Sin Embargo/Dirty Money Blowin' Mud CD Recording Journal
An inside look at how things progressed with the making of Sin Embargo's most recent CD....
***Scroll down to see several in-the-studio photos!!

STUDIO:  Watchtower Recording - Owosso, MI

Source photo for Blowin' Mud cover
ABOVE:  Source photo for Dirty Money's side of the Blowin' Mud cover.

Saturday, October 19, 2003:
CD release show at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti!!  Only Dirty Money was able to play since Ed Stark was busy with student teaching so Sin Embargo could not make an appearance.

Wednesday, October 9, 2002:
Dirty Money is all mixed & mastered and ready to rawk... Joel also worked hard and had Sin Embargo's tracks mixed and burned to a CD-R for KK Dirty Money to listen to.  Artwork is slowly coming together... the ideas are there, it's just finding the time to actually piece it all together and get it printed off, etc.  10 days and counting to the October 19th CD-release show...

Tuesday, October 1, 2002:
Update from KK Dirty Money:
    BTW, the session at the studio last night went well. We are pretty much done final mixing the Dirty Money, and it sounds great.  Much better than the rough mixes but no big changes -
just a little ooomph.  Next Monday, I will be there to finish Dirty Money (give me ideas for song listing, I have one fashioned already, I will send it ASAP), and work on Sin Embargo.  First priority is DM...

Saturday, August 3, 2002:  Well, it's official - the members of Dirty Money & Sin Embargo have decided to call the new CD Blowin' MudBlowin' Mud will be a "split" full-length CD with roughly 25-30 minutes of tunes from both Dirty Money & Sin Embargo.  The running order still has to be hammered out, but just as soon as it does, we'll let you know right here!  The album artwork has also been selected and will be posted right here as soon as it's complete!  Also, the October 19th show at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti has been designated as the "official" CD-release party.  More info will be posted as it gets finalized...

Monday, July 22, 2002:
Update from KK Dirty Money:
    After a long, hot and sweaty drive to Owosso (I got there round 1pm, seems to be the magic start time for watchtower...), I began listening to the many vocal takes from Saturday and decided how to edit them, which ones to keep, which ones not to use and how to use the ones we do keep, etc.  I also recorded another basic (but different) rhythm guitar to our version of "Mama Tried", plus a psychedelic guitar piece that I want to add to the opening of "Surforama in A-minor".  Other than that, [$ic] boy showed up at about 7pm or so, in suit and tie (more or less fresh outta work, but he wasn't so fresh; he was a bit frazzled and sweaty from driving through torrential rainstorms in a hot car).  But, after we broke in the 12-pack of beer cans he brought and had a few smokes, he started to unwind. He listened to the progress, what we had recorded since the beginning (considering he hasn't heard anything of the recording since we basic tracked the drums that first day a long time ago) and was a bit shocked at the results (he was amazed at how good it sounded plus the wonders of studio magic; not that we use a lot of magic, but a studio recording is much more complex than any other recording he had previously heard of Dirty Money). He then descended into the depths of the recording dungeon downstairs and we miked him up.  He sang backups on many of the Dirty Money tunes, adding his special rasp and smoker's hack to the mix. The session was finished about 11 pm.  It sounds good and we are going to have a preliminary mix of both Sin Embargo and Dirty Money in our greazy paws by this weekend for our perusal and proofing while Joel galavants around Europe for a couple weeks.  After Joel returns on Aug 21, we will head back into the studio for some final tweeking and so forth. By then, album art and layout should pretty much be done and the more or less final product will be ready for debut by our Saline Fair show on September 6th. Yeehaw!!!

