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Session Men Say Go (Part 1)

Sessionmen Special

Studio time with bassist Mo Foster, drummer Tom Nichol and keyboardist Danny Shogger.


And Jerry Uwins asks 'who are you'. Beginning this month, the Making Music guide to the secret geniuses of studio and soundtrack.

THE CHAP

MO FOSTER



INSTRUMENT
BASS GUITAR

BRIEF PROFILE

18 years or so of sessions. A physicist before becoming a pro musician. Lots of prestige name-checks — recording and touring — with people like Phil Collins, Jeff Beck, Michael Schenker, Cliff and the Shads, Gil Evans, Gary Moore, Joan Armatrading, Judy Tzuke, Gerry Rafferty, Howard Jones and Nick Kershaw. As a keen jazz player he has an on-going, time-permitting project with Ray Russell and Simon Phillips as RMS — one album and a Montreux Jazz Festival to their name (a new album in the pipeline maybe). Of jingles he says, 'they come and go'. TV work includes incidental music for 'Bergerac' (very nice — Ed) and latterly, 'Call Me Mister'. Wants to produce and write more. Produced Adrian Legg's second album, and co-produced for Dr John and Maria Muldaur.

BREAKING IN

"By accident really. While playing in bands with old college friends I put an ad in Melody Maker — bass player available etc. From this I met up with Mike D'Abo and it went from there."

FIRST SESSION

"It was on a single for Barry Ryan — 'I can't let you go'."

MEMORABLE ONES

"Two immediately spring to mind. One is definitely the RMS album, which was a labour of love anyway. And we worked hard — all the backing tracks were done in about 20 hours! The other was working with Jeff Beck during the 80/81 period. A very creative time."

ANECDOTAL ONES

"This concerns drummer Clem Cattini — famous for 'Shakin' All Over'. You know how orchestral string sections have a different concept of time, seemingly coming in late against the conductor's baton. Well, Clem was doing such a session and was asked how was the headphone mix. He replied: 'Could I have the strings sooner in the mix, please?'. He didn't work for a while with that fixer after that!"

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

A '74 Fender Precision fitted with EMG pickups; and a Fender Jazz customised hy double-bass maker Neville Whitehead. He fitted a wonderful ebony fingerboard taken from an old double bass. For an amp I use a Roland Cube, prefer being miked to DI, and use a range of Boss floor pedals."

SESSION DISLIKES

"Getting up in the morning. Being indoors. Hanging around. Studio coffee. Not getting paid."

ADVICE TO ASPIRING SESSIONEERS

"Learn to read — you'll do so much more if you can. Listen to the other musicians and learn to play a second instrument so you can better appreciate what other people are doing."

LIKING FOR CURRIES?

"Yes."

FAVE RESTAURANT AND DISH

"The Belpoori in Camden Town. It's vegetarian and has lots of unusual dishes like Aloo Chat and Dosai, which are wonderful."



THE CHAP

TOM NICHOL



INSTRUMENT
DRUMS

BRIEF PROFILE

14 years of sessions. Credits include Art Garfunkel, LSO (Classic Rock), Brotherhood of Man, 5000 Volts, TV shows, themes and IDs including 'Breakfast Time', '6 o'clock Show', 'Auf Weidersehen Pet'; lots of jingles and commercials, recently MacDonalds and the NatWest pinball wizard campaign. Plays acoustic (Yamaha) and electronic (Simmons) and is currently developing Simmons elbow in 'Starlight Express' every night.

BREAKING IN

"I was on the Mecca circuit with the Johnny Howard Band. He was also a session fixer and started to use me."

MEMORABLE ONES

"No one in particular. I approach every session the same, ie I play the best I can. It's important to remember you're only as good as your last one."

ANECDOTAL ONES

"This was a wind-up on a very good friend, the late and much lamented Graham Jarvis. Graham was depping on a session with a big orchestra and we'd written a phantom drum part which, although it fitted with the score, was physically impossible to play. The MD was in on it, but the orchestra weren't. Graham had arrived only shortly before start time so hadn't had much chance to study it. Anyway they kicked off and poor old Graham was all over the place — and very much the focus of everyone's attention. In the end, in front of 50-odd people and totally embarrassed, he had to admit, 'I'm sorry, I just can't play it'. Eventually, he was given the correct part.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

"My reinforced drum stool (Tom weighs in at a sprightly 19 stones), and invoice book."

