Released in July 2013 the All My People LP is the first full length record by Uncle Junkie. Coming almost three years to the day after the release of the EP the back story of perseverance and determination to get this record done would have caused most sane people to throw in the towel. However not Scotty Frazier, he had a vision and a goal that never wavered and a work ethic to see it through. [READ FULL STORY…]
The first EP had done a nice job of getting attention of fans across the nation. For a period of time things were going awesome in terms of live shows and media attention. There were product endorsements and the group acquired proper management. National tour dates were booked and the EP was getting played on college radio in faraway places. There were downloads being recorded internationally and the fan base had nothing but good things to say. It was in January of 2011 that a decision was made to record a full length LP. It was the next logical step to really further the career of Uncle Junkie. Once again Frazier now lamented as the bands leader would reach out to his close friend Count Hager. “You up to do this again” asks Frazier and the voice on the other end of the line was a quick hell yes! Count, Frazier, and Clute began writing sessions and quickly the songs began to emerge. Everything seemed to be on track to pop out an LP no problem! Along about that time approximately March 2011 there was a terrible incident that occurred at a local gig and the member status began to unravel. “Sometimes in a rock band shit happens and tough business decisions made. We wish all our former members the best of luck.” quotes Frazier! The four piece band was again a two piece with Frazier, Clute and Hager still on board as a producer/co-writer. The three continued on with the writing sessions and a decision was made to hold off on recruiting new members until the record was done, as the demands of keeping a live act going seem to conflict with the time and effort it takes to write a record. Perhaps for some bands songwriting is a quick process however for Uncle Junkie songwriting has always been very tedious time consuming business, usually about 20-30 hours per week. For nearly two and a half years these were 70-80 hour weeks for Frazier when coupled with the demands of his day job. This type of workload requires a ridiculous amount of determination and can wear people down fairly easily. There were some great songs written in 2011 most of which were in the rap rock genre. One of the songs “American Way” is even considered for use on the next RATT LP. Months passed by and the longer it took to write the LP the more difficult it seemed to keep the enthusiasm alive. “With only a partial band it is very hard to see the point at times”, quotes Frazier. The plan all along was to write material that would attract the highest caliber of musician once the project was done. As time went on the vibe at the sessions began to change and Frazier found himself beginning to lose enthusiasm. Additionally Donnie Clute was going through some personal turmoil and seemed to lose interest in the process. With essentially no band mates and changing the musical direction (Rap Rock) that Frazier really wasn’t comfortable with it seemed as though he was beating a dead horse.
It was about this time October 2011 when a co worker Brian Kennedy suggested to Frazier that he knew a guy Damon Cisneros who was an amazing producer songwriter and that Scotty should reach out to Damon. Reluctant to do so Scotty listened to some of Damon’s tracks on you tube and was quite impressed in terms of composition and audio quality. Damon had been a performing rock musician himself at one time having worked with acts such as Kottonmouth Kings and HED PE but had delved deep into producing many other genres for several years. A meeting was scheduled and immediately there was a connection. Damon seemed to really appreciate the previous Uncle Junkie works, and had high regard for Scotty’s abilities in terms of vocals and writing big solid chorus hooks. It seemed the right time for a change of pace and a business decision was made to begin working with Damon. In true professional fashion Chris Hager supported Frazier’s decision to continue on with a new producer. The change was made with blessings and Chris remains a great friend and advocate of Uncle Junkie to this day.
Now it would be that the dedication would require an even greater level of commitment. Damon’s studio was located an hour north of the Uncle Junkie studio and it seemed the best nights for working were weeknights. Scotty and Donnie began traveling to Damon’s a couple times a week usually making it home in the wee hours of the morning only to have to be ready for the day jobs in just a few hours! Additionally it was clear Damon liked to work at a fast pace so for every session at Damon’s place Scotty would spend equal time in the Uncle Junkie studio recording vocal lines and guitar ideas. It was fast becoming apparent that Damon Cisneros was a musical genius. His ability to play all instruments very well made song writing a blast. There seemed to be great mutual respect as well with Damon showing appreciation for the homework sessions Scotty would complete in between sessions bringing .wav files recorded in UJ studios and saving countless hours of toil.
Before long Donnie made the decision to quit the band. This just wasn’t his thing at this point in his life and he wanted to pursue other musical interests including work as a Christian artist. There were never any hard feelings over this decision and both Scotty and Donnie remain very close friends. Alas Scotty Frazier was the last member standing from the original Uncle Junkie lineup formed in 2007. Many had come and gone but it had always been Frazier’s optimism and foolish pocketbook that had kept this band no dream alive. For a brief moment these were the darkest of times for Frazier. He had already invested so much time and effort into writing this material but was now the last man standing. It was the material that kept the dream alive! The new songs that were emerging were too good to walk away from in Frazier’s opinion. The show must go on!
