70's Trident Studio piano questions
#31
20th July 2011
Old 20th July 2011
  #31
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

[QUOTE=Lathe Jockey;5048209]Russ Tee is quite right about the piano. I was chief mastering engineer at the time and also stayed on during the transfer from Trident to Audio One.


Really? I was the original lathe engineer in 70's and gained fame for using Polo mints as spacers (we were always short of spacers) I got a call from the presser saying' Your acetates are smothered in white chalky stuff!' LOL ..Of course as you tighten the lid, you crush the mints......Derrh!

Alan Harris
#32
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #32
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Happy Daze

Im not sure if theres still anyone out there, but thought Id chuck in my 2p's worth for posterity. I used to be a tape op, tea boy, lathe engineer and trainee preview film projectionist at Trident before, during and after Ken Scott arrived. Sorry to bust your bubble but being a T Op wasnt much fun; the tape m/c's (4/8 track ampex, 2 track studer and later 8/12/16 track 3M) were located one floor above the control room, so you saw nuffin and the sound (+ engineers instructions) came through the 4'' talk-back speaker so it wasnt exactly hi-fi. In my opinion, this was one main reason Trident folded (more later). Trident was owned/built by the Sheffield Bros. Barry had been a tv repair man so was quite techie and Norman was a glad handing social climber. The piano was a black Bechstein but Im fairly certain it was not a full sized grand because access to the studio was down a steep set of steps in a corridor with a low ceiling. I didnt know it got dropped but Im not at all suprised as, while you could slide it down the steps, it would have to had to have been manhandled up and out and very few men would fit in that corridor with a piano !! Frequently it was smothered in carpet/blankets to achieve some sort of separation from the other instruments, so needed to be very close miked (usually two Nuemann U67's). It sat in the main studio (not under the control room....that was the drum booth). Likely this would have had an effect on the recorded sound......(we're talking 4/8 track days when overdubbing was a rarity and the original MOOG (presented to George Martin/Beatles but stored at Trident) only played 1 farty note at a time......even a simple chord took 3-4 overdubs!. Man that was some evil piece of kit. It comprised about 8 black boxes 2' W x 3' high, all interconnected with zillions of jack leads and a trillions of knobs. Listen to Elton Johns funeral for a friend and imagine the hours that took one note at a time!!! A tape op named Dave Henshal played/programmed it coz no one else had the slightest idea how it worked....genius). As you can imagine, the poor old Bech was being pounded 24/7, so it started to lose its crispness. So at some point it was decided to re-string it: the consensus was that it never sounded the same again.....well nostalgia aint what it used to be. Im sorry but I dont believe the Piano on Hey Jude, or many other named Beatle tracks, happened at Trident: they didnt do that much recording at Trident.....far more likely it was Abbey Road. If anyone, only Norman (Hurrican) Smith, the Beatles original engineer from EMI, and later Geoff Emerick know the answer. Remember, this was the first age of tape portability, so tracks/overdubs got added to all over the place and no one was keeping a diary to plot provinance. I dont think it ever occurred to anyone that we were making history or that people would remember/be playing this stuff in two years let alone 50. We were just kids having transient teenage fun swiddling knobs. I very much doubt even the artists really remember: memory is furtile ground for imagination especially after a toak or two.....but it was never a bad idea to big up a performance later by associating it with something/somewhere famous. Trident had 6 engineers during my time; Barry Sheffield owner/studio manager, Robin (middle name Geoffrey was added later) Cable....the finest engineer of the age and much of the reason Trident ever became famous; not so much a techie as an audio Michael Angelo...(listen to Eltons Black album again and weep), Malcolm Toft, a definite techie who was despatched to develop the Trident Recording Desk, and Barry Ainsworth who (I think) went to build Salm. These were variously replaced by Ken Scott ex EMI Abbey Rd, Roy Baker from Decca (later copying Robin he became Roy Thomas Baker). What you have to remember is that prior to Trident, record company staff engineers mostly wore white coats with a screw driver in the top pocket....literally!! But all engineers remained house engineers on wages... you didnt get a % till you were an producer. Suddenly Tridents engineers broke the mould and went Rock & Roll image, although Ken remained quite conservative so usually wore a collar and tie. The Beatles were treated rather badly by EMI's studio management (long haired louts....they'll soon be forgotten and we can get back to proper music orchestras), so they migrated to Trident where they were suddenly treated like rock kings. Naturally the world followed them. Consequently Tridents engineers were hot property, so became producers/indi's and left to earn big bucks. This all happened in a small space of time which gave Trident a BIG prob because, from 1 floor away, the tape ops couldnt learn the tricks of the trade, so Trident didnt have any natural home grown successors. Also the 'sound' was starting to be dated (I suspect this is when the piano was re-strung). Due to the industry's success, studios were now popping up everywhere and the best engineers where highly sort after. I joined George Martins AIR studios in Oxford St W1 (initially as a tape op, but because of my friendship with Visconti and Straight Ahead Productions, I was quickly promoted to engineer). The engineers were Bill Price from Decca, Geoff Emerick of Beatles fame from EMI, Jack Clegg, a fantastic film studio engineer from CTS (he invented phasing by accident... on film audio you always ran two sprocketted machines (incase the film ripped mid recording), which frequently went in and out of sync.....so if you listened to the output of both machines, you inevitably got phasing.....it was considered a pain!!), John Middleton, also a film sound engineer from ? (see ELO's out of the blue , the first and probably only album ever recorded in quadraphonic for disc). and eventually me. I worked mostly with Tony Visconti's acts...T.Rex etc, Mott the Hoople, Led Zep, Cat Stevens, Bad Company, Bowie ...Jez the list goes on. But remember, I was one of 4 staff engineers, so I got allocated 1/4 of the sessions that walked thru the door simply by rota, not fame or skill. As this was George Martins studio, a lot of talent walked thru the door, so I was just in the right place at the right time. Lucky old me.

