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Mark Sipin / Blog

New Album

The long awaited new album "Can You Hear Me Now", is available on TMG, and is available NOW for purchase BEFORE it's global release date of January 7, 2014!!! It has 2 appearances by special guest keyboardist wizard Derek Sherinian!!! Derek has played with everyone from Dream Theater to Kiss. Get yours by following the link!!! http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=847726015464

For Today

"Weep not for the dead, but for the living..." I think it says it all. I'm not ashamed to say I loved Van Morrison, Joe Cocker, The Faces, Uriah Heep, Humple Pie...those '70's bands could really nail a groove to the wall and tell a complete story in a song, and this is directly influenced by that '70's music. The cool guitar sound is my Panther flanger, set to my "Robin Trower Bridge of Sighs" sound, that echoplex and delay oscillation. I love Hendrix and the Univibe, and Trower OWNED that sound. I've heard Pat Travers use it before,too, just hanging out on the edge of feedback, and I just took it from them. BTW, Pat is one BAD ASS guitarist! I got the flanger in Germany, and found that setting by accident, just fooling with the knobs. I marked it so I could always get it back. I love the way it makes those sustained chords just sound so cool! I use it on "Broken Angels" also. It's also on the solo to "Sea Of Dreams". I think it's my way of not letting my influences fall away, and when people dig what I'm doing, I steer them to where I got it from. After all, nothing in music is really new, it's just a collection of our influences, put together and made new by where we take them.

Sea Of Dreams

This song almost never happened. My ADAT's were dying, and I had a lot of trouble getting this recorded. I had to send out a machine in the middle of recording it to get it fixed. Then, my one year old mixing board died. I sent it to the only authorized dealer repair shop on the East Coast to get it repaired, and he kept it for two months. He always said it was finished, and he was shipping it back that day....for two months!! I finally had to call the maufacturer and complain. I got a person there who really hooked me up, and eventually, I got the vice president of the company involved. He personally called me to tell me he had spoken with the dealer, and told them if I didn't have it the next day, they were pulling the dealer's license. He gave me his office phone number and told me to call him the next day, whether I had it or not. I did receive it the next day, called him and told him, and thanked him for getting it to me. Two months gone, I'm finally back up, and the ADATs begin having time code problems. They use the edge of the tape to store time information that only the machine can read. That way, you could hook up 16 machines together and run them from one, and all the tapes are running at the same speed, which is critical. As I was recording, the time code began to jump out of synch. The only fix is to make a copy of the tape and try to save it. My problem? It's EVERY tape I put in the machine! It's having problems reading the code from every thing I put in. This set of 8 tracks had my vocals, all the guitars and one the bass tracks. I lose it, I lose the song! I literally did the vocals, and as I was doing a rough mix, I began recording it onto CD. Thank God, because after the first complete pass, the time code got destroyed. The tape was ruined, and the music is lost forever. It's on the tape, but irretrieveable, because there is no time code. No machine will play it because it can't read it anymore. What is on the CD is the only copy of this song ever recorded. I can hear certain things in the playback that is physically the machine eating and destroying the tape. The guitar part that is the feedback and the solo I did with my red Kramer, pictured on the back. To get the feedback notes just right, I had to kneel down in front of my cabinets. Feedback is literally created on the spot, and losing those great guitar parts would have been a tragic loss. I'm thankful for having this copy, because those guitar parts are truly the heart of the song. This song was saved from death, literally, in the time it takes to hear it. It was being mixed and destroyed at the same time. perfect for the song, because it's really what it's about!!

Never Mind

I was demoing this, and trying out a bassist and a drummer. We ended up playing a version of this that's pretty close to what I had recorded the day before they came down. Wierd! Anyway, it's actually a very angry song about being taken advantage of. The situation I wrote it about involves some pretty messed up stuff. I cut that off in my life, but since it was such a big part of my past, I needed closure. After I did this song, I knew I had let it all go. it was therapy for me in a way, a catharsis, if you will. I no longer care about that situation, I cut my losses and moved on. People tell me that it's an angry song, and it is, but most also hear the releasing of that anger in it. They like it because they can apply it to their own situations, and it's their "goodbye" to their own bad situations in life. That's what music is supposed to be about, and if they can connect with what I write, I succeeded. The solo is my direct tribute to the late James Honeyman-Scott. He was the original guitarist for The Pretenders. His unique style was a huge influence on many punk band guitarists, and I love his music. Their first album is fantastic, and I recommend that you go get it. He influenced me because I could hear his attitude in his playng, like Joe Perry, and I love people who put that much into their music. Bob Mould comes to mind. J Mascus, from Dinosaur Jr, too. Who really gives a damn if you can play a million notes a second, what are you SAYING? I know it sound funny coming from a guy who usually plays like that, but James said a lot, at least to me. I got it, and I did the chord deconstruction solo with him in mind.

