The Life and Times of a Second Call Studio Musician Part 25

The Life and Times of a Second Call Studio Musician Part 25

Finishing up 1991 there were three more major label records that I played on. As I have said before I’m still making a living doing jingles, sound alikes for Pioneer, smaller label records and a bit of TV/Film work, but I have not been on a hit since the mid 80’s and that gets a bit unnerving. How long can this keep up is always the thought.

The first of the major label sessions I did was on July 3rd of ’91 for producer Richard Perry, the artist was Corey Hart. The album was called “Attitude and Virtue” and Richard produced one track for it.

From my datebook:

The engineer was programmer/keyboardist Simon Franglen who had I met a few years before doing some things with Simon and John Robinson. Simon was a brilliant programmer on the synclavier and he had programmed this track. The studio was Post Logic in Hollywood and in the datebook pic above there is a reference to Julie Larson who I assume handled getting musicians paid for Richard. I had worked for Richard before but it had been a few years and I suppose I actually got the call from Simon. The song was “Always” and it was released as a single reaching #30 on the Canadian charts but not charting in the US. For what it’s worth here it is!

Richard actually had a rep for being pretty demanding on the musicians he hired, and while I had never found that to be true in the limited time I had worked for him in the past, at this session I found out what I had heard from others. This was tough! I get to the session and Simon has the track up. It does not really need much but they did want an acoustic nylon string guitar solo on it. I get out my guitar and after hearing the entire track I have an idea of what I want to do. The solo starts at 2:55 so we start recording it and it goes rather smoothly. Then the trouble started. Hahaha.

Richard asks me to put down a single string R&B’ish electric part. I get out the Fender strat, dial up a sound and come up with this bit. On the record it starts from the opening of the song and plays all of the way through, but getting there was a rollercoaster. Now, the deal is that Richard hears the part I had come up with and likes it. All good so far. He tells Simon and I to lay it down and he leaves the room. We spend a bit of time laying down a few sections and he comes back in and likes what he hears and tells us to carry on and he again leaves the room. We keep working and he comes back in. He listens and apparently now he doesn’t like it. Oh, Ok, now what? He has me try it a few different ways, the three of us work on this for awhile and get it to where he “LOVES” it.


Simon and I get back to work and guess what?

Richard leaves the room. 🙂

Now I don’t know what he was doing leaving the room, maybe making phone calls……Or hmmm, maybe not? I do remember him mentioning that he was late for some function at a hair salon in Beverly Hills. Simon and I lay this thing down and it sounds/feels great. After awhile Richard comes back in, listens, and lo and behold says he doesn’t like it!
Ok, so again we look to be back to square one.
We bantered back and forth about what he didn’t like about it, and at one point it did get kind of humorous. He said it needed to be more “sexy”. I came back with a pretty witty “anatomical” reply and we had a good laugh. I guess in the end he must have liked it because it made the record.

The second of the records I did was for David Foster. The artist was Sheena Easton. I had played on other hits for Sheena and as I mentioned awhile back I have never met her. This was for a movie called “Ferngully, The Last Rainforest”. Here is my datebook entry:

The engineer was the legendary David Reitzas and we recorded my parts at Bill Schnee’s studio in North Hollywood. I had mentioned this in a prior episode of the blog and received an interesting post on Facebook by one, Lennart Reinander. Here it is:

“I was at the string session at Oceanway for Ferngully. I arrived early so I sat down with Reitzas. I heard a distorted stereo git heavily pitchshifted but I did not recognise the feel so I asked him who it was…Its Marty Walsh he said. Interestingly this session was done in 2 different keys so they lowered the speed of the 3M digital machine if she could not make it in the original key when she would track her vocals. She was sick when they recorded the strings. The drums was done on a 2 inch 16 track tape machine and then transfered comped I presume to the 24 digital tape machine. David Foster raised the 1st string section an octave in the chorus to get the Hollywood sound as he put it and sorted out some clashes between the chellos and the moog bass. He called in the 1st Chair to tune his violin because David thought they were a little pitchy meaning slightly flat. He’s got perfect pitch as well as Jerry Hey…the rest of us just”

To which I replied:
I hope my pitch shift didn’t bother David 🙂
Lennarts response:
As I remember it was pretty loud on the big Westlake monitors on the wall.
And my response, joking of course:
Hey that’s good news. Maybe David will call me back! 🙂
Here is “A Dream Worth Keeping” from the movie soundtrack.

A few more items to wrap up 1991. Here are my session log entries for the Foster session and a few things in December.

The first entry is the Sheena Easton/David Foster session, then sessions for Tommy Vicari, Kit Thomas, Humberto Gatica/Alex Rodriguez, and finally the “Roundhouse” entry. The Humberto/Alex entry was for a few tracks I played on for a Lisa Vale album titled “And I love you”. Little did I know Lisa and I would be working together quite a lot in the future on the TV show Roundhouse. Here is a track from Lisa’s album with myself and my old buddy Michael Thompson on guitars. It was hard to know who played what so I called Michael and nether he or I can tell who played which parts! Hahaha…

The Roundhouse entry was for four days of work rehearsing and then performing live this sketch comedy for TV execs. The team of producers for this prospective show had everybody from TV world there to see it. Eventually Nickelodeon picked it up and we were off and running.

Next week the wonderful world of Roundhouse!