Warren John Wolfe
Interview

 

Warren John WolfeThe following is a dual Interview by Harvey Kubernik, talking with Warren John Wolfe, and Dennis Dragon, about Warren's new Album: "Unconditional Love".

Harvey Kubernik has been an active Music Journalist and Publicist for over 40 years, and has written articles for every major Music Publication. An Author of many Books in the Field of Music, from major Music Festivals to individual Artists, Mr. Kubernik is just completing Neil Young's Biography, "Heart of Gold". Harvey Kubernik has interviewed many Artists, from George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, to David Bowie.

Dennis Dragon is a Grammy Award Winning Recording Engineer, and was also the first drummer for the band; The Beach Boys.

Harvey Kubernik interviews Warren John Wolfe about "Unconditional Love".

Q: Youíve been living in Williams Oregon for many years. Describe the environment and the role it plays in your songwriting and music-making. Why is it working for you? Both personally and in your musical offerings?

A: ~ When I left Carmel Valley in 2007, I honestly didn't know where "Home" would be. I knew it would be West of the Rockies, and I was truly thinking of heading to Wyoming or Colorado. The big item was having adequate, clean Water. In driving through Southern Oregon, I knew I'd found my Home - not just for the amazing natural beauty, but also for the people. Everyone was so genuinely welcoming. This little farm town is "laid back", but (!) the people are educated. They know Organic foods are better for you. They value their well water. Their children look like something out of "the Shire", playing outside and laughing, helping with the livestock and in the garden, and not just hanging out at the Mall ... staring at their palm. Life is wonderfully different out here. It reminds me of all that is beautiful and real about the American West.

Q: What about your own relationship to Oregon and cities like Ashland, which I know has a heavy arts community.

A: ~ Oregon is terrific. Ashland is a gem. The energy of the University there keeps things hopping. The Shakespeare Festival is World Class, and thus the people that visit are World Class, as well. While we certainly lack Museums of San Francisco's quality, we don't have their traffic jams, or smog, and the urban density that comes with all of that. Life has a better balance, here. Its worth it.

Q: You own and ride horses. Tell me about the impact of Oregon and nature on your lifestyle - and the hat you wear as a working singer/songwriter.

A: ~ Ah, yes ..., "the Hat". I've been crazy about Horses since I was a kid. Most "kids" out-grow that feeling, but I never did. But, I wouldn't wear a Stetson until I actually owned my own horse. I would have felt like I was posing. I've been around horses most of my life. I've had my Mare for 17 years, now, and the Waltz; "Driftin' In Colors" was written for her. I've had my Mustang for 6 years, and of all of the horses I have ever worked with, he is a dream come true. Like any relationship ~ trust, respect and real friendship take time. With my Mustang, it was love at first sight for both of us, but it has also blossomed incredibly from there. To be (finally) Horseback everyday is something I've had a Longing for from square One.

Q: The two horses in your life are way beyond companions. Is there any comparison whatsoever between riding horses and writing songs? Is one freedom and mobility and the other is discipline and focus in a stationary platform?

A: ~ Huh. Wild. Great question. When I am horseback out in the woods, in complete silence, with all of this wild beauty, and it's wild "variables" - of Deer or Turkey, or Cougar, or Bear - running through the brush, and then the light slanting through the trees ... it is easy to become "an empty bowl" as it were, and to ask sincere questions to the ( ...?) Sky, to Great Spirit - and to also give Thanks. When I do that with a full heart, a river of Music and Lyric ideas comes back. So, while there really isn't any "comparison" between Music & Horses, being with Horses truly makes me a better man, and sure helps to get the Music flowing. I hope that made sense.

Q: You are currently holding down a residency at a music club in Williams, hosting a weekly open microphone night, and performing a full set. Talk to me about the venue and what you are doing in the room. Do you play all original material or do you also include some cover versions in your repertoire?

