R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 [2] 3  All   Go Down

Author Topic: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!  (Read 12475 times)

Samc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1393
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2005, 08:00:06 am »

John Sorensen wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 02:57

Hi Jose,
Great story - but I have a question; do you have any background info on the stones tape you were using? I worked on a Stones record, and to say that they were insanely protective of their tapes would be an understatement. Every inch of tape was locked in a vault every night (or should I say every morning at 8am) when we finished work...then the key to the vault was taken home by one of the bands trusted employees. I can't believe that a studio owner got his hands on a live multitrack tape - can you elaborate on how he got his hands on it?
Thanks, John S.


I had the same thought when I read this, I worked with them and Toots and the Maytals about two years ago and the situation was very similar to the one you described.  Even the on the live gigs they had their own security people guarding the recording position under the stage.
Logged
Sam Clayton

Jose Mrochek

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2005, 10:30:18 am »

Samc wrote on Thu, 03 March 2005 13:00

John Sorensen wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 02:57

Hi Jose,
Great story - but I have a question; do you have any background info on the stones tape you were using? I worked on a Stones record, and to say that they were insanely protective of their tapes would be an understatement. Every inch of tape was locked in a vault every night (or should I say every morning at 8am) when we finished work...then the key to the vault was taken home by one of the bands trusted employees. I can't believe that a studio owner got his hands on a live multitrack tape - can you elaborate on how he got his hands on it?
Thanks, John S.


I had the same thought when I read this, I worked with them and Toots and the Maytals about two years ago and the situation was very similar to the one you described.  Even the on the live gigs they had their own security people guarding the recording position under the stage.



Man you guys are making me feel worse, as to the importance (uniqueness) of having a tape like that. Anyway, I think a total of 3 songs where lost after it was "fixed". And till this day I feel like shit about it.   Sad
Logged

stevieeastend

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1297
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2005, 01:52:11 pm »

come on mate, get over it.... Wink

Try to see it that way: what do you think would Keith Richards have done with the tapes anyway, if he would remember at all....

after all they are only human and it wasn?t the original "get no satisfaction" tape... so what.... just a cool story....


cheers
steveeastend

CCC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 623
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2005, 02:21:06 pm »

steveeastend wrote on Thu, 03 March 2005 18:52

come on mate, get over it.... Wink

Try to see it that way: what do you think would Keith Richards have done with the tapes anyway, if he would remember at all....





Hi Steve,
You're totally right - Jose shouldn't feel so bad about the incident with the tape.  We've all had our share of screw-ups and been victims of things beyond our control (like out-of-control tape transports) The way I look at it is that all the clever things and all the not-so-clever things we do add up to the sum total of our learning experiences - assuming you decide you will draw lessons from what happens and vow to never let it happen again...at least that's how I console myself Smile

On the subject of what Keith might do or be cognizant of - I think you'd be surprised, actually.  I was on a gig with them for a few months in 97 and I'd have to say he was one of the coolest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Those guys ain't dumb - and they ain't out of touch with reality.  This isn't hero worship talking - I just think it's too bad when people put those guys down, because the truth is that they're actually really, really good to the people they work with.
Logged
 

Jose Mrochek

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2005, 03:06:38 pm »

Thanks for the moral support  Smile  The tape was cool and all, but it wasn't something they had up in a wall or something for people to see.. if that was the case I don't think they would give it for interns to play with. What truly bothers me till today is the embarrasment of being trusted and because of excitement reasons not taken care of it more, and if they would have not been as cool as they where, they could have ended my career right there. I know of a couple of similar cases, where people where fired and never got the chance of working in a city for these type of things because they could not be trusted anymore, specialy if you are a intern!!!
Logged

arconaut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1271
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2005, 08:49:25 pm »

Hey everyone,

A bunch of years ago I was assisting on an album that was a reggae tribute to the Grateful Dead. The producer had just returned to NYC after doing a bunch of tracking in Jamaica and, by his account, it was a bit of a tough go convincing all these people to contribute, getting comments like, "they should be called the Grateful Living". He basically said that not many of the musicians there cared much for the Dead. But he had gotten his performances and was ready to finish it up.

