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Mack Amps and David Barrett: The Story Behind The Video "Hollowbody"

Mack Amps Endorsing Artist David Barrett

On January 18, 2011 a rare assemblage of talent converged on iStars Artist Development and Musical Performance Center in Toronto.

The group included Pete Swanson from Dagmar Custom Guitars, Rocky Nash from Rocky Nash Films, a group of hugely talented people from iStars who produced and recorded the sound and, of course, The David Barrett Trio featuring Mack endorsing Artist David Barrett along with Sascha Tukatsch on drums and Jason Farrar on bass.

The occasion was the filming of The Trio performing one of their new songs "Hollowbody" for use as a promotional video for all involved.

One of the neat things about the evening was that everyone donated their time, talent and gear for the mutual benefit of the group!  This was truly a collaborative event and the good feelings in the room were palpable!

Things got started when the band arrived and Pete revealed "Gretchen" his stunning creation that features TV Jones humbuckers and a Bigsby.  

Dave proceeded to plug in and I dialed in a nice on-the-edge-of-overdrive tone for him on both the Heatseeker HS-18 and Skyraider SR-15 that he used for the evening.  BTW, Gretchen sounded BEAUTIFUL on that setting - warm, blooming tone!

One of the reasons I like Dave so much is his attitude toward tone and guitar playing - detailed, innovative and aggressive!  This was on full display when after only a minute of warming up he said "OK, so why don't we crank the amps?".  And the game was on!

With a few quick twists, each amp's volume was set on stun, their gain switches on Melt and Dave was smiling!

Rocky Nash and his assistant Jackquie Macri finalized camera angles and their shoot plan.  The iStars team dialed in the live sound in the performance room and the recorded sound in the control room and the band took their positions.

After a count-in from Sascha the band launched into their first practice run of "Hollowbody".  

The members of The David Barrett Trio are exceptional individual musicians.  Each one displays a staggering amount of chops on their instrument.  However, what makes this band cook is what they do together.  The song Hollowbody is a fast tempo, extremely complex piece of music with many varying parts and tons of intricacy.  However, these guys are so good they make it look effortless and they are TIGHT!!

Here's what Dave has to say about the genesis of Hollowbody and the Trio's recent recording experience with a rock luminary!

"Exactly a year ago, I played my new solo album The Dead Arm for guitar hero and mentor Alex Lifeson.  He liked it and mentioned that maybe we should consider doing something together in the future.  I agreed.  

He advised me to write a ton of music which we would then later sift through and pick the best tunes to develop. His other advice was to include some other musicians to further develop the songs.  I asked Sascha Tukatsch to play drums and Jason Farrar to play bass.  We arranged the music and worked really hard on it.  Their contributions and enthusiasm have been truly outstanding!  

After the Rush Time Machine tour ended and Big Al was rested, we went into his studio and recorded three tunes: Hollowbody, Sonar, and Disappearance.  Rich Chycki engineered.  

Rich produced my first solo album back in 1995, everything I've learned about recording I've learned from Rich, I don't think there's anyone better.  

And Big Al's approach to arranging, performance, and production was truly illuminating.  We also had a lot of laughs in the studio, more than I can remember on any sessions I've ever done.  

We've finished these three and will release them soon, once we figure out the details."

- From, the official web site of David Barrett

After a few runs through the song the band left the stage and changed into their on-camera 'costumes' - suits and ties!  

During the break Pete brought out another one of his masterpieces "Mary Lou W." featuring a Lollar Charlie Christian pickup.  With the amps turned down Dave proceeded to 'noodle' around on Mary Lou while Rocky and Jacquie quietly filmed him.  The result was a stunning recording of "Ave Maria" that you can see here.

The band hit the stage again and after a few takes of amazing performances the shoot was done and the awesome result can be seen below!

Many thanks to David, Sascha, Jason, Rocky, Jacquie, Pete, all the wonderful folks at iStars and Paul Reid for the photo of Dave at the top of this piece!!


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