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Author Topic: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?  (Read 20929 times)

RMoore

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2005, 05:31:56 am »

I got into rec & engineering from the side of being a musician playing in bands and became fascinated by sounds, especially why most drum sounds were horrible (in the 80's) & others great sounding (on old LPs) - anyway, I had VERY little idea of how it all worked when suddenly, part way through an album recording project , the engineer a band I was in had hired experienced some kind of mental breakdown and STOPPED SHOWING UP for work at the band's private 'studio' - so someone had to do it & that person was me seeing as I had the most interest and a slight clue of how to use the equip already and get ok enough sounds...
Thats where it all began, a slippery slide down to the bottom of society's scrap heap.
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Brian Kehew

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2005, 06:47:40 am »

Recording Schools = I think anyone "good enough" to make it in this business would do fine at one. They would already know some things going in, pick up more while in the school than anyone else, and then learn even more on their own afterward.

When I taught a bit, I saw that a small fraction of the classes (1 out of 20) were people who WERE seriously going to make it in the business. No question. I was one of them, it seems. There was no other choice - even if it meant no money. Effort is about 33% of it, talent is 25%, and getting along with people is about 45%. (However, being very talented at home or in a small city doesn't do much to get you a noteworthy job.)

But "who you know" IS 100%. THAT's how you get hired. Work on your connections; it's not a sleazy thing - it's keeping in touch with your friends in the music business.
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Phil

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2005, 10:28:57 am »

I was born into the biz...my Dad owned nine radio stations at one time or another during his lifetime. I started very early, recording on acetate discs for his radio stations, and building most of my own equipment. I did the Ham radio thing, played in bands, was a on-air disc jockey for way too long, and got some interesting gigs by simply telling people that I could do the job (whatever the job was).

I love to record...good music, bad music, voice overs, sound effects...it makes no difference to me, I just like the idea of capturing sounds. My favorite gigs are commercials and jingles, mainly because I get a chance to record and edit all sorts of sounds, and compose and produce the music for the jingles.

Actually, I think jingles are the ideal gig. I get a chance to write music that I know will get airtime, I get to work with some great musicians, I experience all styles of music, and I do the whole thing with someone else's money. Reminds me of a political slogan I once heard: "Everything for everybody, and a little something for me".

Phil
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Gordon Rice

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2005, 10:36:30 am »

compasspnt wrote on Tue, 15 March 2005 18:13



By the way, I don't think I've yet seen a single person who went to one of the dedicated "Recording Schools!"



Yes, you have--me.  The Recording Workshop, Chillicothe OH in 1983.  Didn't learn what I was doing, but I did develop a nodding familiarity with the equipment and how to make it move tape.  Basically, I became aware of how much more I needed to know.

--gmr
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J.J. Blair

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2005, 02:33:48 pm »

Phil, my favorite part about doing jingles: No egocentric band members (just indecisive ad folks) and you get paid!  One of these days, I'll get smart and stop trying to make records and join your racket.
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Phil

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2005, 03:22:23 pm »

J.J. wrote on Wed, 16 March 2005 11:33

Phil, my favorite part about doing jingles: No egocentric band members (just indecisive ad folks) and you get paid!  One of these days, I'll get smart and stop trying to make records and join your racket.

J.J., Speaking of indecisive ad folks...

I once had an ad agency book a commercial voice over session in my shop to record Richard Petty, the NASCAR champion. The agency types were standing around in the control room doing their last minute creative thing, and Richard walked in. They all smiled, shook his hand, and said "Hello Richard", then turned their back on him and resumed being creative. In about ten seconds Richard said: "Who's in charge here, besides me?"

The session began immediately.

Phil
(engineer and NASCAR fan)

p.s. Didn't mean to hijack the thread. Commercial break over...now, back to the stories.
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Tim Halligan

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2005, 05:07:10 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Tue, 15 March 2005 18:13


By the way, I don't think I've yet seen a single person who went to one of the dedicated "Recording Schools!"



I'm another...I went to (don't laugh) School of Audio Engineering.

Stop laughing...


STOP IT!


Useful for theory, signal flow, basic session management...and not much else...


The one piece of useful advice that I did get from them was:
"Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth firmly shut. Sit on your hands unless specifically instructed to do otherwise, and save all your questions until the end of the session"


SAE covered post-production sound in 2 hours...I'm now a post AE. Go figure.

I guess the best thing to come out of it was that I learned how to learn about audio engineering.

I am - like almost every post AE I know - a frustrated music AE.


Cheers,
Tim


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iluvatar

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2005, 09:59:22 pm »

My family isn't particularly musical - mom sings in church; dad listens to a bunch of really bad bluegrass and plays the accordion on Christmas morning.

