Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 3 of the Q.&A. video with EXCLUSIVE in studio footage of Billy Corgan recording. This is the first time in 15 years that Billy has allowed cameras in the studio. Enjoy...
I need to fly back to Los Angeles tomorrow. I will be there for a few days. We are going to pick the video blog back up and continue to answer your questions on Monday October 5, 2009. Have a great week. LOve K.B.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DAY 2 of the Q&A: Billy stopped by to answer a few of the questions :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hi, here is the first video. It looks like it is going to take the week to answer all the questions and I do plan on answering all the questions. I am going to answer in the order they were posted. Keep checking back to watch us answer your question. Billy plans on showing up to answer a stay tuned. I look forward to seeing you throughout the week.
Love K.B.

Good morning, I hope you all had a good and restful weekend. Last night we had crazy weather in Chicago: thunder, lighting, rain, hail, heavy winds, and an old school tornado watch. I slept with one eye open and it was fun. I am having my coffee now as I get ready to head into the studio. We should be there by 11:00 AM CT. I am going to answer your questions throughout the day. The first video blog post should be up around 4:00 PM CT.

See you all in a bit,
Love KB

Friday, September 25, 2009

WOW... a lot of questions. I had no idea there would be so many, but It's great see so much interest in this project. So here's the plan. Over the weekend I am going to video myself answering your questions and post the answers on this blog Monday morning.
Have a great weekend.
Love K.B.


YES... A productive day in the studio yesterday..We have 2 control rooms up and running... We finished recording Billy's vocals for the first song and started tracking song number 2!

I went to bed last night happy, tired and without a clue as to what this blog should be about. Then I woke happy, in need of coffee, and without a clue as to what this blog should be about. Then I had some coffee and it came to me... You ask a question, I'll answer it.

So leave your question in the comment box before 5pm CTZ and I'll answer it.

Talk to you in a bit.

Love K.B.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


With analog recording there is a lot more involved then just going to tape. The microphone preamps and the mixing desk play a huge roll in how a recording sounds. When Billy announced that Smashing Pumpkins will release 44 songs under the title Teargarden by Kaleidyscope I'm not sure if he mentioned that the goal is to treat each song sonically different to best present its palette. Here are the steps... Billy writes a song, we record a demo, listen back and find the feeling that the song evokes and then visualize the picture that it paints. To me, when a recording really works I "see it" as much if not more than I "hear it." As we start the journey into the Teargarden I feel very lucky to be working in a studio that has many unique and historical recording consoles.

Pictured above is the API console that we recorded the first song through. Just amazing sounding... Very strong for guitars and I love the low end. Hendrix, Prince and countless others
have recorded on API boards. This particular board was owned by The Doobie Brothers at one time.


I don't know but they all recorded through an EMI mixing console.

Here is a picture of the EMI TG 12345 that we are recording the second song through. The board came from EMI Sweden and at one time was owned by guitarist Chris Rea. EMI consoles were never manufactured for commercial sale, but were made for use in EMI's network of recording studios. They were produced by EMI Research Laboratories and designed by engineers at Abbey Road Studios. The board was also recently refurbished by famed Abbey road studio technician Brian Gibson. Astonishingly the console also has one "cassette" that was used on The Beatles' Abbey Road. As we start to bring up the drum tones I can hear and see its history. This board is just so musical it's hard to put into words what it sounds like beside AWESOME.... also I must admit it's fucking damn cool to work on a piece of equipment that The Beatles once touched.

We had a very long day today with tape machines blowing up and losing parts and such... but it is coming to a nice close as we dig into this next song.

Here is some video from today's craziness.

Here is a clip of studio tech Ricky Canning showing me how he wired to the console and the routing for the EMI TG12345. We also found out that L.S. stands for Loud Speaker.

Monday, September 21, 2009

An old friend stopped by the studio today:

Today we welcomed an old friend back into the studio to help out with the guitar tracking.... Her name is Kimberly Kay and she is the guitar that Billy wrote and recorded 1979 with she is also the "secret weapon" guitar used on Mayonaise. Billy bought this guitar in 1992 from a pawn shop in Madison Wisconsin for $60.00 needless to say it was well worth the cash!

After a "Mercury Retrograde" moment this morning Kimberly Kay blew up just as we were about to track the song... Billy said the guitar had never had a problem before. So I guess she just wanted to stop by and say hi. We shook our heads, grabbed another guitar off the rack and dialed in the sound dreams are made of... We had a great day creating guitar tones. This first song sounds amazing and I can hardly wait for you to hear it. Ok I'm beat... I'll see you tomorrow... Love KB

Mercury Retrograde


During Mercury Retrograde, electronic gadgets are especially prone to disaster.
If possible, resist buying anything involving communications technology during this time.
Never sign contracts during Mercury Retrograde.
Don’t sign up for cell phone service, health club memberships, car leases or insurance policies.
Don’t even think about buying a house. If you must, triple check everything.
Try to delay putting your name on any document until after Mercury Retrograde is over.
Never make a major purchase, especially a car during Mercury Retrograde. Even if things seem fine at the time, there’s a good chance a defect will appear during a later retrograde.
Recheck your work and always double-check your messages. Hesitate to press the SEND button on your e-mails until you read them over.


