Segarini: David Anderle

The Bobcast Bob May 6th 2013 Cropped

There were at least eleven of us sitting around the restaurant table. It was an impromptu dinner, decided upon on a whim. No vote, no forethought, just a bunch of like-minded people who found themselves together and decided they were hungry.

There was Steve Lalor, a guitarist from Seattle who was in a band we were all sure was going to make it, called the Daily Flash. There was Chris Ethridge, multi-talented bassist for the Flying Chris EtridgeBurrito Brothers and studio cat who had played with a lot of our favourite artists. Chris was a good old boy who lived in the canyon and whose door was always unlocked, always inviting. There was Don Gallucci, just hired as a staff producer at Elektra and freshly arrived in L.A from Seattle where he had been the leader of a huge Pacific Northwest band called Don and the Goodtimes. Before that, Don had been in The Kingsmen and had co-written the flipside of Louie Louie (Haunted Castle) with Kingsmen singer, Jack Ely. Across the table, the picture clouds a bit. Was that Travis Fullerton, Little Richard’s touring drummer, who had fallen in with Roxy after our original drummer was let go, or Jimmy Keltner, who was younger than the rest of us but already THE new guy you wanted behind the kit. It was one or the other, of that I am sure. The table was rounded out by the presence of Jim deCoq, guitarist for Roxy Ritaand a wicked player, Randy Bishop, who would become my writing and singing partner in The Wackers after we folded Roxy’s tent, and CSN&Ys Graham Nash, who was dating the one woman at the table and whose star was rising rapidly, Rita Coolidge, woman whose musical talent was matched by her prowess in the kitchen, a warm inviting place where we spent many an afternoon eating Reet’s home made cornbread and trying hard to swallow the 15 or so natural vitamin pills she made us take whenever we ate there. There was a spinet piano in the kitchen, and more than once, we would gather around it with her and Graham, and once with Reet’s sister Prissy and her husband, Booker T. Jones.

I was sitting there looking at these great musicians and a singer who was so good, that every time I sang with her was like a singing lesson I couldn’t afford. I was in awe that I was there at all.

There was one more person with us that night. A man who was the reason we were all together, all friends, and all happy to be there in that forgotten Hollywood restaurant. He was a person of immense charm and grace, wit, and talent. A lover of music who was soft spoken and always, always, encouraging and open with his wisdom and advice. When he spoke, everyone listened.

At the head of the table, was Elektra Records Head of A&R, David Anderle.

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David Anderle Self Portrait

David Anderle Self Portrait

Many of you will ask, and with some reason, to be sure, just who was this guy?

David…was a music man.

By that, I mean he wasn’t a musician or singer, but he knew great ones when he heard them. He found them. He mentored them. He encouraged and advised them. He was very good at those things, but what set him apart, is this; he could put you in a great studio with a great support team of musicians/singers and/or engineers, arrangers, etc, and record your music as good as it could be recorded. Better, in fact, than you could even imagined it could be. A producer with ears who wasn’t thinking about the look of the artist, the age of the artist, the format the artist should work toward, the money the artist could make, that he could make. Nope, not David..

Alec FraserI am sure some of those things were considered by him, as they should be, but the focus Mr. Anderle brought to the studio, brought to your music, brought to your performance…was brilliance. It was all about the songs. All about the music and everything it consisted of. David brought freedom to his artists, made them comfortable, and rolled tape. The music was allowed to speak for itself with the Chris Perryartist’s voice, the artist’s intent. His ego seemed to be in the music itself, not in him or his role in getting it made.  There are few like him working these days. The great roots and blues producer Alec Fraser and the rockier Chris Perry come to mind, two men who capture an honest performance of a well written song, instead of wrestling it into a position, a shape, it was never meant to be.

And that is what David Anderle did and others like him do. They look for lightning…and then let it strike.

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We were sitting around the table after dinner making small talk and drinking coffee, port, cognac, and other after dinner delights, when one of our party made an obvious, yet normally, unspoken statement at gatherings like this.

“Too bad we don’t have a studio to go play in.”

Anderle looked up from his coffee and addressed the table, “I have a studio…at least I have the key to a studio.”, he said quietly. “Does anybody have a song?”

