Phil Ramone Interview

How to be a Producer When You Start As A Classical Violonist !!! Responsabilities in the evolution of an artist.
Sunday 2 May 2010
by  James B. Cote, Marc Salama, Pier Alessandri
popularity : 29%

How to be a Producer When You Start As A Classical Violonist !!! Responsabilities in the evolution of an artist.

- Q1 : What was the determinant factor that made you a producer ?
- Q2 : Did you keep playing the violin ?
- Q3 : And is it why a lot of people consider you are probably the greatest producer of strings ?
- Q4 :Do you think it’s true...do you really intend to do it ? Are you much interested by recording strings ?
- Q5 :Are you, are you a producer who is quite distant now with technical stuff or do you still choose the microphone...? What do you do?
- Q6 :And so, what kind of sound engineer do you like to work with ?
- Q7 :But do you think, could you resume the work of a producer? What is a producer for you? You’re a producer. Tell me in a few words what is the main job?
- Q8 : Do you Think as a producer you can take responsabilities in the evolution of the career of an artist, I’m thinking of Billy Joel and the gap between the album "Innocent Man" and what happened after. It looks like you wanted together a change. Do you think you have your responsabilities into that ? Do you think a producer might do that?
- Q9 :Do you have a thing so that you have a closer relationship with some musicians you’ve been working with and isn’t it a bit difficult, for example I think the son of Billy Joel, you are the step father of the son of Billy Joel. Is it easy to work with somebody when you are so close?
- Q10 : You’ve been working with good people,talented, and successful. You are a kind of artist, in fact do you choose the artists you’re working with? Do they choose you?
- Q11 :Do you, you know there is an old debate between digital recording and analogue(?) recording and everybody’s taking position about it and stuff like that. Do you have a pont of view about that?.Do you prefer a way or another?
- Q12 : So you’re telling me that in fact Phil Ramone is taking big care of the money spent when he is recording.
- Q13 : We’re getting a little in your way of working, you’re telling me you work home, to understand when you’re ready to go in the studio and start first analogue and then digital to mix and stuff like that. But you ’ve been working ten years ago just taping the musician. Do you still use this kind of way of producing? (08: 21: 51) And what do you think about this change? Do you have regret?
- Q14 :And tell me, you’ve been working with different type of singers, I think the vocals are important or you believe in that. I think there is a big difference with the way of a Paul Simon to record a vocal and Bob Dylan, for example.
- Q15 : Do you like, at what time do you like to be involved, at the very beginning, almost at the choice of the songs or when they write the songs?
- Q16 :You’ve been working with a lot of guys, like Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Mc Cartney, Dylan, Lou Reed. Less girls I would say, Barbara Streisand, Sinnead O’Connor, Gloria Estefan. Do you think you, I don’t know, I mean do you think you’re, you’re more... it’s more easy to work with men?
- Q17 : My partner was asking a question, you were speaking about you believed in recording instruments in a hotel room. What do you think about the whole, the whole studio movement, the home studio movement? And about the lower running of the price of the gear and stuff like that
- Q18 : Yes, but do you think it’s your more achieved recording lately?
- Q19 : Do you work a lot?
- Q20 : And do you see them?
- Q21 :You’ve been doing a conference at the AES about conservation of music, could you resume for us what is your point of view about that? What is the problem right now?
- Q22 : Do you think you have to pay for this preservation?
- Q23 : Well, thank you Mr. Ramone, do you have anything else you would like to say to French people?


Interview de Phil RamoneQ1 What was the determinant factor that made you a producer ?

