AN EVENING WITH LES PAUL AT HIS LEGENDARY HOUSE OF SOUND
By Steven Acker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a teenager, I escaped the gravity of small-town Pennsylvania to build a career in the music business. I was a young man with big dreams. Never did I imagine that I would one day know and work with the finest musical artists in the world.

Few experiences loom larger in my memory than the evening I once spent at the New Jersey home of one of the world’s most celebrated inventors. No, not Thomas Edison and Menlo Park. I am talking about Jersey’s other inventive genius: the late, great Les Paul.

A Magical Mystery Tour

This is the story of that magical mystery tour. I could not have been more thrilled had Paul McCartney himself invited me to join the Beatles on that bus. For within the converted garage where Les Paul labored on his inventions so long ago were the priceless prototypes of technologies that would change the world. And it was the man himself who gave me the guided tour.

My road to Les Paul’s House of Sound in Mahwah, New Jersey originated at the legendary Record Plant in Manhattan. Owned and operated by my close friend and mentor, Roy Cicala, the Record Plant was managed for years by a colorful gentleman by the name of Paul Sloman.

 

Paul was a typical New York mover and shaker. Strikingly handsome and highly talented, Paul could charm the skin off a snake. In the heyday of New York recording studios, luring clients to the studio and keeping them happy was a critical task. His job was not unlike that of “player development officers” in today’s big casinos—to make the players so happy that they would never leave.

 

Paul Sloman Launches the Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Record Plant closed its doors in 1987. Paul took a job in Los Angeles managing A&M studios under the direction of Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. There, he continued to pamper and please some of the greatest recording artists in the world. A&M, like so many independent studios of the day, eventually came under corporate ownership—a move that did not particularly suit Paul Sloman’s independent ways. When Sony Studios in New York offered him a job, he jumped ship once again and headed back home.

Sony was the largest and most powerful studio in America, yet it gave Paul full reign to do his thing as only he could do it. Resuming his friendship with Roy Cicala, the two began to socialize. It was one of their frequent nights on the town that launched me on the road to Mahwah. 

Autumn in the City

 

 

It was autumn in the City. The air, crisp and clean, the streets teeming with New Yorkers enjoying the waning days of pleasant weather. Kids were back in school; stores were gearing up for the holidays. The energy of the streets permeated the air. There is no better libation in the world than New York City’s fall cocktail.

This was the setting for the night I met Les Paul. Paul Sloman invited me to attend Les’ weekly Monday night performance at Broadway’s Iridium Jazz Club.

NOTE TO COPY PRESS EDITORS:

I formatted this 500-page version of the original 5,000-word article before I fully understood the parameters of the assignment, but then reproduced it in the assignment window.

Hanti and Les Paul Cropped 2.jpg
Paul Sloman.jpg

Paul Sloman 2019

From the author's personal collection.

New York Autumn.jpg

From the author's personal collection.

Contact
Steven Acker
Warren, OH 44483

T: 412-557-2117

steve@steveacker.com

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