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Old 22nd July 2011 | Show parent
Here for the gear
Well Well Well.... Snotty (the affectionate name given you by Trident tape ops because you used to have a gingerish moustache that you constantly twiddled and chewed.....I see youve still got it from the pic above, but now somewhat grey. Remember your mate John Smith ex EMI, Trident and Apple studios. What ever happened to him? Cant say I ever expected to converse with you again. Still v good to know your out there, fit and well I hope. I'll post between yours for clarity. But as has already been said: detailed memories fade and events compound..... I guess yours are no exception.... well it has been 40 yrs ish so perhaps we can both forgive one an others age!
Out of interest where were you working when fired by David? If he fired you during Diamond Dogs then you were working at Olympic not Trident and Young Americans was recorded in Philadelphia and New York.
Sorry mate, but while you certainly were a big player, you weren't everywhere. The Diamond Dogs tapes were added to and (partially) mixed at Tony Visconti's home/studio in the backstreets of Shepherds Bush, which I helped to build. Some basic/early Young American tracks also arrived, but these may have been demos. The track Future Legend has a warbling vocal effect achieved by winding uneven editting tape round the tape echo machines capstan. I got sacked (or more politely, 'uninvited') because I argued strongly that the relatively high volume of the future legend 'poem' made the rock track that follows (name escapes me) sound rather limp, instead of coming crashing in. David 'disagreed'. As said, what does he know, he was just an international superstar...! Judge for yourself playing at car radio volume.

Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
George Martin was my boss and mate for a while. You may know this story but when I asked him about Day in the Life he said it came about as a dispute between Paul and John. Both had written songs but there was only room for one more track on the album. So his compromise was to cut them together. Unfortunately they were in different keys so he slowed one down and speeded the other up. Come the day of the orchestra he got them all to attend in full dress suits....LOL looked like a room full of penguines. So remember when youre tempted to knuckle the drummer for doing his own thing, sometimes great things come from compromise.

Once again, out of interest, are you sure it was A Day In The Life that was edited together because I happen to know that the multitrack (4 track) has no edits in it. Now if I'm not mistaken it was Strawberry Fields that was put together from 2 takes in different keys.
Did I say editted? I think I said cut which isnt quite the same thing. Well thats my 30 yr old memory of the 2 minute conversation.....and who knows, maybe GM said DiTL when he meant SF. He may well have had his mind on something else. Anyway, Im not saying the tape was editted, but the track was apparently created from 2 originally separate songs. Remember this is a blog based on vague 30 yr old remenisences and not intended for inclusion in a definative 4 volume fully researched book. There are bound to be some different interpretations. You'd know infinitely more about the recording....I assume you were there as tape op to Geoff afterall, it was him who got the Grammys wasnt it ?. I dont remember talking to George about Strawberry Fields but I wouldnt doubt your memory.

Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
The base track for Hey Jude may have been recorded at Trident but it was too small for that orchestra. I find it hard to believe that they would have swapped studios because EMI would have put a lot of pressure on George Martin (who was a salaried staff producer in those days) to record at Abbey Road rather than shell out £ for the indi Trident. Remember,we are talking 4 track analogue so there werent many spare tracks to play with and each bounce introduces you hear a lot of distortion? Still its possible. Try listening to just one side of the stereo (disregarding echo which was added ad hoc at mix time) gives you an astonishing insight to the recording sequence/technique.

This isn't out of interest, this is to show this is all cr*p. The Beatles spent 2 days recording Hey Jude in Number 2 studio at EMI Studios. I know that because I was with them every minute of those 2 days. As far as Trident is concerned, the Fab Four went there for the next 3 days during which time they re-recorded the basic track, did all their overdubs, laid down the orchestra and mixed the single that became a worldwide hit. I went down to Trident at the end of the mix. Sir, I don't give a damn what you find hard to believe, Hey Jude, in all it's glory,
Blessed be its name
was ALL recorded at Trident Studios by Barry Sheffield (Engineer) and Ron Goodwin (Second).
I know this was a very important part of your life and mankinds musical history, but Im not sure why you are being so abrasive; is it not being able to remember/picture me frustrating you?. No one is trying to deny your role or dispute your knowledge. I didnt say 'This is what happened', I said 'I find it hard to believe....' I wasnt at the sessions, but I was at Trident, so I know it wasnt a particularly big room, so it would have been an uncomfortable squash for a big orchestra. Still if that's what you say happened, then Im sure we are all endebted for the info. By the way, have you written a book for posterity.....Im sure every word is the Gospel and no one else on the planet has an even slightly different recollection.

