Another New York City music club is gone. I remember playing Don Hill’s many times on Saturday nights, when it was home to the Tiswas party. One gig in particular comes to mind. I had just gotten an early ’70’s Hiwatt amplifier and Don Hill’s was the only place I ever used it. If you don’t know Hiwatt amplifiers, all you really need to know about them is that Townshend used them in the late ’60s and ’70s. They have both a great clean sharp tone and a thunderous distortion when you crank it in the pre-amp channel. Oh, and Hiwatts are probably the loudest amps on the planet. Not really conducive to NYC club gigs (which is ultimately why I reluctantly parted with it). Nonetheless, I used it at Don Hill’s. And it was really, really loud and totally awesome. For me at least. I have a feeling the audience didn’t much care for the aural assault. I feel sad about Don Hill’s closing. But to be honest, I feel sadder about not owning this anymore:
When you’re with a band for awhile and it gets pretty serious, you start thinking about making a baby record together. Sometimes, when you lead hectic independent lives, this process can take longer than you bargained for. But there are a lot of significant and memorable moments along the way, and today my dear band mates and I reached a big one: The Car Test.
Also known as The Shitty Speaker Test, The Car Test is what bands do to test the almost-final mixes of their recordings to hear how they’ll sound to the average listener on non-studio quality speakers. Like crappy car speakers.
You may remember the scene in the movie Once (starring The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) where the band piles into a car to hear their newly recorded demos:
My band mate, Darrell, loved this idea so much he’s rounded up the group, rented a zipcar and will brave driving the streets of NYC for the first time in order to do this.
Wish us luck!