The Lime Spiders * Beethovens Fist
Chapter 19 * My First Visit To America
I arrived in Los Angeles on October 2 ‘89, to mix The Lime Spiders album, “Beethoven’s Fist”, at Larrabee Studios in Hollywood. America! It was so thrilling to land in this sultry city with the smog of a million cars so thick you could chew through it. In the atom of movie-star dreams, L.A. is the nucleus, with it’s photogenic protons of Hummer and Ferrari driving stars, neutrons of networking managers and hustling agents, and orbiting around are the electrons of actors ..... er, waiters and waitresses with stars in their eyes and the menu SPECIALS in their heads. After I landed, I made my way to the salmon-pink facaded Ramada hotel on Santa Monica Boulevard. I unpacked my bags, and went downstairs to talk to the concierge, and asked him what was happening in town. He told me rocker Billy Idol’s flamboyant guitarist, Steve Stevens, was playing at a club called The Roxy on Sunset Boulevard - and that sounded like a great idea, so I called a taxi to take me to The Roxy. As I arrived, someone thick necked and tuxedo’ed apperared and opened the taxi door for me, and led me down the red carpet into the gig, where I was seated in a booth right in the middle of the auditorium. A very pretty waiteress came over and offered me a glass of champagne, and left me with the bottle, which was replaced as soon as I had drained it. The show was amazing, and after the show I left the club and had a drink at the neighboring Rainbow Room. I thought America totally amazing, and fell in love with it that night. I think my naiivete and the awe of me being in the States must have let me appear to be non-chalant when I arrived at the club, because I didn’t know what to expect from this state of mind that is America. I do not have any idea who the staff of the Roxy thought I was, but when I started working with Michael Brauer the next day, he asked me what I’d got up to the previous evening. When I told him, he said increduosly in his New York gangster accent, “How the fuck did you get in there? That gig has been sold out for weeks!” What a welcome to the U.S. And I didn’t pay a cent for anything! It’s funny, ‘cos it’s true!
Mixing in L.A. proved to be a huge learning experience for me. I had really worked hard at getting an explosive drum sound from the great big room of Rhinocerous studios, and mix engineer Michael Brauer immediatley triggered samples to replace the sound of the real drums in the final mix. I wasn’t very happy about it, but when you hire someone to do something, I always feel you need to let them do “their thing”, to a degree. I certainly tried to voice my feelings, but there I was, a nothing producer with a name mixer, and by the time it was all over, I felt like I’d been bullied into the final product - which, in retrospect, is not too bad! But, I decided then and there, that I would mix all my own stuff after that. In the late afternoon of our second last day of mixing, October 17, I headed back to my hotel on Santa Monica Boulevard from the studio to review our work. I was lying on my bed at about five o’clock, listening to cassettes of all the mixes and watching the news on television with the sound off, when I felt the building shake; and as I watched, information started coming in about a devastating earthquake that had just happened in San Francisco. I watched the reports all night, and when we finished mixing the next day, I boarded a plane back to my family and away from impending chasm of the San Andreas fault, which I felt was threatening to swallow me up.