Alan Harris
#33
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #33
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 1,655

Alan,

thank you so much for these details!
it is wonderful to hear from someone who was there.

do you know what ever happened to Robin Cable?
in my opinion, a few of the records he did at Trident are some of the greatest sounding recordings of all time!!! he seems to have just kind of disappeared in the mid 70's............. do you know where he went or if he is still alive and making recordings at all??? were you around for Tumbleweed Connection or Madman??? i would love to hear more about those records in particular.

do you have any photos from Trident you can share?

thanks again for the first hand accounts.

Trident talk fascinates me.
#34
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #34
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Wow, I was just editing my earlier post to tidy it and saw Id already got a reply..... I honestly got a cold shiver down my spine. Ive never bothered to post to anything serious to any site before...just didnt imagine anyone would be that interested in my story so kept the memories to warm cold nights sitting in my old mans rocking chair.

Well, I completely agree with you that Robins tracks were/still are the nutz. Like a Michael Angelo painting, they never fade or go out of fashion and excell most of what has followed. When you consider they were made with little more kit than a tea towel for the snare, a compressor and a mike to work with, thats astonishing. I went to his house once and he had a collection of pictures on the wall painted in primary colours on black velvet. When you listen to his sound thats exactly what they sound like' sparks of colour in a vacuum of black velvet. I have asked the question about what happened to him many times. The story I got was that he left to become a producer in the States, quickly had a v serious car crash, suffered some brain damage and nearly died......and thats the last anyone knows. Like all great artists, they tend to have a tragic end.
I cut the original disc master acetate for the black album and yes I worked on Tumbleweed, but as said, you didnt see much from a tape room 2 floors up. The best work was done by Dave Henshal ....whatever happened to him.? The funniest man was Gus Dudgeon producer and all round crowd pleaser. When he brought the tapes up to the cutting room I said 'Gus this is gonna be a monster......Dont be ridiculous Alan ! Then I asked if I could cut your song onto a single for my girlfriend for Valentines day. Sure.......! She sold it last year but wouldnt say what she got.
Gus used to be an engineer at Decca. He would turn up for sessions, say a few words in a peculiar upper class english voice (that EJ still mimics) and then disappear till mixing time. That was his total artistic input.
Funniest story was that he was working as an engineer with T Visconti and Bowie in the v early days. Bowie started strumming Space Oddity and TV said 'Forget it Dave its aweful'. After the session Gus said 'Er Tony, I quite liked that song....if you dont want to, can I produce it? 'Sure....help yourself' So he did and the rest is history. Years later I asked Tony wether he regretted that decision. 'Absolutely not....its a crap song' I just smiled.

Regards
Alan
#35
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #35
Lives for gear
 
PapillonIrl's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Ireland
Posts: 631

brilliant, thanks Alan
#36
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #36
Lives for gear
 
cinealta's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
I dont think it ever occurred to anyone that we were making history or that people would remember/be playing this stuff in two years let alone 50.
Alan and others, thank you for your contributions that have given happiness to millions of folks the world over through the years. That body of work is still what we aspire to. Keep the stories and recollections coming!
#37
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #37
Lives for gear
 
Mark Kaufman's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 2,288

Thanks for contributing, Alan! No spine tingling necessary--this is Gearslutz, and we're all fascinated by this stuff.

I compiled that list, and I'm certain it's inaccurate...but close.

I hear what you're saying about all these hindsight memories...but at least in the case of the Beatles, I think it's accurate about "Hey Jude", based on all the Marc Lewisohn research and mindnumbing documentation of their every booking and move. But I sure wasn't there...

Please continue to share your stories--there are a lot of us who just can't get enough of these first hand accounts of a Golden Era.
#38
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #38
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 1,655

Alan,
this is great stuff.

really sad to hear that about Robin Cable.

can you tell us anything about the recording of Tumbleweed?
what kind of mics and compressors were they using in those days for different things. the acoustic guitars and vocals on that record sound stunning to me.
i would love to know more about how they cut that record because it is one of my favorite sounding records of all time. Sound Techniques console, U67's, LA 2A's????? what else??? any techniques that Robin Cable used you could share?

trust me, many people here care about Trident history.
i started a thread here about Trident last year that had all kinds of folks posting photos and accounts including a guy named neil kernon (i think that was is name, possible spelling error) who used to work there as well. cool stories and nice photos.

anything you want to share is encouraged here.
thanks so much.
#39
21st July 2011
Old 21st July 2011
  #39
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Jez guys Im humbled by your comments. Ive just written you a long story but unfortunately pressed the wrong button so its gone. Ill do it again tomorrow but its getting late. Night Night
Alan
#40
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #40
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Decided to stay up....so here you go.
Well let me start by excusing myself....If you hooked up with some bum called St John he'd probably refer to his mate as Jezza. So if I drop some names....I hope yourll understand, we used to sit in a small room and fart together.....Gross, but no big deal. I even lent Bowie his bus fare home coz he was so skint....b'stard still owes me and even had the nerve to sack me from Diamond Dogs/Young Americans sessions. What the hell does he know....he's just a mere superstar, while Im an engineer.
George Martin was my boss and mate for a while. You may know this story but when I asked him about Day in the Life he said it came about as a dispute between Paul and John. Both had written songs but there was only room for one more track on the album. So his compromise was to cut them together. Unfortunately they were in different keys so he slowed one down and speeded the other up. Come the day of the orchestra he got them all to attend in full dress suits....LOL looked like a room full of penguines. So remember when youre tempted to knuckle the drummer for doing his own thing, sometimes great things come from compromise.
The base track for Hey Jude may have been recorded at Trident but it was too small for that orchestra. I find it hard to believe that they would have swapped studios because EMI would have put a lot of pressure on George Martin (who was a salaried staff producer in those days) to record at Abbey Road rather than shell out £ for the indi Trident. Remember,we are talking 4 track analogue so there werent many spare tracks to play with and each bounce introduces distortion....do you hear a lot of distortion? Still its possible. Try listening to just one side of the stereo (disregarding echo which was added ad hoc at mix time)....it gives you an astonishing insight to the recording sequence/technique.

