In my most recent entry here, I told everyone that I would be sharing a survey soon. You can read the history and recap of where the first album project is at here.
The survey is now done. I’m asking everyone who is interested in participating in the fan funding of the first album re-release to take the survey. There are a couple of things I want to point out first. In order to put this project out, it will have to be fan funded. If you read the past project updates, I had to spend a lot of money to gain the rights back, so fan funding is the only possible way to do this, particularly because what I’ve heard so far from fans is that they really want a high quality 180 gram vinyl re-release with a high quality pressing. In today’s world, doing that is quite expensive, especially for a limited-edition run. There are also some fans who have seemed to be interested in having the album available for the first time on CD and digital.
The survey is important for several reasons. First, it will be give me an idea of who is willing to participate, and what formats everyone wants to see the debut Skafish album available in. This allows me to crunch the numbers and come up with a package that’s both affordable and satisfying to the fans.
Again, I want to emphasize that the re-release must be fan funded. So, if you really want this record to come out, now is the time to do it. If we’re not able to run a successful fan funding campaign, then the record will not end up being re-released. It is of vital importance to financially get behind supporting this record if you truly want to have it out there once again. So, only take the survey if you are seriously planning on financially supporting the project. In putting together the survey, I tried to make sure that all the possible scenarios could be covered with the sincerest intention of the fans getting what they want.
And, don’t forget that all versions of the album’s re-release will include the Skafish fan favorite Sink or Swim.
Together, we can certainly make this happen!
I am so pleased to be able to announce that after nine months of consistent, diligent work, the re-mastering project for the first Skafish album has finally been completed. I want to give a big shout-out to mastering engineer Trevor Sadler for his meticulous attention to detail and his unwavering support for the project. He has been instrumental in making the re-mastering a success.
I am thrilled with the results and I hope you will be, too. If you like the first album, I believe that you will love the re-mastered version. I stayed committed to the original vision of the album. Trevor and I didn’t do anything foolish like make the entire album a brick wall of loudness, as some do when they re-master a record. Instead, we kept all of the dynamics and nuances (including the soft passages) intact. At the same time, we worked hard to gain the highest possible fidelity, clarity, power, fullness and richness of sound. We made every effort to achieve the best possible balance and enhancement of the overall production and final mix that we could.
Throughout the years, I’ve gotten emails from people who had discovered the album, stating how much they loved what they heard. Since this is the first time the album will ever be available digitally and on CD (as well as a new vinyl re-release), the record can hopefully reach a whole new generation of fans who can connect with it.
Yes, There’s A Bonus Track:
I also have some exciting news to share: The track Sink or Swim (originally the B-Side to the single Obsessions of You) will be included as a bonus track on all formats of the album’s re-release. Since Sink or Swim has been a fan favorite as well as one of the band’s and mine, I thought it would be a fantastic addition for everyone.
There were two factors that determined whether I could include Sink or Swim. The first was that I was able to successfully legally terminate the rights of the record company. Since the first Skafish album and the single Obsessions of You b/w Sink or Swim were two separate releases (and therefore, two separate sound recording copyrights), I had to terminate both the sound recording copyrights for the album and Sink or Swim. Also, I had to make sure that there would be enough time to fit Sink or Swim on a vinyl release without losing fidelity.
A Brief Timeline Of Events:
Here is a brief timeline for the 1st Skafish album re-release project and how it has unfolded so far:
- December 18, 2012: I sent the termination notices to EMI, the record company who owned the sound recording copyrights in order to legally regain my rights to the sound recordings to my first album and Sink or Swim.
- May 15, 2015: Thirty five years after the date of publication, I officially regained the rights to the sound recording of the first Skafish album.
- June 1, 2015: Thirty five years after the date of publication, I officially regained the rights to the sound recording of Sink or Swim.
- Mid-February, 2016: On my blog, I first extended the invitation to my fans to contribute to the cost of re-mastering the first album project.
- February 25, 2016: The first donation came in.
- May 1, 2016: The estimated cost of $1000.00 for the project was fully funded by my fans.
- May 24, 2016: Mastering engineer Trevor Sadler began the re-mastering process.
- February 24, 2017: After nine months of day-to-day work, the re-mastering project was completed.