The songwriting was going very well! Damon seemed to be enjoying getting back to his rock roots and after years of producing Rap and Hip Hop he often said “This Uncle Junkie project is something I can really sink my teeth into”. The songs were usually titled after letters in the alphabet initially and by the time the record was complete the final song written was getting pretty close to “xyz” so nearly 25 songs/song skeletons written. Yes folks if you want to write a great album you have to be willing to scrap some material. As the excitement grew about the material Damon eventually signed on as guitarist with the group. In his words “maybe this is the kick in the ass I needed to get me back in action, let’s see where this goes”. Soon after Uncle Junkie recruited a friend of Damon’s Los Angeles based guitarist Jeff Musial. Scotty called up his favorite drummer “Dog Boy” who also resided in LA and rehearsals began. Soon after Los Angeles bassist Brian Netzley completed the lineup and Uncle Junkie was once again a “real band”. On a side note its worth mentioning that at the first rehearsal Jeff Musial showed up knowing every ones guitar part in a three guitar band. Here is a tip for all you musicians auditioning for a new gig, take a page from Jeff’s book and come prepared!
It seemed that this new crop of songs would really get back to Uncle Junkies core rock roots. One of the main goals was to produce songs that were up tempo and driving. Even to bring an element of dance beats on some of the tracks much like Rob Zombie and others before them had done. Many tracks were written around loops and samples in a trance like fashion taking a common tone and expanding melodically upon it.
Each song on the record tells its own story or has its own unique purpose and identity.
Mr. Badass – Mr. Badass was written with the sole purpose of infiltrating the MMA world. Through a friendship of Scotty’s Uncle Junkie was able to get MMA announcer Carlos Kremer involved as the announcer voice in the song intro. Through Carlos affiliation with UFC, EPIC Fighting league, and close association with many professional fighters, this song is already being considered for use on a reality show and as a walk out song for numerous MMA pro’s.
Better off alone – This punchy track was recorded using only single coil pickups! It tells a story of sticking in a relationship just a little too long, and sometimes you are just BOA!
What We Are – This is the only song that survived from the Frazier/Hager writing era of 2011. Initially called Seven Deadly Sins if this song had eyes it would see the worst traits in people. Additionally Jeff Musial and his girlfriend and professional violinist Alyson Montez made some very nice contributions to the bridge section.
Enterprise (All My People) – This song was one of the early tracks co-written with Donnie Clute, Scotty, and Damon. It deals with the world of drugs, moreover meth and the King pin dealers that run the game. Ironically there was an earlier preproduction version that featured a hard core gangsta rapper named “Iroc” that sounded pretty cool but didn’t really make sense with the rest of the record.
Goodbye To Heaven – Another punchy upbeat song the real payoff in this one is the chorus with vocals reminiscent of Chris Cornell or Ian Gillan. The subject matter on this one deals with everyday temptation and what it takes to overcome.
Egomaniaddict – Well the title says it all!! Everyone has their own personal Egomaniaddict somewhere in their life! The original riff for this track was a piece Scotty wrote that was a completely different melody and genre similar to the Foo Fighters. Damon laid the drums down and then Scotty changed the guitar part to make it heavier and more in your face. The industrial segment in the middle was a cool creation with Matt Thorne at the engineer helm pulling in all kinds of whacky shit. Oddly enough Damon had coached Dog Boy through the drum segments and the final bridge piece was pulled together in post. Another cool note; some of the industrial sounds Damon had recorded on location at a factory years before unsure if he could ever use them.
The Watcher – This one was written around a Synth loop and from the beginning had a trippy vibe. There were probably no less than 10 different Choruses written and completely different lyrics ranging from politics to eventually Serial Killers and their victims. Perhaps one too many episodes of Criminal Minds watched for the lyrical inspiration however “Eat your heart out Stephen King”!
Corrosion Within – Originally titled “song F” then titled “segue” it was nothing more than a synth loop, drums and bass. This song is pure Damon genius at its finest. The song was actually created in the studio in Burbank with Damon at the helm like a conductor guiding Dog Boy to add measures each time the one came around and Matt Thorne and Damon like two mad scientists concocting some new potion. At the last minute Scotty decided to take a crack at adding some vocals and pretty much sang what is recorded in just a couple of takes.
