My Day With Bob Welch

June 13, 2012

After Chick-A-boom had run its course I joined up with the Harris twins and we signed with Capitol Records.  My A&R jerk (self-named) was John Carter or Carter as he was known by everyone who knew him personally. All of this is only relevant because I remained friends with Carter after my days with Capitol were over.  After the shocking news that Bob Welch had passed I started to think back on my Capitol days and I remembered a very funny incident that involved Bob Welch.

Carter was somewhat of an old school A&R guy in that he was a song writer and a producer in addition to his other duties like, schmoozing with the national promotion director and all the other A&R guys.  At this time he was working on a project with Bob Welch. Carter called me up and told me that he needed a free piano player. I told him that “I am the free-est piano player in the world but I”m not very good in fact I can play my own songs and that’s about it”  He said that he didn’t care because he was over budget. We made an agreement to meet at Sunset Sound.  Then he called me back and said that he had to at least take me to breakfast , I tried to tell him that it wasn’t necessary but he insisted so we went to the Cafe up Beechwood in Hollywood. By the time I got to the studio Bob and Carter were in the booth. Bob was  great guy, and after some small talk, they told me that they had decided that the Hammond Organ was the instrument of choice. I had even less experience on the Hammond than the piano.  I knew Bob was a player so I was already apologizing for my inability to play but they insisted I give it a try.

First there were no chord charts so I had to write them . Then getting a sound on the Hammond with zillions of draw bars was like finding a needle in a hay stack.  I did my best. I think the songs were “Dancin’  Eyes” and “Carolene”, which was Rupert Perry’s wifes name. Rupert at the time was the V.P.  of  Capitol so that was a good move on Bob’s part. I know you’re expecting me to say that the songs turned out great and everybody loved my playing but that would be incorrect. They didn’t say anything negative and I felt lucky to get out of the studio with my life in tact.

A couple of days later Carter called and told me that they used the crap out of one of my licks and he had to pay me. I reminded him that our deal was for free and he didn’t owe me anything. Again he insisted so I gave him my social and he ran the date through the Union. . A couple of days later he called again to complain at how much he had to pay me. I reminded him again that I agreed to do it for free . The problem was that I was the only player so I had to get leader and soloist etc. amounting to several hundred dollars. I asked him if I should cash the check and give it back to him. He mumbled some Carterism and we hung up.

The album was French Kiss and it became a certified gold record.

Around a year later Carter was doing the second album. I called him up and asked if he thought that the success of the first album had anything to do with him when in my opinion it was my brilliant keyboard chops and he needed the same treatment on this album. Of course I was kidding but Carter thought for a second and said, “You’re right, come to the studio tonight”. I said I was kidding but again he insisted. I think this time it was at Capitol”s Studios. When I got there they were over- dubbing a piano part by a real keyboardist. I listened for a couple of minutes and whispered to Carter that, “this guy can really play, I would just be wasting your time”.  Carter said, “Okay but I still have to pay you”.    I told him that was ridiculous but he insisted. I think the grand total for both sessions was somewhere between five hundred and a thousand dollars. I guess the moral of this story is, “The freer you are the more you get paid” .

R.I.P.  Bob Welch  and  Carter


One comment

  1. very nice story – thanks for this. xo

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