I had a go, over Christmas holidays, at covering UFO’s “Only You Can Rock Me”. This is the first video I’ve tried playing keyboards on. I used a backing track from karaoke-version.com for which I removed the guitar and keyboards. Organ sound is a VST on the desktop computer played through the Novation midi controller keyboard. Guitar is played through my Fractal FM3 as always.
I hoped that wearing the hat would make me play like Michael Schenker, but alas…
That was great! I was amused at the folks in the background on the other side of the glass… They looked at though they were “tolerating” your play.
I found your rhythm guitar perhaps a tad thin, like it needed a touch more bass-mids. The lead guitar to my ears was very good. You did great with the keys work and it made the whole production fly better. Not sure about the landing though - Sorry, that was supposed to be a joke.
Big production and self challenge for this one Phil - kudos and good vibes to you for a great performance.
I presume that the sound was all in your headphones and not through amps and speakers, meaning the family in the room next door were able to happily watch their Christmas movie uninterrupted!
As a young teenager I grew up listening to metal and rock. I confess, I never was too impressed with Michael Schenker. I used to disparagingly call him Alka-Seltzer.
Because his guitar solos, to me, were little more than Plink - Plink - Fizz.
Plink 1 = some twiddly diddly.
Plink 2 = some more twiddly diddly (often an octave higher).
Fizz = a pick scrape to end the solo.
Thanks Zoltan, yeah I’ve always liked the sound of a Hammond - I’ll only ever be a one-handed player though - I don’t devote any time to practicing keyboards.
Thanks for the listen! You’re probably right - I don’t have a lot of experience of mixing. I left the rhythm guitar as it was in the backing track and just played the lead guitar patch over the top of it during the vocal verses.
Thank you Lisa! I think being cool passed me by. I’ll settle for being vintage now!
Cheers Brian! I loved the old Mott the Hoople too! Back when I was a young dude.
Thanks Brian. I’m thinking of sacking the chief sound engineer, who appears to be knitting whilst the musical event of the century was in progress
Thank you Alan! I did wear a beanie when I did a U2 cover a while back. This time I was going for Michael Schenker’s black furry hat.
Cheers Richard, yes I don’t generally inflict my noise on the rest of the family! Alka Selzer LOL! This is the only song of his I actually know - I bought the single when it first came out, so it has happy memories. It was a good bit of fun with some easy Hammond backing.
Another fantastic performance, Phil! Your guitar playing, as always, is exceptional. You’re so fluid and relaxed, it is inspirational to watch. Tone-wise, lead sounded great and agree with above that the rhythm was a little swamped in the mix, tone sounded really good to me but it got a little bit lost? Organ playing though - wow! You look like a natural! Another string to your bow!
I must say though that my favourite part of the video was the disinterested folk in the background, just reading and knitting. To me that is soooooo British! Hilarious! (please know I mean that in the nicest possible way and hope it is taken as such )
I’d be interested in advice on how to improve this in the future. For the rhythm parts during the vocals, I was just banging out power chords with the same patch and volume that I used for the solo. Do you think this part should have been mixed in louder, or would it sound better with a different patch? Or… is it the other rhythm guitar that you can hear underneath what I was playing? That was what was leftover from the karaoke-version backing track after I’d removed the lead guitar and keyboards from it.
Yeah I did think of blanking that window out, but I thought I’d leave it in for comedy value (like the Michael Schenker hat)
Well, this was a great excuse to watch and listen through your excellent track another couple of times! I love watching your playing, so much for me to learn from it Not sure I am the best to give advice on production though but here are my thoughts…
Ah interesting! So it was the same tone and volume with no changes between rhythm and solo… hmmm
When I listened to the track again, the guitar tone is super cool and grabs me at the start before the organ kicks in but then gets drowned out. It cuts through during the solos, which made me think you were using some boost there, but if not, then I am picking the frequencies of the chords are similar enough with the organ that the guitar just kind of disappears a bit, given the organ seems a bit higher in the mix? Perhaps dropping the organ level a touch or using a slightly different tone for the rhythm guitar or panning the guitar a bit one way and organ the other might help to separate them?
In saying this, having listened three or four more times (through both headphones and monitors speakers), I really don’t think it’s a major issue to be concerned about I guess being interested in guitar, I’m mostly trying to listen out for that specific part of the track, but if I sit back and consider the song as a whole, putting myself into the mindset of a casual listener, it actually all works just fine and sounds great!
So, not really any concrete advice to offer, sorry Phil! Other than having a bit of a play around with levels, tone and pan settings, there isn’t anything else I could think of to suggest. I’m sure there are experts here that would have a better insight into the tricks of the trade when it comes to such things. For me, it’s more just a trial and error type thing
Aw sorry Jeff I didn’t mean for you to spend any serious time on it! but it’s much appreciated. Anyway, having read your comments, I listened again to the original, and you’re right, after the intro, the organ is way down in the mix for the verses, and the guitar comes to the fore. Organ level comes up again for the pre-solo bit.
I think that’s definitely a good lesson learned - thanks to you and LBro for the pointers. Also panning is something I never thought of as a mixing tool, but that’s definitely something to bear in mind for the future.
Hello, great cover of one of my favorite songs by UFO, and in my opinion the most beautiful solo by Michael Schenker, at least on this album for sure.
Excellent guitar and keyboard work, and the sound is also superbly chosen!
I also did an instrumental mini cover of this song with my son a while ago, I’ve always been a fan of the guitar riffs and solos in this song
if you are interested here is the link - Stream UFO "Only You Can Rock Me" mini - Cover. by Mike "Sebastian P." | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
P.S. - I completely forgot, the hat in the video was just gorgeous!!
I don’t know the original or the band, but can certainly recognise some skilful playing. Nice one Phil. Only bummer is that the keys drowned out the guitar for me when listening. But perhaps the original is like that.
@MikeSebastianP Thanks for the comment Mike - you are one of the few who knows this song! Had a listen to your solo cover - awesome phrasing and tone - well done to you all!
@jkahn Thanks JK! - you’re absolutely right, the organ was a bit too high in the mix. It was the first time I’ve mixed anything (other than my guitar over a backing track), there’s definitely a knack to developing an ear for a good mix.