The making of Tsar Bomba:
Tsar Bomba is finished. All of the tracks have been recorded, mixed and mastered. The artwork
has been approved. All that is left now is the manufacturing process, which can take a little while.
We hope to have the CDs available to ship in early September.
Tsar Bomba means King of the Bombs or Father of bombs. On October 30, 1961,
the most powerful weapon ever constructed by mankind was exploded over the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Sea. The device was code-named "Ivan,"and it was a multi-stage hydrogen bomb which was built in only fifteen weeks
by engineers in the USSR, using off-the-shelf nuclear weapon components.
The new Bride CD carries this title "Tsar Bomba" because it is the Bride CD to end all Bride CD's. This is our final CD as Bride.
Troy and I had a few reservations about making another CD. The economy was disastrous and people were pinching pennies so why would we be so bold to
think that in this economical crisis that people wanted to invest in more music. After all we had already recorded over a dozen CD's throughout the
years. We also considered that the market in which we had invested our talents had shriveled. And it had crossed our minds that possibly our better
days of song writing was behind us.
After our last CD "Skin for Skin", we almost thought God had finished with us. I personally had one medical nightmare after another in my life. My wife
survived breast cancer, our dad had a emergency triple bypass to save his life, our grandfather was placed in a nursing home with Alzheimer's, my 17
year old son ended his High School soccer year with knee injury, and I
endured shoulder replacement surgery. It all seemed too much to swallow with the emotional aspect and then the financial responsibilities that we would
have to endure. After Troy and I were in a car wreck on our way to begin writing for the new CD which totaled his 68 convertible Mustang I thought
things can't get worse. Then my wife and I had our troubles compounded by
being laid off our jobs. All of this happened in the period of one year.
All I can do is laugh and thank the Lord that we have faith.
With all of that said, when the Lord began to impress upon my heart to write
again for I wasn't feeling overly inspired, I made the failed attempt. The
truth of the matter I was pretty well depressed, I sat down to compose. I
had put some lyrics together Troy and I called Michael Loy who came in to
play drums and we actually worked on several songs for a short period of
time. Troy and I neither were content with the direction so we took another
break. After weeks of crumpling lyric after lyric and tossing meaningless
words into the trash inspiration came like a bright light. Everything that I
was writing seemed to have great meaning. And it wasn't long before I called
Troy told him to dust off his guitars and let's start writing again.
Troy and I spent the next several months writing and finding direction. His
music was flowing from him effortlessly and now we had to put the band
Troy and I began getting together once a week pitching around ideas and
sharing notes. We had debated on which direction that we should take. Should
we attempt another "Snakes in the Playground?" Snakes had obviously been the
pinnacle of our career. It was the CD that we could proudly hang our hats
on. Yet Snakes was recorded back in 1992. We could make one last effort to
write commercially and totally sell out in hopes that radio would suddenly
find us attractive and embrace our new work? I am not a sell out type guy so
we tossed that notion as quickly as it came. Plus we did figure if our past
CD's such as "Drop" and "Oddities" had not impressed the mainstream
marketing geniuses then we didn't have it in us to write radio friendly
Then it dawned on us. Let's write what we do best and stop trying to appease
everyone at once. We would write for us. If we were happy then those that
had followed our music would be happy. Our genre "Christian Rock / Metal"
was deflated but maybe, just maybe there was a way single handedly we could
dilate and surcharge our brand of rock.
Many possibilities were now presented and we needed the correct team of
players to pull it off. After our latest CD "Skin for Skin" Bride literally
did not exist. We had considered it to possible be our final CD even though
we had not announced it to be the final recording. In choosing players for the
new project we considered everyone from the past and even guys we had never
worked with before.
We both agreed that Jerry McBroom should be the drummer. The problem was that
Jerry was now an Associate Pastor and he might not have the time to plow back into
a band situation. So I sent him an email to which he replied "Count me in."
Now who would we use on bass guitar? We had worked with five different
bassist in the past. All were accomplished musicians and great guys but we
had to find the exact match for this assignment. Our last bassist Lawrence
Bishop had been a faithful and incredible bassist for the past several years
but the Lord did not impress upon me to ask Lawrence back. For one, Lawrence
lived 2 ½ hours away. Secondly his personal schedule was always such that I
felt like we might not be able to put in the necessary hours and thirdly
Lawrence was now married and that takes another priority. Jerry mentioned a
guy by the name of G.D. Watts but had concerns because "Glenn" (G.D.) was
working building a music center for underprivileged kids in Hong Kong. After
a couple of failed attempt to reach Glenn who was back in the States I
reached him and he agreed to join the adventure with us. Even though I had
never heard Glenn's work I trusted Jerry's judgment enough to not even
Meanwhile Troy and I were getting together twice per week writing and
recording demos. Troy would then send MP3 versions of what he and I were
recording to the guys complimented with a drum machine. We actually had Jerry
out for a couple of rehearsals before we had Glenn to join us. We wanted the
songs to have direction and order before we played full blown. One nice
thing was that Troy had purchased an electronic drum kit. Jerry had gotten
use to playing an electronic kit at his church so this was not even a
transition for him except he would now be back in the hard rock mode.
Glenn was soon invited in and I was very satisfied with Glenn's playing. He
complimented the drums and played very solid.
