© 1990-2017 Phill Sawyer. All Rights Reserved.
From late 1963 to 1968 I worked at the United Recording and Western Recorders studios - a few hundred feet or so from Columbia Drugs at Sunset and Gower in Hollywood. This was Gower Gulch; from way back into the wee early years of Hollywood - and as recently as the 1940's, this was where the cowboys hung out, coming in from the Valley, up from San Bernardino, waiting for the "cattle call" for more extras for Hollywood's endless production of Westerns. At 6050 Sunset, on the corner of the little dead-end stump of Beachwood Drive that juts into the Columbia Pictures lot, the United Recording building had originally been Horsley Studios, the first independent production facilities in Hollywood. Western Recorders was a half-block east, at 6000. These were two of the hottest studio complexes in Hollywood when I started to work there one day when I was nineteen years old and needing an evening job so I could continue attending college. I didn't know it at the time, but my friend's father, Bill Putnam, was on the shortlist of reigning recording geniuses of the post-war era. He was a masterful music mixer and known for working with the sheet music up on the console in front of him when he mixed (he told me once that it was sometimes for show and sometimes because someone would expect it; and he accommodated). He owned both United and Western, plus Coast Recorders in San Francisco, and United Recording of Nevada in Las Vegas. He owned both UREI and Universal Audio and designed most of their breakthrough professional audio gear. It was Bill, in whose home I rented living quarters with his son Scott (and my good friend), who offered me the gig. For the next 5 years, as the world slammed into the sixties, I lived and worked at the center of the west coast recording scene.
My first studio gig was in United's studio A, swinging a boom mike to follow and pick up the sound of Buddy Ebsen's tap dancing for a TV show soundtrack - don't even remember the name of the show. United Recording's studios A and B were two of the most popular places in the world for recording, hosting a non-stop schedule of sessions with top names in recording - the Sinatras - Nancy and dad anyway, a couple of Martins - Dean and then Dino (remember Dino, Desi & Billy), Bing, Johnny Mathis, Keely Smith, Jan and Dean, The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Charles, Billy Strange - the list is truly huge. Plus, at both of the studio locations you would always see the top session musicians like Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Earl Palmer, Carole Kay, Leon Russell, Glen Campbell; session contractors like my friend Ratso's mom, Dopey Klein. There were the hot producers of the era, like Jimmy Bowen, Lee Hazelwood, and Snuffy Garrett. Sonny Bono would come by once in a while - as Caesar and Cleo at one point, but he rarely worked at either United or Western. Noel Harrison, son of "Gaius Julius" Rex Harrison, looked much like his dad and gave himself a whack at pop greatness at United studios. And there was Mike Curb, future Lt. Governor but then the smarmy, weird, wholesome nerd-virgin whose production of the Mike Curb Congregation was the cream of unsane right wing music.
In the years to come I would have numerous and varied assignments in my unique position within the heady atmosphere of United and Western studios, but in those early days I was really just working for and around Bill Putnam - sometimes with his son Scott, my roommate and close friend since our days at Hollywood High School. It was all very casual at first, but in a matter of a few months evolved into a full-time job of remote location recordings around the country, evening studio sessions in Hollywood, general assistance in almost every area of studio life, and the many many strange, unbelievable and wonderful adventures one gets into when you hang out with a giant personality and a brilliant mind. I tried real hard to fit all of this into the schedule of a young man trying to finish college. But there was so much going on - and so many out-of-town recordings, that my education began to lose almost any attraction for me. If I was working in Hollywood I would try to get to the studios in mid-afternoon after my college classes were over and I would work until around midnight, following the final recording sessions of the evening. By the end of 1964 I was barely able to think about school, as my palette was being filled to glory with ideas and experiences that no school could ever offer.
