There’s nothing like black and white images when it comes to breaking down a musician or a rock moment to it’s essentials. Such a brilliant art form and iconic language. Here’s a few images I really like.
A secretary sits at her window in a dreary office in Burnaby, British Columbia checking her MySpace page while her boss is sidetracked in a board room meeting. It’s June 2005 and the lush green color of BC’s west coast is in it’s happiest of months. She glances out the window to take in a little of the summer she is missing and to her shock witnesses a naked shaggy haired white guy streaking down the street at top speed. It’s none other than Jonny Hetherington.
We were maybe half way through our month long session at Green House studios where we were spending 16 hours a day tirelessly making the self titled Art of Dying record with producer Darryl Romphf and engineer Alex “the condor” Aligazakas. We were not sleeping much. We were eating almost exclusively ‘bottom of the barrel’ hotdogs and we were in heaven! I can’t remember exactly how it went down, but someone dared me to run down the street naked and I was totally in. Not my finest moment, but kind of memorable now that I look back. The streaking part at top speed was a lot of fun actually, but the naked walk back was something I had not properly thought out. lol. Since we’re celebrating the 6 year anniversary of the release of our self titled album, I thought I would jot down a few memories that stand out for me.
Dog is My Co Pilot – Darryl and Condor got me set up with my acoustic in a make shift back booth of the main room. I was assuming I’d have to roll through the song about 20 times before we were all happy with a version, so we were ready for a long night. I cleared my throat and started the first take, and as I got closer to the end I decided to just let the song happen. I was experimenting with my voice and the energy of the moment. So, when Darryl asked me to come in, as he did many times during the session when he wanted changes made or had comments, I thought he was going to really critique my first take. When I entered the control room, he simply said “you’re done, that’s the record”. So the first take is what you hear on the album.
Car Crash – Making this record was an exercise in perfection. Tuning, timing, performance, dynamics, everything had to be perfect. So when Flavio (Cirillo) nailed a drum take that needed zero editing it was an amazing accomplishment. The drumming you hear on “Car Crash” was that one take.
Poker – We played a lot of late night poker games at the studio. There was a lot of whiskey involved and things usually got out of hand.
Guitars – Greg and Darryl spent so much time digging into the details of the guitars on the record. I can still picture those moments in the studio where the tracking room was filled with smoke, literally burning the midnight oil, and usually not finishing until the black night gave way to blue dawn. People generally lose their minds a little bit in those wee hours of the night and I think you can hear that on the album.
You Don’t Know Me – Originally titled “Living Like The Kings” with a completely different melody, Darryl challenged me to make this song better. I had a room full of house guests at the time, so I locked myself in a tiny closet and came out with all of the words and melodies that made that song into You Don’t Know Me on the last day of recording. I’m really proud of how it turned out.
Vocal effects – This era was back when I used to sing through guitar pedals. I had mastered a string of effects and used them a lot on the record. I also brought in a megaphone and doubled a lot of my lead vocals using it, which really helped keep the edginess strong. (You can here the megaphone “click” in the breakdown of “You Don’t Know Me”) Almost all of the interludes in-between songs are just me jamming on my pedals in the moment. I can still see the vocal tent that Condor made me. Fabric walls and ceiling with christmas lights at the top. Two mic stands and a stool with 1 bottle of red wine, a few crushed beer cans, a jesus candle and my secret weapon, a bottle of port.
Greg looks back on the making of the record:
Recording the Art of Dying self titled album really transformed us into recording artists. It was an incredible experience that landed many tour opportunities and ultimately led to signing a major recording contract.
One of my most memorable moments in the making of “Art of Dying” self-titled was when Jonny was recording his vocals for “You Don’t Know Me”. I was sitting on a couch in the control room and the vocal booth was just to the left of me. It had a door with a window so I could see Jonny while he was recording. If you know Jonny well (no pun intended), you know he has a lot of energy. When he started singing the song, he got so into the moment that I swear he was a couple inches off the ground! It was amazing to watch him deliver such a powerful performance that you can definitely hear on that recording. It’s one of my favourite tunes of the album!
