(Chronic) 2001 album
Year: 2001
Record Label: Innerscope/Aftermath
Genre: Rap

Dre is a very cool and talented guy. He and his crew first came to Sierra Sonics in 1999 to work on a disc for the artist King T. Sadly, that never got released. However, Dre discovered that he liked working up here because he did not have all of the distractions and got a lot of work done.

Everyone in Dre’s crew must have a nickname, usually based on appearance or personality. I was named “Stern” right off the bat because of my resemblance to Howard Stern – based on height and hair, NOT personality! Almost every time I’d walk into the studio, they’d quote “Private Parts” with a very heartfelt “w N b c!” I had never seen the film so Dre actually sent someone out to buy it for me!

For three of the four times he’s been here, I’ve been a second engineer or setup tech. They brought up almost 40 songs on 2” tape that they were working on every time. And there would be a crew of usually 15 people that came up with him: writers, players, security, guest artists and management.

Guest artists included King T, Hitman, Melman, DOC, Glove, Butta and not forgetting a new Aftermath artist that was about to be released named Eminem. They were all hot on this guy and knew the Slim Shady LP was going to blow up when it got released. I also waited a couple of times for Snoop Dog at the airport, but he always missed his flights. However, my picture did end up next to his in the photo collage in the CD booklet. I’m the guy cutting tape.

The best story, though, is just before Halloween the third time they were here. Melman revealed that they were fans of the Halloween films. I said “Oh really. I just may have a wee Halloween surprise for you.”

So, two days before Halloween, just after cutting vocals, Dre was running a rough mix in the control room and I went to the bodyguard, Searge, and told him what I was about to do so he wouldn’t kill me. With his blessing put on my Michael Myers costume, I headed to the dimly lit tracking room. I stood behind the pseudo voice booth baffles for over ten minutes, motionless. Dre was at the helm pushing faders while everyone else was in back and couldn’t see me. When Dre spotted me, he looked forward, turned around to tell someone, looked back and I was gone! The bait was taken.
I headed to the control room. Just outside the door, I could hear muffled voices from within exclaiming, “Michael who???” “Whatchu talkin’’bout, man?!?” Bliss.

I stood well behind the door and opened it so from within it looked like it had opened all by itself. The room fell silent. I right-faced into the room and the bass player flipped out!!!! He tossed his bass (fortunately into the quick arms of the guitar player) and tried to run away from me. Of course, with the room being full of people, it was like running through molasses, just like your worst nightmare! So I did the logical thing, I chased him!!!!

He snaked his way through the people on the back couch, through the racks of keyboards and eventually through a straight away between the console and the outboard gear. I kept up with him with no effort until the straight away. By the time I got there, Dre, who is a big boy, had stood up to see the activities. Mike got away right when I was approaching Dre. I did a right face directly to Dre and stopped, face to chin.

It was here that Dre said the line I will take to the grave: “Aw shit, Stern.”

I did a left face and left the room. I removed the costume and returned to the control to discover that they had just written a beat with the “Halloween” theme in it. I thought that was totally cool, but I figured it would never make the record since there were already over 40 songs. Well, it did! It’s track 15, “Murder Ink.” Go figure.

Best of all is that Dre and his manager, Larry Chatman, were the first to remember me when the plaques were given out. I love those guys!