Like all people I knew, I had a strange route into the music industry. I worked for a tobacco shop who had a ciggy vending machine sited at Trident. For the first time I was sent to fill it. I asked the v bored girl on reception where it was .She never looked up from filing her nails but said ' 'Down the stairs, thru the studio, in the toilet, out back'. So off I went. As I walked in I spotted a familiar face strumming a guitar....Oh hi George (Harrison) Dont mind me, just come to fill the.....AARGH! Suddenly my collar was grabbed from behind and I was dragged outside. DONT YOU KNOW WHAT AN EFFIN RED LIGHT MEANS, YOU MORON. Nope, no idea (why would I?)...What DOES it mean. This is a recording studio !. Really! Ive always wanted to work in a studio ( I lied....actually I had no idea they existed...being totally niave I assumed records grew on trees, but it had to be better than filling cigarette machines) Can I have a job? Can you make tea? How many sugars d'ya take? I left 5 years later.
My first session was very nearly my last. Tea was made in a basement room directly behind the main studio and below the control room, where they also stored old instruments like drums, master tapes and echo plates (whatever they were). Now a little boy couldnt resist a drum kit. Kbahh Kboom, Tishhhh Tishhh Tishhhh, para diddle para diddle.Suddenly this engineer (Robin Cable or Malcolm Toft....not sure, I was so scared) came rushing in....WHAT THE MUCK !!. Apparently he was mixing a track upstairs called Little help from my friends for some window cleaner called Joe Cocker. I swear when I listen v carefully, I can still hear some mad drumming in the vocals echo.
Which reminds me...the entire Beatles master tape collection was stored down there....I used to take them out at night and mix them. One night we'd smoked too much, so carelessly spilled coffee all over Sgt Pepper ....oops ! Imagine what those very rough mixes would be worth now days let alone the master tapes.... I hear EMI later built a nuclear bomb shelter to protect them coz they are considered so valuable. Those were the days.

One of the probs with this site is that you cant reel back to others' earlier questions while typing a reply. Trust me I tried earlier and lost my whole post. So Im cut and pasting from Skybluerental's questions with my replies between to save typing and preserve context. Feel free to ask anything else.... but remember, memory fades and we were just having fun twiddling knobs. Id have paid more attention (and kept a load more copies of valuable out takes) if Id realised we were making history.

can you tell us anything about the recording of Tumbleweed?
Not sure what you want to know....sorry to dissapoint but it was generally just another series of sessions among the many
what kind of mics and compressors were they using in those days for different things.
technology moves on, so now days its easy: everything is branded. But in those days everythinng was string and selotape. We did have the very first Dolby's though. They were each the size of a microwave (literally) and there was one for each track. To my enduring hatred, they all had to be callibrated every session. Im pretty sure the compressors were home made, knocked up by our techies using stray valves or perhaps swagged from the BBC. Typically the mics were U47 and 67 (McCarney liked 47's) Ringo's Bass drum was an AKG (I actually owned it for a while but it got lost) More normally we used a D202 with a 404(?) senhieser for cymbals. Then 67's all over the place. The real heaven sent mic though was a BBC ribbon 6046 (?) maybe 6056 or 6054.... big black lump the size and shape of a hamburger with lots of holes in it......nothing else held a candle to it when recording brass...sheer magic. I used it on Carly Simon and Fanny and got a standing ovation from Mikey Keys. But my personal fav was an antique miking method that was taught to me by Bill Price..... 2 x U67's arranged as sum and difference. This gave a unique 'real' sound that, while it captured some 'ambient room', cut through the mix like a razor. No mud at all.

the acoustic guitars and vocals on that record sound stunning to me.
Sorry I was two floors away so never saw any instruments at Trident but I vaguely remember Ovation accoustics. But I suspect Robin could make a plastic banjo sound great.

i would love to know more about how they cut that record because it is one of my favorite sounding records of all time.
I think the lathe was a nueman....certainly German and cutting edge for the age.( excuse the pun)
Sound Techniques console,
Pretty sure it was a sound tech desk. But we had a Nieve in the mix room.
U67's,
Par for the course
LA 2A's?????
Whats an LA2A?
what else???
? But the speakers were Lockwoods, later replaced with much punchier JBL's.
any techniques that Robin Cable used you could share?
Try googling 'Mixing With Your Mind' by Mike Stavrou. He was my assistant but a great admirer and v close to Robin (and is still a good friend of mine who's still recording) But its a bit like asking what techniques did Michaelo Angelo use....a brush and some paint ! I once worked with a band who chose me because they wanted Marc Bolans guitar sound....I said 'invite MB'....fortunately he came. Might have been Nutbush city limits (tee Hee) All instruments sound different in different hands. Do you know anyone who has ever made the sound Hendrix made with the same guitar? The trick is to develop your own style/sound and believe you can; everything else is karrioki. Try sum and difference for starters. Its rarely used magic.

trust me, many people here care about Trident history.
i started a thread here about Trident last year that had all kinds of folks posting photos and accounts including a guy named neil kernon (i think that was is name, possible spelling error) who used to work there as well. cool stories and nice photos.
After my time Im afraid. But Id love to see the pics. I havent got any....you have to remember we didnt have mobile phones with cameras built in, so a camera was about the size of a toaster and it took two weeks before a load of blurred pics came back. I was earning £12 a week so could just about afford to eat let alone process photos.
Gnight
Alan
#41
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #41
Lives for gear
 
stevelindsay's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 818

Alan, thank you very much for taking so much time detailing your time and anecdotes at Trident. Really brings things to life! Your contribution to the forum is greatly appreciated!
#42
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #42
special guest
 
Ken Scott's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 300

Hi, I'm desperately trying to keep the GOM caged and so I will make this very short. Do not, DO NOT believe everything you read. I may expound once the GOM has calmed down.

