Like a child left alone inside of an eggshell colored room, armed with only an assortment of poster paints, my journey to Ardent Studios begins with the echoes of yesterday decorating the walls of my mind. Collectively, we can all agree that it was one great big buffet table, with every visible inch of the surface area filled with sterno fueled aluminum trays. When the trays were opened, The Black Hollies were quite more than pleased to see the contents inside contained genuine enthusiasm and most importantly, sincerity and LOVE.
Ever since that first visit back in the Summer of 2008, Memphis, TN has solidified its status as being the band’s second home. When you’re traveling the way our tiny little band does, time passes by rather quickly and memories are sewn into one’s heart, but on those rare occasions, magical moments carve out their place within you and bury themselves deeply inside your soul. A dear close personal friend of mine, Eric Christ, always spoke to me in high school about the Box Tops and Big Star. Little did I know that one day I would find myself positioned inside the embryo. I speak on behalf of the four of us when I say how grateful we are for the staff making our time at Ardent a hospitable and enjoyable one.
P.S. Thank you for not only showing me the velvet cloak Jimmy Page wore throughout the mastering of Led Zeppelin III and the now bronzed bottle of queso dip Billy Gibbons used to dip his Mexican peso in for that solo on “La Grange” but for taking me on the blindfolded path to the secret Echo-Chamber.
—Justin Angelo Morey
(To be read in ones best Elvis accent…) Hell, if Memphis ‘aint The Black Hollies’ favorite city then my baby’s Montgomery glands aren’t protected by pink areola. We like peanut butter, bananas, and karate too man. When The Black Hollies arrived to cut our Ardent Sessions, two things were on MY mind, the year 1988 and the Cocktail Soundtrack. I was always a huge Fabulous Thunderbirds fan ever since “Tuff Enuff” was featured alongside Michael Keaton’s struggle as Hunt Stevenson in the 1986 hit film, “Gung Ho.” Yeah, I know all about YY Bottom, Hookey B and the No MSG’s, Mickey “Mouse” Funn, and Reve Bopper. Man, it’s even rumored that Gilly Bibbons from Bottom used to bring in special lighting rigs to illuminate the live room at Ardent in order to capture that perfect feel for when he was tracking.
And what about them tones captured on Zep III? But something about Jimmie Vaughan‘s playin’ always spoke to me. For me “Powerful Stuff” was not just a clever title for a Fab T-Birds record. It really rang true with its namesake. For me, that record was, and still is, VERY powerful stuff. I wonder if any of it was recorded at Ardent. It had to be. Anyone? With much respect, gratitude, and love to all our friends, the beautiful people of Memphis, and everyone who works at Ardent, the Black Hollies are much obliged for all you have done to support our little band.
The Ardent Sessions were a joy. We were plied with as much Red Bull as we could drink then banged out a set, complete with our requisite comedic interludes, in Studio C (I think?). Everyone who works there is friendly, profesh, and totally used to dealing with a band on tour. Their hospitality is staggering. We were able to wander the hauls of the studio agape at all the amazing records that were created there, as well as annoy the staff by constantly entering rooms we weren’t supposed to be in. Staring at the covers of Tres Hombres, Led Zeppelin III, and the Soundtrack from Cocktail got me super-psyched to beat the shit out of some drums and it was awesome to play a set in such an amazing studio for some of our best friends in Memphis, including the guys from The Bulletproof Vests (great band!)