MORE ON QUINCY JONES, PLEASE
I always love picking up your excellent magazine. The 30th-anniversary special (October 2007) was a real treat. The only thing I could find wrong with it was that the entire issue wasn't devoted to Quincy Jones (“Mix Interview”)! I finished reading the interview and found myself wanting more — much more. What an icon of American music this man is.
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
THE HEART OF ROCK 'N' ROLL IS STILL BEATING
I read the October 2007 issue and, as usual, found it very informative and a great read. But I feel that you missed a very important figure in “30 People Who Shaped Sound.”
I have the very distinct fortune and definite pleasure of working beside Shelly Yakus. His credit list is immense, having worked on John Lennon's Imagine, U2's Rattle and Hum and Under a Blood Red Sky, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Damn the Torpedoes, Van Morrison's Moondance and many others. Just Google his name. Yes, maybe I am biased, but just listen to the drums on “Don't Do Me Like That” or Stevie Nicks' vocals on “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around.” Oh, yeah! That's mixing.
His work came from the heart, and it still does. You can feel and hear it, as they are timeless tracks. So please give credit where credit is due. And just in case anyone is wondering, he is still doing wonderful work.
Noisia Records/Cedar Street Studios
THERE'S ADVICE APLENTY
Because Mix's November 2007 issue covered audio education, we asked our readers, “What's the best piece of advice you've gotten about your career — be it from a mentor, an educator, your parents, a friend.” Here are some responses we received; to give your two cents, e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org:
When I was a Music Engineering student at the University of Miami in the late '70s/early '80s, I had a work-study job at the School of Engineering's Clean Energy Research Institute. CERI was guided by Dr. T. Najat Veziroglu, a leading expert on alternative energies, including hydrogen. Dr. Veziroglu is from Turkey, as were many of his grad students.
Much of my work-study time was spent stuffing envelopes with announcements of upcoming conferences, as well as opening incoming mail with academic papers for Dr. Veziroglu, who was — and still is — a busy guy.
I spent my last semester as an undergrad interning with the Norwegian Broadcasting Company in Bergen, Norway. When I returned to Miami, I visited my friends at CERI, and Dr. Veziroglu asked me about what I was doing with music recording. He then mentioned he knew a couple of Turkish brothers who were somehow involved in the music recording business in New York City. He said he'd be happy to put in a good word with them if I was interested.
At the time, my head was still spinning from traveling around Europe and coming back to Miami to reverse the culture shock. On top of it all, I wasn't all that excited about leaving Miami to head north to New York City, so Dr. Veziroglu's offer of hooking me up with some friends in New York went in one ear, passed through my brain long enough to be stored away for future reference, and then proceeded out the other. Dr. Veziroglu was an alternative energy specialist; whom could he possibly know in the recording industry?
Fast-forward a few years into my career: I read a brief history of Atlantic Records. Turkish brothers start a record company. In New York City. The list just kept getting longer, and I just kept shaking my head. A golden opportunity lost in the whirlwind transition from school to the real world? The irony of ending up at the cooler end of the Gulf Stream?
No worries! Life has been just fine so far, and I recently got in touch with Dr. Veziroglu after many years. I was proud to hear that his work with alternative energies continues, earning him a nomination in 2000 for the Nobel Prize in Economics for “both envisioning the Hydrogen Economy and striving toward its realization.” Maybe on my next visit to Miami I'll get up enough courage to ask him again about his memories of those Turkish brothers in New York City. Until then, I'll keep teaching my own students about the people and the history of the recording community, as well as the art and the science of music recording.
Music Production & Recording Studies program director/Department of Music & Dance
University of Stavanger
From Wayne Jackson at Indiana University: “You will only learn as much here and out there as you put into it.” I have found that statement to be truthful, whether I was touring, doing festivals, working as a production manager or in sales.
Customer service manager
In the early ‘70s, I was grousing about a mix of mine that a major producer had chosen to include on an album. This guy would grab monitor mixes, roughs — anything he thought felt great. At the time, we early independent engineers did a lot of comparative listening to one another's stuff — the latest sounds, etc. — and this one had almost no bass drum. Kick was huge back then, and I didn't want to miss out. He turned to me and said, “Bob, you've got to get out of the ‘Academy of Recorded Sounds.’ I don't even like that bass drum. I don't like what he played.” He was right. Feel is everything and it's sure easy to get “serious” about a mix and tweak all the life out of something. Sometimes wild, dangerous and fast plays a lot better.
The most important thing that I learned from my educators was to stay responsive to the needs of your employer — whether it be the head engineer in a studio or your boss as an A/V installer. If you can consistently anticipate what they need, they'll always look to you.
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