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Bill Putnam was legendary in the music recording world. Not just that he had contributed so much to the modern arsenal of sound gear, but also because he really was a master "tonemeister" in the real sense of that invented term. He was a master of studio acoustics. He understood the math. He knew how to design with it and had designed many, many studios (including studios for the Barclay organization in France), with the ones at United and Western perhaps his finest works. His echo chambers were of the best ever constructed; they were about the size of half of a bedroom and there were certain tricks of math and design, and plaster composition and dampness that were critical to the sweetness of the sound. There were dozens of these chambers stuck away in groups in various places in both buildings - United and Western. Some were different than others for good reason - some were best for long reverberation; others for shorter durations. Picking the right combination of chambers for your session was something the engineers took quite seriously. What came out of the control room speakers when Bill was recording a first-class session orchestra was a very rich sound; these rooms made the music sound warm and steady in a way that was right for both the musicians in the room and for the microphones. I would watch him work in the studios with the acoustics he had planned, using the echo chambers he had designed, the equipment he had invented and consoles he had built and mixing music he loved while following the sheet music like a track sheet for a feature motion picture sound mix - planning ahead as the music played; dodging a horn riff, leaving room for the piano entry, holding the mix together and giving room for the music's dynamics to flow and dance those needles all within the safe zone on the VU meters. This was a musical endeavor for him. That's why he was the best; why everyone noticed the difference - why they wanted him to mix. That's why he was mixing Sinatra - mixing Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Roger Williams, Ray Charles, and his dear friend and drinking buddy, Gene Austin, the first true recording star in history: "My Blue Heaven" from the late 20's or early 30's. I watched Bill recording Bing Crosby in 1964 and knew what it meant for him. This was what he had gotten into the business to do - record a Bing Crosby - THE Bing Crosby.
One time Bill Putnam and I went over to the home of Bing Crosby's accompanist in the valley - to record the guy's huge vintage theater organ, installed in a very spacious studio he had built on his property. Bing showed up and the 4 of us spent about 6 hours listening and recording some pretty basic swing and jazz music as outputted by this huge loft of pipes and gadgets, drums and cymbals. Bill made certain that these recordings were the best you could make. Bing was there; Bing was listening to the playbacks. It would be the best. But all in an atmosphere free of anything but relaxed banter, interesting techniques and interesting music. Now this was a good gig.
Bill was into model building; model airplanes in particular, and he, Scott and I would occasionally find ourselves at the model airport in Van Nuys, flying the latest incarnation. But mainly it was all done back at the house. The building was the thing, with balsa, paper, glue, small parts, engines, gearing; the drying wing spread out on a bench - the whole airplane hobby thing. I decided that I should build something too - the Titanic would be my goal. I was a fanatic about the disaster; having studied it as a kid, and I was eager to learn from Bill and take advantage of all this model building energy. Bill's new wife, called Tookie, let me use the laundry room and so I started carving a 1 and 1/2 foot hunk of balsa wood into the shape of the stern of the Titanic - that shapely, rounded stern: the clipper stern. I would never finish this model, but here it was again: the Titanic. My last 2 attempts had been audio dramas recorded on my uncle's Ampex 650 luggable recorder. They had contained some pretty good effects; the last one having been quite sensual in terms of an engine room sound: slowed down washing machine, played backward over itself, creating an undulating engine-room sound that was eirie and odd. If I were to finish the model, I could probably build some sound into the model itself and I had some great new ideas and... But events sent me off into a different direction. The sixties were becoming quite demanding.
My work around Frank Sinatra was varied and always memorable.I was involved in setting up the microphones for almost every studio recording he made between 1963 and 1968. These were the Reprise Records years and the sessions for "That's Life", Jimmy Bowen's prodcution of "Strangers in the Night", and the incredibly wonderful sessions in April 1965 for "September of My Years" in United studio A with engineer Lee Herschberg. As I recall there was a video crew present for at least one of the "September" sessions and there was a vague rumour that Sinatra might be retireing after this. I remember hearing the string section rehearsing with the doors open and those powerful, phenomenal string lines soaring down the hall as I hustled to bring in a new mike to replace a failed one. I remember the chill I felt hearing that unique and wonderful Gordon Jenkins orchestral sound as I rounded the corner and zoomed into the room to make the switch before we needed to do a take. As was often the case, I was doing my job as a powerful orchestra rehearsed right in my face - as exciting and as stimulating as anything should ever be. Sometimes a microphone would be part of a group of up to four microphones, each on a large boom swung out in the air over a three-tiered string, brass or woodwinds section. The microphone was plugged into a power supply which was then connected to a series or parallel box, depending on their matchability, to join signals with the other microphone in the group. Each box would then be connected to the wall receptacles leading to the mixing booth. Changing any of these things as the session goes on around you is a very hairy situation.
