My MEM-WHAA??

CORRECTION TO CHAPTER 17 OF 'COLD PIZZA: A MEM-WHA??' by MARK DANN

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mark Dann informs me that the piano at his parents' house was on the SECOND floor, NOT the third floor.  He dangled the mikes out the windows from the 4th floor all the way down to the second floor to record Raun MacKinnon and Julie Gold that night.

Thanks, Mark.  My bad!

IN MARK'S OWN WORDS:  It's even more fun that that.  The piano window was NOT below the fourth floor window.  It was one window to the right.  There was an air conditioner in the third floor window directly ABOVE the piano window, so I had to get a good swing going with the cables to get them over the air conditioner.  Once over the air conditioner, it was smooth sailing.  The most dangerous part, however, was deliberately ripping a hole in the screen to pass the cables through.  I got away with that one, apparently.

Another passage that Mark adds to (his comments in italics below this paragraph:

In the summer of 1984 I finally quit that job at Bellevue Hospital for good – I went from making $25,000 a year to making $6,000 a year. I recorded my first solo studio album, Future Fossils, in Mark Dann’s attic in Brooklyn. If you listen closely with headphones, you can hear the occasional car noise, chair squeak, and bird chirp in the background, because the room wasn’t soundproofed. I spent so much time preparing for it that when it came time to do the actual recording, I had the sequencing set so I could record the songs in the order they’d appear on the album. This way I wouldn’t have to pay additional hourly time to edit it all together.  This is how the album ended.

Twenty-four hours of studio time, all told.  I remembered that number, and have mentioned it to many people over the years.    I remember you bought a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder, and had everything worked out before you even arrived.  You used to come with a typed sheet with a list of overdubs to do.  

I met Andy Teirstein at those sessions.  I still work with Andy now and then, as recently as two sundays ago, where I recorded a string quartet performing his compositions at a local synagogue.  - Mark


MORE FROM MY BOOK:

Just a sidebar here about the musicians you just heard playing with all of us at The Bottom Line that night back in 1984.  Mark Dann was on 2nd guitar.  Although he played bass on many of the Fast Folk recordings he engineered at his studio in Brooklyn, it was Jack Hardy’s brother Jeff who played bass at the Fast Folk Bottom Line shows.

MARK DANN WRITES:

The Fast Folk band at the Bottom Line was in fact Jack's band at the time (Jack, Jeff, Howie, and me).  As well, the first year of the House Band at Falcon Ridge was also the Fast Folk band at THAT time (Jenny Hirsch on bass, David Hamburger on dobro, I forget who else, plus me on guitar).  Jenny left after a year, and I have been the bass player since (16 years I think?).

The concept of using a ready-made band has always made a lot of sense to me.

In that show (1984), I had a small Martin, an 0-18, made in the early 50's.  I had a pickup in the sound hole, and that was hooked up to a volume pedal with effects.  I also had a mic.  So I could back off the volume pedal, and play just into the mic (pickups were still uncommon at the time, I miss those days...).  But I could also lean into the volume pedal and all these cool effects would come up into the mix.  I used that extensively on American Jerusalem at that show.  George Gerdes was sitting in the audience right in front of me, and was dumbstruck at what I was doing.  Fun times.

- Mark

updated 3 years ago