Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Artist Profile: The Bear Riders, By Chucky Berry

Drunk Dan invited me to a recording studio this weekend down on Main Street where he and drummer Buttfro the Clown are mixing their debut album as the Bear Riders, titled "We Can't Get Enough of This $hit!"

I'm sitting by the console in the mixing room on a long couch, facing the back of a fella named Carl. Carl is the owner of the studio and its chief engineer. He sits at the mixing board under the blinking eyes of various electronic "outboard equipment" stacked around him. He has a ponytail and he's wearing sunglasses and he smells like maple syrup (but in a bad way).

A song comes on through the big speakers that hang from the ceiling. "This one's our ballad. Kind of a Sammy Davis Jr. thing" Drunk Dan says between gulps of Schaefer beer. He mouths along with the lyrics:

"Smoke 'em of you got em. And if ya hit rock bottom, don't be so cruel to your mistress, that you forget about Christmas..."

Buttfro the Clown sits in a swivel chair, head turned down nodding to the beat. He momentarily lifts his face with a grin each time one of his drum fills is relayed through the big system. He congratulates himself in whispers; "bingo." "right on the button." "nailed it." "king buttfro."

But the mood in the room is tense and austere like a courtroom trial. And in this court Carl reigns supreme.

Drunk Dan sheepishly tosses his requests to the back of Carl's head in the form of rhetorical questions. "Say Carl, what if we throw in just a little more reverb, or possibly echo, on that background vocal?"

"If it wants it." Carl says expressionlessly.

I ask Drunk Dan what that means. But he looks at me and shrugs his shoulders. "Uh...If who, wants what?" I ask out loud.

Carl swivels his chair around to face me and deadpans "Uh, the song? And uh, the time based digital delay effect?"

It was then that Drunk Dan, in true fashion, threw his can of Schaefer beer at Carl's head. The nearly full can bounced off Carl's noggin and catapulted a fresh stream of foamy brew above. The can bounced onto the mixing board, erupting like a volcano on the little city of knobs, switches, and blinking lights.

I could go on with the rest of the story but that's basically the highlight. Drunk Dan threw a beer can at the guy's head!

The Bear Riders are currently looking to mix "We Can't Get Enough of This $hit!" in Schenectady NY.

Chucky Berry is a part time contributing music journalist to Chuckyberryblog.blogspot.com