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Zog Bog Bean was an album made by John before he made what we now know as "Marcy Playground". It is available in any store.
John worked on it way hard for at least a year or so, maybe a bit longer. He slaved and slaved away at it, with the help of his friends Scott and Sherry Fraser. Scott played drums on some of the songs. The drums on "John Fisher Ford" were done in the Fraser's parents living room. They didn't like the way they came out on the recording, so they tried a different mic technique on "Ballad of Aslan" and "Alice and Everything", which were done in John's living room. According to Scott, "The drums sounded *way* better on those two, I think" John also used the closet technique when recording...turning a closet into a mini-recording studio. A friend of the family, Daniel Murphy helped John with the recording equipment and its financing.
Lots of recording was done in John's and maybe Sherry's room. During the recoding John's room was turned into a proverbial recording studio, and there was lots of stuff all over Sherry's room too. Some of the songs, like "Alice and Everything" were written when Scott, John, and a guy Pete had a little band going. (I think John, Sherry and Scott played in at least 4 or 5 different "bands" over the years with other folks in the Philly area).
During the mixing of Zog, John would give Scott tapes of various versions of mixes he had done. He remembers one mix of "The Dog and His Master" where he had a RIPPING guitar solo at the end instead of the "one little two little indians..." thing. He thought that was the best mix but John didn't like it. It also showed John's prowess at playing screaming leads on guitar. At this time Scott's long time favorite song of John's was the one he wrote and made him first think about John's potential - it was called "Rebel Sodville". That song has been added to the set on this tour. Scott thought it toally rocked, and they recorded it, but John didn't like the way it came out so it didn't make it onto Zog.
John and Sherry had this system of writing vocals involving mouthing words and sylabels over the music, and then "fitting" the lyrics over those sounds. I don't know what songs they would do this on, but it is a very cool way of doing things. "Ancient Walls of Flowers" may have been written in this way.
"Anyways John would give me a tape to listen to, and a day or two later we would record. His songs were easy to play to, and I could just feel the beat no problem. No major rehearsal was needed. We did Aslan days after I had got my first set of "double bass" pedals, which I really didn't know how to use, but I used in the Ballad. If you listen carefully I do this weird fill in the chorus which uses the pedals in a way I have never quite figured out how to "do" since I didn't really know how to use the pedals yet! Kinda cool... Definitely a very exciting event for me as a drummer. It's especially cool the way doing John's music brought that out."
This work was most impressive, considering he did it all on a Tascam 688. John had excellent mics that helps the process a great deal along with some decent processing equipment.
Scott thinks it was a real blast recording stuff with that equipment and that John deserves a lot of credit, because very few folks (other than his family, Sherry, and other close friends) really were paying major attention.
It seemed as if John was working on this thing all on his own despite getting very littlle notice from people outside his family and friends. However it is worth mentioning that some folks (I don't know all the details here, but I think it was family and friends along with Dan Murphy) had helped John to get the money together to buy all the equipment to record Zog. So thanks to them, there was Zog, and thanks to that... Marcy!
Imagine slaving away for a whole year on something like that, being a total "nobody", yet knowing that it was something you wanted to do, and had to do.
So thats the history of this album. Click here to go to a page with lyrics sound bits and art from the Zog Bog Bean album.