Singled Out: Jonny Lives! - Parking Lot
The most interesting factoid about "Parking Lot", the new single off the album "Revolution For Free" is that the recording uses an unheard of technique of data transfer that is probably a one-of-a-kind technique for how to get a super analog sound when mixing a track.
We recorded "Parking Lot" as part of a two song session at Dangerous Music in NYC. The A room at Dangerous has been home to recordings for The Rolling Stones, Queen Latifah, Afrika Bambatta, Don Was and many other incredible bands. The equipment, A 19th century Steinway , a mint original AKG C12 next to a Neumann U47 fet, ELUX251, KM86s and the latest Royer stereo ribbons, create am environment of pure audio bliss. So it's pretty funny when you end up forgetting to calibrate the right tape speed when you move the session from one Studer tape machine to another for mastering.
It's even funnier when this mistake winds up making the song 1/2 pitch lower and slower then it's supposed to be!
This is what happened during the production of Parking Lot and fortunately for us, it was only after pressing 300 cd's that we figured this out.
We had a really great vibe going on in the studio during the tracking of this song, and I remember finishing a guitar part and walking into the control room to find Jon Weber, who plays drums on this song, with an electric guitar, playing along with the track and auditioning a part for Albert Hammond Jr. who had stopped in to check out the mixes. Jon has a tendency to get what he wants musically and he is also usually right in the end, if ever there's a difference of opinion. He had been lobbying to play guitar on this song and I was pretty against it, as I thought I had all the parts worked out on my own.
I walked in and saw everyone rocking out to his part and I gave in, proclaiming, "ok Jon, you can record the guitar part". Then everyone started laughing because it turns out that the entire last playback of the song when I thought we were just listening back, they were actually recording Jon already and just left it out of my headphones. It's the guitar part that sounds like Cheap Trick's Rick Nielson, and it comes in after the 2nd chorus and then it really wails over the end.
It was actually Jon Weber who saved this song in many ways. It was ultimately him who discovered that we had mixed the song down with an incorrect sample rate, which wound up slowing down the pitch. We had just received back the 300 cd's that we were planning on selling as singles, and giving away to radio, and we were listening at Jons apartment and he grabbed a guitar to play along with his now epic guitar part and it was out of tune. He had just tuned his guitar, so we were extremely puzzled. Then it hit us! We realized it was a 1/2 step lower then it should be. To fix this, we sped up the tape machine to adjust the track to its correct speed and then bounced the track back to digital for the manufacturing of the C.d. We got to run this mix through the famous Dangerous 2 Bus to add in even more warmth and the ultimate end product was much warmer sounding then it would've been without the mistake. In hindsight it is pretty noticeable with my voice sounding like Al Green on the mistake c.d, and by the way, I still have 300 of those lying around if anyone wants a "collectors item"...
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!