Five Thousand Light Years Away – This was the very first music that Scott and Damon exchanged. The riffs were pretty much written by Damon at some previous point and sent to Scotty to see what he could do with it. Early on there had been discussion of adding a female vocalist to the group and this is where the experiment started. After re arranging a few parts, and Scotty pulling subject matter from watching one too many episodes of Ancient Aliens. Quickly Scotty came up with an odd scenario of being abducted only to find out that what these Alien beings are really up to is a life of galactic partying and club life! Scotty’s friend Cristina Sanchez was asked to join in as a test vocalist and did a nice job helping create some of the final melodies that remained in the song. Like some of the tracks on the original EP Uncle Junkie likes to show their musical versatility with this type of track and have some fun while doing so.
Flesh Monster – After Damon had come up with some of the main riffs it was Scotty’s turn to lay down some vocals. In an unrelated conversation about the band image Jeff now titled “Flesh Musial” suggested jokingly that the band come out on stage and do a cabaret rock show kind of an Uncle Junkie meets Chippendales. Laughing he said and the title track should be called “Flesh Monster”. Scotty thought the idea was so funny that he actually wrote the lyrics to match the inevitable title. The song features Scotty on the solo guitar playing the bendy swampy Slash meets Schenker riffs he grew up on as well as some cool talk box effects courtesy of the mighty Damondeez. Oh yeah, and the vocal filtering using a few tricks not yet to be revealed makes this song a real winner!
Tracking began in January 2013 at Matt Thorne’s MT Studios in Burbank CA. Matt’s place is such an amazing combination of modern meets vintage gear. This combined with the knowhow and friendship of Matt, Uncle Junkie wouldn’t consider another studio. Having three recording studios amongst the Uncle Junkie band members, it displays the kind of discipline and commitment to excellence that is Uncle Junkie. The preproduction tracks were produced at a level that most bands would be satisfied with. However recording at MT Studios with all of the amazing gear meant taking it to the utmost level in professional audio quality. Particularly when these tools are in the hands of masters such as Matt and Damon the outcome can only be good. The tracking was done in week segments over several months time. The first week was quite a tough one for Scotty coming down with a horrible flu virus within hours of the first session start. Scotty was forced to the emergency room the having to drive back to San Diego for a few days rest. Damon took control and proved to be an awesome partner working closely with Dog Boy making sure every last drum beat went down as planned. By the time Scotty made it back to the sessions in the latter part of the week he was sporting a SARS mask and most of the drum performances and editing were done.lol.. Next came Bass and Damon just murdered it! Damon played all the bass parts on the entire record as well as a significant amount of guitar. A borrowed Fender bass had just the right growl to get the job done. Without revealing too many trade secrets in addition to that good ole “Marshall Tone” from the first record Uncle Junkie and Damon pulled some tricks out of their hat to get some unique guitar sounds on this record. For each segment of each song on the record particular detail was paid to amp selection and settings, guitar selections, pick up configurations and who was to play the part to give it the most style. After months in between sessions it was finally time for vocal tracking to begin. The songs seemed tailored for Scotty’s voice this time around with Damon and Matt pulling just the right amount of grit and desired tonal frequencies from the singer. Of course after that all the fun production and Synthesizer elements were added and then mixing and mastering. Each track took approximately a day to mix so the better part of another two weeks was spent mixing the record. All in all it took nearly five months of back and forth trips from San Diego to Burbank and sporadic sessions to finally complete this LP. Uncle Junkie hopes that you will take the time and listen to this album turned up loud on a high quality audio system to really appreciate the mastery of this art.
This is where the commitment, sacrifice and determination mentioned earlier in this article begins to reveal itself. You heard about the 70-80 hours per man spent for two and a half years and you heard about the week after week of showing up to the day jobs sleep deprived and nursing a growing caffeine addiction. You heard the struggles with keeping personnel engaged and onboard with the project. You heard about long trips to rehearsals and sessions in LA and guys from LA traveling to San Diego. But the real proof of commitment is revealed in the fact that this project is self funded. There was no record label footing the bill and no rich sugar mama forking out money for studio time. This album was funded through great personal sacrifice by a regular working man Scotty Frazier and his supportive wife Janet knowing full well that spending tens of thousands of dollars will probably never make it back to them. Ah but this is something greater! This is living life to the fullest and deciding what you want to leave behind as a legacy! This is a commitment to art and to doing things to the very best of your ability! This is what Scotty and the Uncle Junkie boys are about. Scotty quotes “Throw that CD in my casket I’ll be proud of it for eternity!”
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