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"Uh, actually, I was pretty wasted during most of the recording sessions," Peeler adds sheepishly.
"Me too," seconds Lersch.
"Really?" Minnix says, sounding genuinely surprised. And impressed. "Okay, it's the first album I've done completely sober."
"The first album, Larry Elyea [producer/engineer at Mind's Eye Digital, where the group has recorded every album] had to talk us into doing," Peeler says. "He said, 'You guys do all your preproduction,' and we're like, 'Well yeah, uhhh, we've played all the songs before, if that's what you mean.' We had no idea what preproduction was."
They know about preproduction, now, and according to Bendiksen, they've done more than learn. They've grown into something great. "They've been able to create a sound that's not like anyone else. You can pick out influences yes, Primus, you even hear some Beatles in there, but it comes out sounding like Fred Green. And in an industry where everyone's looking for the next Coldplay or Dave Matthews copycats, Fred Green is the real deal."
To ensure they sounded like the real deal, the album was mixed by Jason Corsaro, who's mixed, produced or engineered Duran Duran, Soundgarden, Public Image Ltd., and Bootsy Collins, four acts that have probably never even been in the same sentence until now. Plus, they employed the mastering genius of Bob Ludwig on two of the new album's most commercial tracks, "Every Little Thing" and "Today."
Minnix recalls going to Ludwig's house in Portland, Maine, to master with the master. "He was a super nice guy. And his house was unreal. I'd never seen so many gold records in my life. Every room was ingrained with them, and there were Grammys just sitting everywhere. When I got there, Bob was getting off the phone with Carly Simon and in his office he had the work orders lined up. Donald Fagen . . . Fred Green . . . Nirvana . . ." Minnix shakes his head.
That Fred Green has a "radio-friendly" album at a time when the word is practically an oxymoron doesn't seem to be too much of a concern. They're concentrating on the six markets where the band already has lots of support, like Denver and South Dakota, and slowly building a buzz, via local radio, on what Bendiksen calls a whistle-stop campaign.
And Fred Green is a band that can create a grassroots buzz (no marijuana jokes, please). How else can you explain the guy in Eugene who was dumpster-diving with his kid, found a Fred Green CD atop the debris and subsequently turned about 150 Oregonians onto the group?
"That's our alternate marketing strategy," Minnix says, laughing. "We're going to throw out one Fred Green CD in every city. Just make sure it's at the top of the dumpster."