08 Jun AC/DC’s “Up To My Neck In You” (TSR Series, Studio)
Now, this one I had already covered, like two or three eons ago. Seems like a few entire generations passed since then – it’s the passage of time under the effect of the internet(s); it makes time flow differently.
This is the old version, with a few details here. Not entirely a disaster, but not as accurate as I had wanted it to be, even at the time.
My spirit is basically “unchanged” (watching myself again after years); I still love doing this “to life” (as opposed to common way of saying things, love it to death) but I have probably gained one or two more tricks in these last – what – 7 or 8 years (almost 10 years of continuous activity, babe). I Lost the studio though (sighs). Now I have my basement, and way more gear than even at the time (guitars, amps); I am more than content. Additionally now, I have you. Many more of you to share things with, and finally I can listen to you, too, and what you have to say in a much better way than I could ever have at the time (and if you remember, I did reply to youtube comments anyway! Always loved intensely the concept of community. Maybe, being the only child that I am, the idea of an extended family has always intrigued me).
What we also have as entirely new is our (well mine at least) Schaffer-related stuff. Either an original Schaffer-Vega or a Schaffer Replica, we can make that difference that I didn’t even suspect of at the time.
And I do hear a Schaffer-Vega Diversity growl on the sound of this song, while listening carefully to the original album version. Also, speaking with Angus, you might remember that he mentioned that his older brother George had wanted the Schaffer-Vega to be used in Powerage, to get the same sound he had onstage (and that they evidently and even admittedly loved). So I think that at least for this album (just as I had suspected in my previous version of Gone Shootin’, here) Angus may have used the Schaffer-Vega even with the rest of the band, from within the recording room. After all, I mean, why not? While it was slightly more hissy than a cable, by using mild SVDS settings the hiss would almost entirely go away, and you can experiment the same thing with your own Schaffer Replica now, by lowering both TSR Input (X10 companding circuitry) and TSR output (63EX monitor output). This is what I did here (I think I used half and half, but I may have used even less than that – my sound here it is slightly more aggressive than Angus’, so don’t be afraid to experiment with even lower settings!).
I truly like the outcome here. Fair rock and roll. You know, I work hard on these things, but the reward also includes watching yourself back and – at times – enjoying what you have done. For me, it’s a big part of why I do it. Re-listening (watching may be irrelevant) to what you played is a big thing for me. I can hate (so to say, but just metaphorically) myself for not having caught a nuance I really wanted to or praise myself in my head, telling myself I did a fair job at playing some part.
Evidently, the structure of this tune is not complicated. Real blues roots here. BUT the timing will demand your full attention at all times: lack of concentration for even a split second and you’re off. And with Mal being – as usual – so tight, not to speak of the rest of the band, your split second mis-concentration is going to be heard and heard loud. That’s AC/DC. That’s what happens with them. And that’s why I still play guitar listening to them, as opposed to with other bands. And yes, I’ll stretch to even further adding, this is why at times I just like to play along with AC/DC albums than go out and play with a real band. Very often, people in bands are not committed fully to playing together in a certain way. Whether they know it and are conscious (but still unwilling) about it or they simply can’t, this is still a fact. And rehearsing on albums is extremely formative as well. We can truly learn a world of things even playing alone along someone else’s music. Will stress this with the tutorials.
Even the solo, it sounds like it is a pretty simple thing. With its thin guitar sound, this partly because it has been left in the right channel (as opposed to the centre, where solos do sound bigger), where usually we hear Angus’ rhythm part, just like if it was a live thing, it probably won’t impress you much when you hear it the first time. I know – because I still remember! – I kind of thought that these solos on Powerage (some of these, the live sounding ones) weren’t much of a thing. And this when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. Little I knew that it was just a mere “Production” difference, as the solo here kicks major bottoms. It’s pure rock and roll style, with its wise licks used with great timing and touch, as always. Even it goes up both on the fretboard and in intensity as the solo evolve; it is a long solo.
I like to tell you a bit about the microphone spot here. I didn’t like the first attempts I did with the microphone on the usual position as the two previous Powerage songs, where it was basically between the centre of the cone and its edge. I couldn’t capture enough that sense of hollowness that you can hear soundly if you listen carefully. That (hollowness) was always one of the things that impressed me the most when growing up and listening to recorded guitar sounds. It used to be my favourite nuance on recorded guitar: gotta sound hollow. How do you make it happen?
Well, that is the sound of the cabinet. So in order for you to capture it, you have to move away from direct speaker or it’ll cover those nuances. So I put the microphone exactly at the centre of my G12M 4×12 cabinet, upper speakers, and gently tilted it in the general direction of the left speaker. Did they do the same exact thing? Maybe. Maybe something similar. But to some extent, it works (Dries noticed this immediately). It was meant to be like that and I enjoy much the fact that it can be heard somewhat.
Also, the console EQ that I used here is the new Neve 1073 Universal Audio plugin. Really good stuff. It’s what they used both for the takes and for mixing, so it’s gotta be appropriate!
Amp was setup at the usual settings, p0, b2, m4, t5, v7 and p6; TSR was at half and half and the guitar – used an original 1971 Gibson SG Standard here, stock – minus the vibrola removed – had the tone knob set permanently at 3 and the volume was at 8 for the rhythm part and 10 for the solo.