A: ~ The Cafe is quite magical, actually - just a little backwater place with excellent food and a great team of folks who work there. Acoustically, the room is terrible, and their P.A. system is ... marginal. Still, the magic seems to over-ride all of that, and there are moments of amazing beauty. I worked in Clubs between Monterey and San Francisco for almost 30 years, so I know a lot of Covers. What is wonderful (and at times really funny looking) is that, in Williams, you'll have a 210 pound, short haired farmer in faded Carhartt bib overalls, sharing a meal and laughing with a hippy, in tie dye, who has dreads down to his butt. I love this Town !! So, I play a lot of Grateful Dead and Bob Marley. I also do originals, just to keep myself present, and to do them a bit differently each time, just for fun. The best thing is the children. There are 9, and 7, and even a 4 year old that get on Stage and sing original compositions that are really very good. To see their eyes light up when they hear themselves in the Stage monitors is a tip of the hat to some great teachers I had in grade school and high school, who were so encouraging to me.

Q: We should obviously discuss why you titled your new collection of songs Unconditional Love.

A: ~ I wrote that Song while I was mucking, out in the corral. I was thinking about an article I'd read that morning in the NY Times about Dick Cheney, who was going on and on about how justified and wonderful the War in Iraq was. I was appalled. The waste of lives, of billions of dollars, of going to War only to make the World safe for Big Oil and Defense Contractors, made me sick. While it might seem silly, my immediate reaction to all of that was not to hit it with more hate, but to blow it out of the water with the force of Universal Love. The first line, and chorus just rolled out of me. The process of going within, of emptying yourself when you feel the Song is approaching you, and to just ... let it run free, right through you, and say what IT wants to say, is one of the most beautiful feelings I know. And, then, there's this Song in front of you. And, yes, you wrote it ... but it's more like - it wrote you. I was very happy with that Song, at it's birth, and I knew it would be the Title Track.

Q: Whatís the background on the cover photo? A visual that reinforces some of the love and spirituality housed in the disc?

A: ~ Absolutely! That photo was taken at an amazingly beautiful Buddhist Temple right on the Oregon/California border, way, WAY out in the boonies. While I am not a Buddhist, I resonate with the Buddha's Teachings very much. I read, when someone asked the Dali Lama what his religion was, his answer was "Kindness". I am a very Spiritual person. I'm quite allergic to churches, but I see the face of God pretty much everywhere I go. I like mixing Spirituality and a Stetson. There's no dichotomy there.

Q: Does your B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of Southern California have any influence on your songwriting, topics, or general approach to life?

A: ~ No. And, yes. While I am grateful that my parents could afford to put me through 4 years of undergraduate work, all I wanted to study was Music, which my father totally forbid. It was heart breaking to be at a University with such an incredible Music Faculty, Courses and facilities, and not be able to participate in them. That said, I appreciate having a good education. It makes life more stimulating and enjoyable. And, gratefully, the Philosophy Department at S.C. was less about regurgitating Plato, and more about Philosophy of Ethics and Creative Thought. I'm grateful for having some excellent, and tough Professors. When it was done, I couldn't wait to get the heck out of L.A.

Q: You grew up in Chicago. Was music a big part of your life? Were you in bands or active in that arena?

A: ~ Yes, Music was huge in my life back then. When I was in grade school & high school, Music was "okay" (in the eyes of my parents) for me to do socially, and it was the only thing I was any good at, anyway. I was in Band/Orchestra/Choral from the time I was in 3rd grade. I was painfully shy as a kid, but I could get on stage and sing with the best of them. I also started studying percussion when I was 6, and am very grateful for the musical foundation that it gave me. I was first chair in percussion in High School (New Trier , Winnetka), and I am still so grateful that the teachers and facilities there were more than excellent, and inspiring.

Q: You subsequently attended the University of Oklahoma. Could any of your obvious country influences be traced to that period of Country Music, and any Country singer/songwriter albums you heard just after being a teenager?

