Welcome to issue #45 of Tape Op.
Last issue I wrote this intro page while visiting Amsterdam and hanging out at The Paradiso. This issue I'm sitting on a plane while heading to New Orleans to mix some songs I started with Big Blue Marble (and to mix some others they've tracked as well). Since last May I've been thinking a lot about what I want in a career in music recording, and I'm slowly working it out. There have been times where I felt like I was almost on an assembly line — rock bands coming in one after the other with me trying to do the best job I could given what they brought in as songs, arrangements, talent and gear. I've pulled back from that, fielding many of the calls I've gotten at my studio to other engineers while taking on things that interest me. Last week I recorded a quartet of Tongan ex-patriots doing traditional "island" music with guitars, ukulele and sweet harmony voices. I thought it would be interesting, and a different challenge, and it was — especially having to track, overdub and mix 12 songs in 9 hours! The next day I worked with an old friend, Sean Croghan, who I've done several albums with before. It was fun and creative — only tackling the tracking and rough mixing for one song we came up with cool sounds and arrangements that we were both real happy with. And now I'm off to work with a band in New Orleans that I really like (musically and as people), in a funky studio with a resident cat (and engineer). I feel like I'm getting close to a career that won't burn me out (I hope) and will keep me interested in music recording for a long time. Wish me luck!
P. S. Some folks might think, "Of course Larry can pick and choose projects." But, this is the first time I've really been able to do this, after ten years of "charging" for recording and eight years of owning a studio. And just so you know, at some points I am turning down work when I need the money — I'm just trying to keep my sanity and find time to work on Tape Op as well. I feel like I'm barely getting by and that makes me nervous!
P.P.S. Right as we went to press, Quantegy closed their tape plant. Rumours and truths are flying, and almost the entire stock of recording tape in the USA was sold in two days. Will tape remain only as an anchronistic word that's part of the title of this magazine? We don't think so, and we'll keep you posted in future issues as things develop.