"Shadow To Shadow, Dean Madonia's Frankenstein."
Howdy everyone! I am in the home-stretch of my newest CD project, and I could use a little help! All Kickstarter donations should actually be considered as Pre-orders since everyone who donates $25.00 or more will get a CD! of course, if you are feeling especially generous, I have some really great incentives to invest more!
What is this project?
"Shadow To Shadow, Dean Madonia's Frankenstein" is a 29 track concept CD (or rock opera), based on Mary Shelley's famous novel, "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus." I have taken the the storyline, straightened it out chronologically and added some of my own ideas as bookends. In my album version, "Shadow To Shadow, Dean Madonia's Frankenstein," and the graphic novel, the monster is still alive after over 200 years, and he tells his story, as a cautionary tale, to a genetic researcher who is about to make the first human clone. These are crazy times, and right now, a 200 year old, ugly, rejected monster who knows a thing or two about being an outcast, could probably give some good advice to a modern day Victor Frankenstein!
What is a Concept CD?
Usually based on a popular story or some sort of plot or theme, Many great examples of concept CDs exist. For instance:
- Pink Floyd's Dark Side or The Wall, The Who's Quadrophenia or Tommy, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Queensrÿche's Operation Mindcrime, Any Alan Parsons Project CD, Kevin Gilbert's The Shaming Of the True, David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust, Frank Zappa -Joe's Garage Acts I, II, and III, Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Rick Wakeman - Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Radiohead - OK Computer, Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds...
you get the idea. If this project is indeed folly, I am in good company!
What's it sound like?
If you like:
- Genesis, Toto, UK, Yes, Pink Floyd, Rush, Kansas, Styx, Kevin Gilbert, Alan Parsons Project, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Mike Olfield, etc...
and of course, any of my previous CDs, you should like this.
Here are two lyric videos from two very different songs from the CD:
Running From the Moon
When He Plays His Guitar
Is it this stuff any good?
Good Question. It's good - AND it's good for you! Check out the the two videos above and decide. I think this is the best writing/recording I have ever done. But don't take my word for it, check out an early review from my buddy Derek:
- "Dean dives deep into the dark abyss of Mary Shelley's timeless classic novel "Frankenstein" and returns with 26 great songs that range from the outrageous to sublime. This album shows an accomplished songwriter/performer/producer at the top of his game."
- Derek Sivers, founder, CD Baby, http://sivers.org
Why did you do this?
Short answer? For my sanity…
Pure artistic and spiritual release. You see, after being in over 40 bands and releasing 8 CDs, I moved to Nashville in 2002 to write country music. I have written a lot of good songs since then, (and a few clunkers), and though I like country and I even had some recent success with the song, "(I Called her) Tenessee," a single by the talented Tim Dugger on Curb Records,
As proud of that song as I am, I am a rock and pop writer by nature. I enjoy the challenge of writing songs within the parameters of the pop country market, but I know I can do more than that. Or, other than that. This is a return to my real roots - rock and prog/rock...
It's been four long years since I came up with the idea for this project. At first It was kind of a whimsical notion, I wasn't sure how I was going to approach it. I wasn't sure if it was even a good concept, so I kicked the idea around with a few friends. Everyone seemed to think it could be a cool project, and they expressed an interest in hearing it, so I started writing some lyrics and music and approached my band about playing on the project.
I figured that I could probably tell this story in 10 - 12 songs. I was wrong.
Like Victor Frankenstein's monster, the project took on a life of it's own. By the time I was finished writing and demoing all of the tunes, I was at 26 songs!
Why do you need my money?
Even though I do own my own studio, I still had to pay the band and the additional performers plus two mixing engineers and a mastering engineer.
Who is in the band?
John Catchings - cello/viola on "Chimera," "The Spark Of Life," "Let Me In" "The Sweetest Part Of Me," "The Promise," and "Falling Into the Sky."
Tim Lorsch - violin on "Chimera," "The Spark Of Life," "The Sweetest Part Of Me," and "The Promise."
Bruce Bouton - pedal steel on, "When He Plays His Guitar,"
Jeff Taylor - accordion on, "Letters From Home," "Fools Gold," and "Shadow To Shadow"
Karen Keeley - spoken word on "Pale Student," "Frightful Fiend," and "Did I Request Thee?"
What were those other expenses?
I also enlisted the help of two of my favorite recording engineers to help me out by mixing some of the songs with fresh ears:
"Running From the Moon," and "When He Plays His Guitar," were mixed by Mark Hornsby at Sweetwater, in Fort Wayne, IN.
"What I Believe," "The Spark Of Life," "He Calls Me," "Let Me In," "You Made Me," "Fools Gold," "Wedding Night," "The Sweetest Part Of Me," "The Promise," "Into the Cold," and "Falling Into the Sky," were mixed by Kelly Schoenfeld of Ragtop Recording, Nashville, TN
I had originally planned to mix all of the songs myself, but I was too close to this project to be objective about everything. I also felt that I needed people with exceptional chops to mix some of the more complicated songs. I used their mixes as a guide for my own mixes.
Once the mixes were finished, I needed to get someone to master the whole thing, make sure the levels were consistent and that the eq was good. I was fortunate enough to get the amazing Jamie Tate from the Rukkus Room in Nashville to do it for me. I chose him because he loves prog (Yes in particular) and he did and awesome job!
Still shopping for the best deal and get high quality... looks like I'm going with WTSmedia (unless anyone has suggestions). This last bit is what I need help with. If you can help me reach my goal of $1490.00, I can press the CDs now. Otherwise, I will have to wait until next year.
SO - What DID it cost all together?
So far I have spent $6554.00. This is a fraction of what it would cost to cost to record, mix, master and duplicate, "Shadow To Shadow, Dean Madonia's Frankenstein," anywhere else. If I sell 321 units at $25 each, (after paying over $1490.00 to Steve Mullinix at WTSmedia to press 500 copies), I will only break even for my out-of-pocket expenses and I will not make one dime for all of my work. This was and continues to be a labor of love. I love music, I love prog, I love concept albums, and if you support me, I will love you too!
What if you exceed your goal of $1490.00?
I will use the money to promote the CD, host a small listening party at a local studio and possibly a performance of some of the songs. Anything left after that would go towards my accompanying graphic novel (already started)
While I appreciate the value of courting and co-producing, this is my vision. Stand or fall, it's all on me. I feel that when you go this far out of the mainstream, that co-writing is counter-productive - it takes too much effort to explain crazy-sounding ideas and defend them. Sometimes the only way to get to some of the most insane places is on your own... Of course, if nobody listens, that is even more crazy.
So here I am...waiting in the dark with 26 of my shiny new babies. Some fuzzy and cute. Some nasty, dark, fanged killers... We are soooo lonely - won't you join us?
Risks and challenges
Rest assured, there is absolutely NO RISK that this CD won't be finished. It IS finished, mixed and mastered! This Kickstarter campaign was created to raise money to duplicate CDs. If I cannot raise the money, I may release as downloads only, (at that lower quality). Right now, I'm tapped out... I cannot afford to pay for replication...
If I surpass my goal, after paying for the CDs, I will use any extra to promote the release of the CD and possibly do a scaled-down live show for Halloween.
- (21 days)