People I Have Known
As one who worked in the entertainment industry, It should go without saying that
I have met plenty of entertainers. Out of that, came so many stories that several
people have said that I should write a book. Maybe I will. But in the meantime,
here is a list of some of the people that I met and/or worked with.
Let me start by saying that, in all instances, I am quoting from memory.
Therefore, those mentioned here may have a slightly different recollection.
Most of the names listed below, are famous artists. Not mentioned are most of the
band members and technical staff. I knew and worked with all of them that were
associated with the ‘stars’ and they are all great people that were also very
and talented. A number of the band members and/or session
musicians are listed separately. Some are mentioned in the stories associated with
the names listed below. Quite a number of those not mentioned, are responsible
for the success of those that are on this list.
Some of the names are combined because, in those instances,
I worked with both individuals on the same project.
I have also added those who had an influence on my career or were friends that
worked in the industry.
This page is being added to and changed regularly.
George Augspurger is a living legend. His name is familiar throughout the
recording industry and he has name recognition. Most studios that George has
done work for, will advertise that fact. Although I knew who he was, I got to meet
him when I worked at Sunset Sound Recorders because he custom built the
monitor speakers in all of the studios. I used to follow him around whenever I had
the chance and pepper him with questions. George was always very
accommodating and would share his vast knowledge. You can read more about
My first encounter with Hoyt was when I did the editing and assembly of the 2Tr.
Master audio tape of his album “Fearless” and Hoyt came to listen to the playback
and approve everything before the tape was sent to the record company and
mastering lab. The record was recorded and mixed by Alex Kazanegras. When it
came time to assemble the audio tape master, Alex couldn’t make it because he
was booked for another project and the task was handed off to me.
A few years later, I received a call from Hoyt’s secretary (Marlene) asking if I would
travel to Lake Tahoe, CA to record a demo with Hoyt and the band for a children’s
story that he had written. The recording was to take place at Hoyt’s home in North
Shore, Lake Tahoe. Hoyt’s home was a four story house built on the side of a hill
overlooking the entire lake. It consisted of eight bedrooms, five bathrooms and
with a dining room that had a table long enough to seat the entire band plus
guests. The recording equipment was stored in a closet and had to be set up and
calibrated. Hoyt and the band were still on tour and would arrive at the house with
me set up and ready to record. The living room was the recording room (a 3 story
room that was 25’ by 40’ with a cathedral ceiling). The adjacent breakfast nook
served as the control room. Hoyt and the band arrived late one afternoon and after
a round of introductions, they proceeded to schlep their equipment up three flights
of narrow stairs and set up in the living room. After a sound check, dinner was
served and following the dinner break, we began running down the song “He’s in
My Power” with Hoyt producing and yours truly at the controls. During the session,
Hoyt puffed on a tobacco pipe that contained marijuana. He offered me a hit from
his pipe several times during the recording session and I always politely refused,
citing that I needed to stay focused. We recorded several takes of the song and
Hoyt never got the take he was looking for. Although I had been told that
everything could be erased, I head-leadered the beginning of the last (and best)
take anyhow. The band members went to bed after what had been a very long day
and Hoyt and I retired to the living (recording) room. Now, out of excuses, I
proceeded to get high with Hoyt only after he assured me that we were done for
the day. While we were chatting, Hoyt was playing with this section of ribbed
tubing, twirling it while the tube made a whistling sound. Hoyt explained that the
tube was capable of three different notes depending on how fast the tube was
twirled. The sound made by the tube was somewhat ethereal and Hoyt wanted to
try recording several tracks of it as a sound effect to be used in the Children’s
story. Then he suggested: “Why don’t we record a few tracks now, just to see if the
idea will work?” I reminded him that he had assured me that we were done for the
day before I got high with him. After some convincing by Hoyt, I found myself
putting the 16Tr. tape back on the machine. I spun down to the last 30 seconds or
so and we recorded about twelve tracks of Hoyt swinging the hose at various
speeds. We stopped there and Hoyt came into the breakfast nook for a playback
and we both agreed that he was onto something. It was then I discovered that I
had rewound too far for a couple of takes and erased a few seconds of the end of
the best take of “He’s in My Power”, replacing it with a few tracks of the twirling
hose recording. My blood ran cold. This was the cardinal sin of recording
engineers and I had never, ever, done anything like this before. Sensing something
was wrong, Hoyt asked: “What happened?” And so, I told him. He stood there,
silent, while my life flashed before my eyes. After what seemed like an eternal
silence, Hoyt said: “I wasn’t happy with any of those takes anyway so we’ll jump on
this song first thing tomorrow with a rested band. Meanwhile, we got in a good
rehearsal and now we know we can do something with the sound effect.” The next
day, the band played a killer version of the song and I felt somewhat exonerated.
Hoyt and I became good friends. Ultimately, I installed the recording equipment in
a control room that was built on to the house. I recorded four albums and several
commercials with Hoyt at his house. I had the pleasure of getting to know his
entire family and met many of his friends and colleagues.
You can learn more here:
Randy Bachman was perhaps best known for the groups: “Bachman-Turner
Overdrive” or “The Guess Who.” I worked on one of his solo albums. Randy is
from Canada. Apparently, where he was living at the time, there weren’t many
Chinese restaurants and Randy liked Chinese food. So, we ate a lot of Chinese
food during the project. Randy is an excellent musician and besides singing the
lead vocals, he also played the lead guitar on his record. I enjoyed working with
him. I got to meet many musicians that were new to me because Randy didn’t live
in the Los Angeles area.
