Well, now...The recording for "Live Free or Fry" is done!!!! It's a glorious day!
And lemme tll you, the difference it makes when you have a pro producer like Mark Williams on your side is just incredible. "Good enough" is no longer good enough. Go til you get it nailed, and that's what we did. Mark is blessed with an incredible ear, a great sense of space, and the patience of a glacier, which is most definitely needed when you work with us. And the payoff...well, you'll hear the results for yourself soon enough.
For "Live Free", we had access to a treasure trove of exceptional guitars and amps, which had Rik, Keith, and Derek grinning like mental patients. Vintage Fender Surfmaster, hot-rodded Tele, Vintage P Bass, a gorgeous old Gibson Melody Maker, PRS, Martin...just a killer arsenal. And the amps? Classic Fender Bassman, Matchless, and Purple, all delivered thru Pete Cage's fantastic cabinets. All delivered warm, honest , soulful sounds and made our tracks come alive.
We knocked out vocal tracks in yesterday's final session, and damn, we almost sound like real singers. Scary good.
If you've dug what you've heard from us on Raw Barn and the Hard Times for Softshells EP, Live Free or Fry is taking the Clams sound to an entirely new level. Can't wait for y'all to check it out.
Next up is fine-tuning, mixing, and mastering, with a release date coming in early 2014. CD Release events are being planned in Baltimore, on the Mid-Shore, and at the beach. Stay tuned for details on all that mess.
See y'all soon!
We've been hard at it of late, cutting tracks for our 3rd album in Washington DC with producer Mark Williams. The days/nights are long, but the sound so far is exquisite.
Our first two albums "Raw Barn" and "Hard Times for Softshells" were both cut with a real wham-bam, thank-you-ma'am attitude, which allowed us to capture the rawness of our live shows, but limited the scope of the songs themselves.
Mark, on the other hand, is slowing down the process, taking the time to get the most out of each individual performance and track. And since he's worked with heavyweights like James Taylor, Vertical Horizon, Justin Sheehy, and even U2's Bono, we feel inclined to take his word for it! The process is slow and exacting, but the results so far are staggering. That's GOOD staggering.
We're also using a blend of vintage gear and top tier new instruments this time around. The '65 Fender Jazzmaster I played on our surf instrumental Macabuca was so perfect and pristine, I felt like it came straight from God's own guitar collection. And Darlington used a Mike Dirnt signature Fender bass that added an extra layer of sweet fatness.
We'll be previewing songs from the new album in the next few weeks, and are looking to mid-Summer for our CD release. Hope yer as excited as we are! -Rik
After a nearly 2 year run with the band, guitarist Clay Owens has decided to move on to new pastures. We're gonna miss that boy! Sad to see Clay go, but we're also fired up as hell to have keyboardist Arif Durrani join as a full time Clam. Arif brings a ton of performance experience with him, and the dual threat of honky tonk piano and rhythm & blues organ.
It's taken three years of personnel changes, but the Clams lineup is complete, and quite bad-assed. Come hear it for yourself at a Clams show near you.
