12 Fun Facts about Nothing Personal

  1. If you listen closely to the lyrics in Blowback, you’ll realize that (surprise) they don’t make any sense. They’re the original placeholder sounds I used while adding all the backing tracks so we would know where we were in terms of the overall mix. I did at one point have actual lyrics written out, but they didn’t…sing right, and when we compared them to the original placeholder track, they didn’t have the plaintive, emotional quality that I was looking for. So we scrapped them and kept the original placeholder ones.
  2. The cutoff happens in By The Way (and other songs) because I never bothered to write actual endings for most of them. (Got lazy). I think there may be one or two songs on there that have an actual outro, most of them are just faded down, or have individual parts selectively faded. Same thing with bridges (i.e. you won’t find any).
  3. A lot of the arrhythmic pauses you hear in my singing are due to not actually knowing how to sing. Or at least not having any conception of support. Hence the weird breath pauses and sibilance. I didn’t start lessons until a month or so after the record was finished.
  4. Possibly While High was orginally supposed to be a big Bach ripoff, complete with strings, brass and light percussion. But as we were sitting around listening to it one day and trying to decide on a rhythm part, Matt “$” Schneider started playing the countryish figure you hear over it, just messing around, and I thought “there.” So we made him play it again and in one take we had it.
  5. I wrote 90% of the lyrics and vocal melodies in a three day bender after waking up in my sleep and deciding that everything I had written thus far sucked. I do that quite a bit. I’m a terrible rewriter.
  6. I demoed most of it on a 4-track and, for the final pass, an early version of Vegas. The beats were made in Fruityloops (I use Reason and a bunch of others now), and I would sing over the two-channel recordings until I found a melody I liked. Most of it I wrote with a little Radio Shack tape recorder next to me on the couch.
  7. The beat in ‘Closer’ is just a canned beat I took from Fruityloops and modified with some slight reverb.
  8. During recording, it was pretty standard: everything live and mic’d–guitars, drums and piano/Rhodes. No MIDI at all except for the beats, and even those were bounced to audio and then just looped. (All of this was in Pro-Tools by the way).
  9. As for gear, I used a pretty modest setup (i.e. no pedals, just a few guitars). Other people brought way more toys than me, but the studio had a pretty nice selection of instruments I was able to dick around with, including a piano that was actually in tune. I used some no-name amp for my electric parts, but I have never liked how I sound when I play electric guitar so we mostly just stuck with my trusty Taylor and this ancient classical that I write everything on. They also had an amazing-sounding Wurlitzer, and it wasn’t long before I was banned from suggesting we put it into every song.
  10. We used only a couple of mics, one for the vocals and two condensers for the guitars. The drums took the longest to record simply because there were more mics involved. All in all, it was a pretty standard session, recording-wise. Editing was another story. Most of the effects you hear are generated in Pro-Tools. I hate recording with effects since you’re stuck with them. Plus digital effects are easier to work with I think. You have more control over things.
  11. We mixed and edited on a Pro-Tools rig. I had just recently gotten used to the idea of doing things in digital, and I didn’t know if I could handle tape-based again. (We ran the mics through a 2" tape reel with no EQ though before plugging straight into the board). Pros: easy to edit. Cons: easy to edit, to the point where it can quickly turn into an endless cycle of nudging things around and spending valuable time messing with minor effect changes.
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