...when the end suddenly appears


Here are the stories behind the songs on When the End Suddenly Appears plus some information on the recording process.


This project has taken me a while to complete. It is a familiar story -- work schedules and family requirements made finishing the album particularly difficult.  However, it has taken just over a year to complete and it has been a completely individual project: I wrote the songs, played every instrument, produced it, mixed it, and mastered it.  Note:  Using Hart Dynamics pads, I actually played drums on this album!  A first for KGS.
This album was based on a short story I started writing during the last half of 2011.  I wrote about 20 songs based on this story, but whittled it down to 12.  If the song didn't move the story along, I ditched it.  The songs are important and had a huge impact on each other.  As with "Notes", I wanted to ensure that I could actually play these songs live with a band – a good band – and record some in a live setting.  As usual, when you have a “good idea explosion” there are consequences. The big challenge with this is that, as an individual project, adding songs and complexity seems like it adds time required for completion exponentially.


The album was written as a vinyl LP.  There are 12 songs with the first six being side one and the final six being side two.  I doubt this will ever be on vinyl, but I do feel melancholy for the days of sitting down and listening to music with friends.  I thought that this project would be a good candidate for that because the story flows from the beginning to the end.
The songs were recorded on a Toshiba CoreDuo notebook computer using Cakewalk Sonar 8 Producer Edition and a TASCAM USB computer recording interface. This was not recorded in a studio unless the pile of gear in the basement counts as a studio. There were no megabuck plug-ins in use, and the real standout was the ikMultimedia Ampeg SVX bass amp plugin.  As usual, we used an old ’73 Marshall JMP 50-watt head, an early 90’s JCM-900 SLX 50-watt, our Traynor Guitar Mate Reverb combo, and a variety of Ampeg and Tubeworks cabinets with Celestion speakers. There is POD 2.0 (Red Bean) on this recording as well.  Finally, we used our workhorse SM-57s, SM-58s, and a number of Samson and MXL condenser mics.  Our Presonus preamps have been a pleasant surprise and they are recommended.

Guitars? Most of them, particularly the ash-bodied Williams GSs with AttackBuckers. We also used a number of Les Pauls, our old-time 1975 Ibanez Flying V (Rocket Roll Sr.), the Jeff Beck Les Paul and our Fender HM Strat. That Jeff Beck Les Paul has the most balanced tone, and I am not sure why.  Sometimes you just get lucky.


The bass choice was easy – our much beloved Made in Japan Fender P-Bass from 1987. Strings are always Ernie Ball Pink Slinkys – even for the bass. We tried some of the Cobalt Ernie Balls on this project and really became attached to the Ernie Ball "coated" strings.  As Tone Snobs, we thought the coating would corrupt the tone.  Wrong again...they just lasted a really, really long time.  Yes , Mr. Ball...we would accept an endorsement deal.


Cables? The George L’s are really, really good; the skinny ones are the favorites around here. We even have some George L’s speaker cables. Yep…we thought it was all hype, too.   On "The Bottom" I used a mid-60s Yamaha classical guitar which belonged to my father.  It was actually the guitar I used during my classical guitar lesson days back in the early 1970s.  It hadn't been used in years, and when my mother moved from their old house after my father passed away, I brought the guitar home and strung it up.  I hadn't played it in years, and I forgot how difficult it is to get a clean sound of a classical guitar.  It really fit the song, and it took a lot of practice to pull off a passable performance....that is passable.

There is lots of good gear out there, but somehow I feel melancholy for my old cassette-based PortaStudio (which is in storage) and a bunch of analog gear in a rack.  I still miss that old DoD/Digitech digital reverb.  That was the best-sounding reverb I've ever used.  It was really gritty and sounded like a club!

What is up with the title?

When the End Suddenly Appears is based on the fact that you never really know when anything is going to end and we tend to look at our professions -- or jobs -- and our lives as this endless journey that will go on forever.  The story is about a man who thinks he is on top of the world and his current life will go on forever, unchecked, and nobody can stop him.  Then, one Monday morning, the end presented itself, and he had a really hard time coming to grips with the reality.  The story is about how he works through it and really finds out who he is.
As always, I tried to avoid a lot of creative editing with the software and what you hear is, in most cases a complete take played straight through from start to finish.  Hey suckas....edit less, play more.
Here are the songs in the order in which they appear on the album.  If you want the entire story, be sure to check back and download the "short story" and read it to get a feel for where the songs came from.  It will be available soon.

