Category Archives: Producing

being fired

Being fired is a total shock. In 30 years it happened twice and I didn’t see it coming. It was in a way good but painful. Makes you think lots about what happened or what didn’t happen. Both times when I viewed how the pictures were completed by my replacements I didn’t hear something I couldn’t have done. Both times the final music reflected different direction than the previous style requested of me. There isn’t a simple answer about how things work or don’t work, it’s about how people talk and relate. I try to hedge my bet by making more choices than too few.


I’ve also had to end sessions occasionally because the person I hired couldn’t execute what I wanted. One time I hurt someone’s feelings but I was paying for studio time and had to call it. It didn’t sound in tune and there was no software to try altering the problem back then. I offered to pay them anyway and they ripped the money up threw it on the ground.

muscle shoals

The film about Muscle Shoals is an amazing layered story but it felt weird when the main man, Rick Hall, explained there was no racism there, nope, never, not one spec. Maybe true but it’s not good enough to hear a white guy asserting this like as if the white people he’s associated with were always cool. Would have been more powerful if Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin or Wilson Pickett wanted to contribute thoughts about racism or freedom from it.
It’s like the guy in the hamburger store in Toronto at Major and College, October 1982 who started to explain to me how Jews were controlling the Canadian Government and that explains all the problems in Canada… and when he realized a little late that I was Jewish and leaving for the exit he ran for his wallet in the back room returning to show me a Jewish dentist’s business card insisting this was proof he doesn’t hate Jews because that’s his dentist. This was his get-out-of-jail-free-card but it was damage control, it was public relations, as meaningful as Jimmy Fallon criticizing Trump when anyone with a working memory saw how pleased he was to play with Trump’s hair and normalize him for America after everyone knew he was a fascist provocateur .

taking direction

When someone hires me to play on their music, try my best, follow my instincts and check whether they feel it hit the mark. If they’re happy, end of story. If they’re not try to help get what they want and if they aren’t very articulate it’s up to me to try 10 million variations. Finding a version that makes them jump up and down and hopefully say “perfect”. Then I feel like a pro.
This stems from the first times people hired me to play on their stuff and I threw a hissy fit when they weren’t satisfied. Mostly an internal hissy fit but still emotional. The fact that they didn’t “get it” that what I did was perfect and they rejected it for something lesser, didn’t compute. Now it stuns me that I was certain my choices were the best decisions for someone else’s taste because it’s their baby not mine. So many layers of wrong about my attitude.
I never hire anyone that’s that out of touch with reality or at least never a second time.