The track we were to mix that day had a guest vocal from the I-Threes, and the producer was very excited about having procured these legends. This excitement waned quickly, though, as I wound the tape on the machine and it began to make a "whit-whit-whit-whit" noise which quickly turned into a SNAP and the sound of loose tape flapping on the machine. It happened so fast!

We all turned in horror toward the machine and looked at the tape. It looked like somebody had taken a hot soldering iron and jammed it into the tape, doing extensive damage to a few minutes of material. Apparently, this happened in customs, where an official thought that perhaps drugs were stashed in a hollowed-out tape.

We lost the drum tracks, and perhaps the bass track too, but somehow we managed to piece enough of it back together to reconstruct the song.

The worst thing about technical disasters is getting back into a creative mind-set after you figure out the problem.


Noah
Logged
You Are Number Six

i dig music

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 557
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2005, 11:06:17 pm »

When I was a staff assistant ,One night I blew out the mains in 2 ssl rooms and 1 neve room. I freaked. The studio had a 35 piece booked in one room at 8am and the other rooms were booked all day.

I called the tech and told him. In SSL remix room he asked me to go over to the white eq's used for the mains and bang on them. Boom, just like that they came back.

The next morning I got in at 7am for the 8 o'clock session. I set the room up the night before. I went in there and the mains were back up. I had know idea about the fuses in the speakers.


One more dumb ass thing I did. Kicked my feet up on the ssl which bumped into a 2" box which bumped into a cup of coffee which spilled in the pacthbay. They got the blow dryer out and all was cool 2hr's later.
Logged
R. Steele

Fig

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1186
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2005, 10:30:01 am »

compasspnt wrote on Fri, 18 February 2005 16:53



Of course, this may be something people would rather not talk about, BUT...anyone got any stories?



What a great topic, Terry!  I know there are some juicy ones out there, so I'll tell mine in the hopes that everyone else will pipe up.

I was tape-op for a 3M M79 24-track on a jingle session - JCPenney, I think.  If you remember the M79s, they had a peculiar tape path that kinda looped around in a U-shape -- erase and record heads on the left, vertical part of the "U" and the playback head on the right, vertical part.  Capstan was center mounted with two pinch rollers and some kind of passive roller all the way at the bottom.

I was instructed, years before I could even TOUCH the machine, to always observe the tape path and make sure it is smooth as glass.  A particular way of looking for wrinkles or un-even tension from reel to reel was to shine a light onto the back of the tape and look at the reflection of the light source.  If it was reflected like a mirror, all good, if it "distorts" the image of the light source, there is uneven wear, improper tension - whatever, sometimes just built-up on rollers and/or heads.

On this session, while the tape was rolling (it was just a bunch of synths slaving to MTC on track 24), I was looking closely at the tape path, Maglight in hand, everything seemed ok on the erase/record side.  As I was tilting my head over to the righthand headstack, I began to notice slight wrinkles in the take-up path.  "That's strange," I thought, "the other side was perfect?!?"

It wasn't long before I felt the pull on my scalp, as my ponytail was being pulled through the pinch rollers at a blazing 30 inches per second.  Yow!!

It didn't last long and I can't recall exactly, but I think my nose or cheek bone pressed the stop button as my face was being pulled toward the deck. Embarassed

Besides my embarrassment, everything was OK.  I had to have the engineer help unwind my hair and, of course, a good deck cleaning was in order.  I'm so glad there were no camera phones in those days Laughing

We did get everything back in order and xfer the MIDI stuff to the machine, just before the vocal talent showed up.  Of course, the composer and the enginner told the story for the rest of the afternoon to each and every overdub artist and every ad agency person that came through that day.

I keep my hair shorter these days, but I DO keep poking my head in those tape paths to make sure it is smooth as glass.  I guess harddrive folks don't have these kind of "problems" these days.  Aren't they lucky?