Randy Bachman’s website:
I met Joan (and her band) when we were recording one of her tours with the Haji
Sound Recording truck. The result of our efforts became the record “From Every
Stage.” There were several memorable events from that tour, but the one that
sticks out was the encore at the Sacramento Civic Auditorium. The hall itself was
long and narrow and the reflection from the back wall reached the stage about a
short second after the sound was initiated on-stage. The trade term for this
phenomenon is ‘slapback.’ We warned the band about the situation and they
learned how to deal with it during the sound check. When the audience arrived and
was seated, the slapback was diminished considerably but not eliminated. After
the show, when Joan came out for her encore, she had decided to sing “Amazing
Grace”, A-Capella, with the audience. During the first verse of the song, she
realized that the slapback was an issue so, she sang harmony with the echo and
the audience, almost simultaneously. The audience was stunned. It was as though
they had a religious experience. Shortly after Joan had left the stage, I went into
the arena to collect the audience mics and the audience was still in their seats,
wondering what had just happened. Obviously, that version of “Amazing Grace”
made the album. Although live albums are smoothed out so that the album sounds
like a continuios performance because often the performances are from different
halls (this record was no exception), the slapback issue could only be minimised
for this particular hall as this was the mid 1970’s and we used the tools at hand.
Here is the website for Joan Baez:
I first knew Allen Beyers as a sales rep for Audio Industries. While Allen was
making his regular visits to recording studios, he saw a need and subsequently,
was born. At first, he would borrow gear from one studio and rent it to
another. The lender would be issued a credit that would apply to future rentals.
Salvatore ‘Tutti’ Camarata, the owner of Sunset Sound Recorders, got involved in
the late 1970’s, rented space to Audio Rents next to Sunset Sound and parked the
extra equipment that Sunset Sound owned at Audio Rents. Allen Beyers had an
Hollywood Sound Systems
and Audio Rents is currently co-located
Hal Blaine was one of recorded music’s legendary drummers. Hal was the
founders of “The Wrecking Crew” (AKA, “The Clique”). During the 1960’s, Hal
Blaine played on about 80% of the Rock & Roll and Pop music that was recorded
in Los Angeles, CA. Hal had two employees who’s job it was to set up his drum
sets ahead of his studio bookings. I knew them as Rick and Robbie. The three of
us became good friends and I used to attend Sprint Car races with them. Hal
would occasionally accompany us to those races. In addition to setting up Hal
Blaine’s drums before recording sessions, Rick and Robbie used to maintain all of
Hal’s drum sets and build new drums as well. They became known at their craft
and several drummers used their services.
One morning, I was setting the microphones for a commercial date at Wally
Heider’s Studio 3 (Hollywood) when Rick and Robbie hauled in Hal’s newest set.
This set had an array of 11 tom-toms and barley fit into the drum booth. I was
devastated as I had only assigned 4 microphones for the drums (which, we’re
already in place) thinking that Hal would be playing the usual ‘cocktail set’ as he
had on so many commercial dates. There wasn’t time to make a change.
I explained my predicament to Rick and Robbie who stood there with a ‘deer in the
headlights’ look when Hal walked in and asked: “What’s the problem?” I explained
the situation and Hal said: “No problem, gimme a Kick, Snare and two overheads
and I’ll play to them.” I miked the drums as Hal suggested and walked away
shaking my head. To my surprise, Hal did indeed play to the microphone setup.
When it came time for him to play a fill, he would hit the toms with an intensity
based on their distance from the microphones. I was blown away.
No wonder the guy was a legend.
Delaney Bramlett was best known for the band: “Delaney, Bonnie & Friends.”
I got to know Delaney when we recorded about five songs at his house in Shadow
Hills, CA using the Haji Sound Recording truck as the studio control room. On one
occasion during those couple of weeks, Delaney told me this story:
While George Harrison was on tour with Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, he asked
Delaney if he would show him how he wrote a gospel tune and Delaney agreed.
After completing a sound check one day, Delaney and Harrison were jamming and
the song “He’s So Fine” came into Delaney’s head and he used the chord structure
to show Harrison how he built a gospel song starting with a few chord changes.
Delaney had the background singers chime in with “Hallelujah” while he and
George Harrison put together a few impromptu lyrics. Delaney said that about a
month or so after the tour ended, he heard their ‘impromptu’ song on the radio.
He called George Harrison to warn him about the song and before Delaney could
say anything, Harrison told him that due to an error by his publishing company,
Delaney was not listed as one of the song writers and not to worry that he would
be listed as the co-writer. Delaney said to Harrison that he was, in fact, relieved to
hear that he was not listed on the publishing. He went on to explain the “He’s So
Fine” chord changes and told Harrison that it never occurred to him that Harrison
would use their impromptu song from that sound check. According to Delaney, the
settlement cost George Harrison more than $400,000.00 (in 1976 dollars!).
Byron was perhaps best known for being the three-time national fiddle champion.
As a session musician, Byron was one of the best. His list of credits reads like the
who’s who of the music industry. I recorded him several times and he always
wowed everyone who was there. Byron was a very gentle soul. I had the
opportunity to visit him at his home and meet his family. His music store,
The Doublestop Music Shop is in Guthrie Oklahoma.
Robert ‘Bob’ Burton was hired by Allen Buyers to be the service and repair tech for
Audio Rents. Not only was Bob the first to be hired, but went on to become Chief
Engineer and ultimately bought the company after Allen Buyers passed away.
I first met Bob in the late 1970’s when Audio Rents was located next to Sunset
‘JB’ as he is known to his friends, is a guitar players guitar player. James Burton
has played with the likes of John Denver, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson, Emmylou
Harris, Elvis Presley and just about everyone in between. He has his own fan club
and you can buy a copy of his beloved Fender guitar from the Fender Custom
Shop. Although I had known and worked with JB for several years, I really got to
know him when we worked on Hoyt Axton’s projects where you had to stay at
Hoyt’s house. James Burton lives with a guitar in his hands. At least, he did while
we stayed at the Axton residence. JB is just as ‘Down Home’ as you can imagine.
