MARQUETTE - Lorrie Hayes is thrilled about the Flat Broke Blues Band's latest CD, "FB3."
"The actual recording was a labor of love," said Hayes, who does vocals and plays harmonica for the Marquette-based blues band. "We are always working on making the music as good as possible and everyone had input. After recording their tracks they said, 'It's your turn now and when you're done it will be up to the engineers.'
"When it came to singing, I was given the opportunity to record what I wanted to do without everyone's input. Having everyone trust me on producing what I felt was right, was a big thing to me," Hayes said. "I had one great day to do it. I did a lot of prep and I was able to get the job done. It was the best experience and a lot of fun.
The Flat Broke Blues Band plays during its recent CD?release party at Upfront &?Co. in Marquette. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"I think it really shows."
The band has several local gigs coming up in the next two months ,including Friday at Upfront and Co. giving music lovers a dose of Flat Broke Blues in person.
Band members Walt Lindala (electric guitar, vocals) and Mark Johnson (bass, vocals) provided some lively answers to questions about "FB3" from The Mining Journal:
How long has it been since the band had a CD out before the release of "FB3"?
MJ: The last studio release was in December of 2005.
WL: That CD was called "Worth The Weight."
Tell me about the 11 songs on the new disc: Who wrote them?
MJ: Walt wrote two, Mike (Letts, electric guitar and vocals) wrote four and I wrote three. Each of us have a different approach: Mike brings in a completed outline of a song, the rest of us add our spin to it. The arrangement takes form as the band plays it out. I bring in ideas of riffs, lines and/or chords. I have everyone run through them to get a feel. After a while, I'll bring in the song completed and charted after the band flushed out ideas and input. Walt will bring in a completed work that gets torn down and re-constructed by the band.
WL: There are also two covers on the CD, one by Tyrone Davis and the other by Freddie King. My songs are a mix of bringing in a complete song as a demo or just giving the band a solid riff and idea to build off of. I try to write the lyrics out fairly completely to give the song its overall direction.
MJ: All the songs on "FB3" were pretty much worked out as described except track 11. This was pretty much an idea that Mike had presented and barely had been played. Our producer George Friend, wanted "another song," Mike brought out his unfinished composition, George wrote out charts and we threw it down straight to tape, so to say.
WL: Yeah, that was a "made in the studio" kind of track that is a little bit different than the rest of the tunes. But it turned out great and is a nice capper to the whole project.
Where were the songs recorded?
WL: We recorded the entire project on a remote, or portable, recording studio at our singer Lorrie's house in Negaunee Township. The recording engineer and co-producer was George Friend, who is a Marquette native who now lives in the Detroit area. He came up for 12 days and we recording the whole CD in about eight days. He then took the tracks down to Detroit and mixed them at Rust Belt Studios in Royal Oak by Al Sutton, who has worked with Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker and many others on the Detroit music scene. Finally, a guy named Tim Pak in Ferndale mastered the tracks. So when you think about it, this CD is a true "Pure Michigan" product!
MJ: The approach for this project was different than the way any of us had recorded before. "Worth The Weight" was done in a more traditional way of multi-track recording. This CD was recorded live. All of us playing at once. Over-dubbing was minimal. In fact in my compositions, there is NO overdubbing at all. The only instruments or vocals heard are what each individual member of the band plays. Live or recorded? Everything is done the same way.
Who produced the CD?
WL: George Friend, who is a Marquette native who spent time in L.A. and several other locales before settling in the Detroit area, and spent time playing in bands such as the Janiva Magness Band, the Twistin' Tarantulas and as solo artist. I call him Smilin' George Friend because he was the most even-keeled guy I have ever worked with in a studio setting. Creative and mellow, yet direct when needed. Working with a band in a studio can be difficult, and he was as cool as a cucumber.
For someone unfamiliar with FBBB, describe what the band's sound is.
MJ: It's a sound that is in a constant evolution. I think it's a combination of influences. The line up has remained unchanged in 11 years. Over that period of time, I think each member has discovered new things (sometimes old, but 'new to the individual') that are incorporated into each individual's style. The overall sound is the combination of each individual.
WL: It's hard to say what the "Flat Broke sound" is, but I know what it feels like. Two guitars, bass, drums, harmonica locked in a deep, driving blues pocket that moves like a well-woven wall of sound.
MJ: Each studio release is like a snapshot of where the band is at that time. The whole theme of "FB3" is kind of a mid 60s to early 70s Atlantic sound. Even the graphics are a clue to that. (Public Radio) 90's Hans Ahlstrom is the only one (I know of) who caught that one right away. My sons who were 17 and 18 at the time when they heard some of the early mixes said,"It was like an old rock and roll album." Come to think of it, the newest piece of gear that was played for this recording was probably my bass head, a Gallien-Krueger from the 1980s.
Where can the CD be purchased?
MJ: Anywhere any album, download or recorded art can be purchased: CD Baby, Amazon, Itunes, Rhapsody etc. There's always merchandise at any given FB3 show as well.
WL: You can get copies at the Screened Image in Marquette as well. They will soon be available through our website at www.flatbrokebluesband.com.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.