Mr. Morse, Mr. Quilter and The Haji Truck

The other day I came across a cassette of a four-song mix session that I was involved with in 1979. It was for a great local band called “Lost Angeles.” At that time I was working for a company called Express Sound, which was a rather amazing business that built recording studios for many high profile musicians in the Los Angeles area.

One week we had the famous Haji Recording truck in for some maintenance. The Haji truck has a huge history in rock & roll music, having been part of 20 Gold albums and a handful of Platinum. I was in awe when it showed up. The details of how this next move came about are a bit fuzzy but my friend and co-worker Chris and I decided that it would be fun to “borrow” it for the weekend and record Lost Angeles at a little bar in Newport Beach. I still can’t believe that we got away with it-you’d think that my purchase of several rolls of very expensive two inch recording tape late Friday might have tipped off my boss. That, and asking for the keys to the truck.

Anyhow we did the recording and it was a blast. One of the players in the band was a guy named Gary Morse. Gary played pedal steel and pretty much stole the show every night. In the “it’s a small world department,” Gary and I had gone to high school together in Birmingham, Michigan. While my friends and I were banging out Stooges songs, Gary was playing Hank Williams. Really well. He and I didn’t hang out much back then but did reconnect via Lost Angeles once both of us moved to Southern California.

After this recording, and as things tend to go, Gary went his way and I went mine. I knew he had become an in-demand session player in Nashville and was touring with Brooks & Dunn. I was busy with my career but always had it in my mind to reconnect. So when I found this cassette with him playing on it I thought it was time to look him up.

I found out that Gary did endorsements for Eminence speakers, so during this past NAMM show I walked over to their booth. Sure enough, there was Gary dressed in black, wearing a cowboy hat playing the heck out of a pedal steel guitar for the onlookers.

As I was listening, I heard a voice that sounded familiar say my name. I turned and it was Pat Quilter, who was dressed head to toe in buckskin like some kind of grizzled fur trapper.  I used to work for him at QSC Audio and he’s an interesting guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got the utmost respect for Pat and he was there to hear Gary as it turned out. But I had to laugh thinking that I am standing here listening to a guy dressed like John Wayne from Birmingham, Michigan and talking to a guy dressed like Kit Carson from Laguna Beach, California. And loving every minute.

My point to all of this is, keep your head reasonably clear and your stories and memories churning. There should be a depth or soul to what we do and you don’t want to miss out on any of it.