I have many memories of recording this song. I had a blast overdubbing Mark Egan at Rob’s studio in New York. He was a perfect choice and I think this was pretty much a first take for him. But I suppose my favorite was the session with Jeff Porcaro, who came in at the very end for some drum overdubs.
For one thing, he was so cool to work with. I didn’t know Jeff, but he had worked a bit with Dan Garcia, my engineer, and Dan booked the date. Dan told Jeff we didn’t have much money left in my budget and Jeff agreed immediately to play for single-scale. Some of the jivest musicians I’ve met in LA charge triple-scale, sometimes for perverse reasons I won’t go into. I’ve always thought it said something special about Jeff – who by that point was a living legend among musicians – how generous he was and how he didn’t put money above music.
It’s often a very hard thing knowing what kind of direction to give a player. In my experience, it’s the exceptional player who is capable of listening to the lyrics in addition to everything else. I recall I was telling Jeff a bit about the architecture of the lyrics and of how, among other things, there was an emotional payoff at the beginning of the third verse that needed to be supported by the music. Years later it still cracks me up recalling the utterly distant look he gave me, as if to say “why don’t you just do what you do and let me do what I do, OK?” And as it turned out Jeff wanted to try this set of high-pitched drums he called “dragon drums” on that part of the song. I wasn’t overly keen on them but I kept my mouth shut. I kept them out of the mix afterwards until just before mixing, when I listened to them again and thought “hey, maybe those dragon drums sound kind of cool.” Now I can’t imagine the song without them.