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 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 him here:
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 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 2 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 but Hoyt
never got the take that 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:
Hoyt’s youngest son (Matthew), is following his dad”s footsteps and has his own
Randy Bachman was perhaps best known for the groups: “Bachman-Turner
Overdrive” and “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 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
during the sound check and they learned how to deal with it. 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 auditorium 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 continuous
performance because often the performances are from different halls
(this record was no exception), the slapback issue could only be minimized 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:
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.
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 affiliation with
Hollywood Sound Systems
and Audio Rents
co-located with them.
Hal Blaine was one of recorded music’s legendary drummers. Hal was one of
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. He 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,
were already in place) thinking that Hal would be playing his 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 Mic’d 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 overhead microphones.
I was blown away. No wonder the guy was a legend.
More information about Hal;
He 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. So, 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!).
“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:
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.
This Bob Bushnell is an electronics 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
(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
(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 Manhattan on
Christmas Eve, driving the U-haul truck.
I recorded and mixed the score for the movie “A Country Mile” at Haji Sound
Recording and Larrabee Sound Studios. The opening and end credits music
were 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 look and 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.
So,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!
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 Jim Croce 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 was never released.
Steve Cropper has his own website :
Robert “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 Recording 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 shopping bag.”
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 that
nickname. I first worked with Duck 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 at 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, 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 for many artists and on many records.
He 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. Now, Dusty is a baseball manager.
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.
I first met Jerry Ferree when I was introduced to Bill Putnam. Jerry went on to
be the Chief Engineer for ABC Records. I was hired part time at ABC to help
with the installation of studios C and D. (I think Bob De Avila had something to
do with that) 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 Recording. He was formerly a
recording engineer for Columbia Records in Los Angeles, CA and was also a
victim of the studio closures in 1972. John recorded many records at Columbia.
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 many others.
At Haji, John mainly took care of the business end of things although he stayed
active as a recording engineer as well.
In 1974, I mixed a couple of songs for Jimmy Foot at Heritage Studio in
Burbank, CA. Heritage had a long and narrow control room & the bass was
deficient at the mixing console. In order to hear the mix properly, you had to
stand at the left end of the control room. The studio was equipped with 2 tape
recorders; a Stephens 2", 16 track and a Scully 1/4", 2 track. The assistant was
Suzie Foot who was Jim's wife and listed as one of the producers. Susie had
worked at Wally Heiders Studios in San Francisco so, she knew her way around
a recording studio. However, Susie had never worked with a Stephens machine.
The Stephens tape recorders use the ‘tape out’ sensor to turn the transport on
and off. Other machines mostly use the "Stop" button after the tape has been
threaded. This takes some getting used to when one is shuttling tape on a
Stephens machine. Susie was winding down to the song to be mixed, when all
hell broke loose. The tape had been leadered and when the tape sensor was
able to shine through the leader, it shut the transport off. I turned around to look
& observed that the 2" master tape was boiling off of the deck & up the wall.
Suzie was horrified! She had never experienced anything like this. I jumped in to
help un-tangle things and re-thread the machine. All was well so, we got back to
work. When we finished a mix, we had to stand at the left end of the control
room for a playback.
However, the mixes came out well and they were used on the record.
Here is Jimmy Foot’s website;
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
” 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.
More about Lowell ;
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
guitar parts 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
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:
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
. 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 an ‘A list’ 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 too delicate or rare.
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 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
his 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 used a pick when she played. On one particular session,
she was using a guitar pick while she was playing and it was making a clicking
sound that annoyed the Producer. I gave her a felt pick to use and it worked.
Carol is a terrific musician, 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 Recording. 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 do you speak when
you think 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 that 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. Keith went on to have a
very successful career in manufacturing speakers.
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 electric bassists because he was one of the very few 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
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 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
singer. 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, the 1/4” master, 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 developing 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
record Producer. 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. He 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 and 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
Engineer and I was the Chief Engineer. 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 recorded, mixed and co-produced some demo songs for Rick in 1976.
The other producer was Travis Key. As the producers, we arranged for the
musicians, financed the project and even started a publishing company called
No Mo Bogus Productions. The purpose of the publishing company was to
insure that everything had been legally protected before submitting the finished
demos to the record companies. All went well with the recording and mixing.
The result was shown to the local record companies.
However, none of them
were interested in signing Rick. I suggested to Travis that Rick's material be
shown to the record companies in Nashville, but we didn't have the money.
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.
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. Several condos were 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 became Ted Nugent’s album “Double Live Gonzo.” Rolling Stone
magazine once 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 in
Oregon, 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 while he was working for the Canadian government. Time Code is
something that impacts everyone who watches TV or goes to the movies.
Leo was an Australian who always greeted you with: “G’day Mate.”
Leo 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. His website:
I met Bill Putnam because of my association with Haji Sound Recording.
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. Bob Bushnell and Jerry Feree authored a book about
their days at UREI titled “From Downbeat to Vinyl”
Bill was the General Manager of Sunset Sound Recorders and was 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
sang 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 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
’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
and 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)
which, 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. They eventually signed with Warner Bros.
Records who thought that their demos were good enough to release but
Columbia Records would not release the musicians so Warner Bros. assigned
Jerry Wexler to produce their first album. After hearing some of the demos, Alex
Kazanegras became a fan and Alex and John Townsend became great friends.
Lew was instrumental in getting the recording 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 Haji Sound 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 who 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
while 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.
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
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 intended song. Plus, Eddie
was imagining a Doppler effect and somehow thought that we could create it.
Donn managed to convince Eddie that we could
the recording of 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
unplugging 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 on the tape. 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.
Van Halen’s website:
Pat & Lolly Vegas
Pat & Lolly were the front-men for the band Redbone. At the time that I worked
with Redbone, 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, (Drums &
I served as a road manager and front of house (FOH) mixer for two of their
tours. Pat & Lolly Vegas moved from Fresno, CA to Los Angeles 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 (I think) 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.
The band is mentioned on Wikipedia;
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 he
happened to like the Super Tacos from Jack-In-The-Box. Mark proceeded to
order dinner for everyone, but 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 PJ’s and slippers), 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, 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. As far as the
director was concerned, the fact that a recording session was planned for the
evening only added to the script 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. Doug Weston decided to read some
poetry to the audience to fill in some time. 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. Etta James did eventually perform and the
audience was thrilled because they had waited as long as we had.
When it came time to re-mix the tapes, Doug Weston insisted that all of the
console equalizers (tone controls) be turned up to the max. I tried to explain to
him that all that he was doing was turning up the volume, but that didn’t matter.
I worked on a few projects with Mentor Williams Producing. We became good
friends and stayed in touch outside of the workplace. When I was 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 because of the added noise.
More about Mentor Williams in my writing about his brother; Paul Williams.
I finished Paul’s 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). 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.
Paul’s ‘Official’ website:
, on Frank Zappa’s 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. 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. 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.
Frank Zappa was totally against illegal drugs of any kind.
The Zappa site:
went on to become a very well known recording engineer.
Steve is a Music Composer who is best known for his work with commercials.
Steve has composed the music for some feature films as well. He is also an
excellent author. 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 that wasn’t
noted. 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
DO IT YOURSELF?
BAKING AUDIO TAPE
LUBRICATING AUDIO TAPE
MOISTURIZING ACETATE TAPE
REPAIRING A BROKEN 78
FLATTENING A RECORD
A Little About Sound
Optimizing your PC
Packing Records for Shipment
People I have Known
Playing Records Wet
Playing a Wire Recording
Saving Your Family Video
The Ken Slater Tapes
Tubes vs Transistors
What Type of Wire?
Your Digital Data is at Risk