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Where my ideas come to compete...... with one another

Video: "Creep”  Stone Temple Pilots cover - featuring The Fractal Harp. I shot this in the early spring and finally mixed the audio last week . There's too many other STP tunes I'd love to bite on but this one seemed to flow out well on this instrument



 I'm extremely lucky as to have gotten to know Stone Temple Pilots Guitarist Dean DeLeo and his brother, bass player, Robert DeLeo fairly well. They're incredibly talented song writers and can attest to the fact that they are both sweethearts through and through. The DeLeo brothers are the simply the real deal and are perhaps more worthy of their great success than anyone I have met in the music industry. (Plus they like my shit).

My heart goes out to everyone in their circle for their tremendous loss and the surrounding drama, before and since. I know full what it's like  losing long time precious friends/band mates to premature death. There's good days and bad days. Time may soften the blow around edges, but seldom do a few hours pass when that face or voice doesn't drift through your mind.


Scott Weiland: Pure talent/pure drama tragically died this year. I took these Photo's back in 2008 Mohegan Sun Arena where my band opened for Stone Temple Pilots  

In the months of aftermath since Scott Weiland's tragic death and the band's subsequent search for a new singer,  I've seen countless STP covers coming down the pike and couldn't help but want to take a whack at one.

Most of the Stone Temple Pilot songs I'd want to bite  aren't aren't so familiar. Wonderful  and Hollywood Bitch come instantly to mind. For that matter, some day I may just play the entirety of Shangri-La Dee Da. It's become one of my all time favorite albums.

....but , I was screwing around on my Fractal Harp this spring and a song from the familiar favorites file came creeping into my hands. (pun intended) Yes,  I started playing "Creep". Oddly enough, it crept in 3/4 time.  I started putting together an expanding/contracting drum track and one thing lead to another.......

I came back this summer and got a better mix together and here it is. Not sure what people will make of it. Stone Temple  Pilot fans are emphatic about STP and a deep love for the bands music is passionately woven into their lives and memories. They may or may not dig my cover. Some of them are brutally expressive (my side story take on STP YouTube flame wars)

 ....Anyway I had a good time working on it and covered some ground figuring out how to approach recording this instrument(s),

It's funny, while finishing this mix I went to Wikipedia out of curiosity to check out the info on this tune and was eerily amused to see the entry says:

Robert DeLeo stated the following about "Creep" "Musically speaking I was thinking about a song along the lines of 'Heart of Gold' by Neil Young, which is in the key of D-minor, the saddest key of all. 

Ironically It was my version of Heart of Gold that gave me the chance to meet the DeLeos

I woke up  one day to this email:




Yeah, If you're a musician this is the kind of Email you want to get. Bob Ezrin produced too many of the great albums I grew up on and has produced far too many great artists to even mention here   He is  known for his work with Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel

.... I mean the dude produced the fucking WALL.  

He was reacting to my version of "Heart of Gold'" by Neil Young

More: My little STP adventure



2005ish back when men were men, ferrets were ferrets  and the internet was younger and prettier, web videos were  a new novelty as "dile-up" modems began to be replaced with cable modems. (pre YouTube) My website was new as I posted my Swiss army bass version of Neil Young's ""Heart Of Gold".  People dug it

A friend of mine, bassist extraordinaire, producer/sonic super authority and all around skeptic - Peter Freeman  shared a link of it with a recoding engineer friend of his who just so happened to work at a studio out in LA where super group, Army Of Anyone (members of Stone Temple Pilots and Filter) just happened to be finishing up their record. The album being produced by Bob Ezrin and nearing completion.       

Anyway: Peter's friend played my video for the guys in the studio and apparently they flipped out. Soon after getting the Email above from Bob Ezrin, I got word that I'd be getting a call from Dean Deleo - This made me happy. (Unfortunately the meeting with Bob Ezrin never happened. He flaked out the same way my Uncle Charlie promised to take me me fishing when I was 12 years old and it never happened.  If you see Bob Ezrin, tell him I miss him.

Army Of Anyone - Supergroup, featuring members of STP, Robert and Dean DeLeo and Filter's Richard Patrick with Ray Luzior  David Lee Roth's band currently Korn )  -Self titled release 2006. The album, simply titled Army of Anyone, was released on November  2006. The band's first single was the track "Goodbye", which gathered significant radio airplay, peaking at number 3 place in the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts  
Here's a video of the Army Of Anyone  rehearsing "Goodbye" , To my eyes and ears perhaps a better representation of the band than the official video    
  Being locked in a studio for most of the 90s, ironically, I didn't own many 90s CDs, let alone a single STP album.  After getting the  Email above, I soon found myself at a record store digging into the STP collection and randomly pullong up "Shangri-La Dee Da". It soon became one of my favorite albums.    
  Dean had been perusing my newly minted website here (back when it had more balls)  and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. We had a series of phone conversations over the next few weeks talking about music - It was really cool to get info on the making of "Shangri-La Dee Da" while it was freshly washing into my mind. I really fell in love with that record before I went out and got the earlier ones that were more familiar from the radio/commercially viable.    
The Army Of Anyone album was set to be mixed in NYC and when they got there, they invited me down to the studio.