2012 has been a pretty damn good year, thanks to the support of great folks like y'all. We're as tired as a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest, but we're having a blast! Here are some of our favorite Clams moments of 2012:
1. Pulled off a major coup in February and convinced Uncle Ted Corletta to be our drummer. 2. Performed twice at Seacrets in Ocean City, live on the air on Ocean 98 FM's Live Lixx at Six (March & June) 3. Performed at MD Fuel Fund Benefit with blues icon Deanna Bogart sitting in on keys, and Michael Steele, Sheila Dixon, and most of Baltimore's media in the audience.(June) 4. Performed a series of acoustic shows in Grand Cayman in August. 5. Played 2012 Eastport a-Rockin event, and sold out of CDs just 10 minutes after our set. 6. Opened for Johnny Lang at Baltimore Soundstage in October 7. Clams song Lauderdale Stomp selected as a Top Track of 2011 by Hoss the Boss Radio in Austin, TX. 8. Chosen to be one of the final bands to perform at the legendary Steer Inn in Berlin, MD (March) 9. Performed at Chesapeake Bay Wine Festival in May. 10. Invited to play at iconic jazz/blues promoter's Sydney Arzt's summer music series in June in Rehoboth Beach, DE. 11. Performed at Ocean 98 FM's Bike Event in August in Ocean City, MD and fell in love with the Hooters girls. 12. Added a pile of terrestrial and internet radio stations that now have our music in rotation. 13. Performed for 6,000+ at Kegs & Corks Festival in Jessup, MD in August 14. Opened AND closed the season at the always-amazing Dirty Dave's Tiki Bar. 15. Played the 1st Annual Craft Beer & Music Festival in Annapolis in Oct at Navy Marine Corps Stadium. . 16. Pacifico Rik opened acoustically for Austin, Texas singer/songwriter Charli Faye at NightCat in Easton, MD in July. 17. Played the 2012 Multicultural Festival in May in Easton, MD, and were brought onstage by our pal, radio legend Big Don O'Brien. 18. Interview with Karli Kojala for What's Up Magazine in January. 19. Pictorial feature by Michael Rhian Driscoll in June in The Examiner. 20. Recorded four tracks at the historic CTR Studios in May. 21. Performed at Party on the Bay Festival in September. 22. Played Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehoboth Beach, DE in September.
We've had a great time with y'all this year, and amazingly, there's still a few shows left! And 2013 looks like a mo fo as well. Many thanks to everyone reading this. You are the gas in our hemi, and the monkey in our wrench. Thank you for allowing us to get away with doing what we do. -TRC
We love it when y'all send us questions. We've been collecting them all, and starting today will be posting them regularly right here for your reading pleasure. (Submit your questions to Clams@Atlanticbb.net)
Muchas gracias! Keep em coming! -RC
Q: What was the last CD or MP3 album you played in your vehicle? -Richard in Wilson, NC
SCOUTMASTER: Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” (the full edition with mono and new stereo mixes)
UNCLE TED: “Lovesick, Broke, & Driftin” by Hank Williams III
BUCKET: “Sticky Fingers” – Rolling Stones
PACIFICO: “Back in the Day-Summer Hip Hop Mix” I got it at Starbucks while waiting for my Grande Half-Caf Skinny Mocha Short Pants Caramel Latte Coolata Macchiato. It’s a great collection of 90s Hip-Hop, with artists like De La Soul, Beastie Boys, Digable Planets, Tribe Called Quest, etc. Now I’m a total bad-ass running around town in my Rav 4 and Armani shades, with Coolio thumping from the sub-woofer.
Q: If you were being dropped on a deserted island for the next five years and could only bring one album with you, what would you bring? Why? -Roadrunner44 (location unknown)
SCOUTMASTER: Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”. This is the closest thing to a perfect album in that it’s a concept album with a great narrative that flows from start to finish and yet the individual songs work as individual songs. Also, the musical flow of the production, segues and songs sends you on a journey that changes with every listen.
UNCLE TED: Sorry, but Uncle Ted is on a rebel mission on this one... I would have to sneak 4 albums onto the island: - Rush: Hemispheres- The perfect album to veg out to, or drive the car you’re drivin like you stole it! - John Coltrane: A Love Supreme - If I only had a few days to live, I would want John's saxophone playing to help transport me to the pearly gates of heaven...Oh and the rest of his band would have to be there also... - The Beatles: Abbey Road – Yo, it doesn't get much better than this. - The Police: Ghost in the Machine...Every little thing this trio does is magic...haha
BUCKET: Two things: “The Complete Carl Perkins Sun Recordings” (He is where Country, Blues, Hillbilly and early R&B all collided in Western Tennessee) and The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Axis: Bold As Love” (My all-time favorite album by anybody. I still hear new things on it and interpret it in new ways).
