I watched the twin towers burning from a train on the Manhattan Bridge, hundreds of feet above the East River. And again from Union Square at 14th Street, where the image of the towers, flames, and column of smoke took up the entire southern sky. After the buildings had fallen I walked across the city to Houston Street and the West Side Highway on the Hudson River, 15 blocks from what was the WTC. It seemed that the earth had cracked open and swallowed the city, and replaced it with a tremendous volcanic crater spewing ash and smoke. As I waited during the day, later on a train home and that night with the acrid smell of the smoke and dust drifting through Brooklyn, I had a profound and lasting sense of grief. Amid the absolute devastation, another emotion crept though me that day — less noble, a feeling of doubt. That the life I live, the music I am involved with and the musicians and labels I share my studio with might be trivial. I knew that feeling was wrong, and fought it all day. A guitarist I know offered that the important thing was that we live and work in a place where you CAN create music, and that is not trivial. I thought of the thousands of people that have told me in person how much music meant to them. I thought that music and all the arts inspire people to be creative, to have compassion, to be self expressive, and to show love. Then I thought that music and the arts are the opposite and antithesis of the terror at the WTC. And the doubt disappeared.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More