By Christopher Scapelliti
Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones… Those are just a few of the giants that producer/engineer Eddie Kramer worked with back in rock and roll’s classic days. Through his work with those artists and many others at Olympic Sound Studios in London, Kramer became one of the legendary geniuses of the recording studio.
Kramer was recently interviewed on The Todd Shapiro Show on Sirius XM. It was an enlightening interview, full of interesting information and insights.
But perhaps the best moment was when Kramer recalled meeting Jimi Hendrix for the very first time (around 1:50 on the video below).
“I’m sitting in the control room at Olympic Studios, January of 1967,” he recalls, “and the studio manager [calls] me up. And she said, ‘Oh, Eddie, there’s this American chappie with the big hair. And you do all that very weird shit anyway, so why don’t you do him?’ That’s how I got to meet Jimi Hendrix.”
Kramer recalls Jimi as very shy and wearing a “grubby raincoat” on that day. “And there’s this big roadie,” Kramer recalls. “He’s got literally a Marshall stack on top of him, and he’s carrying, like, 14 things.”
Once his gear was set up, Jimi plugged in and began playing. “And all the sudden you hear this sound,” Kramer says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, my god.’ The hair just stands right up on the back of your neck. And I’m thinking, How the hell am I gonna record this stuff?”
Kramer quickly got busy in the control room, working on Hendrix’s sound and running tape so that Jimi could hear what his guitar sounded like with Kramer’s sonic touches added. When Jimi heard the playback, he was thrilled.
“We started this game,” Kramer recalls. “ ‘Okay, you can do that? Well let me just see if I can top you, you bastard.’ It was a game to see who could top the next person
“And it was so great, because he inspired me. The sound came from him. I added all the cool shit on top, like the reverbs, the phasing, the backward echoes… that was my concept.”
Kramer then goes on to tell who he thinks was as good as Hendrix. Give the video a look to get that answer.
For more, check out the Todd Shapiro Show’s YouTube channel, download the podcast, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and of course listen to the show weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on SiriusXM Canada Laughs Ch. 168. And visit TheToddShapiroShow.com.