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When I first started thinking about writing articles on the subject of recording and studio stuff, most magazines wanted me to write about “anything studio related.” Well, this sounded like a recipe for an industry rant (which I’m prone to do from time to time). In order to avoid the temptation of any soap boxing, I thought I’d rather take this spotlight opportunity to introduce a rather infamous ‘friend’ of mine, and tell the story about his rise to notoriety… and leave the ranting to Dennis Miller

I’m a (anti) professional recording engineer based out of Nashville, TN. I bounce around from studio to studio, city to city and am hardly ever in the same studio for more than a week or two. So, over the years I started bringing certain things to each gig that would make it feel more like home. This turned into a full fledged “vibe kit” full of candles, incense, Mardi Gras beads, my favorite slippers, et cetera. One of the items was a green blanket that I’ve had since I was a kid. I put it to good use over the kick drum of each session, faithfully protecting my outer kick drum mic from cymbal bleed. You guessed it- this article is about the green blanket.

Read on- it’s a good story, I promise.

Almost since day one of me bringing the green blanket to studios, I noticed that some mornings the blanket wouldn’t be in the same place as I left it. This happened almost every time some of the band members would crash at the studio. It seems that there really aren’t that many blankets hanging around professional studios- so band members would snatch it off the kick drum in order to get a good nights’ sleep. Harmless enough, right? Well, most bands that I work with travel from surrounding states, and they also like to bring things from home- like girlfriends. Some would even find girls to come back to the studio with them. In each case, they’d seek out the help of my trusty friend, the green blanket to comfort then in their time of need.

Fast forward about 6 years, countless bands, countless “times of need” and absolutely zero washing machine encounters – I’m serious, the green blanket has not been washed since 1995-it’s got a sheen to it that ensures you that water would bead up and roll off it like water off a duck’s back… the green blanket had taken on a life of its own! About four years ago I stopped folding it up after sessions- that’s why God made interns, right? I would quietly snicker as the intern would dutifully fold it up and place it in one of my road cases. I would also ask band members how they slept as they crawled out of underneath the green blanket. I would also offer it up in a heartbeat to any slightly chilled band groupie- that’s the best! I’m not always the best at hiding my giddy laughter, so I’ve had to tell a few bands what the deal is with the green blanket. Most didn’t believe me, but upon close inspection, you can really see that a ton of people have left their mark- it’s seriously gross. Almost every color associated with the human body is somewhere on this blanket.

This leads me to the next part of the green blanket’s story. After one side-splitting confession after another- it was brought to my attention that the green blanket needed another name- maybe a “code name” or something. After much thought (and a few other “times of need”) I came up with the perfect name, The DNA Blanket. The name stuck, as have a lot of other things to it over the last couple of years.

Why don’t I throw the blanket away? Well, I really can’t shake the image of me throwing it into a dumpster, and a few minutes later someone dumping a dead hooker into the same dumpster. The police would assume that The DNA Blanket was used in the crime and take it to the lab. Then the technicians would print out the 80 page report of all the people’s DNA that appeared on the blanket (you know who you are) and the trial of the century would begin. I can see the CSI script writers warming up in the wings…

I even have a list of people that have asked for a framed section of The DNA Blanket if, God forbid, anything should happen to it that would render it unusable, so it can live on in infamy; a true testament to its contribution to their record.

DNA Blanket

Well, that’s the story of The DNA Blanket. Not the typical recording and studio article- but that’s the point. I’m not your typical “professional” engineer, and there’s no such thing as a “typical band” or a “typical session.”

Hope you dug it.

Chris Mara
Nashville, TN
www.chrismara.com
www.myspace.com/chrismara