PACIFICO: “Exile on Main St” by the Rolling Stones. It’s dark, it’s raw, it’s dirty…the most perfect blend of blues and rock n roll I’ve ever heard. In my back pocket I’d have “Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison”. I can’t think of a recording that has more pure rebel attitude than this. And since we’re breaking all the damn rules anyway, I’m also carrying “Legalize it” by Peter Tosh. Not to take anything away from Mr. Bob Marley, but for me, this is the quintessential reggae album. The title track gets all the buzz (buzz! Get it?) and that’s fine, but songs like “Til Your Well Runs Dry” and “Why Must I Cry” are masterpieces. And come on. If I’m sitting on an island, I’m gonna wanna hear some freaking reggae music!
Q: What is the first album you ever bought with your own hard-earned money? -Amy in Annapolis, MD SCOUTMASTER KEITH: It was the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper”. I had gotten the movie soundtrack by the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton as a Christmas present and I was curious to hear the real thing.
UNCLE TED: “Machine Head” by Deep Purple
BUCKET OWENS: Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Other Christmas Favorites”. It was June.
PACIFICO RIK: Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle”. With the remaining few bucks in my pocket, I also picked up a dusty bargain bin copy of “America’s Greatest Country & Western Hits” featuring Tom T. Hall, Freddy Fender, Red Sovine, and others. Man, I wish I still had that one.
-Check y'all soon!
So, this week, we got a rare opportunity to jump back in time about 50 years, and record a few tracks Sun Records-style, at CTR Studios in Kent County, MD. CTR hasn't done music in a long time, but the place is still intact--a little white building on a hill with two recording rooms, a control booth, and a small office, and a vibe that's straight outta "O Brother, Where Art Thou."
Early Thursday evening, Scoutmaster, Darlington, and I showed up with with acoustic guitars and mandolin, and cut 4 new tracks 100% live with zero overdubs (overdubbing wasn't an option!). Now, we always love recording live, but we're also used to the digital wizardry of today's studios to be able to fix a blown lyric or bad note on the fly. But CTR had no crutches to lean on, which meant that we had to be spot-on, every time.
So, after 11 takes on the first song, we found our groove and rolled. Like engineer KT told us "it's easy. Just don't f#ck up".
The raw-yet-warm sound that we heard coming at us during playback had everyone smiling. It's so nice and old school, with Grand Ol Opry radio broadcast feel. And we kept it raw too, with no polishing; not even reverb. Just the way that God and Hank Williams intended.
here's what we did: 1. Corner of "It's Over" and "Goodbye" 2. Poor Man in Richland 3. On Down the Shore 4. Over the Weather
We'll have them posted and available here on RN within the next few days, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
In some ways, I kinda miss the days before I was a musician. Guess that could sound strange to some, but before I knew how to play, I listened to music with purer ears. I didn't know that a blues riff was a 1-4-5 progression, or that the 3rd note was the one in the chord that determined major/minor, and what's more, I didn't care. I simply loved what I heard. Musician's ears, or at least mine, will automatically start to break down and analyze the music I'm listening to, which is like searching for the garlic and trying to determine the spices in the tomato sauce instead of just enjoying the overall flavor. So while musicians may have a more trained ear, I don't think we're enjoying the music we're listening to in the same pure, open-minded way that a non-musician can. Take guitar solos, for instance. At this stage in my life, my favorite guitar players are guys like David Gilmour, James Honeyman-Scott, Stevie Ray, Albert Lee, etc. And to me they're all deep, brilliant, creative performers. But I can clearly recall the guitar solos that hit me hardest in my non-musician days, and in retrospect, they were pretty simple, yet none less brilliant.
I found the first one in 2nd grade, when I came across some old 45s in the attic. I put Elvis's "Jailhouse Rock" on my little plastic record player, and Scottie Moore's solo smacked me across the face like a 2x4. It was so gutteral; so RAW. I'd never heard anything like it--felt like I'd been struck by lightning.
The second one was later in elementary school, when I first heard Grand Funk Railroad's bad-assed version of the Little Eva hit "The Locomotion". Mark Farner's guitar solo is COMPLETELY out of control, slightly off-time, maniacal, all over the place. It was hands-down the coolest thing I'd ever heard.
