GET ME THE IRON!
Wanted to share a story that takes us back to the start of Axminster that you might like. Today, Axminster is giving a big “shout-out” to Normandy Sound in Warren, Rhode Island. It’s now called TRIAD, and you can still find the legendary Phil Greene there.
Axminster got “baptized” at Normandy Sound when father Phil Greene and Producer Hirsh Gardner took us under their wing to record the song TEENAGE LIVIN' back in the summer of 1983.
I remember asking Phil how long it would take to record our 2-song demo. Phil said “once we set-up, it only takes 3 minutes to play the song”.
Little did we know…
We booked 3 “lock-out sessions”, to cut our demo which basically is the grave yard shift from about 11PM until whenever the next session came in the following day. It was the most cost-effective way for us to record, since it was a “flat” charge instead of paying by the hour.
We were GREEN to say the least, and both Phil and Hirsh never looked at the clock anyway and guided us through the process. Whatever it took…We ended up with a dynamite demo that sounded like a record and when we finished, it propelled us, getting great airplay and it was the jump start a bunch of 20-year old kids in a young band needed.
BUT….as we were finishing up the mixing, we needed something cool in the section between the first chorus and the 2nd verse. Phil suggested a backwards cymbal. So… the tape op flipped over the 2-inch tape and drummer Mike Lamm smashed a cymbal…we couldn’t wait to hear the effect. Phil asked the tape op to flip the 2-inch tape over again, and mount it correctly. He asked the tape op if it was all set…TWICE.
After getting the OK, Phil hit play on the remote control. And CRUNCH..the tape wasn’t mounted right, and the 2-inch tape that was moving at 30ips looked like the inside of my grandfather’s accordion. We gasped.
All the work. Taped ruined!
Phil…without missing a beat, and without yelling…asked the tape op to go upstairs to the apartment that was above the studio and bring him a clean towel and an iron.
The tape op…who was DYING inside because he was new too, returned with the iron and towel. Phil, heated up the iron, put the section of crunched tape inside the folded the towel and on the piano bench, if my memory is correct… proceeded to IRON the 2-foot section of tape that was crunched. He then mounted the tape back onto the 2-inch machine, hit play…checked all the tracks in that section and it played back perfectly.
I know THAT technique ain’t in the recording handbook! Session saved.
Axminster and Hirsh Gardner had the pleasure of recording at Normandy many times after that, and Phil is a mentor, good friend and a hell of a producer and engineer.