The Off the Floor 02 Story
By Chris Herin

The second installment of our 20th Anniversary celebration, "Off the Floor 02" continues with more live-in-the-studio performances of staples from our live sets. Taken from the same sessions as "Off the Floor (01)," the track list draws from each of our five studio albums and includes a healthy dose of improvisation, a bit of re-imagining and even a little new music in the form of a bass & drums interlude.

We won't repeat the "Brief History of Tiles" from the OtF (01) liner notes, but will take a moment to revisit the basic 'off the floor' concept. After much discussion about our "platinum" milestone (unfortunely not for sales!), we decided to do a live album using the somewhat non-traditional approach of recording live in the studio. This is actually what the phrase 'off the floor' means in recording lingo: to record a song as a complete performance without adding more parts (overdubs) later. We recruited a few friends to be our audience for inspiration and to keep us on our toes.

Having the controlled environment of a private 'soundstage' allowed us to focus on the music. We didn't have to haul a bunch of equipment into a club and deal with recording technicalities, show promotion and other business distractions. Although we were in a studio, "OtF 02" is still "live" complete with the occasional less-than-perfect note and other minor imperfection. We did, however, take advantage of the relaxed setting and usually played each song twice, picking the best version for the CD. Occasionally we didn't need a second take, but a couple of times we needed a third take ("Patterns" oddly enough!).

To offer a little something different, "OtF (01)" had a couple special guests plus an expanded arrangement of 'The Wading Pool.' For "Off the Floor 02" we dug into our archives and dusted off a few tunes from our appearance at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival (ROSfest). We had recorded our entire 2-hour set, but filed the hard drive away with little thought it would see the light of day. Technical problems had dogged us the moment we hit the stage and left us feeling unsatisfied with our performance. Sampler and keyboard sounds would mysteriously reset and the bass amp would cut in and out. Figuring out why these intermittant problems were happening was made even more challenging by Jeff's state of exhaustion; even though it was a good kind of exhaustion caused by the birth of his daughter just four days before the show. Since the problems were on his side of the stage he had to play detective and keep up with the songs! Eventually, the issue was discovered and duct tape strategically applied to a loose electrical wall outlet which worked just fine unless someone happened to use the side-stage walkway.

Although tempted by the 12-minute "venting" version of "Capture the Flag," we didn't want to repeat any songs already included on either Off the Floor disc. Fortunately, "Facing Failure," "Ballad of the Sacred Cows," "Paintings" and "Window Dressing" were in all-around good shape. We only needed to drop in a couple missing samples and a keyboard part. By including selections from ROSfest as part of the Off the Floor project we get to acknowledge Pat Deleon, our drummer from 1997 to 2005, and present a complete live history of Tiles.

Of course..., no anniversary celebration is complete without thanking everyone who has bought our music, supported us, enabled us, worked with us, been patient with us and helped get (and keep) us "off the floor" these past 20 years thank you!