2004 began a mostly uneventful couple of years. In 2004, I began recording more songs for an album I called Euthanized that would have been released in 2005. The funny thing about that album is that it never really materialized minus a handful of demo-stage pieces. Those early versions of the songs that were intended for it were pretty good, I have to say. According to my files, the tracks that were to be on the album were “Indulge,” “Rutherford,” “You Always Leave,” and “Montezuma.” You’ll have to take my word for it, I guess, but the production quality was dramatically better than what you’d find on Campfire Tales. Still not good, but better.
Listen to “Montezuma” here. I forgot I liked this song. Hm.
I’ll call 2001-2005 the early years. That’s when I had no plans or even real interest in officially releasing my music. It was just something to do. Sometimes I’d burn songs onto a CD and give them to whoever would take them, but for the most part my music went unheard.
Even now, the sound quality of some of these guitar recordings sound good to me. The bass and guitar sound better in “Montezuma,” in some ways, than they do in my more recent stuff. And it just seems weird because nowadays I’m using a much fancier setup.
At this point in time I’d been using Fruity Loops and Sonic Foundry Acid for years and got pretty good at both pieces of music-making software. Let me attempt to remember 2005-2008, the Boobs, Butts, and Feets era. The first publicly released songs are on this album, so it’s kind of special. Rock Band DLC staples “Everyone I Know Is an Alcoholic,” “Electro-Heaven,” and “Around the World” all appear on this collection of songs. It’s a little fuzzy now, but I think most of the recording happened in 2005 and 2006. Then there was a lot of mixing and post-production happening that sort of delayed the “release” of the album to “2008.” Quotation marks.
“Everyone I Know Is an Alcoholic” started as a little guitar riff and a bit of weird lyrics in 2005. A year later, I would substitute the guitar part for an acid synth, and now it sounds how you know it today. That particular song barely changed from its inception. The only real difference I can think of is the intro. When it was only available unofficially, I had used an audio sample from a Marilyn Manson DVD.
When I authored the song to be played in the video game Rock Band, I chose to take that sample out. It’s such an obscure sample that I doubt anyone would have noticed, but since I couldn’t get anyone to legally clear it for me, I took out the intro completely. And that’s something that I do regret to this day. It does sound a little weird that there’s no kind of buildup to serve as an intro; the song just…starts.
You’ve surely heard the song before, but I don’t think I’ve ever released this strange clip of the demo version with guitar and scratch vocals.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely at least somewhat familiar with this album, so I feel like I should offer up some cool information about the production of it. Let me itemize some of that in a list.
- “(S)awesome Intro” – I was and am a huge fan of the Saw movie series. It was much newer of a franchise at the time, so it was exceptionally fun to put this together. The original title of this track was “A Game” until I came up with what it is now. It was also much longer in its first iterations. Check out an early version of it after this list.
- “Balls” – I remember being in a Burger King parking lot when I remarked to a friend that I should make a song called “Balls” and just say “balls” a lot. Well, it happened.
- “Around the World” – Unlike “Everyone I Know Is an Alcoholic,” the official release of this song features the same intro as the unofficial version…well, kind of. The original, unofficial release had a sample from Scarface. I ended up recording myself recreating that sample for the official release about 10 years later.
After listening to the early versions of these songs, surprisingly few changes were made. On my later albums, the preliminary iterations of the songs tended to be longer with more sections. But yeah, what you ended up getting in 2016 is not that much different from what a handful of people heard on CDs I was handing out in 2008.
Looking back, 2006 might have been the year that I made the most songs that I consider my memorable songs. Besides “Everyone I Know Is an Alcoholic,” the Boobs, Butts, and Feets album had such “hits” as “Around the World,” “Electro-Heaven,” “Heavy Metal,” “Tired as Eff,” and “Get Your Groove On.” Production-wise, none of them were exactly top notch, but there were some pop sensibilities in them that I’ve rarely revisited. And all those songs were produced in 2006.
Before I get into sonic goodies, here’s a photo of Charlene, the only guitar I’ve ever gave a pet name to.
My recording setup hadn’t changed much from 2001, but by 2006 I had picked up a couple of cool devices from DigiTech: RP-200 (a guitar effects processor) and a Vx400 (a vocal effects processor). I definitely didn’t use either to their potential, but they were tools in my toolbox. Side note: I actually want to dig out the Vx400 again to get weird with my vocals. In these early days of Robby Suavé, I would experiment with weird vocal effects. For the last few years, I rarely apply any effects other than maybe some reverb and distortion. I remember creating a patch in the Vx400 to mimic the vocal effects in Ministry’s “Thieves.” It had an expression pedal, and I programmed it so if the pedal was down, you’d get a long delay. It was cool. I find it hard to experiment with vocal effects without physical knobs to tweak.
Looking at my boobsbuttsandfeets folder, I found something interesting and possibly unique among all my albums: I apparently used every song I recorded for the album. Most of the time, there are at least a couple rough drafts of songs that never make the cut. But it looks like I fleshed out everything I did. Hm. I wanted to post a song that didn’t make the cut. Instead, I’ll give you…the uncut version of “(S)awesome Intro.” It’s 23 seconds longer than what ended up on the album.
Fun facts: I wanted the title of that track to be “(S)AWESOME INTRO,” but my digital distributor wouldn’t let me. (I’ll have other stories about said digital distributor later.) Also, the version of this song that is available to you now had another facelift of sorts. To make the voice even more Jigsaw-ish, I implemented a pitchshifting envelope that would go up and down.
Here’s a little thing I put together in 2006 that I called “Fishing.” I suppose I called it that because of its emphasis on bass guitar and there’s the whole Les Claypool fishing reference. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s an instrumental that sounds cool, and I remember doing it, but it’s strange that I decided to showcase what little bass-playing skills I had exactly one time. There’s a ton of slapping, popping, and finger-style. I want to get into playing bass again for sure.
Part 3 of this series will come soon and will predictably begin with the year 2007, the year Boobs, Butts, and Feets was unofficially released. Stay tuned.