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Sometimes They Come Back

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by DonnyThompson, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Just thought I'd share a little bit of news with my friends here, that I've just heard today...

    Years ago, I was a member of a regional band ( Cleveland-Akron, Northeast Ohio) that had some regional "fame"... The Easy Street Band. We played a lot of big clubs both locally, nationally and in Canada, had a few minor singles that charted here and there throughout Ohio, PA, Michigan, New York and Ontario.

    Our (first) album ( released in 1984 and produced by Dale Peters, bass player for Joe Walsh and The James Gang) was a prop on the bar set of The Drew Carey Show; it sat on top of the jukebox for several seasons; Drew was an old friend of the band's, before he became famous, he used to play the comedy club circuit, near the Cleveland State University area, and he would sometimes pop in and catch our last set at The Cleveland Agora. (he's a really nice guy, BTW).

    After having gone our separate ways in the late 80's, we all reunited one more time in 2002 to record an album of all originals - songs that had only ever been previously recorded as demos; we figured that the songs were good enough to at least record "proper" versions. We recorded and mixed it at my studio in late 2002 over a four week period, mostly just for fun. The result was the "Back On Easy Street" album ( 2003).

    We released the album, sold a few copies, did a few shows, and then both the album and the band disappeared into obscurity again.

    One of these songs, "She's Got Your Name", has recently risen from the grave, resurfacing in an unlikely place, which is in Episode 4 of the this season's "Wicked City" series on Hulu.

    The song is played at apprx 27 minutes into the episode, during a scene in a dive bar.

    I have no idea how it was chosen, who picked it, who decided... I'm in the dark about all that stuff - as usual.
    My responsibility ended over a decade ago, when I sent the mixes to (our very own) Tom Bethel ( @Thomas W. Bethel ) for mastering. ( I knew Tom long before we were both members at RO ).

    The song was written and sung by Steve Simmons, featuring Russ Hagler and Bones Bonam on guitars, Bob Martin on bass, Jim Madden on Piano, with Andy Henkle, Norm Tischler, Jim Pica and Dave Bowe on horns. Steve also played blues harp. I played drums, sang a few backup parts, engineered, and produced.

    It's a loose, bluesy-rock track, most of it was ( as well as most of the other songs on the album) recorded live, all at once ( a few overdubs for lead vocals and solos), to 1" 16 track tape at 15ips.

    It is indeed analog. Very. LOL. ;)

    I've never seen the series, so I've not seen the scene, but here's the song:

  2. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Damn...it is saying the video is unavailable...

    Reading that post and then clicking on the video at the end to find its not available is equivalent to going to MacDonalds' with your girlfriend...and she orders you a salad:(
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Same for me. But, some great history there. Thanks for sharing that Donny. I recall the name.
  4. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    Play me some brickyard blues babe!
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    @audiokid @Sean G @Brien Holcombe

    Let me see if I have a copy I can dig up and upload to our player here...

    well, I don't have a copy, LOL... so the best I could do was to record it off of youtube via analog ins to Samplitude and then render it as an mp3...

    so obviously, it's gone thru several conversion stages by now - but you get the idea. ;)



    Attached Files:

  6. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    I didn't have any problem hearing it. And that was the first thing that came to me, 3dog night, play me some brickyard blues;
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    But you're in The States, as am I... I think the guys who can't view it are from Canada and the U.K.

    Oh those silly little pesky borders...

  8. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    And he said, "I come from a land down under
    Where beer does flow and men chunder
    Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
    You better run, you better take cover", yeah

    And he said, "Oh, you come from a land down under?"
    (Oh yeah, yeah)
    "Where women glow and men plunder?
    Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?"
    "You better run, you better take cover"

    'Cause we are livin' in a land down under
    Where women glow and men plunder
    Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
    You better run, you better take cover

    No guessing where I'm from...and I can't view it
  9. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    As best as I can tell...if America has any borders left, the Internet is the last place.

    But do not worry...that will change as well.
    Sean G likes this.
  10. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Millions of dollars spent by governments drafting free-trade agreements, millions of migrants freely crossing borders in Europe unchecked, and I can't view a video on YT...

    Go figure
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I did manage to upload an mp3 of the song ... ( 4 posts down from the first). I had to grab it off of YT though; I didn't have my own copy. LOL

    I mean, I probably have a copy of the album around here somewhere... but truthfully, I'm not sure I ever even opened it.

    Usually, by the time you've spent the many hours tracking and mixing an album, you're not all that excited to hear it again all that soon - especially considering that we'd played all those songs countless times live as part of our show before we decided to finally record them.

    Maybe I should dig it out, though. I haven't heard any of those songs in a long time... not since the mixing wrapped in late 2002.

    I always liked all the songs... and I even loved some of them for awhile...or at least I did the first 200 times I played/heard them. LOL

    I stripped another one of the album's songs from YT:


    Again, the album was mastered by our very own Thomas Bethel; ( @Thomas W. Bethel ).
    I was sending projects to Tom long before I was a member here on RO... keep in mind that this is a youtube recording, though, and really not indicative of how the album truly sounds in 44/16 CD Audio format.

