Stomping and Screaming in La Mesa

Ken Bethea, lead guitarist of Old 97s, writes on his blog about the recording of his Dallas band's sixth album, Drag It Up. "We finished up in sunny San Diego at producer Mark Neill's vintage studio [Soil of the South in La Mesa], four of us stomping, screaming, and picking guitars into one microphone. Mark is a hard-core recording traditionalist, far removed from today's digital world. After working with modern technology on our previous three studio trips, we found old school 8-track recording both refreshing and challenging.

"During the course of the project, we broke a $6,000 microphone and my poor old classical guitar. I played guitar with a pencil and both Rhett [Miller] and I tried to play some bass (we failed). We stood in a giant echo-ey church and stared at each other. We stood in a tiny 8x8 room and stared at each other. We sang about satellites, stars, moonlight, cavities, death, cheating, Texas, friendship, parenthood, God, and storms."

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