It’s been 1,000 days since I conceived Johnny Rock & Friends: For The Record, and it is finally being released. On Monday, August 31, 2015, the vinyl LP and related merchandise will be for sale at the Store, as well as all major digital distributors like Amazon, iTunes, et al. The album can also be purchased in person from several of our participants, and soon we will explore local music stores. If you supported our successful Kickstarter campaign, your physical merchandise will ship this week!

Johnny with the LP. July 28, 2015

Johnny with the LP. July 28, 2015

So what happened in between January and now? The first four months of 2015 found me under intense pressure to finish the album. “The Tidal Track” kept me in the studio nearly every day in March. Max Feinstein recorded his final overdubs with a vintage 12-string guitar, and I then spent two weeks at Sound Over Sound building the most challenging mix of the project. After carefully mapping out the process, I mixed “The Tidal Track” by hand using two Mackie consoles and around 10 effects units patched together, all analog onto the ½” tape machine. Now confident in my tape-splicing abilities, it was much more efficient to mix the song in 10 separate sections. I later spliced the sections together to create the final master.

The artwork and graphics took off in the spring as well. Joe Galluppo, my good friend and former Pyroclast bandmate, hand-painted the incredible front and rear album covers. The actual painting itself is a mixture of pastels, chalk, ink, coffee, and other items only Joe can recall. The original 18” x 36” drawing was then photographed and adjusted for the 12” LP jacket by graphic designer Nick Porcaro. Nick is also the graphics wizard behind our inner sleeves, T-Shirts, and the reskinning of I cannot thank these guys enough for designing such incredible and artistic visual representations of this music.

For The Record

For The Record All-Analog Vinyl LP

The long-awaiting analog mastering of the project took place during April. At Sound Over Sound, I manually sequenced the masters for the entire album across four reels of tape. I then took those tapes to Paul Gold at Salt Mastering in Brooklyn. The process to cut the lacquers (master discs) used an entirely analog signal chain – not a single digital conversion between the tapes and the cutting stylus. Our lacquers were then shipped to Gotta Groove Records in Ohio, who arranged the plating and pressing of the 511 vinyl LPs, as well as printed our jackets and inner sleeves. On July 28, the records finally arrived on my doorstep.

The first recipients of this record were among the many who brought it to life. In between several other commitments, I spent two weeks driving out to see those friends and hand-deliver their personal copies of the vinyl LP. It’s been a monumental task, and in the process I obtained signatures from many of the artists for Kickstarter rewards, as well as for my own collection. In time I hope to visit every single contributor to celebrate this release.

I get asked a lot now about how I feel since the record is completed. It feels truly gratifying to give something back to the community that has nurtured me in so many ways over the past few years. I’m currently writing newer and more exciting chapters to my story, but these 1,000 days have been an incredible experience that changed my outlook on life. And what I’ve learned visiting many of these friends again is that we all view this as a portrait of lives in motion. Bands have come and gone. Relationships have come and gone. Tours have come and gone. But the soundtrack to it is in these grooves, and it has the potential to outlive all of us.

I walked into this project expecting a technological triumph, and perhaps it is. But more than that, it’s an experience that has brought me more joy than almost anything else in the world. I’ve gotten to know these friends on a new level and I’ve seen new friendships form in the process. The pressure’s on to get our music and our story out there, but the thrill of the journey continues.