I worked on the remote recordings of the1966 live performances at the Sand's Hotel in Las Vegas. This was my most fun with a Sinatra project because I had some very different kinds of experiences this time, not all of which were connected to the concert. In the early afternoon before the evening's performance recording, I had been in Frank's room with the recording engineer for some reason or another, and I was marvelling at the massive bed in the middle of the room, and over which was a large striped tent, when in walked Frank and some people. He whisked by me asking, "Like the tent Phill?" I said something about never having seen a bed with a tent over it. He asked me if I would be going back to LA right after the concert. I said no, I had another remote recording assignment the following night at another of the Hotel-Casinos on the strip. He said that since he was leaving I should take his room for the next night. I said thanks and I left and went about my job. I couldn't wait to get to the room that night but, sadly, it was not possible because we never went to bed that night - we worked 'till dawn tearing down at the Sands and setting up at the other hotel.
A few hours later I was passing though a dimly lit empty theater at the Sands and there was Frank, Dean, Sammy Davis, Jr. and another person sitting alone in the room, loudly talking amid bursts of laughs. As I walked past them, Frank recognized me, greeted me and said that I should sit and relax like they were doing. Dean, who'd seen me at his sessions for years, said "Yeah, you're always working too hard". I sat down, surprised at the sudden friendliness. Just then a tall, shapely female dancer in tights walked into the room and proceeded very quickly down the aisle towards the stage area. As she zoomed past, Dean blurted out, "Oh, for your sake, whatever you do, don't trip". She didn't react and disappeared backstage. These guys were not my style, but their sarcastic mood was easy to laugh with, and I was fascinated at how outrageous and flip they could be.
Note: since Dean and Sammy did not perform at the 1966 performance, the preceding anecdote may seem improbable. Nevertheless, the foregoing is what I remember and, though it is possible that this occurred on another occasion when I was at the Sands Hotel while Frank was there (though not being recorded), I really doubt it and I believe the above happened during the time period of the 1966 recording.
I worked with Bill Putnam and others on some pretty interesting special projects involving Frank; such as the sound system for Sinatra's house in Palm Springs, and the sound system at the CalNeva lodge in Reno, in which Frank was a co-owner (amidst a backdrop of Mafia stories and rumors). To get to Reno on one occasion, I rode with Bill Putnam, Frank and three other people in Frank's private plane - a two-engine piston craft (bigger than the jet plane that would soon replace it) with tricycle landing gear and a door ramp to the rear of the plane that opened into the bathroom, with it's' golden swan-neck faucet handles, then through a small passage past a private room that I never entered, to the main room, featuring a piano neatly built into the side wall, a bar with tiny lights in the darkly painted ceiling above, a few very comfortable chairs and a simple couch against the side of the cabin. At one point during the flight I asked him if he minded having a microphone as large as the Neuman U47 in front of him during his recordings at United. The U47 was indeed a big microphone and I had always felt as if I was putting a barrier up in front of the singer, and not just Frank. It wasn't the only good microphone, to be sure, but the U47 condenser microphone, with it's clunky AC power supply, was a superior being to most engineers and when they could get it, they used it. Frank said he hadn't really noticed because the older microphones had been even bigger, but mainly, he said, he figured that the engineer knew best and he never worked with any engineer except the best. . It was a pleasant few hours before a nail-biting conclusion as we landed on this meager, mostly dirt runway - in the dark; the runway defined by rows of lanterns - not electric lights; lanterns. There were 2 pilots on board, neither of which gave me confidence as they argued their way down. At 500 feet I became convinced that one of them was drunk. Bill didn't think so. We landed, and I worked with Bill doing acoustic measurements in one of the performing spaces and then I came back to Hollywood by way of a commercial flight to Burbank. On one of Sinatra's next sessions, this time in studio 1 at Western, engineer Lowell Frank chose another mike - smaller and not a Neuman or a Telefunken. Did it matter? In the nuanced world of sound that I was living in, the difference was huge - the big ballsy expanse of that U47 atmosphere was replaced by a tense, empty readiness that was hard to read. Until the voice hit; then it made sense, fitting into the mix as it should. Such were my concerns at the time.
True enough, Lowell Frank was lead engineer for Warner-Reprise at the time. But Western studio 1 was a new room; there was a new generation of recording console sitting in the studio 1 control room; there were new, clean, solid-state modular channel amps handling the signal, and, against the wall, the 3M "4-channel Dynatrack" recorder. Did he know what to do with all this? Certainly he knew what good recording was all about. But multi-track was a different animal. Only a few years old, 4-track recording was revolutionizing the music world. A new way to conceptualize the process of composing and producing was now possible with this new multi-track mentality. Some were faster than others in getting into it. Breakthrough 4-track recordings were being produced by many in the new rock world of England and the US, but not everybody got the point. The 3M "4-channel Dynatrack" machine had come to United and Western (all machines were shared between the two studios; the machines-on-wheels scooted back and forth all day and all evening). "Dynatrack" was 3M's scheme to provide more headroom, lower noise in 4-channel recording by using two tracks for each of the four channels - one set at a higher recording level; with the playback signal seamlessly switched (that's the trick) between the two tracks to achieve the desired result. It worked fine. But, since the machine achieved its end by being an 8-track recorder, screw "4-channel Dynatrack". This is an 8-track. And as the Wizard said, this is a horse of a very different color! Work with the best.