As far as The Beatles going to other studios, that was a practice that started with Can't Buy Me Love and continued with various recordings including but not limited to All You Need Is Love, Baby You're A Rich Man and Your Mother Should Know. EMI had absolutely no say in what the biggest and best band in the world did, most especially where they recorded. Let's be honest, EMI knew that any money lost to an outside studio was chicken feed compared to what they'd be making.

Again I bow to your knowledge and I dont think Ive tried to contradict it nor say I ever worked on a single Beatle session in any visible that time I was just making the tea. (Ok, so how many of you others out there wouldnt have given your left leg to even say you got that close to history in the making ?) However, there was a time (pos before your time, but as you now confirm) when the fab four recorded at and were obliged to use EMI. The story I heard was that a time came when they didnt feel their creature needs were being entirely' catered for', so decamped to Trident (or perhaps some other indi, but certainly Trident was among them). That gave Trident a huge image boost. Didn't it?
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
Like all people I knew, I had a strange route into the music industry. I worked for a tobacco shop who had a ciggy vending machine sited at Trident. For the first time I was sent to fill it. I asked the v bored girl on reception where it was .She never looked up from filing her nails but said ' 'Down the stairs, thru the studio, in the toilet, out back'. So off I went. As I walked in I spotted a familiar face strumming a guitar....Oh hi George (Harrison) Dont mind me, just come to fill the.....AARGH! Suddenly my collar was grabbed from behind and I was dragged outside. DONT YOU KNOW WHAT AN EFFIN RED LIGHT MEANS, YOU MORON. Nope, no idea (why would I?)...What DOES it mean. This is a recording studio !. Really! Ive always wanted to work in a studio ( I lied....actually I had no idea they existed...being totally niave I assumed records grew on trees, but it had to be better than filling cigarette machines) Can I have a job? Can you make tea? How many sugars d'ya take? I left 5 years later.

I'm getting bored with this but I feel the need to complete what I have started. Penny Kramer, the receptionist,
Who you had the hots for.
would most certainly never have been caught filing her nails and I'm sorry but, even though Trident was situated in the red light district of London, there was no red light outside the studio door.

Youre absolutely right, it was Penny and maybe she wasnt exactly filing her nails; it was simply a graphic turn of phrase I used to illustrate that she certainly wasnt paying much attention to me. Did you ever hear the story about someone getting her a spam sandwich.....Mmm this is nice, what is it? She almost threw up when she realised it was pork! (Kramer???)
But there certainly was a red 'RECORDING' light at the bottom of the stairs
, directly above the entry door to the studio. Perhaps it was before your time?
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
My first session was very nearly my last. Tea was made in a basement room directly behind the main studio and below the control room, where they also stored old instruments like drums, master tapes and echo plates (whatever they were). Now a little boy couldnt resist a drum kit. Kbahh Kboom, Tishhhh Tishhh Tishhhh, para diddle para diddle.Suddenly this engineer (Robin Cable or Malcolm Toft....not sure, I was so scared) came rushing in....WHAT THE MUCK !!. Apparently he was mixing a track upstairs called Little help from my friends for some window cleaner called Joe Cocker. I swear when I listen v carefully, I can still hear some mad drumming in the vocals echo.
Which reminds me...the entire Beatles master tape collection was stored down there....I used to take them out at night and mix them. One night we'd smoked too much, so carelessly spilled coffee all over Sgt Pepper ....oops ! Imagine what those very rough mixes would be worth now days let alone the master tapes.... I hear EMI later built a nuclear bomb shelter to protect them coz they are considered so valuable. Those were the days.

