Once again, persistence has paid. Chasing Francis to write his own story was never going to be easy and he would never tell you of his accomplishments. My introduction has two parts…
First, as a professional, Francis has the credentials of every engineer’s dreams. Grammy winner for “Best Engineered Album” in 1996 – “Q’s Jook Joint” by Quincy Jones. That association led to two more projects with ”Q.” Then, with producer Glen Ballard, Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill” – 1995 Grammy Winner for “Album of the Year” and two Wilson/Phillips albums. Add Van Halen, The pointer Sisters, Black Flag, Paula Abdul, and Robbie Nevil, just for good measure. Visit his website and brace yourself.
Now let me tell you about the guy I know. During a visit to Los Angeles in the late 80’s, I was introduced to Francis, Director of Recording Services at MCA Music Publishing. We got along instantly and suddenly I was working. So began my break into the heart of the music industry. For all of the hyperbole concerning the “Hollywood personality,” I discovered the opposite in this person. Always affable and generous with his time, Francis gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m pleased to still be in his orbit… crazy guy that he is.
So I was asked by my dear friend Joe T (who is in love with a certain Italian beauty who’s identity I will not reveal here), I was asked to comment on why I got into the audio industry, well the entertainment industry to be exact, why I stay and where I think its going. All three very interesting topics. Thanks for asking Joe.
Why I got into it? A few major events in my life contributed to my descent into the dark side. And believe me you don’t understand the power of the dark side. First, I was introduced to music, rock and roll music to be exact. Here was this geeky looking guy with horn-rimmed glasses and a cheap suit singing about Peggy Sue and the girls were screaming!?! And then four not quite as geeky looking guys from Liverpool come along, followed by a wave of music like the world had never heard. How could I not fall prey to the dark side, I was an American teenager in the 1960’s and 70’s!!
My first revelation about where I belonged came when I was working on the assembly line in Detroit building 1973 and 74 Chrysler automobiles. One day it just hit me, like a diamond bullet…I’m not really into cars, so what the hell am I doing on the auto business. I should be in a business whose product I believed in. My conversion to the dark side was complete, I just needed a cool name and some kind of helmet! I actually thought of the name Darth Vader long before Lucas stole it! I guess I really had no choice; I was going to work in the music business or end up a crabby old man. No jokes, Joe!
I’m not where I set out to be, life did what life does. But I spent more the 30 years making music with some of the most amazing human beings you will meet! Most of the cats I have worked with have a level of talent so far beyond my own that I was often truly humbled to just be in room with them.
As to why I stay, please re-read the first three sentences of the second paragraph. Really great moments don’t happen often but if you have a microphone and a recording device you may be privileged to capture one. Capturing once in a lifetime performances is what my gig was all about. And I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Where is it going? Where is it going? Where the hell has it been!! When you can tell me where it’s been, I will tell you where it’s going! Music is like water…it will find a way. There will always be commodity music and art music and occasionally they meet, and when they do. its beautiful.
That’s All Folks!