Podcast interview at fancy facility
Today, a rainy Tuesday, I went to Lakehouse Recording Studios in Asbury Park to tape an interview for an upcoming podcast about boxer and Civil Rights advocate Muhammad Ali that I believe will be titled “Ali in Me” (Treefort Media). It is being co-hosted by Lonnie Ali, widow of the athlete, and veteran sports journalist John Ramsey, a close friend of the Ali’s. I had a nice experience speaking with them about the time — way back in 1971, when I was 12 — that I interviewed Ali in his Cherry Hill home for my grammar-school newspaper. (This was recently reported about by Celeste E. Whittaker in The Courier Post).
As I get more info about when the podcast will premiere, I’ll let y’all know. In the meantime, I just wanted to share some photos I took today of Lakehouse Recording, a lovely, well-appointed facility. My brother Brian is a “gear freak” — he’s all about guitars, amps, recording equipment and such — so I knew he’d want me to grab some shots. Brian and our lifelong friend Tom were with me at Ali’s home on that fateful Sunday afternoon/evening in 1971.
P.S.: Are you still reading this? There’s a surprise at the bottom of the post.
This is the room I recorded in. I felt right at home around these beat-up old Fender amplifiers.
Look closely, and you’ll see a person in this photo of one of the studios. She is Genevieve, a terrific pro. She coordinated with two other studios (one in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky) for the podcast recording, and set me up with a mic and headphones. While testing the audio, I realized I had a problem. Thanks to all that recording I’ve done with Brian over the years, I was able to identify and describe it succinctly. I told her: “Genevieve, I’m getting some delay, and it’s throwing me off. Could you …?” She zapped it in an instant.
Speaking of feeling at home: Man, did I dig seeing this framed still from Michelangelo Antonioni‘s “Blow-Up” (1966) hanging in the lounge. The photo is perfectly complemented by the black-and-white, retro-print wallpaper.
Here’s the lounge. I highly recommended “Blow-Up” to Genevieve. I swear that glass table and the black-and-white chairs are in Antonioni’s movie somewhere.
Here’s a novel way to store and display your guitars. (Me, I only own three guitars. But as for Brian …)
Oh, man, check out all those sweet hollow-bodies! I have a Gretsch Electromatic that Brian picked out for me in, it must have been, 2006. I just wanted to George Harrison it, ya know? I still play it most every day.
Some sweet Gibson SGs with some Fender Stats in the back, I reckon. I will confirm with my brother.
Another spotless studio at Lakehouse.
Drums at the ready.
One exterior view of Lakehouse Recording Studios.
Another exterior view of the facility.
The studio’s view of the lake in “Lakehouse”: venerable Wesley Lake, which borders Asbury and Ocean Grove.
It’s been 50 years since I interviewed Muhammad Ali. I’ve never shared the audio with “the world” before. I still have the cassette tape, which long since became brittle and unplayable. It’s just a memento now.
But some time in the late 1990s, Brian converted it to MiniDisc, which is now an outmoded format. Today — on this very day — just before I left to do the podcast, Brian called to say he located the MiniDisc of the Ali interview, converted it to an MP3, and emailed it to me.
So here goes. I’m 63. What do I got left — 20 years, tops? It’ll die with me if I don’t put it out there. So today’s the day.
Some conversation at the beginning of the interview was inaudible, so Brian edited that out. The quality is not so hot. What’s left of the interview is just under 3 minutes. (I knew it was short. When asked over the years, I had guessed the interview went for 10 minutes.)
The final question-and-answer is the most inspirational, I believe. When I asked Mr. Ali if he had any advice for the children of Holy Rosary School, he began, “Just get your education, and automation is taking over today.” (Imagine knowing that 50 years ago. Twice I was laid off thanks to automation! Why, why, why didn’t I listen?)
Anyways … please enjoy. And thanks again, Mr. Ali. You’re the Greatest.