I do find this post interesting.
Thank heavens for far all youve done is to try and make me out to be a wannabe imposter. We were friendly once upon a time Ken. But if you can't remember me and I can remember you, I have to wonder who has the worse memory !
You do seem to have some knowledge of Trident, it's just that it's very little.
Thanks to the buildings design and the engineers, like of you and others, who jealously guarded access to the control room, that's hardly suprising. What I was taught about engineering at Trident could have been writ large on a fleas bum. Thanks for the non education.
The entire Beatles master tape collection in the basement and you took them out at night to mix them???? All I can say to that is that you must have had a side deal with the security guards at EMI Studios to have the tapes delivered every night because all Beatles tapes have ALWAYS been stored by EMI, either at the studios, the squash court across Abbey Road or at the storage facility at Hayes. Solo projects weren't kept quite so securely, I know that at least one master reel from All Things Must Pass remained at Trident for some time, but Beatles masters, NEVER.
Im sorry Ken but you are wrong.....I dont know why they were there or for how long....perhaps just while the sessions were going on: But there they certainly were in the cupboard on the left, as you entered the tea room from the drum boothe. (and by 'the entire collection' I mean the entire collection that was there, not everything going back to Aint She Sweet (Decca I think). As for security.....Trident never had any unless you considered Gerry to have be a security guard (the trumpet playing gofor that worked there.) Also during the session (but not after), Mal Evans was patrolling. I dont remember any air con in those days, so much of the time (on hot nights and w/e), the front door from St Annes Ct wasnt even locked with no one on reception.

I have to bring this to a close, but real quickly. The compressors were LA2As and 1176s. Not knocked up by the techies.
There you see, you can still add something of historical techie value to the story when you try. As you well know, the tape ops worked upstairs so saw v little of the control room while in use. It was also v small so, perhaps, that explains why few of us were ever invited in during sessions (prior to getting the 3M tape machine with remote control), or educated in the dark arts by you demi-gods. But Ron was not averse to knocking up bits of equipment from jumblesale components. He was a v nice bloke and a very competant techie (who worked with Barry Sheffield as a tv repair man prior to Trident days as I remember his story)

Trident had no U47s
I stand corrected.....memories have compounded. ; I think we had one at AIR and Tony V certainly bought one from Elstree (?) Pinewood (?) when it closed up, and auctioned off all its kit. I know this as a fact because I bid for it. But Im sure McCartney did use one....I think there's even a pic on one of the album covers. Sorry I destroyed all my discs so I can't check.

The BBC ribbon was an STC4038, still being made by Coles.
Thanks for was bothering me, as you will have seen by my 3 question marked attempts. Still they were good for brass werent they.

Who the hell is Mikey Keys????
I may well have got the name slightly was late and I wasnt expecting a Mastermind grilling from you. Perhaps it was Bobby Keys.....anyway he was a famous American horn player who frequently worked with Stones but also many others inc Nilssons producer (I can see his face but cant remember his bloody name?. Still that reminds me, I owe you an apology for something regarding him that your not aware of....but thats for another day over a glass of vino)

Trident never had a Neve. We had 2 Sound Techniques and a Trident A Range.
Youre right. The Neve (s) were at AIR and we also had a Trident desk at Tony V's. I helped to specify several mods to it with Malcolm Toft. I remember the desk in Tridents upstairs mix room was changed at some time....I thought it was a neve, but in fact, it could simply have been the main studio desk that was re-sited .(you'd remember better than me)

Hi, I'm sorry about that, but he's finally under control and back in his cage.
Hopefully you are too after a good sleep! Still, no need to be sorry....the guys here have all learned something they never knew about the kit at Trident thanks to your elephantine memory. If nothing else, at least my contribution has flushed you out of your cave to everyones benefit.
GOM happens to be more interested in Trident history than most, for obvious reasons, and he really gets irate when that history gets messed with. I think it's time for he and I to go to sleep.
Hope you wake refreshed and not feeling so crotchety
rgs Alan