Update from [$ic] boy:
    Cough* Hack*  Hey Mon!  Yes, we FLEW through the vocal trax it seemed.  We only did 2 takes on about 3 songs.  By the time I was done in the dungeon, I had a fog of smoke so thick in that room - I could not see anything but the hue of the "RED LIGHT"!  Everything on the album sounds great!  I was very pleased and plan on being pleased-er (is that a word?) when the final master-bating is done.  Snaps to Joel, and thanks to Kee-lay for his numerous trips.  I wish I could have made 1 more trip there, but life has its strong magnets.  The artwork session should be a lot of fun.  I'm hoping that all members involved get the chance to put their mark on it in our own special way.
    When I left the studio (on 7/22), I had an altercation with the local Perry police dept and a cheap house speaker that was doing a fine roadkill impersonation.  Apparently, Barney Fife thought that I threw this speaker out of my window and onto the road.  What really happened was....I came over a hill at 45MPH in a driving storm.  In the middle of the road lay this cement block looking thing.  Not knowing what the Fu&*K I decided NOT to swerve because of oncoming traffic, response time, and the wet road condition, so I centered it in my crosshairs and BLAMO!  10,000 pieces!   At least!  But one big one was draggin from my front air dam.  What a horrible noise!!!!  It was like sittin' on the back tailgate of a pickup with your feet draggin the road while wearin your mama's best TAP shoes!  Ugly at best...  So I pull into an abandoned service station (that's the only kind in Perry) and Barney is close in tow.  "You hit sumthin' huh?"  Yep.  "Did ya leave it there?"  (Personally this man seemed like a baffooooon... I mean really, do you think I could throw something out of my car while driving and then hit it?  Or even leave something strategically placed, hop into my ride, get a runnin' start and smash into it like a redneck just to see what would happen? I mean really...)  So me and Barney take a little walk back up the road.  We find all sorts of pieces and stuff all over the place.  We clean up the mess and check out the car.  Then he proceeds to tell me how bored he is and how last month they had a big chase up in the CITY (Owosso).  He said he "wished they would have corraled them down my way.....I'd a shown 'em a thing or two..."  Then he said "boy you got a perty mouth..."

Saturday, July 20, 2002:
Update from KK Dirty Money:
    Joel leaves for Europe on Friday, so that means time is tight and we are gonna try to finish everything on Monday when I go back for the whole day. Over the next few days, Joel is gonna do some rough mixing and get us a CD copy to ponder over while he is away. When he returns on Aug 21st, we can go in and do the rest of the final tweeking. It should be done by Sept 6th (the
Saline Fair show). I have already started compiling album packaging ideas and artwork/layout and I have been asking the rest of the guys to bring ideas "to the table."  Otherwise, I already have my own good ideas. I went in there yesterday, got there around 1 pm.  Owosso had sidewalk sales but no sidewalk (which not only confirms my theory that something always has to be going on event-wise in downtown Owosso in some way or another whenever the band records there). They are tearing up a lot of the downtown area to build new sidewalks and roads, etc (don't worry, I don't think any of the commotion made it onto the tape). I listened to the previous recording tracks and takes - in other words, all the stuff that we already had on analog tape, since we reached the "end of the road" with the analog tracks; they were all filled. So I listened to them with fresh ears, and decided it was ready to dump them all down to ADAT tapes. This took a couple hours to do all this (listening, dumping, etc).  I then went ahead and recorded the rest of the vocal tracks, mostly backing/embellishing vocals on another ADAT 8-track tape. We did this by "stacking on" another 8 tracks of ADAT tape. It was great, because I could do many many vocal tracks without worrying about space running out (in previous recording experiences, we had a much tighter
track "budget"). So, I did many different vocal takes for each song so that we have a backlog of vocal tracks per tune. [OKAY, ENYA!!! -ed.] Most of the tunes had a main analog vocal section already recorded and the stuff I did today were mainly just backing/embellishing like I mentioned. I plugged away at this (despite nasal allergy affliction and a very sore shoulder injury) and belted out vocal takes until about midnight, with a few breaks thrown in the duration.  With all the extra takes, we can get extra slick like big time rock stars in the big time studios (yeah, right) and mix and match vocal takes until we get one solid vocal recording. Not that the recording will sound slick, but these fancy studio tricks will ensure a much better final product.   On Monday, I will go in there to take care of selecting vocal takes and get ready for mixing.  [$ic] boy plans on showing up later in the day after he gets out of work to help out and add some backing vocals of his own. He hasn't been in to hear anything we have done since basic tracking the drums (way back in mid-March!)