Cheers
#43
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #43
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 1,655

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Scott View Post
Hi, I'm desperately trying to keep the GOM caged and so I will make this very short. Do not, DO NOT believe everything you read. I may expound once the GOM has calmed down.

Cheers
go ahead and let him out ken.
we dont mind.
we want the truth here.
first hand accounts.
obviously, you were there and should have your say.

please expound.
#44
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #44
special guest
 
Ken Scott's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
Decided to stay up....so here you go.
Well let me start by excusing myself....If you hooked up with some bum called St John he'd probably refer to his mate as Jezza. So if I drop some names....I hope yourll understand, we used to sit in a small room and fart together.....Gross, but no big deal. I even lent Bowie his bus fare home coz he was so skint....b'stard still owes me and even had the nerve to sack me from Diamond Dogs/Young Americans sessions. What the hell does he know....he's just a mere superstar, while Im an engineer.
Out of interest where were you working when fired by David? If he fired you during Diamond Dogs then you were working at Olympic not Trident and Young Americans was recorded in Philadelphia and New York.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
George Martin was my boss and mate for a while. You may know this story but when I asked him about Day in the Life he said it came about as a dispute between Paul and John. Both had written songs but there was only room for one more track on the album. So his compromise was to cut them together. Unfortunately they were in different keys so he slowed one down and speeded the other up. Come the day of the orchestra he got them all to attend in full dress suits....LOL looked like a room full of penguines. So remember when youre tempted to knuckle the drummer for doing his own thing, sometimes great things come from compromise.
Once again, out of interest, are you sure it was A Day In The Life that was edited together because I happen to know that the multitrack (4 track) has no edits in it. Now if I'm not mistaken it was Strawberry Fields that was put together from 2 takes in different keys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
The base track for Hey Jude may have been recorded at Trident but it was too small for that orchestra. I find it hard to believe that they would have swapped studios because EMI would have put a lot of pressure on George Martin (who was a salaried staff producer in those days) to record at Abbey Road rather than shell out £ for the indi Trident. Remember,we are talking 4 track analogue so there werent many spare tracks to play with and each bounce introduces distortion....do you hear a lot of distortion? Still its possible. Try listening to just one side of the stereo (disregarding echo which was added ad hoc at mix time)....it gives you an astonishing insight to the recording sequence/technique.
This isn't out of interest, this is to show this is all cr*p. The Beatles spent 2 days recording Hey Jude in Number 2 studio at EMI Studios. I know that because I was with them every minute of those 2 days. As far as Trident is concerned, the Fab Four went there for the next 3 days during which time they re-recorded the basic track, did all their overdubs, laid down the orchestra and mixed the single that became a worldwide hit. I went down to Trident at the end of the mix. Sir, I don't give a damn what you find hard to believe, Hey Jude, in all it's glory, was ALL recorded at Trident Studios by Barry Sheffield (Engineer) and Ron Goodwin (Second).

As far as The Beatles going to other studios, that was a practice that started with Can't Buy Me Love and continued with various recordings including but not limited to All You Need Is Love, Baby You're A Rich Man and Your Mother Should Know. EMI had absolutely no say in what the biggest and best band in the world did, most especially where they recorded. Let's be honest, EMI knew that any money lost to an outside studio was chicken feed compared to what they'd be making.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
Like all people I knew, I had a strange route into the music industry. I worked for a tobacco shop who had a ciggy vending machine sited at Trident. For the first time I was sent to fill it. I asked the v bored girl on reception where it was .She never looked up from filing her nails but said ' 'Down the stairs, thru the studio, in the toilet, out back'. So off I went. As I walked in I spotted a familiar face strumming a guitar....Oh hi George (Harrison) Dont mind me, just come to fill the.....AARGH! Suddenly my collar was grabbed from behind and I was dragged outside. DONT YOU KNOW WHAT AN EFFIN RED LIGHT MEANS, YOU MORON. Nope, no idea (why would I?)...What DOES it mean. This is a recording studio !. Really! Ive always wanted to work in a studio ( I lied....actually I had no idea they existed...being totally niave I assumed records grew on trees, but it had to be better than filling cigarette machines) Can I have a job? Can you make tea? How many sugars d'ya take? I left 5 years later.
I'm getting bored with this but I feel the need to complete what I have started. Penny Kramer, the receptionist, would most certainly never have been caught filing her nails and I'm sorry but, even though Trident was situated in the red light district of London, there was no red light outside the studio door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
My first session was very nearly my last. Tea was made in a basement room directly behind the main studio and below the control room, where they also stored old instruments like drums, master tapes and echo plates (whatever they were). Now a little boy couldnt resist a drum kit. Kbahh Kboom, Tishhhh Tishhh Tishhhh, para diddle para diddle.Suddenly this engineer (Robin Cable or Malcolm Toft....not sure, I was so scared) came rushing in....WHAT THE MUCK !!. Apparently he was mixing a track upstairs called Little help from my friends for some window cleaner called Joe Cocker. I swear when I listen v carefully, I can still hear some mad drumming in the vocals echo.
Which reminds me...the entire Beatles master tape collection was stored down there....I used to take them out at night and mix them. One night we'd smoked too much, so carelessly spilled coffee all over Sgt Pepper ....oops ! Imagine what those very rough mixes would be worth now days let alone the master tapes.... I hear EMI later built a nuclear bomb shelter to protect them coz they are considered so valuable. Those were the days.
I do find this post interesting. You do seem to have some knowledge of Trident, it's just that it's very little. The entire Beatles master tape collection in the basement and you took them out at night to mix them???? All I can say to that is that you must have had a side deal with the security guards at EMI Studios to have the tapes delivered every night because all Beatles tapes have ALWAYS been stored by EMI, either at the studios, the squash court across Abbey Road or at the storage facility at Hayes. Solo projects weren't kept quite so securely, I know that at least one master reel from All Things Must Pass remained at Trident for some time, but Beatles masters, NEVER.

