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Which would you prefer in your studio, Flood or Drought?

A post by David Mellor
Thursday January 27, 2005
Here's a story from recording myth and legend. A long time ago in a session with The Cure, it was noticed that one of the assistant engineers (called tape-ops in those days), was particularly eager to replenish cups of tea and coffee. In fact hardly had a cup left the producer's lips when a fresh one was supplied
Which would you prefer in your studio, Flood or Drought?

Here's a story from recording myth and legend. A long time ago in a session with The Cure, it was noticed that one of the assistant engineers (called tape-ops in those days), was particularly eager to replenish cups of tea and coffee. In fact hardly had a cup left the producer's lips when a fresh one was supplied.

In contrast, the other assistant was notably slow in this regard. The producer, engineer and musicians found themselves parched, and having to ask for refreshment rather than it just turning up.

So Cure frontman Robert Smith cleverly named the two assistants respectively 'Flood' and 'Drought'. Just a bit of fun, but telling nonetheless.

Flood, real name Mark Ellis, went on to a brilliant career in engineering and production with credits including U2, Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Whatever became of Drought, no-one knows.

Just a fun story perhaps, but indicative of what it takes to be a good assistant engineer, and what is expected in professional recording studio etiquette, on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you do know what happened to Drought, please let us know...

Producer Mark Freegard has responded to the above article as follows:

It was not Robert Smith of The Cure who christened Flood (and Drought) but Chris Tsangarides (produced Gary Moore 'Parisienne Walkways' amongst others).

It is true that The Cure were working at Morgan Studios at that time on their debut album (with Mike Hedges) and undoubtedly Robert called Flood 'Flood' as we all did. Chris Tsangarides was a house engineer and a very funny man on sessions and was constantly thinking of new ways to wind up fresh faced tea boys.

This included ridiculous constant requests for tea and bacon sandwiches from the infamous Morgan bar. Flood was very happy to keep running for anything Chris demanded and alas Drought was nowhere to be seen.

It's my recollection that Flood and Drought had identical names - Mark Ellis - and therefore Chris considered it necessary to invent new names for them.

I understand Drought went on to be a house engineer at The Marquee Studios and was involved in some way in the production or engineering of Katrina and The Waves' 'Walking On Sunshine'.

A post by David Mellor
Thursday January 27, 2005 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)
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