October 21st, 2012
I'm getting ready to go to England tomorrow. I was going to write a blog the other day called "Last of the Mojitos" talking about this vicious hangover I had after drinking a few mojitos. The worst heartburn ever too. But I was busy preparing my speech for my brother's wedding which was yesterday. I was the "best man" and he's my only brother so I had to make it good.
I talked about us as kids and the various games we used to play. I talked about how unexpected it was that we would end up working together especially since I'm the only musician in the family (a "piano guy") and he's more of a "numbers guy" into sales and business. He was helping me out years ago with my company Sonic Reality coming in a few times a week to do the books. One day the CEO of IK Multimedia was there and met him. He said to me "I want to hire your brother to be the managing director of the US office of IK" and when I called my brother to tell him he thought I was joking at first... especially about the part where he had to give an immediate yes or no answer. But he did end up saying yes and has managed IK Multimedia US for years bringing out all sorts of amazing products including the very popular 'iRig" series of musical accessories for the iPhone/iPad, the AmpliTube range of software that creates a virtual guitar and effects rig modeling the best official amps and pedals, the SampleTank range which I have contributed most of the sounds for with my company Sonic Reality and more! So in my speech I told a bit of that story and also how he met his wife Claudia. I was there the day they met because she was the receptionist for our accountant! It was a nice story and since many of the IK and SR staff were also at the wedding I don't think they knew all of that background.
Erik Norlander was there with his wife Lana Lane. Erik also works with both SR and IK. I've known him since 1989 when I lived in LA. He had a band called "Rocket Scientists" with my friend Mark McCrite. I used to work with Erik when he was at Alesis. I would provide samples for their Q Series keyboards and expansion cards. So many years later we were talking at a NAMM show and I said "It would really be great if I could find someone who could help manage things" and he said "I'll do it". So that was that! Erik splits his time like I do between working on music software/sound development and playing music. He's been playing with Asia Featuring John Payne and Big Noise (featuring members of Deep Purple, ACDC etc.).
I was supposed to be the "MC" for my brother Gary's wedding last night but fortunately they had someone doing the "let's get up and dance" part. I just had to do my speech and I was home free. But it reminded me years ago when I was asked to MC Simon Collins' wedding. I introduced all of the various speeches and did a fun little prelude to each one. It all lead up to the last one with Simon's father, Phil Collins, giving a speech. I went to town on that introduction pulling out all the best PC song puns I could. "The next person needs no introduction. But I'm going to anyway because I've been waiting for this moment all my life..." and then everyone knew what I was up to. I wrapped it up with "all the way from Switzerland, against ALL odds and there's no going back!" It was pretty funny. Afterward he was looking at me and I said "Am I in trouble?" and he said "Nah it was great." They thought it was a nice touch that I had even worked in "Going Back" which was his most recent (and possibly last?) album. So that was my cue to be able to sit down and talk with him. He told me about the situation with his hands and being frustrated about not being able to play drums anymore. We talked about the samples I do with Sonic Reality and he was particularly interested in Motown loops. I told him we had actually gone to the Farm with Hugh Padgham and Nick Davis to sample drums in that stone room. But of course he's had plenty of that! He was more interested in Motown style and other sounds. It reminded me of when Ringo and his engineer/producer Bruce Sugar were the VERY first to buy our "Ocean Way Drums" software/sample library. But when we came out with the "In the style of Ringo" sample libraries I asked Bruce what he thought. His answer was "Well... we're good there!".
Now this coming week I'll be going BACK to The Farm, Genesis' studio in Surrey, England, to once again sample drums. This time we're sampling the exact spec Gretsch kit as well as Phil's old Pearl kit that he used back in the Abacab/Robert Plant early 80's era. Those two kits courtesy of Graham Collins and Phildas Surakshadevi Bhakta. I met Graham through a V-Drums forum and Phildas through the old Genesis forum that Nick Davis used to frequent as well. Nick Davis is Genesis' engineer/co-producer who I've been not only working on a sample library with (called Nick Davis The Farm Sessions) but Nick also mixed an album I did with Simon Collins that is coming out very soon! So... I'm looking forward to seeing Nick again as well as Dale Newman, Geoff Callingham and Harry Rutherford (Mike's son who works at The Farm). Not only are we sampling drums but we're also recording me playing piano with Dorie Jackson singing "Great Gig In the Sky" and we're overdubbing Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree for the song "Time" which features John Wesley on guitar and vocals, myself on keys and sounds from the Alan Parsons Sample Project! In fact, there's ALSO a session later in the week with Alan but I'll have to save that for another blog. This first actual "traveling" will have some cool real-time updates that I'll do my best to post along with pictures and maybe some video too!
Alright! Back to packing. See you later!