Review your life and the decisions you’ve made.
Readjust your priorities.
Retreat to give yourself the space you need.
Recommit to the goals you believe are worth-while.
Reflect on who you are and where you’re going.
Recharge your batteries.
Repair any damage you may have caused to objects or relationships.
Renew your sense of purpose.
Revise your attitudes and routines.
Return to your core set of values.
Reward yourself for success.
Write down information when playing back voice messages – don’t rely on your memory.
Leave early to all appointments when possible and don’t be surprised if you arrive late.

To learn more about Mercury retrograde go here

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Gee-Tar Time:
It's Sunday morning and I am please to say that after a long but very productive week it's Gee-Tar time. OK that's the last time I'll type the word Gee-Tar because it's starting to annoy me and I am not easily annoyed.

After we spent the first part of Saturday morning on scheduled studio maintenance we set up some amps & cabs and started to dial in the guitar tone. WOW.... The song just sounds extraordinary! We have been taking the needed time with the track to make sure we get all the tones sounding just right... The bass,drums,congas and Farfisa just sound amazing... none of that "we will fix it in the mix" mentality going on here... We tracked the core rhythm section live as a four piece and it translates really well in the studio. With no click track used and after a handful of takes we found the magic... a very powerful, natural sounding, voodoo snake charmer on acid, makes me want to fire dance rhythm bed. To quote Mark Tulin A.K.A. @mtulin "The music is reflecting the passion of the process." Whatever the hell that means I don't know but it sounds good! So first thing Monday morning Billy will start up on guitars...

My friend Kat picked up the Flip Ultra HD camera yesterday so next week I'll start including more video in this blog...

Now for The Saturday trivia questions:
For the SP pick- (the first Smashing Pumpkins show with Billy,James, D'arcy, and Jimmy was October 5, 1988, at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago. Where was the second show?

For the Electric Prunes Pick Pack- How old was Mark Tulin when he recorded the first E.P. record?

Here are a few pictures of Billy Bear working his magic in the control room.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What a difference a day makes

When it works, it works... After our morning coffee and a gathering of the spirits we decided to change a fundamental aspect of the way we were approaching the first song ... and lets just say there is no more frowning for Kerry. It is so amazing when things just line up... the performances today were on fire! (THE GOOD KIND OF FIRE)... the only smoke in the studio was coming out of the musicians. When we are playing at top form the equipment seems to work fine... Funny but true.

Cool old gear:
Billy broke out the Farfisa today and we ran it through a "secret weapon" It won't be such a secret on Tuesday when I showcase it and its history in the Tech Tuesday blog ... but for those of you curious as to what it could be... *Hint*(Pink Floyd) used one of these devices on some of their recordings. In fact, lets play a game. If you can guess what the "secret weapon" is I will send you a SP guitar pick that Billy used while recording the song...

All in all, just a great day in the studio.... very tired now but happy... ain't no sleep when you're living the dream... talk to you tomorrow.
Love KB

If it was easy everyone would do it.

Today was just rough. Shit was blowing up. We had a really nice old GE compressor on the bass and about half way through the day it started smoking and then it shut down. The smell was not good at all... It was much like burning paper and a lot less electrical fire smelling than one would expect. In fact the stench took on that "You wont be using me anytime soon and I am going to be hard fix so Fuck You I'm done playing with you and you better find some other compressor to run your bass through and start the day all over smell." So we did and ended up with a great bass tone after all that madness. Hands down at the end of the day the bass tone was better then what we started with.

Everything happens for a reason.

I really must applaud Mr. Mark Tulin for keeping his head together and sticking with it... He was just going with the flow and the fire. He is an amazing bass player and a real pro in the studio.... Sooo... by the time we got done with the bass track it had already been close to a 12 hour day and time for yours truly to go play the congas. I jumped in the drum room all ready to go and played a few takes that were "ok" let me the first and last to say they were by no means great but they were going in the right direction... feeling good about what I had just played I went back into the room for a few more takes...tic...toc... tic... toc.... then I just lost it... I started rushing. I couldn't find the pocket. It just wasn't working. So you gotta know when to call it and I don't.... I went back into the room to prove that I could play the part and it just sucked. Tic... Toc... Tic... Toc... So, like I said... You gotta know when to call it and Billy did. We will pick it up after some sleep and fresh ears and if the universe is in our favor tomorrow I should be able to cut the part in hour or less and then Billy can get on to these...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hi All,
It has been a very productive day also super long and busy. The record was officially announced
and the info can found at

We started recording congas and bass today. I'm playing the congas and Mark Tulin is playing the bass on this first track. It is sounding super psychedelic in an old pumpkins meets the future kinda way. I am really excited about it!

