Ladies & Gents.....
A conversation with :
( Musician / Songwriter / Engineer )
Tommy : Man......... , All I can say is : "Damn it , ET"
"Damn that Bastard-ass , ET !!!!
NOTE: "E.T " is in reference to legendary engineer & inventor "ANDREW BERLINER"
Tommy & I used to joke that when he was pissed,He reminded us of "Earnest T. Bass" from the Andy Griffith show.
Ha hahaha ......How've U been... Man ?
Tommy : I'm doing really well. This time of the year I get really busy on a physical level. For the past few years I have been putting in a big garden.
It is a lot of work. But, Man when you harvest..... it's chow time.
Ha haha , right ?!?!
I know Ure holding it down with those kids ( the School )
Tommy : Hanging with the the kids keeps me in touch with the street (musically). I'm always getting introduced to new artists by my students.
Are U playin any these days ??
( I love the New Stuff U're workin' on in the Studio )
Tommy : Thanks a lot. I have a brand new batch of wild stuff for you to check out. I usually record in spurts. I never force it. As for playing, I just got a new custom built guitar. It is a natural finish Tele/rose wood fret board. A hot rodded lipstick pickup in the front and a Dimarzio humbucker in the back. It really has some output.
But, You've ALWAYS had a nice axe & a nice rig !
Tommy : When I moved up to Ohio I had a Les Paul Pro Deluxe and a Ibanez Road Star II.
Oh, yeah ...I remember them.
Tommy : I still have them !!
Tommy : I have filled in the gaps tonally with members of the Fender family. I also have the same Marshall Blues Breaker I got back in '80. I use the Marshall for keys and samplers as well as guitar.
The "SMARTALECMUSIC" Burning Question:
Omni-Important ? or Wait til' they get da bugs out of it ?
Tommy : I have mixed feelings about it. Its kind of the old rule, if its not broken, dont fix it. But, with my new Powerbook G4, Im trying to keep everything up to date and current, and with OS 10, you can do a lot of software updates. As for my G4 that I do music on, Ive had it fine tuned for so long and working well that Im scared to change it. Im using my beta version of ProTools and I havent even upgraded it because it works so well.
I feel U ....
I hate when you Do Decide to "Upgrade" NOTHIN WORKS from the previous system !
I'm sure that shit's on purpose.
Tommy : Your right about that! Just check out the ProTools user forum.....Or the Apple discussion site. I usually wait a couple weeks to do upgrades .....because it often seems that WE are beta testing the upgrade.
I'm gonna throw names at ya !
( Respond as U wish )
David Lee Roth
Tommy : What would the world be without David Lee Roth?
In the world of latter day Rock & Roll ?
NOT A DAMN THANG !!!
All of your "Joe Elliots" etc. come from that DLR school !
Tommy : Roth is the ultimate frontman for party rock and roll. As the lyric goes, I got a drink in my hand, got my toes in the sand, all I need is a beautiful girl. I can say that seeing Van Halen on their first tour in 78 was dreadful. Dave was wasted, and Eddies amplifier kept blowing up.
No Shit ?!?
Tommy : I wish they would get back together. I believe they got dropped be Warner Bros. Get back together with Dave and do a new album DIY style. Prince made the model for "DIY" (Brilliant). Artist who are established don't need a "record label". I say good riddance!
Hear Hear !!!!
Tommy : What can I say, if not for Joe Waters, we probably wouldnt be doing this interview now. If not for the Recording Workshop, you and I would probably have never met. He was very good to both of us, and gave us a pretty long leash. Who could forget Macon?
Oh , Shit ......that brings back Hella Memories !
We also "Earned" that long-ass leash as well from Joe....
Tommy : Man, when I really think about it. We worked our asses off.
We sure Did , man ....
Tommy : We would go to the studio and record until we couldn't take it any more. How many hours do you think we spent in old Studio D?
A "Couple" of DVD's .....EASY !!!
Gary Moore photo : Tasic Dragan
Tommy : Wow, I recently got some iTunes tracks of Gary live at the "Monsters of Rock" and they are incredible.