I have to bring this to a close, but real quickly. The compressors were LA2As and 1176s. Not knocked up by the techies.

Trident had no U47s

The BBC ribbon was an STC4038, still being made by Coles.

Who the hell is Mikey Keys????

Trident never had a Neve. We had 2 Sound Techniques and a Trident A Range.

Hi, I'm sorry about that, but he's finally under control and back in his cage. GOM happens to be more interested in Trident history than most, for obvious reasons, and he really gets irate when that history gets messed with. I think it's time for he and I to go to sleep.

Cheers
#45
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #45
Lives for gear
 
DaveUK's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: newcastle upon tyne
Posts: 1,132
My Recordings/Credits

Very strange ! Thanks Ken very wise GOM

Sent from my X10i using Gearslutz.com App
#46
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #46
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 1,655

ken,
thanks for clearing a few things up here.........

i was pretty sure there was never a Neve at Trident based on my readings.
: )
i was also pretty sure there were LA 2A's and 1176's there as well based on Photos.

what else can YOU tell us about Trident?
surely you have some great memories of that place.

thanks for coming along and offering your perspective.
it is valued highly here.
#47
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #47
Lives for gear
 
PlugHead's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: steeltown
Posts: 3,446

CAGE MATCH!!!

Kidding aside, this is a fascinating set of stories: real or not.

Facts are great, but - don't get your panties in a knot boys - tell your 'own' truths and keep it civil. Everybody gets a voice on the internet.

Thanks for the stories gents - this is GREAT reading!!!
#48
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #48
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Well Well Well.... Snotty (the affectionate name given you by Trident tape ops because you used to have a gingerish moustache that you constantly twiddled and chewed.....I see youve still got it from the pic above, but now somewhat grey. Remember your mate John Smith ex EMI, Trident and Apple studios. What ever happened to him? Cant say I ever expected to converse with you again. Still v good to know your out there, fit and well I hope. I'll post between yours for clarity. But as has already been said: detailed memories fade and events compound..... I guess yours are no exception.... well it has been 40 yrs ish so perhaps we can both forgive one an others age!
Out of interest where were you working when fired by David? If he fired you during Diamond Dogs then you were working at Olympic not Trident and Young Americans was recorded in Philadelphia and New York.
Sorry mate, but while you certainly were a big player, you weren't everywhere. The Diamond Dogs tapes were added to and (partially) mixed at Tony Visconti's home/studio in the backstreets of Shepherds Bush, which I helped to build. Some basic/early Young American tracks also arrived, but these may have been demos. The track Future Legend has a warbling vocal effect achieved by winding uneven editting tape round the tape echo machines capstan. I got sacked (or more politely, 'uninvited') because I argued strongly that the relatively high volume of the future legend 'poem' made the rock track that follows (name escapes me) sound rather limp, instead of coming crashing in. David 'disagreed'. As said, what does he know, he was just an international superstar...! Judge for yourself playing at car radio volume.


Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
George Martin was my boss and mate for a while. You may know this story but when I asked him about Day in the Life he said it came about as a dispute between Paul and John. Both had written songs but there was only room for one more track on the album. So his compromise was to cut them together. Unfortunately they were in different keys so he slowed one down and speeded the other up. Come the day of the orchestra he got them all to attend in full dress suits....LOL looked like a room full of penguines. So remember when youre tempted to knuckle the drummer for doing his own thing, sometimes great things come from compromise.

Once again, out of interest, are you sure it was A Day In The Life that was edited together because I happen to know that the multitrack (4 track) has no edits in it. Now if I'm not mistaken it was Strawberry Fields that was put together from 2 takes in different keys.
Did I say editted? I think I said cut which isnt quite the same thing. Well thats my 30 yr old memory of the 2 minute conversation.....and who knows, maybe GM said DiTL when he meant SF. He may well have had his mind on something else. Anyway, Im not saying the tape was editted, but the track was apparently created from 2 originally separate songs. Remember this is a blog based on vague 30 yr old remenisences and not intended for inclusion in a definative 4 volume fully researched book. There are bound to be some different interpretations. You'd know infinitely more about the recording....I assume you were there as tape op to Geoff afterall, it was him who got the Grammys wasnt it ?. I dont remember talking to George about Strawberry Fields but I wouldnt doubt your memory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
The base track for Hey Jude may have been recorded at Trident but it was too small for that orchestra. I find it hard to believe that they would have swapped studios because EMI would have put a lot of pressure on George Martin (who was a salaried staff producer in those days) to record at Abbey Road rather than shell out £ for the indi Trident. Remember,we are talking 4 track analogue so there werent many spare tracks to play with and each bounce introduces distortion....do you hear a lot of distortion? Still its possible. Try listening to just one side of the stereo (disregarding echo which was added ad hoc at mix time)....it gives you an astonishing insight to the recording sequence/technique.