Saturday, June 8 & Sunday, June 9, 2002:
    Eric/Greasy *E* & Kyle/KK Dirty Money got to the studio about 1-2 pm.  Between about 3:30 pm and 3:30 am, Eric laid down bass tracks for the 5 original SE songs and 4 covers that were started back in March.  (A little studio trivia secret:  Kyle overdubbed the bass part in the middle of "Entrepreneurial Theme"!)  Finally, after nearly 12 hours of takes, retakes, overdubs, watching the Red Wings game, eating, drinking, checking out Curwood Festival (Owosso's big summer fair, parade, etc), the bass is done.  Kyle/KK Dirty Money spent the night at the studio, while Eric & Joel headed home at about 4 am.  On Sunday, Kyle/KKDM got going with recording vocals... Here's what he had to say: "We started about 1 or 2 or so...  I filled up all the extra tracks on the analog tapes for both bands, there is no vacancy. Some of the songs, such as "Folsom Prison Blues", "Last Caress", "Surforama", "Pipeline", etc. are considered done. The next step is to listen to them all, dump them realtime onto digital tapes, finish up vocals and whatnot and then mix. I don't know when I will be back in the studio. But, the light is at the end of the tunnel. I was at the studio until about 8:30 pm on Sunday. We recorded them (the vocals) down in the basement with the same mic we used on your bass cab. Many first takes, especially on tunes like "Last Caress". Both tracks were done first shot. We are outta analog and onto digital.  It was quite productive..." Stay tuned for more!
Eric recording bass tracks - May 2002
ABOVE:  Eric/Greasy *E* laying down bass tracks on 5/19/02 - photo by KK Dirty Money.

Sunday, May 19, 2002:
    After a long night (or two) of partying & jamming at Dirty Acres, Eric/Greasy *E* & Kyle/KK Dirty Money dragged their arses up to Owosso early Sunday afternoon, May 19th.  Greasy *E* needed to lay down some bass tracks.  After navigating their way through mullet-ville (the Owosso car show was being held downtown that day), it was decided that the Dirty Money songs should be tracked first, since there were more of them recorded.  [$ic] boy wanted to come to the session, but other obligations prevented him from doing so.  So, from about 1:30 till 9 PM, Greasy *E* laid down bass tracks to all the songs that were recorded by Dirty Money.  Eddiebaby Stark even stopped by on his way back from Saginaw to Dirty Acres to check things out... Next up is recording bass for the Sin Embargo tracks... Greasy *E*'s hands were ready to fall off by the end of the day... With any luck, his callouses will be in prime condition for the next session!  That is tentatively scheduled for June 8th... We'll keep you posted about the recording sessions right here!!

