Behind the Scenes on the Deadland Ritual Sessions

My experience working with some of my earliest heroes during the Deadland Ritual sessions with Greg Fidelman was remarkable. It all began when Fidelman approached me to engineer a live tracking gig at Henson Studios (formerly A&M) with legends Geezer Butler, Steve Stevens, and Matt Sorum. 

Being able to work with Geezer Butler and Steve Stevens was nothing short of mind-blowing. In my early teens, I immersed myself in the music of Black Sabbath and Steve Stevens captivated me with his solo work. And of course, Matt Sorum – known for his role in Guns N’ Roses – brought his own unique energy to the session.

Working alongside Greg Fidelman is always a learning experience. He constantly shares invaluable Pro Tools tips and tricks for streamlining studio workflows, pushing me to keep up with his blistering pace.

Henson Studio B SSL G+

After securing the sidecar in Studio B, (now boasting a Neve BCM setup)  complemented by Fidelman’s preferred mic pres, (alongside the revered SSL 4000 G+) we were ready to rock! When Geezer, Stevens, and Sorum delved into the music I felt like a teenager again. The performances we captured were breathtaking, sounding release-ready straight from the board.

Henson Studio B Some outboard gear to dial in our sounds

I vividly recall a moment in one particular tune when Greg and the band debated whether to use a click track or let the band play freely. We experimented with different tempos, frantically jumping around the massive timeline. Eventually, we settled on a tempo, and the band began to track.

Henson Studio B, a U67 never a bad idea

Halfway through, I realized with a sinking feeling that I had recorded under the wrong tempo. I was panicking but I knew I had to deal with the mistake. I cornered Greg outside the control room, I’m sure I was sweating and radiating my guilt about my blunder. 

Henson Studio B, Steve Stevens pedalboard for tracking

Greg remained calm as I explained what had happened. I admitted that my admiration for these musicians meant that I had never felt so nervous working with a band before. To my relief, Greg handled the situation with good grace.

After that uncomfortable moment, I forced myself to stay focused and ended up learning to navigate unexpected challenges that might arise in the studio environment. It was a valuable lesson in professionalism and the importance of remaining calm under pressure.

Henson Studio B, SSL G+, Yamaha NS 10s

Other than my brief almost-disaster, the session progressed smoothly. I walked away with a newfound appreciation for the power of collaboration and the self-control required to overcome setbacks during high-profile, high-pressure sessions. 

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