Denise Barbarita

Denise Barbarita

Denise Barbarita and I were at Berklee College of Music together in 92-93 (she went for audio engineering) When Denise moved to NYC a few years later, she asked if I would play lead some guitar on her first studio album Beauty Lied.

Denise would call me into the studio, set me up, and ask me to play along while listening to the tunes (usually for the first time ever). Meanwhile she was secretly recording all the "rehearsal" passes. By the third time through I'd be like, "okay, I've got it now, you can press record....." to which she would respond, "nope, I've totally got what I need, you're done!"

The running joke for years was that every big rock tune she recorded started and ended with some whacked out feedback weirdo noise of mine. Listening to the rockers on these records is like taking an acid-drenched dive through the layers of my subconscious only to be woken up by hammer driven walls of fuzzed out power chords.  Then on the ballads I would reign it in with super simple clean counter-melodies, often doubled on piano, like some reformed delinquent who now volunteers at an old folks home.

By her second record, Chaos & Congeniality, we had been playing live shows together for a while, giving the record much more of a "band" sound, especially after talking her into recording several of the basic tracks live in the studio. I helped with arranging and production, and she even left me in charge of a fader or two during the mix for The Last Breakdown.