A Tribute to Jim Anglesey
I owe a lot, in my musical career (such as it is) to my mentors. People who, for some bizarre reason or another, have taught me much about how to succeed in music. Some by words and advice, some by good example, some by bad example. Some have used all three techniques to guide me to better choices.
From Chance Thomas, I learned that money, while important, shouldn’t be the only driving force behind choosing projects. I also learned of the power of the press release.
From Clive Romney, I learned how constant learning and education can strengthen your career.
From Dan Whitley, I learned how to press on ahead with what you have at hand, instead of sitting still and complaining that the lack of something was holding you back.
But as cool as those guys are, this posting isn’t about them.
This one’s about Jim Anglesey, because he’s really responsible for me getting my start in music. And because he died of leukemia this last weekend.
I met him in the late ‘80’s, when he was running Suite Sound Studios downtown. I was an upstart producer/engineer trying to stake my claim in the local scene. I was driven, but often my methods were counterproductive. But in spite of that, he let me have a space in his studio, not only for an office, but for learning.
He taught me that drums should be miked from above, not below, because they’re snappier that way.
He taught me that if you want to be a successful, in demand producer and engineer, and someone asks what your favorite music is, you need to say, “let me check my schedule.”
He taught that mixes need to be “transparent”, and that when I’m mixing, I need to “see the line”, and I spent years listening and studying to try and figure out what on earth that meant and how to do it. I thought I understood it then. I’m just starting to see it now.
Indirectly, he taught me that my marriage is really more important than my music.
Many times, when I thought I’d failed at a task, he matter-of-factly pointed out that the task was done well, and it was only my own insecurities that were holding me back.
He taught me that when something goes wrong, you fix it or work around it and you move on with the show or the recording session. Complaining isn’t going to help.
He taught me that less is more in a song. I’m still working on that one…
He taught me that sometimes it’s better to forgive than to collect.
Most of all, he taught me that investing time and effort in people will, in the long run, bring you more benefit than anything else, and that it’s often a good idea to give opportunities to people, like me, that aren’t always ready to appreciate them.
But in retrospect, I sure appreciate them now.