Shreddtime Stories: Dee Snider Sessions -- Laying Down Solos

In my first couple of columns I told you about the recording and touring I’ve done, and about the cool sessions and live gig I did with Dee Snider. When I left off it was 2:30 in the morning and I was just getting home from a gig with Dee, and had to be back in the recording studio with him at 11:30 a.m. So let me continue:

Saturday morning April 25th, I get the kids up about 9 and we get ready to head to the studio. I was bringing the kids with me as Chicago Recording Company is an absolute top notch facility with giant screen TV's, nice clean lounges, food and kitchen, etc. I figured they could hang out, play with their toys and iPads, and afterwards we could go to the Lego store or American Girl, as CRC is near Ohio and Michigan, in the downtown section of Chicago known as the “Miracle Mile.” I also thought they could meet Dee, which would give them some stories down the road, and they could see dad at work.

We arrived at roughly 11, and the kids want to grab lunch. So we pick up some sandwiches and a Cheese Pizza for Nico, my pizza guy -- I am certain he would eat it everyday, for all his meals if possible -- and we get into the studio.

tdclark, T.D. Clark getting ready to lay down solos on Dee Snider's solo albumDamon and Grammy-winning engineer, Mat Lejeune, are there getting the tracks up in studio 4 so I load my gear in and get working on the tracks. I had to cut two songs and was hopefully going to have them done before Dee came in to track vocals at roughly 3. Everything went smooth -- I pride myself on working as efficiently as possible when hired on studio projects.

It was decided I would record the solo for the single. Brian May from Queen had been contacted to do this solo but everyone figured it’s not a bad idea to get something down in the event Brian couldn’t do it. By then Dee had come to work on his vocal tracks so the kids and I took a break and went walking about in Downtown Chicago.

So my daughter Ana, my son Nico, and I go walking to check out the Lego Store, the Disney Store, and Water Tower Place, and to have a snack. We come back to the studio where Dee is just finishing up his tracks. I head into the control room and get my gear going and say "Hi" to Dee.

I forgot to mention, on Thursday (I think), before we had left the studio so Dee could track, we all sat around chatting about a whole bunch of rock history and experiences. Dee was friends with and in a band for a time with Bernie Torme (If my memory serves me). Bernie was the first guitarist to replace Randy Rhoads in Ozzy's band.

That segued into talking about Brad Gillis of Night Ranger, who replaced Bernie in Ozzy's band, and whom I know, as we are both Nady Wireless endorsers, and I have jammed with and hung with Brad at the Nady booth at the NAMM show a few times over the years. We talked about the origins of Twisted Sister, about Dee's Christmas musical -- which ran its first year in Chicago, and is moving to Toronto for the 2015-16 holiday season.

Dee Snider is the voice of Angry Jack on SpongeBob SquarepantsI asked Dee if he wouldn't mind meeting my kids and he said “Sure.” So he met them, and they were playing on the iPad and watching a show, so I had to get them to pay attention but Dee took it in stride. He told the kids about being the voice of Angry Jack on SpongeBob Squarepants and the kids got a kick out of that. He took a picture with them and then we went into the control room to track some more guitars.

As I was tracking Dee left the studio to do something and didn’t come back for a while. We had the control room door open and when the lounge door would swing open I heard laughing and it turns out Dee was watching America’s Funniest Videos with Ana and they were having a blast.
A short time later Ana came looking for Dee, found him and said "Dee there are animals on AFV... you have to come watch, you love animals!" and Dee starts laughing and says “Well I better check it out" All I could do was laugh, as I am again now as I write this -- that’s way too freaking amazing for words. later I thanked Dee for being so gracious and he said, “No sweat,” that he was a Grandpa himself and knows how it is.

I was pretty stoked to find out that after I cut my harmony solo for the single they might not need Brian May after all, so that was cool. Ultimately getting Brian May's brilliance on any record would be awesome but I was glad they were happy with my idea.

As I left the studio (we arrived around 11:30 or so and it was now 7) after a pretty long day to go eat dinner with my girlfriend, Tracey, at her house I was thinking how good the kids had been under the circumstances. They didn't complain once.

Its interesting how as I write these blogs it really reminds me how much dreams do come true. And how special this was as I was able to combine family and music, my two passions.

Stay Tuned for Touring with Yngwie on my next episode

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