The Life and Times of a Second Call Studio Musician Part 47

The Life and Times of a Second Call Studio Musician Part 47

The Total Plan part 3

In the last episode we looked at the three more songs on my 2014 release. “The Total Plan”. Here are the stories of the last four tunes. If you are interested in the album it can be found here:

The album is rounded out with the songs ” The Duke”, ” The Road” ” Back Pages” and “Now Is The Time”

The first of these, The Duke, got its name from my good friend Roby Duke. Around the time I was in the throws of this project, Roby suddenly passed away, everyone that knew and loved him were all quite stunned by this and since he was such a big part of me having a career I thought I would dedicate this song to his name. The tracks on this piece came from a demo that I had done that was eventually recorded and appeared on my album “Lucias Tokas” that Roby had produced. This was also one of the four demos that I had originally given producer Jeff Weber that I talked about a few episodes ago. Jeff had told me that he particularly liked this song so I knew it had to be included. I took the original demo which I had done so many years ago and decided to use pretty much everything that was on it but I had to record real drums so I brought in a great student of mine from Berklee, Dan Graham to do the drum track. Here is that piece:

Saxophonist Steve Alaniz played Sax on this demo and when I made the album I tried to find him. I wanted to let him know that I was using this track on my record and via Google searching it was extremely difficult to locate him. I forget exactly how, but it took me months and I finally found Steve and let him know that this was happening. Great player!

The next piece, The Road, is an instrumental vibe I had written after I heard Eric Clapton’s song “Change The World”. I pretty much ripped his acoustic guitar part for this, haha. I was asked by one of my library music contacts to write a piece like that. I wrote it, turned it in and it was used in some TV shows so I decided to re-record the piece and use it on this album. The key here was that I needed some great piano playing so I called up my friend Derek Bergmann who was in my band “The Campaign” all of those years ago in Los Angeles. Derek lives in Massachusetts about an hour away so he came over and put some great keyboard parts down on the track. Dan Graham is again the drummer on this piece as well.

Back Pages was originally a track for a vocal song I was writing with an artist I was producing. It wound up not working for that project and it was sitting around for a few years. I took the idea, had to do quite a few edits to it and decided to turn it into a standard kind of instrumental form with a melody for the beginning of the song and then solos throughout. Dan Graham is again on Drums, Eric Holden is on Bass and I again brought in my son Ian to play keyboards. Lots of fun call and response type of playing between the two of us. I put his synth through my guitar rig with overdrive for this one, smokin sound!

The final piece of the record is titled “When It’s Time”. Again a demo that I had done many years ago in Los Angeles as a vocal song. I took the vocal off and recorded my guitar along with Steve Alaniz’s great soprano work. I always loved this thing, had to include it so I dusted it off, added some additional guitars and asked another great student I had, Mike Blong to play drums.

Once the recording for this project was complete, it was time to work on graphics/artwork. My son Eric had just graduated college with a degree in Art. Eric’s art skills were apparent as a very young child and he had developed skills in the graphic arts. I had no idea what the cover should look like but I did have a title.

“The Total Plan”

More on the title in a bit but I asked Eric if he would design the album cover and what his thoughts were about this. Eric, being a guitarist as well, thought maybe what would be cool would be to use photographs of many of the guitars that I used on the album. We took the shot of the cover which is the headstocks of my main electric guitars.

From back to front a late 80’s Fender Strat+, a late 70’s Gibson SG, a ’79 Gibson Les Paul, a 1952 Fender Esquire and the guitar in front is my baby, my Valley Arts Strat that Mike McGuire and James Tyler built. Then Eric came up with the idea of using the bodies of the guitars to be the backdrop for all of the CD panels that would have text overlay.


Here are the panels.

Finally the story on the title of the album, “The Total Plan”. Many years ago, probably mid to late 80’s I heard this story that I am having a hard time confirming at the moment, but I loved it and always remembered it. There is a band that I knew, pretty successful mind you, who was having an issue with one of the the crew guys. There was one real leader of the band that all of the members kind of looked up to. They called a band meeting and there, at the meeting was voiced the displeasure some of the band was having with this particular crew member. Then for lack of a better term the “leader” of the band said this:

Guys, we can’t fire him, he’s part of the “Total Plan”!

When I set out on the journey to do this instrumental album I wanted it to represent my musical history. I wanted all of the people that were involved to represent “my” total plan. All people that I worked with over the years that had a direct bearing on, or were there over the years of my music career. I think I achieved that, so a special thanks goes out to the following:

First and foremost my wonderful wife Libby, my sons, Ian and Eric Walsh, the following musicians that appeared on “The Total Plan” and the engineers that recorded many of the sessions.


John Robinson Groove Mechanics and Coast To Coast
Michael Jochum Like A Rock
Jack Kelly Feeling Free
Tom Major Fuel
Dan Grahamn The Duke, The Road, Inside The Rain, Back Pages
Mike Blong Now Is The Time


Abe Laboriel Coast To Coast
Billy Sherwood Feeling Free
John Pena Groove Mechanics
Danny Morris Fuel
Lincoln Schleifer Inside The Rain
Eric Holden Back Pages
Marty Walsh Like A Rock, The Duke, The Road, Now Is The Time


Nick Manson Like A Rock
James Raymond Feeling Free (fills and solo)
Michael Ruff Groove Mechanics
Ian Walsh Feeling Free, Fuel, Inside The Rain, The Duke, Back Pages
Bill Cuomo Coast To Coast
Derek Bergmann The Road
Marty Walsh Now Is The Time

Additional Musicians

Like A Rock

Synth and Drum Programming
Roby Duke
Horn Section
Vanessa Collier Alto
Alex Macrides Tenor
Rob Krahn Trombone
Brian Phillips Trumpet

Paul Jefferson Tenor Sax

Coast To Coast
Darren Barrett Trumpet
Gary Herbig Tenor Sax
Steve Kercher Acoustic Guitar

The Duke and Now Is The Time
Steve Alaniz Tenor and Soprano Sax

Recorded by
Robert Biles, Roby Duke, John Escobar, Steve Sikes, Jay Graydon, Brian Coombes
and all of the respective musicians.

Next week the “Epilogue” ( I think 🙂 )