I (David Kessel) had the pleasure of growing up in the recording studio along with my brother Dan. We worked with Hal Blaine on many,
many Phil Spector sessions, as 2nd generation Wrecking Crew musicians. My Dad, Barney Kessel and Stepmother, B.J. Baker (one of the top background vocalists and vocal contractors in LA) were friends of Hal. Hal once said to me at a session “The trick is, that if you make a mistake at the beginning of a take, you have to remember the mistake through the whole song.” I asked our Cave Hollywood wordsmith Harvey Kubernik to remember Hal Blaine.
By Harvey Kubernik Kubernik © 2019
I knew Hal Blaine for 50 years. I did a term paper on him during high school. He invited me to a 5th Dimension session, too.
Hal steered me to Pro Drum Shop on Vine Street. My life changed seeing the sparkle sets and equipment on the wall. I never knew there was a place for drummers and percussionists besides Wallichs Music City and Drum City.
For decades I called him Belsky, his real last name, and he would call me Harvala.
In the seventies I interviewed him numerous times for domestic and international publications. He once gave me a lift on his motorcycle between a 3 session day and also picked me up hitch-hiking once on Sunset Blvd. when he saw me at a bus stop on Fairfax Avenue when my car was in the shop. “Take me to Gold Star! I need to see this session.” After it wrapped, Hal’s parting comical advice was: “Harvala. Please don’t get married in California!” Then every Wrecking Crew session veteran started laughing their heads off. I didn’t quite comprehend the reality on display. Just about every cat started running down words I never heard like alimony and visitation… Continue reading
Myself and Cave Hollywood are proud to display Harvey Kubernik’s story on The Ramones, which also features his own archive interviews with Punk pioneers, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone
In 1975 in LA, as the Glitter scene was fading out, there was a sense of yet another change happening in music and it’s associated culture. There was a
lot of action that we were hearing about coming out of London, and then New York about a new scene called “Punk Rock”. I immediately could see an emergence of a real Rock ‘N’ Roll revolution. You didn’t need to be super talented, but you had to have attitude and rawness. Songs could have only 2 or three chords. No big record deals (yet), self releases, Fanzines, and word of mouth promotion.
When the first Ramones album came out, it hit me like a Punk Rock “Meet The Beatles”, coming out of left field and galvanizing a whole new generation ready for musical rebellion against over produced sappy, meaningless music being churned out by record companies. I went to their first ever gig in LA at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip in 1976. I saw the very first show and brought enough people, so we could applaud loud and long, to make sure they did an encore at their first show and first performance in LA. My good friend Rodney Bingenheimer, “The Punk and New Wave DJ” on KROQ introduced me to the band. I told them that I absolutely loved what they were doing musically and culturally. I also mentioned that my brother and I were working steadily with Phil Spector in the studio, and with Phil Spector Productions in general. Continue reading
Phil Spector has been away from his Alhambra, California-home and the recording studio since spring of 2009, when a California jury convicted him of second-degree murder in the 2003 death of actress and comedian Lana Clarkson.
At the moment Spector is serving 19 years to life for the fatal shooting of Clarkson. Spector is actively preparing his appeal from Corcoran State Prison in Central California.
There is saying in the game of American football. “Everyday is like 4th and 1.”
The legacy of Phil Spector’s recordings and songwriting achievements as well as the ongoing impact and omnipresent influence of the Gold Star recording studio in Hollywood, Ca. where he executed his historic productions should never be forgotten, tarnished or even tainted by the results of this legal decision.
Spector’s catalogue is now controlled by EMI who administrates both his music publishing and masters tapes.
Summer and fall 2009 is expected to bring licensing deals for his potent sound copyrights and word has it, some unreleased work and reissues of his classic endeavors, specifically “A Christmas Gift For You.”
Gold Star was an atmosphere and schmuck-free sound laboratory that gave us the most-programmed record in history, Spector’s “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin'” by The Righteous Brothers, (arranged by Gene Page) and over 100 Billboard Top 40 hit records. Continue reading