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Down the slopes

The original track I had in my head for this was very different from what actually came out. It had a few melodies intertwining that Mike and I worked on one evening. I had my Ibanez plugged into his Marshall on the clean channel, we recorded an outline of the tune with one stringed melodies, it sounded good but I felt it was missing something. Then I was riding my motorcycle and what you hear on the CD hit me all in one shot, I was riding, tapping my foot and smiling thinking to myself...oh YEAH, this one's gonna ROCK...if I can only remember it long enough to get to the studio.

Mike came up with the rhythm guitar for the break that leads to the guitar solo.

The final rhythm track is my Alden Les Paul plugged into my Line 6 Flextone III on the Soldano emulation, the leads are with my black Ibanez on the Line 6 Insane setting.

Stream of thought

This one was born on highway 5 heading to the studio. I was riding and was thinking of some kind of ode to the wah wah pedal and Hendrix...this tune came to me and again, I was just smiling thinking about how it would sound. I walked into the studio and told Mike I was going to use my Alden plugged into the Line 6 Flextone on the Soldano setting...with lots of wah wah of course...I plugged in, he gave me a click track and off I went, the whole tune was created in one shot. The scratch track sounds almost exactly like what you hear on the CD...It was the first inkling that there was MAGIC in the studio.

Cry for peace

Created as a starter piece for Stompin'. Both are dedicated to my cousin Émilie that was heading off to Afghanistan with the Canadian Army, she has since completed her tour of duty and is back home. I told Mike I was going to do this one only once and it needed to be intense and loud. I thought about it for a minute and imagined two sides of the war at first negotiating, that's the delay you hear bouncing from side to side, then when negotiations fail all Hell breaks loose. Then the piece ends and goes into Stompin'

Stompin'

This is essentially how I imagined a row of Tanks driving through the Desert with rows and rows of infantry walking behind them. A steady marching beat broken by a section that announces the guitar solo, are they seeing action? Maybe, or it could be a look into the mind of one of the soldiers as he thinks about what could happen next...I wanted the ending to be a hard hitting sound, menacing, that would overtake the rest of the music...the Climax in the movie if you will!

Breathing optional

I picked up my guitar and played non-stop riffs for 5 minutes. I just wanted to see what would come out and never intended to create a tune at that moment. I then played it back and while listening I realized that I'd created something. I then laid down a rough bass line with another guitar because my Bass was elsewhere. Sent the rough copy to Mike and my friend Bob and they both agreed that I had something there. This one was hard to recreate in the studio, there are something like 4 different guitars from a couple of sessions. The final session had Mike play back a 15 second part of the original and me learning it right there...then we'd record it and we'd move on to the next part. I really like this one.

Into the deep

I wanted to show my new Vox VT30 amp to Mike so as he was setting up the mics on it I was messing around with a riff. I then hit the wrong string and liked what happened. When I started working that new riff out Mike then went "Hey, wait a second, I gotta press record 'cause this is good". I invented the whole tune in one shot. It just came to me as I was playing, I'd play one part and the next part would be playing ahead in my mind. When we did the final tracks I tried a few different sounds and lines to go over the rhythm track and they didn't work. Mike then suggested I just outline the rhythm with a melody and then I cranked it up an octave for the final part. You should have seen our smiles as the final track played back in the studio.

On the road

This one invented itself in my head as I was riding my motorcycle somewhere in northern Québec with my friend Dan. The beginning part had already been played on a scratch track a few years ago...when I heard it again the whole tune started writing itself and when I picked up the guitar in the studio it just happened...funny thing, I really don't remember playing the final part of the tune. When I first heard it I was sure that Mike had pieced it together from my other tracks but apparently I created it myself.

Solace

Recorded in my friend Bob Mannseichner's living room studio. I was playing his classical guitar and went through a few versions of the tune before I decided on this one. It's not as perfect as another one I did that day but this one felt right. It spoke to me. It's meant as a dedication to my friend Jacqueline Itzel Solis Gonzales. I was looking for a Mexican feel, the prelude to a Robert Rodriguez gunslinger movie.

Where's my sombrero Speedy?

This came to me while jamming with a previous band. The whole buildup for the first part is totally inspired by the El Mariachi/Desperado movies from Robert Rodriguez. The second part of the tune was an idea I had for a while. I created the whole tune in one shot in my living room with the guitar plugged into my POD and the POD plugged into Cubase. I would do a part and would then lean down to switch the sound while keeping on going...the final tracks were recorded with my Alden Les Paul into my Line 6 Flextone on the S-100 emulation. Actually, the clean ending part is from the scratch track I did, we liked it so we left it in.

