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8-12-15 

Hello friends,

I'm writing to tell you about a very special upcoming performance. This gig is a couple months off, but we want to put it on your radar now so you can mark your calendars. We are honored to pay tribute to the great Clyde Stubblefield!

MADCITY SESSIONS - "GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME" WITH CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD & FRIENDS
ROCK, FUNK, AND BLUES FROM A MADISON LEGEND

Thursday, October 8 
6:00- 8:00 p.m.
Free, all ages
Overture Hall Main Lobby
201 State St., Madison
 

Featuring The Big Payback with members of the original James Brown Band (Clyde Stubblefield, Fred Wesley, Jabo Starks and Fred Thomas) and the Black Star Drum Line Performance Group


Clyde Stubblefield started his musical career as a child in Chattanooga, TN, “playing on tin can lids, pasteboard boxes – everything.” Since then Clyde has played all over the world and recorded with some of the greatest funk, soul, and R&B performers including James Brown, Otis Redding, and Clayton Fillyau.

While recording and performing with James Brown, Clyde joined John “Jab’o” Starks and they became known as the funkiest men alive. Clyde recorded “Funky Drummer”. He and Jab’o are the most sampled drum tracks in the world.


Come by any time between 6 & 8 PM. Grab a beer and some eats, and enjoy the best music Madison has to offer!


2015 MAMA Awards:
• Children’s Song of the Year: Black Star Drum Line featuring DLO, Ant Da Hope Boy, Rob Dz – Joey B. Banks – “Slam”
• Children’s Performer of the Year: Black Star Drum Line
• Jazz Performer of the Year: The Big Payback
• Drummer/Percussionist of the Year: Joey B. Banks – (The Big Payback)

Kyle's studio diary pt. 4 

Yesterday was the final full day of rhythm section tracking. I declare it a success!

Knowing the full band would show up at 6:00, we started around 4:00 by recording Leah's vocals over the best take of "Running with the Fire" from the previous night. Listening back to our hurried performance,  it definitely sounded better than I feared. Once the vocals were finished, the song started to take shape. However, I was still a little unhappy with my own performance on the song.

We had just enough time to re-do an out-of-tune guitar part on "Greenblood" before the rest of the band arrived. We knew that we had 6 hours to cover 5 songs, which is pretty tight considering the length and complexity of a couple of them. We had our work cut out for us! The band immediately went to work like the absolute pros that they are.

Thankfully, the rest of the night went like clockwork. We started with the 3 remaining songs with vocals. Leah sang in her isolation booth along with the rhythm section in the main room. We also had Jamie, Dave, and Eric Siereveld playing horns in another room. They were there to provide cues and energy for the rhythm section, and their real takes will be recorded later. 

As I mentioned earlier, the songs we saved for the last day were generally the ones that we were most familiar with. It really showed in the session. We made short work of even the most difficult parts. I was constantly reminded of the talent in this band. I am so fortunate to have a chance to play with the absolute best musicians around. Hats off!

Amazingly, we finished up the remaining 2 instrumental tunes with time to spare. We recorded an idea for a segue between songs, and Jeff and I even had some time to take another couple passes at those crazy difficult bits in "Running with the Fire." Poor Landon will have quite a few takes to sort through on that one.

Here's what we have left to do: horn parts, probably one more session with Leah to finish up vocals, maybe a few solos, and then some icing on the cake stuff (aux percussion, backing vocals, etc...). That seems very manageable to me right now. 

We also have a lot of footage to sort through, thanks to Elizabeth. So far, it seems like we're doing this album the right way. I'll keep updating this diary as we proceed, so stay tuned for more in a few weeks! 

Kyle

Kyle's studio diary pt. 3 

The album is one day closer to completion. Things that didn't sound like much are now starting to sound like actual songs!

Yesterday's recording session began with lead vocals. Leah tackled "I Want to Give (My Love to You)" first. It's probably the poppiest song of the bunch, but it has a couple curveballs. I think we were able to capture some good dynamics in the vocal performance.

We followed that with the new tune, "Above the Rain." Again, this is a brand new song that we've never actually played from start to finish as a whole band, so my rough demo is the only guide we had. Dave Buss appeared halfway through the session and remarked that it was nice to finally hear someone other than me sing that song. I agree with him completely! Leah really hit her stride in the dramatic ending. 
 

Landon working his magic at the board, me having fun in a swivel chair


After recording vocals for "Greenblood," we found ourselves behind schedule. With only 90 minutes remaining, Jamie and I made the call to get the rhythm section to attempt "Running with the Fire." It's a pretty ambitious challenge, but we figured we'd be better off using the full 90 minutes to get one song than picking an easier song and ending up with 15 minutes of useless leftover time at the end of the night. That one came down to the wire. The session was hurried and a bit stressful, but I think we managed to get everything we needed. I feel OK about it right now. Time will tell.

It wouldn't be a true recording session without some of that pressure. We have 5 songs yet to record today. Fortunately, we'll get to focus on getting full rhythm section takes for the majority of the evening. No set up required, just plug in and play. It's a time crunch, but worrying about it won't help anything. As Jamie reminded me, we now have the most difficult material under our belt. All we can do give each song our best and see where we end up.

