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Rock School Rocks 

Rock School send their love to MARC7 members for our donation to their .org.  You may recall we're chipping in $1 for each MARC7 membership. Davis and Thaddeus teach there in their spare time and they do good work. In the future we may play a show for the kool kidz at Rawk Skool.

In other news, we comped vocals with Steve last week so all the tracking is officially complete and ready for mixing. Steve's going to mix 2 or 3 songs at a time call Daniel in to listen. I'll be the fall guy for communicating mix tweaks between Fisk and the rest of the band. I believe that's called wearing the meat jacket - ha!

Recording complete! 

Reggie finished vocals for the new album yesterday. It looks like we'll end up with 11 songs. All that's left is mixing (Fisk), mastering (don't know who'll do that yet -- ideas?) and then the release of the album. Oh -- and artwork and naming the album. We've got a line on the cover art which should work nicely. And we're kicking around an album title idea. I'll let you know what we come up with. Here are some shots of us the last couple days -- Davis listening, Steve playing the ARP 2600 synth on the album, Reggie playing with hand puppets, my head:

The vocals rule -- nice work Reggie! Amazingly, we made it through 11 songs in 3.5 days of overdubs at Fisk's home studio. And we were able to keep original live vocal takes on a handful of songs which is a big win for us. We set out to record this album by capturing the live feel of the band and the energy that comes from our unique ability to write and arrange songs together quickly. Basically to grab the songs when they are fresh and the intent of the song is unbriddled by over analysis. We accomplished this and then some. Even the vocal overdubs were fast and furious.

One of the great things about recording at Steve's place is that you get to experience his and Kathy's fine taste in artwork. See for youself -- a chicken on a toilet, a blowfish, my foot on their painted wood floors, and a sweet little turtle with flowers painted on it's shell. This merely scratches the surface ...

Question: are people excited about this album? I'm personally ecstatic.

P.S. congrats to Seattle musician Blake for taking the dark horse runner-up slot on American Idol.


Remember the Hall of Justice?  Where all the Superfriends collect on a moment's notice to whoop some evil ass. That's what this album feels like except in our case it's to record an album and the Superfriends are my bandmates and Producer/Engineers Steve and Stuart. We go into the studio and Stuart takes the week to personally engineer the album and drags out his best vintage preamps and mics for the occassion -- Aquaman in the house. And today at Fisk's house he starts dialing things in and making songs sound glorious -- go Green Lantern. And to think we started with a crazy idea of getting our friends and fans involved in the process by funding the album through MARC7 -- Wonder Twin Powers Activate! Okay, enough.

Today I picked Reggie up from the aiport. He's been at home in Montana hanging out with his mother and back in NYC comedying. Today involved taking a nap, buying some nourishment at PCC, rolling to Steve's house/studio to get the mic up and singing. Here are the pictures to prove it ...

Steve Fisk digs it 

Rolled over to Steve Fisk's house/studio today with Davis to drop off the masters. After a fine sushi lunch at Mori on 85th, we headed back to Steve's to listen to the rough tracks. Fisk dug it. He and Reggie should be getting together at the end of May to bust out the final vocals. At one point Steve called me and Davis "kids" and schooled us on some old school musicians we'd never heard of (the Chambers Brothers). But I told him about Gene Harris, and it was pretty much a draw. And we learned a bit more about the Kurt Cobain documentary called About A Son that Fisk and Ben Gibbard wrote the soundtrack for -- it's playing at the SIFF this summer so be sure to catch it.

Back to Fisk. He's a total creative nutball hyper-verbal intellectual and probably our favorite producer of all time. Why? Because he rocks and he doesn't put on airs. If fishsticks were fisksticks, we'd all love them ... even without the tartar.  Here's a picture of Steve listening to the tracks in his studio with a few other snapshots (Helloo sign on his front door, sketch of his pug Sarah, safety reflector mural on Steve & Kathy's living room wall):

last day in studio 

90% of the album is live takes with little or no repairs, but we still spent today adding just a few percussion, keyboard and guitar tracks and fixing flubs. Part of the philosophy with this album was to write and record in the studio quickly and leave it pretty much as we played it without too much overthinking and overdubbing. We'll overdub the vocals, but even in that case we have songs where the live take with the band and Reggie captures something special -- and we'll just use that live vocal track.

Next up, a couple days of vocal overdubs and then Fisk will mix the album -- unless he gives us the finger (sorry about the scheduling thing, Steve). Fisker-doodle-doo, we heart you 'n shit.

Davis doing his overdub thing:

2 more studio days ... and rap sheet 

We've got 2 more days at Avast in Seattle to get the band recorded -- vocal overdubs will occur with Steve Fisk at his home studio. We've been working long days, but it's sounding good and we'll have plenty of material for an album. I've been putting together a Maktub rap sheet aimed at collecting all the little bits that are easy to forget -- who we've played with, who supports us, where you've heard our music on TV/radio/film, etc. This is a first draft so drop us a line if you see corrections or improvements.

Greek to us 

Stuart bought us lunch today at a Greek joint -- great food. Not only is he spending all day in the studio with us as  Engineer/Co-Producer but he picks up the tab. Aw shucks!

Pawn Shops, Vimeo, Blake & Greeting Cards 

Another stellar day of sun in Seattle brings with it two new songs in the studio.  That's six so far if you're counting. We had a rough idea from a few months back that Kevin had on his ipod. On his morning walk down Pine Street he stopped by Capitol Loans and borrowed a bass off the wall and wrote the killer bass line that pulled together one of our most unique songs to date. And if that's not techie enough for you the second song of the day was written using a video clip on Vimeo that Reggie posted a few days ago as a rough idea.

Favorite Maktub quote of the day comes from the Seattle Times article on Bothell/Seattle's own Blake Lewis who is in the final 4 of the American Idol competition. Quoted in the article is local musician Kent Halvorsen, "The last time I remember everyone talking about the same thing was when Maktub's second album, 'Khronos,' came out".  Thanks for the shameless plug, Kent. Go Blake!

Oh -- and Fisk stopped by the studio to see what he's going to have to work with after we're done recording with Stuart. At one point he told me that my keyboards sounded good ... like I could write songs for greeting card commercials that make women cry. Cheeky monkey.

more random pictures from the day ....

tape is rolling 

Actually, we're not using tape -- we're recording directly to ProTools which is a fancy way of saying that the new album is all on a hard drive (please no crashie!). But the tape analogy is appropriate as we're burning the midnight oil writing and recording tunes. We began on Sunday and we're heading into the studio at noon-ish today (Wednesday). Our last day for tracking the entire band is Saturday. So far we've got 4 tunes down and they're pretty slamming from what I can tell. It's always hard to see the forest for the trees when living a light-deprived life in the studio, but things are sounding great so far.

I tend to be the typist for Maktub (as in I channel thoughts and blog them) and I think we're all happy to be hanging out making music together. There seems to be a inordinate level of human drama that has occured in recent months with all of us. Reggie is doing well, considering his father just passed away. Thaddeus lost his girlfiend in a car wreck recently and my Uncle George died as we headed into the studio. But with all that we've also had great moments -- success at business, family (Davis recently married Suzette), music, comedy, etc. So, fortune's wheel continues it's cazy spin and like a spinning record it tends to make sweet music.

Some random photos from the studio ...

Charles Alfonso Watts - May 4, 1928 to May 5, 2007 

Hey folks - I'm sorry to pass on the news that Reggie's dad passed away today. I know I speak on behalf of the Kevin, Davis, Thaddeus and myself when I say that we love you Reggie.  You, your mom and your dad are in our thoughts and prayers.