This was my
first album that wasn’t recorded in New York. We went to
The Record Plant in Sausalito and had a blast staying in the band
house, with a full-time cook named Cathy (who actually wasn’t
all that swift – I remember our first- night welcoming dinner
was a beyond-rare prime rib that we tried to eat while watching
“Night of the Living Dead”) Next door to the studio
complex was Sly Stone’s studio, called “The Pit”,
but FBI and IRS agents were camped out there day and night so
he couldn’t go near it. It was a wild place, though –
indeed a pit with shag carpet everywhere, just basically all control
room because he recorded everything direct.
I loved meeting Al Kooper, who was producing The Tubes in the
next room. And one night we met the version of Fleetwood Mac with
Christine McVie (who was so sweet) and Bob Welch. Jerry Martini
from Sly’s band played killer sax on Talk.
We went to The Record Plant in LA after finishing basic tracks,
and that was my first taste of the “Hollywood Babylon”
scene that was happening every night at The Rainbow. We stayed
at the Sunset Marquis and one night I heard a couple of thugs
from Motown beating almost to death an artist who was on the label.
They kept saying “Are you gonna play?” and beating
him some more. Since it was echoing through the whole courtyard
I couldn’t imagine the front desk not hearing it, so I went
down to see if they had called the police. When I asked the clerk,
he just walked away and closed the door to his office as the screams
continued. Scary stuff.
I met one of my string-arranging heroes, Jimmy Haskell, who had
done the strings on Ode To Billie Jo. He did several arrangements
on our record, and it was an honor to be there. String players
have such a dry sense of humor. I remember them finishing the
take on a song of David’s called Prose, and saying “Prose
by a bunch of pros.”