As recalled by Andrew Daring:
Upon receiving the notice of Katie Glassman’s CD release party scheduled for March 18th, I was reminded of her first recording session and release party back in 1998, as well as how happy we were for her to have completed this long standing goal.
Katie began her journey while attending the Denver Waldorf School, where all third grade students are required to participate in string orchestra. For those of you who don’t know: My wife, Chris Daring directed the school’s strings program for nine years, and placed the violin in Katie’s hands for the first time, then served as Katie’s private lesson teacher all the way through her two years of college education at UCD, during which time Katie traveled to numerous fiddle contests with us throughout the western United States. Always an excellent and dedicated student, the growth and development Katie obtained during the hours and hours of practice for the CD, that included specifically focusing on tone, rhythm, and drive with Chris, culminated in her completing her senior project for the Denver School of the Arts, and contributed to her 1st National Championship title in the Junior division. Chris may have placed the fiddle in her hands for the first time, but Katie has devoted herself to keeping it there for all these years.
The actual recording of Katie’s first CD took place at our home in 1998. I served as her sound engineer with Chris acting as her producer, second fiddle player, teacher, coach, and all-around head cheerleader. Structurally, what had been our office and jam session room, was dismantled, demolished, trashed, and finally transformed, into a recording studio closely resembling the middle stages of hoarding. Much to my wife’s horror, this new configuration remained for the next eight or nine weeks.
In addition to my desk and some old furniture hauled in from the garage, the room now consisted of temporary soundproofing on most of the hard surfaces, four or more microphones and mic chords, a sound board for recording and more chords, two or four speakers and speaker chords, four sets of headphones and chords, several guitars and guitar stands, a couple of fiddles and fiddle stands, of course a fiddle player or two, a guitar player or two, and the most important piece of equipment for this humorous tale — a mattress, positioned to isolate Katie from the guitar players so as to prevent her dulcet tones from leaking into our microphones and our sounds of lesser importance from contaminating hers.
If he was willing (we knew he would be), Katie wanted Bobby Christman to play guitar for her on the CD. Chris called him in Texas to ask if he would do so and to find a weekend that worked for all of us. True to his nature and without hesitation, Bobby agreed, a weekend was chosen and recording began.
Finger-Nailing a Different Blackboard!
We all have our hot buttons and tickle spots: you know, those places of ultimate agitation, of extreme physical or mental sensitivity, of supreme infuriation, exasperation, and provocation that we hope will never be discovered by any person, living or dead.
A potential for transferring power of such magnitude causes each of us to live in a state of tightly controlled fear. We know with absolute certainty, our well-developed, carefully protected and composed presentation of self, would most assuredly suffer a very public death in the most daunting and demoralizing manner possible, were even one of our closest friends to discover the source for our maximum humiliation. Without any doubt, he or she would, for their own sadistic amusement, gleefully wield this freshly acquired omnipotence over us at an inopportune and embarrassing moment to push the button, finger-nail the blackboard, bite the foil, grind the teeth, squeak the balloon, tickle the spot, or whatever else it might happen to be.
Bobby and I found Katie’s “finger nails on the blackboard” spot during the late afternoon of the second day of recording. For Katie, a guitar pick substituted for the “fingernails” and the low strings on a guitar replaced the “blackboard”.
Scraping a pick back and forth along the length of a wound guitar string creates a most pernicious dissonance. A type of white noise, the noxious sound screeches, sears, screams, scrapes, rasps, and wails; insistently penetrating the core of every pleasure center in the human body, painfully setting the nerves vibrating in opposition to what could only be, the structural harmony of the universe.
The impact on those inflicting the sound causes a reversion to childhood, replete with the shared knowledge of anticipating the fun about to be had with our new found ability to gleefully paralyze another person. Once discovered and true to our resurrected juvenile nature, Bobby and I set about delighting ourselves by inflicting this misery upon the poor girl, whenever we thought it would produce the maximum effect.
The impact on the person affected by the sound is bone-chilling. Almost instantly, shivers appeared in Katie’s arms while her neck seemed to shrink into the body; her shoulders would move up and forward straining to reach high enough to actually cover her ears; the rest of her body withdrew, caving in upon itself just as undulating waves (of what clearly were not ecstasy) radiated outward from her physical core; all combining to create the most wondrous appearance of an attempt to simultaneously implode and explode. Ah, what a glorious mess!
Thankfully, her shivers always defeated the shrinkage. In less than a second, this unrecognizable, shivering, quivering, quaking, blob, would without cognitive intent, stop shrinking, then expand upward and outward to a point well past its normal size. Katie the blob writhed, shook, elongated, and elevated itself up, up off the chair, and then up, up off the floor, with legs pumping up and down much too fast for feet to obtain traction, in a vain yet futile attempt to flee the room. Once vertical, the picture resembled a quivering, pulsating, trembling, twitching, jello like statue, of what might have been a person trying to cover her ears, run in place, do the twist, and silently scream in the midst of a hurricane. We loved it!
Taking Flight from Behind the Mattress!
After zapping Katie several times on several breaks, our childishness became, well, even more childish and no longer funny; we needed something new. Eventually, one of us (must have been Bobby, couldn’t have been me) had the proverbial flash of inspired inspiration. Which brings me all the way back to the mattress!
As I mentioned earlier, the mattress was positioned to act as a sound barrier. More specifically, we propped the mattress sideways on several chairs so that Katie could not see us once she was seated with her headphones in place and ready to record.
The next break ended. Bobby and I sat next to each other in our chairs, positioned our microphones and guitars to have maximum effect, and waited for Katie to assume her recording position.
We could hear Katie making noises on her side of the mattress as she rustled around getting her chair and microphone just where she wanted them, and most importantly, adjusted and readjusted her headphones so they were in just the right spot to allow her to clearly hear her guitar players with the least amount of distortion.
When it became quiet on her side of the mattress, into my microphone I asked if her headphones were comfortably positioned and she was ready to go. When she said she was set, I turned up the volume for her headphones (leaving mine and Bobby’s alone of course); then we pushed the button, chewed the foil, and screeched the largest set of fingernails across the largest blackboard ever conceived of.
With guitars held close to the microphones, our guitar picks began their rasping trajectory up the guitar strings. Suddenly, from the other side of the mattress, a separate dissonance overpowered ours. Triumphantly, in what called forth reminders of several dozen bull frogs consumed by a full throated attempt at a Gregorian chant, while coyotes howled, and elk bugled their disapproval, this encroaching ululation enveloped us. Whatever or whoever survived on the other side of the mattress, was in desperate need of some kind of help.
At almost the same instant, we saw Katie’s headphones leap well above the top of the mattress and continue on to the full length of their chord, where upon they snapped back into a downward direction just as (while necessarily absorbed in the mode of protecting her fiddle and bow at all costs) Katie herself, came sailing up well above the top of the mattress, obviously captivated by this joyful experience of having the essence of her being consumed in an uncontrollable and amplified twitch — all accomplished while arms and hands thrashed, flailing helplessly somewhere near her head, shoulders, and ears, in an inspired effort to remove, the already removed, headphones, correctly and completely from the offending death grip.
Several seconds later and much to our surprise, Katie’s noises reformed into the shape of those words reserved for adults as she hurled them toward us in defiance of, and without concern for, all the fun Bobby and I thought we were having.
Congratulations Katie, I wish you many more years of success.
- Katie Glassman – Snapshot(twangville.com)