Warmup

This is actually the first tune Mike and I worked on. I was nervous when I walked into the studio because I'd never been in one and it was new to have to come up with music with someone watching me. While he was setting up the mics on my amp, Mike said, so, play something...so I started playing the opening riff and he liked it, I said it was a warmup technique I'd been using for years and thought it would work in a tune. He then said, "what else do you have?" So, I played what turned out to be the second riff, he said, we should put those two together, they could sound good...so...we just kept on going and then I turned on the Octaver on my VOX amp and we both went...oh WOW.

Determined

I did this one in one shot, again, it's a warmup technique I've been messing around with for years. I just went for it and played around the neck, there was one take and that was it. NO, there was no finger tapping...in fact, these is no finger tapping on this CD, I fretted every note on there.

Song

I honestly don't remember when I came up with the opening rhythm to this one but I remember really liking it and playing it over and over...my neighbors must have loved it...I came in with it and Mike loved it. I had a bunch of riffs but no structure so I played all the riffs and Mike pieced them into the song you hear, I then picked up the slide and played some melodies over the rhythms. I called it song because it would make a great structure for some beautiful vocals...that I can't do...so I decided to fool people into thinking there was an actual song on the CD.

Echo central

A few years ago I was listening to something Steve Vai was doing and the main riff of this tune came to me. I picked up my guitar and started messing around with it...for a year I'd sometimes sit there and play this riff and it made me feel great. When I started recording the CD I told Mike that I wanted to do something with it but I wanted it to be just me, no other instruments. The take that's on the CD is the first take I did. I didn't mean for it to be that long but when I listened to it afterwards I thought...well, that's that...I like it. It was originally called Wailin' Soul...then my brother baptized it Echo Location...this is actually what it was supposed to be called and at some point when I typed in the info for the CD production I accidentally called it Echo Central...Sorry Denis, Echo Location really was a better title.

Drop the gun

I don't remember what show I was watching but I was playing guitar and some cop show was ending...I started imagining and old Mike Hammer/Mickey Spillane type of movie and the starting run to Drop the gun started spilling out of my guitar...I really liked it and I messed around with it, recorded a rough cut so I wouldn't forget it. Then I went to my friend Bob's place and did the bass part. When it came time to do the guitar parts, I pictured a good looking woman with the 40's look lighting a cigarette in a dirty alley...she then hears a bass line coming out of a bar, walks over to the doors and when she opens them she sees a smoky dive full of Gangsters with Tommy Guns...there's a band on stage and the guitarist starts playing along with the bass line...basically, if he doesn't perform well enough he's dead...so I played the whole guitar solo with that thought...that's why it's ragged...I had to keep on inventing...I then redid the bass at whiteNoize Audio and Mike White did the drums.

Out of darkness

If the bass line for this tune sounds repetitive that's because it's the same bass line throughout the tune. I came up with it one night after I'd just bought a bass and was doing sound tests with the bass plugged into my Guitar POD and into my PC running Cubase. I redid the bass line clean in the studio and Mike dirtied it up and put it in a loop...I then did 3 different takes of lead guitar in a couple of different evenings. I then gave it to Mike and said, here, create a tune...Oh, the drums...right...Mike played some of the guitar runs in the headphones and did a bunch of different takes of drums that sounded great. At some point there was nothing in his headphones except for the click track and he kept on playing drum beats to it...he had the tune playing in his head...that's why he and I worked so well together...the chemistry was amazing.

Goodbye

Ah, Goodbye, La pièce de résistance...For me this is the tune that had to SAY something without words. Never have been this scared of messing something up that sounded so amazing in my head and heart. You see, this tune is very close to my heart. It's dedicated to my two little cousins that lost their parents. My cousin, their father, was like a brother to my siblings and I, he passed away in 95 and their mother passed away in 01. My family has had to say good-bye to many people in the last 15 years and we had just lost my aunt as I was recording the CD. I used to call her my mother number 2...so when I did the guitar solo to this tune I'd done 6 takes and Mike was happy...I needed to FEEL it so that YOU would feel it too. I asked him to give me a minute...I brought all of the ghosts in with me and told them how much I missed them. When the tears started flowing I said, "Roll it"...I then launched into the solo and as I was finishing it I had tears flowing and was sweating so much that the strings started slipping off my fingers. I really hope that this piece touches you the way it touched me.