Hey all! Feeling a bit nostalgic upon the announcement of our upcoming Planet of Ice Anniversary Tour, so thought I'd publicly reminisce....
In January 2006, I quit my job at the Apple Store, put my things in storage, and spent most of the year in a van with Minus the Bear. I had recently switched from "sound guy" to "keyboard guy” in the middle of the promotion cycle for Menos el Oso. Much of the van time was spent listening to Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, etc. Some I’d heard, some I hadn’t... but it was my first time HEARING it all. My mind was blown, and I found myself writing new music with one of my favorite bands (Minus the Bear, not Yes). We jammed... oh, how we jammed. The stuff everyone came up with was amazing.
In Feb 2007, we entered the studio to record Planet of Ice. The title and tone was set, and I was freaked out! Nervous & excited. We spent a week with (amazing producer & the guy I replaced in the band) Matt Bayles at Robert Lang Studios. The basic tracks were very much colored by the stone walls & cavernous rooms in that studio. The next day I broke my collar bone on a regrettable night out. My arm in a sling, we recorded overdubs with Matt and Chris Common for several weeks at the old Red Room Recording location on Denny Way. We listened to even more prog rock (and yacht rock, after watching "Classic Albums” Steely Dan: Aja), played a ton of Wii Tennis and Bowling, discovered the wild world of Orbit gum flavors at Alfi’s Food & Deli (Mint Mojito was a revelation), and I shut myself in the “keyboard cave” (a spare studio room) where I could experiment.
I recorded a few of my own parts, “Ice Monster” and “White Mystery” among others, locked away on those vision quests. We moved to Jupiter Studios to mix while recording last-minute overdubs. I had a brief breakdown about a part not being good enough (one per album is fine, right?), but mostly I remember all the times we laughed at how ridiculous it all seemed. “If it makes us laugh, it must be good” was pretty much the album motto.
The record was done in two months, which now seems very efficient. After a moment to reflect, make a few edits, and sequence the album, we mastered with Ed Brooks as we prepared to perform the new songs. “Knights” (aka Arabian Knights, Stone Alive!!!) was already a live staple. The rest was new. I still remember some confused looks when we played “Dr. L’Ling” trying to ignore the passing belief that I’d ruined the band, people would hate the new music, and that it had been good while it lasted.
We kept the ridiculousness going. There was a laser dome listening party at the Pacific Science Center, some MTV air-time, shows with Foo Fighters, festivals, touring on busses, living “the dream” all while hammering these songs into any ears and minds that would listen. The uncertainty faded, we made more albums, and now suddenly it’s 2018.
I’m sure I left some things out, but you get the gist. It’s been a wild ride. I’m feeling incredibly grateful for the chance to circle back and perform this album live with these incredible dudes.
Thanks to everyone who’s stuck around & hope to see you soon.
#TBT #storytime #music #friendship #progrock #planetofice #minusthebear #suicidesqueezerecords