World Class Recording in the Highlands of Scotland
Funny Pages: People


About Us
Equipment List
Pictures of the Studio
A typical recording session
Prices and bookings
How to get to The Byre
Contact Us
Funny Pages: People
Funny Pages: Animals
Tricks of the Trade
Digital v. Analogue
A Career in Audio
Home Recording
Getting Great Sounds
P.A. Systems for Dummies
Technical Glossary
The Music Industry
Success in Music
Download Goodies


Some of the things that have happened to us over the years

We think Ulfs real name was Ralf, but we were not too sure as he had no roof to his mouth. If you asked him his name, he just said Ulf!

Well, Ulf came into the studio one day and said he wanted to become a rock star and asked how he should go about it. I suggest he should form a band and make a recording.

To cut a long story short, Ulf and a motley collection of German and American musicians recorded two songs for a single. These two songs were, well, they were so bad that when I sent the recordings off to the mastering lab to have white labels made, the technician phoned me up to ask if I had not sent the wrong tape by mistake.

Then Ulf asked me what I thought of his recordings. I told him that it was quite the loveliest thing I had ever heard.

Ulf wanted to send a copy to every radio station and disco in Germany and so we worked out what that would cost him with promotional material and postage, etc. It came to 9600 Marks - about three thousand Pounds.

Ulf did not have that kind of money, so he went to the bank.

He also took his band with him and a ghetto-blaster.

They went into the manager's office, sat the ghetto-blaster down, cranked it up to full volume and Ulf and the band mimed to their recording.

The bank manager, an elderly gentleman, sat staring wide-eyed until the noise had died down. He then asked them why they had done that. Ulf explained that he needed 9600 Marks to become a rock star.

Despite the shock the poor man had suffered, he was still able to say No in a clear and firm voice.

Ulf went to another bank and tried the same tactic. This time the manager, a younger man, was warned in advance what was going to happen and he sat through the performance, until, about half-way through, he began to choke on something and had to leave the room.

He returned, red in the face with tears in his eyes, and told them that, as good as it was, he would still have to see some collateral. They offered him the publishing rights and he got another choking fit.

Ulf was beside himself. Convinced that international stardom had been denied him for want of such a paltry sum, he realised that now was the time for radical action. He decided to rob the bank.

He went to the first bank, the bank where he had an account and they knew him, with his fathers 9mm service pistol and asked for 9600 Marks. They probably had many times that amount behind the counter, but Ulf was not a greedy man. He asked for just that sum that stood between himself and international fame and fortune and not a penny more.

The cashier assumed that it was just a silly prank and told him to "Put that toy away!" But Ulf was not to be put off so lightly and made his point by firing a couple of rounds through the ceiling. They gave him the money.

He then made his get-away in his car which he had parked outside the bank. His own car, with his name and the name of his band on the back window. There was also his telephone number next to his name in case anyone wanted to book him.

Somebody must have snitched on him instead, because when he drove home, there were about eight police cars and dozens of policemen armed with submachine guns surrounding his house.

He turned and fled. He made it all the way to Spain, where the law requires that every tourist is registered with the authorities. Normally this is done automatically by the hotel, but as he was just staying in small boarding house, he went down to the local police station to do it himself.

After spending several months in a Spanish prison, he was extradited to Germany, where he received nine years for armed robbery with menaces and applied violence.

After six years he was told that he was being given three years off for good behaviour and that he was a free man.
Then he turned up at our front door and told us that he wanted to make another recording.

Ulf wanted to be a rock-and-roll star, but he had no roof to his mouth.

Tony and Mrs Barker, two great minds that met on a US airfield in Germany

Tony wanted to be a sound technician. Mrs Barker wanted to chase rabbits.

Mrs Barker once managed to close down Bitburg Air Base. Well, I say Mrs Barker, but Tony had the main hand in it.

Originally Tony wanted to learn about sound technology, but in the end we had to physically throw him out. The very first time that I took him with me to a concert where we were doing a mobile recording, he walked into a low-slung spotlight that was on a centrally pivoted cross-beam holding about twelve such lights.

Petulantly, he pushed the spotlight away from himself.

"Bloody light!“ he whined. The whole beam swung round majestically and the same spotlight caught Tony nicely in the back of the head, knocking him clean off the stage into the orchestra pit. The same evening one of the stage
fuses blew, so I told Tony to hold it down with his finger whilst I try the main switch again. There was an almighty flash and Tony flew across the room, crashing into a pile of chairs.

"Me arm!“ he said, "I can’t feel me arm!“ I told him not to worry: we’ll try again.

"Use the other arm.“ I suggested. He did and flew across the room a second time.

A week later I told a wiser and more careful Tony accompanied me to a show at Bitburg Air Base where we were recording a country and western band for the US military. During the evening I asked Tony to get me a beer out of the truck. I realise now that should have divided
the assignment up into more easily understood parts, starting with ‘Go to truck, stand still and await further instructions.’

After about half an hour I was beginning to wonder what had become of Tony, and more important, my beer. I soon found out. The officer of the guard came to me and asked if I employed an Englishman "called Tony something or other?“ I was kicking a bit inside at the word ‘employ’ as
that would imply remuneration for work done (Collins Economic Dictionary).

But for the sake of simplicity, I just said "Yes.“

"Well,“ said the officer, "we’ve got him in our jail. We found him running behind something the size of a small pony, shouting ‘Mrs Barker! Mrs Barker! all over the flight line. We caught your Englishman, but the pony got away. Tell me,“ he said eyeing me carefully, "is this guy playing with a full deck?“

At the end of the evening, I spent over an hour with eight Security Police trucks driving all over the flight line calling for Mrs Barker.

Now, Mrs Barker used to answer to the Doug McKenzie call, you may know it from the Canadian TV show Second City Television, the one that went ‘Ruckukukukukukukooohuk!’ So eight SPs drove all over the flight line leaning out of their cabs, going ‘Ruckukukukukukukooohuk!’ into the
night air.

The SP I was with leaned over to me and summed it all up, "Are we really doing this?“ he said.