Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chain memories from Frosty

Frosty Crunch with Chain Of Strength, Photo: Unknown

As last weeks favorite Chain Of Strength 7" poll wound down, I thought it would make for some interesting entries to see what the members themselves preferred. I also thought I'd rattle their brains to see what memories they had from each recording session.

We're kicking this off with Chain guitarist, Paul "Frosty" Hertz, but expect to see the other members chiming in with their thoughts and memories as well. -Tim DCXX

Frosty, Curtis and Alex with Chain at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Unknown

That's a tuff question as I feel they both have their own unique qualities and characteristics, and it sounds cliche to say "it's like choosing which one of your kids is your favorite," but that's what it boils down to.

However, if I had to pick one of them, it would be True Till Death. Those were the first batch of songs that we wrote together and they set the tone of the band and made the statement of what we were going to be about not only musically, but also lyrically. I also had more to do with writing of the music on this one, particularly on a certain anthem (that became the title of the 7"!). I remember we were pretty heavily criticized for the simplicity, but you can't deny the pure power and adrenaline.

I'm also proud of the layout and packaging. It really looks like a classic REV release. We worked hard, and put a lot of energy and thought into it, from everything to the font of the band logo to the specific dark green color of the cover (I have always considered this Chain's color!), to the pics and also the specific colors of the vinyl - both green and clear. Jordan was really cool about giving us control of this.

Curtis and Frosty with Chain at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Boiling Point

Every time we recorded it was the same: it was on a strict budget with little money and a strict time schedule with everyone's tracks done in one, two, or three takes at the most. It was get in and get out and maybe a little time for mixing. It was also with studio engineers who really didn't get hardcore, so we did our own producing. The vocals were purposely mixed low as we felt they were an equal to the other instruments. So, as far as memories of the actual TTD recording goes, I can't recall of anything that stood out drastically.

We didn't have the greatest equipment yet and some of it, if not most, might have been borrowed. However, Chris has always had his badass Yamaha kit from day one, and Ryan already had the classic 'Chain' Les Paul Custom. It worked for us in the end as the TTD recording sounds raw and urgent. Some may not know that we hadn't even played a single show before this recording and it was really to be a demo to get out to people because we knew kids wouldn't go off at shows unless they knew the material. Ray and Jordan felt it was releasable as is.

It was a really exciting time for us, we were energized, and I felt I was part of a tight unit with the gates to the newly resurged hardcore scene about to bust open. The songs were fresh, we put in a lot of work on the music and lyrics, rehearsed religiously, and we were a new hardcore band (with OG blood lines) from the West Coast out to prove ourselves. I feel we nailed it.

Chain Of Strength at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Unknown

By the time we recorded What Holds Us Apart, we already had a few road trips and tours under our belts (i.e. cover shot of the 7"), had a lot of friends new and old in the scene, yet also had a lot of controversy surrounding the band for various reasons. This recording was also done quick and to the point, but I think we had better gear and ended up with better sounds. The song writing was progressing and our DC influence was starting to show a little more.

The main thing I remember about this recording going into it was that we were really well rehearsed and solid on all of the basic tracks for the music and I was used to hearing and playing the songs stripped down with out different guitar parts going on. When we were finished with those basic tracks, I remember Chris, Ryan and I going down to the studio one night for some overdubs on a couple of parts for Ryan to bust out. They were pretty improvised right there in the studio but I'm sure Ryan had them worked out before hand. They were also a lot more melodic than I was used to (being a fan of the hard stuff and especially at that time) and when he started playing them I remember getting VERY nervous. To the point that I felt the songs would be ruined! We went back and forth for a while about these overdubs, but he held his ground. I remember I had to go wait in the van out in the parking lot because I was getting bummed.

When the session was finally done hours later, I remember walking back into Pendragon studios and sitting down. Ryan and Chris played me what they recorded, but played all the tracks with the whole band mixed in. The parts he had recorded sounded awesome!!! Sometimes it's the small experimentations that can really bring out a song. I think we were all high fiving each other!

Also, during this session, we had friends hanging out at the studio at various times. When Curt was laying down his tracks for Through These Eyes, Randy Pushed Aside was hanging out with us and busted out his cameo in the break of the song. That was a completely spontanious idea on the spot and it made the song in my opinion. He definitely rocked it and was front and center for that song at every set we ever played at Spanky's after that!

A Chain Of Strength sing along in Cleveland, OH, Photo: ROA


Anonymous said...

I would feel super weird wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a photo on the back of me screaming into a mic, while actually screaming into a mic. Like it would be like bad luck or maybe that part in Spaceballs where they fast forward to now, and then have a hard time figuring out when soon will be.

I also remember ho when you would go to a show and buy a shirt, you would just put it on over what you were wearing.... Somewhere along the line that became uncool...

Which also reminds me of the Prohibition t-shirt shedding....

Anonymous said...

i would honest to god pay $10000000 to go back in a time machine to 1989 so i could have exact wig replicas made out of both curtis's and alex's hair. both records are great but let's be honest.......these were sexual tycoons.

ERIC SXE said...

Great COS memories! I appreciate Tim getting this "behind the scenes" stuff with one of my fave bands!

Keep it going! The more the better!

the mosher said...

this was awesome.

Anonymous said...

i've definitely always referred to that green as chain of strength green

Anonymous said...

awesome piece!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ROA said...

A Chain Of Strength sing along in Cleveland, OH, Photo: ROA.

I took that shot and have NO idea how it ended up in the hands of this awesome website.

Love, ROA

Anonymous said...

reason #873 why doublexcross is the best thing to ever exist on the internet