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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Flashback to 1986, and a return trip to the recording studio

By Ted Slowik

I've made a few references in recent posts about looking forward to recording some originals soon at Third City Sound in Joliet. It'll be my first time recording some of my songs professionally since 1986. That was 27 years ago.

I've no idea why it's taken so long to return to real recording. Life happens, I guess. I was content making home demos of my songs all these years. Now I'd like something better.

Back in 1986, during my college years, I was in a band called Nobody Knows. That band had sort of evolved out of the first band I was in, Suspended Animation. There were lots of people in Suspended Animation at times: Dave McGranahan, Bill Small, Maggie Callahan, and sound man Ray Hood. But the core was guitarist Paul Vassek, keyboardist Rich Westrick, drummer Ron Kostka and me on bass.

Paul started out in Nobody Knows with me and Ron as the rhythm section and Dave Kent on guitar. Then Paul introduced us to brothers Bill and John Moll and the whole happening Westmont scene. Once were busted by the cops jamming after hours in Miro Ledajaks' deli on Ogden Avenue. Eventually John took over drumming duties from Ron and Paul dropped out. For a time a keyboardist named Tom Hardesty played with us, but Nobody Know was mostly Bill, Dave, John and me.

Suspended had done some recording once, in the early '80s, in a studio in Naperville called Old Plank Studios. A guy who engineered us did a nice job. His name was Phil Bonnet. In 1986, I was taking a video production class at Lewis University and needed to make a music video. I tracked down Phil, who was then at a place called Solid Sound in Hoffman Estates. (Phil passed away in 1999).

Bill, Dave, Tom, John, Ron and I all worked on the recording for the song we were doing for the video, "Blue Eyed Girl." It was one of my first originals. I wrote it about a girl I liked in high school who ended up dating Ray. Suspended played it, and I'll always be grateful to Rich for encouraging me to finish writing the song when I had only written the first verse and chorus and played it for him.

I recall there was some uncertainty about who would play drums on the track, so both John and Ron were there. John ended up playing, though Ron's featured on backing vocals. Recording in hand, we made the music video with help from a Lewis classmate, George Seaton. I filmed his video, and he filmed mine. A girl from Lewis named Barb played the blue eyed girl in the video.

Well, that's pretty much the story of the last time I was in a recording studio to record original work. If you get a chance, check out the video we made. It's an authentic snapshot of what rock music was like in the mid-1980s.