The Daily Adventures of Mixerman

PDF The Daily Adventures of Mixerman Hardcover – May 1, 2009

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Mixerman is a recording engineer working with a famous producer on the debut album of an unknown band with a giant recording budget. Mixerman is supposed to be writing about recording techniques, but somehow, through that prism, he has hit upon a gripping story. Like all great narratives, Mixerman's diary has many anti-heroes for whom we, the readers, can have nothing but contempt. The band consists of the four most dislikable human beings you can imagine. The singer is vain and pretentious. The guitarist is a serious depressive. The drummer is as "dumb as cotton," and the bassist is merely mean and petty, making him the only one that Mixerman can stand. All four of them hate each other's guts, and they haven't even been on tour yet. Mixerman takes you through the recording process of a bidding war band in over their heads with a famous record producer (also in over his head). Many find Mixerman's diary entries side-splittingly funny. Some find them maddening. And a select few feel they are the most despicable accountings of record-making ever documented.


Special thanks to: Fletcher Mercenary Audio John Piskora Deb Ferguson Philip Stevenson John Dooher Frank & Mary Dooher The entire Dooher Family for the use of Bungalow Island Don Put Peter Green David Wozmak Bo Sweeney Deborah Neville Peter Bunetta The entire team at Hal Leonard and Backbeat Books All my friends who make The Womb Forums possible & Mom Foreword by Philip Stevenson Editing by Mom and Polly Watson.


All literature is gossip,” offered Truman Capote, in the sly, able way that only someone who has mastered his own art form is allowed to get away with. While a flip remark initially, the quote itself has become more insistently true with the passage of time. Whether it’s the New York Times, Hunter Thompson, or Boswell’s Life of Johnson, we’re never quite sure who said what, who did what, or what really happened. Through all the complexities of reporting human existence, one thing is certain: All stories are true.

When news and entertainment decided to fully consummate their marriage sometime in the 1980s, we were faced with inconsiderable checks and balances. Like every other industry, the music business was left with few people to call it on its own excesses. Sure, entertainment had always been news—but news hadn’t always been entertainment. And, while the Beatles may have been as popular for their hair as for their music in the mid-’60s, it could be asserted that, in the mid-’80s, Madonna, while popular as a singer, was idolized for, well, being popular. Tenacity, not talent, had become the sine qua non of the modern entertainer.

By the time the Internet exploded into everybody’s living room, we had a bloom of self-appointed critics and experts, most of them dilettantes. No longer did you have to get published. You pushed a button and you were. Rants, blogs, and critiques were everywhere—right alongside porn, hobbyist newsgroups, and institutional forums for academic exchange. With the personal computer, the instant Norman Mailer was born.

Unfortunately, as is often the case of those who wallow in the blush of new technology, this new frontier of self-expression fostered mostly a dull, solipsistic bunch of drivel. People initially enchanted by the Web were rapidly disillusioned at how boring all that browsing could actually be. Every once in a while though, you get lucky. Enter Mixerman.

On July 27, 2002, the mysterious music insider, who had already gained a reputation for dispensing sound technical advice via Usenet, started chronicling the day-to-day goings-on of a recording he was making for a large record company. It was a little slice of the rock and roll dream—a young band promised stardom, a big budget, and a name producer. However, instead of the story we’d all heard about getting to the top, riding in limos, and being chased by throngs of screaming fans, this was something different. It had all gone terribly wrong. Not only had the wheels fallen off, but, as one delved further, one started to see the truth illuminated: This immethodical circus was not the exception. Perhaps it was the rule. Perhaps it always had been.

Industry professionals immediately identified with the empirical details, and the uninitiated were equally drawn in by this rubbernecking view of making records. There was clattering speculation as to the who, when, and where of it, but everyone knew Mixerman was not a poseur. To those who knew him personally, he was an established, respected professional. To those who didn’t, it was clear he was no Trojan horse.

By its fourth week, the diary was getting 25,000 hits a day and drawing attention from every stripe of the music business, as well as other bloggers, Internet junkies, and insiders. It was a phenomenon.

Being suspicious by nature, I got there a little late. Why the hell should I read what I already knew? When I did, I realized it wasn’t the usual safe Dennis Miller shill in the guise of rebellion. It was actually great. Dryly funny and, while the style was cocky, it completely lacked the shrill egoism to be some kind of boorish self-advertisement. Rather, one pictures, like any good diarist, Mixerman—a person thrust into an aesthetic situation that seemed too hard not to document. Is it satire? Perhaps. But Daumier and Lewis Carroll were satirists too—arming their point of view with the truth rather than spastically mocking their audience with rude invention.

The diary went on in fits and spurts, winding its way into subplots and then returning to form again. Abruptly, it ended on December 10, 2002, the final chapter never published.

In this book, for the first time, we now have the completed diary as God and Mixerman himself intended. The final chapter is here, too, for new readers, as well as the more than 140,000 Web readers who may have lost a night’s sleep here or there, wondering what became of their all-too-human, less-than-gifted cast of characters.

All stories are true. This one is no exception. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Of course, it doesn’t really matter. The old saw is that truth is stranger than fiction, but the best fiction distills the truth down to its most fiercely compelling attributes.

This is a book of both humor and truth, something rare, and independent of fact or fiction. Music of conviction and personality will always go on, but in this artistic end of days, where Jimi Hendrix is sold as nostalgia rather than art, and rock and roll, once rebellious, is so establishment that there’s a Les Paul in every doctor’s and lawyer’s closet; the music that a lot of us grew up on has been so mollified we can barely recognize it.

Rock and roll is dead. Consider this its autopsy.​
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