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Carol Kaye: I Never Really Wanted to Do Studio Work

- - - - - Carol Kaye Hal Blaine Earl Palmer Jesse Sailes Paul Humphrey John Guerin Ed Greene Jim Gordon Scott K Fish Life Beyond the Cymbals

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#1
Scott K Fish

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Carol Kaye: I Never Really Wanted to Do Studio Work

 

carol-kaye-opener.jpg?w=274&h=338

 

SKF NOTE: In the early 1980s, when I spoke with musician Carol Kaye, I felt incredibly fortunate. I still feel that way. I was working to put together a history of rock drummers that, at times, was tough to piece together. This was pre-internet and a time when drummers were just starting to gain recognition for their pivotal role in music history. Ron Spagnardi's Modern Drummer magazine helped in that regard in a big way.

 

Click here for more on the back story to my backgrounder interviews.

 

This is a transcript from the early 1980s, I'm sure, of Carol Kaye's half of our interview. I transcribed none of my questions. My interest at the time was in what Ms. Kaye had to say. I would remember what questions I asked. So in the interest of time, I limited my manual typewriter transcribing to Carol Kaye's comments.

 

Ours was a phone interview taped to audio cassette. I was in my office at Modern Drummer. Carol was in California in, I believe, her home. I don't remember specifically how she and I met, or the circumstances leading up to this interview. I might have been given Carol's name and number by another musician. But I think I found her phone number on my own.

 

As with some of my other background interviews, Carol has some intriguing stories about Motown recording sessions. And we learn more about session drummer Jesse Sailes. Then Carol speaks about working with Phil Spector and other hit -- she calls them "biggies" -- records on which she played either guitar or bass.

 

I was unable to fact check every one of Ms. Kaye's memories. But I was able to fact check many of them -- and found no conflicts. Maybe some other writer or blogger has already solved the various Motown session stories. And maybe Carol Kaye's remarks here include a missing piece or two of the puzzle.

 

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Carol Kaye: We were recording in a studio above a garage. Armin Steiner's garage. We did an awful lot of records there for about two or three years. And the first drummer I worked with was Jesse Sailes. He told Motown about me because I'd worked a few other kind of record dates with Jesse. He's a Dixieland drummer who plays with Teddy Buckner out at Disneyland now. He had done an awful lot of Motown.

 

After that came Earl Palmer. And then they used Paul Humphrey on a very few of them. It was mostly Jesse Sailes first and then Earl Palmer later. Earl played on some of the biggies like Bernadette and Love Child.

 

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals Click Here to Read the Full Carol Kaye Interview


Edited by Scott K Fish, 02 February 2016 - 07:48 AM.

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#2
El Larry

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Cool, Thanks!


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#3
flamaqueII

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Wow almost every song she played on I now love.  

Austin had a perfect expressionist for Soul and RnB that just recently Passed.  Paul Ray  He did a 4 hour radio show for the collage radio station for like 40 years.   He could put together a set of classics that would make you cry.  I and many others will miss him deeply. 

 

http://kut.org/post/...intage-paul-ray


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#4
xsabers

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True story, the singer in my originals band worked at a copy center years ago.  This lady walks in with a bunch of sheet music to copy.  So he asks her if she was learning all these hit songs and she replies that she actually was on the original recordings of all of them.  He doesn't really believe her but doesn't think too much about it.  So he still doesn't know her from anyone and they strike up a very casual acquaintance type friendship.  She invites him to be her guest at NAMM and so he goes, still not knowing who she is.  Suffice it to say he was gobsmacked once he got there and realized that the industry regarded her as royalty.  Yep, he let the friendship fade because as this story proves, he's kind of a dope!    


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#5
shilohjim

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  She is a talented lady, no doubt, but her memory is faulty, perhaps because of advancing age. I won't get into a long winded response at this time, but her claim about playing on some of these Motown songs can easily be dismissed. I'm not going to go so far as to call her a liar, but I am. She may have done some work for Motown, but she never played on ANY Holland-Dozier-Holland song or production, at least prior to April 1970, as they were all done in Detroit. And the version of I was Made to Love Her that she played on was in fact The Beach Boys version recorded for Wild Honey. Dancing in the Street recorded at Gold Star? Not the Martha and the Vandellas version. That was recorded on 7/31/64 in Motown's Studio A with James Jamerson on bass (Marvin Gaye on drums!) Bernadette was recorded in Studio A at Motown on December 13 and 14, 1966 with Jamerson again on bass. I don't know why someone with her credentials has to resort to embellishing her resume, when it clearly stands out on its own just from the songs she really DID play on. 


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#6
shilohjim

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  Wanted to add one more thing. Allan Slutsky (aka Dr. Licks), when doing research for his book on the life of James Jamerson, had found an old Rolling Stone article from November 1973 where Carol claims Jamerson's entire body of work as her own. Slutsky found the AFM sheets for the disputed songs and confronted Carol about her claims. She went into a tirade, and sued Allan and his partner for defamation. After Allan's lawyers gave Carol's lawyers copies of the sheets, she dropped the case, but Allan still incurred the unneeded expense of having to hire a lawyer to defend himself. 


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#7
shilohjim

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 A few other songs Carol claims credit for: Elvis-Suspicious Minds (Mike Leech), Dusty Springfield-Son of A Preacher Man (Tommy Cogbill), The Monkees-Last Train to Clarksville (Larry Taylor), The Beach Boys-Surfin' USA (Brian Wilson), Catch A Wave (Alan Jardine), Good Vibrations (Ray Pohlman/Lyle Ritz (upright), The Doors-Light My Fire (Larry Knetchel)...et al. I could list so many more but will stop now.


