Ladies & Gents...

conversation  with :

(  Musician / Songwriter / Engineer )



Tommy-Tommy !! 

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 U‚re 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.

tele.jpg (124604 bytes)


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. 

Paul.jpg (126305 bytes)Red.jpg (88182 bytes)BBII.jpg (197802 bytes)


OKAY   ?!?!?!?



The "SMARTALECMUSIC" Burning Question: 

New Software:

Omni-Important ?   or    Wait til' they get da bugs out of it ? 


Tommy  : I have mixed feelings about it. It’s kind of the old rule, “if  it’s not broken, don’t fix  it.” But, with my new Powerbook G4, I’m 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, I’ve had it  fine tuned for so long and working well that I’m scared to change it.  I’m using my beta version  of ProTools and I haven’t 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 ?


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 Eddie’s 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 !!!!







Joe Waters    BuildFront2.jpg (78626 bytes)

Tommy  : What can I say, if not for Joe Waters, we probably wouldn’t 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? 

Whew !!!!!

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 didn’t 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 can’t remember. Also,  with the Monster of Rock  tracks, it’s really nice to hear a guy playing guitar live that uses volume control.

Yeah , Tommy ....that was when U could go to the Alrosa ....


Tommy  : I find it unbelievable. Who next?   Or   what next? 

I don't even want to think about it.....






Perry Ferrell

Tommy  : One of the most generous people I’ve 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. I’ll never forget, we’re   flying into New Zealand and we’re 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.



George Clinton G.c.jpg (80153 bytes)

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. I’ll never get over him with his big sketchpads and  markers drawing while working.   He would be sitting at the producer’s 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 !






Virginia Beach

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.






Joe Zawinul     

Tommy  : Whoa. I’ve 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:

“Let’s 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

Tommy  :

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.

After I met him in Vienna ?   I laughed even harded at that shit....Joe is Wild !!!


 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............

 MAN , When I got there & saw that Place ?!?!

Too Much "HISTORY"  to NOT want to be in there !!!

The Genius of......Mr. ANDREW BERLINER !!!!

Tommy  :

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 I’ve 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 we’re being forced into a  digital world, like it or not. A  properly calibrated Studer A800, still sounds better than anything.

Aiiiight ?!?!?

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 ?


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 !





70’s OR Today?

Tommy  : The 70s. I don’t how I should put this but we got pretty busy and didn’t worry about all the diseases that are out there currently.

Whew !!!!

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!          I’ll save the rest of the story for the book.

Hahahahaha !!!!   

*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?

Ok ?!?!?





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.

I  agree....







Roth  OR   Hagar ?

Tommy  : I’ve 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 I’ve  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. There’s more discipline.

No Comment.







The Future.........

Tommy  : On a personal level, I’m going back through all the old stuff  (can  you say Studio D?)


H ahahahaha !!

Aaaaw, man....

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, “I’m 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  :  It’s all about the music!

Shit.....What ?!?!?!


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!

Guitar_Player___soundpage__88.jpg (66235 bytes)

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 don’t get it they should probably check themselves.

It’s really on a spiritual level.

Aiiiiight ?!?!?!

Tommy  : I’ve 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


  Aiiiiiiiiiight ?!?!?






      SMARTALECMUSIC   ©  2001-2023    All Rights Reserved.