Doug Stapp – Dr. Frankenstein
I don’t know if many of you are familiar with one SM57 off-axis and a ribbon mic.
with Texas shredder Doug Stapp, but once I can’t remember where the ribbons were
you hear his remake of Edgar Winter’s set – it was a pretty “live” mic job though
“Frankenstein,” you’ll become an instant and the amps were super loud.
fan. Together with Shrapnel recording artist
Scott Stein, they created a guitar-centric
arrangement of Edgar’s ‘70s rock classic.
Michael Molenda, editor of Guitar Player
magazine says, “Headbangers can get off
on Doug’s killer version,” and 20th Century
Guitar magazine calls it “spot-on.” Not bad
for an up-and-coming guitarist. One of the
great things about this explosive, in-your-face rendition is that it was all done live.
Before recording, Doug had never played
with Scott or the drummer, but when the
guys got together in the studio, they were
able to bang out the track in just three
takes. What’s great about this version is
that you can really feel the energy of the
live performances and hear how well Scott
and Doug harmonize together. I caught up
with Doug to chat about the recording of
I’m not mistaken, in the early ‘90s Derek
first had the idea to do a crazy version of
the song for a show they were opening.
What format did you use to record the
song – analog or digital?
We recorded and mixed the whole session
in about six hours, completely in Pro-Tools.
The studio we used was loaded down in
current Pro-Tools gear and the engineer
Fast-forwarding quite a few years later, I
emailed Scott to see if we could do that
version for my new record and thank God
he agreed. We decided to keep the song
a bit more like the original, but add our
own flavor on top. Putting sax, guitar and
keyboard parts between two guitar players in harmony was a blast, and I have to
thank Scott, Derek, and the Haji’s guys for
putting the idea in my head to re-do this
amazing song, and of course thank Scott
for arranging the whole thing. The take you
hear is the third take, 95% live in the studio. We were looking for a big, raw feel and
we got exactly what we were looking for
– thanks to great engineers.
What was your setup – guitars,
amps, etc. – for the recording of
The creation of “Frankenstein” in the
recording laboratory would garner even
Mary Shelley’s approval. Check out Doug’s
work on Guitar Masters, Vol. 1, available at
record stores and online. You can also listen
to Doug’s new CD, The Earth Says Hello,
online at dougstapp.com. Keep rockin’!
Scott and I went with a really basic, live
type of setup. I used an old Ibanez RT
loaded with Duncan pickups through a
Laney GH100L head and Genz Benz G-Flex
2X12 cab, with a Morley Bad Horsie wah
on the floor. Scott used a Sadowsky standard Strat through a Laney VH100R
head and his 800 year old Marshall 4X12
cabinet – the best sounding cabinet I have
ever played through – with a Crybaby and
an Ibanez Tube Screamer on the floor.
Photo: Erika Jane Milton
was amazing. He really knew what we
were looking for.
Give us a little background on the song
and how you envisioned the guitar
How did you record the guitar?
Well, 95% of the track was recorded live.
I think there were only a couple of rhythm
overdubs and a couple of minor miscue
fixes on guitar. Scott’s cab was in an iso
booth with one SM57 off-axis and a ribbon
mic. My cab was in a hallway of the studio
The background actually goes back many
years. Scott was a big influence on me
when I was a teenager – I first met him
when my band opened for Haji’s Kitchen
and he was their guitarist. They did an
amazing version of “Frankenstein” on seven
strings that night and it just blew me away.
That version was originally a version that
was written by Scott and Derek Taylor
when they had the band Tommy Lamey. If
Emmy Award Winning Guitarist Brian Tarquin scored a Top 20 hit in the
90’s with “The Best of Acid Jazz, vol. 2” on Instinct Records and enjoyed
several top 10 hits on the R&R charts. Founder of the rock/electronica
band, Asphalt Jungle and has scored TV music for such shows as, CSI,
Smallville, M TV, Alias, 24, All My Children and many others.