This isn't out of interest, this is to show this is all cr*p. The Beatles spent 2 days recording Hey Jude in Number 2 studio at EMI Studios. I know that because I was with them every minute of those 2 days. As far as Trident is concerned, the Fab Four went there for the next 3 days during which time they re-recorded the basic track, did all their overdubs, laid down the orchestra and mixed the single that became a worldwide hit. I went down to Trident at the end of the mix. Sir, I don't give a damn what you find hard to believe, Hey Jude, in all it's glory,
Blessed be its name
was ALL recorded at Trident Studios by Barry Sheffield (Engineer) and Ron Goodwin (Second).
I know this was a very important part of your life and mankinds musical history, but Im not sure why you are being so abrasive; is it not being able to remember/picture me frustrating you?. No one is trying to deny your role or dispute your knowledge. I didnt say 'This is what happened', I said 'I find it hard to believe....' I wasnt at the sessions, but I was at Trident, so I know it wasnt a particularly big room, so it would have been an uncomfortable squash for a big orchestra. Still if that's what you say happened, then Im sure we are all endebted for the info. By the way, have you written a book for posterity.....Im sure every word is the Gospel and no one else on the planet has an even slightly different recollection.

As far as The Beatles going to other studios, that was a practice that started with Can't Buy Me Love and continued with various recordings including but not limited to All You Need Is Love, Baby You're A Rich Man and Your Mother Should Know. EMI had absolutely no say in what the biggest and best band in the world did, most especially where they recorded. Let's be honest, EMI knew that any money lost to an outside studio was chicken feed compared to what they'd be making.

Again I bow to your knowledge and I dont think Ive tried to contradict it nor say I ever worked on a single Beatle session in any visible sense.....at that time I was just making the tea. (Ok, so how many of you others out there wouldnt have given your left leg to even say you got that close to history in the making ?) However, there was a time (pos before your time, but as you now confirm) when the fab four recorded at and were obliged to use EMI. The story I heard was that a time came when they didnt feel their creature needs were being entirely' catered for', so decamped to Trident (or perhaps some other indi, but certainly Trident was among them). That gave Trident a huge image boost. Didn't it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
Like all people I knew, I had a strange route into the music industry. I worked for a tobacco shop who had a ciggy vending machine sited at Trident. For the first time I was sent to fill it. I asked the v bored girl on reception where it was .She never looked up from filing her nails but said ' 'Down the stairs, thru the studio, in the toilet, out back'. So off I went. As I walked in I spotted a familiar face strumming a guitar....Oh hi George (Harrison) Dont mind me, just come to fill the.....AARGH! Suddenly my collar was grabbed from behind and I was dragged outside. DONT YOU KNOW WHAT AN EFFIN RED LIGHT MEANS, YOU MORON. Nope, no idea (why would I?)...What DOES it mean. This is a recording studio !. Really! Ive always wanted to work in a studio ( I lied....actually I had no idea they existed...being totally niave I assumed records grew on trees, but it had to be better than filling cigarette machines) Can I have a job? Can you make tea? How many sugars d'ya take? I left 5 years later.

I'm getting bored with this but I feel the need to complete what I have started. Penny Kramer, the receptionist,
Who you had the hots for.
would most certainly never have been caught filing her nails and I'm sorry but, even though Trident was situated in the red light district of London, there was no red light outside the studio door.

Youre absolutely right, it was Penny and maybe she wasnt exactly filing her nails; it was simply a graphic turn of phrase I used to illustrate that she certainly wasnt paying much attention to me. Did you ever hear the story about someone getting her a spam sandwich.....Mmm this is nice, what is it? She almost threw up when she realised it was pork! (Kramer???)
But there certainly was a red 'RECORDING' light at the bottom of the stairs
, directly above the entry door to the studio. Perhaps it was before your time?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op
My first session was very nearly my last. Tea was made in a basement room directly behind the main studio and below the control room, where they also stored old instruments like drums, master tapes and echo plates (whatever they were). Now a little boy couldnt resist a drum kit. Kbahh Kboom, Tishhhh Tishhh Tishhhh, para diddle para diddle.Suddenly this engineer (Robin Cable or Malcolm Toft....not sure, I was so scared) came rushing in....WHAT THE MUCK !!. Apparently he was mixing a track upstairs called Little help from my friends for some window cleaner called Joe Cocker. I swear when I listen v carefully, I can still hear some mad drumming in the vocals echo.
Which reminds me...the entire Beatles master tape collection was stored down there....I used to take them out at night and mix them. One night we'd smoked too much, so carelessly spilled coffee all over Sgt Pepper ....oops ! Imagine what those very rough mixes would be worth now days let alone the master tapes.... I hear EMI later built a nuclear bomb shelter to protect them coz they are considered so valuable. Those were the days.