PR: Well, to start with, I started out as a little boy as a classical violonist, you know so I preferred in the beginning to listen to all these records that were made, by the time I was very young, ten or eleven years old I realised the instrument was extremely difficult to record. So I made records as a child and appeared with classical orchestras and realized how terrible the recordings were, or how terrible I was maybe... you know, so... I studied engineering and by the time I was fifteen I was working in a recording studio practising electronic pick-ups and all kinds of effects. OK, I started out as a musician as a child and by the time I was seven or eight I was fortunate to play some concert pieces and have records of them at the time. By the time I was eleven or twelve I was very interested in jazz, and people like Stéphane Grapelli and wonderful people who knew how to play jazz, like Les Paul, the sounds that they produced either on single instruments or over-dubs is what I started to do, and I started engineering and took a job in a recording studio when I was fifteen and learnt from the bottom up how to engineer and from ten years of engineering after that I started to...It took very long time for people to accept that I was not only an engineer but I had musical training to be a producer. 



Q2 Did you keep playing the violin ? 


PR: Yes, I had to because I was very poor and the people used to sometimes give me a job to play in this string section and when they would pay for the week salary the guy says well, you played in the strings section last night, you don’t need to be paid you keep working in the studio and learn engineering so it was a trade off in the beginning definetely. 



Q3 And is it why a lot of people consider you are probably the greatest producer of strings ?

PR: That’s nice to hear. 



Q4 Do you think it’s true...Do you really intend to do it ? Are you much interested by recording strings ?

PR: I think to be honest with you when you get a compliment about recording good strings or good brass, I spend so much time in trying to accomplish the musical side of engineering so because I was a string player maybe that helped but I love brass and percussion and as long as I made records I spent more time on the percussion and the voice. To me the star of the music is, is obviously the voice, unless it’s an instrument or so. I don’t, I don’t think of myself as a string engineer. 


Q5 Are you, are you a producer who is quite distant now with technical stuff or do you still choose the microphone...? What do you do?

PR: No, I... first of all my mentality is a little different then other people because. I have great respect for the musician and because I rather spend more hours to make them comfortable I will try different microphones I will try sounds for them till the earphones and the room and they sound right, so I do pretty much pick for them, it’s like a tailor, you know, you look at the form of a body and you say, ha, like this, I paint a picture this waybecause if you become stylised by doing the same thing you, you, you ruin the very thing about music that’s original so I try never to be the same and I definetely don’t, I mean I’m always open if somebody says I want two microphones coming around my neck and you record my heart and the reflection of the symbol, that’s ok, you know, but I don’t, I personnaly will do anything to make a record right so yes I do have a lot to say. 



Q6 And so, what kind of sound engineer do you like to work with ?

PR: Er, a person who is very flexible, who is not afraid if the musicians feel they could play in, closer to the door where’s there is more air for them, so what! My feeling is that an engineer’s job and it’s a very critical one, is to be a receiver of the information and then be sure not to upset the way that person will feel comfortable. You’re not gonna go to Miles Davis or other great players and say stand other there, you know because you’ll get beat up, for me I think an engineer should be flexible. A good engineer should make a record in any room, anywhere in the world. That’s the truth. You may have to take the blankets off the bed and hang them but that’s ok. It’s a different world if you don’t, because then you make people stiffen up and they get anxiety because they don’t get to play the way they know how to play and maybe the first few days if they play against a brick wall they feel safe, you know what I mean, I would much rather be recording in a, like a theatre type atmosphere because I believe truthly that the engineer and the musicians and myself have more fun rather then everything being so intense because it is hard to make a good record, it really is. 



Q7 But do you think, could you resume the work of a producer? What is a producer for you? You’re a producer. Tell me in a few words what is the main job? 


PR: A good producer is like a director in a film, he must understand the actors, the musicians being the actors and the music most of all understanding how to explain to an artist who is either a big star or just from the street how good they are and that you are not trying to hurt them and that you are there to bring out the best, to discuss finessly(?) the lyrics or the melody you should understand the arrangments, you must write them, sorry, you have to write the arrangments if necessary, you have because i do whatever is needed, but better sometimes to,to experiment and you, you have to win the confidence of the artist, they must believe in you and that you will never try to harm them, that’s really a good producer and not about putting your name on the record, you know, that means nothing, because after twenty years you, it’s your job to always listen, listen, listen and think musically before you open what you’re going to do in the mix, because it’s very important to understand that. 