Osci-later,

Fig
Logged
The easiest thing to do is the thing most easily forgotten.

Gordon Rice

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 32
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2005, 12:06:58 pm »

Hey--

Ponytail in an M79?  OWWWWWW!

I make a portion of my living teaching analog audio.  When explaining 2" alignment, I always make quite a show of tying my (very long and, at age 45, still not thinning at the back!) hair back, explaining that one *doesn't* want to get his/her hair caught in a transport that's moving tape at 30 ips, never mind wind speeds.  My students all nod solemnly at this juncture, then I'm quite sure they completely forget what I've said.

Last year a group managed to mis-thread an A-80, then get it into wind.  When they saw what the machine did to the tape (stretch 6" of tape out to about five feet), they became believers.

I just smirked and reminded them that they were fortunate that that was a fresh reel, not one with client master program material on it. Shocked
Logged
Audio Engineer
Philadelphia PA
(Yeah, there've been some changes . . .)

Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

David Kulka

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 578
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2005, 09:31:14 pm »

Fig, your pony tail in the M79 was a great story, and it reminded me of an injury-by-tape-machine experience of my own.

I was aligning an ATR-102 one evening at United/Western.  People who used these machines may recall that on the black handrest bar that went across the front, the one covered in naugahide or some such material, there was a black rubber end cap on each side, with a raised edge that stuck up about an eighth of an inch.

Well, there happened to be a razor blade lying on the front, and as I finished aligning the deck I swung around, brushing my right hand across the naugahide surface.  My fingertips caught the blade, sliding it to the left.  The grip of the blade snagged on that end piece and when it stopped, the blade sliced nice chunks off of two fingertips.  It hurt like hell and bled like mad.

Making matters worse, there was still another machine to be aligned and I was the only tech.  I had no choice but to wrap a bunch of bandages around my fingers and soldier on with the greenie.  Blood was dripping all over the place.  Adding insult to injury, the second engineer found this quite hilarious and began singing that line from "We Will Rock You" over the talkback mic, with the studio speakers turned way up.  "Got blood on your face, a big disgrace..."

I finished aligning the machine, then bolted for my car and drove home, bleeding all over the steering wheel.  That was a bad night.
Logged
http://www.studioelectronics.biz

Service & Restoration of UREI dbx Neve Eventide Marshall AMS Tube Gear and more

Bob Olhsson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3968
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2005, 10:05:24 pm »

The first run of M-79s would go into record briefly on all tracks if somebody kicked out the AC plug!

David Kulka

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 578
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2005, 10:36:12 pm »

My previous story was kind of funny but this one isn't, and I'm sure it's not what Terry had in mind when he started the thread.  This was a tragedy with loss of life, and will not amuse anyone.  But it's been on my mind for a while lately, and might serve to prevent a similar accident from happening someday, somewhere.

It was in San Francisco. My uncle and I were hired to run sound for the annual Christmas show at the St. Francis Yacht Club, a large, well established, and tony facility near the Golden Gate Bridge. My setup was at the back of the auditorium, under a huge Christmas tree.

About halfway into the show I heard a crackling sound from the speakers and noticed that the VU meter lights on my mixer were flickering. Thinking the power cord might be loose in the socket, I turned around to look at the outlet, and that's when I saw that one of the Christmas tree lights was spitting out sparks. Another guy saw it at about the same time, and we both dived down to yank the cord.

Less than 5 seconds had passed but it was already too late. The tree went up like gasoline. We ran for the exit doors and held them open; people began pouring out. Within minutes the first fire truck was there, they hollered at everyone to get the hell out. I went to my car and saw that the window had been smashed -- a fireman had done that to roll it out of the way.

