Thursday, October 7, 2010

New: For The Faithful

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM DEPT., Oct 7 - My 2,174 word preview of the upcoming Articles Of Faith reunion show is now online at the Chicago Reader. But I just wasn't able to shoehorn one story into the piece, despite its relevance.

In 2004, my band spent a week in Chicago, recording at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio. I'm neutral on Albini's music, so I was more awed by the facilities than the engineer. The control room overlooked a huge studio with 30-foot ceilings that resembled a spent fuel pool in a nuclear power plant. It could just as easily have held water and glowing uranium wands instead of drum parts and racks of equipment and a Nelson-Wiggen grand piano.

On my first day of vocals, I found myself in a large alcove directly under the control room. My only communication with those above was through headphones and one of the dozens of antique microphones that surrounded me and which I was terrified of accidentally kicking or tripping over. Albini's voice came into the headphones, asking me to give him some information about my vocal style.

I thought about this for a moment. "I've been told that I emulate the vocals of Vic Bondi," I said. "From Articles of Faith?" We'd spent most of the week indoors, so it still doesn't seem totally implausible that I'd forgotten that we were physically in the city of Chicago, dealing with a Chicago engineer, with a long, long history with the punk scene of Chicago. There was a lengthy pause in the headphones. Finally, Albini's voice returned.

"Goodbye."

Then I was left to stand in silence, wondering how, once again, I had screwed up something so swiftly....