JB has his own website:
This Bob Bushnell is an electronic engineer who was a recording console builder
and was well known in the industry. I worked as a recording engineer on many of
his consoles. ABC Records, Sunset Sound Recorders and Cannon Films studios,
just to name a few. Some of his consoles had a pin matrix for assigning certain
functions (I used to refer to them as ‘mumbly pegs’). When I got to know Bob, I
asked him about those pin matrices and he replied: “Because that area of the
console is unbalanced.”
Lynn Carey & Mama Lion
, consisted of; Lynn Carey (lead vocals), Neil Merryweather
(bass, vocals), Rick Gaxiola (guitar),
James Newton Howard
Alan Hurtz (guitar) and Coffi Hall (drums, percussion)
At the onset of my career, I worked for an artist management company called
Broomstick Management and the band, Mama Lyon, was one of the acts they
managed. Basically, I recorded demo songs for the various artists that were signed
to Broomstick Management. During the in-between times, I would assemble and
check out the PA and band equipment for those that were going on tour. It was
during one of these times that I was assigned to mix the live sound for Mama
Lyon's first tour. Lynn Carey (actor McDonald Carey's daughter) and Neil
Merryweather were involved in a romantic relationship at the time which
sometimes complicated things. Rick Gaxiola and
James Newton Howard
teenager) had never been on tour so, in the beginning, it was like herding baby
ducks. Coffi Hall (a great drummer who certainly had the training) was perhaps
the most experienced musician at the time. The beginning of the tour was a PITA
as the band played mostly clubs and small venues in order to ‘tighten up.’ The
band was scheduled for a tour in Europe which, we were all looking forward to but
about half of the tour got canceled so things were re-shuffled and I got sent back
to Los Angeles from New York city (on Christmas Eve).
I recorded and mixed the score for the movie “A Country Mile” at Haji Sound and
Larrabee Sound Studios. The opening and end credits music was recorded by Dan
Wallin at The Burbank Studios (TBS). David Carradine was exactly like the
character he played in the TV series “Kung Fu” right down to the clothes he wore
during the time I worked with him. After I got to know him well enough, I asked him
about the resemblance. He said: “The character was a perfect fit. I didn’t have to
change anything. All I had to do was learn the script for each episode.”
There is a website in memorandum:
I assisted on Linda’s album “Portrait” when I was at Sunset Sound Recorders. The
project was worked on in Studio 2. Bob Shaper was the engineer and Vini Poncia
was the producer. Bob Shaper was an excellent engineer. The project existed on
two 16 track tapes that were using time code as a sync reference. This was the
early days of synchronizing audio tapes and as such, one had to give about 30
seconds of lead time for the chase machine to figure out where it was and catch
up. The result was a few seconds of pitch problems until the chase machine
caught up. Sometimes the result was hilarious.
One of her websites: \
I met Johnny Cash at Beverly Garland’s
Howard Johnson Hotel
(We called it HoJo’s). I was there to meet with Hoyt Axton regarding an album
project and Johnny Cash showed up for the same. Cash was a big man and had
an imposing posture. However, he was a kind and gentle soul. I was looking
forward to working with him and didn’t get the chance because the record project
was never completed.
Here is the website devoted to Johnny Cash:
I only met Ray Charles once at Haji Sound and never worked with him.
Ray’s recording engineer, Bob Gratz, used to stop by the studio for a visit.
Haji Sound was charged with keeping the favorite Steinway grand piano originally
located at the CBS Studios in L.A. One day, Bob Gratz brought Ray in so that they
could visit and Ray could play the piano. We were all: “OMG, it’s Ray Charles.”
Bob sat Ray down at the piano and Ray Charles delighted himself while he
entertained us all.
I worked with Joe Cocker on the tour after “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” I was
actually one of the crew and live sound mixer for the band Redbone who was the
opening act for Joe Cocker. I was given the task of mixing the entire show for both
acts which I happily did. In those days there was no stage monitor mixer. The
stage monitor mix was sent as a sub-mix from the house mixer. The performers
were left with hand gestures that were sometimes worked out in advance.
One remarkable thing was that the tour itself consisted of 30 shows in 40 days.
A schedule that nearly killed everyone involved because the tour encompassed the
Eastern U.S.A. and Canada which meant that everything had to go through
Customs both entering and leaving the country. Anyone who has had the pleasure
of going through Customs will understand. And, we carried 80 thousand pounds of
equipment that had to be checked!
Though no longer with us, here is a website about him:
Dave was a staff engineer at Haji Sound Recording. He had previously worked at
Radio Recorders and was a guitarist for Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Dave recorded many live concerts and record albums while at Haji Sound. My
nickname for Dave was ‘Dave Cause-hell.’ His nickname for me was ‘Leroy’ after
the song: “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (long story).
Steve Cropper was the lead guitarist for the Mar-Keys, MG’s (Booker T. & the
MG’s), and more including The Blues Brothers. Steve Cropper has played on more
recording sessions and toured with more famous people than you or I have fingers
and toes to count with. My first encounter with ‘Cropper’ was on a record project
for Booker T. Jones that never got released.
Steve Cropper has his own website :
Bob De Avila
Bob was a maintenance engineer at Columbia Records Studios in Los Angeles,
CA and was a victim of the studio closures in 1972. Bob was instrumental in the
building of the first Haji Sound mobile recording truck which is where I met him.
His brother, Richard, built the interior for that recording truck (Haji 1). Bob later
went to work at ABC Records and worked under Jerry Feree. I was later hired to
help install studios C and D at ABC Records so, I guess, we came full circle.