Sitting on a pile of broken glass, I drove away. I headed home along Divisadero Street, which passed over a hill with view of the club building, way down by the Bay. From a mile or two away I could now see a huge conflagration in my rear view mirror. The whole place was on fire, the flames reflected in the water. People had gathered on the sidewalks, staring down at the fire. Ten minutes earlier I had been sitting under the tree, mixing sound for the Christmas show. I pulled over to look for a while, then drove home in shock.

It turned out that all the audience members got out safely, but the flames had burst through the ceiling and into the second floor kitchen, killing three employees. I went back a day or two later, and found the little Altec mixer that we'd rented from McCune Sound Services.  There wasn't much left of it but for whatever reason McCune wanted it back, so I brought it to them.

Everyone was sued including my uncle, me, McCune, the water utility ("insufficient pressure"), the National Guardsmen (who had supplied the tree), even the fire department. The final investigation found the cause to be a combination the tree being dried out (it was not in water) and a faulty string of Christmas lights.

The experience had a huge impact on me.  In my own home I am extremely careful with receptacle wiring and power cords, ditto with client equipment and studio wiring.  A recent post on this forum mentioned a fire at a studio, and that rang some bells.  Last week I learned that a friend from 30 years ago had perished in a house fire; he was a packrat and the place was full of papers and makeshift electrical stuff.   Guys, these kinds of problems are easy to prevent but if one is careless, the results can be horrific.  "Be careful with things that are important."
Logged
http://www.studioelectronics.biz

Service & Restoration of UREI dbx Neve Eventide Marshall AMS Tube Gear and more

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2005, 11:23:10 pm »

whew!
Logged

mr. moon

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 42
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2005, 08:56:57 am »

David Kulka wrote on Mon, 14 March 2005 21:36


The experience had a huge impact on me.  In my own home I am extremely careful with receptacle wiring and power cords, ditto with client equipment and studio wiring.  A recent post on this forum mentioned a fire at a studio, and that rang some bells.  Last week I learned that a friend from 30 years ago had perished in a house fire; he was a packrat and the place was full of papers and makeshift electrical stuff.   Guys, these kinds of problems are easy to prevent but if one is careless, the results can be horrific.  "Be careful with things that are important."


David,

I'm sorry to hear about the tragedy you described, and I can understand how it could cause a significant emotional impact.

Most folks never think twice about the wiring in their homes, and most do-it-yourself books make it look so easy, so folks attempt it themselves. I recently had to have my entire basement (studio and all) re-wired by an electrician friend because the previous owner had decided to wire it himself. Apparently, he had wired it back-asswards creating a fire hazard which was just waiting to cause a possibly fatal electrical event.

My friend fixed it up good as new and I asked him what he believed to be the #1 cause of home fires and electrocutions. He replied "Home Depot and do-it-yourself home improvement books."

-mr moon
Logged

iluvatar

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 84
Re: SESSION TECH HORROR STORIES!
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2005, 09:46:24 pm »

mr. moon wrote on Tue, 15 March 2005 08:56



David,

I'm sorry to hear about the tragedy you described, and I can understand how it could cause a significant emotional impact.

Most folks never think twice about the wiring in their homes, and most do-it-yourself books make it look so easy, so folks attempt it themselves. I recently had to have my entire basement (studio and all) re-wired by an electrician friend because the previous owner had decided to wire it himself. Apparently, he had wired it back-asswards creating a fire hazard which was just waiting to cause a possibly fatal electrical event.

My friend fixed it up good as new and I asked him what he believed to be the #1 cause of home fires and electrocutions. He replied "Home Depot and do-it-yourself home improvement books."

-mr moon



A bit OT: My parents recently bought a farm in which the previous owner did all of his own wiring over the last 60 years. Bare wires running through the loose hay insulation in the attic. Bare wire on every lighting fixture. Bare wire in the basement starewell at chest-level. This guy rented out the adjacent property to his brother, who found pennies being used as fuses. Shocked  It's a miracle they only had one electrical fire.

-Dan.
Logged
Dan Costello
Minister of Public Enlightenment
Mercenary Audio

"Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones.."
Pages: 1 [2] 3  All   Go Up