Thursday, April 25, 2019

Laughing With Captain Blood

by George Zhen

It was one of those weird moments in the creative process where an idea pops into your head and you have the best resources at hand to deliver it perfectly.

We were in the middle of taking the groove Tip had called "Andes Dust" and trying to make it in to an actual song. Things were going smoothly, as smoothly as possible with 4 guys and a room full of synths and drum machines in the '80s can be. Oh, there were the usual battles of tone and pallet, which patch should be used here, what percussion sound there.

There were creative decisions I think could be better. For instance. there is a rap portion of this song that could probably best be forgotten by all (and me especially since I was the one who tried to rap). But one of the things that was really cool on "Andes Dust" was the laugh performed by Michael "Captain Blood" Phipps.

Mike was a childhood friend of mine who was a mainstay at the Some People's Children house. We were great friends, in fact years later we were each other's best men at our respective weddings. One of the things he could break out in at a drop of a hat was this blood-curdling, spooky laugh. Like the devil, or Vincent Price. Effective and funny as hell.

In "Andes Dust" there's this breakdown and we were figuring out what to do with it, and I come up with the idea of recording Mike's laugh to fill in the space.

It worked perfectly! You can here it here:

When it came to playing this song live, Mike was all up to do his part. He tells the story of coming to the Reunion Room dressed up head to toe in a nice suit. He's at one of the high-top tables with some girl he just met, making small talk, sharing drinks. The band takes the stage and Mike and his new lady-friend continue to enjoy the show.

As we start playing "Andes Dust," Mike excuses himself from the table and suddenly appears on stage to do his hilarious laugh bit right on cue. When done, he leaves the stage and returns to his table with the astonished girl and picks up where he left off as if nothing were strange about what just happened.

Great stuff.

I don't remember if he ended up going home with the girl or not, though.