Our recordings were an evolutionary process. In the beginning, it was generally Steve or I at the controls on the Tascam 244, both of us learning as we went. The early stuff was all analog, and with only 4 tracks to work with, we had to do a lot of “bumping” in order to fit everything in. Bumping tracks is where you record on two or three individual tracks and then bump or combine those onto the open fourth track to free up room to add instruments or vocals. As you listen to the work from the early basement tapes through the final Crossroads takes, you’ll hear how both technology and our experience at the console helped to improve the quality of the recordings we made.
Ed’s original 4 track Tascam on desk, along with an Akai open reel deck and the new 8 track Tascam on the stand at the left
We didn’t know it at the time, but Ed providing us with the 4 track Tascam cassette deck for multitrack recording started a trend that would be the backbone of our music creation throughout our career. We began with that one deck, then added the 8 track and open reel in the ’90’s, and ultimately wound up with a full 24 track digital Tascam, which formed the heart of the Crossroads project.
Home Studio Setup
My Jazz Bass and Les Paul with Steve’s Alesis electronic drum kit
As we moved through the ’90’s, we mixed home recording with some gigs, and we added Phil Pinault to the lineup on lead guitar.
Here’s a rare live recording from a club we played during this period, Phil on lead and Al taking keyboard duties along with lead vocals.
Break Of Dawn (LIVE)
Take You Alive (Basement Recording, Phil on Slide Guitar
Steve’s first cover band, Us
As we approached the turn of the century, BATW had slowed to a halt. Steve was playing with cover bands like US and STR8 ON and the rest of us were taking it easy.
The bug was still there, itching more than ever, so I looked around and found a remarkable little toy from Tascam called the Pocketstudio 5. Not much bigger than a paperback book and loads of built in rhythms, backing tracks and 4 tracks to record on.
Two things happened soon after I bought the PS5. Al and I started kicking around song ideas, and then Ed reached out to me to ask if I could help his friend Walter “Tubby” Cesario record some of his original songs. Tubby was a brilliant songwriter and singer that worked with both Ed and Al in their Country Fever Band.
Little did I know that the seed had been planted that would ultimately grow into Crossroads!
Al and I started working with this little Tascam, keeping the BATW banner for our work…
While Crossroads began with Ed, Al, Tubby and myself, it wasn’t long at all before Steve had the urge to create original music again, and happily replaced the drum tracks I’d been programming.
Boris Against The Wall
Brilliant work by British sculptor Mike Hill, 2019
(He counts as a BATW too, right?)
During the Crossroads period, we did put together an EP by BATW, which included the last recordings we did under the Balls Against The Wall name, called “Let It Go”. Tubby got a huge kick out of being invited to take the lead vocal on Ed’s “Lock And Key”.
On The Side
There were weekends when the guys weren’t available, which allowed me to play with some instrumental ideas… I decided to cobble a couple together into a playlist, but thought I’d best edit the original title, for reasons that should be painfully obvious…