Check out Save Me
Jack Joseph Puig Produced “The Golden Hum” in 2001, and working for him was quite an experience. He’s an intense guy, and I learned a lot from him. We worked really hard - long hours, day after day, and I got to see some real magic happen in the studio, and to see a guy at the top of the profession, working in his element. It wasn’t always pleasant, but almost all of that is on me. I didn’t come up through the ranks in L.A., and I had plenty to learn. Not to paint too dark a picture, though. It was also a lot of fun. A ton of fun, to be exact. So many crazy parties, so much sushi, so much red wine…
Since Jack was a very in-demand mix engineer, the recording went back and forth between Oceanway, where I mostly ran the Pro Tools rig, and, when Jack had a mix gig, Cole Stages, where it was just me and the band. So there are some songs on the record, like “I’m not afraid” and “The Golden Hum,” that I recorded almost in their entirety, and some I just did a few overdubs on.
It was amazing working with Remy Zero - they’re all very cool guys, laid back and southern, but also really driven. They set the bar very high and did not settle. Incredibly creative people, with a seemingly never-ending supply of ideas - good ideas. Some of the craziness that goes along with a high creative level was there too, but nothing too difficult to deal with. Mostly there was just an incredible striving and desire to do something great. I remember once working late into the night - I can’t remember what we were recording, probably vocals or guitar - and driving home at 2:30 a.m., tired but wired, exhilarated by an amazing track that we had captured. It always took at least an hour to unwind once I got home. The next morning, before I headed back to the studio, I stopped in to the office at the Oakwood, where I was staying, to pay my phone bill. It was so strange, seeing all the people in hotel uniforms, printing out receipts, dealing with so many mundane details. It all seemed so sad and bloodless. The contrast with what we were doing in the studio made my head spin.
This was the longest recording I ever worked on - I was out in L.A. for about five months. I was toast by the end, totally burnt. One of my favorite memories conmes from that time, though. Gregory Slay wanted to record the ocean for the title track, so we drove out to Malibu one afternoon and hung out on the beach until the sun went down. It was so beautiful - the sun warm and low in the sky, the surf rolling in, rolling out… seagulls overhead. So peaceful and relaxing after so many months of work. It was perfect. I still think of Greg from time to time. One of the odd things about working on records is that you get very intensely involved with the people you’re working with, and often get to be close friends, even if only temporarily. And then the record is done, and you’re on to the next gig. You may keep in touch, but it’s not the same. Greg was definitely my friend during that time - he was kind and wise, and he gave me a lot of good and much needed advice. Sadly he died in 2010 from complications due to Cystic Fibrosis. He had a great smile. I can still see him smiling on the beach that day.