Oswald And The Herringbones Update

Hey Oswald And The Herringbones Friends!

Neal & Mike's Real Happiness Workshop! - Oswald And The Herringbones

Neal & Mike’s Real Happiness Workshop! – Oswald And The Herringbones




I am just checking in to let you know that we are looking at recording four songs for your enjoyment and our archives. This has been an interesting time for the band we are all stretched in many directions. But we do try to get together and practice weekly if possible. For the last year there have been all kinds of things that get in the way but we do attempt to get together when we can. So it is art for art’s sake when we get things done and it is a lot of fun for us. Personally I feel like it is my therapy. I think other men often get together and go bowling or play on a softball team or even run marathons together. Getting together with Oswald And the Herringbones is indeed my way of blowing off steam and enjoying the familiar feel of hanging with three guys I love.


Lately what we have done is look at all of the songs that we have and tried to decide which ones were not recorded very well. In other words we are trying to record four of the old songs in a better way so that the quality of the recording can be archived. It’s interesting to try to pick which four songs because it is like trying to choose which one of your children you love the most. It is a task that cannot be done obviously. But there are times and seasons for each song and sometimes they are on the ascent and other times on the descent.


It’s interesting to note that this happens on a micro level as well. Even in a night of entertaining say for four hours in three sets with lots and lots of alcohol. Through a particular month of weekends one or two songs will come to the top as very fun and very tight and the audience will respond to them on a very positive level. Sometimes it is because the songs are new and other times it is because they are familiar. But even the band would note in a particular night that certain songs just banged it out of the park. While other ones were almost filler as we tried to get to the songs we really felt like playing.


In the early days of the band Neal and I often played songs with deep personal feelings involved in the writing. At least for myself, I often wore my heart on my sleeve and put out there all of the details of my love life etc. Later on as we became more of a bar band we needed to make sure people got up and danced. To do that we had to rely on the groove, rhythm, and pace of the tunes. The not so dirty, not so secret, dirty little secret about bar bands is that you must get people up dancing. That way they will be Thirsty and they will buy drinks. The whole purpose for a band being in a bar most of the time is to get people moving so they will buy alcohol for each other and themselves. Otherwise bar owners would go out of business hiring bans for people to sit around and listen to. So about a third of the way through our career we switched over from the Simon and Garfunkel type of sound and more toward the get up and dance sound.


Both served us well. The songs and the intricate harmonies that we built up in those first years definitely helped us out as we move toward dance music as well. It was merely a matter of finding the groove that best fit so that people could get up and move around and get thirsty.


Of course we went through our artistic stage as well. We were listening to the likes of Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Santana,  the Talking Heads, Devo etc. etc. a pretty eclectic mix of artists that fed into our particular style. So the big idea back then was to try to be dancy enough for people to get up and dance and drink and artsy enough that a record label might take notice of you. It was an interesting time. The big 80s was just that, BIG!


So now that were older we are not playing out very much at all. Occasionally we do the charity gig for tornado victims and food pantries. We very much enjoy playing out when we do. But we have decided to record because that seems to be the best use of our time. Also with all the new technology we can record things much better in quality and reproduce them faster than ever before.


Probably the most important thing about recording a song is that it doesn’t cost as much as it used to. Years ago we would spend up to $400 an hour for studio time. The same tracks can be recorded now for just pennies on a home digital studio. There is still an art to it and the engineer can make all the difference. Having a real studio that is set up to record is essential for basic tracks . But smaller things can be done piece by piece in our own homes and then married together as a mixed track. This gives us not only the financial advantage of it not costing us a lot of money, but it also helps to tamp down the fear that often comes when that little red record light pops on. It’s a stage fright of sorts, at least for me.


When you are recording at home you can use as many takes as you need to get the track down exactly how you want with all the feeling and precision that it needs to fit the groove. When you are in the studio you often have to balance the financial cost against your own performance. Sometimes this can cause you to freeze up or play something rather stilted and unfeeling. Recording at home makes it much easier to capture things the way you want them done. It may not seem like much to the listener, but the artist understands that their performance will be etched in stone so to say. They may take a pounding every time they hear that particular recording. Many of us wince at little bits and pieces that we know we could’ve played better if we were not conscious of the financial binds or had it to do again. I often wonder if some of the big professional musicians ever feel that way.


Anyway, with the advent of home recording we can get much of it done in the studio and then come home for our “icing on the cake” parts. So that’s what we are doing. Currently we are practicing the same for songs in a manner that will bring them up to speed for the studio. We will probably lay down drums and bass tracks in the studio and maybe some cursory passes at keyboards guitars and vocals. Anything that needs to be fixed can probably be done in our home studios. Of course having Tom own the studio nowadays makes us less concerned about the financial bind but it is still a consideration. We do not want to waste his time or the time of his partners. So we are working on polishing the same four songs and then we will attempt to record them and get them out to you our friends.

Remember you can always watch our videos on Youtube.com just search for Oswald And The Herringbones!

God bless you all!


Michael A Barone

Oswald And The Herringbones