Last modification: 01/19/08 19:26

Team Production Notes - "Annabella"

From the Capitol Records album, "The Jimmy Hats: Greatest Hits"

          Written & Performed by the Jimmy Hats, aka:

Lead Guitars:             The Jimmy Hats
Rhythm Guitars:           CapnZilog (clean), ChipShank67 (dirty)
Drum Programming:         Van Helsing
Synth Programming:        CapnZilog, Van Helsing
Arrangement & Backing:    CapnZilog, ChipShank67, Van Helsing
Team Management & Gfx:    Don Madison for Q-Prime, Inc.
John Kalodner:            Dallas Hodgson
Catering:                 Behind The Scenes, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

                          [SOLO SECTIONS]
00:31:09-00:45:07  Chorus             8 Bars   ChipShank67
00:45:07-01:13:01  Verse              16 Bars  CapnZilog
01:13:01-01:51:09  Chorus             10 Bars  ChipShank67
01:51:09-02:05:07  Verse              8 Bars   VanHelsing
02:05:07-02:43:14  Chorus             10 Bars  ChipShank67
02:43:14-03:11:09  Verse (dbl-time)   16 Bars  Iceman32
03:11:09-03:25:07  Chorus (proggy)    8 Bars   ChipShank67
03:25:07-03:53:01  Verse (Outro var.) 16 Bars  MasterTang
03:53:01-04:03:14  Ending Buildup     6 Bars   MasterTang, CapnZilog
04:03:14-end       Proggy Ending      10 Bars  VanHelsing
Joe Lynn Turner appears courtesy Atlantic Records.

MP3Pro is the way to go. Best heard on MusicMatch Jukebox.

CapnZilog used:
Instruments: Ibanez S540 Custom, Fender Roland-Ready & "Hello Kitty" strats
Hardware: Line 6 GuitarPort 2.51, Echo Gina3G, Victrola antique phonograph, Shure SM-58
Monitoring: Mackie HR824's, Sennheiser HD-580's
Editing: SONAR Producer 5.2, Sony Sound Forge 8.0
Softsynths: Cakewalk/Roland TTS-1, LiveSynth Pro
Sound Libraries: Sonic Implants Amps & Pickups (bass), Drums Series 1
Effects: Sonitus:FX Suite, iZotope Ozone 3.04, BBE Sonic Maximizer, Waves Doubler & L2, Lexicon Pantheon
Mastering: PSP Vintage Warmer, Waves LinEQ & L3 Multiband Limiter
Encoding: MusicMatch Jukebox 10.0

ChipShank67 used:
Hardware: Squire Jason Ellis model (solos/harmonies)/Dean Avalanche 7/Squire Jason Ellis model (rhy)
Effects: POD 2.0 - Vamp2 (Rhy Guitar)/ Vamp2 (Solo/Harmonies/Effects)
Monitoring: Crap PC Speakers LOL
Software: SONAR 4 Producer (Guitar Tracks Pro 2.0 in reality...LOL)

Iceman32 Used:
Hardware: Tom Anderson Drop Top w/ VHT 2X10 1X12 Cab, CAD Tube Condenser mic, t.c. electronic G Major
Effects: POD Pro
Software: SONAR 5

Master Tang Used:
Hardware: Dimarzio Evos
Effects: Digitech RP100A
Software: SONAR 4

VanHelsing Used:
Instruments: Vigier Excalibur
Hardware: Guitar Port, Roland JV80-80
Editing: Cubase SX3, Logic Audio 5.5, SONAR 4 Producer
Softsynths: Cakewalk/Roland TTS-1

CapnZilog sez:

Yes it's another ambitious six-month project, welcoming aboard our newest (and most versatile) member, Van Helsing into the Jimmy Hats fold. For some of us this project was a first introduction into the world of MIDI, while for others it was business as usual - but by the end of the project, everyone had gained some experience combining the dual worlds of software synthesizers and guitar.

Every team project I've worked on has had to sacrifice some aspect of audio quality in order to collaborate, but not this time. Since we're mostly a Cakewalk team, the first step of the plan was to get everybody on the same page with similar enough versions of the software for us to share projects. The second step was establishing a file server to call our own, and with that we were able to work around the usual MW file size limitations and collaborate completely uncompressed for the first time. So, this mix represents a "first generation" MP3, rare for a Team War project of this size.

"Annabella" began as a verse/theme/chorus idea originally done on guitar, including some parts that would later appear on synth. Of all the ideas we bandied about, this seemed to be the one we could all agree on so I reworked it into a MIDI arrangement and turned it over to Van Helsing. VH, being the mad composer that he is, went nuts and expanded it into this magnificent song, coming up with variations, bridges and modulations off the basic idea. Some members of the team were getting suspicious about the lack of guitars, but then Chip attacked and wove his octuple-tracked melodic metal guitar magic over everything, coming up with some of the catchiest (and best-sounding) guitar hooks I've ever heard along the way.

Now, keep in mind that we had a really fleshed out demo at this point. It was my goal to have, if anything, too much to work with - and bit by bit we'd thin out or replicate whatever layers were necessary in order to make room for the lead guitars as they came on line. And so we did - the fact that we have so much ear candy on this track has much to do with the way we put this song together, which I think of as "subtractive composition". So, you can imagine - compared to prior efforts, we had a lot of structure to fit the guitars into this time around, and because most of the arrangement had been hammered out in pre-production, the happy but rockin' 1985 radio power-ballad vibe was already well established for the lead players to work with.

It's possible that this song, if anything, may have actually represented a bit too much craft for some of our rough-and-ready team members, so next time around don't be surprised if a bit more of a Sex Pistols vibe sneaks in, LOL. But for me, this track is really the pinnacle of our team's evolution and it's something I think we'll be able to enjoy listening to in years to come. Enjoy!

ChipShank67 sez:

This tune was one bugger of an endurance marathon for someone with a short attention span like myself! LOL If I can actually remember back that far...the first "full" version of this tune, as it was originally presented to the team, was a pretty full & busy sounding, MIDI number that initially sparked little interest from me. Not being a real big fan of full blown MIDI arrangements in the first place, I was kinda luke-warm about it all. Kinda too nicey-nice and not enough grunge...LOL

Coupled with the fact that I'm a certified tone-O-phobe and I often totally hate how my lead tones often seem to clash with fullout synthy type backings... My first and most over powering instinct of course, was to lay down as much metal-type riffage as I could, to offset the synthy-ness of it all. From 6 to as many as 8 tracks worth in spots, using two different tones from my POD 2.0 and one from my Vamp2. Not THE most challenging riffs, by any means ....but probably the tightest rhythm work that I've done overall here at MW.


Being that this project has been an ongoing process for the better part of at least 6 months, it's been very hard to maintain any real sense of perspective on it... but listening to it in it's finished form, I'm actually a little surprised that it's some of my favorite work that I've done over the last few years. It's been a bit of a chore at times....but also pretty well worth the effort in retrospect.

Also....I can't say enough about my fellow "Hats" and that talents that they all posess. Great group of guys, even though this whole tune has been a bit of a test at times. It's always an incredible honor to work with you all. Extra nod to CapnZ and his seemingly endless capacity for tweaking, tweaking and Re-tweaking, 'til things sound amazing! ;-)

Van Helsing sez:

First a big thank to Chipshank67 for letting me in the best team here on MW.
And also a big hand to Dallas" CapnZilog" Hodgson for allowing to contribute
to Annabella's writing process.

Starting with a very original idea from Dallas that was very 80's sounding ( my favorite
music era..) I was able to expand it and give a little proggy feeling.The result is honestly
beyond my expectation with Chip blasting all over the place!

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