Home > Uncategorized > Bret Alexander’s Dupont Back Porch notes…

Bret Alexander’s Dupont Back Porch notes…

We each wrote liner notes for the record. I posted mine here. Below are Bret’s thoughts..

coverBret’s NOTES – You learn a lot about someone when you make a record with them. Some guys seem laid back and mild mannered in real life but become insane micro managers in the studio. Some are prima donnas….. you gotta light a lot of candles and dim a lot of lights for those folks. And others are like Tom Flannery, they just don’t give a shit.

Now there is a difference between not giving a shit and not caring. People that don’t care anymore are so tired of fighting that they have given up. But people who don’t give a shit, well, they have already won.

If there is anything good about getting old, that is it. You have seen enough living to know what is real and what is a waste of damn time. I used to have a file folder in my studio that I would pull out in certain situations. When a band was worrying about something they shouldn’t be I would say, “Let me check my file of things I give a shit about.” I would open the folder and it would be empty. “Nope, it’s not in here. Let’s move on.”

There’s a line in one of the tunes on “Dupont Back Porches”:

“If you see right through me/I’ll see right through you too.”

I think that was the mantra for this collection. The record was done before we had time to analyze whether or not it sounded finished. It was like a bunch of candid photos. Both of us caught in the act of being ourselves.  It was like having a jam session where only one of the players sort of knows the song. I was watching his hands and reading lyrics and interpreting it all in real time. Most of the time, I got it right. Sometimes not so much. But that’s ok. It’s part of the vibe.

When you open up a magazine or a newspaper, there aren’t only pictures of airbrushed super models. There is raw, ugly shit in there. But for some reason people think all records have to be perfect. It doesn’t make sense.

Even with some live albums, a lot of the stuff is redone after the show. Stuff gets tuned and tweaked and replaced. The singer comes in and stares at the video while re-singing the show. God forbid someone would actually witness them making a mistake.  Pussies.

We cut 11 tracks. I didn’t want it to be pretty and bright and hi fi. Most singer/songwriters (and their engineers and producers) want everything pretty and bright and beautiful. Fuck that. We went for dark and raw. Like an early Dylan record or Springsteen’s “Nebraska”.

“Orphan Train”, “Four Winds, “Forever Again”……..most all of the tunes were first takes. If we added anything, we went with our first impression and that was it. It was the same with the mixing. “Slap echo would be cool here.”  Ok, done.

Tom and I had never worked together before. I had met him a few times and jammed with him even fewer times. He is also a playwright.  He sent me a play he had written based on the The Gin Blossoms’ guitarist Doug Hopkins, who had written all the band’s hits but committed suicide before the band broke. I knew Tom was a great writer, but I didn’t know he could write like THAT. It was a treat to work with him. There will be more.

The Edge is known to work on a guitar sound for a week then spend 5 minutes actually playing it on the recording. Neil Young and Crazy Horse get in a room and record live then spend weeks deciding just which flavor of shitty, loose, and sloppy they want to use. I suspect Tom worked hard on his lyrics and ideas before bringing them into my underground bunker of a studio. But once we got started, I had to make sure everything was working…… because you don’t get a second chance at a first take.

Like I said, there is a difference between not giving a shit and not caring.

Making “Dupont Back Porches” was a real experience.  I like to think that we were having a bitch session and a record broke out. That’s how it feels to me.

I think there is plenty of room in the world for records like this one…..

–Bret Alexander 4/5/2016

Get your copy of Dupont Back Porches here…

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