From The Desk Of Tommy Stinson: The Evolution Of Home Recording

For post-punk scholars, Tommy Stinson will be forever fused to his infamous 12-year stint with Minneapolis garage-rock overachievers the Replacements. These days, the 45-year-old journeyman and doting dad is playing bass for Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum and has released his second solo album (and first in seven years), the well-crafted, bluesy and robust One Man Mutiny (Done To Death Music). Stinson will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with him.

Stinson: I thought when I got my first Fostex four-track cassette-recording device that I was on to something. It was a cheap way to put down your ideas for guitar, bass, vocals and even drums if you were so ambitious. It worked great until the recording knob broke and I had to pay three times as much money for the Tascam equivalent that a friend of mine said was a zillion times better sounding, etc., blahblahblahblah.

Back then, the mere idea of making a four-track recording in your bedroom (or, in my case, attic) with something the size of a lunch box while not bugging your neighbors was pretty awesome.

Once my Tascam four-track cassette machine shit the bath, I moved on to the ADAT machine. This was like going from Hot Wheels to radio-controlled fire-breathing amphibians. The manuals were a bit confusing to those of us who barely knew how to use a guitar tuner, and it often took a producer on break or without a gig to come and show you how to use it properly (or improperly, depending on the producer).

I now have what is currently the norm for making records: an Apple laptop computer and tower with loads of fun plug-ins to make sounds I never use. I also have a bunch of killer outboard gear that looks really cool. If you had told me 20 years ago that after all the warped cassettes, broken recording knobs and endless amounts of missed greatness that I would own a home with a studio full of gear in it, I would have said it was a waste of good beer money. Today I’m still not sure if all this is a waste of good beer money or not, but I was just about to look for a used Fostex four-track cassette recorder on eBay.

Video after the jump.