I was a staff engineer at Sunset Sound when Neil Diamond booked Studio 1 for a
month and I was assigned to the session. Bill Schnee was booked as the mixer but
couldn't make it so the job was given to Rick Ruggieri. Rick didn’t like the monitor
speakers in Studio 1 so, he brought in a custom built pair of ‘Big Reds.’
After considerable re-working of the control room to accommodate the Big Red
speakers, things settled down and we got to work. Neil insisted that a cassette be
kept in record to capture everything that happened in the studio. At the end of the
day, I would give Neil a bunch of cassette tapes and he would always say: “Put
them in the bag.” The bag was a rumpled paper shopping bag which he always
carried under his arm when he would show up for the day.
I finally asked him why he carried around a rumpled shopping bag instead of a
briefcase and he answered: “I’m from New York City where it is not advisable to
carry a briefcase in public. However, almost no one will steal an old rumpled paper
The recording session turned out to be
“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”
Neil is still at it:
Donald “Duck” Dunn
Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn was the studio bassist for Stax Records (the Mar-Keys), the
MG’s and more, including the Blues Brothers. I have no idea how he got the
nickname. I first worked with Duck Dunn on a recording session with Booker T.
Jones and no wonder where the Stax Records sound came from.
More information is available here:
I worked with Duane Eddy at Hoyt Axtons’ studio on the North end of Lake Tahoe.
Duane lived near lake Tahoe on the Nevada side of the Lake at the time. On one
particular record project, at Hoyt’s studio, I had both Duane Eddy and James
Burton in the control room, playing their guitars at the same time. At one point, I
turned to them and said: “I must be in heaven because I’m recording two
legendary guitarists at the same time.” JB noted that it is rare for two musicians to
be overdubbing at the same time but that he wasn’t quite ready for heaven yet.
Duane Eddy smiled and nodded in agreement.
Chris was probably best known as the bass player for The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Chris played played on many record albums and ultimately played bass for Willie
Nelson. Chris and I had been friends for so long that I forget how we met. It was at
Chris’s house that I met Dusty Baker who, at the time, played Left Field for the Los
I recorded Vic Feldman many times as a Percussionist and as a Vibraphone
(Vibes) player. Vic’s roots were that of a Jazz musician and a good one at that.
I often felt sorry for percussionists because they had to carry so much stuff.
Often, they would use a cartage company. His website:
I first met Jerry Ferree when I was introduced to Bill Putnam. Jerry went on to be
the Chief Engineer for ABC Records where I was hired part time to help with the
installation of studios C and D. (I think Bob De Avila had something to do with my
hiring.) Jerry Ferree, co-authored a book with Bob Bushnell about their days with
Bill Putnam called: “From Downbeat To Vinyl.”
John was one of the owners of Haji Sound. He was formerly a recording engineer
for Columbia Records in Los Angeles, CA and recorded many albums there. John
also spent some time at Wally Heiders’ Hide St. Studios in San Francisco, CA
where he recorded Santana, It’s A Beautiful Day and others. At Haji, John mainly
took care of the business end of things although he stayed active as a recording
engineer as well.
recorded the album “
Lasso From El Paso
” at Haji Sound
Recording while I was the Chief Engineer. The mixers on the album were Alex
Kazanegras and David Costell. I assisted when needed. The project was
memorable because of the almost daily parade of stars that performed on the
record (check the credits). The album was supposed to be named “Asshole From
El Paso” because of Kinky’s live performance of the song of the same name that
he wanted as the title track. However, the proposed song was a performance of
“Okie From Muskogee” with lyrics by Kinky that were ‘R’ rated. Buck Owens, who
owned the song, nixed Kinky’s version and wouldn’t allow it to be released.
Hence the new title.
Lowell George was best known as the lead guitarist and lead singer for the band
” I worked with Lowell on his solo album “Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here.”
I was one of about a half dozen recording engineers who worked on that record.
My contribution consisted mainly of guitar and vocal overdubs plus a few rough
mixes. Lowell could play any kind of guitar in front of anyone. Singing was another
matter. For lead vocals, Lowell had to have all of the studio lights turned off. I was
basically communicating with a voice in the darkness on the other side of the
control room window. I asked him what he did live and he replied: “I don’t have
time to think about it. I’ve tried that approach in the studio but it doesn’t seem to
work.” For one song, he composed the lyrics on the fly and to do this, I set him up
in the control room with a microphone so that he could operate the equipment by
himself while I played pinball in the lounge.
I knew Jay Graydon as a session musician and what a guitar player! I was working
on the Doobie Bros. “Minute By Minute” album with engineer Donn Landee and
Jay was called in by Ted Templeman (the producer) to add some licks to the end of
the song: “How Do The Fools Survive.” We played the song for Jay and he turned
to Ted and asked “What would you like here?” Ted, holding a glass of wine,
quipped: “Play everything that you ever learned.” Well, I believe he did, and
proceeded to blow all of us away. Because of Jay’s great performance, the song
had to be cut down to make it fit the (vinyl) LP.
I grimaced at every edit that
Donn made because it was chopping up Jay’s incredible
In fact, I
questioned a few of them to the point that Jay was called in for a listen. After
hearing the edits, Jay said of one of them: “Musically, it works, but you couldn’t
play the lick because it’s at both ends of a guitar neck.”
Wally Heider was recording live performances long before multi-track tape
machines were available. Wally told me personally that he used to strap a
professional series AMPEX recorder to his back and climb stairs with it.
I met Wally and those who worked for him because of my affiliation with Haji
Sound. We were in the same business, in the same town, a few blocks from each
other. Wally Heider Recording had studios in both Hollywood and San Francisco.
When Heider’s remote trucks were booked, we’d get the referral and vice-versa.
In addition, we used to loan equipment back and fourth.