Q8 Do you Think as a producer you can take responsabilities in the evolution of the career of an artist, I’m thinking of Billy Joel and the gap between the album "Innocent Man" and what happened after. It looks like you wanted together a change. Do you think you have your responsabilities into that ? Do you think a producer might do that?

PR:
It would be ideal to say to you that I could have the right influence but er, after ten years. I think, artists, managers, friends, new friends, social change makes artists not always choose the truth and for me every changing, expanding records with Billy Joel reached a sort of an impasse because of other influences, not his or mine and I think that for me, the importance of a hit record is not one that you can predict every time because most artists will go up and down and when you’re down you must know that you still have to be truly yourself. You cannot write a record for the, for the people out there that would be a hit because no one knows what that is, no one. And when it, when it reaches a public and they love you for it they can, they are very feekle because two years from now they can say enough, we don’t like that anymore. And only the songwriter and the performer that understands that can live through the period of, of being on an equal plane with nothing happening and the managers and the record companies get very nervous and I understand because they have a big investment.
But I think the responsability for the producer who’s been there, I’ve been with Paul Simon and Billy Joel for many many years, er the honesty between us is what counts, and that would tell me when it’s right for me or them to move on because we’re only human beings we can’t be experts. 



Q9 Do you have a thing so that you have a closer relationship with some musicians you’ve been working with and isn’t it a bit difficult, for example I think the son of Billy Joel, you are the step father of the son of Billy Joel. Is it easy to work with somebody when you are so close?

PR: Well, it’s a respectful close you see because after that many years you, you have been together socially then you’re apart because he tours, and then I show up, my little son is his god son and he loves Billy. And his god mother is Lisa Minneli so he has two completely opposite artists to, to admire. And because they’re good friends that I think it doesn’t, it doesn’t affect the work, because the work is the work. You cannot say you’re my son’s god father so therefore we must make records, that’s...we’re very good friends still and we’ll always be. And that’s what, what makes it ok to either not make a record for five years, I think like directors work with certain actors for a certain period of time and then maybe ten years goes by and maybe you make something again. You know, I’ve been very very lucky, very lucky. 



Q10 You’ve been working with good people,talented, and successful. You are a kind of artist, in fact do you choose the artists you’re working with? Do they choose you?

PR: I think it’s two ways. Sometimes er, I would say that like when, when I heard about Jimmy Glare(?) I mean I heard his records and then he heard some of the records that I made and he liked some that I made so therefore I asked him if we would like to work together let’s try. There’s no, there’s no other way then to try, and if it works you continue. So, with him it was, it was a case that we really enjoyed each other and have great respect and made a very, very good record together. And sometimes, a woman like Sinnead O’ Connor I, I only met once and six months later they asked me if I would like to work with her,and so I said yes you know because if you admire the art of a person it’s mutual, that you get to work with them. I’m very fortunate now, because in the beginning I, I had to produce what ever anybody gave me, not even a chance. But it gave me so much experience you know, from jazz to blues, to rock’n’roll and pop music and theatre music and film music. So you know now it’s nice, because people do call! As long as you make it. 



Q11 Do you, you know there is an old debate between digital recording and analogue(?) recording and everybody’s taking position about it and stuff like that. Do you have a pont of view about that?.Do you prefer a way or another?

