Brian took us to the coffee shop on the way to the studio but had to drive round and round the car park because there were no spots to park, he went around about ten times but as more cars entered the loop the car with the greatest chance of finding a park was the one that happened to be where a car was pulling out, and even if you were there first to look for a space, you might be five cars behind the car that had to stop to let someone out, and consequently they got the parking spot, the laws of random can be quite unfair, oh yeah, and lucky if it’s your day.
It was the first day in the studio with Brian’s mega project, and the first song was a monster nine minutes long and full of all kinds of changes. Sorting out the drums on a song like this, working with a demo, can be quite a task. Loops and machines don’t do what humans do, sometimes humans can’t do what machines do, so we have to search for the soul of the song, satiate its needs, give it what it wants, and sometimes it doesn’t know what it wants, you have to tell it. Producing records is seeing the big picture whilst taking care of the small details.
John, Kevin and Sarah were in from the start with their engineering brains engaged as we got going with Jason’s setup, Brian and Olivia looked on, I ate oatmeal. Kevin left later and we were on the journey, day one, song one, album two. In the gaps between the two songs we recorded today, I was on the phone organising Cherish and Nae, the gospel girls, to come and sing, find Paul, who was doing a Bowie tribute show tonight, to have him come and sing some high parts. I found them, but didn’t find Dave (sax), Evan (trumpet) or Milo (pedal steel). Hopefully, they’ll call me up when they know I’m looking for them to come and play. Rich (keyboard), David (bass) and Tess (cello) are all confirmed.
It was cold in the night, and bright in the day coming out of the dark depths of studio land and I had to retreat for my sunglasses before I was blinded by the light, at night I needed my jacket outside, it’s the desert. Is it suburbia or are there no animals here in January – no racoons, possums, birds, insects – nothing? Maybe they’re too rich to be seen, like the people in Highland Park where we are staying above the garage in the wealthy back alley. No humans, no animals, the occasional runner and dog walker, but even the dogs are aloof.
Music today has been The Beatles – Help! (1965). Interestingly, the American release is the true soundtrack, with the seven songs from the film, interspersed with instrumental music. The UK release had the seven songs from the film on Side 1. The songs on Side 2 were distributed amongst other American releases, very odd to those of us who grew up in England, especially when, like me, it was 5 miles from the centre of Liverpool.