A&M chapter two

“Working in a recording studio because you like music is like working in a slaughter house because you like steak.” -Rick Plank

Characters named Eprom, Gunther, Jimhead, Hortense Chlamydia Hortenspinoza, Otis, Shemp, Foo Paux, Geetis, Roland The Headless Thompson-aka New Guy, Helmet, Chameleon Diploma, Schveihundt and a guy named Steve Kukoff Signature Series.  I was Dr. Douglass or Buck.

Then there was Joycee. A syrupy Jamaican accent so thick, it took me weeks to begin to understand her and months to appreciate her. First day on the job, I misunderstood her so completely that I walked into the women’s bathroom instead of the runner’s closet right next to it. Carol and Mrs. Lazerus were kind enough to not actually be excreting in any way at the time. They were applying makeup in anticipation of Eric Carmen’s arrival, or maybe Don Henley, thank Jesus.

“Wrong door honey”. Fuck me I was embarrassed.

I would clean that bathroom for years.

Joycee could be the difference between the success or failure of any runner or potential engineer. Don’t cross her, respect her and she could deliver you into good favor. If she didn’t like you, you just might be fucked. A sweet woman that could neither read or write. She worked her ass off and could save your ass or sink it. Middle fifties to early sixties is my guess.

Black don’t crack you know.

Sad eyes as we got our asses kicked. Sometimes glad. Once in a while she’d remind you that she could do in thirty seconds what took you five minutes. I miss her.

She ran the grill Friday afternoons out behind the studios. She walked the halls in a bright dress carrying fruit on her head and a smile. She chuckled a lot. We always shared what we found in the ashtrays.

A few years in we would test her by tossing the dishes from five lounges into the dumpster along with the trash before the sun rose instead of washing them. It really pissed her off and she knew we’d been raging all night. “Who work last night?” in a dialect so thick only we understood her. One of us would then drive her to a second hand store with money from petty cash enough for dishes and flatware to replace what we’d shitcanned the night before.

Joycee liked to go to the store. So did we. There was a place over on Western and Hollywood that sold everything.

She and I became friends once she decided I wasn’t a fool. It took a while, I was a fool. I loaned her money and drove her home in my shitbox VW Bug. One of three, blue, red and black in that order.

You couldn’t fool Joycee. Almost.

Her son Vanroy worked with us one summer. A giant sinewy black man that liked to joke with me about “pushing my face in”.

I remember being paged for a clean up in the D lounge one night. I can’t remember who the band was but Jimmy Iovine called the front desk himself to demand it in a squeaky voice.

Vanroy and I answered the call. We responded with the big truck. Cleaning supplies, bags and a cart to haul shit out. It was the only lounge with windows in the doors because it used to be part of the shop or a tape copy suite or something. When I knocked, I peered in the window. It’s Iovine, The Edge and other people of some degree of artsy stature.

The obvious approach is fast, thorough and inconspicuous. Two out of three you know. Vanroy was at least six three, probably taller. All activity ceased, we had assassinated the vibe. At one point, Jimmy Iovine looked right at me for a reason I can only guess at. A fairly urgent question in his eyes.

I did my best and introduced Vanroy, the large black man, as Joycee’s son. That seemed to be what he was looking for.

We made short work of it and on the way out Jimmy stopped me to ask me who Joycee was. It was sobering to me that this man had an office on the lot and in and out of this studio everyday…………

She was good to me. She retired and moved back to Jamaica to open a restaurant and that’s all I know. We had a party for her and she was gone. I wonder if she’s still alive.

I remember being high with her just after eight in the morning in Studio A. We’d found a good sized roach in an ashtray. I put on the Toni Childs record BV and Tokes had done back in the mix room. We bonded over it as we pretended to look busy so we could listen to the whole record.

Then I went to buy fruit.

Drinks for my friends.

6 Responses to “A&M chapter two”

  • Sean Nebeker:

    good stuff.

  • admin:

    Thanks man. A lot.

  • Misty:

    feather indeed. Does Toilet Bowl rhyme with Pop and Roll? Oh by the way, Arnold Schwarzeneggar the governor of CA is wanting more debate on legalizing and taxing marijuana. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vEB8FRiAuA&feature=relatedng .

  • David Lee 3:

    That opening quote from Plank is one of the most genius fucking things I’ve ever heard read or witnessed. EVER!

    Now, even more than before I wish I had met/known the man.

    I appreciate your mentioning my previous pseudonym Helmet as to include me (I’m currently trying to go by Hannibal or maybe just Rex), but sadly I never met Joycee, I got there right after she left — And just before Mikey Morongell left. I never met Shelly Yakis or Iovine (I think I’m actually thankful for that,.. only half so with Shelly as I really respect his work).

    The fucking dishes, god damn them to hell every last one of them. It might have been ok if they had actually installed a proper kitchen sized sink in there. I could piss more fluid than that P.O.S. would hold.
    ..But okay, go ahead and make your people you are paying take 3 times as long EVERY NIGHT to do dishes so we can save a buck NOW on not installing a proper kitchen for their chores,..stupid shit if you look at it. & probably not a real health code kosher item either.

    But I know now that being shat upon was some bizarre ritualistic hazing ceremony for all new runners and aspiring audio professionals. Again, that is just really, REALLY – stupid shit.
    Just post Planks quote where you clock in and the timid ones will figure it out quickly.

    Great roaches in them ashtrays in the pro studios kids, not good, GREAT!

    Thanks bartender, I’ll have a Sex After Cancer,

  • admin:

    Fucking A! Thanks. I still can’t believe you missed all that.

  • GG:

    You know, I like music, and I like steak.

    How do strings track in a slaughterhouse?

    Probably better for drum sounds…..

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