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The Making of Native Americana

The L.A. Session - June 21, 2002
 
The recording of Native Americana started with a trip to L.A. to record with John Densmore of The Doors, Jim Creegan of Barenaked Ladies, along with Jimmy V of Wild Band of Indians.

Jimmy and I rented a car and headed west from Phoenix, Arizona on I-10 till we hit north Hwy 1, heading to Santa Monica, California. We turned right and six hours later, we're crashing at John Densmore's house. I knew John as a jazz drummer, with a very keen production sense, it seemed natural since the first song Kokopelli Blues needed a jazz feel. That night, we rehearsed Kokopelli Blues and another song Sea of Cortez.

The following day we recorded at Oak Castles Recording Studio. The sessions were engineered by Sabashienne, recorded on 2 inch analog tape, Dolby SR. John recorded the tracks in two takes using the same sizzle cymbal and floor tom he used when The Doors recorded Light My Fire. Afterwards John said it took the Doors two takes to do that song, it took two takes to do our song, both felt good. We rehearsed the song slower when we recorded it; John played it faster and said, "are we recording a 45, or what?"

Jim Creegan, who produced the session, played bass and sang. We picked up Jim earlier in Santa Monica and 12 hours later we took him back where he was staying. Jim had brought his girlfriend's cheap guitar along, you can hear me playing some simple notes with it on Sea of Cortez.

Otono Lujan, with Conjuntos Los Pochos of East L.A., came over and added the button-accordion to Sea of Cortez. Jimmy played acoustic guitar and sang on both songs.

Around 2am, Jimmy and I headed out of L.A., made it as far as Quartzsite, Ariz., got a room, slept a few hours and hit the road again. We were back in Phoenix by 4:20pm the next day. A whirlwind recording session.  

Keith