1995 Interview

Page 8: California

JOHNSON: Something about moving to California.

PHILLIPS: Yeah. Oh, so we got to California. Everyone we had known in the Village, before we left for the islands, was in California. [Laughs] I mean, Crosby was here. McGuinn was here. McGuire was here. I don’t know, thousands of people who were singing in the Village when we left, were now making records in California.

McKENZIE: There was a reason for that too, because recording studios in New York were really uptight. They were so inflexible in terms of union control, and you couldn’t sit down behind the control board and -

PHILLIPS: That’s right.

McKENZIE: Very strict, very strict. And out here, everybody was so laid back. It’s a tradition. And you can come in and sit down at the control board and fiddle around. Nobody really cared.

PHILLIPS: Fiddle the EQ and stuff.

McKENZIE: And everybody worked together and you’d spend twenty-four hours in the studio and everybody sort of overlapped. It wasn’t this strict compartmentalisation that there was in the New York scene. I think that’s why a lot of people had to come out here.

PHILLIPS: Even when we came back to New York, with doing your album, we recorded with Scott after we did "San Francisco" as a single. I sat down at the board, like I felt I was supposed to. And they said, "Don’t touch anything!"

McKENZIE: Yeah.

PHILLIPS: "Or I’ll call the union." Lou was there with us also, Adler, and he called Clive Davis, who was president of the company, and Clive came down and said, "I can’t do a thing about it. I’m sorry. [Laughs] That’s the way the union is here. You can’t touch the board." It was a big drawback to the whole creative process.

McKENZIE: That’s why a lot of people came out here.

JOHNSON: Plus the weather was warm.

McKENZIE: The weather was nice. That’s true. Yeah.