I do find this post interesting.
Thank heavens for that....so far all youve done is to try and make me out to be a wannabe imposter. We were friendly once upon a time Ken. But if you can't remember me and I can remember you, I have to wonder who has the worse memory !
You do seem to have some knowledge of Trident, it's just that it's very little.
Thanks to the buildings design and the engineers, like of you and others, who jealously guarded access to the control room, that's hardly suprising. What I was taught about engineering at Trident could have been writ large on a fleas bum. Thanks for the non education.
The entire Beatles master tape collection in the basement and you took them out at night to mix them???? All I can say to that is that you must have had a side deal with the security guards at EMI Studios to have the tapes delivered every night because all Beatles tapes have ALWAYS been stored by EMI, either at the studios, the squash court across Abbey Road or at the storage facility at Hayes. Solo projects weren't kept quite so securely, I know that at least one master reel from All Things Must Pass remained at Trident for some time, but Beatles masters, NEVER.
Im sorry Ken but you are wrong.....I dont know why they were there or for how long....perhaps just while the sessions were going on: But there they certainly were in the cupboard on the left, as you entered the tea room from the drum boothe. (and by 'the entire collection' I mean the entire collection that was there, not everything going back to Aint She Sweet (Decca I think). As for security.....Trident never had any unless you considered Gerry to have be a security guard (the trumpet playing gofor that worked there.) Also during the session (but not after), Mal Evans was patrolling. I dont remember any air con in those days, so much of the time (on hot nights and w/e), the front door from St Annes Ct wasnt even locked with no one on reception.

I have to bring this to a close, but real quickly. The compressors were LA2As and 1176s. Not knocked up by the techies.
There you see, you can still add something of historical techie value to the story when you try. As you well know, the tape ops worked upstairs so saw v little of the control room while in use. It was also v small so, perhaps, that explains why few of us were ever invited in during sessions (prior to getting the 3M tape machine with remote control), or educated in the dark arts by you demi-gods. But Ron was not averse to knocking up bits of equipment from jumblesale components. He was a v nice bloke and a very competant techie (who worked with Barry Sheffield as a tv repair man prior to Trident days as I remember his story)

Trident had no U47s
I stand corrected.....memories have compounded. ; I think we had one at AIR and Tony V certainly bought one from Elstree (?) Pinewood (?) when it closed up, and auctioned off all its kit. I know this as a fact because I bid for it. But Im sure McCartney did use one....I think there's even a pic on one of the album covers. Sorry I destroyed all my discs so I can't check.

The BBC ribbon was an STC4038, still being made by Coles.
Thanks for that...it was bothering me, as you will have seen by my 3 question marked attempts. Still they were good for brass werent they.

Who the hell is Mikey Keys????
I may well have got the name slightly wrong.....it was late and I wasnt expecting a Mastermind grilling from you. Perhaps it was Bobby Keys.....anyway he was a famous American horn player who frequently worked with Stones but also many others inc Nilssons producer (I can see his face but cant remember his bloody name?. Still that reminds me, I owe you an apology for something regarding him that your not aware of....but thats for another day over a glass of vino)

Trident never had a Neve. We had 2 Sound Techniques and a Trident A Range.
Youre right. The Neve (s) were at AIR and we also had a Trident desk at Tony V's. I helped to specify several mods to it with Malcolm Toft. I remember the desk in Tridents upstairs mix room was changed at some time....I thought it was a neve, but in fact, it could simply have been the main studio desk that was re-sited .(you'd remember better than me)

Hi, I'm sorry about that, but he's finally under control and back in his cage.
Hopefully you are too after a good sleep! Still, no need to be sorry....the guys here have all learned something they never knew about the kit at Trident thanks to your elephantine memory. If nothing else, at least my contribution has flushed you out of your cave to everyones benefit.
GOM happens to be more interested in Trident history than most, for obvious reasons, and he really gets irate when that history gets messed with. I think it's time for he and I to go to sleep.
Cheers
Hope you wake refreshed and not feeling so crotchety
rgs Alan
#49
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #49
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

PS...do you know anything more about what happened to Robin Cable....its all such a mystery
A
#50
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #50
special guest
 
Ken Scott's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 300

Hi Alan, I guess it's time to eat a little humble pie. I've asked a few people and you did indeed work at Trident for a while. I'm sorry I don't remember you and I'm extremely sorry I allowed the GOM to come down so hard on you. In way of a brief explanation of my doubts, this is not trying to shirk responsibilty for my error, there is presently a documentary being made about Trident and a bunch of us old timers were asked to put forth the names of anyone we remembered working there. The completed list was long and very comprehensive, BUT I now know one name that was missing. One Alan Harris. Once again my sincere apologies for doubting you, just know that it is came about because of my love and respect for a GREAT studio and my belief that history should be as close to the truth as humanly possible.

Now, a little about your reply to me. I don't remember snotty, I tend to remember more my EMI nickname of grotty.
John Smith has been living and working in Canada for many years and he and I stay in contact.
Bowie: It looked to me from your original post that this happened at Trident. So I guess we were both right.
ADITL and SFF: As you may or may not be aware I brought Geoff to task on many assertions in his book, several of which were corrected in the paperback edition. Before ever putting pen to paper I did a lot of research to make sure that lack of memory played no part in my comments and it was during that research that it became obvious that A Day In The Life was recorded in one piece. And by the way, although some people may disagree receiving a Grammy does not increase ones mental acuity.
Trident was by most standards a fairly large studio. I'm not sure but I seem to remember doing a 40 piece orchestra in there once. Oh and thanks for mentioning my book, Bobby Owsinski and I are about two thirds of the way through the first draft and it should be out early next year. We're interviewing lots of people to try and make it as correct historically as possible so maybe you'd be interested in being interviewed?
Let me know.
I'm getting bored at exactly the same point, but this time I'm going to call it quits.
Alan, if you wishto get your memories out there please allow me to introduce you to the film makers doing the documentary and maybe you can join many of us ex-Trident folk when we next sit down with cameras rolling ready to be pulled apart if we get something wrong. And as I said earlier maybe you would like to be interviewed for my book.
Oh yes, Robin. When all of us got together last time at the end of last year the question of Robin was brought up and it seems the last any of us saw or heard from him was in the mid 80's. After his accident and subsequent short time back at Trident he moved to Portugal with Tina. I last saw him when they came to my home in Los Angeles in around 82. Sorry I couldn't tell you more.

