Did some overdubbing yesterday. We're trying to record live off the floor as much as possible. Not only is it faster, but there's an esthetic to it that we like. Unfortunately we got some really good takes where my lead line was the only part that sucked. In the interest of getting it done I decided to overdub.
It's a weird process sitting in your living room and playing along to a band that isn't there. A process made weirder by the dreaded "Recording" syndrome.
One of the nice things about overdubbing is that you can do as many practice takes as you like. The bass player isn't going to get bored, the drummer won't lose focus and throw you off. Essentially you're in complete control and no one's going to get annoyed.
I played through the tune maybe 10 times and was playing better than I've ever done in a live situation. Until I hit the record button. I know it's all in my head. Nothing changed, the sound in the headphones was the same, the guitar was still in tune, my hands were still attached at the wrists. Nothing changed except the knowledge that this was for keeps.
Not even for real keeps. There's no one waiting to use the studio nor a producer reminding us how much studio time costs. And yet it was different. It goes back to the ability to get out of your conscious head. With the recorder running it's much harder to slip into the state where it all flows easily.
I used to poo-poo people who told me that even if you've lived together for years being married is different. My mother once told a couple who'd been shacking up of 9 years "Why spoil a good thing." when they announced they'd be getting married. I guess I'm going to have to rethink that.
PS I just got an email from P. He says that my overdubbed take was the best he's heard so far. He wants to do more me-less backing tracks. Dang, I knew this was going to backfire. We're going to end up doing a track by track recording and take years to finish. Ah well, it's been years already.