1968 Ludwig Kit mic'd for session

Here are a few things I have learned in my 35+ years of doing this…

  1. It’s the singer’s band. It doesn’t really matter if you own the PA, it’s the singer’s band.
  2. Sometimes you’re the pigeon, sometimes you’re the statue.
  3. In the studio, sometimes smaller is bigger.
  4. An engineer (or producer) will bring the same organizational skills to your session as they bring to their own life.
  5. At any given time there is a pimpled-faced thirteen year old who can play better than you.
  6. There is always a Yoko.
  7. The world is run by “C” students. (thanks, Joe. T.)
  8. Get your guitar’s intonation checked before the session (by a pro) and borrow the best guitar you can as a back up. Sessions will grind to a halt if not.
  9. Poor instrument tuning or intonation will turn your Master Recording into a DEMO.
  10. Incredible performance and feel can turn your DEMO into a Master Recording.
  11. The least heard phrase in Nashville, “Have you seen the banjo player’s new Mercedes.”
  12. Least heard phrase in Orlando, “Lou Pearlman gave us a great deal!”
  13. A relative, usually Mama, finances most studios these days.
  14. Monitoring is everything. Make sure your monitoring system costs more than your DAW.
  15. If you can’t afford to use new tape, you shouldn’t be in business. (I don’t know what the modern equivalent is yet)
  16. Those who “can” do. Those who “can’t,” teach. (This is an old one I’ve always heard.)
  17. Church musicians are never as good as they proclaim.
  18. Be nice to everybody because you’ll see the same folks on your way up and on your way down.
  19. Avoid stereotypes: not every African American can play drums or has rhythm.
  20. Expensive instruments do make a difference.
  21. People who post a lot on forums read magazines more than they work.
  22. In music, timing is the whole ball of wax.
  23. People who have great rote memory skills can be incredibly stupid.
  24. Learn something new everyday.
  25. Work out your publishing arrangements (as a band) before you come into the studio.
  26. The goal in the music business is to not hate anyone when you’re done. (or have them hate you)
  27. Don’t believe anyone at Guitar Center.
  28. There is more to modern music than a kick drum. (especially live)
  29. Look at an old sailor before you get that tattoo.
  30. Every children’s song sounds like The Ballad of Davy Crockett.
  31. The low end is the hardest thing to get right.
  32. Change bottom heads too.
  33. If you can’t stand plastic-tipped drumsticks why do you like plastic beaters?
  34. Credits cost you nothing. Give them away liberally.
  35. Put two recording engineers in a room and you’ll have three opinions.
  36. When recording there are no rules, only principles.
  37. There’s no competition in pure art.
  38. The need for a domineering producer is directly proportional to your lack of talent.
  39. Engineers who have ‘tone’ in their description (such as ‘The Tone King” or Tone Miester”, etc. etc.) usually don’t get it (tone).
  40. You save money and time when you hire studio musicians.
  41. Yellow is the new red.


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