DENIZ TEK AND THE GODOYS
Career Records CLP3001 / CDS3001
Release date 6/9/2019
"FAST FREIGHT" is the new album from Deniz Tek with Art and Steve Godoy.
Basic, no-frills electric guitar rock and roll, recorded and mixed entirely on vintage analog equipment.
Fast Freight is a stripped down return to basic roots.
In August of 2018, shortly after returning from a successful tour of China, the band met in Billings Montana to record a new album at Bob Brown's "Ship's In Studio". Deniz arrived from Hawaii with his wife Anne a few days before the sessions, to rehearse and plan the project. Drummer Steve Godoy flew in from Long Beach, and his twin brother Art Godoy, bass player, flew in from Vancouver. Art's plane, a small regional jet, ran into into extreme weather over northern Montana making the flight hazardous - they had to divert, and he barely made it, late but in one piece. The next day was devoted to rehearsal, and the album was recorded over the following two days. Art and Steve, internationally famous for skateboarding, tattoos and punk rock, have been in Deniz's touring band for 25 years. Their first album with Deniz was "Glass Eye World", under the name Deniz Tek and the Golden Breed.
Deniz had always wanted to return to vintage analog equipment to record. He and Bob had been talking about doing this for years ... almost like a bucket list thing. Bob had recently found, and painstakingly restored, a Tascam 8 track recorder for tracking and a vintage Revox stereo recorder (for mixing). These machines are hard to find, and if you do find one, it is almost impossible to find anyone who knows how to restore or repair them. Bob found such a person, in an abandoned bank in tiny remote Lavina, Montana, a one-street town at the intersection of Montana State Highway 3 and old US 12. An eccentric long haired and bearded genius named Phil who knows everything there is to know about vintage tape machines, and has a mountain of vintage spare parts in the old bank. He is the "go to guy" for old tape recorders. He gets machines sent to him from all over the world - Finland, Siberia, Japan - and he restores them and sends them back. How strange to find him within a couple of hours drive from the studio!..
The thing about recording to tape is that it's fast. The band has to be well rehearsed, and ready to nail it. You don't have the endless editing and cut/paste options that digital recording offers. What you get is spontaneity and interesting rough edges. Those qualities are often lost when a track is chopped up and reassembled "in the box". Pitch and time might be made perfect, but the end result can be boringly anodyne. Jack White and others know this, and have returned to tape. We were lucky that Bob gave us the opportunity.
Deniz's last few albums had featured a world class session drummer, Ric Parnell, expert keyboardists and horn players. This time we went with only the three-piece touring band. The idea was to get the excitement of a live performance down on tape. The sessions were rough and ready, and raw. The guitars were plugged straight into amps, without pedals or effects. Many of the rhythm guitar tracks featured Deniz's Dan Armstrong clear plexiglass guitar direct into an Ampeg Jet amp turned way up. The drums were recorded with three microphones. All the basic tracks went down in two days, with vocals and a few guitar solos done in the next couple of days. Miles Davis used to say "There are no mistakes - only unintended notes" ... and we had our share of those. The amazing thing is that they often sound cooler than the intended ones.
In the middle of all of this, Bob was preparing for his daughters wedding, which was held the same week ... and Deniz was rehearsing for playing at the wedding too. Talk about being busy ... Bob was constantly required to be in several places at once, get no sleep, and be firing on all cylinders in hyperdrive the whole time !
Bob Brown mixed the album over the next couple of months, checking in with Deniz from time to time. There are as many nuances and contexts in a mix as there are flavors in a meal or colors in a painting - there's no right or wrong, and there are an endless number of mixes that could all be acceptable. It all comes down in the end to a gut feeling - if it sounds good to the ear and to the heart, you go with it. Bob started on a Mackie console, and mid way through switched over to a Soundcraft Ghost, and it took some time and effort to reconcile the two. No digital effects or plug-ins were used - just simple analog parametric EQ, delays and reverbs, and the mix went straight to tape with no editing.
Mastering was done in San Francisco by Gary Hobish, who had mastered the Detroit album. The cut to lacquer was done by George Horn, also in San Francisco. George had been the chief cutting engineer at Fantasy. He has done records by CCR, Dylan, Sinatra. He knows how to get that 60's and 70's magic into a cut. It has to be done by hand, by an artisan. Not many are left who know how to do it. James Williamson was in town, and knowing George, he attended the session, lending an ear and his production expertise to the project. (Thanks James!!)
The result of all this is Fast Freight. From solid rockers like the prison song "John Henry's Hammer", and the surreal "Shanghai Cab", to the somber dirge "Death Note" and the breakneck punk blast of "Out Of The Mood", this is all basic, no frills rock and roll, and in many ways, a return to roots for Deniz Tek and The Godoys.