It was Mom’s birthday yesterday. She sits so tenderly inside my soul these days. I can feel her hand on my hand guiding me tenderly into this scary world of music. She took me into the living room in the early morning light, overlooking Central Park. She told me she was proud to watch me producing my own record saying “You have to pass the torch on at some point, you know.” Her eyes twinkled with restrained emotion. The fabric of her, I cradled in my arms. How can this brilliant, pioneering, sweet angelic spirit be part of my makeup I thought. She asked me if she could play me one of her new songs and when I said “Of Course mama!” she sat me down on the red velvet couch, fiddled with the dat recording device, and made unnecessary disclaimers about the sound quality and vocal performance before sitting beside me and holding my hand. Of course, the song was beautiful. It was deep and soulful. I felt so close to her and feeling close to her I felt closer to the sky.
Ben made focaccia bread birthday cake and lit a votive candle. We sang Happy Birthday which Mama couldn’t help but sing along to in harmony. By mid-day, I had to get down to BootsTown Studio to finish up mixing with Wendy and Michael. When I got there they gave me the bad news: “We’re not going to be able to finish all 11 songs. You got to cut one.” They recommended “In My Mind” saying it just didn’t sound as “quality” as the rest of the tracks.
I asked for a moment to think and went into the drum booth to reclaim my stolen breath. I was confused. I felt so attached to “In My Mind” being on this record. Who knows if I’ll ever make a second one, this might be its only chance to shine. I walked back into the windowless control booth and announced “I want ‘In My Mind on there. Let’s do what we need to to get it done.” I felt the wind knocked out of my colleagues who’ve been killing themselves with 18-hour days to get these tracks done. My guilt at their herculean efforts led to my relenting ½ way through the mix, “Maybe you’re right. Maybe the song’s not worth it.” I said. “We’re all tired.” I felt sick to my stomach leaving the song dead like roadkill on the battleground of the studio floor. It seemed to yelp as it joined the other discarded 2-inch tape on the chopping block. By 3 am I was home looking through old drawings from 1979. In the morning I met up with Wendy on a park bench near a hot dog vendor. “I’m afraid we might have to—“
She knew what I was going to say. “Whatever Sal. We’ll do whatever you want.” I could have kissed her on the mouth. We returned to the studio where Michael threw a silent fit but finished “In My Mind” in only an hour and a half. Ahhhhhhhh. I feel so much better.