Onward!

Kyle's studio diary pt. 2 

Day One of recording is in the books! I'm too wired to sleep just yet, so here's a blog entry for your amusement.

Things went very well! We had 6 hours booked, and we used every minute. It probably took us an hour or an hour and a half to get everything set up and ready to go for our first take of a song. That is very fast actually. We credit our engineer, Landon Arkens, with having as much as he could set up and ready to go when we walked in. It helps that we've worked with him before on three separate occasions. 

Present at this session were Jamie, Joey B, Peter, Ben Ferris (on bass), and myself. Ben has played with us before, and Jeff is finishing up a tour with Harmonious Wail. So Ben agreed to play a few songs for the session before Jeff returns tomorrow. One of the realities of playing in a 9-piece band made up of professional, working musicians is that you have to be flexible with personnel. The Big Payback has an extended family of musicians that we rely upon for gigs as well as studio dates. It means we get to work with a broad range of talented people, which is not a bad situation at all. Ben did a top notch job on some tough material tonight, keeping a bouncy forward energy while locking in tightly with Joey B. Thanks, Ben!

Jamie was there to play some throwaway trombone tracks as cues, but his actual parts will be recorded with the rest of the horn section in September. He also acted as producer, cheerleader, and pizza orderman. The rhythm section all sat in one room (amps in separate rooms) and played each take together. We try to get as much of a "live band" feel as we can in recording sessions. Things are overdubbed usually because of logistics or studio isolation issues. Rhythm section in one chunk, horns in one chunk, vocals either separately or with rhythm section, then a few scattered solos and overdubs. 

We had 3 songs on the docket for tonight, and we managed to knock them all out. One of them is brand new to us. We've never played it live, and it's one of the more complicated pieces I've written for the group. As expected, it took the most time to record. We had to break it down and build it back up section by section, but it didn't take us too long to get it figured out and put together into one whole.

I'm really looking forward to hearing how this particular song ends up. I'm a little nervous actually. I've demoed the piece with MIDI instruments and my own guide vocals, but that's the only time I've actually heard it from start to finish. I guess it's always a leap of faith to write music for a big band like this. You never know how your weird ideas are going to translate. But if tonight is any indication, this new one might be a keeper. The song is called "Above the Rain." 

Ok, that's all for now. Day Two lies ahead of us!

-Kyle

Kyle's studio diary pt. 1 

Hi there,

Kyle here. The Big Payback enters Blast House Studios today to begin work on our second album! I'm trying to keep something like a studio diary as we go, so keep checking this blog.

I started today feeling pretty prepared for the sessions. Definitely more prepared than last time. I'm sure there's still plenty of time for things to go wrong, but right now it seems like we have a chance at some smooth sailing. I got my guitars all re-strung and prettied up, and I've made sure every other piece of gear is working properly. I've been practicing the songs, working on sounds, programming pedals, deciding on tempos, and generally just immersing myself in the tunes.
 

I'm even pulling out this old guy for the wacky pitch bending part in 'Greenblood'


The songs on the album this time around are all mine, with the exception of one cover tune that I arranged. The first of the original songs, "Friday Night Phase," was completed over 5 years ago. I actually remember finishing it up while we were recording Overture. It's been very interesting going over the songs I've written for the band in the last 5 years. They almost play out like a diary, and my life has had some twists and turns and ups and downs. The moods and subject materials comprise a very mixed bag. 

I'm really excited to get started on this project. I love being in the studio- it feels like my most natural habitat. Even when the hours start stretching longer and longer at the end of a session, I usually seem to have a good time.

Oh, I am also going into this session armed with video cameras! Well, Elizabeth will take care of most of the filming. But on the days that she can't be there (like today), I'll get a chance to try out my own budding skills as a documentarian. Ok, "budding skills" might be a stretch, but I do know how to turn the camera on and how to zoom in. That's gotta count for something!

Stay tuned for more!
Kyle
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Upcoming Gigs

Oct8

Mad City Sessions- Tribute to Clyde Stubblefield

Overture Center Atrium

Featuring The Big Payback with members of the original James Brown Band (Clyde Stubblefield, Fred Wesley, Jabo Starks and Fred Thomas) and the Black Star Drum Line Performance Group

Clyde Stubblefield started his musical career as a child in Chattanooga, TN, “playing on tin can lids, pasteboard boxes – everything.” Since then Clyde has played all over the world and recorded with some of the greatest funk, soul, and R&B performers including James Brown, Otis Redding, and Clayton Fillyau.

While recording and performing with James Brown, Clyde joined John “Jab’o” Starks and they became known as the funkiest men alive. Clyde recorded “Funky Drummer”. He and Jab’o are the most sampled drum tracks in the world.

Come by any time between 6 & 8 PM. Grab a beer and some eats, and enjoy the best music Madison has to offer!

http://www.overturecenter.org/events/madcity-sessions-clyde-stubblefield-and-friends

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