SESSION DISLIKES

"In no particular order they are: a) setting up and breaking down the kit often twice a day, b) the anti-social aspect of the drummer usually being tucked away in a separate booth I've felt a virtual recluse at times, c) not being asked back after Dave Mattacks has done a dep!"

ADVICE FOR ASPIRING SESSIONEERS

"Know before going in what you're liable to be asked to do. It also pays to be nice. Attitude is important and producers have no time for prima donnas. Always do your best — you only get out what you put in."

LIKING FOR CURRIES?

"What do you think?"

FAVE RESTAURANT AND DISH

"Diwani in Croydon, and Chicken Jalferezi. An emotional experience, more so the next morning!"



THE CHAP

DANNY SCHOGGER



INSTRUMENT
KEYBOARDS

BRIEF PROFILE

First started sessions about 12 years ago. Played piano from age of five and is Royal Academy trained. Has extensive recording credits with such artists as Gallagher & Lyle, Hot Chocolate, Hipsway, ABC, Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy, Nick Heyward, Bucks Fizz, and Wham — including their Wembley farewell and 'Where Did Your Heart Go', one of the tracks on their last double 'A' side. TV work has included shows, the Channel 4 theme, and Cadbury's Finger of Fudge commercial. Played dep piano in Jesus Christ Superstar. Like Mo Foster, is concentrating on production and writing, working with A&M artiste Samantha Brown, doing a project for 'Breathe' at Rooster Studios and co-writing and playing for a forthcoming major French film release starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

BREAKING IN

"This came about through a chum at the Academy. Quite simply this session was looking for a player with a Fender Rhodes. My mate didn't have one. I did."

FIRST SESSION

"Gripping stuff this. It was a BBC Lime Grove session for an Open University documentary about a biscuit factory."

MEMORABLE ONES

"I know this may sound strange but one was playing 16 bars of Beethoven on an acoustic grand for a Faberge commercial. I was just very pleased with it. The other, really, is coproducing and playing on Nick Heyward's 'Warning Sign' album."

ANECDOTAL ONES

"There's two. One is doing an orchestral session for Mike Smith (he of Dave Clark etc). It was a 10.0am start and someone called at five-past suggesting that I should be at the studio and not in bed. End result, I arrive late and have to open the session with a 32-bar intro with me unwashed, unshaven, wearing only a track suit, and having palpitations."

"The other. I have a reputation for making a lot of 'phone calls. On a Sally Oldfield tour in Scandanavia the band had planted a toy phone on stage. During a quiet bit it rang, and a roady brought it over for me to answer."

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

"A DX7, Oberheim OBX, Juno 106, Emu-2 and a Prophet VS2000. Oh, and I've just ordered an Emax. At home my acoustic grand has a Jim Wilson 'Forte' MIDI retrofit system. It's the best there is and I love it."

SESSION DISLIKES

"Getting a phone call for a session and having to say no, I'm busy. Then going on to give the agent some other possible numbers only to hear him say: 'No, they can't do it, that's why we called you'."

ADVICE TO ASPIRING SESSIONEERS

"Listen to what other people want and integrate that with your own creativity. Also, keep up with the technology. Programmers can set things up but, usually, they can't find the musical line. That comes back to the musician."

LIKING FOR CURRIES?

"Are rabbits fond of each other?"

FAVE RESTAURANT AND DISH

"Bombay Palace, Connaught St, W1 (specially when someone else is paying). Chat, Chicken Madras, half a Pilau Rice, Bombay Potato, Onion Bhajee, half of lager shandy. Thank you!"

Next month Tim Renwick (guitar), Dave Mattacks (drums) and Paul Westwood (bass).


Series

Read the next part in this series:
Sessioneers (Part 2)



Previous Article in this issue

Getting The Most From A 4-Track

Next article in this issue

How Many Watts?


Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

 

Making Music - Nov 1986

Topic:

Performing


Series:

Studiotime

Part 1 (Viewing) | Part 2


Feature by Jerry Uwins

Previous article in this issue:

> Getting The Most From A 4-Tr...

Next article in this issue:

> How Many Watts?


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