Two days ago, I dropped a hard drive off at my mixing and mastering studio for my upcoming Michael Jackson Guitar CD. Time to mix & master…I start tomorrow!
The “engineer” is more than just an engineer. He’s the one and only Gene Paul – son of guitar and recording legend, Les Paul.
Gene played drums in Les Paul’s working band for years, and of course was privy to Les’ genius, since Les was his dad. Later on, Gene became a top notch enginieer…now he primarily does mastering.
I was only there for about an hour, but I took a gander at the gold records on the wall. Does “Kiling Me Softly” by Roberta Flack ring a bell? Well, he was the engineer on the session. I’ll try to remember the others and post an update here…
As we chatted, he asked what I had been up to since the last CD. I told him: touring, practicing and perfecting the show and arrangements as best I can, so that I can provide a great night of enjoyable music for an audience.
That’s all he needed to hear, and my music lesson started. (I wish I had recorded him….I’ll see if I can get him to do an interview.) I sat with ears and eyes like sponges for soaking up his masterful words.
He went on to tell me stories of how his dad – every night – either audio taped or video taped his show, and then listened, and analyzed. He said that Les particularly paid attention to timing, the interaction with the audience…seeing what worked and what didn’t. It was all about the show.
Watch Les in action, how he communicates to the audience through the eyes, the music…watch what he does at the end. What a showman! So much is said with this simple tune…
At one point he told me Les got a Django record (yes record…LP…played with a needle) and worked on a Django lick for days. Suddenly, on the gig Gene heard this lick fuse into his Dad’s playing and asked him about it. Les would say “It was Djangos, but now it’s mine…”
A week between gigs? No problem…Les would take other gigs, even if they just covered hotels (between good paying gigs) just to keep the band and stage show razor sharp.
The point being that well into a ripe old age, Les Paul never stopped learning, studying, practicing, analyzing.
This should serve as inspiration to us all! It never ends…and if you ever saw the youthful life in Les’s eyes (I got to play with him when he was well into his 90′s and did see it – watch that video if you haven’t) you’d know…that youthfulness was surely due to an inquisitive, active and intelligent mind!
Ok. Time to stop blogging and start picking…Happy Monday!