A&M chapter eighteen

I’ve been laboring on this tome for some time now and I’m beginning to see an end to it, but there is still so much to tell.  I have three more big stories and a chapter or two of anecdotes about famous people.  Probably some other stuff.  This anecdotal chapter will be full of brief, uh, anecdotes about famous people and there’s lots to tell.  All these things happened the way I intend to describe them.  The way they happened to me.

I was in the Biz for awhile and I got a little dish.

I figure that if I put all the higher octane in one or two chapters, it’ll be more convenient for the lawyers and stuff.  Maybe if the book is good enough they’ll pay for my lawyers.  Really, what I have to tell you isn’t all bad, but it’s personal and it happened to me or around me.  Well within my periphery.   To the best of my ability, I will remember and describe.  No harm or malignancy is intended, but this is my goddamn book and I intend for it to be as truthful as is available to me.

Let’s start in the deep end.

Jimmy Iovine is a dick.  In a blond wig, heels and spandex, he could stand in for CC DeVille.  What chaps my ass so much about Jimmy Iovine is that he’s neither an engineer or a record producer.  Never has been.  He’s a deal maker, and he has very little to do with where the music comes from or how it gets rendered.  He puts the right people together, but I doubt Jimmy has ever actually “made” a record.  Jimmy Iovine is in charge of the production of, the marketing of, the cultivating of, as opposed to the making of.

People like him are there for a reason and he is the poster child for people like him.

It chaps my ass because the making of the music, the immediacy and permanence, is recorded and committed to by the hour, by engineers and musicians.  It is the center of the universe for the entire music industry.  It is the recording studio or any reasonable facsimile thereof, that is hallowed ground.  More in my day than today.   It is a delicate and intricate process under the best of conditions.  I’m amazed at some of the recordings before my time.

Yet it becomes more and more instant.  Disposable.

We still don’t know the impact of music in the thought and finger tip era of technology, but early results on science applied everywhere else is mixed at best.  I can’t think of where science hasn’t benefited art, except early digital audio.   I have my fears.  There’s a lot to be said for cracking the shrink wrap, smelling the vinyl and ink.  Reading the liner notes, who produced, engineered and played.  Where it was recorded and when.  It allowed me to have a picture in my head.

I must tell you, I never liked Jimmy but he wouldn’t know my name or recognize my face.  He wouldn’t give a mad fuck.  He is one of the most powerful men in the music business.   I hear he comes from meat packing on the east coast.  He could probably have me killed.  He survived Snoop, Dre, Suge and Tupac.

I can’t help but wonder at his success.  He’s got genius for sure but avarice and lust as well.  I was around him before he was all this, even though he was quite something back then, and he was a prick that wore a toupee under a hat.  A prick is a prick by any other name.  He wore a wig under a fucking baseball hat and he gave John Lennon’s mellotron to some department store magnate named Ted Fields.  I know, I delivered it.  One of the most amazing houses I’ve ever been in.

He looked at me once on some session I can’t remember, after I’d had the audacity to make a suggestion, pointed his finger and said, “You’re wood, wood doesn’t talk”.

 How am I doing so far?

Then there was the time I was doing a gig with Stevie Nicks and Chris Lord Alge.  It was me and Randy Wine and the cowboy coffee fueled Lord Alge.  He brought his own coffee.  It smelled pretty good.  Hell of a name.  New Fuckin’ York.  East coast guys had an automatic chip for west coast guys.  Chris was among the cooler east coast guys, but still a hardass.  He gave me some of his coffee once.  It was pretty good.  Stevie had the biggest posse for a white girl ever.  Remember this was fifteen, seventeen years ago.  Stevie looked more Presley than Nicks.  Her hangers on turned her pages and mixed her drinks.  She did far more than diet and work out for that last comeback.  She was a mess.

I think she was cryogenically frozen while they fixed her teeth at least.  They were the teeth of ancient flying reptile and had to be replaced with ones that resembled human.

Bulky and corpulent.  Sausage bursting from it’s casing.  I remember her feet looked as though they would explode from her shoes.  She had incense, candles, tissues and gobs of whatever else on her music stand.  Oil burners, foil balloons, kites and train sets.  Kidding.  I can’t remember the song so I’ll have to look that up before I publish.  That, and the Bon Jovi gig in D.  That was a train wreck too.  Anyway, we’re in the middle of a vocal, I mean Stevie Nick’s is out in the middle of studio A with a temporary vocal booth on wheels constructed around her.  Lights all the way down.  Just her and her candles and incense and whatever other paraphernalia.

