All Wood and Doorsby
Cliff Eberhardt and James Lee Stanleywith Paul Barrere, John Batdorf, Scott Breadman, Laurence Juber,
Rick Ruskin, Timothy B. Schmit, Peter Tork, Chad Watson,
and special guests John Densmore and Robby Krieger.
James Lee Stanley on Cliff Eberhardt and the Making of All Wood and Doors:
All Wood and Doors began innocently enough at lunch in Woodland Hills, Calfornia. I have a dear friend, Gene, who also owns Showtime Travel (www.showtimetravel.com) and does all my travel arrangements for touring, as well as the travel arrangements for many other showbiz types.
Gene is also an avid golfer and through the years became friends with John Densmore, original drummer of the Doors. When I heard this, I asked Gene if he would be kind enough to have my copy of Riders On the Storm, John Densmore's book, signed by him the next time he was going to see John.
Gene laughed and said, "well I am having lunch with him this Friday, why don't you join us and have him sign it yourself." Delighted, I accepted.
Friday I showed up at the restaurant with John's book in my bag. He arrived moments after I did and when I put out my hand and introduced myself, the first words out of his mouth were, "I love what you did to the Stones songs on All Wood and Stones." (www.allwoodandstones.com), a cd that I did with my pal, John Batdorf (www.johnbatdorfmusic.com)
I was floored.
I had come, thrilled to meet him, hoping he'd sign my book and he'd already heard of me. I whipped out the book. "OOO Hard bound!" he said.
Instant friends. Well, sort of.
We did hit it off and halfway through the lunch he told me that if I ever did a CD of Doors songs and did what I did to the Stones songs, that he would play percussion on it.
That was enough for me. I told him I'd hold him to it.
A while later, I was at the Folk Alliance International Conference and ran into Cliff Eberhardt, who was also a fan of All Wood and Stones. Over a couple of drinks in the hotel bar, he told me that he wanted to do a duet CD with someone and I was at the top of his short list. I told him I'd be thrilled to do a CD with him.
And six months later we were in the studio recording the tunes. Just Cliff and I sitting around playing Doors songs til something clicked. Then we'd record a stereo track of us playing the arrangement live.
We recorded together five days in May and six days in July. We got performances from Cliff and roughs from me, figuring that I could take the time to get my parts right after Cliff went back on the road.
A week after Cliff left, I called in Scott Breadman on percussion and Chad Watson on bass and had them simultaneously lay down their parts. I had them do several passes at each song and then I went through everything they did and cherry picked what served the arrangement best.
I also emailed John Densmore and scheduled him in the studio for July, which was the first time he had open. I gave him a bunch of mp3's and told him to pick the songs he wanted to play on. He was welcome to play on whatever tunes reached him. He showed up prepared and completely easy to work with. It was simply grand fun recording him. And I have to tell you that recording songs by the Doors, one of my favorite groups, and having John actually playing on some of the tunes, was simply the best.
But it kept getting better. In September I received a post from Robby Krieger, who said that he also enjoyed All Wood and Stones and that he had heard we were doing All Wood and Doors and he wanted to hear what we were doing. I sent him mp3's of everything and later on the road in Texas, I got a call from Robby who told me he'd be delighted to play on the CD as well. So now we have three cuts with Robby and three cuts with John.
Regarding the vocal arrangements, Cliff and I sang a few duets and then the other songs just fell into place, with either Cliff or me singing lead.
We got some harmonies from him before he had to go back on the road and I did the rest of the background vocals, except for a tune or two on which Timothy B Schmit from the Eagles contributed some fantastic high vocals.
Solos were provided by Cliff (who is a great guitar player) or me with a few exceptions. Robby Krieger from The Doors, Paul Barrere from Little Feat, Laurence Juber from Wings, Peter Tork from the Monkees, and my pals, the extraordinary -- Rick Ruskin from Seattle and Chad Watson from Los Angeles.
The time consuming work was going thru all the tracks, listening to everything that everyone contributed and then choosing the cream from the cream. I probably listened to each song at least a hundred hours per tune. I know every lick and every note played on the CD. But it sounds so great it was not a hardship.
These are all wonderfully evocative songs and all rearranged for acoustic guitars and vocals.
I sure hope you like them.
James Lee Stanley
Cliff Eberhardt on James Lee Stanley and the Making of All Wood and Doors:
I met James Lee Stanley at my friend Leah Kunkel's house. James was on tour with Peter Tork at the time. We all went out for dinner. I found James to be smart, sarcastic and glib. Everything I like in a person.
Later we met up at Folk Alliance in Memphis. We had a short conversation where I expressed that I was looking to do some new collaborative projects with other people and that he was at the top of my short list. Much later THE call came. James approached me about doing the All Wood and Doors CD. I had heard his CD All Wood And Stones that he made with John Batdorf. I liked that recording so I was attracted to working with James on this new idea of his.
We agreed that I would fly out to L.A. And we would start arranging the songs and then record them. It didn't occur to me until I was driving to the airport that not only did I not know James very well, we had never sat down and made music together. I panicked.
When I arrived at his house we sat down and started riffing on our guitars. Magic, instant Magic. I have never had so much fun and excitement creating with another musician in my life. I think if you listen to All Wood and Doors you will hear that magic. Now I can't wait to tour with James and play this music Live.
Hope to see you down the road,