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Author Topic: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.  (Read 7408 times)

J.J. Blair

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off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« on: March 01, 2005, 10:49:24 am »

I thought that some of you guys would get a kick out of this.  My wife and I went to an film industry-type bar in Studio City to watch the Oscars and do their Oscar pool.  (I won a 'Ray' soundtrack!  LOL.)  During the part of the show when they start showing everybody who died in the last year, they get to the shot of Fay Wray in the hand of the claymation King Kong. At that moment, an older woman behind me said: "Oh, the monkey died?!?"

I thought I was going to piss myself right then and there.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

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Otitis Media

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2005, 12:34:54 pm »

Not intended to flame you, JJ - much props to you for what you do!  I just need to vent about the Oscars, as my wife has started calling me a grumpy old man...

One thing about the whole Oscars as well as other awards shows that really bothers me is that they're reported on as news.  What the hell is newsworthy about a bunch of industry folks getting together to pat eachother on the back with long-winded speeches, overwrought musical performances and hey, let's put this entire boring extravaganza on TV!  Not only that, the news BEFORE it was reporting on it, and then the news directly following reshashed the show as well as the news the next morning.  What the fuck is so important to people about the fucking Oscars?  Fuck the little statuette!  

And why are there so many awards shows now?  Don't these people ever do anything but rent jewelery and expensive clothing (that's usually fugly) and congratulate themselves?  

I guess what's so aggravating is that they're usually a celebration of the "culture" that we're all force-fed by media titans anyway.  Very ho-hum.  The actors and all the other folks deserve their kudos, but if you're going to televise the Oscars, televise the WHOLE thing.  I wanna know who won the technical Oscars.  Those are my contemporaries, and they're the people behind why all these movies pull off what they do.  Tehy're the real magic behind the movies.  Yet everyone thinks that an actor's performance alone is what carries a film to greatness.  It has a lot to do with it (not that it justifies what they're paid or what movies as a whole cost), but a feature without a score, soundtrack, mix, VFX, color timing, etc. would be pretty hard to sit through.
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Dan Roth
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compasspnt

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2005, 03:46:42 pm »

That's all fine, Dan, but now tell us what you REALLY think...
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RMoore

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2005, 05:14:25 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Tue, 01 March 2005 21:46

That's all fine, Dan, but now tell us what you REALLY think...


An old colleague of mine used to sum it all up by yelling:

KILL



Smile
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Otitis Media

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2005, 07:35:03 pm »

Very sorry for the outburst from the back of the classroom....
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Dan Roth
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Bill Mueller

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2005, 08:38:33 pm »

Dan,

I don't know if this is relevant to your rant, but it might give you a little different perspective on one of those events.

In 1983, I along with Steven Miller and Michael Hedges was nominated for Best Engineer Non-Classical for Michael's second album, Aerial Boundaries. Michael was the most accomplished acoustic guitarist I have ever met and I am proud to say he was also a good friend of my wife and I. However, this album was on Windahm Hill records in an era of musical giants and we had about as much chance of winning a Grammy as I now have of getting date with Britney Spears.

We all can dream however. So off to California we go to attend the Grammy ceremonies. The Grammies start at noon even though you only see the show from about six to nine PM West Coast time. So there we are sitting in our seats for hours and hours. There must be more than 150 categories and everyone politely claps for every damn award. Now my particular event was around number 100. So we sat there all afternoon clapping for everyone who won and everyone who was nominated.

Sitting on your brains for that long can cause funny things to start going through your head.

We were nominated for Best Engineer up against Humberto Gatica, who had recorded the Chicago 17 album, The Cars, Daddy O album, and a couple of other multi massive million sellers. Humberto had just recorded "We are the World" with Michael ( I sincerely hope he is innocent) Jackson and could have come in a dress and still won. Still, you never know.

For the first 30 awards, I felt fine. I was resolved to the fact that we were not going to win and anyway it was a huge compliment just being nominated. Right?

Between awards 30 and 50, I began to  feel a little warm. You know, stranger things have happend. Little albums had come out of nowhere to win stuff before. Right? It could be our turn this time. Right? Right?

Between awards 50 and 80 my palms were sweating, my suit was too tight, my shoes hurt, I started thinking about my speech. It occured to me that I had not written down my speech and I would probably forget everyone I was supposed to thank. I started trying to recall names, however I couldn't remember a single person's name. My brain was loosing oxygen fast. I needed to stand up but I couldn't move.

