My first job was sweeping the parking lot at famed Hollywood studio Crystal Sound on Santa Monica & Vine, a truly beautiful recording studio and audio laboratory founded by the brilliant Andrew Berliner. I was underfoot there for a few years, as my mom worked the front desk and talked shit to a variety of luminaries.
In it's halls, I helped lay out mic cables for Count Basie's orchestra, met the Boo-Yaa Tribe, and caught my first glimpse of the Playboy Channel on the kitchen TV, hanging out with the engineers. (I got busted by moms quick.) I'll never forget the intricate woodwork art in Studio B, a tribute to Stevie that was handmade by drummer Bugs Pemberton (AKA Bugs the Drummer AKA Drugs the Bummer according to Moms—we used to go out to his crib in Silverlake, always a very hip neighborhood).
I used to marvel at the recordson the wall; I spent many mornings staring up at Supertramp's Breakfast In America or one of the dozen War records or scratching my head over why someone would call themselves The Flying Burrito Brothers. Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life was there too—it and the White Album were mastered there on a Neumann lathe. The Jackson 5, Bobby Womack, Carole King, Eddie Kendricks, George Clinton, too many people to name, all fell through Crystal well before I was around, but I did get to meet Sly Stone there—even though I thought my mom said Sly Stallone—yo who the hell is this guy? Another thing I used to stare up at was this, "the famous Crystalab comic*, a cartoon rendering of how their famous console worked. It's long gone and all—last time I went to LA, I had to stand on the car just to see over the barbed wire to whatever is there now—looked sketchy, but that big, glorious glass door was still intact. Thanks for the memories, Crystal.
*Read this article by engineer Bob Ober if you're interested in Crystal's high-tech origins.