Band: Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Title: Recollection Live
Year: 1998
Label: Fuel 2000
Genre: Classic Rock


Notes:
Right before I went freelance, Creedence came in to mix a live album of their 1997 tour from Canada. They took a huge leap of faith in trusting my ability to mix without having heard my work, so there was a little pressure there. They recorded the show on DA-88’s, which I didn’t know we had to rent, so there was a little pressure there, too. I was going to be doing some of my first ever “non-linear” digital edit on a Sonic Solutions system I didn’t know from Adam so there was a lot of pressure there. Growing up, I had seen a “Greatest Hits” commercial for them a million times with the choruses of all their biggest hits so I knew all the hooks, but mostly none of the verses. I was now being asked to mix all of those tunes that outsold The Beatles anew! There was a lot of pressure there.

I asked Doug Clifford and Stu Cook if they wanted me to buy the Greatest Hits album so I could get really familiar with the tunes. They agreed that I shouldn’t so I could give the tunes a fresh ear. OK. So then I went and sifted though all of my favorite live albums. I grew up listening to Kiss Alive 1 & 2, Cheap Trick Live at Budakon, Rush Exit, Stage Left, Kansas Two for the Show and Genesis 3 Sides Live. Those developed my love affair for live albums and I was about to have a chance to do my own!!!!! Gulp.

First came surgery. Thank God they recorded three nights! Between technical problems, off nights or weird crowds, that gave us three takes of each song to choose from. If you’re ever going to do a live recording, do at least two nights. We spent a couple of days selecting takes, a few fixing some boo boo’s with overdubs. Cutting bass tracks with Stu was amazing. This guy auditioned for the STONES!!!!! And I’M conducting him through bass parts. DAMN!!! But he was great! Everyone was. I feel that John Tristao, the current singer, does a better Fogerty now than Fogerty did. In fact, on “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” Tristao actually hit the high note himself. (Doug and Stu told us that Fogerty had to vari-speed the tape to hit that note.)

The only person who didn’t come up for fixing was the lead guitar player, Elliot Easton, formerly of “The Cars,” so with the Sonic Solutions system that I was learning every night between sessions, I was going to have to do some heavy editing on the only usable version of “Born on the Bayou.” Elliot didn’t cue out of his solo enough for everyone to get back into the tune. They all vamped for another 16 bars and then went to the third verse. First, I had to extend Elliot’s last feedback 4 more bars. I copied the existing 4 bars and flew it over the next 4 bars and created a nifty cross- fade to make it seamless. This kind of editing is quite common in today’s Pro Tools world, but it was amazingly new then. They were amazed I could do that and I was amazed that I did it. The next edit was to lose the next 16 bars of marking time. I did the edit in the middle of two different fills that Doug played creating a new fill altogether. They were thrilled. I was relieved.

The mix went like any other mix but with a lot of A/B-ing with previous mixes so it all sounded like the same show. The final step was going to be the assembly of the record in Sonic Solutions. During mixing, I had ordered the Greatest Hits which I listened to for the first time the morning of the assembly. I had missed some serious delays and effects in the original mixes on mine. I started to panic. These are mixes people have been listening to for 30 years! They’re going to notice!!!! But Doug and Stu reassured me that they wanted it that way. Fresh.

The album came out and in a few years, sold 250 thousand copies of a double CD!!!!! GOLD!!!! Well, not quite. Their manager told me that RIAA now has a rule for a double CD to qualify: The combined times must be greater than 100 minutes. Our record was 98:42!!!! Bastards wouldn’t give us the plaque!!!! They’re still fighting it. However, at last notice, they were close to 500 thousand, so it would qualify anyway. But if they would play ball, it would actually go Platinum!!! This is quite a big deal for me because this is the first album I’ve mixed that has gone Gold or Platinum.

Winter of 2004, the guys spent a week with me at Imirage auditioning new guitar players. Elliot was leaving so they spent seven days trying out seven guys and I had seven private Creedence concerts. Our neighbors were loving it!!! Doug used my drums with his famous 18” hi hats.

And, just for the record, Doug Clifford knows more jokes than any other human being on the planet!

Addendum: Saturday September, 24th 2005
I just came home from seeing Creedence at John Asguaga’s Nugget. They and their manager, Steve Polikalas, got me back stage after the show. Both Stu and Steve told me that they had something for me so not to leave.

With about 20 people gabbing back stage with them, they excused themselves and came over to me and led me into the Green Room. They closed the door and John said, “we want to talk to you about the mix.” The album has been out for 5 years now, I knew he was pulling my leg.

From behind the food table, Stu pulled out my Gold Record Plaque for Recollection. FINALLY!!! The RIAA agreed to recognize the sales award! This is my first Gold selling mix! And they said that it’s almost Platinum! They’ve had the plaque for several months but waited until they could hand it to me IN PERSON as a band. The photo with the band and the plaque says it all. I love these guys! THANK YOU!!