A: ~ Actually, I went from Chicago to the U of O. first. It was great to be away from a big (ugly) City, and away from my family. (nuff' said). The first thing that impressed me about Oklahoma was how big the Sky was. The people weren't stuffy like they could be in Chicago. And that's when I started listening to Neil Young, CSN, James Taylor, Carol King, Donovan ... on and on. I didn't go deep into Country Western Music until years later, but, at the U. of O., we were listening to (and laughing at) Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee". Its a funny Song, but it was honest. And, it was flippin' great! And ... you could dance to it ... sort of. Merle was wonderful. We lost some great Musicians this year. I hope he's got a band up in Heaven.

Q: As far as radio formats, there is a distinct ďAmericanaĒ aspect to the recording. But I will also say besides the mandolins there are tenor saxophones. Itís hard to pigeonhole your music.

A: ~ Thank you. I mean it, thank you. I write straight from my heart. To do otherwise would make Songwriting like dealing cards, or just typing. The Songs come out "all over the place", and that's fine with me. What can you call Paul Simon's Music? Or, Joni Mitchell's? These are my heroes. They just turn it loose, and let it run through them. What you come up with when you "give" yourself to that process ... is some kind of Dance with the Great Mystery. I am honored when that knocks on my door. Works for me.

Q: We talked before about the Monterey International Pop Festival and the effect it has had on your music and life from viewing the documentary film ďMonterey Pop. Why did the event and the music and recording artists on the bill hit you so hard? You saw the movie in Chicago.

A: ~ Oh, this could be a long story. I SO wanted to be in California in the late 1960's. When I saw "Monterey Pop" in downtown Chicago, I was an excellent singer and kit drummer. The movie was about everything I wanted to be. Surprisingly, the last "Act" was Ravi Shankar, and his Tabla player, Alla Rakha. Watching these two men perform, I could not believe the tones and the complexity Alla Rakha was getting out of those two tiny drums! I had never listened to Hindu Music before, and I could feel my heart burst wide open. It was earth shaking. I walked out of the movie theater and into the busy, city night, looked up to the Sky, and said aloud, right there on the sidewalk: "wouldn't it be cool to live in a cool place like Monterey, and play those cool drums?!!!" Seven years later, I was living in Monterey, and studying Tabla. Be careful what you wish for!

Q: And the inside jacket photos. Did you want to show your land and let us see one of your horses?

A: ~ Heck, yeah !! And my dog, too. This is my real family. What you see is what you get. Driving my pick-up around this beautiful area, being horseback every day out in the woods, that's where I'm coming from. I have finally found my Home, and I've never been happier.

Q: How were the batch of these recent songs written and developed for this album?

A: ~ Most of the Songs are brand new. There's a couple of older ones. The last Track, "One More Time", I wrote in 1979. I love it! I made a wish in that song, and, voila !!, many Moons later, I'm here with precisely that Wish. Some of the other Songs are just looking into the mirror, and laughing at myself - like "A Love That Grows Slow". Joni Mitchell has always been an amazing inspiration to me. I remember reading an interview once, and she was asked what her favorite "theme" in writing was, and she answered : "failed relationships". I can certainly dig it. You crash and burn, but ... at least you got a Song out of the deal. Writing is SO internal. And, then, performing is 180 degrees away from that. Its quite a balancing act.

Q: Do you utilize a computer for lyrics and then find a melody on guitar?

A: ~ No. I'm very old school - very much a hands-on person. Mostly, I just try to get out of my own way when I write. The Music and Lyrics all come out at the same time, and very quickly - 2,3 minutes tops. If I change a word, or even one note, its a big deal. I am honored to have that river running through me.

Q: Before we go over the new recorded songs, is there anything you can offer to me about your process of creation, or basic rules in writing a song?

