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Songwriter Confessions #4

Once a recording studio reaches a certain size, it has to have a studio cat. That seems to be Nature's unwritten law and you resist it at your peril. It happens as you're unwrapping the new Lexicon reverb unit that will take you up to the next level of sound. Before the carton has been cleared away, there is a scratching at the studio door. And you really don't have any say about the applicant. Apparently there is some mystical studio cat network, and when that unheard alarm goes off, Ma Nature picks the kitty and sends it to the door.

On this particular morning, I opened the door and there was Macca, alias Mac Daddy, alias the self-propelled wrecking crew. Scat!: I said and cat strolled past me and boinged onto my favorite chair where it proceeded to chew the corners off the guitar tuner. I reached for the pliers to pull its teeth out. A moment later I was nursing four bloody slashes on the back of my hand. We decided to call it a draw.

Well, the cat did, actually. So Macca became the studio cat, which excused him from catching mice, lizards or preying mantises, but gave him time to run up and down the curtains, get hopelessly tangled in the midi cables, and slurp lukewarm coffee from my Graceland mug while I'm fetching a blank CD from the cupboard. He can also be heard on a couple of songs, hacking up a furball solo in the background. I've even got him slamming the window on a track called This is My List which you can hear on the website. The vocal was so good I didn't want to do it again, but I did make him sign a royalty waiver. He used up eight lives all at once one afternoon when I answered the phone in the middle of a multi-harmony overdub. From the corner of my eye, I saw him flash up onto the console where he took turns pushing those cute little faders up or down while stepping on the PC keyboard at random. Smoke started coming from the speakers. I launched myself backwards . The back of my chair hit the mixer.

The entire structure of 24 track mixer, keyboard and rack of reverbs,compressors and valve pre-amps started heading for the floor. Luckily my chair tipped me onto the floor, so most of the equipment landed on my neck. The cat went sailing out the door and through several time zones before landing in the bushes. Thirty sweaty minutes later, I had everything back in place and the Valium was starting to kick in. There was a scratching at the door. Opening it, I found Macca with a peace offering. There are so many things you can do in a studio with a freshly killed mouse. I said: OK but the mouse stays outside and-a one two three Copyright © Bill Dollar 2005.


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