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In 1999, a mutual friend thought I should meet Travis Meeks, the leader singer/songwriter for Days Of The New. He was recording and getting ready to mix some singles at Ocean Way Studios here in Hollywood. I went there, we talked for a few hours, and seemed to hit it off. He knew I was a multi-instrumentalist was asking me about playing keyboards/sound effects for the next tour. Travis was explaining to me that while touring with Metallica, he had a futuristic type idea to bring smells to the audience and not just music. And his immediate plans were to remix some singles (mixed by Tom Lord-Alge), and make a couple videos and then we would take it from there. One of these songs was called “Enemy.”
About a year later, Travis asked me to come to Kentucky where he was recording the 3rd Days Of The New Album (aka The Red Album or Days Of The New, Vol. 3). This was being funded by a major label (Outpost / Interscope), so I was dealing with an accountant mostly for my travel arrangements. Travis asked me to bring a guitar and bass. He said he wanted to bring my Seattle aggression to the recordings. He also liked the fact I had been associated with members of Alice In Chains and wanted me to add that magical fairy dust to the recordings. On the plane I listened constantly to the second Days Of The New album to get familiar with those songs. Because I thought might be playing some of those. But that was not the case.
I arrived at Distillery Sound in Louisville, KY. This was a huge 16,000 (?) square foot studio presumably owned by Travis. Pretty impressive for a 20 year old, but he was a Platinum artist. We had the best equipment that rivaled LA studios and if we needed an instrument or something, it was Fed Ex’d the next day. The Producer was Bill Klatt, who had also Produced Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Santana and was responsible for the hit song “Believe” by Cher. As soon as I walked in, they saw that I had a broken bass string from the flight and they replaced it immediately. Then I was escorted right into an isolated recording room to begin immediately playing guitar on a song called “Fighting W/ Clay.”- which I had never heard before. All this within five minutes of walking in the door.
Travis gave me one of his Taylor guitars to use and insisted I also use one of his picks. It took me a while to get the rhythm right but Mike Huettig (the other guitarist/bassist) told me it took him a week to get right. We recorded it while playing with the whole band. We then moved on to another song (I’m not sure if this other song was included on the album). But the recording engineer was having problems getting used to the equipment and suddenly realized we didn’t have enough room on the hard drive to save the recordings I had just played on. We put in an order to have another hard drive overnighted to us. But as the week went on, Travis felt more inspired for other songs, and we worked on Ray Rizzo’s drums instead, so those two songs I played on, never made it to the album with my guitar parts. You can see how we charted out the arrangement “Fighting W/ Clay" in the photo below.
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