The flame on her right goes from an inch to a foot.  I was transfixed.  Mesmerized.  Sitting there behind the tape remote in a dark control room.  Randy Wine got me moving.  We hit the button for the Star Trek door, through an iso booth, so two more sliding glass doors.  We tipped it over and stomped it out.

She did mention she smelled smoke afterward.

Then there was the time, with CC Deville, I was forced to punch in and out of record over an eight bar solo section for CC Deville for eight fucking hours.  A man who could easily have stunt doubled for Jimmy Iovine had he just replaced his ridiculous wig with a stupid mullet wig and cheesy baseball or bass fishing hat.  He sat there and did blow, take after take, while Julian Raymond did nothing to stop it.  Eight hours for eight bars in one of the most expensive studios in the world.  He played the same thing over and over until he got too fucked up to play it the same way.  It was ridiculous.  I’ve already talked about this, I just like the way I’ve managed to make the argument that CC and Jimmy just might be the same person.  $2.17 to the first person to provide a photo of them together.

How about me  driving Annie Lennox to her hotel in Beverly Hills?  We got to talking politics in my ’69 VW Superbeetle.  All I could think about was the springs that must be poking her in the ass.  Bare rusting springs tearing at the integrity of her garment.  The fabric on the passenger side had long looked to me like shredded wheat.  That, and the way the size of her voice rang my bell as she sang over my shoulder while I sat at the console when she suddenly had inspiration for a background vocal part.  I nearly shat myself.  I was vaguely worried she’d get tetanus from my car seat.

That woman moves between smoke and fire.

Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders threw a sausage at my head.  I didn’t see it coming but she popped out of the mix room pissed, as I was ambling down the hall to make a fresh pot of coffee for someone.  All I remember is teeth and heavily made up eyes hurling a giant log of flesh right at my head.  Apparently our concierge was clueless as to our new guest’s animal activism and solidarity with all things PETA.  I was happy to learn it wasn’t personal, as I was a vegetarian at the time.

She missed me, I ducked.

How is that Rush Limbaugh uses the Pretenders everyday as a bumper on his radio show?

I could mention the couple of times I got tossed out of the titty bar across the street because I was with Tom Petersen from Cheap Trick.  Great guy, notorious drunk.  I spent a lot of hours with a lot of clients in that titty bar.

Kevin DuBrow was a dick and I don’t care.  I deliberately spilled my drink on his shoes at a club after I worked with him.  Carlos Cavazo was the opposite, quiet and humble.

Warren DeMartini was also a very nice guy.  Spent the afternoon shopping with him one day because he didn’t have a car.

Me and Al hired Bun E. Carlos once for this Australian fiasco.  All Bun wanted was McDonald’s and a joint.  Then we were good to go.   We did a cover of Can’t Stand The Rain.  I gotta find that DAT.

I got Marcus Miller’s Porsche up to almost 90 on Delongpre between La Brea and Highland by ignoring the stop signs.  It took a couple tries.  It was hard to shift.  We’re talking about an eight of a mile maybe.  I was supposed to be taking it for a wash and wax.

I got Shelly’s jeep up to 85 on the way to Tahoe and got a ticket but I got his Jag up to 130 on the way back and didn’t get a ticket.

Ann and Nancy Wilson carved some pumpkins for Halloween in Studio D and I stole them for my apartment.  Ann thought nothing of letting her dog crap at will in the studio instead of walking it, so I thought nothing of stealing her and her sister’s pumpkins. Greg Goldman left a sign on the floor with the word ‘SHIT’ and an arrow pointing at a paper tent that also said ‘SHIT’ that covered the Vienna sausage sized turds before calling a runner to clean it up.

I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be funny or not.  I thought it was.

I remember picking up a keg for Ratt and hours later passing Bobby Blotzer in the hall with blow all over his face and crazy eyes.  I led him back to his control room and discovered even later that they’d managed to break the nearly half inch thick glass tabletop in the A lounge.

I drove a completely hammered Sam Kinison to some club I need to remember the name of.  The China Club maybe?  I had to babysit him one night as he slept on the couch in control B.  He snored like a drunk and talked in his sleep.