It really mattered a lot to me that it all sound terrific, especially when I was involved with setting up the microphones, which was a lot of the time in those years. Especially the big band and the orchestra sessions with solo vocalist, in the years before 4 track, when recording the take was for the whole enchilada - no replacing anything later; no overdubbing a better part here and there, and, except for the voice (on track 2 of 3-track tapes), no second try getting a better mix later. Almost any Reprise Records session, or a Nelson Riddle session, or Don Costa with Johnny Mathis recording, and most certainly any Jimmy Bowen production, kept me riveted; I tried to make certain that my microphone placement never needed re-adjustment for it to sound as it should. It didn't always happen, but that was a goal. For the strings to sound their best, the microphone placement needed to allow for maximum section coverage while minimizing the sound of surrounding instruments; then the next section needed the same consideration, then the next and, soon, previous sections would need re-adjustment, and on and on until a final and, hopefully, brilliant convergence was achieved.
What I was constantly learning more about was microphone placement in different settings: live stage, studio rock band, and most challenging to me, the full orchestra studio recording - all in situations where the result must be the best among the world's best. There was no acceptable alternate quality. And there was no second chance. Engineer Eddie Brackett, who recorded "Strangers in the Night" and almost all of the Dean Martin recordings of that period, had a way of conceptualizing the placement and the phase relationships of microphones in multiple microphone environments, such as a group of four mikes covering a drumset and also that group within the larger group of the rhythym section, and the relationship of those and other groups to the entire group of the band or orchestra. These were things that I absolutely HAD to learn in order to get anywhere near one of his sessions. He had to know that I understood his concept of the session before he could ever let me adjust his mikes. Eddie was way into it, and his many sessions in studios A and B at United resulted in wonderful recordings in part because Eddie had a vision of "things all coming together" by virtue of phase-consonant microphones sending positively charged dynamics for him to musically blend in the real-time mixes that were essential - unavoidable, in the 2, 3 and 4-track recording era.
There was no doubt that all of these guys were serious professionals who could handle the technical effort behind big, important recording sessions and could deliver a great sounding recording. Bill Putnam saw to it that all were among the best there was. Engineer Lanky Linstrott was a very calm, cool fellow who never seemed unsettled or worried even when a session broke down with equipment collapse- and he got a great sound. Assistant, or second engineers, at United and Western studios were most often full engineers in their own right and, like Bowen David, often performed as such, and were especially key players in the whole studio 3 world where often it was the producer, or the composer, who was doing the mixing, but an engineer was essential for the session to proceed in any guaranteed way.
Western Recorders had big rooms also - studio 1 being built around 1966 or so, and here was where Sinatra sang "That's Life", and here was studio 2 where Ricky Nelson worked with his dad, and the Righteous Brothers cut "Soul and Inspiration" with engineer Jimmy Lockert.
Totally boring, predictable, Studio 3 at Western Recorders was in fact one of the Major Sacred Spaces of the recording world between 1964 and 1968. It was the home studio for a number of key rock evolutionaries; the most notable would include the Mamas and Papas, the Beach Boys, the Association, Jan & Dean, Johnny Rivers, the Turtles (sometimes), or, in another way of looking at it, anyone Lou Adler was managing or producing, Bones Howe was engineering, Jan Berry was scamming, or any side project of a Wilson - dad or boys.
Bones Howe was everywhere in the mid sixties LA recording world - his session with Phil Specter (wearing a ruffled cuff white shirt) producing "Ebb Tide" with the Righteous Brothers in studio A was like the scene out of a movie about LA's hip recording sessions. The weird thing is that it was unlike almost any other session. The mental atmosphere and underpinning nervous tension was palpable and totally unwantable. Bones did terrific work even with Phil Spector ranging back and forth, his torso hanging over the console, looking like some mad vampire pimp. At one point, he went out into the studio and personally played a few chords on the acoustic rhythm guitar so the player would know exactly what was wanted. Bones was handling everything fine, but it was Phil's way with adding echo that impressed itself on me. At one point, he put tons of echo on almost every microphone channel, creating a huge, soupy mix of everything - sublimely gorgeous but unheard of and preposterous. Then, as they rehearsed, be began reducing the echo very cautiously, on certain channels only, sharpening lines and hits just enough to establish solid ground for power and force.