I have no idea what prompted me to pipe up at the table , surrounded by people who were far better known and far more capable than I.

“I do”, I said.

Anderle considered this for a moment, and then said, “Order the last round of whatever”, got up, and began walking toward the foyer. He hesitated, then looked back over his shoulder at us. “I’m going to make a few calls and see if I can dig up one of the engineers.”, then turned back toward the foyer and a pay phone.

I started to scribble madly on a napkin. I didn’t have a song, but I damn well better have one before we get to the studio.

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Frazier Mohawk on Buffalo Springfield signing with Atlantic Records: “They were never going to last long on Atlantic. If they’d signed with Elektra it would have been a different story, I think. Elektra was more nurturing and [label boss] Jac Holzman had a great understanding of music and musicians. His approach was damn near religious.”

David Anderle 1Springfield’s members, like almost every other cool musician in Los Angeles at the time, vied for space on the couches and chairs at Elektra’s La Cienega studio and offices in Hollywood, whether they were on the label or not. Elektra (where Frazier was a producer at the time) was ground zero for ‘hip’ in those days. The place to be. Everyone wanted to record with them, sign with them, work with them. I remember CSN&Y hanging out individually before they even became a group. The Eagles having meetings, drop ins, and informal gatherings in the office that David would occupy at Elektra. The producers, Paul Rothschild, Don Gallucci, Frazier, and others, and engineers like Accept No SubstituteJohn Haeney, whose recording of the Delaney and David Anderle produced Delaney and Bonnie “Accept No Substitute” album still sounds as pristine and beautifully rich as it did all those years ago. All these amazing talents, gathered to Jac Holzman because Jac got it. It was the music that drove Elektra’s success and reputation, and it was Elektra that attracted the best, the brightest, and the musically driven. And while he was there, David Anderle was at the core of Elektra’s cool. His was the door that was always open. Signed or not, artists who other labels were chasing dropped by to see David, hoping he would see something in them that would allow them to join the church, join the choir, be anointed by the man whose taste and reputation proceeded him.

Just like everywhere else he hung his hat.

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05-the-house-on-horseshoe-canyon-blvdI’m not sure how many hours we spent in Elektra’s studio that night and early morning, but it couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 hours., maybe 5, but I know I was home on Horseshoe Canyon Road off of Lookout Mountain in Laurel Canyon before the sun came up. I didn’t get to sleep right away, though.

The session was one of the most relaxed I had ever been a part of. Although most of us had never worked together before (and would never work together again) it felt like we had been on the road and recording together for years.

Elektra’s studio was small in comparison to most of the studios of the day. Like Sunset Sound, it was intimate and comfortable, almost like a living room or basement den. The only thing missing was a fireplace. There were beautiful oriental rugs on the floor, and even the movable suspended baffles and other trappings were colourful, warm, and made the room feel like a fuzzy slipper at times. The energy in the room, however, was nothing other than electric.

I had miraculously written some lyrics and, come up with a melody while writing the words. And, considering the experience of the majority of the players, opted to go for a feel and attitude as befitting Rita’s voice and background in bluesy gospel and country tinged secular, down-Brother Recordshome warmth. Chris had the slow solid bass, the drummer (Dammit, was it Travis or Jim?) was likewise versed in soul fueled sessions, and Jesus, we had David Anderle at the producer’s desk. Since he graduated from USC in ’62, and had gone to work for MGM/Verve in 1965, David had found and signed Van Dyke Parks, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and The Mothers of Invention among others, and then, managing Parks and Hutton, helped Brian Wilson organize Brother Records and helped run it. It was Anderle who introduced Van Dyle Parks to Brian Wilson at a party. While at Elektra, David produced Delaney and Bonnie, Rhinoceros, David Ackles, Judy Collins, and Diane Hildebrand. He also brought many of them to Elektra, as he did with Bread.

