Drummer Mike Portnoy (ADRENALINE MOB, FLYING COLORS, ex-DREAM THEATER) has checked in with a new update on his project with bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS) and guitarist Richie Kotzen (ex-POISON, ex-Mr. Big):
“Start the day with one of the tunes from February’s writing session. This is the only track on the album that Richie did not write the lyrics for, as yours truly decided to poke his head out of lyrical retirement (at least for the moment) with this one.
As I posted/tweeted last month: after writing dozens of lyrics for DT, when I completed my ’12 Step Suite’ and wrote ‘The Best Of Times’ for my dad in 2008 – I really felt I had said everything I wanted to say lyrically (at least for the time being) and even told John Petrucci while we were making Black Clouds & Silver Linings that I was contemplating hanging up my hat in that department. I didn’t want to ‘have’ to write lyrics. I felt I would rather write them when inspiration struck and I wanted to write them.
Well, after four years off in that area, I was indeed inspired by one of the songs me, Billy and Richie wrote and I had some lyrical content that inspired me to get back on the horse (at least for one more song! A few weeks ago, I demo-ed a version of me singing the song (as I always did in DT for James to learn) and handed this one off to Richie to prepare to bring to life with his amazing voice.
In any case, this is the song that I started today’s drum tracking sessions with. It’s currently called ‘Guiding Angel’ and it is a super strong, very melodic, straight ahead song (kinda in the U2 vein)
I run through three takes and then begin the comping process with Alex…
BTW – for those of you curious what ‘the comping process’ is I’ve been referring to throughout this entire studio diary: I basically listen down to each take for each section and decide which drum performances I like best and then me and the engineer make a composite (comp) to create the final drum track. When I’m listening down to each take, I make a chart with the song’s arrangement and mark off which drum parts I like best…and then the ones I use, I circle on the chart (this is mainly to help keep track of the cuts for when it’s time to put together and edit my drum-cam DVD for the album – as of course, I always film/document every session and have done drum-cam DVD’s for most of the studio albums I’ve done over the last 10 years)
For example, here’s a photo of my drum-take/comp chart for this particular song:
Anyways, as we were working on this track we received a strange visit from somebody. Hmmm….
We then dive into another one of the songs we wrote in February that was waiting in the wings, which is an amazingly cool, dark ballad called ‘The Dying’. Another fairly simple songs in terms of composition, but it’s got a bit of an epic feel to it…it’s got a great open guitar solo in it that I KNOW Richie is going to SOAR on…can’t wait to hear what he puts down on it!
We wrap up fairly early this evening at around 9pm, so I take advantage of the early wrap and jet out over to Hollywood to catch a film I’ve been wanting to see for a while but hadn’t been able to yet (Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom) and with that, we now have 13 drum tracks done!