Once again, I want to extend my deepest heartfelt gratitude to all the fans who have donated to re-mastering the album, everyone who has shared online posts, followed me on Spotify and helped to spread the word. This project couldn’t have gotten this far without you!
As I’ve mentioned before, I will be sending out a link to a survey to get everyone’s input before I finalize the crowdfunding and re-release plans. If you’re not on my mailing list, please sign up to be notified about this project and future developments.
About a week ago, I promised an update to let everyone know just where the 1st Skafish album re-mastering project is currently at. And, for those of you who have just tuned in, let’s start with a little recap:
So far, two never-before-opened vinyl copies of the first Skafish album have been transferred to digital. Mastering engineer Trevor Sadler and I have listened to both, studied them and compared notes. Of these two, one pressing was from the United States and the other came from the United Kingdom. The vinyl transfers were promising.
However, there was still the unanswered question of the tapes. These would be the original tapes from the studio where the album was originally recorded that I talked about here. They are high-quality reel-to-reel tape dubs of the final master mixes. We wanted to see if they would sound better, worse, or the same as the vinyl transfers.
Current update – the tape transfers:
Trevor successfully transferred the tapes and sent me two copies in mid August. The first copy was a straight, unchanged flat transfer, meaning, nothing was done to adjust the sound whatsoever. The second copy had a small degree of mastering that Trevor had done. After listening to the second copy, it was pretty evident to both Trevor and I that the tapes sounded extremely promising. Proceeding from there, Trevor started working toward the final master.
Then, on Saturday, 9-3-16, I received and began listening to a more finished master made from the original tapes. This transfer further developed the album to be closer to a completed audio master, which involved such things as working with the treble/bass, overall EQ, balance, volume levels, compression, etc. That’s all technical jargon for getting the best sound out of the album possible.
So, what’s the verdict? It is absolutely clear that the studio master tape dub is superior in sound and quality to either of the vinyl masters – and that’s what I am going with.
I know this process has taken some time, but there are a lot of details to pay attention to as well as multiple sources we have needed to master from. The most important thing is not speed, but getting it right. Moving forward, there are a few tweaks and some details that still need to be taken care of. That’s in part because we need two separate masters: one for vinyl and the other for CD and digital. The vinyl and digital medium are notably different in terms of what they each require for a proper master. It’s important to me that both sound excellent.
When it comes to the audio master to the 1st album, there are two primary objectives I have in mind. First, I want to keep the sound authentic and loyal to the original album and its fans. Second, it is important to have the music work in the best way possible for both a vinyl and CD/digital release.
While the re-mastering is being worked on, there is something I would ask you to do for me. I am trying to gain control of my Spotify artist account, and I need 250 followers to do so. Currently, I have 111. Please follow me on Spotify. It doesn’t matter whether you have a free or paid account, because you can follow me with either type on Spotify. That will certainly help with making the 1st album project a reality, because I will be able to post updates, add pictures, playlists, and share things directly with the fans on Spotify.
I am not one who neurotically and obsessively posts about every little thing in a project, which is why you don’t hear from me constantly. In other words, I don’t believe that listening to the album at low volume versus high volume is worthy of a post, lol. My goal is to share substantial information with you that is relevant. Of course, you will be hearing from me as everything develops and comes together.
Your support has been miraculous.
I just wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the first Skafish album re-mastering project. So far, my mastering engineer, Trevor Sadler, has made several passes at transferring one of the never-before-played albums that I had. He is satisfied with the results, but he still feels that we can get a better master to build from.
I just sent Trevor a second, never-before-played Skafish album. He will perform transfers from this pristine vinyl record and that can be compared to the ones he already has done. He told me that he would like to see if he can get even higher fidelity and less noise. I can’t report how the transfers sound because I haven’t heard them yet, but I will keep you posted once I get them and start listening to them.
I have tremendous confidence in Trevor, who I’ve worked with since 2005. He has already mastered my holiday jazz album, Tidings of Comfort and Joy – a Jazz Piano Trio Christmas, my compilation album, What’s This? 1976-1979, and my live 21st birthday concert, Bootleg 21-35. Not only has he mastered records for artists such as Madonna and Nine Inch Nails, he also does a lot of edgy, indie projects as well.