Cheers
#51
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #51
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Im sooooo embarrassed.....Id prepared a right vicious cut and paste reply awaiting a quite different reply post. (sorry, I havent mastered this site yet and as said, Ive been keeping my head down for 30 yrs). I would be happy to contrib, but unless im sitting with me ol' mates to jog the memory, I cant think of what else I can contribute. Still a glass of vino often helps, so please count me in. Life is so short and what we did was so unexpectedly important (even if I was just making tea, tape oping and cutting a few discs).
My love to all that played any part and helped me/us to (just about) sneak our heads above obscurity. Im on runningrep@btinternet.com quoting the colour of John Smiths hair (in those days....I assume its grey or non-existant now....tee hee!).

The rest of you can now weep at the happy ending.....all's well that ends well.

Alan
#52
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #52
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 1,655

thank you both for this really inspiring discourse.

i guess all there is to do now is figure out what really did ever come of the mysterious Robin Cable.

Ken, please keep us posted on the Trident documentary. that is very exciting indeed.

Alan, thanks for showing up here and adding your 2 cents.

you are both gentlemen.

anything else you guys want to add about Trident is of course always welcome.
#53
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #53
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Well skyblue, I guess yourll have to wait for the book/film. By the way....what's GOM ?. Sorry to be a dunce but this posting stuff without a stamp is all new to me.
Alan
#54
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #54
Lives for gear
 
PlugHead's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: steeltown
Posts: 3,446

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
Well skyblue, I guess yourll have to wait for the book/film. By the way....what's GOM ?. Sorry to be a dunce but this posting stuff without a stamp is all new to me.
Alan
via the urban dictionary:

Urban Dictionary: gom

I'd say it's #6 down the list.

You see, it IS possible to be polite on the web - contrary to MOST threads gone astray on this bb - thx for being gents and keeping it civil - must be the British upbringing...
#55
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #55
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

Oh THATS what GOM means !!
Reminds me of a story about two old men who meet up after 30 yrs for a fishin trip
One says....
'Do you remember Jimmy with the beard. Jimmy didnt have a beard.....Fred had the beard. No no, Fred screwed the waitress at Molinskys. No, you screwed the waitress at Molinskys,..... No, I screwed Jane. Er!! Jane's my wife.................... !!
I need to take a leak....I may be a while.!!!

Byeeee
Alan
#56
23rd July 2011
Old 23rd July 2011
  #56
special guest
 
Ken Scott's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 300

Hi, Well here I go again, to set the record straight GOM stands for Grumpy Old Man and is just the angry bugger I try to keep at bay until I read certain posts on sites like this.

Cheers
#57
23rd July 2011
Old 23rd July 2011
  #57
Lives for gear
 
DaveUK's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: newcastle upon tyne
Posts: 1,132
My Recordings/Credits

Excellent! Those mists of time really are quite the pea souper's

Sent from my X10i using Gearslutz.com App
#58
23rd July 2011
Old 23rd July 2011
  #58
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 12

PS

I guess we all imagined we'd reached the end of the thread by now. But, for posterity, I still need to ask a series of retorical burning questions:
Apart from coincidentally being in the right place at the right time, what did you ever bring to the art to deserve a unique place in history, Ken ? Do you have some special mystical skills that your un-recruited disciples don't possess? Doubtless you are constantly bombarded with techie questions that seek the meaning of life, simply by twiddling the right secret knob.... .

All I'm trying to do is answer them all and encourage/reassure the next generation that their time may yet come if they have the faith, dedication, luck and vision to look down the tunnel and find a new way. Every generation believes there are no avenues left. Yet, every generation throws up another *superstar*. So ask yourself this.. do I want to pay to be in the audience or be paid to be up on the stage?
Poverty or millionaire. No regrets..... no sympathy. Its all in your hands and the lap of the Gods.
But at least, you'll have a story to tell. I made tea for the Beatles..... Anyone want to swap jobs? Yeah Yeah Yeah....Yeah!!!!

Meanwhile.... Mr Harris has left the auditorium.
Goodnight Vienna
#59
24th July 2011
Old 24th July 2011
  #59
Lives for gear
 
cinealta's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,010

Hi, does anyone have any photos of the old Bechstein in Trident?
#60
24th July 2011
Old 24th July 2011
  #60
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,127

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tape Op View Post
I guess we all imagined we'd reached the end of the thread by now. But, for posterity, I still need to ask a series of retorical burning questions:
Apart from coincidentally being in the right place at the right time, what did you ever bring to the art to deserve a unique place in history, Ken ? Do you have some special mystical skills that your un-recruited disciples don't possess? Doubtless you are constantly bombarded with techie questions that seek the meaning of life, simply by twiddling the right secret knob.... .

All I'm trying to do is answer them all and encourage/reassure the next generation that their time may yet come if they have the faith, dedication, luck and vision to look down the tunnel and find a new way. Every generation believes there are no avenues left. Yet, every generation throws up another *superstar*. So ask yourself this.. do I want to pay to be in the audience or be paid to be up on the stage?
Poverty or millionaire. No regrets..... no sympathy. Its all in your hands and the lap of the Gods.
But at least, you'll have a story to tell. I made tea for the Beatles..... Anyone want to swap jobs? Yeah Yeah Yeah....Yeah!!!!

Meanwhile.... Mr Harris has left the auditorium.
Goodnight Vienna

um.


so can u elaborate on "mixing the beatles"?
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
MikeyBFromP.C. / So much gear, so little time!
3
matt9b / Music Computers
32
mds / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
5
NL5 / High end
5
ziggy / High end
3

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.