Producer / Mixer
Magic is a compassionate and consummate producer, with an uncanny ability to
glean spectacular performances from his clients.
He does this by calling upon his singing abilities and experience
that most producer / engineers can only speak about.
"He sang the part to me that I needed to nail, and then showed me how to pull it off myself".
With an extraordinary sense of pitch, and a methodical attention to detail,
Magic guides you through what can be a daunting and consuming time
executing vocal acrobatics in a recording session. He does this with style and grace,
with a calming and wise knowingness that fills the artist with confidence.
"My frustration level was rising with every attempt to sing it right,
until I would hear his calm directing voice over the talkback".
With every nurturing comment, Magic can call on a seemingly unending bag of tricks
to coax your frame of mind into that perfect place to give your
greatest performance. He has the the vocal chops and sensitive melodic construction
ability to lay out a frame work for even the highest ranged female vocalist,
to the most creative nuances of guitar, woodwind or string soloists.
Magic's engineering career
started in 1975 upon returning from a
performance with Aretha Franklin
on tour. At H.B. Barnum's studio in L.A.,
he got his first engineering
opportunity. From then on, studios
became his home, first
working in post production at MGM, then Viacom/Sony, Glenn Glenn
Todd-AO and Ascent Media.
His rock singing career, fueled his desire
to engineer and mix records. He started work at Evergreen Studios
in Burbank Ca., working with the great talents of
Armin Steiner, Shawn Murphy, John Richards, Gary Lux, Artie Butler
and Charlie Fox. Then at A&M Records in L.A., he
learned from such greats as Roger Young, Bruce Swedien, Ed Chaney,
Umberto Gatica and Al Schmitt. It was at A&M that he
worked with The Commodors, Jennifer Holiday, Michael Jackson,
Sergio Mendes, Barbra Streisand, David Foster,
Stevie Wonder and Andy Summers.
"A few of my favorite memories are; flying
with Tommy McClary from the Commodors to New York to record
Melissa Manchester for the album. Whew,...what a time
we had! And Barbra Streisand telling me I had 'magic fingers' for
punching some intricate parts of her vocal for
the Broadway Album. (Well, her comment was special to me for
obvious reasons). Sometimes, she would bring me
some of her private chef's food. All of the artists and folks at
A&M, Herb Alpert, Don Hahn, Mimi Thomas,
Robert DeLaGarza, and Benny Facone, have forever filled me
with gratitude for the wonderful experiences I had".
Working on David Lee Roth's
album "Skyscraper", the opportunity
arose to take the project
back to an old stomping ground,
Allen Sides' renouned and extraordinary
studio, Ocean Way. It was here
that Magic had worked with Phil Collins,
Tina Turner, Los Lobos,
Eric Clapton and Natalie Cole. Apart
from Allen Sides' genius,
this studio had the mics and outboard gear
to die for. Every exotic, eclectic, not to mention, expensive
mic imaginable could be found there,and Magic
explored every one of them.
"It was a wonderland of vintage, historic
and quality gear all in one room. You could examine, then
use a Fairchild compressor, just like, if not
the very one, that the Beatles used. I remember being
breathless at the prospect of using such high
end mics on whatever project I brought in. I'm not sure
why, but ever since my first 2 channel cassette
recorder, I have been fascinated with recording gear.
I could have stayed in that equipment locker
forever, as a matter of fact, some people did think
I was in there forever".
The "Skyscraper" album took Magic and
the band from Capitol Records to Ocean Way, to Sandcastle
and then finally to Conway Studios where
they had a nice garden area outside the studio control room.
To shake off the fatigue of mixing, Dave would go
through his martial arts routines and Magic, a sabre fencer,
would set a fencing mask on a pole and
practice his attacks. It was hilarious to watch visitors to the
session see Dave whirling and kicking,
and Magic attacking a would be opponent with a sabre.
And through it all, Steve Vai would be
seated with a stack of music and notes at the console,
planning the next strategy for the mix.
"Two of the most genuinely talented and
wonderful people on the face of the earth are Steve Vai and
Gregg Bissonette. Steve's dedication to detail
and artistry and Gregg's uncompromising time and innate sense
of just the right nuance to place here or there,
overwhelmed me at the magnitude of gifts that God had
bestowed upon them".
As Magic's popularity and reputation grew,
he started doing more and more traveling to studios across
this country and to foreign countries like
South America. Through his association with the Juan Carlos
and Juan Gabriel projects at A&M, he then
mixed the Venezualan artist Ilan Chester at International
Sound in Miami. A short time later, he mixed
Franco DeVita's "Al Norte Del Sur" album at Tele Artes Studios
in Caracas, Venezuela.
And hence started a decade
and a half relationship with this Venezualan
folk and pop hero, Franco DeVita.
Five albums later, Magic had recorded and
mixed orchestral, percussive,
accoustic and live performances with guitar
virtuoso Ruben Riera, and
percussion legend Nene Quintero for Franco,
on three continents, in
multiple languages. Plus, the new
"Mil Y Un Historias" live DVD.
"Franco sings with the heart of a lion and is
revered by his public like no other artist I've seen. The tears
and the joy in the eyes of his fans who
sing every word of his songs is unbelievably moving. His cause
and mission to bring understanding of the
less fortunate, have made him Venezuela's favorite hero".
"Although he has the heart of a lion,
he's a gentle soul who cooks like a maniac and always
insists on feeding me the best each country
has to offer. I learned to appreciate octopus, (never knew
it could be prepared in so many great
ways). And my Spanish has definitely taken a quantum
leap. The picture above is in his
studio in Madrid, named after his dog Lupo".
Although Magic loves to travel, the furthest
away from home mixing has taken him is to Sophia, Bulgaria.
Above, we mentiond his sport of choice, fencing.
As it turned out, one of Magic's Sabre coaches was a 3 times
world champion from Bulgaria turned polititian,
George Ganchev. He had kept up with Magic's expanding career,
and when asked to put together a project
representative of Bulgaria's folklorish music with a rock edge,
he imported the English rock group
"Rose Fever" and Magic to mix it.
"The Bulgarian government had dedicated one of
their main television studios to host the project. I was honored
and was treated as a visiting dignitary. I remember
thinking, 'I hope I haven't totally blown it', when I was surrounded
by four police cars and detained for taking a picture of
this little, quaint cottage type looking building. They questioned
and interrogated me and spoke to a number of officials.
(This was before the fall of the iron curtain). In the mean time,
I was actually getting on pretty well with the guards,
after I told them I had worked with Barbra Streisand, they were
big fans. Finally, they called George, who came to
my rescue. How could I have known that, that was the Turkish
Embassy, with an impending conflict on the horizon".
As Producer / Mixer, Singer / Performer, Fencer, Writer, Actor, there is
one underlying thread that makes this person accessible
and as easy to be with as drinking water. A spirituality that recognizes
that each artist, each person is the outward manifestation of
the great Presence that stands above them.
Like a natural healer who relents not to the illness, but continually
coaxes the perspective of the individual so that they heal
themselves. So too is the way of producing an artist, so filled with creative
passion yet fragile in the aspect of vulnerabilty. Where the
success or failure is all hinged on the manner in which the producer
replies, inspires and nudges the perspective of the performer
in that perfect way that makes their heart smile.
"With deep humility, I acknowledge these gifts, only because
I know they are the actions of my Mighty God Presence flowing through
me as I let go, and let that wisdom and light impact the world
around me, as we all must do".
He has been termed by some, as a Rennaissance Master.
Adept in love, because that's what God is.
Adept in sound, because that is the abstract medium of God.
Adept in communication, for without this, there is no way to reach out.