Johnny Mathis's voice had amazed me for years before I began working at his sessions when he was on the Mercury label in the mid 60's. Bill Putnam was engineering the sessions at first, soon to turn it over to Jimmy Lockert. What was noticeable to me from the first session was the way Mathis used the microphone; the way he related to it as a receiver of the final, shaped sound that he would create and dispense with such graceful ease. He caressed the microphone's position in space, often providing his own fade-ins and fade-outs, and - most fascinating to me, creating a sense of reverberation with the merely physical instrument of his body. It wasn't too long before I just had to try some things myself. And so it happened I went into studio C late at night, made copies of the 3-track master tapes; took the copies into studio A - set up a Neuman U47, erased Johnny's voice from the center track and began overdubbing my voice on recordings of songs such as "Wake the Town and Tell the People". At the time Johnny was working with both Don Costa and Allyn Ferguson arrangements, so these were great tapes. I worked with machine-to-machine overdubbing so as to try out layered voices like I was hearing from Brian Wilson's sessions. I tried various echo and equalization configurations, machine-to-machine phasing (with the thumb against the capstan) and other tricks on my voice tracks, learning a whole lot about how these things could be used. Too bad I had a rather so-so voice. I later degaussed the 3-track tapes. I had learned what I had wanted to learn.
Johnny had a fantastic house above Sunset Boulevard, near the old Ciro's. It was formerly Howard Hughes' house. We invited Johnny to our Halloween party in 1964 at Bill's house high up above Beachwood drive on a wonderful knoll with a great view and a fine pool. Johnny's live-in secretary, whose name I forget, was someone both Scott Putnam and I were hoping we could date. We had no doubt that she was not romantically involved with Johnny and she was very cute. I had visited at Johnny's house a couple of times, but I ended up being a general house guest - she wasn't very interested in anything beyond that. But these were interesting moments at the Mathis house nonetheless. One time I was talking with arranger Don Costa about the new 8-track tape system he had given to Johnny, only to look around to see that a woman I faintly recognized had come in and was talking and laughing with Johnny underneath that huge painting of him in white from his album, "Heavenly", that was hanging over the fireplace. It took a few minutes and listening to Don and Johnny speaking with her to realize she was Lena Horn. She was so very attractive and relaxed; dressed in a casual suburban style. She asked me a few questions about the studio and about school and a bit later she sat and played the piano, kinda singing and kinda talking. The last time I visited, Johnny gave me an acetate recording, very perishable and one-of-a-kind, of his first album, never released, that he recorded when he was still very young. On it his voice is very high pitched - higher than on "Chances Are", and it wasn't my favorite recording, but I knew how rare it was. It was stolen in a burglary in Fairfax, California in 1969, the month of the moon landing. Drat.
From 1963 to 1967 I worked as a crew member on numerous remote recordings. I was heading out to some concert or another almost every other week, each one a new and exciting experience with myriad lessons in recording technique and practical, realtime problem solving. In fact I wrote all about it periodically for the United Newsletter, the house publication for United Recording, Western Recorders, United Recording of Nevada, and Coast Recorders in San Francisco (and later also Universal Audio). I was on the road to performances in many cities in different parts of the country with Peter Paul and Mary, the Beach Boys, the Smothers Brothers and others, as well as many individual concerts in and around Los Angeles and many in Las Vegas. In actual fact, I was working for a Las Vegas studio when I was on these road trips because United Recording Corporation of Nevada owned all the gear and the trucks. In the early 60's United Recording Corporation of Nevada was a very state-of-the-art studio facility in Las Vegas located out on Industrial Road, along the train tracks. Using a Bill Putnam devised signaling system placed a distance both up and down the tracks, recording sessions could be warned in advance of approaching trains. It helped I guess.
I was at the URCON studio one day shortly after its completion when in walked Wayne Newton with what looked to be his brothers and some assistants. He had come in to listen to some master tapes, and there he stood, and it looked so odd; that high voice that we now forget, the visage of the man-baby - the old tot.
