After reading this story, you’ll never hear “Give a Little Bit” the same way again. ‘course, I’m sure Supertramp never dreamed it would be used in a laundry detergent commercial either!
Frank was a HUGE black and white cat that lived in the studio. Actually, he lived wherever he wanted to. Ha! He would spend his day hunting down rodents. After catching one, he’d drag itinto the barn and proceed to eat it. Ugh! At night he was often mistaken for a small mountain lion – especially when someone would hear his feet behind them at night. Ha!
Well, the day we were recording the acoustic guitars for Supertramp’s song, “Give a Little Bit”, Frank was roaming about the studio. Roger wanted to get a “special” sound with the acoustic guitars, so he had the idea to record them in the elevator. Now the elevator in the studio wasn’t really an elevator. It was a hydraulic lift, similar to the one the garage raises your car up with to get under it. It had a hard wood floor on it instead of just a huge metal plate. That way it matched the decor of the studio. What that meant was that it wasn’t an enclosed “room”. There were walls on 3 sides of it with the front being open. Brass gates kept someone from accidentally falling from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor.
The studio was on the 2nd floor.So Roger put a chair on the platform, and we ran cables out of the studio onto the platform for microphones and a headset. Next, we lowered the “elevator” so that it was half way between the floors. This way, the guitars sounded “bigger” and “fuller” than they did in the acoustically dampened studio.After some experimenting with mic placement, etc. everyone was happy with the sound, and we began recording.
None of us knew it, but evidently there was someone who wasn’t happy with the sound – Frank! Just as Rodger was playing the final rhythm for the end of the song, Frank expressed his opinion. He gave a loud howl Meowwww! that was recorded on the guitar track.
When it came time to do the final mixing, there was a lot of argument about whether to include Frank’s howl or not. “Not” won out, and that’s why the song fades rather quickly. There were mixes with the howl left in just for fun, but they didn’t make it to the album.
This is just the first Supertramp story. Stay tuned!