In a previous blog post, I talked about how we are going with a preservationist approach in re-mastering the first Skafish album; meaning, we’re trying to keep it as much like it was as possible. Even though we’re not trying to “reinvent the wheel,” the re-mastering part of the project is taking a little longer than I had originally expected it to. That’s because Trevor and I are leaving no stone unturned in order to get this done right.
In the meantime, I’ve been working on the album art, evaluating manufacturers and putting together a draft project timeline and budget. However, I will only be able to set the final project timeline and budget once the re-mastering is complete. Make sure to sign up for the Skafish mailing list to be notified of all the project developments. At some point I will probably do a survey to find out what formats (vinyl, CD, digital, etc.) that everyone wants.
I will continue to rely on all of you to keep spreading the word about this project, my music and supporting me on social media.
Again, I have to extend a profoundly heartfelt level of gratitude to all of you who have contributed to the re-mastering project. Your financial support, spreading the word, enthusiasm and joy means more to me than you’ll ever know. It has made this one of the most enjoyable projects that I’ve ever been a part of. I am forever grateful.
Pic: Glinda Harrison
The project to re-master the 1st Skafish album has been fully funded. Words cannot begin to express the gratitude and appreciation I feel for everyone who has been so willing to donate, spread the word, and offer their support.
For years, people have been asking for a re-release of the first album. Now, the support of everyone who has so generously contributed to getting this done is helping to be able to make that a reality.
I am excited to take the next steps toward a proper re-release of the first Skafish album on vinyl, CD, and digital.
I will now be moving forward toward getting everything ready to go to the mastering engineer and begin the process of working with the source materials to get the best and most authentic sound possible.
I will be keeping everyone posted of the project’s progress. Again, from the bottom of my heart and spirit, thanks so much for your generosity and support!
Today is the birthday of the Skafish album What’s This? 1976-1979! Eight years ago on April 1, 2008, it became the first release on my label, 829 Records. Featuring recordings from August 1976 through November 1979, this record, in part, documents the early period of the Skafish band, featuring many subterranean gems that have never been released.
The album captures a snapshot of a revolutionary, transformational and turbulent time. This fact is clearly documented in the liner notes written by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends Cheap Trick.
Some of the tracks are the early versions of the songs that made it to my first album, and some people were upset about that. They wanted the first album, which I didn’t have the legal rights to re-release at the time.
Still, I am very proud of What’s This? as an objective historical document. When it comes to What’s This? 1976-1979, this record stands on its own and is truly like no other.
To those of you who have purchased the album, thank you so much! Please spread the word about this truly “out there” work of art. If you haven’t got it yet, take a listen on Spotify or you can buy it from our Bandcamp store.
For everyone who wants the first album, stay tuned! Now that I own all legal rights to the first Skafish album, I am in the process of raising the funds to re-master the record and hopefully, re-release it.
I wanted to let you know first that we are now offering the WHAT’S THIS FREAKIN’ $%&!? T-Shirt for sale exclusively through our Bandcamp store. This limited edition item, specifically designed to promote the What’s This? 1976-1979 album, has only been used for promotional purposes before. We have LIMITED QUANTITY AND LIMITED SIZES available.
T-shirt lettering says:
WHAT’S THIS FREAKIN’ $%&!?
We only had 300 made, and after they’re gone, that’s it. No more will ever be manufactured.Currently, we have 200 T-Shirts left to sell. Normally, we would sell this T-Shirt for $25, but we are happy to offer this item to you at the introductory price of $20.
The T-Shirt is:
- 100% cotton
- Black T-Shirt with white, distressed lettering
- Machine washable and tumble dry
- Substantial quality
- In a sealed plastic bag with air holes for freshness
- Made by Tennessee River
Here are the amounts and sizes we currently have:
- Large: 48
- X Large: 123
- 2X: 29
To purchase the t-shirt, click here.
An as added bonus, this purchase also includes unlimited diigital streaming of the album What’s This? 1976-1979 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more!
Since this is ideal for the Skafish fan, pick up this very cool limited edition item at our Bandcamp store and continue being outside the norm.
#TBT: In July, 1977, I needed to have emergency knee surgery due to a dancing accident that caused a bone chip in my knee. Around 4 weeks later, I was back on stage performing my 21st birthday party concert. Check out the video that talks about the insanity of that time.
Hope you like it — Skafish