My Mother is from Boston. Newton, Mass more specifically. Needless to say she always had her way with words. And my friends always picked up on it. If not were picking on her. She could dish it back, too, as most of my friends were actually terrified of her. But simply put, r’s became ah’s. And vise versa. Typical Boston accent going on here.
So the band was over one time practicing or something. And I think we were eating pizza and drinking cold beverages in the kitchen and decided it was time to design a flyer for the latest upcoming show. We took our cups and started walking up the stairs to the computer room. “UPSTAAAAY-YAZ?” my Mother spewed. That basically translated to “Upstairs!” That was my Mother saying, “No way in hell are those liquids going to the 2nd floor, bitch.”
And thus we had the name for our first EP.
I don’t really remember much about the recording process, other than it was recorded in my parent’s basement on John’s Tascam Portastudio 424 4-track with a bunch of Shure SM57s. There was a folding table on it’s side for “isolation” on the drums. That worked wonderfully, I am sure. I know the copyright (yes, it’s registered) is dated November 1993. I had been playing drums for about 2 years. Full kit for a year. I think Jordan was on the same time table for guitar. John had no lessons and appeared to have been playing this good since birth.
Jordan Hirsch – vocals, guitar
John Argentiero – lead guitar, bass
Matt – drums (I had double t’s then)
All music arranged by Twisted Fish
Mixed by Matt
Note: the opinions expressed after Butterfly are not necessarily those of Twisted Fish. (Yes, we really wrote that in the liner notes).
I don’t really know much about this song. In my head it was really only about the delay on the voice and the panning on the counting at the end. But that was the engineer in me. If I recall correctly the song was about a guy John and Jordan knew in high school that was a total tool. Sorry about the warble in the beginning. It’s on the master. Nothing I can do about it. What I do remember was actually listening to the bass in this song. And finding a spot for it in the mix. I think I did a pretty good job for my first “official” mixing gig. PS. John’s Lenny Kravitz solo ripoff still cracks me up.
The guitars are out of tune. I know. It still kills me. That was one of the first things I learned in this business. TUNE YOUR FUCKING GUITARS, JERKO. John is in the left channel. Jordan in the right. And John’s solos are pretty much centered (same track as vocals – so you’ll notice on pretty much all the high school recordings there is rarely a lead or solo over a vocal – simply because we didn’t ever have the tracks to do it.). Jordan wrote Shattered about an ex-girlfriend while we were all in the band, Undertow. I am not sure if he was intentionally overly dramatic or he actually was “shattered”. No one will ever know. Except for the fact that her name was Abagail. Can I say that? This was sorta our “hit.” The fade that comes back at the end was a nod to our then heroes in Soundgarden and the fact that I hated fades. I still do. It’s a complete cop-out.
13 minutes of heartbreak. Not the tightest song ever put on tape. But it was definitely the song that helped me start thinking outside the box as far as engineering goes. Jordan’s vocals did shine in many sections. The first guitar that comes in was picked up from the mic(s) on the drums. There was also a guitar (in the ceter) that was recorded entirely backwards. I was mainly feedback and guitar noises. It drove my Mother nutty getting that to tape. I think this song was primarily recorded with Mat and Jordan very late at night one weekend. John came in a week later and overdubbed the solos. All in one take. There is no bass. And I think Jordan actually broke skin and bled after 13 minutes of rhythm guitars (right channel) – This was also my first attempt at writing lyrics. I probably should have spent more time working on my chops as a drummer. I also think this song, structurally, was based loosely on Starla by the Smashing Pumpkins.
4. 5Â½ Minutes of Silence
Our ode to John Lennon. And perhaps my first intro to avant music. I still use “this is the word of the lord” when I am checking mics in a studio. So it’s Jordan on vocals. John on guitar and Mat controlling the delay on the vocals and playing this drum pad trigger feedback contraption thing I built.
5. Kill Fred
Recorded with a radio shack tape recorder live in the basement. Jordan on vocals. John on guitar. Mat on drums. I am not sure what the deal with this song was. I always attributed (or rationaled) it to how silly ska music was. I take back what I said about Shattered. This was clearly the hit. Hands down. I can still hear it on the radio, even with the “penis” and “licking my neighbor’s dog” lyrics.
There was a lot of resentment that came from being in Undertow, the band we were all in prior to Twisted Fish, sans the singer. This was our “Fuck You” to that time in our lives. Man, we were pretty fucking out there for a High School band immersed at the height of the grunge era.