Wally drove a Cadillac and the license plates read: “JAMF” (You figure it out).
Milt Holland was a ‘first call’ Percussionist who would often be called to record with
the band so that he could contribute his ideas, expertise and ’feel.’ Milt would
spend half of his time traveling the world, learning new instruments and the other
half of his time in the studio, playing them. His house was full of percussion
instruments that never left because they were either too delicate or valuable.
We got the opportunity to record some of those instruments when the Haji Sound
remote truck was used as a control room at his residence.
I first met Deane when he was the VP of Engineering at Quad Eight Electronics in
North Hollywood, CA. At that time,
was just a dream. When
Dean Jensen spoke, you stopped what you were doing and listened. Some years
later, I referred a high performance operational amplifier to Dean and he used it in
several of his published circuit designs. I was very proud of myself.
While in New York City with the band Mama Lion,
I was asked to set up the PA
system for Billy Joel who was also signed with Broomstick Management at the
time. I worked with the band for three or four nights which was enough time to get
to know everyone. The drummer (Reese Clark) and I hit it off and became lasting
friends. I also did some assisting on Billy Joel’s album “Cold Spring Harbor” at the
Record Plant in LA but it wasn’t enough to warrant any album credits.
Billy Joel is also still at it:
Booker T Jones
Best known for the band Booker T. & the MG’s,
is still performing.
I was told by Booker T. that the MG’s were formed while he was in high school and
he wrote the song “Green Onions” when he was 17. I finished and mixed an album
for Booker T. that was never released by Epic Records. Five of the songs had
been recorded at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, CA. Some of the songs
on the album were covers of already released hits. One of those songs which, I
had the pleasure of recording, was the song “Higher and Higher” originally sung by
Jackie Wilson. I didn’t think that anyone could come close to the original
performance. However, from the moment we first played back the basic tracks, we
knew it was a smash hit. Everyone that worked on the song or even heard a
playback said that it was an obvious hit. Nonetheless, Epic Records shelved the
record and that was it.
A year later, Rita Coolidge (who had sung background vocals on Booker T.’s
version) came to Booker T. and asked if he would arrange that same song for her
and the result was a platinum single that was released by A&M Records.
Carol Kaye was one of the bassists that played with the Wrecking Crew. Carol
played on so many sessions that she just might be
the most recorded bassist in
history. She certainly destroyed the ‘Glass Ceiling’, working as a studio musician at
a time when there were almost no women
in the recording studio. Carol is a terrific
musician and a great person. And, she has a website:
Alex was another recording engineer out of the Columbia Records fold and was
the other owner of Haji Sound. I worked extensively with Alex and he became my
mentor, teaching me everything that he had learned along the way and introduced
me to methods and people that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Alex was born in
Greece, grew up in Turkey, and migrated to the US when he was a teenager. As a
result of his upbringing, Alex approached some things differently. One day, I asked
him what language that he he spoke (in his head) when he thought about things.
Alex thought about it and then he replied: “Turk.”
Keltner is an ‘A list’ drummer. He has played on an endless number of recording
sessions and toured with just about everyone who is anyone. For those who like to
read the credits listed on record jackets, Jim Keltner should be a very familiar
name because he has practically played with them all. I’ve worked with Keltner so
many times that I have lost track. Besides being a great drummer, Jim Keltner is
an all around great guy.
The year was 1986 and Robert Budd and myself were putting the finishing touches
on the studios for Cannon Films. In the Construction Trade, it’s known as a ‘Punch
List.’ One of the studios was a stereo production and mixing suite known as Video
Sweetening. Our dilemma with that studio was the fact that whatever speaker
setup we tried simply didn’t work well. We tried everything that we could think of
including contacting all of the available equipment vendors and we invited them to
bring in their best. I was about to call in a specialist that I knew when I got a call
from Keith and he explained that he custom built studio monitors, could solve our
problem and offered to show me some of his work. I was curious, checked out
what he had built, was very impressed, and handed him the task. We never looked
back because that studio became well known for how good it sounded. The rest is
history (as they say), because Keith went on to have a very successful career in
I don’t know where to start because, Larry played for so many artists. Larry, in
addition to being a ‘First Call’ player, was also a member of the Wrecking Crew
where the trio was often known as: “Osborn, Knechtel, Blane”
Although Larry was called mostly for his expertise on keyboards, he was also
proficient at Guitar, Bass and Harmonica.
Neil was not as well known as many of the ‘A-List’ players. However, he was one
of my favorite bassists because he was one of the very few electric bassists that I
worked with, that didn’t need a limiter when recording. Electric Bass guitars often
produce much more energy (voltage) from the strings that play the low notes than
from the strings that play the higher notes. So, a limiter is often used during
recording to even things out. In the beginning, Neil noticed that I always had a
limiter plugged into his recording chain and when I told him why, he learned to play
the instrument so that a limiter wasn’t needed. I often had Neil play in the control
room, next to me, because he could read an entire orchestral chart, page at a
glance, while playing his part. Thus, he could cue me when certain instruments
were about to play and I could concentrate more on the recording process.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Hoyt Axton, James Burton and I had just finished recording with Willie Nelson, at
his studio in Texas, and were leaving when Hoyt decided that we should stop by
and say hi to Jerry Lee since he lived nearby. We sat and chatted with Jerry Lee
Lewis on his back porch for a couple of hours which included some great stories
and homemade lemonade.
I knew Kenny quite well having worked with the band Loggins & Messina on five
albums. Not well known is the fact that Kenny Loggins is a record producer as well
and I had the pleasure of working with Kenny as a producer. After the band
Loggins & Messina split up, Kenny Loggins launched his solo career.
is still performing which is a testament to the great singer/song
writer that he is.
