It’s towards the end of 1975 and I’m back “home” at the Marquee. Phil Dunne has now departed and is with Gus Dudgeon at the Mill in Cookham and Geoff Calver and myself are the main Marquee staff engineers but soon we will be joined by Phil Harding.
Its busy, really busy the studio is booked around the clock with more “lock out” projects than hourly. During the time I was at DJM a newer model MCI JH538 console has arrived and it has automation and VCA grouping.
At the time of my rejoining construction of a mixing room on the office floor level above the main studio is nearing completion, Ken Shearer has done the design. It’s a “floated construction” (room within a room) due to the requirement to be isolated from the main studio below and the adjoining offices.There is a small overdub room attached. In order to maintain compatibility with the downstairs room monitoring system JBL 4320’s have been installed.
Unfortunately though we just couldn’t get the monitoring right. Geoff and myself attempted many mixes in the room and it just wasn’t working so after great deliberation Tom Hidley was brought in.
Tom and the Dave Hawkins Eastlake team were fast, the room geometry was completely changed, we did loose a lot of room depth but the room worked.
So we are now into 1976 and I get allocated as staff engineer to work on sessions with Mark Wesley who is a DJ for Radio Luxembourg 208. Mark writes, produces and self finances his own productions. The Artist to be the front man on these tracks is music publisher Charlie Crane but goes under the name of Leroy Brown for these recordings. Mark has hired Pip Willaims as the guitarist and arranger for these sessions. It is is during these sessions that I make connection with Pip which leads to us working together for the next 4 years. Pip is already renown as a top session guitarist and arranger but he’s also at the early stage of his production career.
At the time we meet he is already producing an album for Chris Andrews of “I’m a Yesterday Man” fame which he recorded at Lansdowne Studios with engineer John Mackswith. After the recording was completed Pip decided that he would mix Chris’s album with me at The Marquee.
One of the other Marquee regular clients was producer Barry Leng and in late 1978 I mixed Amii Stewarts version of Knock On Wood in the remix room.
Producer Biddu had become keen on using the Marquee using freelance engineer Richard Dodd.
Looking back its the start of many engineers leaving staff jobs and becoming freelance and moving around to different studios. The effect of Biddu becoming a major Marquee client meant that Pip couldn’t always get time to work on his projects. At this point I’d already worked at Richard Branson’s studio The Manor with producer/keyboardist Ronnie Leahy on an album by a Finish band known as “Wigwam” so I suggested to Pip we could go there at times the Marquee was booked.
It was the beginning of my freelance period.