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Mikaela's Fiend returns to San Diego this week for the first time since their November recording fiasco that involved a Santee record producer. The producer, whom the band did not want to name, owed a lot of money to their record label, Strictly Amateur Films; he agreed to record the band's new album to cancel the debt.

"We were supposed to record the first night [we got to San Diego]," guitarist Chris Ando says. "[The producer] called and said...'Let's just do it tomorrow.' That set us back a day. We went in the next day. [He] was supposed to be there at noon. He ended up not showing up until 2 a.m. that night.... When he did get there, we just set up and put up mikes."

What was supposed to be a three-day recording process turned into five days. For much of the time, the two members of Mikaela's Fiend were left to fend for themselves at the producer's band's practice space.

"There was not one time that he was on time," Ando says. "We were just watching movies all day when we should [have been] recording. He didn't really get the fact that we came from Seattle to record down there.... Sometimes he would sleep while he was recording us. He would complain about recording us to our faces."

When recording finished, Mikaela's Fiend had one usable track, in part because the producer had tried to master the songs before they were mixed properly. Strictly Amateur Films owner Matt Driscoll had to fund another recording session in Seattle, which Ando says turned out much better. The cost of that session will come out of the band's royalties. The album was supposed to be done in time for the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, which begins tomorrow, but due to the foul-ups, the disc won't be out until May 30. The band's not sure what'll happen if the producer shows up to see them.

"I don't know what it'll be like," says Ando, "but, on our CD, we put 'Boycott [producer's name].' "

Mikaela's Fiend plays the Ché Café on March 13, with Australia's Grey Daturas, New Zealand's Die! Die! Die! and the Duchesses, which features a member of the now-defunct Business Lady.

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