Wednesday, May 1 thru Friday, May 3, 2002:
    Straight from Kyle/KK Dirty Money: "I got to Owosso about 1pm Wednesday (recorded till bout 11pm or so that night), and continued on with guitar tracks all day and all next day (started about 11am the next day till bout 11pm or so). I showed up with a 30 pack of PBR and two bottles of Boone's sangria (nothing but the cheap shit). It was all gone (except for about two cans) by the end of the session. Appropriate fuel for a dirty fire. I continued on with finishing up basic guitar rhythms for the Sin Embargo tape (since the DM rhythms were done the session previous) and then went back over the whole SE tape with final garnishes). It took all day Wednesday to do Sin Embargo, and a little bit of Thursday to do the final SE icing on the cake. All Thursday was spent dressing up the DM tape with guitar flair over top the rhythms. Since we finished the dirty work on schedule, and I wasn't driving back to Ann Arbor at midnight, I decided to crash at the studio again that night and wake up about 10 am the next day (Friday) to cut a solo demo. So, from about 10 am to 2pm Friday, Joel recorded me playing live in the basement chambers (we did all the guitar for this week's session in the basement since we can't have screaming guitars upstairs for the all the downtown owosso businesses to hear). I got a gnarly and slightly twangy tone on my electric guitar (it is kinda clean and kinda overdriven but very clear...  You can hear every note - it almost sounds like an acoustic).  The amp was miked in one isolated room and then across the hall my pipes were miked up so i could sing along while i played under a lone red light, sipping my PBR. By 2pm, we had it mixed, mastered and a CD-R copy in my hand to take back to Ann Arbor and distribute. Why did i do this, you ask?  Well, it is about time that Dirty Money expands its repertoir to a less volume-intensive format for certain situations. I would like the band to play its dirty outlaw love songs to the many smaller venues that are a bit scared of our maximum rock-n-roll. We will still rock, but in a different way. With this demo, I can turn on booking agents in whole other markets to our tunes. This could be the key to a whole new slew of live venues and events. I recorded the following tracks: Ramblin' Man, Acetone, Makin' Believe, Ring of Fire, Mama Tried, When She Begins, Story Of My Life, Born To Lose, Bird On A Wire, Some Day, Inconstant Baby, Bad Luck, Ball n' Chain.  The demo sounds really good.... The playing style is really loose and laid back, but intense in content... Very live and high fidelity. I was happy as I left the studio, making it back to Ann Arbor in time to make it to my job more or less on-time so as to not get fired)."  Other tidbits from KKDM include "I would like to get a couple female voices on the DM recording for a couple tunes. Nothing big, but some chic flair would be cool... I already have the ideas brewing, they wouldn't actually be singing verses or anything, just a few chic shouts here and there to make it cool, a la Jon Spencer style. It is a very cool effect let me tell ya, and I think you will agree. It will also make the recording much more interesting. My friend Michelle will be helping out, and Joel even said there are a couple chics around Owosso who may be able to do it."  Next studio sessions are penciled in for May 18-19.  Keep checking back!
KK Dirty Money at the studio - 5/02KK Dirty Money at the studio - 5/02
ABOVE:  KK Dirty Money in the studio with just one of his many amps (the others* are hidden away in isolation rooms) in early May 2002.
*Including a Music Man Head, a Sono 2x12 combo, a small Silvertone, a Tube Driver pedal, a Sovtek head (all tube amps) to record various parts of the album.

Sunday, April 7, 2002: Contrary to the last entry, no recording sessions were held during this weekend due to everyone moving to new digs.... Keep checking back!

Monday, March 25, 2002:  Kyle continued working on rhythm guitar tracks for the Sin Embargo songs "Some Day", "Entrepreneurial Theme" and "Official Mandation".  He had to pack up and leave at a reasonable hour (mid-afternoon) to head back to Ann Arbor so his equipment would be ready for the Dirty Money gig on Tuesday night at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.  Next sessions (finish rhythm guitar & maybe start bass?) are tentatively scheduled for April 5-7...

Sunday, March 24, 2002: KK Dirty Money (by himself) went to Watchtower to continue recording rhythm guitar tracks on the Dirty Money tunes.  By the end of the day, the DM rhythm guitar tracks were done, and the Sin Embargo rhythm tracks would be started the next day.

Eddiebaby warming up for the drum tracking - 3/16/02[$ic] boy warming up - March 2002
ABOVE LEFT:  Eddiebaby warming up for the Sin Embargo drum tracking, 3/16/02 - photo by KK Dirty Money.
ABOVE RIGHT: [$ic] boy getting the kinks out for the Dirty Money drum tracks, 3/16/02 - photo by KK Dirty Money.
Sin Embargo & Dirty Money in the studio - 3/17/02
ABOVE:  Joel & [$ic] boy helping Eddiebaby pack up his stuff at the studio while Eric/Greasy *E* supervises... 3/17/02 - photo by KK Dirty Money.

Ed Stark in the studio - 3/16/02
ABOVE:  Eddiebaby presiding over his drums... 3/16/02 - photo by Jim "[$ic] boy" Plowman.

Studio guru Joel Butts
ABOVE:  Studio engineer Joel Butts tweakin' the knobs at Watchtower during the Blowin' Mud sessions.....