I was forced to take piano lessons for most of my school years. Any enjoyment I found in it was overshadowed by being forced to do it. In high school, I started playing guitar so some friends and I could start a grunge band and scare old people. I was always more of a tech-geek and went into computer programming for a while. A couple years ago, I decided to write & record a song for my then-girlfriend-now-fiance for valentine's day. Since I knew nothing about recording, and had no gear beyond a guitar, I had to research everything. I got laid off from my programming job a year later and decided that I'd rather spend my life recording music than writing software.

I'm not attending a "dedicated 'Recording School!,'" just a community college with a nice studio and a decent program. I'm one of those guys Brian Kehew described going into school with some knowledge and getting more out of it than most of the guys there.

Never did finish that song, though...

-Dan.
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Slider2

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2005, 10:11:33 pm »

Here goes...my condensed life story.
I apologize in advance!

I started to notice the difference in sound between Beatles and Led Zep records as a kid.
I was facinated by how they sounded so different, and so perfect in their own way.
Got a 4-track at age 12 and recorded hundreds of my own songs.
Soon enough I started recording other bands around town as well.
Moved up to 8 tracks! wow!
Produced a local bands demo, then their record, which ended up selling a LOT for what it was. They went on to much more success after. The first SSL I'd seen was recording this record. (I accidentally spilled bong water into it!)
Around the same time signed an artist deal with Geffen.
Made a couple records with some amazing people, and I learned a ton. Especially from Jack Puig.
Co-produced my first real budget record for A&M.
Record flopped.
My band was soon dropped by Geffen after the second record.
Started a new band and signed with A&M.
Record died soon after release, mostly due to my by then unbelievably unhealthy habits.
Left LA to get better, got dropped again (while in rehab) then bought new recording gear when I finally came out of the fog. It took years.

I'm glad I lived through all of it.
I'm much happier now and I'm still obsessed with Beatles records. Smile
The music business is rough.



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Curve Dominant

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2005, 11:52:07 pm »

Quote:

HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?


When my mom got pregnant with her first child (my older brother Bobby), my dad bought her a Spanish guitar, so she would have something to play with while sitting around the house expecting.

Dad had been a trumpeter in big jazz bands when he was young. But the Korean War came along and sucked my pop  into the Military Industrial Complex. Dad became a GI, then a Cold Warrior... and then family-hood.

Moms never learned how to play that guitar, but Dad did. He was a big Johnny Cash fan, and he kinda looked and sounded like him too.

Apparently, when Bobby and I were still wee tikes, we were afraid of thunderstorms. So, my pop would get out the guitar when there was a thunderstorm, and play and sing this song called "Thunder In The Canyon" and that would make us chill out. We would sit around in our little living room, and pops would put on this little concert, doing his Johnny Cash thing. It was dope. I remember it to this day.

When Bobby became an adolescent, he got ahold of that guitar and started jamming on it, serious rock & roll, and got really good really quick.

He had an attitude too, a real rebel thing, very charismatic. Before we knew it, he was a local rock star. The sexiest girls and the coolest guys in my town would all crowd around my parents' front porch to hear him play rock & roll on that old Spanish guitar.

Then they would all go off to drink and do drugs and have sex. I was too young to go along, but Bobby always left the guitar behind - so I was left alone with it, and started banging on it myself. Of course, I wanted to be like him.

But, of course, it became much more than that. Something about that guitar was magic. It was like touching the keys to the universe, to the Spirit World. And I still feel that way about music, sitting here typing this, surrounded by guitars and synthesizers and percussion instruments, the Pro Tools rig and the recording gear. I love it, and I cannot imagine life without it.

Yes, it is a mess. An interesting mess. A glorious mess. Sometimes a heart-wrenching mess. Like life. Like the universe. Like our species.

Like a woman:
Break my heart though she may,
I cannot imagine life without her.

Music is my mistress,
And she plays second fiddle to no one.

compasspnt

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2005, 06:37:57 am »

Very well said Eric.  Nice story.

They're all good stories.
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Kendrix

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2005, 12:27:15 pm »

My story will be a contrast to those above.
I took the "other  road"

Like most folks here music was/is in my DNA. From a very young age I had a VERY deep appreciation of it.  Earliest memories involve banging out melodies like the "Theme from Exodous" on those kiddie xylophones or my neighbors piano.

My dad had one of the best stereos in town in the sixties.. and a reel to reel.
I really appreciated the better sound -and i had decent ears.
I was so taken with music that I obsessed about being an recording engineer.
When i was in 6th grade i wrote to all the big labels in NYC asking them for advice on how to get into the biz of audio engineering.  No one answered.  I remained really taken by this dream.  

However, fortunately or unfortunately, I also did really well in school.  

