I was talking to a buddy I met when I was either 14 or 15 years old back in San Diego. As some of you may know, I was in my mother’s band “The Roberts Connection”. I joined the band when I was 14 years old, she took me on the road up to Idaho and that’s when I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life. When I hear about kids being confused about what they want to do with their lives my heart truly goes out to them but I can’t relate. I knew, right then, what I would be doing for the rest of my life and I’ll ALWAYS have my mother to thank for that. That and POUNDING on me to become a singer!
But this story is about another HUGE turning point for me. My buddy Kevin Kent, who we were talking to about joining “The Roberts Connection”, had stayed in touch with me even though he didn’t join the band. We would jam… we basically just stayed in touch so one day he called me and told me he was going to LA to record some songs he’d written and wanted me to come play bass. WOW!!!!! I’d NEVER been in a real studio before. Not like that.
So I jumped at the chance. We drove to LA and went into Total Experience Studios in Hollywood with the great Gerry Brown as our engineer… I didn’t know what a producer did back then so I’m sure Gerry was co-producing the project as well. To my recollection Gerry was VERY hands on to the process.
Gerry informed us that the studio we were in was owned by a guy named Lonnie Simmons who was involved with The Gap Band and they had recorded several of their hits there! WOW!!!! I couldn’t believe it. But even more than that I couldn’t believe something else… THE SOUND!!!!! When we plugged my bass in and Gerry dialed in this AMAZING bass sound, put it up on the big speakers… I had died and gone to heaven. ANOTHER one of those moments where you just know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. I wasn’t scared… I was PUMPED!
The sound of the bass… unreal… it was SO inspiring! Just like hearing my voice in the headphones of Humberto Gatica’s headphone mix for the vocal sessions of Chicago 18… HUGELY INSPIRED!
We ended up cutting 2, maybe 3 songs? And it was magical! I’ve always remembered this day as a monumental moment in my life, as I’ve just explained.
But as started this post out with, Kevin and I were just talking lately and he told me he had just seen the photos he had shot of that day. I almost jumped through the phone! KEVIN! PLEASE let me see those photos! He told me he’d locate them, scan them and send them to me. And he told me about one of the most important aspects of them that when I saw them again my heart just sung.
You see, I called my father, the great Jerry Scheff, and told him I was coming up to LA to record my first session! And truth be told, when I did the calculations of how old I was, what bass I owned I realized I was 15 years old, I didn’t really have a great recording bass yet so my dad brought over his then current go to recording bass, a mid 60’s Fender Jazz bass with EMG pickups and a P-Bass set of pickups in it.
Kevin, thank you so much for these photos… the irony is the timing of this coincided with my father’s birthday, which is today. January 31st is my Dad’s birthday so with that in mind, I write this post, share these photos and again, thank those who are responsible for me having the life I have.
Dad, happy birthday, I love you and Kevin… thank you for bringing back these great memories!
And I’d love to hear from any of you who have stories of any of your parents, mentors, encouragers doing something for you at the beginning of your story… I’d love to hear!