Last week, John & I went to LA to celebrate the completion of the Lee Hazelwood box set & to attend the Light in the Attic record release/holiday party. It was my first time in LA. As someone who lived in NYC, I've always assumed I'd hate LA, as any proper New Yorker does. Well, turns out, I kind of love it. I mean, who doesn't want to live in a place where it's sunny & 70 every day & you don't have to wear real pants?
The first thing we did, well after inhaling a couple of double double, animal-style In N Out burgers, was to check in with our Light in the Attic pals. We hung out in the office for awhile, then went to Griffith Observatory & checked into our Airbnb. We stayed in Los Feliz, close to Sunset Junction.
Light in the Attic asked if there's anything we want to see or do while in town & John expressed his lifelong dream to get into Capitol Records. They called us the next morning while we were getting coffee & basically said, 'you're in, go now, ask for blah blah blah'. So we went. And we totally got in.
(Sorry, this is a terrible picture.) We got a personal tour of the first floor, which includes the Capitol recording studios, mastering studios & tape library. It is the best thing that's ever happened to John Baldwin.
He got to go into all the recording studios, control rooms, talk to the techs, take pictures of microphones & whatever else he wanted. We were there for hours. Everyone talked to him, answered his million questions, insisted he take pictures. They were all so impressed at how much he knew about everything. Ron McMaster (above) said John was the only person who's ever known what this one thing on his console was, which should surprise no one who knows John & his addiction to both Gearslutz & eBay.
I don't think we were actually supposed to go into to the Capitol tape library, but it was directly across from Ron McMaster's mastering studio & the door was open, so, DUH, John walked right in & kind of yelled, 'Holy moly, is this the tape library?!' And then we were in.
Jack, who runs the tape library, is one of the nicest people I've ever met. He explained how the library works & then let John not only hold & touch whatever master tape he wanted, but insisted John have his picture taken with them. Because it was alphabetical, the Beatles & Beach Boys were right there, so those are the ones John zeroed in on. John's pictures of the actual tapes are here.
When we left Capitol Records, John was in a daze & couldn't talk or drive yet, so we decided to walk around the block. We turned the corner & literally ran into Big Kenny, from Big & Rich. John, who hadn't spoken in like 10 minutes, yelled, "Hey Kenny! I just left the tape library at Capitol Records & got to hold the "Let It Be" Beatles master tape!" Kenny just smiled, patted him on the back & said, "God bless, son." Ha!
That night was the party, which I think was in Culver City? Or maybe Silverlake? I don't know where I was. It was at this hilarious placed called The Baked Potato. And all that was on the menu was baked potatoes! Y'all, I can't even.
We had so much freaking fun. Everyone that worked on the box set was there, most of them John was meeting for the first time after spending all year working with them. And they were all really surprised at how young he is, which is funny.
We sat with Henry Owings & David Yow, which coupled with an open bar, spiraled into the danger zone real quick. But it was so much fun!! David wanted me to leave the party & go sing karaoke with him, which sadly didn't happen. But John won't let me live it down. Still, almost a week later, John will look at me & say, "Remember when you met David Yow & talked to him about Justin Timberlake & then he asked you to go sing karaoke with him?"
This is John with Matt & Patrick from Light in the Attic, who we can't thank enough. This trip is both the shortest & most memorable trip we've probably ever taken. And I have no doubt that years from now, when we look back on John's success, this project will prove to be the turning point in his career. Thank you, LA! And thank you, Light in the Attic!