PR: To be honest with you, I think the technology is, is in our hands now. But the cost must never exceed what, what the music and what it should cost. I think it’s very unfortunate that CDs cost as much as they do because it stops the people who really need to hear the music from hearing it, you know, so they only have cassettes or CD. So if a digital record costs a lot and the promotion and the video, it, it sort of punishes the people who could buy your record. I, I would rather make a whether analogue or a digital, I mix the two because of the cost but I, I feel that, that people like myself and other producers should use the technology for their advantage not because it’s chic to do forty-eight track. You know because it is so expensive if you don’t have the budget. And if you don’t sell records you don’t get the budget again and then you, you decline rather than saying I could have done that analogue, that’s ok, but I’m a big believer in usage of analogue in a different way than maybe some other people, I’m not interested in always wanting it thirty IPS, I like fifteen IPS, SR Dolby and then I take some of those drum tracks or vocal tracks and then transfer them to digital. For me the final product is better not mixed on two machines because it’s too complicated, you know what I mean, and so if you’re very economical all the way up to the end you have enough money to put it on forty-eight track digital and spend two and a half, three weeks mix. So, I tend to think about what, what is good for the artist and what is good for the sound. If the piano is not gonna sound good digital or analogue it’s not, it’s something wrong with the way you mike it, you know or the piano maybe not good. 



Q12 So you’re telling me that in fact Phil Ramone is taking big care of the money spent when he is recording.

PR: Absolutely, have to. It is the producer’s responsability, it’s also technology is, is in my corner because I, I was there from many many of the introductions of new technology, so absolutely I’m, I use sometimes the most economical technology to work at home and rehearse and understand what the music, even program drum ideas and keyboards ideas so we all know where we’re gonna go. And then when we enter the studio this is not the seventies or eighties anymore where you can seat and have tea and have some juice and then do one song and then go home. Those days are gone. The party’s over. It’s work, and so it’s a responsability of people like us to make sure that we don’t go crazy, you know. That we don’t spend twenty-four hours a day paying a studio, I mean they won’t like me for that, but the truth of the matter is we should only use the studio for the ten or twelve hours a day, because that’s production. The rest is beat, you know. I’d rather go to the Bains Douches and forget it. 



Q13 We’re getting a little in your way of working, you’re telling me you work home, to understand when you’re ready to go in the studio and start first analogue and then digital to mix and stuff like that. But you ’ve been working ten years ago just taping the musician. Do you still use this kind of way of producing? And what do you think about this change? Do you have regret?

PR: No, I don’t think it’s a change, I think, er, music goes in cycles, you know I think that the, the new album with Sinnead O’Connor is forty-five men in a recording studio live er, so people call upon the needs of a reason to record. One of my children said to me, he said Dad how come you don’t make records with everybody in the same room, heavy rock’n’roll! And I looked at him and I said we did! But somewhere in 88, 87 there was this drum machines and stuff. But I believe the mixture of music acoustic and electronic is totally a possible way to work, and is the way I like to work. But in preparation sometimes you use, you save the drums till the end, because all of the arrangment, the kicks and everything that you’re going after is in the end. And I put a real drummer on so, the interaction between musicians, between the keyboard and the drums and a vocal. Many times with machines I cut everything live and a vocal. Because the vocal for me is the first thing that makes me think about what the arrangment works or doesn’t. So there’s a chemistry, there’s a two o’clock in the afternoon and by three we must be, we’re ready and four o’clock we make the record and maybe one or two songs in a day by having the people play. They can fix what they don’t play well, because the mentality of a player is less likely to play as well if he knows that I tell him sometimes we’re gonna just pretend, we’re gonna put this on a satellite tonight. So the rehearsal is from ten or eleven in the morning and at three o’clock Iwanna go on the air to the world, in the States and all. So, it’s totally possible to make that kind of record, I believe more so now then ever before and because people are, like to be critical and be perfectionist you can still fix things but the overall take has to be a good take you know, even the speed of it, sometimes I change the tempo on everything because the singer is doing something I’ve never heard before. Because he or she is performing, you know and, and it’s a big difference because the track is sometimes to slow, sometimes they have turn too high or too low, you, you plan a song in one key and you get in the studio and, and E flat was nice but E major, pfff...it’s fantastic! So you change. But if you live only with machines and the singer in another city you don’t, you don’t make a good record for my money. So I, I still challenge the musicians to play as they want to play because in a concert we all have to work. 



Q14 And tell me, you’ve been working with different type of singers, I think the vocals are important or you believe in that. I think there is a big difference with the way of a Paul Simon to record a vocal and Bob Dylan, for example.