I must keep this blog short because I was tracking all day and I am falling asleep at the computer, but I made a promise to you to blog everyday and I am going to keep it. Even when I'm super tired. No excuses.

We shot a little video of Mike warming up in the studio this morning. Kevin Dippold brought in still camera today that has a video feature. The quality is low-fi but its still fun to watch Mike warming up...

I am looking into getting a small, easy to use, and not very expense hi-def video camera to use for these blogs. If anyone has ideas as to what that camera might be please let me know.

After the day at studio was done Billy and I had a great time talking with Dave Navarro and crew on his radio show. It's called "Dark Matter" and it is a MUST LISTEN for all who enjoy good music and lots of laughs. The show can be found at every Wednesday night from 10-12pm Pacific time.

I gotta hit the pillow. Talk to all tomorrow.
Love, K.B.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just got home from a great day in the studio. Today we really dug deep into the first song. The drums are sounding stellar and Mark and Billy are playing as soul brothers... I have decided to go technical for tonight's blog. This one is for sound geeks out there and for the people who are curious about how the "magic" is captured.. I am thinking about making every Tuesday "Tech Tuesday" lets kick it off with a list and description of the microphones that we are using to record the drums.. and away we go...

1. Inside the kick drum and about 3" from the beater we
are using an AKG D112 (this mic is used for capturing the beater attack as it hits the drum head. We will use this sound as needed to cut through the mix once the guitars and bass
have been tracked.

2. On the outside of the kick and about 4" from drum head
we are using 2 microphones a Beyer M88 TG (this is nice for that super tight low end punch) and an AKG D30 (This is the microphone that was used to get that huge kick drum sound used on many Led Zeppelin recordings. We call it of course the "Zep Mic".)

3. On the top of the Snare we are using 2 microphones a Shure Sm57( this microphone has been used on almost every rock record ever recorded but we have found that with an AKG 414 EB placed by its side the snare has a bigger sound then usual and yet stays very true to the sound we hear in the room.

4. On the Snare bottom we are using an AKG 414 EB (we use this mic as needed to grab more of the "snare" sound from the drum)

5. The high hats called for a Neuman KM184 ( this microphone gives the hats a warm sound and it doesn't capture that splashy washy sound that drives me crazy)

6. On the floor tom we placed an U47 Fet i (This mic really digs out the super low end of the tom and I love low end :)

7 In front of the drum kit and about 4 feet away is a Telefunken Elam 251 (this particular microphone is very famous it was used by Steely Dan to record a lot of vocal tracks and it also works really great to capture the mid range and low end elements of the drums in the room.)

8. For the high overheads microphones (left and right ) we are using Neuman's KM84 (again they do not capture all that "splashy washy" they are very warm and yet they grab enough of the bite when Mike really attacks the cymbals.)

9. For the tight overhead microphone sitting very close to the kit we are using a stereo Telefunken SM2 (It is just great for the overall drum sound, my guess is that this microphone sounds a lot like what Mike hears from his perspective.)

10. To round things out we are also using a mono overhead microphone an AKG C28 (it captures the hi end of the room and adds a little sparkle magic to the drum sound.

Mike taking a break after a smoking drum take.
Producer, engineer Bjorn Thorsrud enjoying the toys.
Picks for Billy and Mark, this should be enough to get through the song.

Tomorrow I am going to try and post a little video of the studio action. Have a great night and I'll see ya tomorrow. Love, K.B.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round. I really love to watch them roll. Oh my, we got the tape machine up and rolling today...
Call me crazy but the sound of great music recorded in the analog format makes me smile and everything in the world just seems better.

Mr. Mark Tulin flew in from LAX a few hours ago and boy are his arms tired, but we are putting him straight to work
anyway. It looks like he will playing a 1963 Fender Jazz bass through a 1963 Ampeg Portaflex flip-top bass
amp... Why? Because, well,
it just sounds awesome! This has nothing to do with the fact that I was born in 1963. Or maybe it does :)

Billy is playing a 1961 Les Paul Junior Special through a Sound City Studio 20 amp, truly amazing sounding.

So, I am very happy that we got everything in its sonic place today and we are ready to dig into the serious tracking tomorrow.

Sending love from the city by the lake. K.B.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hi, Kerry here, A.K.A. D.J. White Boy Conga, A.K.A @studiodog. A few days ago Billy and I relocated from Los Angeles and set up camp in Chicago. I am proud to say that after many months of working out new material the official process of recording the new Smashing Pumpkins record has begun.

As many of you know there is a new addition to the band, 19 year old drummer Mike Byrne, he is just amazing behind the kit and a really cool person to hang out with. Over the past few days working with master engineer Bjorn Thorsrud we nailed a killer drum sound and just started dialing in the bass a guitar tones. It all starting to sound very exciting.

My hope is to update this blog daily (Monday through Saturday) during the making of the record. Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday.
Love, K.B.