...and ( this is key)

My dad had a chance to pursue a big singing career in the early 50's. He won a very big singing contest in NYC. Kinda like todays American Idol.  The promoter wanted my dad to go on tour.  Dad was in process of planinng to marry my mother and they decided that the messy music business and starting a family would  not go together very well.  So, Dad passed on the opportunity. He refused to sing in public ever since ( I only learned this a few years back).  So, my folks had well established opinions in this area. I became brainwashed into the thought that music was a messy business and that I ( with such good grades in school) could do much "more" with my life.  Hmmm.

Anyway, I became a physics major in college and didnt do much music after graduating untill years later.  However, the deep seated desire to be involved in music production was lying dormant - but did not disappear.

When moving to Tokyo in the Mid-nineties i bought a keyboard so my daughter could continue piano lessons ( my company wouldnt move the piano to Japan- too much hassle).  The keyboard had midi ports and ended up in the same room as my PC.  Shibuya, the big music  retailing center in Tokyo was 5 minutes from my apartment.  And so, My mid-life-crisis home studio adventure began.  First a sequencer, then a portastudio.  Then a real mic and pre.  Then the move to HD recording and digital mixing. Yada yada yada.

Today it continues as a pure hobby and i write and produce my demos mainly for my own entertainment (tho i'd love to get a tune placed with a commercial artist one day).  I get to dabble in the writing playing and engineering aspects without constraints and i get great satsifaction from being able to do this.

Fortunately, my day job has allowed me to afford to build this up to a reasonable level.  However, unlike many folks here, Im not exactly "In this mess".  I sometimes think about what if....

Everthing has plusses and minuses.  I can enjoy this at my leisure without getting burned out by the BS.  However, Im certainly not living the dream.
Neither am I getting beaten up by the music business climate as many pros are these days. Ive avoided that.

As always, ying/yang applies.

Anyone want to trade places for a while?
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Ken Favata

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2005, 01:21:10 pm »

Eric Vincent wrote on Wed, 16 March 2005 21:52

Quote:

HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?


When my mom got pregnant with her first child (my older brother Bobby).............Music is my mistress,
And she plays second fiddle to no one.




Eric,
Great story Smile

What happened to your brother? Is he Bono or something?
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John Ivan

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2005, 04:09:05 pm »

I'm only half in it. I keep breaking off big hunks of engineering stuff to chew on because I'm nuts.

It all started for me when I was about 5 years old. My mom had done a lot of Off Broadway stuff and had quite a nice voice. My dad plays pretty good Piano and at one point in his life had some drum chops. My brother and sister and I ended up with drums,guitars basses, a B-3 and a Piano in our basement at a very early age. The old man did 4 years in the Air Force doing tech stuff and came out working on radio and TV stations. The basement had tape machines,mixers and all kinds of audio enhancement devises sitting around everywhere.

By the time I was 10, maybe younger, I could play through the early Beatles records with decent time and started messing with guitars and organ. From that moment forward, I played every day. The thing that I loved about it was I didn't need to deal much with anyone else. I had very RED hair when I was a kid and people were plain mean. Music was the best place in the world.

The recording end had always been there but doing it for money never really dawned on me until a guy in town started a small 8 track room in his house. I would go over and hang out and this is where I did my first couple jingles at age,, 18?.. I had been playing live bar dates since I was 15 years old and writing songs was just a natural thing. I couldn't afford to pay for studio time so I never really recorded any of my own tunes. By the time I was in my 20's I was doing sessions for other folks and paying close attention to the engineers at different studios. The thing I noticed over everything else was that some of these folks new a lot of stuff about theory but still, the mixes were a bummer. My good friend Don was the only guy in town who could really mix a record. He's still great at it. The "smartest" guy in town was a reverb freak and the stuff just laid there.

Suddenly, I found myself buying gear and recording bands and some jingles. The goal for the gear was to get tunes that a friend and I were writing out to shop publishing. The last couple years have been insane. I've moved twice and taken a  touring gig with Rare Earth. It looks like all those late nights working for peanuts are beginning to pay off. We are working on a new record and I am now at a cool little room here in Lansing. The goal for the room is to dive into the jingle world and make some money doing what I love the most. Writing and recording. For some reason, I just can't get enough of the studio environment. I love music and the related tools more than anything in my life other than my wife and son.

I was going to start school { at 40 years old} somewhere in CINCI but we have found ourselves back in Michigan so, I am looking around for a 2 year in electronics. I need to know more if I'm gona be stuck with all this gear.

As it turns out, I am carving some sort of living out of all this madness. Between club dates,weddings,R.E shows,jingles,and singer/songwriter sessions, it all works out somehow.
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compasspnt

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Re: HOW Did You Get Yourself Into This MESS?
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2005, 04:21:19 pm »

ivan40 wrote on Thu, 17 March 2005 16:09

....... it all works out somehow.


Always the operative words...
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