I came up with the lead guitar line for “You Don’t Know Me” upstairs in Greenhouse Studios while we were recording the album. Like many studios, there are tales of them being haunted. Apparently Greenhouse Studios also had some haunted tales, we would often hear weird noises coming from the room upstairs while we were near it and nobody was in there. Needless to say, we would only go in there when necessary. Perhaps I had some spiritual help creating that line……
Coming up with guitar overdub ideas was a lot of fun during these sessions. Our producer, Darryl Romphf, had a way of inspiring unique ideas and performances from each member. He also played half the guitars on that record as well. We sat up late at night listening to tracks like “Completely” and “Get Through This” and adding colour with our guitars. I remember us just feeding off each other’s ideas and getting really excited as the ideas developed. Darryl inspired me to come up with a really cool lead line in “I Will Be There” that reminds me of something Joe Perry from Aerosmith would do. We were really proud of the ideas we were coming up with!
During the pre-production on this record, there were a couple of stand out moments. Jonny brought in “Get Through This” and “Inside It’s Raining” to the sessions and we started jamming them in our dungy little rehearsal space. They both sounded quite a bit different initially than they ended up sounding on the record. There was a moment of frustration during the pre-pro on “Get Through This” and it added an intense real energy to that song and we were able to capture that energy on the album. When we were working “Inside It’s Raining”, we slowed down the tempo and made the chorus guitars and drums sound staccato. I remember us all looking at each other when we heard the new approach with big smiles on our faces. It was so heavy and awesome!
Here are a few of the many stories showing up on the new Facebook Group called The Die Hards.
As a songwriter and musician, it’s just simply the most amazing feeling to read these outpourings from our closest fans.
Head over to The Die Hards to read them all.
Sandie Antil Vanderpool
I’m a 42 year old mother of 6….yes, 6 that’s not a typo lol who was married to a Vietnam Era Combat Veteran for 11 years. In October 2012 the PTSD and other medical ailments that plagued him finally won out and he committed suicide while on the psych ward at the V.A. hospital.
Needless to say this was the worst day of my life. I didn’t think I could breathe much less go forward from that awful day.
In the weeks to follow I made a lot of changes to my home in an attempt to make “our” home, “my” home.
One day I turned the cable music choice channel on. Never did it before but needed my mind to shut off and the radio wasn’t cutting it that day. Cranked the channel and half listened to what was playing as I repainted “my” bedroom. This song…. “Sorry” came on. I’d never heard it before….or had heard it and not paid much attention.
Today I paid attention. Rapt attention. I ended up sitting down and just bawling. It was as if my husband had reached me from the grave to apologize for the suffering he had left me with.
I *HAD* to know this band.
Art of Dying? Great I am depressed enough this can’t be a good idea. But that song just kept playing in my head. So i kept on looking. The Art of Dying is My Life to Live. Oh My Goodness. It was just what i needed. So I buy the “Art of Dying” cd and “Vices and Virtues”
Wow. “Get Through This” ? These people *GET* real life. “Best I can”. *sigh*
One night I couldn’t sleep and found the video for “I’ll be there”. More tears. But good tears. I am not as alone in the world as I felt.
Fast forward, its been 6 months this month since my husband took his life. I listen to Art of Dying EVERY DAY. Sometimes ALL day. And it gets me through.
They are playing in Nashua, NH next month. That happens to be where my brother lives. Its 7 hours away and that is a short jet to go see these men who have gotten me through some of the darkest day I have experienced. I. Can. Not. Wait. ♥
My story: this started out to be the worst year of my life with going through a divorce and all and my friend played one AOD song for me and got me hooked! Now when I listen to all the songs each seems to have a special meaning..it’s amazing!
Why am I here? Why am I a fan? Well, actually, that’s easy. Because Art of Dying are epic. Beside an amazing sound and lyrics that make sense to everyone, they’re real. These men are real. They genuinely love what they do, they love their fans and they love every opportunity they get to demonstrate that love. I came across them when David Draiman tweeted about them back in.. oh, I think it was January, 2011. I thought since he was speaking so highly of the band, I’d check them out. Lemme tell ya, I was blown away by what I heard. Guitar riffs that ripped through my speakers, a drum line that demanded attention, and a voice… Well, there was no denying the voice. And they were cute, to boot!
I spent the next couple of months listening to their music, friending them here on Facebook, getting to know their lyrics, and finding myself always coming back to the words. Always the words. Because right around that time was a really, really bad one for me. At that time, it seemed like anything that could go wrong, did. Personal disasters were hitting me left and right. Because of everything that was happening in my life, Get Through This struck home and stayed there. It became my anthem. Every day, I listened to that song, over and over and over again. I clung to the words that Jonny sang like a lifeline. Sometimes his voice in my head was the only thing keeping me holding on. His voice, and the words he sang, were the only reason I kept putting on foot in front of the other during those months that spring. In April, I thought, just for fun, I’d enter the Avalanche tour ticket contest. I figured, all I really had to do was enter my email address and select a location. No harm, right? Besides, what was the likeliness that I’d actually win tickets? I never win anything. Ever.
