Meet the Bakers: Craig Anderton

If you want to know about me, including multiple probably surprising facts, One Louder magazine did a pretty comprehensive interview just before I joined Gibson. In fact I’m surprised I was asked to participate in “Meet the Bakers,” because I’m really just an honorary baker…but apparently all these software guys need someone with hardware experience to change light bulbs and fix the microwave, and that would be me. So we’ll just cut to the chase, and deal with the bullet points. Oh, and don’t forget to check out my latest music videos at http://www.youtube.com/thecraiganderton. It’s an eclectic collection, to say the least…from cover versions to French Antilles dance music to EDM to hard rock to a live ambient performance written as a sleep aid for my daughter.

Doing a festival gig with Brian Hardgroove from Public Enemy, as the hard rock two-piece EV2. Eddie Kramer called us “The Black and White Stripes.” I’m quite sure he considers me the white one.

Musical heroes: Jimi Hendrix, J.S. Bach, John Coltrane, Trent Reznor, Buddy Holly, Miles Davis, Jimmy Page, Wes Montgomery…for DJs I still think Armin Van Buuren is great for trance, and Carl Cox for the harder stuff. For beats I’ve never heard anyone better than Dr. Walker.

DJing with DJ Russ Reign. I love playing with people who are good on turntables.

Years at Cakewalk: Been using Sonar since 2000…does that count?

Favorite movies: Idiocracy, The Empire Strikes Back, Metropolis, Bladerunner (for the message, not just the effects), Spinal Tap, The Matrix Reloaded

Hanging around in Shanghai, a very cool city

Instruments: Guitar, keyboard, vocals, blues harp

Favorite TV shows: I actually don’t own a TV—time watching TV is time not spent making music. Besides, there’s a reason they call it “programming”…

Superpower: I’d love the ability to fly without American Airlines getting in the way.

Onstage in Cologne, Germany with Dr. Walker and Rei$$dorf Force

Random facts: Because the interview I linked to above has a bunch of random facts, I figured a few Bedtime Stories from Uncle Craig might be more fun (“Tell us about the 60s again, Uncle Craig, when musicians could actually make money playing music!!”).

  • I met Jimi Hendrix in New York when he was still Jimmy James. Our paths crossed later when he was recording Electric Ladyland, and we had the sessions booked after him. He always ran over, but I was not about to complain about the opportunity to watch him work. Chris Wood from Traffic would often be there…he and the rest of Traffic saw us at Steve Paul’s The Scene when we played New York.
  • Shel Talmy (who produced the Who and the Kinks) was working on Mandrake’s third album and saw my synthesizer (this was 1969, so they weren’t very common). He looked unapprovingly and said “what’s that…box?”
  • Gail Zappa brought Moon Unit backstage when she was only six months old. The next time I saw her, she was doing a host thing on MTV…time really does fly.
  • We were playing JFK stadium in Philadelphia with Pink Floyd, right after David Gilmour had replaced Syd Barret. In the middle of their set, a giant lighting storm kicked in and it started pouring. They were caught on stage, and it’s truly amazing they survived. I ran into Nick Mason, their drummer, many years later and he still remembered that gig…not sure how anyone could forget it, actually.
  • A really sad moment was when we opened for Janis Joplin, and Big Brother had played an incredible set—Janis’s performance was stunning. She came offstage, put her hand on my shoulder, and asked “Was I any good?” I was shocked. I said “Can’t you tell?!?” and pointed to the audience. I couldn’t believe she was that insecure after the adulation the audience heaped on her. What a loss.
  • Martha Davis of the Motels had a gig testing effects which I had designed, and she was the best ever—she didn’t use any test equipment, just ran her fingers over the circuit boards and listened. One day she came in an said “Craig, I’m going to move to LA, start a band, and become famous.” And she did. Martha has always been totally cool.
  • I loved gigging at electronic dance music clubs in the 2000s with Dr. Walker. There’s nothing quite like playing to thousands of Germans whacked out on ecstasy.
  • Bob Moog stayed over at my house for a couple days after his divorce, and we got into some pretty deep discussions. He was such a great guy…I think his massive contributions are taken for granted in this industry (“haven’t there always been lowpass filters, envelope generators, and pitch bend wheels?”). He hated signing synthesizers, but I talked him into signing a Minimoog I had restored. He wrote “To a monster musician”—and if you think that would be one of my very favorite possessions, you would be most definitely right.
  • One day I was having dinner at NAMM when someone came over to my table and said “Les Paul would like to talk with you.” Really!?!? It actually wasn’t a joke. He’d been at NAMM too, and was desperate to talk about electronics with a fellow solderhead. We later did a seminar together in Cleveland.
  • Speaking of solderheads, you’d be surprised how many people in this industry are solderheads. Randy Bachman, Wendy Carlos, Howard Leese, Larry Fast, Reeves Gabrels…also Tom Scholz is one of the few people I know who truly understands the near-magical distortion qualities of red LEDs. And yes, Henry Juszkiewicz is a solderhead…and yes, he really is a hardcore Sonar user. He makes some pretty cool music, but I think he’s shy about letting it out in the world. Some day he’ll take me up on my offer to master it for him.
  • Then there was the time the police were closing in on me in Jacksonville, Illinois (for something I didn’t do!), and Townes Van Zandt and I had to flee across the state line into Missouri…but that’s another story, for another time.

See you on the forums!

 


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Craig Anderton [Gibson]

Author/musician Craig Anderton has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major-label releases, authored dozens of books, and lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and 3 languages. Check out his latest music videos at http://www.youtube.com/thecraiganderton.

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