I’ve been reminiscing about times in the recording studio that have made me laugh, times that weren’t so funny, and times that brought a tear to my eye. Let me share with you what I can recall within these limited amount of words…
Once, while sitting in my control room, I looked out the door into the main room and saw two female customers laughing as they each covered one eye and then the other and commented on what they were seeing in the distance. My first thought was, “What in the world is going on with these ladies? Have they been hitting the sauce during our recording session?”. I had to ask, of course. They laughed some more and said, “We’re checking our eyes!”. The joke was on me! I had forgotten I had hung an old-fashioned eye chart on another door of the studio for decoration. Maybe you had to be there?
Another time, right in the middle of a song, the drummer came out of the drum room and headed directly toward one of the guitarists, ready for an all-out brawl! Fortunately, a couple of the other band members ran interference and put an end to that. I think the song was That’s What Friends Are For… maybe not. I was wondering what equipment of mine was about to bite the dust and also wishing I had spent a little more and purchased that blood resistant carpet!
Another time, a wonderful man named Joe Hayman had spent the evening in the studio recording some gospel songs. I loved his sincerity, talent, and the fact that he was seventy years old and still enjoying his guitar and his beloved gospel music. As he was about to leave, I asked, “What are you up to tomorrow, Joe?”. He said he was going to Olney. I asked what was taking him to Olney and he replied, “I’m going to see my Momma”. I was stunned for a moment, thinking a man his age surely doesn’t still have his mother around. Of course, I was probably about forty-five at the time, and seventy was ancient. I asked Joe how old his mother was and he said ninety-two. Something about this “elderly” man going to see his Momma found it’s place deep in my heart. Joe is now about ninety-two himself. Here I am, nearly sixty-six and proud to say I can still go see my Momma.
Then there was a bass player that suddenly jumped and screamed in the middle of a song, shaking his arms and flinging his hands around in the air, leaving the rest of us baffled. Another imbiber in the studio? Nope! This time the culprit was a wasp! Hit him right between two of his fingers in that sensitive flesh area. No, he was not recording Flight Of The Bumblebee or Hit Me With Your Best Shot.
There was another time a fight nearly broke out mid-song! The one I mentioned earlier didn’t have a reason that I can recall, but this one I do remember what caused it. Like so many disagreements, it was pretty trivial, but happened none the less. The band was working on a song that had a part that sounded pretty harsh in certain areas. They would get to that spot, hear a problem, stop, and start again, with no progress in sight. I started watching closely, knowing about where the problem always started, and realized what was wrong. The next time they stopped, I said, “Hey, guys! I know what’s wrong!”. I explained that at that point of the song one guitarist was hitting an A chord while the other was hitting an A minor. For those of you that have no idea what kind of sound that would make, imagine Hiroshima and the Hindenburg disaster at the same time. Or maybe Bob Dylan and Justin Bieber doing a duet. Actually, try not to imagine that last one. For some unknown reason, these two guitarists lit into each other about how the other was wrong and “that’s not how we rehearsed it”. It nearly got physical! In case you’re thinking that recording studios might have a violent side, please know that in twenty-five plus years, there have only been two episodes like this. Usually it’s about as peaceful as can be.
I think I’m about 300 words over my limit and haven’t really shared that much. Hopefully you got a chuckle or a tear out of these few stories. Oh, did I mention that about fifteen years ago I met the sweetest girl you could ever imagine right there in my little studio? Well, I did. And she’s still around.