Hey Little Boy

Late in 1984, IC3 found themselves back at Crystal Sound, the legendary Hollywood recording studio where Andrew Berliner had built the first computerized mixer for Stevie Wonder to mix his music on. It was an incredible workspace, both sonically and visually. The massive recording desk was on a raised platform, beautifully lit, and so, SO many faders, knobs, dials, lights. It was like being at the helm of the Starship Enterprise and we reveled in it.

I wish I could tell you all the details about how we got in, where the cash came from, what we were trying to accomplish and how it all ended (unfinished!)…

but it was the 80’s! I don’t remember 🙂

What I do remember is this – on our first trip to Crystal eight months earlier, when we recorded I4C, we were green, somewhat intimidated by the grandeur and the history of the place; we trusted the engineer too much, didn’t really have the experience to get what we wanted in terms of sound. I remember thinking, “When does the point come where they flip the switch that makes it sound like an album?” It wasn’t until the final overdubs that I realized that if you want it hot, you’d better record it hot. You can’t “fix it in the mix” if it ain’t there to begin with. Wish I’d have known that a week sooner!

This time around, we had the swagger of seasoned pros; our EP had gotten a lot of airplay on KROQ (in spite of the, in my estimation, poor sound quality), our video had gotten some airplay; we had received demo money from EMI, we had the attention of the industry to a degree, and we’d done it all on our own – on a shoe string budget with no record label, no promotion staff, no music publishers. We owned 100% of IC3 and were knocking on the big door!

We also had great talent, with the addition of Durga McBroom on vocals; we had an awesome, new, Yamaha RX-15 drum machine and, most of all, we had what we all thought could be a great big hit song. And finally, very early in the Hey Little Boy sessions, we taught ourselves how to record. When engineer Normand Perbil would wander off on “a break”, or disappear for an hour to fight with his wife on the phone, we were able to keep the sessions going with terrific results.

To me, one of the things that set IC3 apart from the crowd a little bit was that, while we were clearly trying to catch the 80’s new wave lightning in the proverbial bottle, taking advantage of all the new technology coming out, and the fact that KROQ seemed to like us, our roots were steeped in blues, R&B, the swingin’ 60’s and acid guitar. There certainly weren’t a lot of screaming guitar solos on KROQ. With Hey Little Boy, we had a very 80’s sounding tune combined with a black/white, male/female vocal duet and some serious extended guitar pyrotechnics. I still believe, deep in my heart, that if I’d have had another two grand to finish this baby and get it properly mixed and mastered, this song would have been a smash.

Two final notes, for now:
This session also gave me a great moment to remember. My oldest friend in the world, Thomas MacElveny (aka Tommy Mac), was kind of IC3’s unofficial roadie. If we’d ever gotten our asses out on tour, Tommy was definitely gonna be the head of the road crew. And I’ll tell ya, the boy was one of the most comically uneducated guitar players I’ve never known; shit, he couldn’t tell you the names of half the chords he played, but he could solo like a mutha. Back in NYC, in the Barlow Sample days, he could play all of my solos pretty much note for note. We used to joke that one day, I’d sit in the audience and he could get up on stage and play my parts. Well, one night at Crystal, as we were finishing up the guitar overdubs, I handed Tommy my Strat and said, “Go for it, son”. He gave me that Tommy look for a second, but understood instantly that I was dead serious. I hit record and when he saw that red light go on, he dug in without hesitation and knocked it out of the park. At the 3:17 mark of this recording, you can hear Tommy crank it up and bro was ON!

I can also say, 30 years on… Deborah Beth – this song was for you! Girl, wherever your path took you, I hope it went well. And I hope that one day, I’ll once again be as wrapped around someone’s finger as I was around yours.

I just hope it ain’t you 🙂

I’m hoping that Durga, Blaid and Dizz will read this little blog post and send me their recollections of the HLB sessions. I’m sure it will jog my memory and put a smile on my face.

RIP, Tommy! You are missed every day.

 

Hey Little Boy
I grew up
Not fast, but fast enough to know
I’ve got a heart of glass
And I won’t let go

And she says, hey little boy, gonna build my world around you
That’s what she tells me
She says, hey little boy

I hold back
I keep a poker face, I won’t let it show
Too many things to do
So many girls I’d like to know

And she says, hey little boy, gonna build my world around you
She keeps on telling me that
She says, hey little boy
Hey little boy

Don’t ask me questions
I’m not prepared to take a test
If these are just suggestions
Don’t want to hear the rest

She says, hey little boy, gonna build my world around you
Sometimes I think that’s all she ever talks about
She says, hey little boy
Hey little boy

I just can’t stand it
It’s just no time to make a choice
I say you can’t demand
But then I hear that voice

It’s screaming, hey little boy, gonna build my world around you
And I get so confused
She says, hey little boy
Hey little boy

Hey Little Boy – words and music by Roman “JA” Cliff
©1984 Hannah’s Dad’s Music/Samsongs BMI

Performed by IC3:
Durga McBroom – lead vocals
Cliff – guitars, lead vocal, drum programming
J “Dizz” Astor – keyboards and vocals
Blaid Hareson – guitars and vocals
Special guest – Tommy Mac – guitar solo (starting at 3:17)

There were other folks, notably a guy who did drums fills, but I don’t remember his name or who else may have done a little this or a little that on this track!

Recorded at Crystal Sound – Los Angeles
Produced by Roman “JA” Cliff and IC3
Engineered by IC3 & Norman Perbil
Mixed by – never did get a chance to do a final mix 🙁  Someday…

IC3 w Durga and Tommy

              Cliff         Durga McBroom     J. “Dizz” Astor     Blaid Hareson        Thomas MacElveny

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