Were you the only engineer on hand for the Stones
Yes, I did all those myself, along with my assistant, Larry
Hamby. It was supposed to be Jimmy Miller, from what I
understand, but he didn't show up. It was my intention to assist
him when the whole thing started, because I heard they would be
bringing their own people. As it was, he never made it down. So
I became the unofficial-official engineer for all those
Did you cut all the basic tracks here?
They did some overdubbing later, of backgrounds, saxophone and
acoustic guitar. But electric guitars, lead vocals, piano and
even the percussion was done right there, Jagger did that. Mick
Taylor was on those sessions, of course, and during "Wild
Horses" Jim Dickinson showed up, from Memphis. What
happened is that their touring piano player, who was also their
road manger, Ian Stewart, he played on "Brown Sugar"
some, but during "Wild Horses" Jim Dickenson was out
behind the where we put the guitar amps "Do you remember
Paul Simon's 'Kodachrome' where we went to double time and the
tack piano comes in, the piano kind of goes crazy? That was our
tack piano, an old upright piano; we put tacks on the hammers so
it sounded like a honky tonk. Anyway, Jim was back there just
tiddling on it, playing along with what they had settled on as
the groove, and Keith walked by and said, "Hey you need to
Let's try to reconstruct how "Brown Sugar" was
tracked. First, what mics did you have set up, starting with the
We only had three mics on the drums. We ran a U47 up over
the top up over the top, about nose high to the drummer. We had
a high stand out in front, with the mic facing downward at the
kit, from the bass drum in with a little boom that came over the
snare. So it gave a good overview of the whole kit, so you could
play with a lot of dynamics and you could get an incredible
sound. In fact, Charlie Watts wanted to buy that microphone! But
of course, I wouldn't sell it. He couldn't get over the sound we
On the bass drum we used the E-V 666, a fantastic dynamic mic
for the time. It was on a little stand looking to the backside
of the drum. Then I had a hi-hat mic, which I think was another
(E-V) RE-15, though it could have been a little (E-V) 635A, that
remains in question.
Charle Watts, suffering U47
The RE-15 was a better mic, had more response. We
avoided using the 635A unless we had to. Actually, if
not the RE-15 it might have been an SM57, more likely
than the 635A.
And Charlie brought all his own drums?
Yes, he brought all of this own kit.
What guitar was Keith playing?
It was a Gibson, but not a Les Paul. Do you know that model that
was right under the Les Paul, the solid body double cutaway-what
is that? Oh yeah, the SG. I think it was an SG, and as I recall
it was black. I remember it had those sharp horns on the
cutaways. That's what he played most of the time he was here.
And Mick Taylor?
Taylor, to my recollection, was playing a Strat. And guess what
we came up with for Bill Wyman? Do you remember those Plexiglas
body basses that were around then? I checked with David Hood
later and he says it was a Dan Armstrong. So to the best of our
recollection, that's what it was. He played through Davidís
Fender Bassman setup, the tube head and separate box.
And the guitar amps?
Keith played a Fender Twin, and so did Mick Taylor, and they
brought those in with them. The loudness on those tracks really
came from Keith. I had it put in that back booth and shut the
door on it.
So Mick's was out in the room?
Yeah, it was out, set where I normally played. If you looked
from the control room it was on the left side, about the middle,
facing toward the front. You see, we had all these wonderful
baffles, covered with burlap, with that pink insulation
underneath. We would corner off the sound with a couple of
baffles up against each other. It would just knock the
directness off, it took a lot of top end off.