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#8
Scott K Fish

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shilohjim -

 

re: Rolling Stone article from November 1973 where Carol claims Jamerson's entire body of work as her own....

 

I'd like to see a copy of that.

 

Thank you.

 

Best,

skf


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#9
Manicoti

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Thank you for taking the time to post this! I enjoyed it:)


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#10
Scott K Fish

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Armin Steiner: Recording Motown in L.A.

 

SKF NOTE: My Carol Kaye transcript, and other of my backgrounder interviews, prompted questioning from some readers about West coast musicians recording early Motown records.

 

Several musicians and other music industry people told me some (many?) of those Motown recordings took place in Armin Steiner‘s garage studio in Los Angeles. Other musicians and music industry people have a different story.

 

With that in mind, here are two interview segments of Armin Steiner talking about recording Motown songs in his studio. The first and longest segment is from the transcript of an interview from the early '80s by percussionist Mark Stevens and Armin Steiner. Mr. Stevens interviewed a few noted recording engineers and put together a Modern Drummer feature story on miking and recording drums.

 

The second segment is from a 2001 MIX magazine interview with Mr. Steiner by Maureen Droney.

 

Caveat: I am sorry for not including the entire post on this forum. But I am traveling this morning and my time is unusually limited. Thank you.

 

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals Click Here to Read Armin Steiner Interviews


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#11
On the one

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On her official website she's mentions playing for Motown from 63-69 she was 1 of 9 bass players recorded in Hollywood. It also claims she worked with Frank Wilson on a track called "Do I Love You" with Earl Palmer on drums again recorded in Hollywood. What I find interesting is if you watch the documentary "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown" which featured the funk brothers, and how these guys played all the music for some of Motown's greatest hits she is not mentioned in the program. Especially these crucial years 63-69 Motown was hit machine during that time unless she just worked out of Hollywood and not Detroit.
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#12
shilohjim

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shilohjim -

 

re: Rolling Stone article from November 1973 where Carol claims Jamerson's entire body of work as her own....

 

I'd like to see a copy of that.

 

Thank you.

 

Best,

skf

Rolling Stone, Nov. 22, 1973, p.26


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#13
shilohjim

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 Affidavit from Brian Holland.

Attached Files


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#14
DanC

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Wow.


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#15
Scott K Fish

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shilohjim - Thanks for posting. I'm not running defense for the West coast players, but that affidavit "proves" nothing. Plus, I'm not sure how it relates to the 1973 Rolling Stone article you mentioned.

Best, skf
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#16
bellbrass

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Carol is a great gal and did play on a lot of hits and TV music...but there is whole discussion thread over on Amazon where she (allegedly) had disputed a lot of the book entitled "The Wrecking Crew." If it really was her posting on Amazon, she discredits a lot of the book, and responded for awhile to other comments before disappearing. This is the first I've heard about disputes over her playing credits.

 

Nonetheless, thanks for an interesting post, Scott.


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#17
shilohjim

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 I'd say that affidavit pretty much says it all. Again, I know she did some of Motown's west coast tracks, but the ones in dispute were all H-D-H productions. Who would know better who played on those tracks than the guy that produced them? Carol herself says she never did a session in Detroit. All of H-D-H's productions were done in Detroit. And let's be clear. It's not just the Motown stuff that's in dispute. Go over to smileysmile.net and read about the war between Andrew Doe (foremost Beach Boys historian) and Carol. When Andrew presented her with evidence that contradicted her playing on certain Beach Boys tracks, instead of offering up any evidence of her own, she proceeded to blow up and threaten legal action. But then the songs would magically disappear from her discography on her website the next day. 


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#18
DanC

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A little bit of 'Bernard Purdie Syndrome' happening there, looks like...


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#19
PeterK

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Carol is a great gal and did play on a lot of hits and TV music...but there is whole discussion thread over on Amazon where she (allegedly) had disputed a lot of the book entitled "The Wrecking Crew." If it really was her posting on Amazon, she discredits a lot of the book, and responded for awhile to other comments before disappearing. This is the first I've heard about disputes over her playing credits.

 

Nonetheless, thanks for an interesting post, Scott.

I am an occasional lurker on Carol Kaye's forum. Her contention is that she never heard the term "Wrecking Crew" back in the day and they were never a "band", they were a collection of 200 or so first-call musicians. I don't believe her anger on those points are warranted. World War I was not know as that when it was happening but was named that in later years. So, if those group of musicians was not really know as "The Wrecking Crew" back in the day, what's the big deal? No one ever called them a "band" anyway. Regarding her Motown claims, there may be something to that because both she and Earl Palmer claim to have played on what was supposed to be backing tracks for demos in LA that wound up being on release Detroit hits. We will never really know.


Edited by PeterK, 04 February 2016 - 10:56 PM.

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#20
Joe A

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I'm positive it was her on Amazon...at least a couple of years ago, she was a prolific poster on various fora, not the least of which being her own (years ago, she acknowledged her verve in this regard, citing her 100 wpm typing ability learned in her day jobs before the studios).

I too have posted and subsequently lurked at her forum... It's semi-private, probably because of her controversial opinions leading to severe disagreement and verbal attacks. She is a WEALTH of information, and just a cursory look at her playing tips and her DVD course has helped my progress with my second instrument exponentially. However, she knows what she wants, and will suffer no less; these are ways that have led to great success of course, and that has led to some isolation. Posts that aren't to her high standards will be summarily deleted, views other that those in roughly 95% agreement with hers are roundly criticized, etc.
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