Corey Bailey
Audio Engineering
ARTICLES
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 knowledgeable 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. Corey Bailey George Augspurger 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 him here: https://www.mixonline.com/recording/augspurger-on-the-move Hoyt Axton 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: http://hoytsmusic.com/ Randy Bachman 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: https://www.randybachman.com/ Joan Baez 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: http://www.joanbaez.com/ Allen Beyers 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, Audio Rents 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 affiliation with Hollywood Sound Systems and Audio Rents is currently co-located with them. Hal Blaine 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 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!). His website: http://delaneybramlett.com/ Byron Burline 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. http://www.doublestop.com/ Robert Burton 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 Sound Recorders. James Burton ‘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: https://www.james-burton.net/ Bob Bushnell 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.” Made sense. Lynn Carey & Mama Lion The band, Mama Lion, consisted of; Lynn Carey (lead vocals), Neil Merryweather (bass, vocals), Rick Gaxiola (guitar), James Newton Howard (keyboards, vocals), 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 (then a 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). David Carradine 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: https://www.david-carradine.com/ Linda Carter 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: \https://www.lyndacarter.com/ Johnny Cash I met Johnny Cash at Beverly Garland’s Howard Johnson Hotel in Hollywood (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: http://www.johnnycash.com/ Ray Charles 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. Joe Cocker 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: https://www.cocker.com/ David Costell 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 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 : http://playitsteve.com/ 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. Neil Diamond 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 shopping bag.” The recording session turned out to be the album “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” Neil is still at it: https://www.neildiamond.com/ 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: http://duckdunnremembered.com/wp/ Duane Eddy 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 Ethridge 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 Angeles Dodgers. Victor Feldman 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: http://victorfeldman.com/ Jerry Ferree 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 Fiore 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. . Kinky Friedman Kinky Friedman 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 Lowell George was best known as the lead guitarist and lead singer for the band “Little Feet.” 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. Jay Graydon 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 performance. 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.” His website: https://www.jaygraydon.com/ Wally Heider 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 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. Deane Jenson I first met Deane when he was the VP of Engineering at Quad Eight Electronics in North Hollywood, CA. At that time, Jensen Transformers 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. Billy Joel 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: https://billyjoel.com/ Booker T Jones Best known for the band Booker T. & the MG’s, Booker T. 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 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: https://www.carolkaye.com/ Alex Kazanegras 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.” Jim Keltner 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. Keith Klawitter 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 manufacturing speakers. Larry Knechtel 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. His website: https://www.larryknechtel.com/ Neil Lampert 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. Kenny Loggins 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. Kenny Loggins is still performing which is a testament to the great singer/song writer that he is. Cheryl Lynn 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheryl_Lynn George Massenburg 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 GML Mastering Limiter. Jim Messina 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 st 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, Jim Messina is still performing. Willie Nelson 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: http://willienelson.com/ Ted Nugent 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: https://www.tednugent.com/ Jeff Porcaro 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: http://jeffporcaro.blogspot.com/ Leo O’Donnell 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. Joe Osborn 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. Joe Osborn 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. Dean Parks Another guitarist 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. Bill Putnam 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 Robinson 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. Linda Ronstadt 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. Lindas’ webpage: https://ronstadt-linda.com/ 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 Van Halen’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: https://davidleeroth.com/ 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 Schatzer 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 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: https://www.tomscottmusic.com/ Lee Sklar 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: https://lelandsklarsbeard.com/ 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 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. The car 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 VSO the 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: http://van-halen.com/ 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 Sunset Strip. 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 Turtles. 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. Barbara Walters 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. Doug Weston Now, there was a character! Whenever I think of Doug Weston, I can’t help but think of the time that the Haji truck was at the Troubadour to record Etta James. 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. Mentor Williams 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. 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: http://www.paulwilliamsofficial.com/ Frank Zappa I assisted Joe Chiccarelli, 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. Joe Chiccarelli went on to become a very well known recording engineer. The Zappa site: https://www.zappa.com/ Steve Zuckerman 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: http://www.creativecombustion.tv/ Return to TOP of page © Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
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