Yeah, I remember.....Gary Moore was your Kat !
Tommy : I never realized it, but back when I played a lot of guitar, he was a major influence on me and I didnt realize it until I went back and listened to the Monsters of Rock tape. I believe it was in the Summer of 84, Gary Moore came through Columbus and played at the Alrosa Villa and it was incredible. I was really intrigued to see the show because Ian Pace was playing drums, but Deep Purple got together to play a few shows and he opted out to go back with them. I think they were going to do a tour or record, I cant remember. Also, with the Monster of Rock tracks, its really nice to hear a guy playing guitar live that uses volume control.
Yeah , Tommy ....that was when U could go to the Alrosa ....
AND , NOT GET SHOT TO DEATH ONSTAGE ?!?!?
Tommy : I find it unbelievable. Who next? Or what next?
I don't even want to think about it.....
Tommy : One of the most generous people Ive ever met. Having done probably 130 shows with Perry as the frontman, he was always the bandleader. The arrangements of the songs would change nightly (in a good way) and you always had to pay attention and follow his lead. Ill never forget, were flying into New Zealand and were filling out the proper documents and when the question was, Fill in the blank for profession, I put: musician. Perry put entertainer.
Ha hahaha !
Yeah, Perry is Madd Cool.
Tommy : Ha hahaha !!!
Nothing like driving down Santa Monica blvd towards Vine Street from Silver Lake and seeing George walking to the studio (Crystal). Also, as you know, working with GC was quite a trip. Ill never get over him with his big sketchpads and markers drawing while working. He would be sitting at the producers desk, silent, and when he heard something he liked he would look up and say, I like that.
Yeah,man .....George is the "Last One"
They're all gone.
Tommy : Man..... I hope George is well. His stream of conciseness is amazing! Something that blows my mind is a lot of kids today don't know who I'm talking about when I mention "George" !! It's unbelievable.
He's Fine, and STILL on top 0' shit !!
I know U out there schoolin' folks
Tommy : I do educate them.
I'm Sure !
Tommy : Melting pot of music. There is so much military personnel coming and going, that the scene changes a lot. When I was up there from 1977 until 1983, there seemed to be a big rock scene. I feel like my band (Axxiss, haha!) we were one of the most popular bands around and played a lot of military bases, and you HAD to play covers.
Tommy : Another guy out of that scene, Scott Travis, has also gone on to do quite well as he is the current drummer for Judas Priest. He was an original member of Racer X before that. There was a guy named Keith Matthews, who I have no idea what happened to, was a fantastic guitarist. I think it was about 1985 I saw Scott and another guy, Keith Harrison, in LA at the Rainbow Bar and Grill and I asked about Keith (Matthews), and they said he was back at the beach riding his bike.
Tommy : Whoa. Ive been very fortunate to work with some unbelievable people, and Joe was one of them. He would play piano and I would have goose bumps. Then he would look at me and say:
Lets do it again, that shit sucked. I never heard him play anything bad.
I think we tried this instrument he had called a chicken neck on virtually every song of the record and it ended up making one tune, but it was fantastic.
Joe's work on "Heavy Weather" set the tone for what was to come in that genre ...
"Make THAT one , the WARHEAD !!!" ------ Zawinul
Ha.....hahaha. The "Warhead" is the track that Joe chose to build the mix around. The "Warhead" could change during the middle of a mix because Joe would always add tracks until the bitter end. What a education for me.
Yeah, man .....
Tommy : That's awesome you remember that. I had just finished do the "Lost Tribe" lp with Joe when you got signed to Motown.
Tommy : I never forget you calling me and suggesting that I find a studio for us to record your album. You called me back in a few minutes and say I should check out Crystal on Vine St. Whew............
Too Much "HISTORY" to NOT want to be in there !!!
The Genius of......Mr. ANDREW BERLINER !!!!
Wow .. A true genius! I remember the first time I met him he was in his lab working on a device he called the Cardiac Visualizer. Heavy!
