|In the spring/summer of 1987, Belinda
Carlisle's "Heaven on Earth", was going on for a couple of months.
Rick Nowles (Dan called him Dick Nose) was the jerk producer and Shelly Yakus and Marc
DeSisto mixed most of it in B. Shelly was in that "don't even change your
underwear" mode after having a #1 with "Luka" by Suzanne Vega. A couple
of songs were mixed in the Mix Room by Steve MacMillan and I assisted. He was at
that time the only Ocean Way guy who had moved from 2nd to 1st chair. A&M and
Ocean Way had a pretty healthy rivalry and Steve wasn't the greatest to work with because
One day we did vocals in C, and it was the worst vocal I'd ever heard. I had to go in the machine room because I got goofy and started laughing. They made vocal slaves with a stereo mix and she would sing 20 tracks, then it was comp hell. Pretty bad!
The record had some big hits, a #1 "Heaven is a Place on Earth" and a #2 "I Get Weak" in the fall/winter of '87/'88. Not many people knew about a supposed lawsuit settled out of court (big bucks) for copyright infringement between "Heaven" and Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name". Dick Nose was a Jingle producer, So go figure!!!.
This was the beginning of the A&M problem where Shelly was getting the big bucks but the Marc (The Pitbull) was actually mixing the records. He padded his time sheets to get extra dough, but when the shit goes to #1, that just ain't good enough. This problem eventually led almost all of us to quit.
Before the Belinda record, Dan Nash and Shelly had a falling out of sorts, because Dan had gotten close to the Stevie Nicks clique and Shelly felt he was losing a client. Sometime during the fall we started a project from hell in the Mix Room, "Stevie Nicks - Live at Red Rocks". It was an hour long concert video with all the close-up's reshot after the fact because Stevie was looking pretty bad.
Dan and Waddy were trying to keep the ship going straight and I played SSL guy. The time consumer was because of the new close-ups, the sync was off, so we floated the vocal around with the Lynx's (talking subframes) for hours and hours. The session's were always all-nighters, and it went on forever. One night I unplugged the remote from the Mitsu 32 with the machine on and of course it died and stopped the gig. Dan made me tell Stevie, which wasn't a whole lot of fun.
The good part was the "girls" (i.e. backup singers) were always around which was easy on the eyes. Needless to say, I don't think I ever watched the video after it came out.
More gig's were Russell Hitchcock and Dirty Dancing records with Jimmy Ienner, Michael Lloyd, Carmine ("I think I'm gonna bail") Rubino, and Dan Nebenzal, their personal 2nd. It was pretty much a circus with Ienner sitting in the back of the room with a legal pad jotting down shit, and on the next pass would bark out stuff like "Now I want those strings a little louder right here". He was pretty intimidating on Lloyd and Rubino, and there were some tense moments where I left the room. We worked on an Air Supply Xmas record too, and Bill Medley showed up once.
Jimmy swore Zevon's "Reconsider Me" was a hit, and we did overdubs and a single remix with Roy Bittan from the E Street Band producing. Roy didn't have a clue on the SSL, which made it a little rough. He came in at 11 am clean shaven, and had a pretty good stubble by midnight. I've talked to a lot of people who really like the song, but radio didn't - it stiffed. Stevie Nicks has cut a version of it recently which is pretty cool.
We also did a Spanish version of "Leave My Monkey Alone" in C that was pretty funny. Warren didn't speak Spanish and we had this Latino guy as a coach with him at the mic, telling him what to sing. I was tape-op.
Niko did Melissa Etheridge's first record and we mixed it in the Mix Room and B in late November. Neke's wasn't much for the SSL, so it was mutes only all the time and we used all outboard gear. He used to call the SSL a "$300,000 monitor board". They'd tracked the record in about 4 days, after she did a complete "proper" record with Rob Fraboni that cost about 200 grand. Chris Balckwell heard it and said "That's not the girl I saw in a bar in Long Beach". Good Move!!
The record came out and it stiffed at first for about 9 months, but picked up after KMPC started playing some live cuts from a promo CD recorded at the Roxy which I can truthfully say I mixed and Niko rode the vocal. It became my claim to fame for a while as it broke her career.