Letters to Mix

From 1974 to 1982, I was privileged to have worked for Jeep Harned at MCI. During that time, I learned more than enough to sustain a career in the pro audio industry. Working for MCI was fun; there isn't another way to describe it.


From 1974 to 1982, I was privileged to have worked for Jeep Harnedat MCI. During that time, I learned more than enough to sustain acareer in the pro audio industry. Working for MCI was fun; there isn'tanother way to describe it. Jeep made everyone feel as if they were animportant part of the job. He treated everyone the same whether youwere a design engineer or on the assembly line, a truck driver or inthe metal shop.

The first time he became aware of me was on a visit to the consoletest area where I had started out. I had my head down in a console,checking out a module, and he was talking to my direct boss, WallyWatkivs. Somewhere along the line, a capacitor had been put in backwardand exploded. I popped up with pieces of paper from the cap all in myhair to see Wally and Jeep having a good laugh. After that, he wouldalways come by and say hello. He also had a knack for walking up to alarge board, like a 42-channel JH542, and pushing the one switch thatwasn't working. This happened so often that I would swear he had comein the night before to find the one fault on the console.

I don't think Jeep wanted to run a big company; it just happened tohim. He wanted to be out on the assembly line tinkering with the designor seeing if there was a better way of putting things together. If yousaw him walking about the company in his denim shirt and jeans, youwould have thought he was another person working on the line. He gotexcited about new designs. He always made the engineers go back and addwhat he thought was needed.

I once went to a Halloween party as Jeep. I grew a full beard andhad my hair cut like his, added a little gray to both, wore some wirerim glasses, and, of course, the Levi's shirt and jeans. Half of thepeople at the party were from MCI, and they all knew who I was. A weekbefore the party, I told him that I had planned to go to the party ashim. We had a big laugh about it.

He had told his family that when he passed away, he didn't wantpeople to mourn but to celebrate his life. At his memorial in Ft.Lauderdale, Fla., about 150 to 200 people showed up for a man they hadall worked for 20 years before. It was a true cross-section of thecompany: Engineers, management, people from the assembly lines, eventhe truck driver and the janitor all showed up to pay their respects.When it was said that he had been buried in his denim shirt and jeans,this brought a special cheer.
Glenn Coleman


In the old days, the music industry was a beloved link betweenlisteners and interesting new music. Today, the music industry is adespicable screening agency that preselects a narrow range of boringjunk to be force-fed to listeners. The industry should spend less moneypromoting music and more money giving listeners the ability to hear avariety and decide for themselves what they want to hear.

What is needed is a convenient way for customers to audition musicbefore they buy it. The Web should provide customers with the abilityto listen to a song once or twice in its entirety at home before buyingit, and the quality should be good enough for customers to decide ifthey like it. I don't mind paying for music I like, but I've wasted toomuch money speculating on CDs that I didn't like because I had no wayto audition them in advance. Some sites allow you to hear 30 seconds ofvery low-fi music to see if you like it. That is inadequate.

The industry needs to be less paranoid about someone listening forfree and realize that it is listening that make people want to buymusic. Thanks for this very interesting issue of your finemagazine.
Tom Slocombe


As an attorney and an amateur musician, I read with interest yourMay issue about the music industry and the problems with downloadingmusic. I suspect that some revenue is lost by the industry and thecomposers due to downloading, but my experience leads me to believethat the major reason for falling sales is the lack of a qualityproduct.

A few years ago, it was not uncommon for me to buy several CDs amonth. I frequently received a dozen or more CDs as gifts from familyand friends at Christmas or for my birthday. During the past couple ofyears, I have bought only a handful of CDs featuring recently recordedmusic. I have never downloaded music, and I think it is unethical to doso. Frankly, I haven't run across much recently recorded music that Ithought was worth the trouble.

Rather than developing the technology to wage a battle that itcannot win, the industry should focus its attention on developingquality songwriters and performers who have more going for them thangood cheekbones and a few dancing lessons. Give us a quality product,and we'll buy it. Downloading is a red herring.
arvin B. Speed


I'm sure I'm not the first person to complain about this, but I amsick of the ads in your magazine that objectify women or exclude them.In an industry that is already lacking in women, we don't need anymoreof this! You can tell [your advertisers] that their ads in the May 2003Mix will only discourage women from buying their products.
Lexie Stoia


I just had to correct an obvious mistake. In your obituary of EdGermano (April 2003), it says that Stevie Wonder recorded Songs inthe Key of Life at the Hit Factory. Stevie Wonder did, in fact,record at the Hit Factory after Eddie Germano took over, not for thenine months quoted, but for about three months, after which we wentback to L.A., and Crystal Sound for the next two years. Out of the 21songs on the album, only one basic track from the Hit Factory sessionswas actually used on the albums.

Eddie Germano was a wonderful host during our times at the HitFactory, and we had a great time recording at his facility. But thosestories about Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life beingdone there are untrue. The albums and EP were done completely(recorded, mixed and even mastered) at Crystal Sound in Hollywood bymyself and Gary Olazabal.

My sincerest condolences to the Germano family. He was far tooyoung. He was a great guy, and the ideal studio owner.
John P. Fischbach