Read a first-hand account by the only person alive (including Dylan himself!) who witnessed all of the New York recording sessions for Blood on the Tracks, in
IN THE STUDIO WITH DYLAN, JAGGER, SINATRA AND MORE
Here’s an excerpt . . .
“Roll tape, roll tape!”
The red lights were already lit. I had achieved the sweet spot, I knew what Ramone wanted before he did, I was Ramone, we were one. We locked eyes, no time for appreciation, was it going down on tape? I checked the lights, all tracks in record, I checked the meters, console, tape machine, the same. What was coming out of Dylan’s mouth and guitar was going to the console, coming out of the Altec 604 speakers that were as big as tanks and as heavy, loud to the verge of human tolerance, 101 decibels, going to the tape machine, to be etched into eternity. Or if I forgot one thing, oblivion. Can’t mess up, not now, not with Dylan. Meters moving in rhythm to the song. And Dylan, just a few feet away, behind the glass, throat tight, Tony Brown watching his fingers blast against the fret board, also trying to stay alive, Dylan, sweating, feeling it deep, the way he’d twist his vowels,
“You’re an eeeeeeeee-iihhhdiot, babe . . .”
Dylan! Holy shit! Me, 19-years-old watching rock-and-roll history being made right before my ears, seeing the spit flying out of his mouth against the U-87 microphone that I placed there.
Dylan. The whole studio throbbed, the big box with the copper roof about to blow off with all the pain, the anger, the truth. The tape machine flew in circles, the tape whirred, it seemed faster and faster than the thirty inches per second that I knew it travelled, the red lights seemed brighter, the needles pushed into the red zone, Ramone’s shoulders tensed, his total focus on what was in his hands, temperature rising, I started to hallucinate, the red lights turned to blood, the blood ran on to the tape machine, blood on the tracks . . . read more