#3 was in Junior High when I'd first discovered the earlier Rolling Stones songs. I saved up enough cash to buy one of their greatest hits albums, and was digging track after track. then "It's Only Rock & Roll" came on. Great tune, nice and down and durty, slow and slinky, in E, the greatest rock & roll key. They do this little B to A bridge thing after the second chorus that sets up an amazing Chuck Berry-esque riff that Keith absolutely crushes with his trademark groove and rhythm.
Got any faves you wanna share? Hit reply and lay them on me. I wanna hear what they are.
Thanks for paying attention,
Man, it's a great dang feeling when the new album you've been banging on is finally done. Time to cracky da bubbly [in our case, it's Jack Daniels with ginger ale added for carbonation].
"Hard Times for Softshells" is a collection of six Clam-bred songs that have been battle-tested on the road up and down the right coast for the past 1O+ months.From getting liquored-up in the FL Keys [Buy Me An Island], to second-chance romance with a female felon [Southbound Breeze], to beach party boogaloo [Sand On the Tires], we continue the Clam tradition of Drinkin Music. Then there's "Brave", a hard-hitting, Southern-blues ballad written for a good friend who recently lost her husband. We even took a 112 octane-boosted run at one of our Raw Barn tracks [One More Time-Again], and it's freakin' MEAN, man!
Of course, knuckleheads like us can't do this kind of thing alone, so we wanted to send a crate-full of thanks to the following heroes:
Chris Sacks: Chris is a great friend, an awesome individual, and one of the hottest up and comers in the Trop Rock scene. He flew up mid-tour from Miami on an off-day just to lay down the dual vocal with Pacifico on "Sand On the Tires", had a celebratory Mudslide shooter [or three] with us, and then speed-cabbed it back to the airport!
Les Lentz:We've been working with Les for longer than any of us care to admit, and once again, he proved his worth as a master studio engineer and insightful co-producer.
Paul Reed Smith Guitars: Yeah, we know, we're spoiled as an SOB to have a world-class guitar maker like PRS right here on the Shore with us. Marc & Jack were all over this project, hooking us up with Private Stock Tonare Grand acoustic guitars for two separate recording sessions, which retail for about the same price as a new Kia [and worth every damn penny too]Hands down, the warmest sounding and most deeply intrinsic acoustic guitars we've ever played. P-R-S!
JJ Goodman: JJ's Clam tenure was way too short, but his Charlie Watts-like timing and groove on the drums is captured forever right here. It was great of him to take the time to cut these tracks with us, as he helped write several of them.
And to our families, friends, fans and industry contacts who continue to tirelessly support our efforts, we owe you all a big one. While we'd still be making our noise even if we were the last ones left on the planet, it's a whole lot nicer to have people like y'all listening. Muchas gracias!
"Hard Times for Softshells" tracks available now right here on RN, and coming soon to iTunes, CD Baby etc.
Yes, we've spawned again.
We'd been hounded, bugged, and harassed for some new music by everyone from our radio air personality friends to our parents, and we couldn't take it anymore. So, we went back to visit our old pal Les Lentz at LPS Studios in Cordova, MD, and knocked out six brand new Clam tracks. Of course we recorded them live again, with only vocal overdubs. And we had some cameo appearances again too, like Chris Sacks on guest vocal. The result of all this nonsense is a brand new EP we called Hard Times For Softshells. Yowza!
So, check em out, buy em if you like em, share em, and most importantly PLAY THEM LOUD!
And if you'd rather have a CD version, we'll have hard copies at our shows beginning in April.
If you like what you hear, leave a comment PLEASE. And even if you hate them, let us know. We like them, but we're supposed to because we sired them!
That is all. Enjoy!
Took forever and a day, but six new Clams tracks are done, baby, and ready to be released.
We're adding one per day to our Reverb Nation profile, starting on Monday 1/23, and Official Clam Fans will be able to download each of them for free for 24 hours after their posting.
To kick things off, the studio version of "Buy Me An Island" is up and waiting for you. Give a listen, grab a copy, and let us know what you think.