His consoles are the most musical sounding Ive ever used. He had a 2 playback machine (16/24) with his custom electronics. I would make clones of my master reels with that machine used for playback. The clones (2nd generation) sounded better than the original ?!?!?
I was over a Crystal alot at the end. "ET" was moving back east and he shared a lot of old photos and stories. He found a box of old REP (Recording Engineer Producer) magazines. Crystal was on the cover. The caption read Analog meets Digital. The article featured Studio B. SuperTramp had mixed Breakfast in America there. An analog console with digital faders. A first!
Bless him , Bless him ......
Aiiiight, Time to play the.....Either Or Game !
Digital OR Analog?
Tommy : I prefer listening to analog, but were being forced into a digital world, like it or not. A properly calibrated Studer A800, still sounds better than anything.
Like anybody off the street can TELL the DIFFERENCE ?!?!?
Tommy : The mass public doesn't care about sound quality. Look at the explosion of MP3. Computer file sharing. Last report I read there are over 21 million ( and counting ) iPods. iTunes has had over 1 billion songs downloaded.
Not only do they NOT CARE ?
They wouldn't KNOW the Fuckin' Difference Anyway !!!
How many of yŠll out there reading this can "HONESTLY" tell me if Brandy's 1st cd was ANALOG or DIGITAL ?!?
As Bumpin as that shit was ?
ANSWER : IT WAS DONE ON ADAT's !!!
I know the Writer / Producer "Keith Crouch" he straight said that folks ( fake audio-files )
were blown out da water on that one !
Tommy : The masses have NO CLUE !
And that goes beyond music.....
Pleeeez... don't get me started !
70s OR Today?
Tommy : The 70s. I dont how I should put this but we got pretty busy and didnt worry about all the diseases that are out there currently.
I don't EVEN wanna go itno that shit....
But them Days are OVER !!!
If Memory serves me correctly ....U had some Bigg Pimpin' goin on too !!!
Tommy :That may be true. But we know who the largest pimp was! Ill save the rest of the story for the book.
*Looks around nervously*
Recording Or Mixing?
Tommy : I prefer to record basic tracks more then anything, preferably with a full band. There is a certain energy, that if you catch it, is second to none.
Indeed, Indeed .....
Touring OR Recording?
Tommy : Touring with whom.... and where?
Recording with whom.... and where?
Classic Rock OR Metal ?
Tommy : Is "Black Sabbath" classic rock?
As for modern metal, a band I really like is "Opeth" and I also really like "Porcupine Tree".
I'm not up on them ....U gotta get me up
Gibson OR Fender?
Tommy : I think you have to have both.
Roth OR Hagar ?
Tommy : Ive been thinking about this one. Roth as the frontman for Van Halen, Hagar as the frontman for Montrose. Check this out; I think that Van Halen should go three piece, Eddie, Alex, and Mike. I saw them in 98 with Cherone at Glenn Helen on the 4th of July.
They went three piece and did Mean Streets off of Fair Warning, and it was the best Ive ever seen them. Michael Anthony was the lead vocalist, incredible.
Yeah ,man Mike used to hit all of those high notes w/ Eddie !
I got Madd Respect for him.
East OR West ?
Tommy : I like the east coast better. Theres more discipline.
Tommy : On a personal level, Im going back through all the old stuff (can you say Studio D?)
H ahahahaha !!
We Did A GANG of SHIT in studio D !!
Tommy : Yep, and along with the new stuff, and am going to get my record together, which has been 20 years in the works.
To quote someone you know, Im under-underground.
Ha haha !
Thanks for talking "Shop" with me TJ .....
We've been close friends for over 23 yrs. man
I really appreciate it !!
Twins sons of a different Mother ?!?!
Tommy : 23 Years! We're getting old as hell! You've been my MVF (most valuable friend) for a long time. 6 months may pass with out a chat and we always pickup with out dropping a beat.
OKAY !?!?!? Same here ,man
We Put it Down , Tommy !!!
MF's have come & gone ( thank Goodness )
But, YOU ?
There's NEVER been Any Question in MY mind
Who you ARE .....WERE & continue to BE !!