A: ~ Yes, we have no bananas. There are no rules. For me, the Song is something I'm thinking about, something I care deeply about, and then - in meditating on that, I "offer" it (to ... ___ ) and, just let it go. I strongly believe that anything that we truly want to achieve in this World starts with Longing. If your fire is that deep and that strong, give thanks for it, bless it, and let it go. What comes back is so full of Grace. And, when it comes back, you feel so much completion.

Q: Was there any sort of loose concept put in motion in preparing the recording in terms of sequencing?

A: ~ There was quite a bit of thought that went into the order of the Songs. I think, as a Songwriter, those of us that do That are, in truth, Story Tellers - just like in the days of old, sitting in a teepee at night. I wanted the order of the Songs to tell a bigger story, about me, in full. I think we accomplished that. And, these are, indeed, all true stories. I know, 'cause I was there.

Q: Before we go over the tunes and recording, produced and engineered by Dennis Dragon at his Studio Pacifica, (and he is also the drummer on the sessions), how did you originally connect with Dennis? I know you had a recording on one of his compilation albums.

A: ~ Oh, Dennis is flat-out wonderful! What a kick in the pants! We met a little over 7 years ago, when I first moved here. I was still in escrow on this 5 acre piece, and the Seller's Realtor wanted to show me "Pacifica", to get me more excited about Williams (as if I wasn't already!). We went over to Steve Miller's old place, and Dennis had just leased The Barn & Studio. I went into the "Great Hall" of the big Barn, and started walking around, clapping my hands, checking the acoustics. Dennis came running around the corner with a large bunch of patch cords around his neck -like a colorful scarf, and waving a soldering iron in his right hand, saying "who's doing the sound check ??" We started talking, and hit it off, right off the bat. Dennis knows Audio better than anyone I've ever met. We work so easily and quickly together, which is cool, because we are very different people. I've hardly ever worked "with" someone before. I've always been a one man production company. This was very exciting, not just for being in a far better Studio, but also in crafting the sound of each Song with a co-producer you trust and like.

Q: What were some of the elements Dennis and his studio brought into the Unconditional Love sound? I know he has a large collection of microphones.

A: ~ Yes, he certainly does. I believe he has easily 400 or more. And each mic is designed for a particular range of frequency, and for a specific job. I can't, and I won't divulge any of Dennis's trade secrets, but ... he knows which mic to use for recording whatever - a voice, a trumpet, a fiddle, a fender amp, a set of tabla. He records "that" pure, real sound, as it would sound as if you were sitting 15 to 20 feet away - and then ... he doesn't mess with it. He doesn't compress it. He doesn't EQ it. He doesn't add any bells or whistles. So, when he goes to mix, each track literally sounds like there is "oxygen" around it. It is SO cool. There is so much "Life" to his recorded sound. I think any Musician worth their salt these days has a decent recording studio of some kind in their home. I certainly do. But, the first time I recorded with Dennis, I was spoiled for life. And, I still pinch myself when I think ... of all the places I could have moved to - "Abbey Road" is 5 minutes drive from my gate.

Q: Dennis suggested the bulk of musicians that appear with you on the tracks. Maybe we should go over some of the contributors. I know Skip Edwards who plays Hammond B3 is a well-known musician and tours with Johnny Rivers. And multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pevar is listed. Letís go over some of the other musicians. How were they selected? Did you and Dennis go over choices before calls and emails were sent out?

A: ~ Yes, Dennis and I worked well together on creating "the band". The choices were pretty easy, actually, because ... I wanted the best we could get. Don Harriss, our keyboard player, is a gem, and such a great guy. The bass player, Johnny Trujillo, is an old friend of Dennis's from Malibu. Jack Hopfinger and B. Wishes are friends of Johnny's, and live right around the corner from him. They recommended the Pedal Steel player, Aaron Price. The good luck became apparent when we found the Fiddle player, Alex Goldman - a young bull rider and bow hunter, and a friend of Aaron's. When we were recording "A Love That Grows Slow", and we got Jack's hot lead going, I said to Dennis, "I hear a REAL Hammond B3 in there". I've got a decent B3 voice on my Roland JX 8P, but I wanted the real McCoy for this. Dennis phones up Skip, and his track put the icing on the cake for that one. I can't say enough good things about Jeff Pevar. His playing is 100% knock-out. His ideas, and concepts on putting layers together are breath taking. Duke Davis, Sax, and Mikey Stevens, trumpet, are a terrific horn section. And, wild man Vince Herman added his Mandolin in just the right places on "That's Why I Ride". Two wonderful women, Blair Buchan and Windsong Martin helped me out on the chorus of "Unconditional Love", and their voices carry that Song well.

