Everything You Know
ell, hello there. The album is finished! Mastering is today. Quad Side 2 was finished at 6:30PM yesterday. Stereo was finished Monday; Quad mixing was Wednesday 10-8:30 for Side 1, and Thursday.
I attended Wednesday session from about 12:30 on. Giant news of the day was that TBS had changed hands (see Joyce Haber article) between Monday and Wednesday. Haber had been predicting these troubles for some time; mentioned in her Thursday column that more major changes were due at TBS. FYI and fun, found August copy of TBS employee magazine, also enclosed. Be sure to read page 11.
Session guests included Bill Stout (who designed cover for still unseen Mixville Rocket collection, and is now proposing to do a Firesign comic book) and Frank Catalano, editor of enclosed Sirius XIV. We didn't get much of a chance to talk, but he must be on your mailing list (money order also enclosed). Also present, Fred and his camera, Tiny, Oona.
I don't have a lot of notes from QUADMIX session. Phil, Phil, and Peter did most of the mixing, with David at a stool center-booth to act as group ears. Andy, who wanted so much to help but the guys didn't really need that much help, sat very frustrated at tape machine, pushing buttons, patching and cutting. Frank wasn't needed, and was at work elsewhere on the lot.
First, let me say this DO own a QUADMIX
(preferably a tape mix) of the album. It will act and sound differently. There will be some things missing, more things heard. The sounds have life, direction, dimension, humor all their own.
At one point during a rehearsal, PA said, "Let's slip that around a little more slowly, so the listener will not know what is happening to his head."
For example, you suddenly realize that Cox is not only a cop, he's a traffic cop, and the scene is taking place while he's on duty and whoosh that was a close one, let's stand a little closer together here in the center of the road.
From David: Quad is allowing them to fill the audio holes, to provide the characters with "real" sound environment we all experience. We often hear outdoor noises, while talking on the phone with the TV on. These are our sounds. A previous session discussion posed the image of people carrying their own soundtracks with them. This album production is a combination of those two images. Quad technology lends truth to what they've done in stereo.
In the scene, Cox is the focal point, the live character presence. He is listening back to his answerphone, where he hears himself and others, with their soundtracks. While listening to that, he's listening to Gary on record. Nino has telephoned, but magically put himself into the TV ("How do you do that?" "I don't know.") Nino, on TV, is on Channel 5, which is showing Buy Me That Town. Nino, calling from a steel box, also has his own soundtrack, which can be heard over the phone and TV. See the levels? If not, you'll hear and understand when album arrives. You'll see literally if you hear QUADMIX.
In order to hear Quad properly, before approving mix, group had to center selves in studio differently. Usual positions in other studios and this one for stereo mix. Austin's usually at panel, standing or sitting; Bergman is sitting near phone, wherever it is; Proctor floats; and David has a habit of leaning over the panel, his back to the speakers. For QUADMIX, all centered selves around David's stool, in groups of two front, two behind. They looked once again like modern Marx Brothers.
David compared this to the first time they worked in stereo the fun of ambience; also the first stereo discs, where there was movement for the sake of movement; how startling and wondrous it all was.
PP (at the joystick): I would like to have the music end up with Cox.
PA: Yes, it's like Tinkerbell.
(This in a scene where Cox' soundtrack marches all around him).
David (listening to playback of opening scene): It's like being inside a fat piece of salami really meaty.
At one point, Proctor asked why a certain vocal trick was done "live" instead of mechanically (it was something that could have been done at the master panel). Austin and Bergman provided the answers:
1. The actor has more fun
2. Austin was unsure how doing it at the panel would sound at time of recording. "Now I know it would have worked, and we might do it that way next time we need it."
3. This particular bit was live and accidentally discovered; but once discovered was a bit they all could learn to do live (even, maybe on stage).
4. (David joined in on this one) TFT's general trend is to do things human as often as possible.
While mixing the Newsroom Scene, more talk about sets for film version. They all picture the kind of Front Page area, with little glass cubicles. There was a sudden silence as they realized newsrooms don't look like that any more. According to Peter, only one major paper in the U.S. of A. maintains that style, as a policy - The Wall Street Journal. This, according to Peter, is because clear glass cubicles, where all are on display, cut down on story deals. Interesting.
If ever the line about "The right to arm bears," or "The right to bare arms," or anything like that comes up, it's from Tiny.
Everyone's energy level dropped perceptibly after lunch, and by 5, we were getting more and more short work breaks. Andy, who proved to be a pro at getting the guys back to work, at knowing how long a break was needed, at delaying another just long enough to finish a certain mix, was the first to verbalize (quietly during a break), "Let's get goin' guys; I don't want to be here till two." So Fred and I asked Andy if he'd been working or playing late. The answer was working till two or there-abouts for the last three or four nights. He wouldn't say with what groups, but he was obviously very tired, held very together by his driving force to get some sleep.
Sometime after that, we got Phil Austin jumping up from the panel, walking around, clapping his hands and chanting,
"I've got to stay awake, I've got to stay awake." Coffee intake for all doubled, doubled again. Proctor dropped from chair to floor in an obvious attempt at, er, something. "Hey, what'cha doin', lookin' for roaches left by the Great Dreadful?" That led into a whole thing, ending up with Dreadful but Grate, all giggling wildly.
Later, it was decided that the Bald Ego or Bog Eagle was the National Symbol. "Snakes" is the name of Hideo Gump's back-up band.
"Hey, Phil (A), what'cha eatin'?" "Pineapple and a string bean." That led to something from Austin I couldn't write down, because we were all in stitches. The gist was, "I know, don't say it. Where's the dope? Where are the women? Why don't they pay us to make records?" That's where I stopped taking notes. We were all coffee wired and suffering from what I've termed QUAD SHOK. It was pathetic it was wonderful. It was, naturally, pathetically wonderful.
There is being some flak from Columbia, re: banding of the disc. CBS wants several bands in it. TFT wants bands, if bands must be, kept down to two or three and on DJ copy only. It is, more than ever, interwoven. (The voice at the end of the BearWhiz Beer ad is, of course, the voice of the bear).