King For A Day

I was watching an Iron Maiden interview, and Bruce Dickinson said the line "It's like you're king for a day". I had my Ovation acoustic sitting next to me, and I picked it up. I had been messing with the opening chords part for three or four days. I sang the line "King for a day, how would you rule". I went to the studio and played the whole song, sitting there writing lines and playing parts until I had it finished. I did the drums, played the acoustic, put in the rhythm guitars, the bass and then the vocals. I did the lead guitar parts, added the outtro section, and it was done. All in five hours time. I love the song, and it's actually about two different points of view. I won't reveal the subject matter I wrote it about, it's for you to interpret, but it definately has a point. I think my bass lines on this song are some of my best ever. I love to play bass, and I think this song came out really well considering the fact that I invented every part as I went along. Every track is one take, one pass, first time through. The last vocal note is my little Sebastian Bach tribute. He may be alot of things, but the man is an incredible singer, and I always wanted to do a thing like that in a song. I think I nailed it. I'm no real studio singer, but I'm pretty proud of this song.

so

I wrote this with a band I was in off and on for 12 years. With that band, it never had that type of bass line, nor the backbeat swing to it. While making the album, I got a phone call from Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. He wanted to hear more of my stuff, and this was the last song I recorded. Fight Song was the last song mixed, but this was the last one recorded. True story: 3am, and I've got to get to the Ampitheater by 8am to give a CD to the Box Office Manager to give to Steven's personal assistant to give to him. I got this killer song, with a fantastic groove part, especially at the solo section, but I have no solo, no ideas, I'm burnt out, exhausted and under deadline. I plugged in my PRS Cuatom 24 into my GSP2101 processor, dialed in my solo settings, hooked up my Bad Horsie wah pedal, I put my headphones on, put my foot on the wah, closed my eyes and let it go. Yes, every note is picked. I was thinking about Joe Perry, and how he plays with attitude. He's a huge influence on me, and it WAS going to Steven, so.....if you notice, I get behind the beat during the solo. A little thing I learned from watching the blues guys while growing up, and completely Muddy Waters influenced. I love the guy's music, and it came out one one pass. Never opened my eyes until the last note. What that sound at the end is is me stepping on the wah and grabbing the neck to silence the strings so I wouldn't have to edit the track. Remember, it's 3am and I still have to mix it and go!

She Uh Huh

I wrote and recorded this song in four hours. From idea to the mixed version you hear. This song was the easiest to complete, because at the time, the studio gear was fully functional, and I had no mechanical issues. I broke out my old Panther flanger for the guitar 'solo', put it on a crazy setting by just twisting the knobs and plugging it in. The solo was first take, one pass, just winging it. No rehersal, no warm up, just roll tape and hit record. This is actually the second version, because I wrote it slightly different, listened back once it was complete, and rewrote it with a few minor changes. I did the drums first, as always, live no click track, then the bass, the two rhythm guitar tracks, the solo, the lead vocals, then the backing vocals. I mixed it and it was on CD in just under four hours start to finish. It's the first song that was completed, and the album was done around it. I don't do "funk" style music, so it's pretty cool that that came out of me! Don't know where or how I came up with it, but it all started with the opening guitar part, before the verse. The rest, I have no idea.

The making of 'Seven'

First, a little background.....I recorded Seven on 16 track ADAT, which is Analog Digital Audio Tape, meaning each machine uses a VCR tape and records 8 digital tracks, with a timecode embedded in the tape to synchronize the machines to run together. They need maintenance from time to time, but since they're the OLD way of recording, it's hard to find people who still work on them. Everything in the '80's was done on ADAT because it was state of the art. It works great, but now it's done on computers, so they are no longer used by the pro studios. I had a stand alone CD recorder that I mixed down to, and a full rack of analog processors, like reverb, chorus, compressor and effect processors, to make the music mixes sound great. I went through some crazy times making and mixing that album, and I'll go through a song by song list to show everyone what happened, and maybe you'll get to understand why "7" was so hard to get completed, and why it's so short. It's a crazy story and I though you might like to know, and while you listen to it, you can hear for yourself all the things that went on, and realize that the odds of even getting ONE of those songs out were astronomical in favor of them being lost forever. I hope you enjoy reading this.

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