Frustrated and determined Ming and I got back to the drawing board. We
went all out trying to solve the problem of where to record drums.
There just had to be a place in New York City that was quiet, cheap
and available. But where? We have many friends in the East Village
and Williamsburg but we came up with nothing.
Within a couple of days, by chance, we came upon a few possibilities.
One afternoon while walking my Dog, I ran into Kate from Kate’s Joint
on E 3rd. Over the years she had several bands rehears in the basement of
her restaurant. She offered to lend us her space. When we
went to check on it there were cooks and waitresses running all
over getting things done. We thanked Kate for her offer but recording
there would have been difficult.
Soon after, the beautiful lounge in the downstairs of China 1 was offered by
owner and long time friend Andrew Krauss. Our only hesitation with China 1 was
the lack of space to store our equipment between recordings. In this
scenario we would bring my drum kit along as well as all of our recording
equipment. We could work from 9 to 5 pm, then bring all of our stuff
home in a cab. Hauling it back and forth each day was not ideal but we
decided to give it a try.
After putting the microphones on the drum set and setting levels we
heard a low humming sound coming from an enormous refrigerator containing
several cases of exotic Asian beverages. Unable to contact Andrew, we
made a decision to unplug the 400 hundred pound fridge. The power
cable was in the back of the unit. Ming reached behind as I tried to slide
the unyielding beast across the floor of the bar. I groaned and
huffed as Ming stretched her torso and arms towards the outlet. Then
with what sounded like a pro wrestler tearing a phone book in half,
Ming’s pants split wide open. The split was bad enough that Ming went out in search
of a new pair of pants. In the meantime I unloaded all of the Tsing
Tao beer to make the unit lighter.
20 minutes later I turned to the door to see Ming standing in
front of me in what looked like my gandma Rosalia’s curtains
from her house in Queen’s. There were flowers and
Italian garden scenarios leaping from her pant legs. I was half
blinded by nostalgia and half by the pattern itself. There she was
sleek black shirt atop of a renaissance painting
accident. We roared with laughter for a few minutes then went back and
accomplished the unplugging of the Fridge.
Next we heard footsteps on the stairs. Andrew came down apologetically
with photographers from a prominent NY magazine doing a story on the
Restaurant. He had told the crew that one of his attractive employees
would be at China 1 which may enhance the pictures for the article. As they came in and
greeted us, Andrew asked Ming if she would be in a photo with him for
the piece. As the words fell from his lips everyone’s eyes moved
slowly to Ming’s 6 dollar trousers from The Bargain Bazaar.
Ming smiled unfazed by their reactionI took a napkin off
a table and put it over my face to
stop from bursting into laughter. After an awkward moment. The photographer
recommended head shots.
When we got back to our work we noticed other sounds from
pipes and machines that were unmanageable. China 1 would not work for
drums. We did return later to do all the guitar tracks on Bring Me
Down and the end lead guitar in Rice Field. We were able to avoid the
unwanted sounds by isolating the guitar amps in a 2X3 foot bathroom.