Shit , We "Damn Near" grew up together man ?!?!
Tommy : I'll never forget my first Thanksgiving in Ohio. You invited me to chow with your family. Then we were off to record in Studio D.
If I ate ....YOU ate !!!
That's who we were....and what we did , man.
We were all about the MUSIC !
All the Bullshit ? Took a Backseat.
Tommy : Its all about the music!
Tommy : I do believe we recorded "Ill-gotten Gain". I played you the demo riffs in the car on the way to the studio. You played air drums. I knew from that day forward we were brothers!
Ha hahahaha !!!!!
And, I KNOW you don't use that Term "Lightly" !!
Yep, Er'since ....
The Brutha that "Rocked out"
And, the White Kat who was "Funky as hell"
I know to this DAY , people prolly still couldn't
figure out WHY or HOW were those two so damn Cool with each other ?
Tommy : We did/do get some weird looks. If folks dont get it they should probably check themselves.
Its really on a spiritual level.
Tommy : Ive had big fun having this chat. To be added to the inner-view list with all the heavyweights is an honor. Many thanks for the kind words.
Shit , I'm HONORED man !!!
Thanks again , Tommy ....I'm just Glad it's Finally Up
Aiiiiiiiight mayne !
For those that Ain't up on Tommy's Work.... etc etc
This should Help ?
|The Distillers (Hellcat/Epitaph) Produced, Engineered, & Mixed|
|Rancid#5 (Epitaph) Engineered & Mixed|
|Perry Farrell "Rev"(Warner Brothers) Produced, Engineered, Mixed, Performed|
|Tiger Army (Hellcat/Epitaph) Mixed debut LP|
|Give'em the Boot #2 (Hellcat/Epitaph) Engineered, &or Mixed or Played on 8 tracks|
|F-Minus (Hellcat/Epitaph) Engineered & Mixed debut LP|
|The Distillers (Hellcat/Epitaph) Engineered & Mixed 7"|
|Buccaneer (VP Records) Remixed track with Rancid|
|The Dropkick Murphys (Hellcat/Epitaph) Mixed "The Gangs all Here"|
|Joe Strummer/South Park Sound Track(Sony) Engineered|
|Rancid/South Park Sound Track (Sony) Engineered|
|Mike Watt/ Hempilation Vol. 2 (Capricorn) Engineered & Mixed|
|Rancid/ Clash Tribute LP (Sony) Mixed|
|Rancid LP (Epitaph)"Life Won't Wait" Engineered & Mixed|
|F-Minus (Hellcat/Epitaph) Engineered & Mixed|
|Porno for Pyros (Grand Royal)"The Free Tibet LP" Performer|
|Jane's Addiction (Warner Brothers)"Kettle Whistle" Engineered & Performed|
|Banyan's debut (CyberOctive) Engineered & Performed|
|Porno For Pyros (Sony)"The Cable Guy" Engineered & Performed & Mixed|
|Porno For Pyros "Good Gods Urge"(Warner Brothers) Produced,Engineered,Performed & Mixed|
|Yoko Ono & IMA(Capital)"Kurushii"Remix Produced,Engineered & Mixed|
|The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Mercury) Engineered & Mixed B- Sides|
|Maids of Gravity (Vernon Yard/Virgin) Engineered & Mixed debut LP|
|Edna Swap (East/West) Engineered & Mixed debut LP|
|700 Miles (RCA)"Dirt Bomb" Engineered & Mixed debut LP|
|April's Motel Room(Immortal/Sony)"Black 14" Engineered & Mixed|
|Porno for Pyros (Warner Brothers)"A Little Sadness" Engineered|
|The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Mercury) Engineered & Mixed "Detroit Rock City" for Classic Kiss Regrooved|
|George Clinton/Lisa Simpson (Geffen) Engineered Single|
|July Alley (Columbia) Engineered & Mixed debut LP|
|Foley (Motown)"7 Years Ago" Engineered & Mixed|
|Zawinul Syndicate (Columbia)"Lost Tribes" Mixed|
" INNER-VIEWS "
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