Steve Osbourne was a name that kept coming to my mind and I asked Troy what
he thought about having Steve come in and laying down some guitar solo's to
push us a little further over the edge with the project. Troy did not
hesitate with his answer. It was a resounding yes.
I contacted Steve and he was quick to say "whatever you need." He had
been so generous on Skin for Skin and there was no doubt in our minds that
he would only compliment the vision that Troy and I had for this project.
Troy sent Steve the MP3 ideas that we had recorded and he began working
on them. I was surprised when Steve expressed that he wanted to come out and
sit through some of the rehearsals. Of course this door was open for him. He
said he wanted to get a feel for the songs as we rehearsed, wrote and
arranged the songs. It wasn't long until Steve was bringing his guitar and
playing right along with us.
This is when I begin to feel as if this CD might just be that special CD
that we had wanted to record since Snakes in the Playground.
Troy was writing incredible musical hooks. Every song was ripening with each
rehearsal. The compatibility of Jerry and Glenn could not be a tighter fit.
We had some great songs and the band was locked into the groove like the old
Our last CD had been recorded up in Ohio and we paid out more than we really
wanted. Troy had this notion floating around in his head for a
few years about a Fan-Financed-CD. This would be a CD that the fans donated
and contributed to in order to help pay for the recording, the rentals, the
motels, and food etc while the band worked. He had this brainstorm a couple
of CD's ago but it was only a concept until now. When he mentioned it to me
again, I was more open to it this time than in previous years.
The hypothesis would be that the fans would take part in the making of the
CD by giving $20.00 or more according to what they felt led to give. In
return we would make sure that they were the first to receive a signed copy
of the CD. They would also be privy to a Bride Secret Web Site where photos,
videos, and information concerning the writing and recording would be found.
One other feature of the site would be they could hear the songs developing
over time until the songs matured into CD worthy songs.
Now we had to apply our faith and hope we had enough supporters out there to
get this venture off the ground.
Meanwhile we continued to write and record while pondering where would we
record this project at? We already knew that Matt Hunt from Retroactive /
Brutal Planet records would be the one to distribute and promote the project
but where should we record at? We tested the waters locally by recording a
single song in what we were told was the most affordable yet quality
recording studio and we were highly disappointed at the final outcome. Dave
Bach from the band Guardian had reminded me of a mutual friend we have up in
Indiana who had a studio. Tim Bushong had recorded with us on our Jesus
Experience project. Tim was not only a studio engineer but also was a superb
guitarist and amazing singer as well. I contacted Tim and after a lengthy
conversation I was convinced that there was no other place we could record.
Tim was the man.
We met Alonso Espinoza an artist out of Venezuela through some connections
that I had on Facebook. Alonso would design what may be Bride's most
compelling CD cover ever. We were all blown away at his gift and eye for
exactness. We were now in business.
Recording at Tim's Studio would turn out to be a blast. There was such a
laid back atmosphere and no pressure at all. Tim lived way out in the
beautiful flat countryside of Indiana surrounded by farms and small towns.
His house was adjacent the studio and this made it very handy for everyone.
It was like his house was our house. The band slammed out one track after
the other like a machine. The songs had been well written, well rehearsed
and well played. Jerry was the initial focus. The drums are the foundation
to any recording and his drums went under the scrutiny of us all. But to
examine Jerry's drumming is like examining Big Ben; his timing was
impeccable. Both Jerry and Glenn were done early on and Troy only had small
things record. The band was playing pretty much live.
After our first recording sessions, all the basics were complete and Jerry
and Glenn were finished.
Troy and I returned with Steve Osbourne. During this trip, all guitars
were tracked both rhythm and lead parts. When I felt good I was
singing and getting my takes done. As a singer, you sing when you
feel good because you never know if the weather changes you might struggle.
One thing that I was grateful for is that even though Tim had a selection of
vocal mics to choose from he suggested that I use a Shure SM58 and hold it
while I sang. In the past, producers and engineers would introduce me to the
state of the art tube microphones with special wind screens and God forbid
if I touched it. Matter of fact I had been so shell shocked by studio
experiences that I am pretty sure that over the years when recording my
vocals in the past I refused to look at the microphone when I sang. But it
wasn't this way with Tim. He encouraged me to "do my thang." He understood
that I was a live singer and I liked the feel of a mic in my hands and
needed the room to express myself vocally.
We stayed at a little motel called "The Lodge" because the rates were
reasonable and it was close to the studio. We fell in love with Chester's
Fried Chicken that we found at a grocery store and we put away a few birds
while we recorded.
Every recording session must have its break time and when we did break we
received the hospitality of the Bushong family. One day we broke from
recording and Tim had a nice cook out for everyone. It was common to find
Heidi - Tim's wife taking coffee orders from the band as we recording into
the evening hours.
Tim also had a rope swing attached to a tree in the woods behind his house.
Troy, Steve, Tim and my son Zac took advantage of the rope swing from time
to time. Me? No way I only have one good arm left.
Thanks to a generous donor to the CD our number of songs jumped from 12 to
14. This would mean reorganizing and writing two more songs.
Those two songs turned out to be some of the best. The project is now complete and
all we can do now is wait on the manufacturing process. Hopefully, we will have a
release at the beginning of September.