Sin Embargo & Joel Butts in the studio 3/16/02.
ABOVE:  Eddiebaby, Kyle/KK Dirty Money, Eric/Greasy *E* & engineer Joel Butts lounging & listening at Watchtower... 3/16/02 - photo by Jim "[$ic] boy" Plowman.

Sin Embargo & Dirty Money listening to basic track playbacks, 3/16/02
ABOVE:  Eddiebaby, [$ic] boy, Eric/Greasy *E* & engineer Joel Butts lounging & listening at Watchtower... 3/16/02 - photo by KK Dirty Money.

Kyle & Eric during basic tracking 3/16/03
ABOVE:  Kyle/KK Dirty Money & Eric/Greasy *E* going over bass parts during basic tracking... 3/16/02 - photo by Jim "[$ic] boy" Plowman.

Sunday, March 17, 2002:  Everybody met Joel at Watchtower around noon on St. Patrick's Day and evaluated what was recorded the night before.  After deciding that the drum tracks were keepers, Ed packed up his drums and headed back to Mt. Pleasant around 2 PM.  KK Dirty Money, [$ic] boy & Greasy *E* stayed at the studio to get to work on overdubbing rhythm guitar tracks.  KK Dirty Money decided to start recording rhythm guitar on the Dirty Money tunes first.  Greasy *E* headed out around 5 PM, while KK Dirty Money & [$ic] boy stayed a little later.  KK Dirty Money got rhythm guitar tracks for "Like A California Plastic", "When I Used To Be Me", "Hit 'N Run (Ypsi Rox)", "Bluze Jam", and "Take 'er Easy" by 6 PM.  Next session is tentatively scheduled for next Saturday, March 23rd...

Saturday, March 16, 2002: After sleeping in the studio all night, everybody got going around 1 PM and finished setting up equipment, etc. for basic tracking (primarily drums).  After some minor technical difficulties & lunch breaks, recording finally commences at 4:20 PM.  First up, Eddiebaby, Kyle & Eric put down some long-awaited SE tunes to tape, while [$ic] boy watches.  Sin Embargo proceeds to bang out 5 original tunes in 2 hours:  "Some Day", "Entrepreneurial Theme", "Official Mandation", "Following Multiple Choice Ethics", & "Rice Moth City".  Soon after that, [$ic] boy commandeered Ed's drums and Dirty Money began to record drum tracks.  The following Dirty Money tunes were laid down:  "Like A California Plastic", "When I Used To Be Me", "Hit 'N Run (Ypsi Rox)", "Bluze Jam", "Take 'er Easy", "Trash TV", and "Surfy in A minor".  Since there was still some space left on the reel of tape, [$ic] boy insisted on doing some cover tunes for fun.  DM basic tracked the following covers:  "King of Fools" (Social Distortion), "Inconstant Baby" (Lapeer County Rockers), "Mama Tried" (Merle Haggard), and "Folsom Prison Blues" (Johnny Cash).  Kyle wanted SE to record some covers also, so Eddiebaby got back on the drums and bashed out "My Generation" (the Who), "Ring Of Fire" (Johnny Cash), "Pipeline" (the Ventures), and "Last Caress" (the Misfits).  By 10:30 PM, all 20 of these tunes had been basic-tracked, i.e. the drums were done!  It was time to head out for the night to hang out in points west, but we won't get into that here!

Friday, March 15, 2002:  Kyle/KK Dirty Money, Eric/Greasy *E*, Ed & [$ic] boy got to Watchtower Recording Studio in Owosso, MI between 7 PM & 9 PM and did partial equipment set-up with studio owner/engineer Joel Butts.  This is the first time Ed & [$ic] boy have ever been in a recording studio, and it's the first time Kyle/KK Dirty Money & Eric/Greasy *E* have been back to one in nearly 5 years! It is decided that SE & DM will record their stuff on a 16-track analog machine to get a nice warm & fat sound.  There was also some jamming and other miscellaneous mucking around into the small hours of the night, but we won't get into that here...

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Last Modified on December 28, 2003.

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