Tuesday, March 23, 2010

planned accidents

here are two postcards from around the same period.
the top postcard shows the recording studio in lake geneva,
switzerland where david bowie made the record lodger,
the first studio record I was ever a part of.
the note on the back of the first postcard reads:

"in this conglomerate are 3 nightclubs, a casino, two
restaurants, the mountain recording studio, and the 800-
seat hall in which the montreux jazz festival is held.
this is where we recorded planned accidents. sept. 1978"

the second postcard shows the hotel we stayed in.
hotel excelsior. the back of the card reads:

"this was the hotel in switzerland where I stayed
during the recording of planned accidents. sept. 1978"

there's an interesting story behind the making of the record
which in september 1978 was intended to be called
planned accidents but was eventually named lodger.
if you'd like to read the whole tale please refer to the blog
of 7/31/07 called anecdote #28.

a brief version is this: the control room of the studio
was on the first floor, while the actual recording room
was above it on the second floor.
there was a camera in the recording room which allowed
the producers (david, eno, and tony visconti) to see the players.
they could see me, but I couldn't see them.

the idea, in keeping with the theme "planned accidents",
was to capture my accidental responses to the backing tracks
they had already recorded. so they insisted I never hear the
tracks beforehand, nor was I allowed to know the key of the songs.
I simply heard a count-off and was instructed to play something
along with the tracks as best I could .
after no more than 3 tries, we would move on to the next song.
(just about the time I knew when to expect the chorus.)
later, david, eno, and tony chose their favorite bits from
what I had played and made them into a single composite
guitar part. a guitar part I never actually could or would have played.

and that was my first studio record.


  1. Post cards. I still enjoy collecting and sending them. I hope the Slick kids took it upon themselves to keep loads of memoriabilia from their tours with you -- postcards, menus, tickets, photos, posters, setlists, and everything else that seemed important. They'll look back and treasure those memories one day.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Mementos from an amazing ride ! The possibility that all accidents are part of a plan is interesting.
    Good luck this weekend !!
    Thanks for sharing xoxo peace

  3. That record was my intro to you: Red Sails, DJ, Boys Keep Swinging... Then I saw Gaga open for TLOG and you played the last one - wow! Still an all-time fav.

  4. stunning !

    another interesting rock story that occurred there involves a flare gun , Frank Zappa , and deep purple .