The Setbacks Studio Adventures - Day 1
by: Trevor Kealey

March 20th, 2006

This past weekend, the Setbacks were in total lockdown at the Bomb Shelter Studio in Ottawa with Yogi Perogi manning the buttons and switches, to begin recording a new album.

I will have to preface our studio adventures on day one by saying the evening before was St. Patty’s day. I hosted a get together at my house that both Steve and Chet attended, and they can confirm that I indeed went to bed early in anticipation of a big day in the studio. Yet still I felt quite hungover when the phone rang early the next morning. That is where this story begins…

Day 1 – Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It

I emerge from a thick fog, realizing that the phone is ringing. I manage to put my hand on it and answer. Unfortunately, my mouth and throat are dryer than the Sahara. My tongue seems to have solidified and it takes all my strength to get it moving. I get a croaked ‘hello’ out of the trap and find Steve on the other end. Apparently he had finally gotten in touch with Yogi, our esteemed studio guru for the day. There was a fear that he had died, or at the very least went into hiding as we had been unable to reach him for days.

Steve quickly informs me that we are meeting for breakfast, and need to be in the studio for about 1:30. Time to kick it into high gear. High gear apparently includes a 45-minute shower. I get out of the shower completely refreshed and ready to go. Chris calls and says he’s picking me up at 11:30. He’s good on his word and the Healy Disc jeep pulls up on time. I notice Steve is in the front seat, so I get in the back. Chet is back there too, but he is crying because I didn’t return his waves as I walked up to the jeep. I spend a good part of the ride attempting to explain the concept of tinted windows to him. A misunderstanding resulting in someone crying will be a constant theme over the next two days.

At breakfast we talk about the daily news, as copies of the Ottawa Sun are everywhere in Local Heroes. The waitress takes our order, and Chris does a complete spit take when I order chocolate milk to drink. When my tears finally subside, Steve orders a Super Stack, which makes me laugh, which leads to Steve crying. To make him feel better, I also order it. Chris then orders a cranberry juice. No one laughs.

Turns out that breakfast is quicker than we thought, so there is enough time to go to Chet’s apartment and play Halo 2 for a bit before moving the gear. Chris prefers to go through all the shoes in Chet’s entrance, demanding to know whether they are expensive or not.

We finally arrive at the studio (late of course) and load our gear in. The studio is tucked in the basement of a house off Main Street. It consists of one room for recording, and another just off it that houses all the knobs and switches. The main room is plain, with mics standing at the ready. The button room is plastered with all sorts of local show posters that we can go through during all the waiting involved with recording. It also has a plethora of recording magazines and a well worn copy of Penthouse Forum – 7th Annual Wife Watchers Edition.

We set up all the gear and then Yogi goes through each instrument and mic to get the right sounds. He’s got a good ear for the rock music, as evidenced by introducing the band to Sir Lord Baltimore by blasting it over the sound system while we load in, so it does not take as long as I thought it would. Soon we are ready to record. This is the time we refer to as Magic time.

We blast through Music is the Medicine. The first attempt is pretty loose and messy. A lot of finger pointing happens. All the fingers (even mine) are pointed at me! I dry my tears and we try again. Second take had a similar outcome, only this time it wasn’t my fault and yet the fingers continued to point. We needed to get in the groove. My theory was that there was a Super Stack sitting in my stomach weighing me down. Time for a serious sit down. Unfortunately, the Shelter truely is bomb proof: no toilet paper.

So we work out the kinks by jamming, doing finger and arm exercises, and using ancient bowel restraint techniques. We’re ready to try again. BANG. MAGIC. Gentlemen, you’ve just recorded your first number one single! Yogi cues it up, and it sounds great, much to our relief.

The rest of the afternoon continues similarly: screw up once, blame somebody, make them cry, try again, MAGIC!

Soon Chris sneaks off for dinner and to fuss over his pregnant wife, so the rest of us order a couple of wheels from Preston Pizza and settle in for some serious letter reading from Penthouse. While we were suspicious of a lot of the stories people had sent in, Yogi assured us it was all true. Penthouse has fact checkers to make sure they don’t print anything that is simply made up.

While Chris was out, we had him pick up a case of beer. Apparently he had never been to a Beer Store before, because he refused to pay a deposit saying it was unfair. When we explained to him that only 10 cents a bottle is returned, he flipped saying his Seagram’s coolers fetched far more when emptied. He cried about the injustices in the world, but we cheered him up with some Penthouse Letters.

The beer lubricated us enough to get 7 full bed tracks on tape before we shut down for the night. We’d return to the studio tomorrow, ready to attack overdubs and vocals. Yogi burnt us a cd, which we road tested by blasting it in Chet’s truck. We picked out a couple of songs that might need redoing. Then it was off to our pal Munch’s birthday party.

Would Day 2 be as successful? Stay tuned for the next installment.


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