The first time I met John I walked up to him in the high school cafeteria and stated, "Let's start a band." At the time I was a freshman and John had to be at least a junior. Despite not knowing me or calling me out for being a dumb freshman he simply responded, "OK." And so it was.
We would spend hours in his basement making music. This kind of unabashed exploration is something that I think can get lost in world of a working musician. A couple of friends playing for the shared love of music - it was a beautiful thing. We played a few gigs around town, won a battle of the bands and just enjoyed each others company. When we weren't making music ourselves we'd sit around and listen to records. It was a formative time for me musically.
The downside of hanging out with older kids is they eventually graduate and move away. This was no exception for John. Just like that, my afternoons jamming in the basement vanished. It was bittersweet, but thanks to hundreds of hours making music I had a good foundation to take with me. Eventually, through lots of hard work and determination my old friend landed the gig of a lifetime.
If you aren't specifically looking for 52 W 8th St you are likely to miss it. Somehow it blends right in with the rest of the shops and restaurants in New York's Greenwich Village. The first time I walked through it's doors I'm not sure I had any idea what I was in for. The only thing that was certain or known was my old friend John.
Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder. These are all people that have recorded at Electric Lady Studios. My old friend led me through the psychedelic corridors into Studio A. I've been in beautiful cathedrals in Europe, sacred temples in China, and I have never had such a religious experience as I had that day. John led me to a spot in the middle of the studio, "This is where Stevie Wonder stood and recorded Superstition," he said quietly. I felt my knees give out.
Several years later I found myself walking through those sacred doors once more. This time with my friend Jay - who also happens to be John's father. Once again I found myself in Studio A. I sat down at the Baldwin grand piano that has been on more famous rock 'n' roll records than I can imagine and began to play. John grabs a guitar and joins. Jay looks on, much as he did when his son and I used to make music in his basement so many years ago.
So much has changed, but nothing has changed.