The praying started around award 85. I'm not sure exactly what I was saying other than Oh God, Oh God, however I think I made some promises that I have since broken.

Around award 95 I started feeling seriously high. Light headed. I'm sure I could haver walked up there, if I really wanted to. It wasn't that far, although the stage started to look like it was a football field away. My whole world started to close in on me and all I could hear was this announcer in a locker room reverb, with the regen on 80% and all the bass rolled of below 500 hz.

Then he read our names, individually, very slowly, clearly, with great enthusiasm and feeling... and time slowed.

Then, out of the blue, he announced that Humberto won the Grammy and everything snapped back into perspective like a switch was thrown in my head. I was fine. I applauded and looked at Michael who (I think) was going through the same thing as I was. We laughed gleefully and hated Humberto.

Shortly after that the stars started coming in. Our seats happend to be right behind the Eagles and we were in the TV shots a few times. Tina Turner sang "What Love got to do with it?", blew me away, and then came and sat down fifteen feet from us. It was great.

Best Regards,

Bill
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"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

Otitis Media

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2005, 07:33:41 am »

To be nominated for a Grammy is really cool, don't get me wrong!  Humberto has since gone on to work with "zee best singair in zee entiair wharld," Celine Dion.  I guess my main source of frustration is how these events are reported on as news and our society seems to fixate on the lives and doings of "stars".  Other stuff happens on a daily basis besides the Michael Jackson court case and the Oscars.  I'm a lot calmer now, didn't mean to disrespect anyone.  Being a part of the event is one thing, and I'm sure it's amazing, but does it really need to be on TV?  Is it really that interesting?  I find it about as painful as sitting through a high school graduation...
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Dan Roth
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fadeout

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2005, 08:11:45 am »

Bill - hilarious. Another heart-pounding story from you!

Congratulations on being nominated for that record - I never knew who worked on it, but I distinctly remember hearing Aerial Boundaries for the first time in 85ish ( when I was about 18 and a fanatical guitarist) and being utterly blown away. Both by the playing, but also by the sound of the record. I don't want to hijack this thread, but if you feel like sharing any info on how you recorded that album, enquiring minds would like to know!

best,
Chris
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Chris Putnam

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2005, 10:35:13 am »

Bill Mueller wrote on Tue, 01 March 2005 20:38

Dan,

I don't know if this is relevant to your rant, but it might give you a little different perspective on one of those events.

In 1983, I along with Steven Miller and Michael Hedges was nominated for Best Engineer Non-Classical for Michael's second album, Aerial Boundaries. Michael was the most accomplished acoustic guitarist I have ever met and I am proud to say he was also a good friend of my wife and I. However, this album was on Windahm Hill records in an era of musical giants and we had about as much chance of winning a Grammy as I now have of getting date with Britney Spears.

Best Regards,

Bill


Bill,

That's a great recording. I'd like to hear some details about how you decided to approach recording Michael.

-CZ

punkest

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2005, 11:41:37 am »

fadeout wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 13:11

Bill - hilarious. Another heart-pounding story from you!

Congratulations on being nominated for that record - I never knew who worked on it, but I distinctly remember hearing Aerial Boundaries for the first time in 85ish ( when I was about 18 and a fanatical guitarist) and being utterly blown away. Both by the playing, but also by the sound of the record. I don't want to hijack this thread, but if you feel like sharing any info on how you recorded that album, enquiring minds would like to know!

best,
Chris


Great stores!!!

Not that i want to hijack the thread either but I would also love to hear the recording approaches on Aerial Boundaries!

BTW Chris, are you related to Bill Putnam?

Hans Mues
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Bill Mueller

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2005, 07:37:50 pm »

punkest wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 11:41

fadeout wrote on Wed, 02 March 2005 13:11

Bill - hilarious. Another heart-pounding story from you!

Congratulations on being nominated for that record - I never knew who worked on it, but I distinctly remember hearing Aerial Boundaries for the first time in 85ish ( when I was about 18 and a fanatical guitarist) and being utterly blown away. Both by the playing, but also by the sound of the record. I don't want to hijack this thread, but if you feel like sharing any info on how you recorded that album, enquiring minds would like to know!

best,
Chris


Great stores!!!

