Arena Rock Recording Company, 2003
Dave Fridmann finally
gave in to my constant petitioning and allowed us back to
his studio for one more album. The band spent numerous weekends-from
October 2001 to May 2002 racking up Greyhound Bus mileage
shuttling between NYC and Fridmann's upstate New York TarBoxRoad Studios,
recording and mixing Bad Timing.
title track was inspired by a barroom conversation that
I overheard (or dreamt I overheard) about someone wanting
to quit rock and roll ("It's too late to cop out/too
soon to dropout"). I think somewhere in the back of
my mind it occurred to me that rock and roll might be killing
me. The song “Disaster Film” articulates this
run for your life
your friends are gonna eat you alive
they’re outta their minds on pills
their lives are like disaster films
they aint never gonna win no Nobel Prizes…”
I was wrong of course. Rock and roll never killed anybody.
Bad Timing was a response to Maledictions.
Maledictions was filled with synthetic sounds and
played by drug-addled people. On Bad Timing it
was all organic sounds and it was the first recording that
I had ever made sober.
Timing features the leaner, meaner Grand Mal, including
longtime members Steve Borgerding on guitar, Jonathan Toubin
on bass, and Parker Kindred on drums and backing vocals.
Stephen Drozd of the Flaming Lips who was living in Fredonia
at the time added piano, organ, moog and slide guitar on
four tracks. Fellow Lip Michael Ivins was the assistant
engineer. Old friend and former Mercury Rev flutist Suzanne
Thorpe contributed some nice Thick-as-a-Brickian touches.
And our usual secret weapon Carmen Quinones added some soulful
Exile on Main Street backing vocals. Members of
Hopewell, the Silent League and The Fame also contributed.
was easily G.Mal’s finest album to date. A back to
basics affair recorded at lightening speed. The Faces, and
the Hoople were obvious touchstones – particularly
evident in Borgerding’s blues-based guitar bends and
riffs. Most people have never heard it. Perhaps it will
be re-issued some day. You never know.
to our low funds, a barter system was once again set up
in order to compensate (theoretically at least) Dave for
his time. It was arranged that the Mal would assist in constructing
an addition to the Tarbox Studios. This addition would be
the climate controlled tape storage room. Perhaps now, hammer
in hand, I would finally be able to make a worthwhile contribution
to the history of recorded music. I have fond memories of
waking early one morning and unloading a truckload of lumber.
And on another Steve Borgerding and I crawled under the
studio and installed some nasty fiberglass insulation. I
had to be careful to avoid breathing in the particles. Otherwise
the vocals might not sound so good…. If you listen
carefully you can hear the pounding of a hammer in the background
of “Quicksilver” (no, it’s not a homage
to the Beach Boys’ Smile). We managed not to destroy
Tarbox or to mutilate ourselves too badly so it worked out.
Round Knockout MP3.
2. Bad Timing
4. Old Fashioned
6. Duty Free
7. Get Lost
8. Flowin' Tide
10. Lay Right Down
11. Steal It Back
Whitten - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Steve Borgerding - guitar, bass, keyboards
Dave Fridman - piano, bass
Jonathan Toubin - keyboards, bass
Parker Kindred - drums, percussion, background vocals
J. Russo - guitar
Steven Drozd - slide guitar, piano, Mellotron, organ
Reno Bo - slide guitar, background vocals
James Beaudreau - slide guitar
Suzanne Thorpe - flute
Justin Russo - Hammond B-3 organ
Carmen Quinones - background vocals
Christina Calph - background vocals
by Bill Whitten and Dave Fridmann.
Recorded at Tarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, New York between
October 2001 & May 2002.
more about this period in Grand Mal Mythology, Part 4 (2000
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