My work in Las Vegas was quite intense. But it was a good intensity, exciting always, and I was ready for all of it, especially the recordings of, among others, Tony Bennett, Bob Newhart, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
It must have been 1967 and I wish I could remember her name, but I do remember that she was a luscious, high breasted, bare midriffed beauty and she was the joint roller for the Association, the music group who recorded a few tunes ("Cherish", etc.) in studio 3 with Bones Howe producing / engineering. And she had a sleazy but very classy hippie pad somewhere in the low, low foothills of downtown Hollywood - Argyle street area - with beaded curtains in narrow doorways, a wafting olfactory stew of incense and grass throughout, and a huge clear glass bowl on her large low central table. Into the bowl she threw the joints - hundreds of them slowly rolled as music and conversation ceaselessly invaded the workplace. Sampling was encouraged at all times. Dennis Wilson grabbed about 10 for later when we gave her a ride to her place - to no protest from her. It was all part of the larger fun to be had. She was quite proud to be the band's joint roller - a paid gig by the way, and she got to hang out in studio 3 at Western and, when hours went by and the Association left and the Beach Boys or someone else came in, she could continue to hang out. Now I don't know it for a fact, but the sense was that this was from THE most major mother lode stash vein ever. Brian Wilson partook up at Guy Shanahan's house in Beachwood canyon and soon looked stiff as a mannequin. His wife hustled him out minutes later. These were the days when his snapping could be seen even as he walked down the hall at Western. I'd seen him for years; set up microphones for his sessions, watched him fool with stereo mixing with his mono-only hearing, learned from the Therimin recordings, his harmony stacks and the combination of his ideas and engineer Chuck Britz's quick reactive abilities - I'd been on the road with Brian for concert recordings a number of times, and it seemed that he had dramatically changed; all of a sudden. He could appear both scared to death and stricken with intermittent, profound nearsightedness. It was as if a virus was burning somewhere within him. There was very little of Brian left that wanted to interact with others. It could make one feel a bit tense being around him, but I didn't dwell on it myself. I was learning too much and too much else was happening for me to stop and analyze Brian - but I do remember thinking at the time that he was a caution that the pretty and sensuous young sybil up on Argyle was indeed rolling up a bowl of major weed.
Then there was this very strange album demo tape floating around my circle in Hollywood in 1967 - Jeff Bushelman may have had the copy I heard - and it was very, very intensely stoney and spacey; with thick echo flanging and phasing effects. As a production this particular tape seemed to me to be using the studio the way I wanted to, and was quickly learning how to do.
It was in early 1967 when I began to work more often with Wally Heider and his crew on remote recordings; in addition to the remotes for United. The most amazing ones for me were recording both the Monterey Pop and Monterey Jazz festivals in 1967. During the Monterey Jazz recordings I met this guy with a rather scraggly appearance, long blonde hair, and a noticeably pleasant, deep voice. He was obviously knowledgeable about the music and recording scene, was looking to catch a ride back to Hollywood, and we got to talking, which was doubly enjoyable because of his deep, warm and resonant voice. So I said he could ride back with me in Heider's equipment van. He had come out to the coast from somewhere like Santa Fe or Denver or something, where he had been in radio - I think he had been a DJ and had suddenly gone way hip and was deep into the scene - plus, he had just gotten over a bout with hepatitis. I told him that the best thing I could think to do would be for me to get a lot of food into him and put it all on my expense account. So we stopped whenever he felt the slightest appetite and we went for big steaks and any other major protein food he could think to order. When we reached LA he helped unpack some of the gear at Heider's studio; I said goodbye and then lost track of him altogether, but I know for certain that he got better because the next time I saw him, he walked into the PacificHigh Recording studio in San Francisco as producer of the band whose demo album I was about to record. The band was Santana and Brent Dangerfield was indeed their producer. Santana went and cut the actual first album at Pacific Recording down the Peninsula. They had already worked out their deal with Pacific so I knew that this studio rehearsal demo was all I would be doing with them. But that demo tape would be great to hear - their sound knocked me out and I personally thought that that demo had some better versions, musically, than the actual first album. But I had other things happening, and off I went.
Another remote recording experience with some of the Heider's studio guys - and Rudy Hill from United, was the Beatles's Hollywood Bowl recording for Capitol Records. Total chaos that night - yet it got recorded. If it wasn't for Rudy reminding me that this was "history happening now" I would have skipped it. I didn't have an album credit - very few albums had engineer credits, much less assistant's credits, until the late 60's, but Rudy and I and the others were glad we did the gig.
...writing in progress...