A few friends dropped in while we were recording my hastily written song, including Priscilla, Rita’s sister, and Prissy’s husband, Booker, which leads me to think that Book may have played the Hammond. I know Don played the great grand piano part, including the beautifully southern inspired opening. Steve and Jim divvied up the licks and solo chores, splitting the solo between them, and Randy kept a steady acoustic feel under the rest, a soft bed to inform the song. Rita and I sang in a booth, corrected the errors (mostly, hell, probably all mine) with a few punch-ins, and then, when David was satisfied with the track and the lead vocals, added Rita Randy, and Graham and myself on backing vocals, David and the engineer were mixing on the fly, and 15 minutes after we all crowded into the booth for a few playbacks, I left for home with a 7 inch reel to reel tape of the song.

Oh, to experience a session like that again.

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David Anderle Bio 1975

As you can see from the Official Press Release from A&M upon his tenure there, David continued to work his magic wherever he went. While at A&M he became the music advisor for a lot of films. And contributed greatly to their success. Be prepared to have your jaw dropped.  David’s work in Film

Of course there were the musical contributions in the recording studios, and the continued signings of artists. David Anderle Production Credits courtesy of All Music

And as an integral part of one of the great album stories of all time. This is a fascinating piece of music history, and I have no idea how I missed it when it was first available. This is the complete documentary. Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of ‘Smile’

There were so many great records, iconic records that David was responsible for, but this will always be my personal favourite. This is the whole album, and I hope you have great speakers.

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David Anderle art Woman Reading

David Anderle: Reading Nick Cave

David left the music business in 1999 and never looked back. Still with many friends made over the years in the pursuit of quality music, he turned to painting, another passion in a quietly passionate man. Like his music, his art is of equal depth and joy, sadness and calm, studies in character, and moments in time. His eye as good as his ear for that which engages, that which is made for its own sake, and financial success, if any, a bonus, not a goal. David Anderle did very well in life, and he leaves us with riches that will engage and entertain and inspire for years to come. A parting gift from a man whose entire life has been lived creating and enabling a body of work that is his monument. Our world is better for him having been in it. And that, is a life well lived.

David with Portrait of Brian

David Anderle’s Art

http://billyshirefinearts.com/07Anderle/index.html

The Book

http://www.amazon.ca/Better-Late-Than-Never…/dp/0867196807

Al Kooper

David Anderle: Al Kooper

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The last time I saw David, I was sitting on a sinfully comfortable chocolate brown suede couch in his den. It was 1971.

On this voluptuous couch that was already threatening to envelope me into it’s soft, inviting folds, sat Randy Bishop, and one of David’s projects, a young man from Eureka California named Michael Stull, and myself.

We were there to ask David’s advice. Although Randy and I wanted to form a new group, we had sung with Mike just fooling around and discovered a kind of magic. Instant communication, the harmony parts coming without thought, each of us finding our part without effort, and hearing a blend as good as any we had heard from our musical heroes. We wanted to pursue it. Mike wanted his blessing, which David gave. The one thing that was up in the air was also something Mike wanted to do. We asked David’s advice, and he said “Why not?”. Sooo…

Less than 2 weeks later, we packed up and left Los Angeles for Eureka, California and became Wackers without an ‘h’.

God Speed, David, and thanks for everything.

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Your Comments are Welcome.

Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, and continues to write music, make music, and record.

3 Responses to “Segarini: David Anderle”

  1. Jim Chisholm in Cambell River Says:

    Excellent! Your writing is always a treat to experience Bob. I was digging the passion and love you invested here long before it turned into a lovely glimpse into the genesis of one of my favorite bands ever, The Wackers without an h but with lots of pizzazz. Thanks and farewell to David Anderle.

  2. Thanks. David was not only “cool” he had a great heart and ears as big as an African Elephant.

  3. The world has lost a lovely, caring human being. David was responsible for jump-starting the careers of so many people in the music/recording business that I won’t even bother to attempt to name them. When Diane Hilderbrand (now Joya Skye) and I walked into his Elektra office, he basically handed over the keys and said “make your album” … and that’s what we did. I had never felt such freedom to be creative and without restrictions to conform to someone else’s idea of what constituted art. It was the beginning of a very long music voyage for me and an enduring friendship which continued through his move to A&M until he retired. You blessed my life David, I can’t thank you enough.
    Colin Cameron

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