Aerosmith showed up once with a semi trailer full of gear that took us an entire day to unload.  I had to go a prop house for palm trees, south pacific art and memorabilia etc., the idea to create a vibey lounge for them to hang out in.  I think they actually called it the Voodoo Lounge.  They then tried to get all studio personnel to sign a memo promising not to drink alcohol or do drugs during their stay.  I guess their sobriety was still pretty fragile at that point.  Mark Harvey called bullshit on that.

There was the time that I answered a page to come to the front office and happened upon Cameron DePalma walking in circles behind Timothy Leary.  He was escorting Mr. Leary to the mix room to see Mick Jones from Foreigner.  It’s a long story, but Cameron had somewhat accidentally dropped acid that afternoon before coming to the studio.  He confided in me he didn’t know how hard he’d be tripping and I agreed to keep an eye on him and take the front desk if things got out of hand.  Later that night, earlier that morning, Mick Jones had Goldman set up a mic in the back hallway to record Cameron  at the front desk blowing his sax into the phone and over the PA system.  Since Cameron had the receiver off the hook, Mick would dispatch Goldman or a runner with requests to Cameron.  I remember him asking for “A Taste of Honey”.

To keep the higher ups out of your food when chained to the front desk phone, you had to literally lick it in front of them.

Sessions that went until 6 or 8 a.m. were called a “movie”.  As in, “Yeah, B is looking like a movie”.

I worked a lot of nights.

I can see this being more than one or two chapters.

Drinks for my friends.

13 Responses to “A&M chapter eighteen”

  • Again … Another fine piece of writing.
    Maybe I’ll get the guts to write about my adventures at The Village Recorder – care to help Jonathan! No .. Your still in the business 🙂

  • gary:

    I cannot wait for the book! Excited for you…

  • Mystymist:

    I’ve heard plenty of stories, about Stevie. A seriouse Bi Ho. Can I say that on b.s.? I love that she has such a suckie reputation. Mine is really nothing to write home about, but people love to point the finger at others, anyways. Clearly she has issues with normalcy, I’ve listen to her discribe where she chooses to live in a skanky apartment, enstead of a smooth mansion that she owns. Strange orgies with dildos? How would I know?

  • admin:

    @Clif:
    I’m so glad there’s someone else from a different facility that gets what I’m describing here. Have we ever met? We will hoist a few. Thanks.

  • admin:

    @gary:
    There will be a rewrite but it’s basically all here. Look under the categories on the right side under “A&M” and “Making Records”. Thanks for reading.

  • No .. We haven’t met but should get together w/Jonathan and drink a few ! My experiences at The Village were at the same time as you … And with many of the same wankers … plus a few ….. We hosted many ” movies ” ourselves – Artists locked away in studios for 48 hours at a time . Also made some good music in between !

  • Wow what a flashback. Sam Kinison in Studio B, I worked that session with Kill. That was a fun one, Kaffel engineering. Sam was great! Seriously fun session. I’d see Sam at the Rainbow from time to time as well… damn fun. I’ll have a drink for Sam this weekend AH…AAAHHHH… AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

    Jimmy and Lord Alge were alright… I never caught any shit from them but I was probably more than a foot taller and WAY better looking than both of ’em!!! I was broke, they were loaded but I could feel their envy 🙂

  • Oh… by the way “The Voodoo Lounge” was The Stones, as in the title of the record. Set up in the right iso in A while they were mixing. I was doin’ some od’s in B with them at the time. Another fun session, I have some GREAT memories of Keith but I tend to keep stuff to myself!

    And… What the hell… Racing Marcus’ ride around Hollywood? You weren’t so bright as a young man were you? I don’t think he would have minded though, he may have even taken you to the track if he new you were into racing!!!

  • And… candles in the studio. Vibey but dangerous. Geetus and I did a session with Whitney where a candle almost lit up the vocal booth. Luckily Geetus got there in time.

  • gary Myerberg:

    Were you with me in that hallway because I remember that it was a summer sausage and she was screaming that she eats nothing with eyes

  • admin:

    Ok, first of all, think about that sentence. It’s brilliant. It could be the beginning of a good novel.

    What I remember is her screaming she eats nothing with a face. I should put that in there.

  • Jana:

    Hahahahaa—fun stuff 🙂

  • admin:

    @Jana: Thanks for reading 🙂
    Hey Berg, I don’t remember you there, do you remember me there? She was pissed. Could it have been two separate incidences? I’m confused because I remember it. Help me out here.

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