I worked on her first album “Cheryl Lynn.” The project, which began at Studio 55 in
Hollywood, CA and was handed off to me by Tom Knox who had served as the
recording engineer and had become double booked. Cheryl is an amazing
vocalist. When adding her vocal to a recording, I recorded everything, even her
practices. In order to record her, I had to place her about three feet from the
microphone because her voice is so powerful. She sang the song “Daybreak” live
with the band and her performance was so good that it was kept . The 2” master
tapes had begun to shed oxide during the project and had to be transferred before
it was too late. A different brand of tape was chosen for the transfer and we
proceeded to get back to work. As fate would have it, the tapes we had transferred
to began to shed oxide and the master tapes had to be transferred a second time
to, yet again, another brand of tape. Long story short: By the time we mixed the
album to a 1/4” master, the final product was now a fourth generation.
More information about Cheryl Lynn:
I met George while I was working at Sunset Sound Recorders. I was assigned to
work with Lowell George on his solo album, “Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here” and George
Massenburg was one of the many engineers (including myself) who worked on
Lowell’s album. George was already well known in the recording industry for
having developed a great parametric equalizer. Having worked with George,
I often referred to him as ‘The engineers, engineer’ because he had the knowledge
and expertise to see a need, go home and build a prototype, bring it in and, it
would work….first time! I feel privileged to have worked with George Massenburg
and used his prototype limiter on Lowell George’s vocals which, later became the
Like Kenny Loggins, I met and worked with Jim Messina via the band Loggins &
Messina. Besides singing lead vocals and playing lead guitar, Jim was the
producer as well. Jim Messina is relentless. Driven, by some accounts. When
working on the various record projects for Loggins & Messina, Alex Kazanegras
and I used to ‘tag team’ just to keep up with Jim who could go all night and often
did. Jim Messina is no stranger to a recording studio control room as well. It was at
Gold Star Studios where Jim was working as a recording engineer, that he got
involved with the band Buffalo Springfield. Because Jim was in familiar
surroundings in a recording studio control room, he used to test me relentlessly.
Alex was the 1
engineer and when Jim and Alex would wind up at a dead end,
I would get called in to sort things out. Often, that ‘dead end’ resulted in me saying:
“You can’t get there from here.”
Jim Messina used to assemble his guitars using the parts from several Fender
Telecasters. I learned a lot about setting up an electric guitar from Jim. To the best
of my knowledge,
is still performing.
I had known Willie Nelson and his band before I worked with him because a good
friend of mine (Chris Ethridge) played bass for Willie Nelson for some time. I got
my chance to work with him when Hoyt Axton, James Burton & myself flew to
Texas to do some recording at Willie Nelson’s studio located on the Pedernales
River outside of Austin. Willie had bought a nine hole golf course and turned the
clubhouse into a recording studio. The golf course was operational (although now
private) and those band members who played golf had their own personalized golf
carts. There were several condos adjacent to the studio which housed the band
and crew when there was recording to be done.
Willie Nelson’s website:
We recorded several live performances using the Haji Sound Recording mobile
truck which were used for Ted Nugent’s album “Double Live Gonzo.”
Rolling Stone Magazine defined Ted Nugent’s followers as ‘Heavy Metal Sickies.’
A term that I borrowed because after each concert, the arena floor had a pile of
vomit about every 100 square feet which, made picking up cables after the show a
messy job. During the tour with Ted Nugent, the Haji truck ran terrible, starving for
gasoline all the way up the West Coast of the US. The problem turned out to be a
clogged fuel filter which, I discovered, at a rest stop, on the return trip from Seattle
to Los Angeles. More about Ted Nugent:
He was an amazing drummer. As one who played (at) the drums, I was truly
amazed at Jeff’s talent. According to Jeff, he never practiced! Although, he did
grow up in a musical family. His brother Steve, is also a great musician.
The blog in Jeff’s honor:
Leo was an electronics engineer who invented what became known as SMPTE
Time Code. An invention that impacts everyone who watches TV or movies.
Leo was an Australian who always greeted you with “G’day Mate.” He worked in
radio, television and film. I first met Leo in the 1980’s and had the pleasure of
working with him in the 1990’s.
Leo was a good friend and I miss him tremendously.
I worked with Joe several times, with several artists. Joe was a member of the
Wrecking Crew (Osborn, Knechtel, Blane) as well as Elvis Presley’s TCB band.
Like so many other studio musicians, Joe played for many, many artists.
has player credits on more than 240 songs.
David Paich, Marty Paich
I had worked with David Paich as a studio musician on several occasions.
However, the chance to work with David and his dad which, I did on Cheryl Lynn's’
first album, turned out to be special. A lot of the musicians used for the project
came from the band “Toto” which itself, was a special experience.
extraordinaire who has a gazillion credits. Dean is very
unassuming as a person. As a player, he rips. He played a blues solo on the song
“Sweet China White“ for Lowell George which, blew me away. And, he played the
solo in one take with no overdubs! Most musicians, after hearing a playback, will
want to ‘tweak’ their performance. I don’t think the song made it the final release of
“Thanks I’ll Eat It Here.” Besides that, he played for several artists that I recorded.
I met Bill Putnam because of my association with Haji Sound. Alex Kazanegras
and I were discussing the use of a UREI model 1176 limiter (United Recording
Electronics Industries) when Alex decided that I should meet Bill, who was the
principal of UREI. One would never know that Bill Putnam was one of the giants of
the industry. Bill and I talked ‘shop’ several times afterwards. When I first met Bill,
Jerry Feree was working there and I met him for the first time as well.
Bill was the General Manager of Sunset Sound Recorders and is the one who
hired me. He was the Chief Engineer of Capitol Records studios before Sunset
Sound and was involved in the very first stereo recording at Capitol. Bill also flew
the documentary plane over Hiroshima when the atom bomb was dropped and
had lots of stories about the event which one had to pry out of him.