Q: This was quite a leap from your previous three albums in terms of production and budget.

A: ~ Yes. My previous Albums, "Tumbleweed" and "Just Waking Up" were recorded in my home Studio, and "Darkness Into Light" was recorded at a small but excellent Studio in Jacksonville. I've rubbed nickels together my entire life, so to spend this much on a project, or, on "myself" seemed a little shocking at first. After Dennis and I did some work together last year, there was no doubt in my mind that this Album would be done from the ground up, over at his place. Dennis and I are SO different from one another, but for whatever wonderful reason, when we work together - it is fast, accurate, and a whole bunch of fun! And, I want that "fun" to be apparent to the sound of this body of Work.

Q: Can you volunteer any specific reason or reasons why you feel compelled to write songs and make music?

A: ~ Hmmm, that's a biggie. When I was a little kid, even into grade school, I was very, VERY shy - so I didn't have any friends. My home life was very formal, very conscripted, very much lacking in communication, love or laughter. I have one older brother who rejoiced in making my life as hellish as he could possibly make it, 24/7. So, I retreated inside of myself. And, when I did, and sat quietly in that internal "space", that's when I started hearing the music and the lyrics inside of me. And, I knew those "voices" weren't just from "me". They came from something far bigger than me. They became my compass. They became my friends and my allies. I guess, in writing nowadays, I'm just honoring what I found inside of me that's kept me (!) alive all of these years. I can, gratefully, somewhat laugh at those miles, now. Songwriting is so much bigger than the writer. And, in writing, that's where I get to look right into the face of whatever the Great Spirit is, and give thanks for it all. Gratitude is a great place to be coming from.

Q: I know it might sound a little corny, but just based on this new album, it seems you are trying to bring some love and understanding into a very wounded world. And love is a recurring word in your lyrics.

A: ~ Yes, this old World of ours is in very sad shape, and getting worse. Love is THE strongest power that there is. Even though I never had kids, I look at the beautiful children here, in this little farm town - I look at this beautiful Planet, dying - right before our eyes, and how can anyone just ignore that, or quit working to save the Planet that gives us all Life? I mean, what are you gonna do - just go home and get loaded? Baloney !! Even if we HAVE passed the "tipping point" of ecological disaster, we still have to fight to save what is left of Mother Earth, anyway. It is our duty. It is our Dharma.

Q: Am I off base, but do I vibe the work and philosophy of Yogananda in your daily life and creative life?

A: ~ You're very close. In my life, spirituality and daily activity are entwined ALL of the time, not just on a Sunday morning. My Guru, Chidvilasananda, from India, is a great Being, and has influenced my Life in so many positive ways. Of the many miracles of Life, when I walked out of "that" movie theater in Chicago that night, after seeing "Monterey Pop", and being blown away by Ravi Shankar and Alla Rahka, and made that Wish ... ( to live in Monterey, & study Tabla) aloud, to the night Sky, I knew that "the Universe" heard me that night, and guided me to my Teacher. Looking back, the series of events and the things I went through to get there were SO full of Grace.

Q: Can you also comment on performing these very same songs in a live setting. Do they take on a different dimension away from the recording studio? Why do you perform live? I know in the past there were times in Carmel and Monterey you played every night for four hours.

