End of an Era/Kitchen Confidential

I have thought many times of posting in the past month. In the midst of the twelve hour days, the deadlines both real and self-imposed, the metamorphosis of relationships and the reconciliatory nature of working with artists in a decidedly capitalistic world, I invariably found myself with something more pressing to do.

I now find myself nearing the end of a very long and consistent run of work. Thanks to the Dejas, Sarah Blacker, Mith Niles and Lannen Fall for the majority of this creative spurt. I’m looking forward to the success of this music and people’s reaction to all of it. 

Having said that, there is another impetus for my posting. I was recently informed by Jeff Lipton that Potluck Con, the offspring of TapeOpCon, will not continue this year. My reaction was akin to that of someone who had just been told they’d been laid off from their job.It was incredulous to me.

I attended my first “Con” in 2004. I had just moved back to Boston from Los Angeles a few months earlier and was worn and weary of rejuvenating my career in my new old city. After working in a city where everyone appeared to be involved in some form of media or have one job in entertainment or another, how could I find a similar community in a city that I have loved but has eared a reputation   for being territorial, to put it mildly. The industry is tough everywhere, but there have been too many producers/engineers in Boston with whom the words “adversarial” and “curmudgeonly” have been apropos. It was Memorial Weekend five years ago, through a prompting of Travis, an L.A. friend and colleague, that brought me to New Orleans for a “meeting of the recording geeks”.

What I’d discovered was this: There were many out there like me, working with a passion for creating and finding others who were like-minded. I was part of a subculture! There are people throughout the world with whom I shared language and this larger sense of being, this continuum of a trade that many have plied before us, and hopefully many will after. I knew that I would gravitate to this event every year for the same inspirational energy.

Anthony Bourdain has written and spoken about this phenomena many times in relation to cooking, and I think the corollaries are very similar: the shared avoidance of a “normal” workspace or schedule, the vocational languages of both, the reverence with which we hold the true greats of our chosen professions, the fraternal nature of our get-togethers. The lives of chefs and the lives of recording engineers are parallels at the least, kindred souls at best. I’m proud to be part of my subculture, and very thankful to all of you who share in it with me. 

Thanks to Craig Schumacher, Larry Crane, Hillary Johnson, John  Bagliapucci, Nancy Hess, Matt Boudreau, Mark Ruebel, Mike Caffrey, Jeff Lipton, Steve Massey, Ross Hogarth, Mary Podio, Pete and Melissa Weiss, Stewart Cararas, Darron Burke, John Vanderslice, Ken Kukubo, Tim Shea and Kathleen Higgins-Shea, Brian Charles, Jeff Lipton, Maria Rice, Jessica Thompson, Dan Workman, Sasha Zand, Mark Allen Miller, JJ and Christel Golden, Andy Hong, Mike Wells, and anyone else I’m sure I’m forgetting. I hope to see all of you again and share in the continuum.

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