I recorded Linda as a background singer several times. Each time, working with a
different mixture of singers. Linda was always cheerful. Bubbly in fact, and one of
the best voices ever. I never worked on any of her solo albums. Linda was
supposed to sing a duet with Hoyt Axton on one of his album projects but the end
product never came to fruition because the record company, that she was signed
to, judged it to be too close to a solo performance which was disallowed under the
provisions of her contract with them (Unless the performance was to be released
by the record company in question). Fortunately, we had enough takes that Linda’s
voice was used for augmentation (backgrounds) which, was allowed.
David Lee Roth
A quick aside: I’ve been a fan of Louis Armstrong for as long as I can remember.
I even did a bad intimation of him. That said, while I was assisting Donn Landee on
’s “Van Halen II” album, David Lee Roth was sitting in the back of the
control room with his chair leaned up against the wall, singing a song that Louis
Armstrong had originally recorded while Donn and I were fidgeting with one thing
or another. As he finished the tune, I chimed in on the “Ooh yeah” and we ended
the song, singing in unison. We did a ‘hi-five’ upon the completion. David said that
he wanted to do a solo album where he would perform some tributes to a few
musical greats. A few years later, he recorded an EP with a selection of his
favorites. His website:
Ed Sanford, John Townsend
Ed Sanford and John Townsend were songwriters that became noticed when their
song “Oriental Gate” was honored by the Songwriters Guild. Kenny Loggins had a
hand in the writing of that song as well. That, and the fact that Loggins & Messina’s
drummer was a good friend of theirs (and mine) is how I came to know them. We
would spend Sunday afternoons in the studio recording demos of their songs using
mostly the band members from Loggins & Messina. Everyone pitched in, including
the wives and girlfriends with pot-luck food for the occasions. Those were good
times. After hearing some of the recordings, Alex Kazanegras became a fan. Alex
and John Townsend became great friends and may still be working together.
Lew was instrumental in getting the console up and running at Haji Sound because
we took delivery before the console was finished (another long story). Audio
design was child’s play to Lew because, as a young engineer fresh from college,
he helped design the proton splitter (known as the Alternating Gradient
Synchrotron) at Brookhaven Labs. Lew became an electronics consultant to our
facility and I learned a lot from him.
Tom Scott played the saxophone and many other wind instruments. I knew Tom
as a session musician. Tom, in addition to other bands, played with the LA
Express whom I never recorded. Tom was also a member of the Wrecking Crew.
Tom Scott’s website:
Lee Sklar sports an amazing beard and he’s had it for as long as I’ve known him.
When I recorded an electric bassist for the first time, I would always use a
microphone on their amp, in addition to taking their instrument direct, and then let
the musician decide the preference or blend. With Lee Sklar, the mic and the direct
feed sounded the same. He is the only bassist that this happened with. In the
recording studio, Lee liked to sit on an extension speaker to his bass amp when
playing his electric bass guitar. At first, I had a concern with Lee sitting on his
extension speaker because the speaker was in the room, not behind a sound
baffle, and the resulting leakage into the room. That turned out not to be a problem
because Lee was aware of the situation and kept the volume low, as long as he
could still ‘feel’ the speaker. I recorded Lee Sklar several times.
You can see Lee’s beard here:
Dennis St John
I first met Dennis at Sunset Sound Recorders when we recorded the album
“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” for Neil Diamond. Dennis recorded and toured with
several artists throughout his career. Dennis and I became good friends and kept
in touch over the years outside of the studio as well.
Tommy Tedesco, was a guitarist, and session player extraordinaire. He was one of
the Wrecking Crew which, is how I met him in the first place. I recorded Tommy
many times over the years. I loved working with musicians of Tommy’s caliber
because they had their own sound and style. All the recording engineer had to do
was make sure that the recording was the best possible.
Eddie Van Halen
I met Eddie Van Halen while I was a staff engineer at Sunset Sound Recorders.
I was assigned to assist Donn Landee for a last minute overdub on Van Halen’s
first album. I had yet to meet anyone involved and Donn was the first to show. After
the greeting, Donn informed me that we would be recording a car horn that Eddie
was bringing in. I asked: “A car horn?” Donn confirmed it and said that I could use
any microphone that I thought was appropriate. A few minutes later, in walked
Eddie Van Halen, carrying a plywood box that had three car horns mounted in it.
Eddie said that he picked the three because they played a musical triad.
horns did indeed play a triad and were very loud, but the trouble was that they
were in the wrong key for the song . Plus, Eddie Van Halen was imagining a
Doppler effect. Donn Landee managed to convince Eddie that we could
horns to work. After dragging in a 4 track tape recorder that could be VSO’ed,
we discovered that the VSO wouldn’t slow the machine enough for the car horns to
work with the song. It was sooo close, but no cigar. Donn had the bright idea of
un-plugging the AC power to the 4 track after slowing the track as much as
possible with the VSO. It seemed to work if we could get the timing right. This was
the analog era & the car horn recording had to be ‘flown in’ because there was no
sync pulse. After several attempts with Donn manning the the tape decks and me
at the rear of the 4 track, manning the AC plug, the car horn recording became the
intro to “Running With The Devil”.
Donn Landee and I became good friends and ‘Pull Plug’ was our private joke.