Not that i want to hijack the thread either but I would also love to hear the recording approaches on Aerial Boundaries!

BTW Chris, are you related to Bill Putnam?

Hans Mues


Thanks guys,

I love telling war stories, however, it's not my place here to give recording advice. I'm here to learn like everybody else.

Best Regards,

Bill
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"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

compasspnt

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2005, 08:24:03 pm »

Bill Mueller wrote on Thu, 03 March 2005 19:37

...it's not my place here to give recording advice. I'm here to learn like everybody else...


I would say that we'd all love to learn from you as well.  If you're so inclined, we'd love to hear about that recording...

TM
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Bill Mueller

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2005, 08:37:38 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Thu, 03 March 2005 20:24

Bill Mueller wrote on Thu, 03 March 2005 19:37

...it's not my place here to give recording advice. I'm here to learn like everybody else...


I would say that we'd all love to learn from you as well.  If you're so inclined, we'd love to hear about that recording...

TM


Thanks Terry,

It always sounds like a cop out to say that the sound came from the artist but in the case of Michael Hedges that is exactly true. That's because Michael was not only an incredible composer and guitarist, but he also was trained as an engineer and customized his own guitars. Everything about his sound was under his control.

I would love to say that his sound was a result of perfectly placed microphones through an esoteric mic pre, but Michael could sound as good in a little club as in a large concert hall or studio, because of his control of his setup. He used a piezo pickup for the highs and a magnetic pickup for the lows and custom mounted them on his guitars. Most guitar pickups were very lo-fi at this time and not many had ever heard the kind of sound Michael got from his pickups. If I recall, he used a Frap and maybe a Lawrence pickup over the years. I don't know where the piezo came from.

Then the way Michael attacked his instrument would make it voice like nothing I have ever heard. He could slap and bang and snap and strum and pick and pluck with both hands at the same time. He could hammer on with both hands making multiple intertwining chords and percussion sounds simultaneously. I have watched him play from a couple of feet away and not been able to tell where all the sounds were coming from. Then there were the instruments themselves. I have never seen anyone play a harp guitar like that. I thought that was an antique instrument. Boy was I wrong.

My wife Joanne Dodds and I met Michael while he was attending the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. He auditioned for her band and when we heard him, we were knocked over. She didn't take him in the band however, because he would have had to switch to electric guitar and that would have been a crime. Instead we became good friends and lifelong fans of his.

When he was on the east coast he would call and we would go in the studio after the show, no matter what time it was. For what it's worth, when I recorded Michael, I took the pickups and mixed them at 9 and 3. I set up a mini room of six RPG diffusors about eight feet around him and used four mics, two akg 414's in a verticle XY configuration about four inches out and a pair of U87's about four feet out. I ran the 414's through a Sontec mic pre and Sontec compressor, through an SSL 4000E and then to Studer 1/2" and DAT recorders.

I used a Lexicon 224 for the room verb but never really got the kind of ambience that Steven Miller got with Michael. He recorded the majority of the songs on Aerial Boundaries in an Inn in Vermont. I recorded about twenty five songs over the years for Michael and the Windham Hill Live concert with Will Ackerman and Shadowfax.

This has actually been kind of hard to write down. It always takes a couple of days to get over talking about him. Michael was a "once in a lifetime" talent, a truly beautiful person, either with his head shaved or dreadlocks. Those who heard him will miss him for his music, but those who knew him will miss him for much more.

Best Regards,

Bill
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"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

fadeout

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2005, 06:16:56 am »

Bill,

Thank you so much for posting that, and especially because it must be difficult to talk about. Very much appreciated. It's always inspiring to hear the human story behind a record.

Best wishes,
Chris

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Chris Putnam

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Re: off topic: Best thing I heard during the Oscars.
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2005, 12:31:39 pm »

Thanks so very much for talking about recording Michael Hedges. I had the pleasure of seeing him once when he toured with Leo Kottke (uh, um, words fail to describe how good that show was). When watching Hedges playing I sometimes had the feeling that the guitar was being assaulted in addition to being played and I wonder just how hard he was on instruments. When he performed I had no question that he used all of his available energy to produce music for the audience. The contrast with Leo Kottke was striking.

Kottke played with economy and gentleness whereas Hedges simply beat the guitar into submission. Both guitarists were and are, respectively, phenomenal but had very different styles.

My pointless mutterings.

Alan Tomlinson
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