From Tragedy to Triumph: My Unforgettable Experience with Shadows Fall

Back in 2001, while on tour with my band Amen across Canada, our tour met up with our friends Shadows Fall and new band God Forbid for a string of dates in the US. Those days were filled with camaraderie and new friendships, making it a tour I’ll always cherish. Little did I know, it would also mark one of the most memorable tours of my life.

Arriving at the venue in Illinois, I was called into the back lounge of our tour bus along with Sonny Mayo, my bandmate. The news that followed would change my life forever: my mother had passed away. Shock and disbelief gripped me as I grappled with the extreme weight of those words, especially while on tour. Bill Fold, our tour manager and friend, swiftly arranged for me to fly out of Chicago Midway to be with family and face this unexpected tragedy.

Before departing, I made my way into the venue to share the news with everyone and receive their condolences. The tour with Amen came to an abrupt halt, and I headed home to navigate the difficult days ahead.

Six years later, after honing my skills at Sound City and paying my dues, a surprising twist occurred when Nick Raskulinecz reached out with news that Shadows Fall had signed to Atlantic Records. We were tasked with recording their new album, “Threads of Life.” The prospect of reuniting with old friends and tracking at Studio 606 filled me with excitement

Upon arrival at the studio, we wasted no time setting up for tracking. Drums, cymbals, guitars, amps, and cabinets filled the space, along with a shipment of Coors Light – a pallet to be exact – an essential companion for the hardworking musician.

Our focus turned to dialing in the sound on the 8058 Neve desk with an inline monitoring system, along with a Neve BCM10 ensuring Jason Bittner’s double kick drum kit was ready to rock. Jason’s dedication to his craft was evident as he meticulously prepared his setup, embodying the spirit of an athlete in his approach to drumming.

Next came the electric guitars, with a variety of amps including Krank Krankenstein, Budda, ENGL, Mesa Boogie and of course, Marshalls, filling the control room. Matt had an array of Ibanez guitars at his disposal, while Jon favored his Washburn. I vividly recall the day Jon’s signature series guitar arrived – a moment of celebration that reflected his excitement and passion for music.

Of course, there were challenges along the way, like the day Jon struggled through a hangover while recording an intricate clean section that refused to stay in tune. Hours were spent fine-tuning and perfecting the sound, but his dedication prevailed, showcasing his resilience and commitment to the music.

As Nick focused on tracking bass with Romanko and Fair’s vocals, while I took on the task of cleaning up drums and guitars, we worked tirelessly alongside Shadows Fall, proud to play a part in their journey and help bring their vision to life. Recording this amazing metal album with such talented musicians and friends will always be an experience I’ll treasure.

Unfortunately, this predates my iPhone days, and I don’t have any stills from this early session. However, I invite you to enjoy these captivating ‘Making of’ videos from Shadows Fall in 2007, offering a glimpse into our creative process

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