Terry Melcher Remembered, part II
Today, Carol Kaye shares her memories.
What was your first impression of Terry when you met him?
Carol Kaye: I thought he was just another “celebrity son” who was probably spoiled and arrogant and didn’t know what he was doing. But he quickly disproved that wrong assumption; he knew what he was doing and treated studio musicians with great respect and just wanted to get some hit records…easy to work for and with.
Was there an aspect of Terry’s professionalism that you to becoming a better player?
Carol: He had the FINEST musicians in the world. … We all had to “play down” from our capabilities, rock was so simple and we could invent our parts (after quickly discerning what the producer needed & wanted), it was easy to do. Most of the studio musicians were excellent jazz musicians and/or big-band musicians, the cream of the crop of the live experienced players. We sort of “trained him” in a way as he was young. We were the bunch of musicians who everyone called if they wanted a hit record, the 50-60 of us who were the “clique.” … There were about 300 studio musicians making a ton of dough back then.
Describe Terry as a producer.
Carol: He was a nice young fellow who had definite ideas of what he wanted in the way of rock recordings, and we followed what he wanted. He didn’t waste time which was good, and he had a very positive outlook on getting what he wanted too, but of course he knew he could trust us. We were the best in Hollywood for getting what the producers wanted. He had a fresh approach and was good to work for. [He was] a little aloof at first, but was direct as soon as he got to know us (and trust us) a little bit, and very cordial, all business-like which is what we loved about him, he didn’t waste time, another asset of his. Good guy, nice fellow, very talented and a chip off the old block as Doris Day’s son. She had a right to be very proud of him.
What do you feel is Terry’s contribution to music?
Carol: Terry was excellent in his craft – one of the best of the young producers we all had to work for.
Did Terry implement any techniques into the recording process that you felt altered the structure of the recording industry?
Carol: Not that I can recall. He did have his hand on the “pulse” of what a rock recording should sound like, the surf-rock, the young-rock of that time and era – he knew what would sell and he was right.
Add any reflections and antic-dotes that you feel are noteworthy.
Carol: As a decades-top professional musician, and as a teacher since 1949 (of music), I’d say he was one of the young lions who not only created a huge bunch of fine recordings for the huge baby-boomer generation, but was one of the best young producers of his time, easy to work for and nice to be around … a true professional in every sense of the word and a creator in his own right.
To be continued…
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