Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Making an Album

It's such a struggle to begin writing and recording a new album.

To make this one doubly difficult, I'm using Apple's professional recording program Logic Pro X for the first time ever and it's taking me a while to get familiar with this super powerful software. But I guess I have a long history of using a new program or physical unit for the first time when I start a new record. Good Lord, that includes FOR THE GOOD OF THE CAUSE (a TOA 8 track standalone unit on which I would go on to record a number of records), SO FAR IN EVERY DIRECTION (for which I first used a new Tascam 8 track Portastudio), HOGGETT HEADS (for which I finally made the transition halfway through sessions to a Tascam digital 8 track--the 788), THE SCHUYLER SESSIONS (during which I used an iMac and a basic Cubase program to record with for the first time), I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE (during which I made the transition to recording exclusively on a computer using, in this case, a more powerful version of CUBASE), DIFFERENT (an album that was largely recorded on an analog Tascam 488 8 track cassette machine similar to one I'd had in the late '90s), BONA FIDE (the beginning of a stretch where I began recording on MacBook Pros using Cubase), and just about everything since 2014 (which were done largely done with GarageBand and a MacBook Pro with some occasional spells on the Tascam 488.)

Uploaded a live version of "Marzipan Day" from 2009 to the audio page. Though it has been available previously, this newly remastered version is much superior to any from the past.

On this day in 1938, James Jamerson was born. James might well be the single most important bassist in '60s rock and soul music. Certainly his influence lives on to this day. He passed away in 1983 at the age of 45.

Tommy Ramone was born on this day in 1952. He passed away in 2014.

"I'd hear the melody line from the lyrics and I'd build the bass line around that. I always tried to support the melody. I had to. I'd make it repetitious, but also add things to it. Sometimes that was a problem because the bassist who worked with the acts on the road couldn't play [what I played in the studio]. It was repetitious, but had to be funky and have emotion.

"My feel was always an Eastern feel. A spiritual thing. Take 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love'. The bass line has an Arabic feel. I've been around a whole lot of people from the East, from China and Japan. Then I studied the African, Cuban and Indian scales. I brought all that with me to Motown.

"I also picked things up from listening to people speak. From the intonation of their voices. I could capture a line. I look at people walking and get a beat from their movement. I'm telling you all my secrets now.

"One tune I came up with by the sight of someone walking. There was one of them heavy, funky tunes the Temptations did...I can't remember the name, but there was this big, fat woman walking around. She couldn't keep still. I wrote it by watching her move."