King of the Hill
What happens when a man becomes a god - or thinks he is?  Something bad is about to happen -- just read a Greek tragedy.

Gear Notes: The guitar solos were played on our the Williams GS with AttackBuckers and a Striped S-Style with a single AttackBucker.  The guitar sound is the POD, a 50-watt Marshall JMP, and a guitar plug-in blended…but mostly the Marshall.

The Man is exposed as a human.  What a tragedy that is!  We must blame someone.

Gear Notes: I used a Les Paul for most of the verse to get some low-end crunch.  The solo is a Fender Yngwie Strat into a DoD 250 and a 50 watt Marshall.


Way it Goes

We all know that sometimes you just don't have anybody or anything to blame.  That is just the way it goes.

Gear Notes: The only song tuned-down to D on the project, the P-Bass sounds particularly good on this song.  It is funny how some guitars sound better with alternate tunings.



Get Your Guns
Sometimes you have to step up and take-on the enemy....whether you want to or not.

Gear Notes: I played the solo on our mid-70s Les Paul Standard with Dimarzio PAFs. It is a very heavy, thick-sounding guitar, and really cut through on this track.

End of Times
During the Summer of 2012 there was a preacher on TV telling us that the end of time was getting ready to occur.  He missed the first date, then picked another.  That was wrong, too.  Let's hope the Mayans didn't get it right.

Gear Notes: Nothing special...that is me with the Latin Percussion shaker in the breakdown!

Let It Out
Have you heard the phrase "It'll all work out"?  Well, it doesn't always work out, and that it what we discuss here.  We dive into the phrase "___ it out"...and there are a bunch of permutations.  .

Gear Notes: I used the 75 Les Paul Standard on this one.  For some reason its intonation is really good and it sounds great when you play chords up on the neck..

The end of the first side -- too bad this isn't on vinyl...

A sad day for Jack.  He got some old Rush albums out and sat in the basement feeling sorry for himself.

Gear Notes: The Yamaha classical guitar.

I think most people live like their lives are a dress rehearsal rather than realizing that time is really slipping away, every day.  I remember going to Scout Camp and shooting shotguns.  It was great.

Gear Notes: The guitar solo was played on my Parts Les Paul.  It has a really interesting midrange sound and it fit the song very well.  It has some old-time Duncan pickups in it and it a great-playing guitar.

What does it take for you to get really fired up and ready to fight?!

Gear Notes: I used a Yngwie Strat on the fast rhythm part to flesh out the sound.  That is a great guitar and is strung with 8s...like Mr. Malmsteen's.

Coming for You
Are you paranoid?  You may be, or they may really be out to get you.  Always watch your six...

Gear Notes: The key part of the guitar sound is the MXR Phase 90, one of the most underrated pieces of gear in existence.

Who Killed Rock?

If you went back in time, would your "18 year old self" hate your current self?  Probably.  That 18 year old would probably give you a hard time for abandoning your dreams and taking an easy way out....and for just being lame.  That is what this is about -- young people, don't abandon your dreams, and learn how to do something to entertain yourself.  Learn how to play guitar and turn the xBox off.  Play some original music and give the iPod a rest.

Gear Notes: This live version features a pile of old Marshalls, Les Pauls, and Ludwig Vistalite drums.  The solo was played on my old 1977 Les Paul '55.

Why so many guitar solos?  Like my other albums, the answer is simple: Because it is a rock album and I wanted to do some guitar solos.  I believe guitar solos are cool, and some of the great 70’s soloists influenced my guitar style. I really like playing guitar. I am a guitar hoarder. I really didn’t want to do another guitar instrumental album, so the song structures are vessels for the guitar solo.
Do you wanna be a rock star?  No -- I want to find somebody to play with.  I really don't want to be a singer -- I would rather stand on stage right and play guitar and do some backup vocals.

Any secrets? As usual, a couple of things – use good quality strings and change them often. Use short patch cords between your guitar and amp or preamp. The first take of the solo is usually the one you like best. Finally, if you start getting frustrated while recording, take a break and come back to it.

Yet another word of warning.  I do not like the "classic rock does pickup trucks" country music.  I much prefer Buck Owens.  I don't like a lot of the new deathcore or extreme metal bands...I really like Blue Öyster Cult.  If you like nothing more adventurous than Miller Lite, don't go to a brew pub.  Same here -- if you like Ke$ha or The Band Perry, just keep moving. 

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