info from paul buff (conversation with patrick neve)

date: mon, 16 mar 1998

r.e. your overdubbing from one mono machine to another - that's what caused me to built the infamous 5-track recorder at pal. i got tired of the degradation and lack of control from bouncing and put together what i could at the time - 5 tracks on 1/2" tape, using off-the-shelf tape heads. later, at original sound, a 10 track recorder evolved.

i glanced at the updated timeline - a few things missing: incense and peppermints (and all other strawberry alarm clock songs), green eyed lady  and other sugarloaf songs. my stuff: 1964 "tijuana surf" the hollywood persuaders (all me) (zappa's "grunion run" (all zappa) on the flip side. tijuana surf was #1 on billboard and cashbox for 10 continuous months (1964), with the beatles "i want to hold your hand" a meager #2. "drums a go go" again all me as the hollywood persuaders (1966/67) became american bandstand theme for over a year. while not a big hit in usa, drums a go go (as a cover record by sandy nelson (teen beat - liberty records) has become some sort of classic in europe. i have received close to $100,000 in bmi royalties over the years (still do) from performances of this. recently, my original version was used in "natural born killers", and is on the soundtrack cd. "pipeline" by the chantays was the subject of a big ripoff. myself, together with a san bernardino disc jockey developed, arranged and produced the original chantays recording, only to see them take our work to others (downey records??) where they rerecorded our work and stole it. (as minors - their contract with us was not enforceable - we lost). similar things happened with wipeout.

to my recollection, the run home slow soundtrack did not use the pomona valley symphony - they were hollywood studio musicians, i believe. i did the recording at original sound, with zappa producing and directing.

real quickly - we (myself, frank zappa, ronnie williams, dave aerni and occasionally john fisher) got a couple of records released on capital or other labels via this scam: we would press a couple hundred copies on one of our label names (emmy, vigah, etc) and place them in san bernardino record stores on consignment. we would then get some disc jockey friend to play it a few time on the air. we knew the station called all the record stores at noon on fridays, so we would go in at 10am on friday and anonymously buy all our own records (maybe 50 or so). when the station called, the stores would report great sales, and we would end up like #38 on the chart with a bullet!. monday morning, we headed for hollywood to promote the news that we had an emerging hit in san berdoo. the a&r guy would call the station where he would hear "yeah, this record's taking off". we would pick up $500 or $1000 advance, with which to support our music habit for a few more weeks. the record company would rush out the release, which would then typically flop!

i wasn't aware of dick barber - aka the snorker, and have to take full credit for myself being the godfather of snorks and other such early zappa noises.

jessie lee songs and ray collins' 'fountain of love' were produced around the same time in cucamonga. either one could have been first. nevertheless, i played the "fuzz bass on both" (zappa loved the sound - i thought it was just ugly noise). in all fairness, though, i think the real original was on an old jim reeves song (put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone?? or similar).

allison buff was my first wife (1964). she, in fact, was a waitress at the cucamonga maltshop and recorded a lot of things at pal, both with me and with frank. allison had a great memory for music and harmony and a pretty good voice. frank had her written into his teenage opera - which never was realized. neat thing about frank - you didn't have to be a super talent for him to want to work with you. he heard the same sort of amateur spark i have talked about in many people (such as myself and allison) and accepted what you did without requiring greatness - just funk or whatever else he heard.

when allison and i got married and i got the gig with art laboe at original sound, i let zappa use the studio for several months, then sold it to him for a little bit of money, his old drums set, his vibes and his jazzmaster guitar (which was later stolen from me at original sound). after i moved to hollywood i really didn't have much contact with zappa, except for bailing him out of jail upon his infamous porn arrest. we remain very good friends til his death, and he always expressed a great deal of credit toward me - an expression i was always extremely honor to receive.

long term, i have probably gotten more meaningful notoriety from my association with zappa - properly so when one considers his stature.  honestly, i have gotten a lot more credit (and money) for my later work as an audio designer/manufacturer and photo lighting designer/manufacturer than from any on my music work.

i have never received a royalty from delfi or from anyone else except original sound and bmi  from any of my music. i reminded delfi that royalties would be in order when i help with the liner notes.

yes - there were two pal studios. the first was at 8020 archibald and was next to an elderly italian family, though in a business district. there was a constant war about the late-night noise which ultimately led to my moving up the street to 8040, with the help of the landlord (carl massingale) who owned both buildings. it is my understanding, from kent crowley, that massingales ex wife used bricks from the 8040 pal to build a home in cucamonga later.

thanks for your interest - i always enjoy this stuff and am happy someone is interested.