David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Recordings, Rehearsals

Recordings

• When the Swedish punk/new wave group the Hives recorded “Try It Again,” they felt that the chorus of the song was like a cheer. They had seen a football game played by Ole Miss, were impressed by the cheerleaders, and arranged for five or six Ole Miss cheerleaders to sing the chorus. Hives bass player Dr. Matt Destruction was very happy that the cheerleaders came to the studio to record the song. They wore their cheerleading outfits and were enthusiastic and happy, and best of all, they smelled good. Dr. Matt Destruction remembers, “The studio was smelling like beer and farts […] and then they came in and it smelled like strawberries and flowers for an entire day. It was really, really fun. They’re cheerleaders, so we were happy, everybody, the whole day.”

• Enrico Caruso was not satisfied with the quality of many of his recordings because he felt that they did not offer a faithful reproduction of his singing. One day, he offered to play his newest recordings for a group of friends. After listening to the recordings he played, all of his friends assured him that the recordings were excellent and in fact were the best recordings he had ever made. However, Mr. Caruso then said, “No more — please! It makes me too sad. These are not my records at all. They were made by an unknown tenor who is not even included in the catalogue of the better artists!”

• Willie Nelson is a true original. For one thing, his legal real first name is Willie instead of William. For another, he has produced much, much original country music that has at times baffled record producers and companies. For example, in 1975, Mr. Nelson recorded the concept album Red Headed Stranger for Columbia Records, his first record for them. A producer was baffled: “Did he make this in his living room? It’s a piece of sh*t! It sounds like he did this for about two bucks. It’s not produced.” The album is now considered a classic.

• How many recordings a duo has sometimes depends on how they count. In the summer of 2008, Jennifer Daniels and her husband, Jeff Neal, headed to the studio to make their fourth recording. Or it’s their sixth, Jennifer says, if you count their Christmas EP and the “one that we’re embarrassed to sell.”

Rehearsals

• Jacques Thibaud was both a violinist and a golfer, and he made lots of money at each occupation. One year, he was booked to play the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, but it quickly became apparent at a rehearsal that he was making many, many more mistakes than he should be making. Conductor Pierre Monteux asked him what was wrong, and Mr. Thibaud replied, “I haven’t had time to work this summer — there are so many golf tournaments.” Mr. Monteux said, “You’d better watch out. Your golf will ruin your violin technique.” To Mr. Monteux’s surprise, Mr. Thibaud told him, “I’m only afraid the violin will ruin my golf.”

• Sergei Rachmaninoff — a very punctual man — was supposed to rehearse with Leopold Stokowski, but the conductor was busy rehearsing a Tchaikovsky symphony. Mr. Rachmaninoff waited a few minutes, then strode to the piano and hit a loud chord. Of course, everything got very quiet very quickly. Mr. Rachmaninoff said, “The piano is here; I am here; it is 11 o’clock. Let us rehearse.” Mr. Stokowski then began to rehearse Mr. Rachmaninoff and let the Tchaikovsky symphony wait.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Buy:

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