Here is Van Halen’s website:
Pat & Lolly Vegas
Pat & Lolly were the front-men for the band Redbone. At the time that I worked
with them, the band consisted of four musicians; Pat Vegas (Bass guitar & vocals),
Lolly Vegas (Lead guitar & vocals), Tony Bellamy, a Native American, (Rhythm
guitar & vocal harmonies), Peter “Last Walking Bear” DePoe, a full-blood
Cherokee, (Drums & vocal harmonies). I served as an equipment roadie, road
manager and front of house (FOH) mixer for two of their tours. Pat & Lolly moved
from Fresno, CA to Los Angeles in the 1960’s, where they became session
musicians and performed on the
. Ethnically, they are Latino and
Native American and were heavily immersed in the Native American scene at the
time that I worked with them. The band had a rider in their performance contract
that stated in effect; “Any Native American who attended one of their concerts in
tribal dress, was allowed backstage to meet the band after the concert.”
It was often very difficult to get to the dressing rooms after the show.
Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan
The duo of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan are best known as Flo & Eddie or
Flo & Eddie and the
. Perhaps less known is the fact that the two were also
part of The Mothers of Invention. Mark and Howard recorded most of the album
“Illegal, Immoral & Fattening” at Haji Sound Studios. Alex Kazanegras was the
main mixer and I assisted. One night, Mark Volman was hungry and happened to
like the Super Tacos from Jack-In-The-Box. Mark proceeded to order dinner for
everyone and had a difficult time convincing the person on the other end of the
phone that he was serious about ordering 40 Super Tacos. In order to get the
person at Jack-In-The-Box to believe he was serious, Mark had a tape box legend
autographed by every band member and sent it along with the roadie to pick up
the food. It worked.
I had just spent the night in one of the condos at Willie Nelson’s studio located on
the Pedernales River outside of Austin Texas. I walked outside to take in some
Texas morning air when a couple of limousines pulled up, followed by two tractor-
trailer rigs with the CBS logo on the sides. Out of one of the limousines stepped
Barbara Walters, followed by several people. By the time all of the cars and trucks
emptied, the place was overrun. Barbara asked where she could find Willie
Nelson, explaining that she had been chasing him across the country to get an
interview for the TV program “60 minutes.” After composing myself some (I was
standing there in slippers and PJ’s), I replied that Willie Nelson usually showed up
around 2 PM. I retreated to the condo and warned Hoyt and JB, who were equally
disheveled. Willie showed up that afternoon. Meanwhile, as previously mentioned,
Barbara Walters and crew had taken over the place. Willie explained that the
weekend was already booked for a recording session with Hoyt Axton which, didn’t
seem to matter as the camera crew was already setting up for an interview in
Willie’s office. The fact that a recording session was planned for the evening only
added to the script, as far as the director was concerned, so we adjusted.
In spite of it all, we did get a couple of takes so, all was not lost.
Now, there was a character! Whenever I think of
, I can’t help but
think of the time that the Haji truck was at the Troubadour to record
The truck was hired by Doug Weston, who also managed Etta James at the time.
Due to a spat between Doug Weston and Etta James, Etta refused to come on
stage for her show so, we waited. Etta James did eventually perform and the
audience was thrilled because they had waited as long as us in the recording
truck. During the intermissin, Doug Weston decided to read some poetry to the
audience. I grabbed the opportunity to roll a 2 track to record the poetry reading.
However, the audience was having none of it and booed him off the stage.
I worked on a few projects with Mentor Williams producing. We became good
friends and stayed in touch outside of the workplace. While mixing one of those
projects, Mentor wanted to use a live echo chamber. Sunset Sound Recorders,
where we were working, has a live chamber that is connected to Studio 1, but that
studio was in use and we were working in Studio 2. Mentor originally wanted to
mix at Capitol Records (partially because of their live chambers) but the studios
were booked. However, some of the live chambers were not in use. So, he
decided to try and use the live chambers from Capitol Records via telephone lines.
We spent an entire evening, thought of everything that we could, and finally gave
up on the idea.
More about Mentor Williams in my writing about his brother, Paul Williams.
I finished the album “A Little On The Windy Side.” About half of the songs were
recorded in Nashville, Tennessee by Gene Eichelburger. The project was produced
by Paul's brother, Mentor Williams. The two, side by side, look like they are not
related at all. Aside from looking like they are not related, Paul is shorter than
average (He used to say something like: “Time to lower the microphone” when he
was getting ready to sing) and Mentor is taller and larger than average.
So, the difference between the two is striking. Mentor Williams is listed separately
because I worked on a few projects that he produced.
Pauls ‘Official’ website:
, on Frank Zappa’fs album “Shiek Yerbuti” at Sunset
Sound Recorders, Studio III. It was an interesting situation because this was Joe
Chiccarelli’s first big name project as a mixer and I was plenty seasoned with
credits on eight gold and two platinum albums. So, some hand holding was
needed in the beginning. I had never met either Frank or Joe prior to this occasion.
Frank Zappa had a reputation for being demanding and moody. I was expecting a
burned out druggie and Frank Zappa, it turned out, was a regular guy with a dry
sense of humor. Frank Zappa was totally against illegal drugs of any kind.
He brought espresso coffee to each session (which he used to bring in an air-pot)
and smoked Winston cigarettes, one of which was always lit.
went on to become a very well known recording engineer.
The Zappa site:
Steve is a Music Composer who is best known for his work with commercials.
However, he has composed the music for some feature films as well. It was Steve
who introduced me to Neil Lampert as well as many other great musicians that I
would have otherwise never known. Steve generally worked at a frenetic pace.
So much so, that communication between the assistant and the mixer sometimes
got confused and the wrong track would be put into record. As a result, I invented
the term ‘Conga Heaven’ because sometimes that wrong track already had
something recorded on it. Steve was always very understanding. One of the
hardest things about working with Steve (for me) was the 7am setup call on
commercial dates. Most commercials are recorded and mixed before lunch
whereas, most record projects don’t start until the late afternoon or evening.
It seemed like I was always at the short end of the stick when it came to working
between the two.
Zuck is still writing and composing:
© Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
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