Friday, May 3, 2013

The history of The Vanilla Milkshakes

This band started as a drunken duo of me and my old Ginkins drummer, John. We got drunk one night and there so happened to be a friend of his with a four track handy. The guitars and the drums were all recorded by one hanging microphone. So the three songs on the demo are just that, with me doing vocal overdubs while Kent held up the microphone to my mouth. John didn’t have the stamina to do full songs so they sort of break up in the end like that.
            Of the three songs, the only one that didn’t make it to the LP was “We Sound Shitty So Spin Will like us.” I don’t know why I didn’t record that one again… Anyhoo, that one and Vampires were made up on the spot. Rich Kid you can find three versions on my website at My favorite recording is from the Seattle John’s session. I really wish I could get in contact with him now. Anyways, I played the song because I felt that it could be a solo guitar song so I just started playing it and John followed suit. He didn’t know where to end it so that’s sort of how the ending wound up on it.
            The song “We Sound Shitty So Spin Will Like Us” was the basis of the whole joke. I’d like to re-record it in the produced Milkshakes way.  That day will come soon I hope.
            The demo is all one take and was basically a throw away until I put it into MP3 form and burned disks. I gave them to my friends in the scene and to my surprise they all told me that instead of doing Ginkins, I should do the (Vanilla added for legal reasons) Milkshakes. So I gave a demo to the Hi Dive and immediately got a show. The singer from Codename: TRIXIE could drum so I asked him if he’d do the impromptu concert and he said yes. It was at that show that I met Fez Guzmen. Off a whim I decided to record as the Milkshakes and asked him if he’d do it with me. He borrowed Taylor Evans Rice’s amp (A Twin Reverb) and within a few days Brian from Uneven Studios and The Hot IQs / Accordion Crimes was ready to record us. I told Fernando the day before and met him with my Ibanez Jet King guitar down at the Burger King off of Kalamath and Colfax. He picked me up and we went to Brian’s house and set up. All he did was do two mics on the guitars and three on the drums. We recorded pretty much everything in one take. Fez just seemed to know dynamics in and out so it was no problem going from low to noisy on the spot. All the vocal tracks are one take, plus any hand claps or what knot. The only song with two vocal tracks is “One More Song.”
            The few songs I wrote up on the spot (meaning I told Brian to record and just did a guitar and drum take off the top of our heads) were: Cookie Monster, Alan (You’re Outta the Band!), and One More Song. I think that Yr Scene was one of those too but I’m not sure?
            Recording the whole drums and guitars process took about an hour; it was just the recording set up and the mixing that took the extra two hours. Brian used all of his old school mics to do it and even recorded it all on eight track tape (for that great lo-fi sound) before transferring it to Pro Tools. He also plugged in the eight track when I went to do vocals. Just saying, the microphone that Brian used on my vocals was the same one that the girl from Fleetwood Mac sang into recording Landslide. Fez left after nine songs saying he had somewhere to be. I wanted ten songs so we decided to do Chai with just a guitar and voice. I did the guitar first and then went ahead and did all the other songs first, knowing I’d have to be in the zone for Chai. I think I did Cookie Monster first and then worked my way up. I had just chugged almost eight PBR’s so I was pretty drunk and susceptible to suggestion.
            On The Pessimist Brian told me that the whole recording session was going to waste so it helped me add the whole vocalized sadness to the tracks. Then for Rich Kid and One More Song he egged me on saying that I was being made fun of in the scene. I don’t know why I felt the way I felt (probably the booze) and I just let my heart rip.
            Rich Kid came from the initial anger that I had about this girl who talked smack about me on the internet… And when I told Brian what One More Song was about, he told me to sing it like just truly and utterly wanted my favorite band to come back on stage. So I sang it like I really wanted the (now defunct) Symptoms to come back and play me one more song. Honestly that’s where the passion came from. This song features one of the only two overdubs in the entire album. It’s my favorite song on the recording.
            This joke I made to the hipster scene really just blew up. Originally intended to be a parody this whole record just turned on its head, selling over three hundred copies in two months. Each CD was made by hand, my hand. And I found myself playing in front of fifty to a thousand people each show!
            It was so easy to do and I wanted nothing more to be a touring band.
            Alas… Drugs and self-abuse ensued and I had to stop it all. It took about six or so years before I could even think about doing music again. But here I am, and I am ready and willing to do all that again! Of course I mean sans drugs.

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