PR: For instance, about Dylan, over-dubbing after the record is made is a joke. It’s not gonna work, you know, it maybe because he personally wants to redeliver a line or the, the language didn’t come out the way he wanted. But you miss what he is about, because he is tight to the guitar and the voice and for Paul Simon, in the early days, the stuff that I did up through a, in this album, the last album, we did tracks because he would sing melodies but with no words. So, it was a different approach for him, you know Graceland it did that too, some of the songs...he knew what his melody was going to be but it was not connected to him playing. 
But I love to record Paul when he has to play, he doesn’t... We use to discuss it because he said if I make a mistake in the vocal, it’s one thing but you’ve got me miked and so I can’t make a mistake on the guitar because they’re going to the similar tracks. But the truth of the matter is it was always better when he played and sang something to the drummer, to Steve Gadd or Richard T because they felt the emotion you know, coming from the voice. It’s so much different then when you play perfect guitar, then you stand there with your hat and sing a perfect vocal. But it’s not the same. So, it’s a sacrifice but I think for my intelligence the better of the two is the more dangerous performance is what I like. 



Q15 Do you like, at what time do you like to be involved, at the very beginning, almost at the choice of the songs or when they write the songs?

PR: Oh yeah! I don’t think I can work with a singer’s songwriter and just be handed the song. I mean I can but I don’t think it’s as effective. First of all there’s, it’s like a child who just got a new Christmas present when they say come, come here, listen, come here, listen, and they start to play and, and this thing happens you know and they...oh! And if you, if you...it’s like perfume you know, it comes to you, you say yes, yes, it’s brilliant. And that is the moment you have to remember because a month later you’re still doing that same moment and it’s very important not to lose it, you know, I, I don’t think you get it the same when somebody says and here’s the song I wrote, it’s already passed the, the...well it’s a sensivity when somebody says I want you to like it but I want the truth and I don’t know if it’s as good as I think it is. You know these are the emotional sides of a writer that you, once they know that they have a good song their attitude changes. And it’s very difficult to record. When they are fragile, it’s like a woman you, you, it’s very private that fragile, the moment between the eyes, and ears and what you say, it’s only between the two of you. So, you have to remember that picture and make that record and the best time to record it is then. That’s why I believe in equipment in a hotel room, everywhere, anywhere. 



Q16 You’ve been working with a lot of guys, like Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Mc Cartney, Dylan, Lou Reed. Less girls I would say, Barbara Streisand, Sinnead O’Connor, Gloria Estefan. Do you think you, I don’t know, I mean do you think you’re, you’re more... it’s more easy to work with men?

PR: I think that’s purely...you know if you asked me what I did from December till October, now, September. Er Lisa Minneli, er oh God I did five different women and no men. So, I can’t say that there is a reason other then Debbie Gibson, Laura Branagham, let me see what Sinnead O’Connor,Lisa Minneli, those were the women and I recorded no men, oh I’m sorry David Crosby! Excuse me David, pardon me. 



Q17 My partner was asking a question, you were speaking about you believed in recording instruments in a hotel room. What do you think about the whole, the whole studio movement, the home studio movement? And about the 
lower running of the price of the gear and stuff like that 


