Here’s a story for you…
These days, it’s hard for me to choose a favourite artist or band. But when I was a teenager, hands down it was The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I basically learned how to play guitar, bass and drums by listening to BloodSugarSexMagik again and again.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded BloodSugarSexMagik in 1991. The label had arranged for them to live in a much fabled mansion in the Hollywood Hills to record the album with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin. A documentary called Funky Monks was made about these recording sessions.
When I was in the 11th grade, a friend of mine had acquired a copy of this documentary. Prior to viewing it, I had no idea what I record producer was or did. I simply wanted to be in a band.
I watched Funky Monks constantly. When I saw the footage of Rick Rubin guiding the Chili Peppers through the sessions, something clicked. I realized “That’s it! That should be my career!”.
And that was when I decided I wanted spend my life making records.
Fast forward 13 years later: I was months away from completing my first full length production for singer/emcee, AndrewLIVE. I had spent the majority of the last decade producing electronic music, hip-hop beats, or the odd R&B tune. In this realm, the definition of “producer” is quite a bit different than the one I had seen in Funky Monks so many years ago.
Given my background in electronic music, it had been quite hard to get a rock band to take me seriously. Getting the chance to produce a rock album was something that I had nearly given up on.
And then I met The Lipstick Junkies – a funk/rock power trio from Toronto. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to these three guys by their manager and my close friend, Nova Courchene. They had been planning to make a few live-off-the-floor demos and were looking for someone to record them. I made the case to let me produce and mix their songs – to make an album. Thankfully they agreed.
The first time I saw The Lipstick Junkies play at Toronto’s Silver Dollar Room, I was immediately impressed with their musicianship. What struck me more, however, was their onstage chemistry and the sincere joy with which they delivered their material. They possessed the strong sense of communion and brotherhood that many of the longest lasting and best music groups have. It was my goal to preserve those rare qualities on the record.
The Lipstick Junkies rehearsed in a large home located in the suburbs of Toronto.
So in the summer of 2013 – thirteen years after first seeing Funky Monks – there I found myself: commuting to a mansion with a backpack full of gear, on my way to produce the debut album of a funk/rock band.
The universe has an amazing way of helping us realize our dreams if we are willing to put in the effort.
I’d like to thank the wonderful Bloch family for welcoming me into and allowing us to record in their lovely home.
I’d like to thank all the great folks that kept us company while we were getting it done – Ryan, Polina, Suraya, Tevin, and some others that I am surely forgetting.
Thank you to the lovely Monica Moraru for your outstanding album artwork.
A massive big thank you to Florian Bey. Without your immaculate tracking knowledge, the project would not have benefited from the brilliant drum sounds that I had to work with. I learned a lot from working with you.
I’d like to thank all the musicians that contributed to this project.
AndrewLIVE – Thanks for lending us your voice brah.
James Robinson – After many years of friendship, it was a pleasure to finally collaborate with you on a proper project. Thanks for coming through.
Leah Tomlinson – Thank you for your lovely voice. It’s great to keep it all in the fam.
Logan Wall – So glad you could be involved in this. Thanks for your excellent djembe work and for your enthusiasm.
I cannot verbalize how grateful I am to Nova Courchene for believing in me. Without you, this project would never have come my way. All your hard work will pay off – I am sure of it.
Last but certainly not least: THANK YOU JUNKIES!
Greg Babinski – It was so much fun working with you. Especially on the vocal sessions. Thanks for your patience during the gruelling guitar sessions.
Brian Davis – I see a great deal of my younger self in you. I hope to live vicariously through in the near future. I already do whenever I see you on the stage.
JR Tomlinson – Without your driving snare-snap, it would be a completely different band.
Thank you Junkies for your enthusiasm in getting this project going. Thanks for being open to my ideas and suggestions. Thanks for trusting me with your first record. Thanks for the countless smokes, rides, beers, hang outs, and all around good times.
This project has been a blessing. Working with your upbeat music and youthful exuberance has helped through a very dark time in my life. I’m quite sure that I would have never had the opportunity to produce a rock album if you guys hadn’t believed in me. I’m infinitely grateful. If I have to stop here, at least I can say we did it.
I’m extremely proud of you guys. It’s hard to believe that we started this project less than a year ago. It began as ideas and notes. Together we made it into a tangible piece of work. I hope this record is ultimately helpful to you in your journey forward.
It is with a great deal of pride and satisfaction that I present the debut self-titled album from The Lipstick Junkies…
My favourite song on the album is Like Gold.
My favourite moment on the album occurs form 2:50 – 2:59 on the song Strut It.
…and that’s the story of how I produced my first rock album.