Finally getting the chance to meet The Deleo bros & Richard Patrick in person was a blast. They made me feel right at home while I was  treated a listen to mixes of the AOA  album cranked up in the control room. It sounded fantastic. First thing that struck me was that sounded far more musically athletic than any STP or Filter stuff I'd heard. The drums were off the map (not to take away from Eric Katz) but it opened up a whole new dimension of confident, synchronous fast and fluid  riffs with Patrick's voice draped over. Dean explained how they had met Ray Luzier out on some gigs and were blown away and quickly recruited him.

I also got to meet one of my all time heroes: Andy Wallace, who was mixing the album. Andy Wallace basically mixed the entire 90s/ loud rock everything - any studio myself or anyone were mixing in would use Nirvana: Never-mind or countless other Andy Wallace mixes as reference . He is simply the industry standard. As a recording engineer, I worship the ground he walks on.  Having recorded countless punk and hardcore bands in the 80s and 90s as a day job myself, I've gained an understanding of the task that  it is to make extreme/loud/lose rock, translate well to small speakers and beyond that to the radio. I found him to be an extremely talkative and friendly guy. We chatted a bit about Jeff Buckley - one of the few artists he both mixed AND produced. I had produced an Inger Lorre LP Jeff Buckley played all over a few years earlier.

Finally, Dean & Robert invited me to open a few shows when AOA were going on the road when the record was coming out. I hadn't gigged much since the last incarnation of Johnny Skilsaw so I was as intrigued as much as intimidated. It was a great day.


  As fate had it,the AOA record got delayed in it's release due to the suicide/implosion of the entire record industry with the firings of people at their record label and other arrangements to get the record released. Unfortunately the LP didn't come out for another year.  I was in touch with Dean over that time hearing about some of the drama. The band had subsequently  completely remixed the album with a friend in LA and chose not to use any of the NYC mixes. As far as their record label, It seemed to be the classic example of a key person being fired and a completed records' imminent release threatened. I've seen that situation more than actual releases. It happened twice to me. In most cases the record never sees the light of day, but in the case od AOA - it helps if you've already sold a zillion records    
 Andy Wallace -kicks ass
The AOA album underwent a label transplant and  was slotted for Nov 2006 release. I finally got a call from Dean & Robert a month or so in advance with  and a chance to open some shows a few of their tour kicked off in Philadelphia. I got  a live rig together rehearsing with original Johnny Skilsaw drummer Ron Auber

The opening night gig was a bit of a homecoming with friends DeLeos grew up with from nearby NJ hanging back stage Watching AOA sound check and play live was seriously impressive. Their album was fresh in my mind and it was great to see the band pounding out for real -Having  never been to an STP show, It was great to see Robert ,Dean & Robert do their thing. Ray Luzier is without a doubt the sickest drummer I've ever seen/ while being a nice/down to earth dude. The opening night of The AOA  tour was something to see as was the Boston show later in the week. The band was remarkably solid.  

From our end as opening band, things were chaotic and the forces of nature are harsh ,as they always are for openers. The dudes in the AOA  were extremely nice and accommodating but even the nicest clubs are a nightmare if you invent crazy, precarious instruments and bring them into an environment of pure turmoil . The venue had booked a third local opening band that made any kind of sound check irrelevant.

As I sit here in comfort and recall any sense of pre-gig dread I ever had something profound occurs to me.  Any nerve racking experience I've ever endured worrying about if my crazy gear is going to work on a gig can hardly compare with the insane nerve crumbling drama that the DeLeo brothers have endured countless times dealing with their  singer in situations where millions of dollars are at stake as well as the carefully crafted plans and arrangements of thousands of lives .  ...so I'm not complaining. Things went far better for us a few nights later at the Boston show despite myself coming down with the flu and a back injury that left me barley able to stand. 

Seemingly buried on the web There's a treasure-trove  of AOA doing stripped down acoustic versions of various Filter, STP and AOA tunes.  

Despite largely positive reviews from critics, the Army Of Anyone album sold well below the expectations set from Filter and Stone Temple Pilots past multi-platinum albums, stalling around 88,000.

I still don't understand it and it depresses  me to this day to think, if these guys couldn't sell a zillion rock records/ who can?  The band toured into the winter and on  for about a year to follow and wrapped things up before reuniting with their previous bands. I was really happy to hear ,drummer,  Ray Luzier got the gig playing with Korn. 