    Looking back, I probably wasn't the right choice to produce that album - or even the right guy to mix it, either. Because of my familiarity with the songs, I'm not sure I made good choices for things like overall track levels - vocal levels, or certain solos...or arrangements, because I already knew all the parts, all the words, I already knew how the solos sounded; and I think my familiarity with the material and the arrangements put me way too close to the project to be able to make good mix decisions.

    With some of those songs, we had already been playing them live as a regular part of our shows for such a long time - some of them 7, even 8 years. That's a long time to be playing the same material, over and over, and still be able to maintain any sense of fresh objectivity.

    I think we would have done better to have hired an outside producer and mix engineer - people with fresher perspectives, who could have maybe have come up with new ideas, or perhaps done some cool things that I didn't think of, or wasn't able to think of myself, because I was just so used to the way the songs sounded.

    But, it's not like there's not much anyone could do about that now - short of digging out the 1" / 16-track masters of which I think there were 4 reels - you have to remember that a reel of Ampex456/2500', running at 15ips, only gave you around 33 minutes of total recording time, and there were several multi-takes of each song on each reel - plus, finding a 1"/ 16-track 15 ips machine, and an alignment tape for it; and even if you could do those things, that wouldn't change the track performances on the tapes.

    Ya can't put the toothpaste back into the tube. The album is what it is. ;)



    Attached Files:

  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Vintage rock, Donny. Great stuff.
  13. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I did see some YT vids for The Easy Street Band, two drummers...wow, you were really rockin' in sync D !

    You guys really had a great sound for sure
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Ya, that was Van Eidom and Myself. ( If you're watching the video, I'm the drummer on the left with the red Yamaha kit). We had a great time doing those dual-drummer shows.
    Van is a lefty, I'm a right handed player, so our kits were mirrored, hat to hat. It was a lot of fun. :)

    The video below was from one of our album release/reunion shows, (from around 2004, I think).

    dual drum solo from around 2:30 and on:

    And, our lead singer, "Westside" Steve Simmons, was a great songwriter, singer and entertainer. He was a wonderful front-man for the band, dynamic, charismatic, a true entertainer. I say "was" as a mistake, because he is still all those things.
    Easy Street was never really a "tight" band per se'; that's not to say we didn't have some great players, because we did, but we weren't "Steely Dan - Tight". We were best known for being a fun band, a "party" band.

    While a lot of bands had certain parts of their shows "scripted" and pre-fabbed, Steve was a "spur of the moment" entertainer... implusive. Nothing was ever scripted, there was never the same patter or shtick from show to show, and he could lead a show in any direction he wanted to, and at any given time. He worked the crowd based on what was happening right then and there, and he expected his guys to follow and support him in whatever direction he went.
    You had to be on your toes with him, and ready to follow him at a moment's notice, because he could go anywhere at any time, both musically and in shtick. LOL
    But, that was part of what made that band as fun as it was - there was never a dull moment on stage with that band. His "routine" never got old, because it was never "routine" to begin with. His shtick was continually ever-changing, from night to night.

    Van and I both eventually left ESB to play with Jonah Koslen's band, Stage Pass Now; with Van on drums and me on guitar. It was an amicable departure, no hard feelings at all. I'm still good friends with all my old Easy Street band mates. :)


  15. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I picked you as the one on the left on the red yammy kit...and the mirroring is something to behold...

    Iv'e only seen 2 bands with 2 drummers...the other one was the Aussie group The Party Boys from the 1980's

    Mate, you guys locked in pretty well, everyone, the crowd and you guys included, looked like you were enjoying every moment...

    thats what counts...and a good sound to boot.
  16. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Was California the one with the drum solo in the middle?...

    I can't remember...I watched a few...I'll have to watch it again.

    Edit - "Doooh !!!..." looking back on your post, it is...lol:rolleyes:
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

  18. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  19. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Is the white strat on the stage autographed?

    looks like it may be??
  20. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I didn't notice, but I know our guitar player ( Russ Hagler) did have an autographed guitar for a while, but I don't recall now who it was autographed by - he may have won it in a contest or something -? - I can't remember.
    Most of the time, Russ's main go-to axe was a Les Paul. I can ask him about the autographed guitar, though ...he's living in Nashville these days, but I still talk to him once in awhile, and he's a FB friend.

    Our other lead guitar player, Bones Bonam, always had a variety of different guitars - going way back to the late 70's and early 80's, he played a BC Rich Mockingbird, but he also had Strats, Tele's and Les Paul's along the way, too, and for awhile there, he was playing a Parker Fly. Bones was a part-time luthier, so he came across a lot of different guitars... and amps too. He played Boogies, Lab Series, Fenders, Marshalls... It was like he had a revolving door of guitars and amps. LOL

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