AES Section Meeting Reports

Boston - October 12, 2010

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Boston AES Meeting
Oct. 2010

On Tues. Oct. 12th the Boston Section of the Audio Engineering Society featured legendary Songwriter/Musician/Producer Al Kooper who shared some experiences of his 50+ year career.

Most producers came from being engineers or musicians. Al learned about engineering to be a better producer. He claimed that there are two kinds of producers; those that have something to prove and those that have nothing to prove. When he was in the first category, he was much harder to work with. Once he had nothing to prove, he became much easier to work with.

Al revealed that he knows more about new music now than he ever did in his life because of iTunes. Checking out the New Releases on Tuesday gives him the opportunity to keep up and shares his favorites on his website. He voiced concern about the future of downloads and how music collections could become a "playable library" from another location at a cost per month.

Al played some examples of his productions and reminisced about certain aspects of each track. He admitted that his lack of being on top of business cost him a fortune and recommended to be hard-nosed about business. His early publisher gave him and former writing partner great advise saying "Boys, you're songs are your children, they come to take care of you when you're old". And Al admits, "he was right". The songs are what supports him now.

Al Kooper has been a professional musician since his early teens. He had a Top 5 hit with The Royal Teens for tune "Short Shorts" in 1958 and a Top 30 hit a year later with "Believe Me." He also co-wrote the chart topping smash, "This Diamond Ring," performed by Gary Lewis and the Playboys which has now exceeded it's 3-millionth radio performance.

Al had played the signature organ riff on Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," alongside blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield as well as The Rolling Stones (Al played on "You Can't Always Get What You Want"), Jimi Hendrix ("Long Hot Summer Nights"), The Who ("Rael"), Joe Walsh, the million-selling Super Session album with Stephen Stills, Blues Project, Blood Sweat & Tears and innumerable others.

Al has worked for Columbia Records A&R department and served as West Coast
Director of A&R for PolyGram Records, where he was instrumental in signing Richard Thompson.
He produced the first three Lynyrd Skynyrd albums, which included the massive hits "Sweet Home Alabama," "Saturday Night Special," and "Free Bird." He played on and arranged three tracks on George Harrison's SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND album, performing with the remaining Beatles on the No. 1 single "All Those Years Ago."

Al has worked on music for TV shows and Movies; Crime Story, The Drug Wars, The Landlord and John Waters film Cry Baby. He has taught at the Berklee College Of Music and was bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Music by both Five Towns College in Long Island and the Berklee College of Music. In 2007, Kooper was inducted into the Rock n Roll Walk of Fame in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and is a recipient of the Les Paul Award for his life's work, presented by Les Paul himself. In 2008, Al celebrated his 50th year in the music business and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society