For people who are obsessed with music and the process by which it is recorded, filesharing is the greatest thing ever, as it offers easy access to session tapes. Session tapes, for the uninitiated, are generally recordings of a band working in the studio, complete with mistakes, between song banter, conversation, and tomfoolery. After downloading many such sessions, I’ve noticed that some people choose to edit out all the ‘superfluous’ conversation, neatly isolating each take into its own track. This drives me crazy, because one of the reasons I love sessions so much is for the banter, which often reveals unseen dynamics to the inner workings of a band.
My favorite example of such an outtake consists of Mickey Dolenz hellaciously scolding Peter Tork for screwing up a take in the midst of the recording sessions for the Monkees’ ‘Headquarters’ album, but there are tons of other examples. In the outtakes from the Rolling Stones’ ‘Beggers Banquet’ album, there’s a clip of Mick Jagger expressing his impatience with the speed at which Charlie Watts was learning ‘Sympathy For the Devil.’
The banter doesn’t necessarily have to be quite so heated to be entertaining. My opinion of Ryan Adams aside, I have to give him credit for including a bit of friendly studio squabbling as the first track on his ‘Heartbreaker’ album. In it, he and fellow musician David Rawlings can be heard arguing which Morrissey album ‘Suedehead’ appears on (Anyone who has more than a few morrissey CD’s knows that tracks frequently showed up on more than one release).
In addition to the ‘scoldings’ and banter that I so deeply crave, I am also a huge fan of ‘happy accidents’ that occur and end up being released. A great example of this is the end of the Archers Of Loaf song ‘Bathroom,’ released commercially on their collection of odds and ends, ‘The Speed of Cattle.’ At the end of the take, the drums abruptly cut out and the rest of the band comes to a halt. The resultant exchange is priceless, especially if you’re a drummer. Another commercially released example is the Whiskeytown song ‘Bar Lights’ which ends with Ryan Adams explaining through laughter that he flubbed the lyric and broke a string in the same moment. Turn up your volume for the choice bit of posturing at the end.
I’m convinced that there are tons of these moments lurking about in the useless knowledge section of people’s brains. It is in the interest of expanding my library of audio joy that I solicit your favorite bits of studio exchange and happy accident-ry. Since most of these bits are pretty short, I’ll volunteer to host MP3’s of pretty much any that get suggested. My goal is to put together an entire mix CD of these moments, and give it a dopey title like ‘WHOOOPS’ or something equally lame.
MP3’s of all the moments mentioned above are included below. I’ve also posted MP3’s of several of the bits suggested in the comments. I’m working on rounding up the others. Woo.
The Monkees – Mickey Scolds Peter
From: Headquarters Sessions
The Rolling Stones – Mick Scolds Charlie
From: Beggar’s Banquet Sessions
Elvis Presley – ‘Hot Damn Tamale’