True Hearts

“Everytime”… finally!

 

In 1980, following the recording of the True Hearts album and release of the Counterfeit Records EP, the band booked time at MRS Studio in Houston to record a newly written song; “Everytime”. Ultimately, this song became the most problematic and elusive to finally bring out of the can, and into your ears.

Manny Martinez came to rehearsal one evening with some chords he had put together. They were big, ringing and powerful… and they drew me in. That evening it was only Manny, John Rempe and myself, so we took Manny’s majestic chords and started building the rest of a song around them, but no melody or lyrics. At the time I kept a pen and pad at my bedside in case I had some middle of the night inspiration, but that night I woke up in the wee hours, and the lyrics and melody were just streaming through me to the pad and pen. It had never happened like that before, and hasn’t since. At least not from a dead sleep.

I haven’t done a lot of co-writing of songs over the years, and had done even less at that time, but this song seemed to come together easily, and “Everytime” seemed like it may just be that elusive single that could spark some record label interest, so we were keen to record it. We had no sooner finished the sessions at MRS when John Rempe and our booking agent, John Blomstrom, pushed me to bring in Chris Martin as our lead singer. I had never been in a band with an official lead singer before, and as the band’s current lead singer, I was a bit chapped about it, but relented. So when Chris joined, one immediate piece of business was to go back to MRS and replace my vocal with Chris’s vocal, wiping my vocal track from the tape.

Just at this time KLOL Radio, in Houston, announced that they were planning to release a compilation album of Texas bands and opened the door for submissions. If selected, your band would be sent to Uvalde, Texas, to re-record your song at at a new world-class facility called Indian Creek Studio, with former Kinks engineer, John Rollo, at the helm.

True Hearts and “Everytime” were selected from our MRS recording, so we soon found ourselves out in the middle of nowhere, in this amazing studio, starting “Everytime” from scratch. By now, Manny had left True Hearts to rejoin The Pinups, and Donnie Sabo had left The Pinups to rejoin True Hearts. We were thrilled to see where we’d be working after driving a few of miles down a dirt road, in the forbidding South Texas landscape, through some cattle guards, and passing more than one rattlesnake on our way in.

Once we got set up and got everything mic’d we enthusiastically got to business, and all was good… for a little while. Soon, the “producers” from the radio station started suggesting we speed the song up, and we did. Then we were asked to speed it up a little more, which I very begrudgingly did. Now I could barely play the damn song on guitar, but was very worried about the keyboard parts I had to play. At the new breakneck pace it was gonna be hard! We finished recording the tracks, and the synth riff at the outro went as bad as I feared it may, but we were done tracking. The mix was going to be done separately, when we weren’t present, and that worried me, too. My fears were well founded. When I heard the mix, it was apparent they had decided it needed to be just a little faster still, and had used the tape machine’s vari-speed function to add just a bit more insanity to the mix. Now, in my opinion, it sounded like Alvin and The Chipmunks meets Journey on the Autobahn! I hated it, and I knew they were going to play it on the radio, which I hated even more. KLOL did play “Everytime” a couple of times a day, for a short time, but then, other than playing it live, the song sat in the can. Two cans, to be accurate, because we now had two versions, and both were disappointing to me.

In 2002 I began the long and challenging task of doing analog to digital transfers of all the recordings I had done on tape. It was slow and painstaking, but generally successful, except for one song; “Everytime”. I didn’t have the tapes for the KLOL version because they owned the tapes, so I transferred that version from the vinyl album. I had multiple tapes of the original MRS version, but each had technical issues that prevented me getting a good, solid transfer, so my only hope was that, eventually, I’d have all of my multi-track master tapes transferred to digital and that I may be able to remix the original MRS Studio version. But that was a project for the future, and for now, “Everytime” stayed in the can.

With another decade past, David Bash, who was staying with us during an Austin IPO show, said he may know someone who would be interested in releasing the original True Hearts album from 1979/80. When we recorded the album we ended up selecting four songs for the Counterfeit Records EP, but the rest of the album had been in the can and on a shelf. At David’s suggestion I contacted Ray Gianchetti at Kool Kat Musik. Ray was receptive and worked with me to get the eponymous True Hearts album released in 2013. Soon, I saw a post from someone complaining that the album didn’t contain the “anthemic” song, “Everytime”. I’m sure that term was from the True Hearts bio on the website. Of course, the real answer is that “Everytime” was not on that album, and was recorded by a largely different band, but I didn’t reply. I just took note, and from that time on I’ve wanted to get the song out to True Hearts fans.

With numerous other recording projects underway, “Everytime” was way down my priority list, but kept surfacing in the back of my mind. That guy’s snarky comment really stuck with me. So, now another decade passed, and with my multi-track masters transferred to digital, I decided to try to remix the original version of “Everytime”, from MRS Studio. I still had the issue of my vocal having been replaced by Chris Martin’s, but I thought I’d now record another vocal track and see how it worked out. A good plan, but I soon realized that the tracks on the original recording didn’t sound very good. Recording has changed a lot since 1980, but also my standards in the studio were now much higher. I made a valiant attempt at remixing but soon realized that even my best efforts weren’t going to bring the song to where I wanted it, and where it deserved to be, so I had one last option to finally get the song out; re-record it.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a home studio since the mid 80’s, and I could not have released what I have over the years without it. So I started re-recording “Everytime”, but also attempted to stay as close to what each of us played on the original. The one track I was deliberating on was the lead guitar track Donnie had done. I could probably have done a decent recreation of Donnie’s lead, but he had a sound and feel all his own. I decided to see if I could salvage Donnie’s lead track from the original recording. To my delight, that track actually sounded good, and I was able to bring it into my new recording.

So, this new recording is not really True Hearts, the band. It’s me and Donnie and the spirit of what True Hearts was intended to be. John and Toby did nice bass and drum tracks, and I replicated them to the best of my ability. I was finally able to properly play the piano part that had vexed me since the first version. Basically, this is what you would’ve heard with the original version if we’d had the money for a great studio, and this is what I intended. I’ve talked with Chris Martin and Manny Martinez as this new recording was underway, and have hoped to honor all of my True Hearts band mates in the process. That’s why all the former True Hearts members show up in the video.

Now, coming full circle with “Everytime”, I’m finally happy with the sound of the recording. I don’t think I’ve betrayed anyone in the recording of the song, and I’m finally able to offer this long buried song to those that matter the most; True Hearts fans. Thank you all, and I hope you enjoy where the long, winding road has ended up. For me, it’s a pleasant scene in the rear view mirror to a few notable years in my musical adventure.

Terry Carolan

2024