Back in my Amen days (somewhere around 1999-2000), I met Chris Lewis. He was incredibly young and had great energy. He was an Amen fan and we met after a show we played in Sauget, Illinois. He handed our singer a demo tape of his band, The Kinison. The visceral, bombastic sound captured on that tape told us the band had real potential.
I remember helping record early Kinison songs at Amen’s rehearsal space. It was a carpeted garage deep in Van Nuys and that’s where Chris and his band worked out their tunes. Their demo “I Hate Black Sabbath” was recorded at Sound City, and it led Chris and The Kinison through a series of showcases and ultimately a record deal.
Chris and The Kinison were on their way, and they toured relentlessly in the early 2000s.
Many years later, we reconnected when The Kinison wanted to record a couple of tunes with me at Dave’s Room. This became the EP “Oh, the Guilt”
A few years later, Chris started to write on his own. He tracked 5 songs with a talented friend of ours, Manny Nieto, at his Suplex Studio in Los Angeles. Not long after that, Manny decided to move his studio to Hawaii and I mixed an EP from those 5 songs; it’s called, eponymously, “LEWIS”.
Chris was excited to have these tunes realized, and given our history and how comfortable we are working together, he asked if I would record his album. Over several weeks Chris sent me dozens of songs for “LEWIS”. His new music has a more singer-songwriter feel; jangly and grungy, but at the same time poetic and personal. Chris is both relentless and prolific and while I was listening to the first group, he sent more and more songs. We decided on a recording date and he was still sending me music! Each tune was better than the last and out of the final group came “Tobi”, and “I’m Nervous Too” – two tracks that I knew had to be on the record.
We worked hard and fast tracking live with Sam West on drums, and Frank Figueroa and Brian Duke on bass. After 4 days of tracking and overdubs Chris had his first album recorded, “Son on the Floor”.
Mixing was fun – I kept the raw, honest performances and made sure Chris’ writing and intent really shone through. I am extremely proud of Chris and his new record. I am sure there will be more to come from LEWIS.
As Jedd Beaudoin from Pop Matters says: “the infectious single “Bathe Clean”, three minutes and six seconds that spotlight Lewis’ particular blend of humor, incisive observation and ability to create an unlikely but undeniable hook. Think of a sweeter Guided By Voices or songs where power-punk clichés are muted for the sake of the song and that’s some of what Lewis gets up to on” — PopMatters
Please enjoy The 4 singles leading up to LEWIS full length release August 21 “Son On The Floor” on Sona Baby Records with these lyric videos.
Son On The Floor will be available on LP and download on August 21st, 2020 via Sona Baby Records. Pre-orders are available HERE.
This all started when Sam West asked to meet for a beer to chat one sunny California summer day in 2016. After catching up with life, Sam asked if I would like to produce the new Stavesacre album. Sam and I played together in Scaterd Few and in Human Rights with HR from Bad Brains, so I know he can beat a drum. Without hearing any demos I agreed to work with Stavesacre. The next few months (in between engineering gigs) I helped them arrange and shape their demos. Half a year later we started tracking drums and guitars (lots of guitars) with Ryan Dennee and Jeff Bellew, and then finally tracked bass in one weekend after Dirk Lemmenes flew out from Atlanta, Georgia.
In January 2017, Mark Salomon materialized from the east coast where he had been working hard on lyrics and melody. He sang for nine straight days. Two with his vocal coach Jason Martin at his Bull Shed studio, then seven days with me at my space, Underbrow production. Stavesacre knocked this one out of the park. While wrapping up Fireball Ministry’s Remember the Story and Ironaut’s Sick Stupid Lies, AND gearing up for Alice in Chain’s recording session in Seattle, we mixed at fever pace. I am extremely proud of to have produced this Stavesacre record, and I hope we can do it again.
Review excerpt by Loyd Harp Indie Vision Music:
From the first notes of “The Dead Rejoice” you can tell its Stavesacre, as the Bellew/Dennee twin guitar attack is immediately recognizable. This opening track (not counting the sound collage, “Intro”) speaks of spiritual death and reawakening and brings hints of the joy the title implies.
“Sleepy Head” reminds me of Friction’s “At the Moment” in that melodic, quasi-ballad-that-rocks sort of way. “On Being Human” is a straight forward rocker that grab’s the attention of any listener in danger of drifting off track. Interestingly, penultimate track “Moonstone” intro could almost pass for a lost SF59 track, and while it shifts when the song kicks in, there is a remarkable similarity (influence?) of later period Starflyer stuff (post-2005 or so). “Breathe Me” is incredibly emotional and atmospheric (Sia Cover) performed in a way I haven’t heard them do before, which drives the point made above the band’s maturity during their lengthy silence.