April 28th, I logged into my email. “CONGRATULATIONS!! YOU’VE WON!!”
So I went to the show, I met them, and the rest is DieHard history. (If you want to read that history, it’s in my notes on my page. =D)
Reven Rachel Eve
I have been a fan of Jonny & Art Of Dying for awhile, even moreso recently. Jonny literally saved my life this month. On March 31 I tweeted “Bawlin my eyes out listenin2 #BestICan by @ArtOfDying. @JonnyArtOfDying’s voice is soothing. I just don’t wanna be here:/”
After crying myself to sleep & contemplating suicide, I awoke the next morning to find Jonny replied telling me to stay strong. My own family & friends don’t give me hope, so I was so moved that a celebrity would care when the people around me don’t.
Marla Mar StMartin
How I got here. Years ago my Mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, She went through surgeries and chemo, and treatment, the Day before her 2 yr Anniv of what we hoped to be Remission, I got a phone call, She had fallen and the cancer was back, In the form of a brain tumor. I gave up everything in my life Including Music for a long time. I was Angry, Sad and felt the most helpless I had ever felt in my life. Then I turned on the Radio on day during this. and heard.. Get thru this.. I luved it. I spent many days traveling Back and forth to the states to see my Mom, And everytime I left I had the fear and wondering it was going to be the last time. I knew when I left 2 yrs ago today it was the last time, My Father wanted me to Stay longer, I couldn’t, my Job, ect.. I had taken so Much time off from work already that year. I remember saying to my Gather Im Sorry I have to say Goodbye. 3 days later the song Sorry came on the radio here. I pulled over and cried. Every feeling, every emotion I had been going through was right there. I chatted briefly with Cale on his birthday that year And he told me Check out our music all of it, and the rest of the band. After I heard Sorry. I Knew … This is what I needed, And I haven’t looked back, Yes there is a lot to my story but this is it in a Nutshell. And I feel like I have gained 5 brothers, and a whole lot of Good People / Family here, And I Thank you all. Mar~
My journey started with the amazing guys in Art of Dying 5 years ago. The first song I ever heard was “Get Thru This”, and it instantly spoke to me. It was the heartfulness, realness in Jonny’s voice. That song really is how I live my life. Over these last 5 years the guys have really helped me SO much, thru ALL the hard times that I have went thru (never once did I give up) the guys and their music has always been there for me. These last 5 years have been the BEST years of my life!
I will never forget the day my friend called me up and said, you have got to hear this song by Art of Dying, it’s called Best I Can. I sat down on my couch and streamed it through my stereo. I was in tears. I could not imagine that an artist could connect so personally to me like that. I could not wait to hear more. So much of their music speaks to me, I don’t know how they do it. Then my friend and I saw them at Uproar in 2011. Damn they were amazing. I was hooked. And to see how much they love their fans, I adore them even more. I hope to meet them one day so I can thank them in person for what their music has done for me. My journey has not been an easy one but each time I listen to those songs, I get the strength to keep going and know that I can get through anything!! ♥
Tami Hoffman Carper
May 2012, House of Blues Chicago. Opening act for Shinedown. Whoa. Hubby bought me the CD and that was all she wrote. Love at first listen! After losing my dad in Dec. 2011, it was pretty rough going… it was a sudden loss. Listening to V&V, every single song was like my life set to music. Breathe Again makes me cry everytime, because thats was I was feeling everyday, just trying to BREATHE! Die Trying became my anthem! I had a chance to see them again in Joliet at Mojoes and while standing outside before the show who comes walking down the street?? Jonny, Cale, Tavis, Jeff and Greg! Holy moly! My hubby told me if I scream he will walk away from me. I said, “what do I say???” Umm… “Try hello”. LOL So I did, and the guys were so nice, took time to talk, etc… omg, it was amazing. Then after they played, I got a poster for my 8 year old and they all signed it, took time to chat some more and we shared a few drinks after. Since then my life has been about living and making my life my “art of dying”. I was able to break a shell that was around me for years. I welcomed music back into my life, went back to the OLD me, the happy me, the fun me. I have met some amazing people through AoD, including the guys!! lol, and probably one of my best friends ever. So thank you for tearing down my walls with your music… I cannot thank you enough! Die Hard forever and ever!! \m/ ♥ \m/
I became a fan of Art of Dying by seeing them open for a band I love, Evanescence… Got tickets to see them in Nashville, and there was no mention of an opening act. The first opening band was typically not very interesting, but then the next band started with a song called “Die Trying”. I had heard it before (on XM Octane) & enjoyed it. Then they went into “Get Thru This” and my friend & I looked at each other & said, hey maybe these guys are ok… Then came “Sorry” & “Raining” with these amazing harmonies and we were hooked. Then they did this absolute blow you out of the water cover of ” Man in a Box”! So cool to that they were around after to meet & greet. Got a picture w Jonny & he was kind enough to sign the CD we bought. Listened to the CD all the way home, waiting for a bad track that never came.
