Behind the scenes stuff with ace players Ian Lynn (keyboards) and Dave Mattacks (drums).
Another brace of fine exponents of the session man's art. Jerry Uwins continues his survey of the country's top behind the scenes players. More next month.
INSTRUMENT - DRUMS
"This really happened when I left Fairport through knowing people on the Folk/Rock scene but specially in getting the Andy Fairweather Lowe gig — recording and on the road. This was incredibly helpful and led to a lot of things, like the work with Georgie Fame and Joan Armatrading. Jingles began to come through towards the late '70s."
"Yes, it was for an Irish band called Dr Strangely Strange, which indeed they were. An album for the Incredible String Band followed shortly after which I recall as interesting but a trifle odd."
"I think this must be with Paul McCartney at Montserrat working on 'Pipes of Peace' and 'Tug of War'. I ended up with one track on one and three on the other, which was great."
"Chris Karen and I were doing a disco type album — DiscalongaMax or something similar — where it was all straight down the line, exactly the same, and where you'd do three numbers straight off referring to them by track numbers. During one afternoon session Chris, who was playing percussion, came out of his booth and asked me what came next. I said, track 15. Quick as a flash he replied: 'I've just done that'."
"Firstly my two Yamaha studio kits. One is an American-style 8000 Series — with the fatter lugs — damped for jingles and small room sounds, using Pinstripes (top) and Clear Diplomats (bottom). The other is the big rock 'n' roll kit — a 9000 Recording Series based around a 22in bass drum. I'm just about to change the heads on this one to CSs on top and Clear Dots underneath.
"Cymbal essentials are my 13in Thin on 14in Medium-Heavy hi-hats, and 15in Paper Thin Crashes — I've got lots of these. I've used Zildjian for ten, 15 years now and there's a set for each kit plus a spare set just in case."
"The assumption by some people not used to working with session players that we are only interested in money, or before and after the allotted time are totally uninterested in the music. There are one or two guys like that but, largely, it's a very unfair criticism. Also, getting a bad headphone mix."
"There's no substitute for playing in time and having your kit properly tuned for the job in hand. Also, try and insist on a good foldback. I did a film-score once with a 50-piece orchestra and all I had in the cans were the click track and 1st Trumpet."
"Is the Pope a Catholic?"
"The Bombay Brasserie, Gloucester Road. Chicken Jalfrezi or similar. Any good poultry or fish dish."
INSTRUMENT - KEYBOARDS
"In a regular way it was some songs I'd written and played on which were sent to DJM for Denis Waterman. Producer Chris Neil enquired who was the keyboard player and I was asked along to record the album. This led on to the work with Sheena."
"This was actually before Denis. I was with a band called Mama Flyer and we were called in to do some sessions behind a white soul singer Norma Green. They were notable for the presence of the Chanter Sisters and Doris Troy on backing vocals."
"Sheena Easton on 'For Your Eyes Only'. I did nearly all the keyboards which I was very pleased with. All before the days of the DX7 too."
"It was a TV session. A count had to be added to a backing track we'd done. The sound people had temporarily lost it. Hunting around for a blank reel, an engineer found one with a bit of tape on it and razored it through to clear the reel. It turned out to be the actual track — now cut into a zillion pieces! The poor bloke did actually splice it all back together again."
"DX7s — I wouldn't know what to do without them now. Korg DW8000 and, since a few weeks ago, a Roland RD1000 Electronic Piano."
"Primarily it's having to play exactly what's written. I like to be creative."
"Become a good reader — you'll need it at some point. Play for other people not yourself, and listen to what they're doing. With sessions you're there to do a job."
"Prince of India in Royston. Chicken Tikka Masalla."
Feature by Jerry Uwins
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