Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If you are going to eat corned beef in NYC, you are going to pay...oh yes, you are going to pay!

So it’s no secret that my major musical influence is Jimi Hendrix. He’s my “Big Bang”. My Elvis…actually, Elvis is my Elvis, but you get the idea. So we’re in New York City to play a gig at The Ace of Clubs. What’s that you say? Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad, apparently no one else has either! Anyway, we get through playing the gig and we’re hanging out with Chuck MF Lanza, the MF Mafia’s prime minister of our Northeastern Operations. We decide to go over to Electric Lady Studios to touch the door. Yes I am that “fan boy” about Jimi!) Just in case you don’t know, (and if you do, just bear with me or feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph!)In 1970, Jimi Hendrix wanted to build a night club in NYC as a place to hang out and jam with his musician friends. This turned into deciding to put a small studio in the back of the club and then finally deciding to build the most state of the art studio in the world. 13 months of construction later, the grand opening of the studio was held on August 26, 1970. Hendrix recorded his last studio recording there and left the country fro his final European tour. He died on September 18, 1970. Given his transient lifestyle for most of his career, Electric Lady was as much of a home as he ever had and as such it’s the Hendrix version of Graceland!
We get to the studio, in the pouring rain at midnight. I mean pouring rain! Biblical rain! The front door is actually a false front and then the original door in just inside (the one I wanted to touch!) We open the door and start shooting pictures when a voice comes over the intercom; “Can I help you?” Someone’s inside! Richard answers, “We just want to come in a get a photo.” No dice. “You can take all the pictures you want…from outside.” Once I realize that someone’s home, I decide that the only acceptable end to the evening is a look inside. After 30 futile minutes of begging and cajoling and shameless name dropping (most of it accurate…most of it…) we decide to call it a night and go to the hotel. Those of you that know me well know that giving up isn’t something I’m particularly good at, so my night was spent formulating my strategy for getting in! I asked CMFL to use his contacts (he has many) and I would hit mine and between the two of us we should be able to find some kind of way inside. Yes I realize in the grand scheme of things this seems like a lot of effort for something so …so…ehh! Anyway, it’s a challenge and as I said before, I don’t do ‘give up’ very well. I won’t name drop in this part of the narrative, but CMFL reached out to the likable manager of a very famous guitarist. A person who has spent a lot of time recording in Electric Lady and should be able to pull off a private tour. “Good luck” was the response from this person (who’s identity I cannot reveal!) “You won’t get in.” Now the gauntlet has been dropped! Telling me I can’t do something is like calling Marty McFly a chicken! (You know what movie I’m referring to!). I call a record label owner in Nashville that I’ve worked with in the past (name withheld to treat all participants equally…even though HE was able to come through better than the manager for the famous guitarist, from the 1970’s rock band…I can’t tell!!!) Lo and behold, we get an invitation from the studio manager (super nice guy! From Tennessee!! Lee Foster! His name is on the website, so figure it’ ok to say his name since he was so gracious.) We go back to the studio with CMFL and the SHB in full force and get to see studio A, the wall mural in the hallway and both restrooms, all still in the original condition from when Jimi was here! Because of a recording session, we couldn’t do more than just peek our heads into the studio, but it was enough for me…for now! The original plaque bearing the name of the studio, the VIBE!!! The list of musicians that have recorded in this place is endless. Billy Idol, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, even famous 1970’s rock band KISS, whose original guitarist was ACE FREHLEY! It's an endless list to be sure. I was so awestruck by finally getting the chance to check out a place that I’ve always wanted to see. I just wish Buff had been with me (of course, I know my baby, she would have been looking at me going, “yeah babe, that’s nice.” and thinking, “How much longer are we going to have to be here?”) Now I’ve got to figure out how to record there…hmmmmm.

1 comment:

Natalie Stovall said...

And when you do, can I be the "Scott" in this story and be allowed to just peek in during one of your sessions there? I'll go ahead and request Miguel and James are on the list, too. :)