I didn't start actually doing the "Give Me Air" album until mid 2002, writing songs, redoing the old ones, and pulling together people who would play on the record. We actually started recording in September 2002, out of my studio, where the entire record was recorded (with myself and my good friend Chris Mitchell helping me engineer it). We recorded in between gigs with my cover band, teaching my students, and basically whenever we could.
John Corabi and Brent Fitz came on board in February 2003. Brent played basically all the drum tracks over a 1 week period, and Corabi recorded all his songs over a 2 week period; that was an interesting time, recording during a blizzard at 3 in the morning (John's vocals for "Give Me Air" and "I'll Lay Down" were cut during that blizzard), doing 12 hour to 16 hour sessions.
After Corabi and Brent went home (actually Brent went right back on the road with Vince Neil, and Corabi went on tour with Ratt), Chris and I got back to work, and over the next 8 months, finished recording the rest of the album.
Joe Lynn Turner recorded the vocals on "Make Up Your Mind" and the one verse of "Freedom" in July. Chris and I discovered how powerful a vocalist Joe is when he went to sing the first line of "Make Up Your Mind." He sang the first verse, and when we went to listen back to it, the vocal was extremely distorted, like it was overloading somewhere. It took us a couple of minutes to figure out Joe Lynn was overloading the microphone pre-amplifier, and that every time he opened his mouth, the VU meter would peg, and the red "overload" light would come on! Now keep in mind that we had set up the equipment according to past experience with the other vocalists (Bruce Terkildsen, John Corabi, and myself), so we were pretty amazed at how much louder he was than everyone else.
During this time, we were searching high and low for a mixing engineer to get the album to sound like it should, and to match what I was hearing in my head. I love the way the Deep Purple records were mixed, and was looking for a similar sounding mix to my album; not too over-produced, something that showcased the band's powerful sound. On a pure stroke of good luck, we ran into Richard Ott through Bob Daisley. Richard had just got done working with Steve Morse, Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake and Jimmy Barnes working on their new album. Richard recorded Bob's bass tracks for "Freedom" and "Make Up Your Mind," and I asked him if he would be interested in mixing the record. He sent us a rough mix of "Open Fire," and when Chris and I heard it in the studio, we knew Richard was the guy. From there, it was a no brainer to use Masterdisk studios in NYC, because I knew Chris Ramos, who helped me get the first record mastered.
After a lot of wrangling with the graphical layout of the album, mastering it, and pressing it, the result is "Give Me Air," a sonic tribute to all the bands I listened to growing up (Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, Bad Company, Jimi Hendrix). I hope you enjoy listening to this album as much as I had creating it. One of the pleasures I get from my music is knowing that other people enjoy hearing it. I couldn't do what I do for a living without the fan's support. So, I thank all of you for your support of this album, and look forward to seeing you at Voodooland shows soon!!
- - - Karl
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