A: ~ Yep. Its called "work". Performing "Live" is very, very different from Recording. Doing a song "unplugged" is a great Dunn & Bradstreet on one's playing ability. If its a good song, and you play it well, it should certainly work as a solo, unplugged. Working as a journey man Musician taught me a lot. I love (!) the sound we all got on this Album. I don't have a Band, but, if the occasion arises, I am hoping that most of these wonderful Musicians would jump on the bus, too. I performed full time and "live" for almost 30 years, (why?), so I could earn a living! You gotta pay the rent, and it beat the hell out of retail. The first Gigs on Cannery Row and in Big Sur were Magical, and more than paid the bills. At one point, I had a solo gig at a beautiful resort, where I sang 5 nights a week, for four hours (or more) a night. The gig lasted, not a month or two, but amazingly, two and a half years. Talk about learning how to pace yourself, and how to use a microphone properly. It was the money I earned from that gig that let me put a down payment on that first piece of land. Music runs through me, all of the time. What has been incredible is that, for this Album, and at this time in my life, I was able to literally "jump in" and give myself 110% to the process of doing it. This is a Story I have wanted to tell for a long, long time. I think we did it.

Q: Letís go over the albumís selections.

A: ~ Okay, Cool

Unconditional Love: I actually, originally, wrote it as a Reggae tune, but it came out more as an "Anthem". You can still hear those nice Reggae back beats on my guitar and the mandolin. It was an obvious first choice for Title Track.

Daffodil: It's about getting over a broken heart, starting over, & finding home. I love to build habitat, & sturdy out-buildings, barns, corrals, so it is a Song about finding this new piece of land, and building the new Ranch out of untouched wilderness, one piece at a time.

When We Touch: I heard this Song in a dream (!), woke myself up, and ran downstairs to the piano to get it somewhat written down before it disappeared. There's a small harbor South of Bellingham where that first image in the Song was born. That "place" was a time in my life that was Truly golden.

A Love That Grows Slow: Another song about failed relationships, but ... I like laughing at myself on this one. She was very cute Cowgirl. Too bad it didn't work out. If all else fails, you might as well dance! And, throw in a nice B 3 to grab onto, at the end !

Not That Kind of Man: This is an older Song, but it has legs. All of those years, performing for a living, I got to do some Concerts - but mostly it was working in Clubs ... which means; you're in a Bar. There's much to be said about working in a good Saloon, and you can learn a lot about people, there.

That's Why I Ride: I wrote this Song driving home to Monterey from Elko, Nevada, after singing and performing at the National Cowboy Poetry Festival. I was thinking about how friendly everyone was, no star-struck-status thing going on, just like good neighbors helping each other. And I thought, "they care about good water, enough firewood for the Winter, taking care of their livestock, all of the things I like ...", and I said to myself; "that's why I ride!" There you go. I carry a little, portable cassett deck in the truck, and was able to get a good bunch of work done while driving West on that beautiful, open, empty, & huge expanse of I-80, heading back into Reno.

Come Like Rain: I was working at a wonderful Club in Santa Cruz, and this gal and I ended up going out for a walk, after the night's work was done. I only saw her that once, but she took my breath away. I wrote the Song as soon as I got home to the little Cabin I was renting in Carmel.

Driftin' In Colors: I wrote this Song for my Mare. Horses are magic, and, being "herd" animals, they really shouldn't be stuck by themselves & left alone. I had lost an old companion horse I had for her, and my Mare really had the blues. When I fed that night, I took my guitar and a beer down to the barn, and just started singing to her, and that Song came out. I love the honesty of these lyrics, especially.

Searching For Your Eyes: I sure AM too damn romantic for my own good ... but, parts is parts, and what you see is what you get. And, I'm an optimist. I do believe that Love conquers All. So, may we all find that True Love we are seeking !!