Dean and I kept in touch after that. We even messed around via the web - I laid some egotar stuff on some acoustic stuff he was experimenting with  and messed around with some undeveloped AOA tracks  - nothing much came of it but it sounded cool and kept both of us entertained at the time -

Dean is an incredible guitar player and the more I explore the STP catalogue, the more appreciation of his style(s) I gain. From his mellow understated finesse filled , gentle clocklike approach to acoustic, his slide slackly, color filled approach to slide. His scronky chunk bar chords always have colors of seconds and 9ths spun into them giving whatever the tune is a modern/ ethereal feel. The synchronous riffs he and Robert have developed through the years are awesome and sound like 4 guitar players when you hear the two of them live.There's plenty of examples of this on line with the solo  being one of my favorite.


  STP :Long Way Home.  Best current YouTube comment: " Fuck you Dean, you bastard.. You're a fucking SUPERB guitar player...!!   Deans lead begins around 3:20

There's a cool compilation of other peoples favorite Dean DeLeo leads here  Alternative Nation


Some time went by and one day I was out herding squirrels around my yard, getting our house ready to sell and my cell phone rings. I look down and it says "William Morris Agency"  The next thing I know I'm slotted to open two upcoming STP shows. Sure I'm happy but scared shitless. The timing was horrible, my family were in the middle of selling a house and relocating , I had no "band" to speak of, no current CD to promote or sell - no "merch" (an assholish word) Anyway, the gigs coincided with our relocation.

It was shows were enormous in venues. Oakdale Theater and Mohegan Sun Arena. I always wanted to do a gig with 2 drummers so I took on the logistics of coordinating Ron Auber and Joey Criffo who lived in Missouri . My life was crazier than usual between moving and trying to get my untested Fractal Harp rig together and  squeezing in a some rehearsals while fixing a house, selling it during a real-estate crash,  packing and moving .  It was a crazy spring.

Joey came in fro Missouri days in advance from the shows  We managed to pack in a few marathon rehearsals. The day of the first show, we showed up in plenty of time up at The Oakdale Theater. We had no crew or road manager to buffer us through logistics. Tragically, It was clear from the time we were loading in that the sage manager was going to  do everything in his power to sabotage  our gig.  It was too awkward a situation for me to bring up with Dean & Robert. 

Ron and I burnt that stage manager in effigy a week or so after the gig.

We sound checked . A little while later we were pleasantly greeted by Dean & Robert. My sister and brother in law (from Walingford the town the venue is in) showed up back stage area with my awesome my 82 year old mother who had endured my entire childhood of endless loud jams, beer bottles and cigarette buts) we were all standing around talking when a headset/clipboard/black tee-shirt dude rushed in and informed us that we would need to briefly "clear the area"

The large group of us were all escorted to a nearby tiny backstage wing. It seemed Scott Weiland (who traveled on his own separate tour bus) had arrived and the protocol was to part the seas before him.  As we could hear his full entourage make it's way through, Robert DeLeo quickly dashed off from our immediate area while peering around urgently. He came running back moments later with a chair and casually presenting it to my mom. The moment is burnt into my mind and is the best part of this story, It's the main impetuous for me to write any of this shit down.   

Our set went fairly well given that stage manager who clearly had it in for us. Ron and I have dealt with this kind of adversity for years, with the caveat that generally after we play, the forces aligned against us before the show go out off their way to befriend us after they see up play. My best guess is it's because of the uniqueness and musicality of what we do. This was the case that evening as well with the entire crew , ,,,,,,,,,except that stage manager.
  A friend snapped this shot with his phone at the Oakdale Theater show
  STP played and it was great finally getting to see them live. They played all their hits to a happy, capacity crowd. The tiny speaker in the men's room sounded like the radio. It was great. I snapped these groovy pics.

  The next day we rolled into at Mohegan Sun Arena - I had played in some big venues but loading our disheveled gear into this place was purely ominous.

I remember rolling some gear in though a door to the floor and stopping next to this 15 foot high stage and stopping for a second in awe. Ron, Joey and I stood there vastness of the empty 10,000 seat chasm I remember asking involuntarily, "what the fuck did we get ourselves into?"

  Ominous view from behind Ron Auber's drum set at Mohegan Sun Arena  
















Ron's Brother, Richard Auber was kind enough to get these shots  
The night went as well as it could under the circumstances, I'm grateful we had the opportunity to do it. Ron's brother Richard Auber got these shots of us. My family and I settled in after our move and spent the next several years living on a beautiful just outside Boston. I'm still in touch with  Dean & Robert and hear from them from time to time.
The Fractal Harp
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