I knew Steve and a bunch of other guys from hanging around in an internet forum for recording studio engineers. I went there on the rumor that someone had some stems from Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. Never did not get them, but I started reading a series of posts called the Bitch Slap Diaries containing a hilarious compendium of recording studio shenanigans–at times I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face… I have always been drawn into the world of how things work since I am better with electronics and engineering than I am with music, and I read recording magazines voraciously, and later web materials. So, I had a lot of book knowledge when we talked about recording and mixing, and they graciously allowed me to hang out and pretend I was one of the guys instead of a Wanna-Be with a boring day job.
Well, we all got to talking a lot and at that time the forum attracted some incredibly successful and funny music industry types and we had a blast. Some of these guys were super cool. I recall one man who was on a team that received a Grammy for a song he helped record. He was so modest that he claimed his sole contribution to the project was sitting at the keyboard of the computer running pro tools and hitting the space bar to start and stop the recording… Even his modesty was humorous.
Steve’s web handle in the forum was Loudist, and he sure loved to stir the pot–create conflict–shit slinging we called it, and most partook enthusiastically. I can’t even remember my own internet handle from that forum, but as part of the shenanigans there I created a number of aliases, saying all sorts of silly things and at times even had them in a flame war with each other–those in the know being suitably humored… After a while though, It got so that people could immediately recognize my writing style and immediately identify my aliases as simply me slinging more shit. It was a blast until, like many good things, at some point it wasn’t anymore, and we moved on.
Loudist had a dry and dark sense of humor and we got on famously. He did have the habit of talking for hours on the phone, and when he called, that was the end of anything else I had planned for the evening. We spent countless enjoyable hours discussing the Theory of the Popular Song, and solved many other world problems as well…
Then someone posted in the forum “Loudist has died”, I resolved to fly to Florida and meet his family and extend my regrets–and did so. Some other guys from the internet forum came as well, and we car-pooled to the funeral reception. Well, these guys started blowing doobie in the car. I was sober by then and did not inhale, at least not first hand smoke… Well, we show up at the house and I feel like when we opened the doors doob smoke came billowing out like the pot smoke filled car in Up In Smoke. My clothes smelled like reefer and I wanted to tell Steve’s relatives that I wasn’t inhaling, but that would have made it more awkward, and nobody really cared.
At this gathering, I had the chance to speak to one of the engineers who recorded the Layla album, and he gave me the skinny on how that went down–but that’s a story for another day. Also met the guy who mixed down La Vida Loca and heard some back story on that as well. I joined a dinner in the hotel with these industry guys around the table, dishing the gossip on the rich and famous, and that was as cool a thing as I could ever imagine.