Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Jeff Barry...

Is my hero. Here's what musician Artie Butler had to say about working with him:

"I learned so much about making records from Jeff Barry. What I learned from Jeff is something that you do not learn in any school anywhere. He taught me how to throw away the rules and go for the ‘feel.' We were recording Connie Francis for MGM Records and had been in the studio for about two hours working on one song. Jeff said he loved what we were playing but he was not happy with the sound of the kick drum (bass drum back then). The drummer tried everything he knew to make it work.

Jeff was looking for something that he could not describe to us. He gave the band a break. On the break, Jeff was walking around the lounge with a timpani mallet in his hand banging on everything he could find that could perhaps give him the sound he was looking for. A desk drawer, a chair, a pillow etc. I actually remember him taking a Manhattan phone book and trying it also. About fifteen minutes later he said, 'Artie, bring the band back in. I’ve got it.'

Jeff walked into the studio with a plastic trash can which he had emptied. He turned it over and hit it with the mallet. It was just the sound he was looking for. It sounded great. It had a deep tone and it had enough attack to it so it would punch through the guitars and bass. He knew exactly what he wanted to hear. We made another take or two and Jeff ended the session. He was delighted. On that day I learned a very valuable lesson. Never stop reaching for and trying new things, and never ever settle. Stay creative. Sometimes a musical problem can be solved in a very unorthodox way."

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