PR : Well, I truly believe the professional studio is going back to where it was twenty years ago to be a professional studio. And the creation of music is not limited to be in a studio. And so you’ll perform or record certain kinds of music in a... and mix your record in a professional studio. 
But the preparation and the, and the ability to, er, for instance Gloria Estefan writes sometimes at the little keyboard in her house, and she has a small digital tape machine and now those vocals are able to be transferred digitally to...You know and it’s a home machine that she records on. And I think it’s important because why go through the same process. 
Artists are artists, they, they...You learn to work in a recording studio, it’s not that you are comfortable. You make the, the bedroom in the studio, it’s very difficult. I think that when people create and say I do better vocals in my bathroom then we should record them there. 
The studio owners won’t lose money, they’ll never lose money, the price structure unfortunately for the studio owners has gone down not up. And he spends maybe ten times what he spent in 1973 or4 then he does now. So there is a amount because if the... the people who pay the price of the audience,and if the audience has to pay more money, PR : there was a big article in the New York Times two weeks ago about sixteen dollars, ninety-eight cents CD, and part of the relationship was that they have to pay a hundred million dollars to print or sixty five or sixty million dollars for Madonna. And that they have to pass that on to the public, and I don’t agree with it, I don’t agree with it. And the kind of music those artists make is so special and so good, if anything, they should lower the price and let more people and your children, if you don’t mind, have a chance to hear that on, on a more competitive basis and then maybe the, the, the reality is, and I’m not preaching here but the new artists should be at a lower price and, and have a chance to learn and make their art. Because now, what’s coming is that the studios at home, you can make almost any kind of record that is sellable. You can sell it. The artist wants, needs time to grow and if the market and the record company is so busy with the fear of failure then it makes it twice as difficult. iI doesn’t matter whether you make a record for ten thousand dollars or a hundred thousand dollars, you know. And I think that’s the problem, er I think the home studio is now and forever would be a very important part. Nobody told a painter where to paint, Picasso did not paint in a recording studio. 



Q18 Yes, but do you think it’s your more achieved recording lately?

PR: Oh God! That’s hard to say because I think it has to do with the music at the time, I mean there were certain highlights that I think musically were important, "Still crazy after all these years" was a moment. Maybe "52nd Street" or, or albums like that of Billy Joel where, where I think landmarks because of what they wrote not because...and also fun for us because I had a chance to do something new. I think, er, er, doing semi-classical pieces with, with big orchestras is fun, you know, working with Paul Mc Cartney, er, that everybody from Barbara Streisand to Gloria Estefan, everybody has a, has a very unique way in which the music is, is recorded. It’s not standard, you know, so I love that. 
And the challenge always is to say whatever I did before because of, maybe because of history and the music that it involves becomes something famous but I never stop to think about it, I can’t because I would go crazy. 



Q19 Do you work a lot?

PR: Yeah, I love work. I love to play hard, I like to work hard. I’m a nice family, lots of children. It’s great! 



Q20 And do you see them?

PR: Yeah! They, it’s part of my life to make sure that they, they travel and see the life that I live. Because it’s very special, it’s not...I, I don’t go to the store and fix the plumbing, I make music you know, so I’m very lucky that way and, and it’s very important for them, the style, to know Europe, to understand what it’s like, where the art came from in Paris and...it’s very important for me to give that to them now and...I’m very proud of that. 



Q21 You’ve been doing a conference at the AES about conservation of music, could you resume for us what is your point of view about that? What is the problem right now?

PR: I think it is not the record companies’problem to preserve the music at all. I think they have, because of their fifty, sixty years of making records. 
The people who made those records thirty forty years ago if they’re alive, should be invited to, to participate in, even preserving the music the way they remembered or as close to it as possible. I think producers of the last twenty-five years should be responsible and, if necessary, it’s only a matter of studio time and, and taking the masters and listening to them and make sure that is the master that you approved with the artist. Because too many records that I’ve seen or people that I know complain about because it’s, it’s an equalized master for LP, they sound different then, when you put them on CD, so that should never happen. And if all of the executives of the record companies who have been there for as many years as we can remember, who are still alive, er if you made it an honour and in the universities that their name be associated with those records that they have a chance to preserve and correctly and I,I think you would find that in the final analysis when you leave your mark musically to, to be there, then you should have a chance because men like Bill Porter that was there last night who work on Elvis should be the consultant, and maybe because not only of his age but because of his knowledge. The next generation or two generations down will change the effect of what Elvis was, it’s not fair. So, it...you know, it doesn’t cost millions of dollars like people think, it costs millions of dollars for the mistakes though of not storing them correctly, storing them in heat and in the sun and er, you know under water...God knows where how somebody’s masters where ever found. 
And the collectors are, are there to tell you because in twenty years some of these old masters er, may not be around, and as a producer I think it’s my responsability to make a safety copy of the master at the time we finish it. Because ten years later, someone else is going to reengineer the record, it’s not right. 



