And That, Son, Is What We Call “Pro”

I had one of the most satisfying recording sessions ever yesterday. We were recording keyboards and drums for a handful of song demos, all part of a new musical being written by the lovely and talented Abby Miller.

It was me and three other very talented people, including a drummer, Aaron Sterling who is part of the new LA Wrecking Crew – he plays on every record coming out these days, it seems like. He and Abby wrote some of the songs, Abby and I wrote some of the songs, everybody there had a different stake in the project.

What blew me away was how seamlessly everyone moved between their different roles, from arranger to producer to sideman. On some songs, Aaron was producing the session, it was his tune, and I got to be just a keyboardist (I love that). On the next tune, it was mine, and I was telling him what to do. The engineer (our very own Mr. Chris Steffen) and Abby moved through the cycle too, from engineering to arranging, from writing to tracking vocals.

The only thing that nobody did, all day long, was bust out an ego. Chris and I talked for a few minutes after the session, and we agreed that it would be impossible to try and do something like that if anybody had brought a rock-star vibe along with them.

There is a beautiful balance between having deep pride in your work, and no ego about what you do. I want to learn how to live in that place. I believe it’s called being “Pro”.

4 thoughts on “And That, Son, Is What We Call “Pro”

  1. Chris Steffen

    It was a great time Mike. Aaron was in today and mentioned it again. What was cool for me was that even though people switched roles nothing changed in behavior from song to song. On the tracks you and Abby wrote, you and her had final say on things because they where your tracks. But Aaron and I where able to chime in and offer pointers. Much in the same way that even though you viewed yourself as a side man on Aaron and Abby’s tune, you where more than that.

    I hope to have more of these in the near future….

  2. corey

    Almost made it that day… in NorCal instead. Would’ve much preferred Eldo since the guy I was traveling with knew all week that he was getting fired the next Friday. Hard to travel sanely with a dead man walking.

  3. drhill

    great to hear! I have had that experience only rarely. The atmosphere seems to be less egotistical when everyone not only respects each other, but also is involved in the song from a writing perspective (not a session hand). Probably you also had a group of people who genuinely just wanted the best outcome – instead of manic idea comparison. I think Tom Waits said of ego ‘it’ll eat anything’.

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