Mixing: David Live

A mixing session for David Bowie’s David Live album took place at Electric Lady Studios on 18 July 1974.

The album had been recorded at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, from 812 July. David Live was conceived by Bowie’s management company as a contractual fulfilment release, and a way to claw back some of the huge costs of the elaborate Diamond Dogs Tour.

David Live album cover

The in-house engineer at Electric Lady, Eddie Kramer, insisted on manning the mixing desk.

Since the console and the studio were alien to me, I felt Kramer should play an active role.

First we had to fix a few backing vocals and the backing singers were brought in to re-sing their parts; poor stage monitoring was the cause of this as the singers had a great deal of difficulty hearing themselves and the other performers. This took a day. Kramer proceeded to engineer the mixes the next day. This was a tough album to mix and Kramer’s habit of throwing back his head as he ‘played’ the mixing console like a concert pianist was a little overdone. The ’70s was a crazy decade, and ‘Cocaine is a hell of a drug’, as funkmaster Rick James said.

One day during the mixing of David Live, David and I stood side by side at urinals having a pee. The men’s room was crowded with a Latin American band recording in the next studio, taking a break. They were a really friendly bunch of guys, and recognized David instantly. As we were peeing two band members held a spoon of cocaine under our noses and insisted that we each have a toot before we finished peeing. Very decadent… very ’70s.

Tony Visconti
Bowie, Bolan And The Brooklyn Boy
Last updated: 25 May 2023
Live: Bushnell Performing Arts Center, Hartford
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