One More Time: I LOVE this Song, especially, because, when I wrote it in 1979, my life was in a pretty crazy place. I was gigging, and making ends meet, but it was a lot of dashing, and money was very tight. So, I had this "vision" of what I wanted my Life to be ... "just" a nice Ranch out in the Country, and (maybe, someday ...) the right gal to share it with. I wanted to end the Album on an upbeat, and this Song nails it. I love the long, walking bass intro before the full band jumps in. And, everybody is having a REAL good time, getting their groove going. This one was a blast to record. Go out on a High Note !

Q: Are there any other questions that you'd like to have incorporated into this interview?

A: ~ Nope, I'm real happy with what we've got down, right here. (laugh ...) And, (make a wish!), they All Lived Happily Ever After. Excellent. Thanks.

Harvey Kubernik interviews Dennis Dragon, about Warren John Wolfe, and the new Album, "Unconditional Love".

Q: Talk to me about producing, engineering and playing drums on the new Warren John Wolfe album. I know he is a neighbor of yours and you had him on a previous compilation album you produced with an ecology theme.

A: Warren ran into me (literally) shortly after I set up shop here in Williams, Oregon. Actually, he was the first person I "test recorded" in the studio! It was about five years later that I recorded him for a compilation CD that I put together titled "Aware 1". We worked together very well. It was then that we both realized that an album collaboration was in our future. A few years after that, he decided to commit to recording an album project with me. He was able to lay down the basic refs at his place and we transferred his work to my workstation and took it from there. I was definitely able to "relate" to his music, since his musical roots included country, jazz, eastern and cosmic; all of which are within my musical production/drumming wheelhouse.

Q: Were you attracted to the material before you cut the album or was it a project developed step by step?

A: I was very impressed with Warren's singing and songwriting abilities. He is a true seasoned Pro in these departments. I haven't heard a weak song from him. I respect that and don't run into that every day, especially out here in The Boonies! The recorded material was chosen by Warren and I "did my thing" as Engineer/Co-Producer/Percussionist to see that the songs reached their full recorded potential.

Q: As producer you surrounded Warren with a bunch of musicians. Did you draft the players for the tracks? Tell me about some of these Oregon-based players who are on the sessions.

(I'd like this question to be directed to Warren)

Q: You are the drummer on the tracks. Lots of brushes, dude.

A: Thanks for noticing! I guess I can still lay it down...

Q: Tell me about the recording sessions? Warren is not a rookie. Was he easy to work with? Did he take suggestions?

A: Warren and I work very well together. He was able to take direction in the areas that I know well. On the other hand, I learned quite a bit from him. The sessions were "low stress"...the way I like it.

Q: You got a great sound on the disc and the vocals, the usual crisp and clear Dragon style, really bring the lyrics forward. Did you select a different microphone for every track you did with him?

A: Thank you. Getting a good sound utilizing digital recording techniques is always a challenge for me. Recording a voice as rich and varied as Warren's required three different mics on this album. Since his songs are so varied, I felt comfortable with this concept. I believe he did too.

Q: Can you briefly describe your studio? I know it was formerly owned and operated by Steve Miller.

A: It's a world class recording facility located in a barn in a rural wooded area. It is exactly like "my perfect studio" that I envisioned many years ago when I was doing biz in Malibu. I thank Steve every day for building it in the mid-seventies! Take a look.... WEB: www.thestudioatpacifica.com Facebook: the studio at pacifica

Q: How does Williams Oregon influence your life and recording world, in terms of creativity and collaboration with artists and the community in general?

A: I was basically "led here" about ten years ago when I realized that living and doing biz in SoCal was no longer feasible for me. I do miss my SoCal roots and friends (some are great musicians), but overall it was a wise move. I am now operating in a rural location (which I prefer), and there are some really cool musicians near me that have a lot to offer . With my years of experience and great equipment, I am able to raise the bar for the local players when they use my services. As a credited Engineer/Producer/Musician, I prefer "living and working in the country", and really enjoy the ability to hook up with ace musicians via The Net when the need arises.

 

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