THE “HERE AND NOW”
I was delighted to see the mini-feature on Luther Vandross' hit “Here and Now” [November 2005 “Classic Tracks”]. However, having recorded the original song demo, I have a correction to submit.
Terry Steele brought his song “Here and Now” to Theta Sound Studio in 1985 (then in Los Feliz/Los Angeles, now in Burbank, Calif.) to record. Terry had done other projects with us and he was certainly a gifted writer, singer and pianist. At that time, there was no other writer on this song except for Terry.
I had him track the piano on our Yamaha C5 Conservatory Grand (equipped with the Forte MIDI mod) and layered the MIDI stream to one of our DX7s for the Rhodes sound. The combination of acoustic/Rhodes sound was popular at the time with top producers and was the only backing track on this recording. Terry then sang the lead vocals and arranged the backing vocals. I mixed the song, and when it was finished, we knew it was great! It only took about four years for it to find its way to Luther!
When I saw the writer's credit for Luther's version, I was surprised. With the exception of the newly added bridge, Terry had penned the entire tune! As [Nat Adderley Jr.] says in your article, it's true, regarding that demo, [that], “None of us could believe how good it sounded! And I'm not talking about the song itself; the arrangement was nearly all there.”
I just thought I'd set the record straight.
Theta Sound Studio
REMEMBERING AN OLD FRIEND
I know Denny [Purcell, 1951-2002] left us awhile back, but I have been reminiscing lately about some times with him and I thought it was worth sharing.
I was a keyboard sideman in Nashville working any gig I could get back in 1979. I landed a tour with Gail Davies. Denny was road-managing (in addition to his mastering gig at Woodland Studios) and picked me up at the airport one day. I had been reading The New Yorker on the flight and clipped one of those insane captioned single-frame comics called “Some buncha ducks.” I have always had a pretty twisted since of humor, and I didn't know what to expect by sharing it with Denny — mainly because we had only met a couple times up until then.
Denny surprised me by laughing harder at it than I did. Later, he proceeded to start a duck collection, which, as I understand it, grew to pretty lavish proportions during the years. People would find ducks from everywhere and give them to him as gifts. I am truly honored to be at the root of this tradition.
John F. Salem
Senior account executive, KAKE TV
AN OPEN LETTER TO MUSIC SOFTWARE COMPANIES
After having made the transition to a completely “virtual” studio within the last year, I find myself spending a ridiculous amount of time dealing with software updates, upgrades, registrations, etc., and as a result, it feels like I spend more time getting ready to make music than actually making music. There are two major areas in which software companies could make all of our lives a little easier: registration/copy protection and staying current (version updates).
Here's a real-life example. Among dozens of other products, I own Native Instruments' Komplete bundle and most of East West's line, all of which use Native Instruments' playback engines. For every one of those plug-ins, I've had to go to their Website before I could even install anything to make sure I have the most recent version. (Install discs are rarely up-to-date.) However, just try finding an obvious Updates link on their homepage — it's a small text link halfway down the page. Then, of course, you have to log in and then you get something about protected updates vs. unprotected updates, and so on. Why all the hassle? If you don't own the software, what good is a “protected” update going to do?
Here's an easy approach: A plug-in window should have its version number plainly visible somewhere, maybe in a corner. You shouldn't have to click on some “magic spot” or go digging for it. There should be a button (or at least a menu item) that says, “Check for updates.” Clicking on this should connect to the company's Website and look for a more recent version and download it automatically if available. I own several computers in my studio, and I also administer several computers for some of my clients. Now multiply the headache of staying up-to-date with each computer I have to deal with, and it becomes a full-time job.
As for copy protection, it's been addressed before, yet companies still punish legitimate users by using time-consuming, inconvenient or just plain bizarre methods while pirates still find ways to use the software for free. I know that companies need to protect their products, but for the sake of our time and sanity, try to find a balance between the need to protect and the need to be transparent.
Music production and programming
Thompson Station, Tenn.
ANCIENT, BUT STILL TICKINGM
In Eddie Ciletti's “Avoiding a Blue Holiday Anytime” [“Tech's Files,” December 2005], he claims that “the PC is a legacy system while Apple's periodic upgrades make older systems obsolete…” and revels in the fact that he is a “legacy dude, hanging on to hardware of all kinds and laughing at the ability to run 20-year-old DOS programs under Win2K and XP.”
I'm as tired of the Apple vs. PC debate as the next guy, but I feel a need to get the facts straight. I've been using the Mac Rolodex program Quickfile several times a day since 1986. It runs perfectly on both my ancient Mac Plus and my dual-boot system OS X computer that I use to process .WAV files. My primary database program, Record Holder, which I purchased in 1989, does the same. Apple's Apple Talk allows me to transfer files back and forth easily from my oldest 1980s Macs to my newest Macs.
However, I still enjoyed Eddie's article and fully agree with his advice about the importance of backup and “defensive computing.”
Captain Fiddle Music
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