Things are happening fast and furious in the Harlequin Camp. As some of you may know our new release “Waking the Jester” is being pressed already! It’s been a long but worthwhile process. We did a lot of the tracking on Darren’s Pro-Tool rig in his home…. not hard to take… pool, sauna and a well stocked bar, but also availed ourselves of our good friend and sometime soundman, Howard Klopak’s Groove Jungle Studio. We did all the drums at Howard’s as well as some guitars, vocals, mixing and mastering.
We were fortunate enough to have a great complement of guests on this project. Most of the drum tracks were done by Steve Broadhurst, a well known session drummer and much in demand as a live performer. He keeps busy doing a lot of musicals that come to town too. He plays a lot of styles and is one of the most versatile players I’ve ever played with! Amanda Stott, Jack Semple, Eagle and Hawk, All the King’s Men are only a few of the artists that he performs with. He first started playing with me 14 yrs. Ago, so he’s no stranger to any Harlequin fan.
We also had the pleasure of using Brent Fitz, another Winnipeger who’s made his mark in the industry! One of the most accomplished, natural musicians I have ever met. Perfect pitch, a vast knowledge of musical theory, harmonies, great instincts and a hell of a piano player. It’s a shame we only worked with him as a drummer on three tracks. Brent is currently playing with Theory of a Deadman and has played with the likes of Vince Neil from Motley Crue fame, Alice Cooper, Union a band comprised of heavy hitters from a number of classic rock artists (Bruce Kulick of Kiss, John Corrabi of Motley Crue, James Hunting of David Lee Roth) and Living Under Venus with Darren. I’ll never forget the first time I played with him. He asked to sit in on a few tunes … I knew he was a great player so I had no qualms about it. It was only after the song ended that I realized he’d never played the song before and he’d pulled it off as if he’d been with us from the start so we played a few more and had a blast. He confessed afterwards that he was a Harlequin fan for many years, but that still didn’t explain how he followed the arrangement changes that were not on the recordings!!
Most of the people reading this would know and recognize the name “Spider”, the legendary bassist for Streetheart, Tom Cochrane and currently playing with Loverboy. I’ve had the pleasure of playing and recording with him several times and in my mind is one of the greatest bass players Canada has ever produced. Well let me introduce you all to Jim Cote out of Calgary who is without a doubt right up there in the same league as Spider! I first met Jim 5 minutes before we stepped on stage together to do a one and a half hour show without the benefit of one single rehearsal. I won’t get into all the details but we had an emergency and needed a bass player to fill in with very little notice. Jim was given a tape and a few days to learn the show. He had worked with Darren on the “Living Under Venus” project and knew already that he was an accomplished player, but I was absolutely blown away that night by his playing, as he not only played the whole set perfectly, but also added his own signature to many of the parts! As good as he is he remains very modest about his abilities and is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He has some writing credits on this album so it was only natural that he play on a few tracks and his parts really established a groove for the rest of us. He is a rock solid player that should be recognized as one of the best.
I’m pretty excited about this project and part of the reason is that I know the next one will be even better due to my association with all the guys involved. We have a new website that will be launched simultaneously with the disc. Stay tuned for that! As well as being released in all the stores soon, we will also make the songs available online. We will also be personally responding to any fan mail at the new site.
Silverado’s will be hosting our release party on June 1st. We’re working with some “acrobatic dancers” who have choreographed a “Waking The Jester” introduction to the show. 92 CITI FM will be presenting the show and we will be doing a “live” unplugged studio show at the station in the near future to promote the upcoming date. We’re really looking forward to it as we have been rehearsing already.
Keep on Rockin’… George