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Eric Clapton
The Forum
Inglewood, CA
August 14, 1975
Mike Millard Original Master Tapes via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 33

Recording Gear: AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder

Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassettes > Yamaha KX-W592 Cassette Deck > Sony R-500 DAT > Analog Master DAT Clone > Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 > Sound Forge Audio Studio 13.0 capture > iZotope RX6 > iZotope Ozone 6 > Peak Pro 6 > FLAC

01 Layla
02 Further On Up The Road
03 Knocking On Heaven’s Door
04 Carnival
05 Can’t Find My Way Home
06 Tell The Truth
07 Stormy Monday
08 Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
09 Teach Me To Be Your Woman
10 Badge
11 Eyesight To The Blind

Known Faults:
None

Introduction to the Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Series

Welcome to JEMS’ Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone series presenting recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin done in and around Los Angeles circa 1975-77. For the complete details on how tapes in this series came to be lost and found again, as well as JEMS' long history with Mike Millard, please refer to the notes in Vol. One: www.dimeadozen.org :: EzTorrent v0.7.0r495 :: Login.

Until 2020, the Lost and Found series presented fresh transfers of previously unavailable first-generation copies made by Mike himself for friends like Stan Gutoski of JEMS, Jim R, Bill C. and Barry G. These sources were upgrades to circulating copies and in most instances marked the only time verified first generation Millard sources had been directly digitized in the torrent era.

That all changed with the discovery of many of Mike Millard’s original master tapes.

Yes, you read that correctly, Mike Millard’s master cassettes, long rumored to be destroyed or lost, have been found. Not all of them but many, and with them a much more complete picture has emerged of what Millard recorded between his first show in late 1973 and his last in early 1992.

The reason the rediscovery of his master tapes is such a revelation is that we’ve been told for decades they were gone. Internet myths suggest Millard destroyed his master tapes before taking his own life, an imprudent detail likely concocted based on the assumption that because his master tapes never surfaced and Mike’s mental state was troubled he would do something rash WITH HIS LIFE’S WORK. There’s also a version of the story where Mike’s family dumps the tapes after he dies. Why would they do that?

The truth is Mike’s masters remained in his bedroom for many years after his death in 1994. We know at least a few of Millard’s friends and acquaintances contacted his mother Lia inquiring about the tapes at the time to no avail. But in the early 2000s, longtime Millard friend Rob S was the one she knew and trusted enough to preserve Mike’s work.

The full back story on how Mike’s master tapes were saved can be found in the notes for Vol. 18 Pink Floyd, which was the first release in our series transferred from Millard’s original master tapes:


Eric Clapton, The Forum, Inglewood, CA, August 14, 1975

We continue our excavation of the Millard vault with another one of his most famous recordings: Eric Clapton at The Forum, August 14, 1975. This recording has been bootlegged many times on titles like The Legendary LA Forum Show, Stormy Monday Blues and Further On Up The Road. Prior to our expansion of known Millard work, it was one of the shows long attributed to him, though there are also torrents out there that mislabel the recording as a soundboard, a testament to the quality of Mike’s pull.

The show is also famous independent of Mike’s tapes because of special guest stars. Carlos Santana opened shows on this tour and came out for the encore on most if not all nights, but this time he is joined by Joe Cocker and Keith Moon, who both “played” percussion. That and the long bootleg history of the show have made it a favorite with many fans. Though only 11 songs, it is a spirited performance that finds Clapton in fine form and spirits. Highlights include “Layla,” “Tell The Truth,” the storming “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?” and a fantastic version of “Badge.” As for the guests, let’s just say the idea of them playing is more compelling than the actual event, but it is fun just the same.

Mike was a major Clapton fan, first recording him at Long Beach Arena in 1974 (his inaugural show in partnership with Jim R) and continued to tape him in the ‘90s.

Though to my ears there’s no mistaking this for a soundboard tape, as Jim notes below, Mike was recording close to the stage and the recording has that up-closeness that is a hallmark of his best work. Auditioning some of the extant sources, this transfer is a major upgrade. Whereas Mike’s Pink Floyd ’75 original cassettes took a great recording and made it a touch greater, the Clapton case is more like someone cleaning a layer of grime from a master painting. There is richness and detail here that simply cannot be heard on the higher generation sources previously circulated. If you liked this recording before, you’re really going to love it now. There is a bit more hiss present than on some other Millard masters, but rather than run noise reduction we’ve left it intact to maintain the integrity of Mike’s original recording. Samples provided.

Here’s what Jim R recalled about the Clapton show:

I attended the Eric Clapton concert with Mike Millard on August 14, 1975. It was at the The Fabulous Forum. We sat 2nd row center on the floor.

The concert took place about a month after the Stones played five nights at The Forum, which puts us squarely in the Wheelchair Era. I pushed Mike into the building in the wheelchair and we used the service elevator to get down to our floor seats. During the show, the folded-up wheelchair was safely tucked away next to the stage.

Sitting second row center is the front edge of our "sweet spot.” We were definitely picking up the well-mixed stage monitors along with the main PA. This results in a particularly ”sweet" recording. My pictures turned out rather good, too. What helped was Eric choosing not to hide behind dark glasses like he had on the ’74 tour. We could see his eyes.

However, sitting that close to the stage does have its drawbacks. The stage lighting at times would fall on us and reflect off the microphone heads peeking out of Mike's hat. They appear as two silver discs shining on top of his head. Not good! I kept a close eye on the microphone heads for Mike and would indicate to him when to tuck them back in. The mic bodies were almost as long as the hat so it was a common occurrence.

Clapton's band was tight and the two female backup singers (Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy) were a lovely addition. Another bonus: guest appearances by Carlos Santana, Keith Moon and Joe Cocker for the last handful of songs. Moon was definitely "feeling no pain" and received a corresponding introduction by EC (listen closely).

I hope you enjoy Mike’s recording and my photos. Looking back, as a big Clapton fan since the Cream days, this is one of my favorite Millard recordings of all time.

###

JEMS is proud to partner with Rob, Jim R and Barry G (who can be heard on this tape yelling in Mike’s microphone somewhat inappropriately) to release Millard's historic recordings and to help set the record straight about the man himself.

We can’t thank Rob enough for reconnecting with Jim and putting his trust in our Millard reissue campaign. He kept these precious tapes under wraps for two decades, but once Rob learned of our methods and stewardship, he agreed to contribute the Millard DATs and cassettes to the program.

As always, tip o’ the microphone-hiding hat goes to our post-production supervisor mjk5510. He is is an essential piece of our production workflow and we thank him for his continued service.

In these unprecedented times we will continue to put more music in your hands and ears while everyone is bunkered in.

Please stay positive, help your neighbors, help strangers and let’s get to the other side of this intact. Better still, make a donation to a food bank or other key support organization helping out those who are struggling even more than you are to get by.

Lastly, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work never ceases to impress. May he rest in peace.

BK for JEMS


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