Victor Levine is, among other things, a music business insider - studio manager, personal manager, music supervisor, producer, engineer, songwriter, musician - whose survivor skills and knowledge of sound recording are the basis for writing the Spec Time Trilogy. A short autobiographical explanation follows.
The experience of owning and operating commercial recording studios for several decades [NorthStar in Boulder, Colorado, Amigo, Westlake, Crystal, and Fidelity in Los Angeles] has provided me with more behind the scenes stories than would be sensible to repeat. Although my clients included everyone from Michael Jackson to Frank Sinatra, as well as most major record companies, many film composers, storied engineers and producers, and countless independent artists and production companies; there were a few things I noticed that they all had in common: Besides their usual attention to the condition of their hair and choice of shoes, they all had the desire to achieve musical goals that would elevate their status as successful creators.
Unlike most jobs where people come to work and earn a paycheck, the studio was a place where, within the privacy of a soundproof vault stuffed with electronic equipment, people came to re-write their own destiny. The enormity of the goal was great enough that staying up all night to get the amplifier sound just right, or working for hours to synchronize the delay time of the effects returns, or comping a guitar solo out of frantic noodling was just “standard operating procedure”.
But the set of conditions within the studio itself is only a small part of what made the old style recording business what it was. I didn’t secretly tape the million conversations with disgruntled band members, frustrated engineers, egotistical producers, distracted record executives, or maniacal backers that regularly escaped from the session and landed in my office to vent, but I did take notes. Some of those stories provide the context for my writing, and I’ve started fictionalizing others for a short story collection I call the Studio City Blotter.
In spite of the many dramatic, heartfelt, and sometimes tragic moments in my stories, I've always tried to remember that there are only two things in the Universe - matter and doesn't matter - and the ability to distinguish the difference, keep it all in perspective, and laugh as much as possible, has kept me alive and enabled me to share my perceptions.