals
This song pretty much summed up everything for us, there was so much bullshit floating around by the time we got to the ‘making an album’ stage of our career, and we wanted to lay it all bare, and tell everyone to go screw themselves, and we are pretty sure Cherry did some serious damage to her throat on this one. Good thing vodka seems to be her spinach.
The song also inspired the title of the EP – it just seemed to fit so well with what we were up to at the time.
It seems like it’s been so much longer than just a year since this first EP of ours had been released, and we cannot wait to be able to have that ‘hey remember when?’ years from now. Maybe even a ‘whatever happened to…?’ moment. As long as there are fans to listen, there will be a Cherry Vendetta to play. We fuckin’ love you guys.