Q22 Do you think you have to pay for this preservation? 


PR: I would volunteer and will make my suggestion to all my, my fellow producers to remember that how many records could you have made in the last twenty years, if you’ve been here twenty years. Two, three, four a year maximum. So, if you’ve made twenty LPs, it’s ten to fifteen days to sort out the problem, maybe you have to give up a month over two years of your time. But between that and the record company who owns the rights, all the members of the family of the artist who may have in their closet er. You know how many records that I’ve made that were live recordings during trips through California with Dylan or Paul Simon or Billy Joel or anyone else; there were hundreds of recordings that have never been issued and where are they, I don’t know, you know. So the point of it is if somebody says we were in a college at UCLA, do you remember we did a concert, can we...find it? Then if somebody does the research then you don’t mind. I personally would love to have some of the multi track, the sixteen track or the twenty-four tracks back. And you know, between the studio and, and, and the record company and the producer maybe there can be a fee worked out for the work, the engineers, the people who will have to do the work. But in the long run, there’s always the chance that the record company of the artists that I’ve worked with and many, many other producers make great records like Riff Martin, I can tell you Quincy Jones, those, those records will sometime make money again for them. and, once you’ve preserved it once, you don’t have to worry about it because the, the future of communication, satellite or trading of digital tape and, or format because today’s argument where many people would say it’s not honest, it’s not the same way and er, Arnold Keepner who was there said you can’t remember or it’s very subjective how you hear and I, I wanted to reiterate but sometimes the monitors in those rooms in that studio in 1963 were certainly not like what it is now. You know, so to the best of your ability, the producer and, or the engineers involved should have something to even a comment. And unfortunately many accountants who, who worry about how much space tape took and people who were in charge of budgets forgot because I lost a whole library of fifteen years of my work, gone. And this was personal tapes made during my recording sessions and extra tapes for the musicians and Duke Ellington talking to Count Basie the first time or Quincy Jones explaining to Sarah Vaughan what, what he wanted and the tape is ruined. Those are gone because of an economical change that somebody decided, they needed the reels of tape and, and they cut the tape and they kept the reels. So a room, it’s why I’m so interested in making sure it never happens to anyone else. 
You know if you lose something in a fire it’s tragic or in a hurricane or earthquake but when you lose something because so many thousands of square feet, they should understand it, in Paris it’s a very crowded city so, so much room for so many dollars whether it’s tape or studio. And the reason that we invented electronic echo was because the man says we can’t have a room this side for echo, and then somebody says we can store the tapes more than one year. And many studios have closed in all the last five to ten years and the tapes, where did they go? We used to try I remember my old studio that people used to ask where, where do we send the tapes back to, and most of the record companies had been bought by other people and so some of them would never reply and I say what are you gonna do with the tape, oh we’re not gonna store it, it costs too much money. So, it is, it is, it is the musicians, the friends of musicians, producers, all of us, the A&R people at labels, people who were presidents or whatever their, their job was at the label to remember what records they, they, when they.....,when you read about them and I did this and I worked on this, ok, come back, give me a few minutes of your time and help me restore that to what it is, that’s my feeling. 



Q23 well, thank you Mr. Ramone, do you have anything else you would like to say to French people?

PR: I must say from my personal experience in Paris and all through France how wonderful the French music has been in, to influence me and from Aznavour and Gainsbourg and Julien Clerc and many, many fine artists and motion pictures, I,I think even though it’s small and, in what you hear about in the United States but the art from a country like France is incredible and it’s a big influence for me, from Michel Legrand, I mean there were people that I studied when I was young that I’ve never forgotten, so when I go there I sort of feel, the Gods are telling me to come here every once in a while, so salut!

interviewed by James B. Cote and Marc Salama


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