Loved them so much that we got tix to see them & others in Atlanta & got to hang w them again. Teased Tavis about hitting a bridge in NY (good sport) & got to chat w Cale & Jonny after FFDP. Still listening to AoD over all bands we saw… Tho I do have a real appreciation for Shinedown now. Thanks to AoD for some great songs & memories!
Daniel J Bourgeois
I have been a fan of AoD since their self-titled “Demo” album came out. Such a different, positive sound. “Do What You Can” will go down as one of my favorite songs, ever. I bought “Vices and Virtues” the day it was released and haven’t stopped listening to it since. I own a copy that stays inside, one that stays in my truck and a copy that I had them sign at Station 58 in Syracuse last summer. I still remember how humble they were when we met them. They’ve quickly become my absolute favorite band, I’m even planning am AoD tattoo at some point (With their blessing, of course.) Can’t wait to see what they’ve got planned in the future and for some new music!
I can say I’m one of the fortunate ones as I’ve seen the guys live a total of 7 times. I was first introduced to their music when they were added to the Avalanche tour in 2011 with Halestorm, Theory of a Deadman and Stone Sour. I looked then up and got Vices and Virtues before going to the show so I would be familiar with the music and I fell in love instantly! Since that date, I have traveled up to 14 hours one way just to see them play a 20-25 minute set. They are definitely my favorite band and 5 of the most amazing people I know. They always take the time to talk to their fans! I cannot wait to see them again. I’ve been going through withdrawals for way too long!!
Art of dying, like most bands was a recommendation for me. The recommendation came from a band that many know as Three days grace. I’ll admit I didn’t know who they were at first, but the moment I heard die trying I KNEW that they were going to be an amazing band. The first time I saw them on uproar, I met Jonny and the gang, I was so glad that they were down to earth. I met them again at Joliet, where I got to talk one on one with all of them, especially Cale who was really awesome! I love the music, from song 1 to the end, the bonus’s, the acoustics, the old album, everything. They have kept me in rock and roll. Dont forget people, Rock is a lifestyle.. rock will never die, especially when talented people like ART OF DYING still rock on! DIE TRYING!
I’m often asked in interviews who has been my biggest influence as a vocalist. I’ve always sung from the heart, but Eddie Vedder is the singer that inspired me to dig even a little deeper. I’ve been fortunate to see Pearl Jam perform more than a few times and Eddies performances are passionate, flawless and above all real. Here are some cool black and whites I came across that tell my favorite part of Eddie’s story.
I’m proud to announce the launch of Jonny Hetherington Clothing beginning with the words that really started it all for me: “If I Can Get Thru This I Can Thru Anything”. This seemingly simple group of words has meant so much to me in my personal life, originally inspired by my father’s battle with cancer. After sharing the words with you they have taken on new meaning through your stories of hardship and perseverance, which have reinspired me to face any challenge in life. I hope you will continue to live passionately and fight your way through every battle. Try and remember to celebrate each step of success along the way. Whether it’s the marathon you’re training for or simply finding a way to get through the day, wear your Get Thru Anything Tee Shirt with pride and enjoy the fact that you are not alone – we are in this together.
Click here to order: http://www.kt8merch.com/store/pages/19431
Four Million YouTube views
Our YouTube channel hit 4 million views. Enough said. What a milestone of your support! Thank you.
Vegas Baby Vegas!
After playing Rock Vegas (what a blast!) the entire band stayed at Mandalay Bay for a week to do some writing and piece together some ideas for our next record. You may not know that jamming like this is pretty rare for us, as we’re spread out across the country, so when we get together it’s truly special. The week was magical – making music, throwing cards and sampling our very first caviar in Sin City.
Happy New Year! 2012 has come and gone. Here are some of my most memorable moments from an amazing year.
On The Road
We played some milestone shows last year including the Avalanche Tour with Shinedown and Adelitas Way. SummerFest and Rock Fest were also huge highlights… actually almost every show we played has become part of my most memorable moments of 2012.