I barely had time to catch my breath and get over the jet lag from an 11 week arena tour in Europe when the phone began ringing. I was right back into the LA studio scene just three days after arriving home, with a two day recording project at Warner Bros. What a life—directly from performing at a 14,500 seat venue on Thursday night in Paris, France, to sight reading difficult charts with a 96 piece orchestra in Burbank, California, on Tuesday.
I left especially early for the session because (1) from the parking lot, through security to the Clint Eastwood Scoring Stage, it is a 15 minute walk, and (2) I needed to turn on my “studio rig” and make sure it all worked. I eased out onto the 101 freeway at 8:30 AM to find bumper to bumper traffic, but something else was dreadfully wrong: I had a flat tire!
Immediately I got off the freeway, pulled over and called my wife. I said, “Get down here as fast as you can and bring me your car.” She dropped whatever she was doing, sped down the hill and found me at about 9:10 AM, sweating, pacing, and definitely stressing. The freeway was still crawling as I grabbed her keys and headed for the on ramp. I told her to call the auto club, have them change the tire, and ask the guy to write down the designation so she could call and order two new ones (my other rear tire was looking pretty beat, too). And, if at all possible, get them put on this afternoon.
I made it to the parking structure with 10 minutes to walk the 15 minutes to the studio. Sprinting across the lot, I made it to my rig and immediately began seeing what instruments I’d need from my guitar trunks that were delivered the night before. The acoustic trunk was turned around against the wall, and there were six giant timpani drums in front of it. After frantically moving the drums and turning the giant trunk around, I grabbed a steel and a nylon string guitar, plus a Les Paul out of the other trunk. I made it back to my seat as the conductor was counting off the first cue, which, of course, was a guitar feature!
As I was turning on my gear I noticed a note from my cartage guys saying, “The pedalboard won’t light up. Did you take this one to Europe? Is it still set on 240 volts?” Now I’m rummaging through my loose gear drawers looking for a screwdriver to set the voltage switch back to 120 volts. The orchestra is playing; the first few bars are going by. Click! The power supply is switched over, the board lights up and I get sound from the Les Paul. I jump in around bar 25 and play it down. Two minutes later the red light is on, we track it and I finally exhale. Those big movie soundtrack sessions have no leeway when it comes to time. Each minute on a sound stage is costing thousands of dollars and hundreds of people are involved.
When I got home my car was in the garage with two new Pirelli P-Zeros. The next day, besides the double session, I had a concert scheduled with my own band at one of LA’s biggest and best clubs, so there would have been no time to have gotten that done. My wife had totally bailed me out and saved my life. I couldn’t have made it through the week without her! ?—Carl Verheyen