Mark Egan – On Recording with Arcadia on their album So Red the Rose
I was fortunate to be asked to be a part of the Arcadia recordings. Arcadia was a project by members of Duran Duran, Nick Rhodes and Simon Lebon along with drummer Roger Taylor in 1985. The producer was Alex Sadkin whom I knew from my recording days in Miami Fla. at Criteria Recording studios. Alex also engineered a David Sanborn recording, The David Sandborn Band that I was a member of. It was during a recording session at Right track recording in New York while I was in recording a solo project and Alex was producing a Foreigner record that Alex asked me if I would be interested in recording a project with members of Duran Duran. A month later I was in Paris at Grand Armee’ studios and my participation involved 6 weeks of intensive recording sessions. Long time friend and drummer Steve Jordan was also playing drums on the session.
The instruments that I used on the sessions were my Pedulla 4 string fretless buzz bass, Pedulla 8 string fretless and my fender 1964 Jazz bass. The bass was recorded direct through tube direct boxes that were made in France. I used D’Addario strings, XL170s
The way that the sessions went down was:
Simon and Nick had some pre production themes on tape. We first listened to the basic ideas and talked about feel and form. I wrote out a basic chord chart and then we would start playing and come up with some grooves.
When things started coming together Alex would have the engineer, Larry Alexander, start rolling the Mitsubishi digital tape that was being recorded through an SSL board. We’d listen and comment then try other versions until we had a basic drum track to work with and possibly a bass part.
I would usually meet the producer, Alex and the engineer, Larry in the mid morning at the studio and I would overdub five or six possible complete bass parts for each song. Later in the day Simon and Nick would arrive and we’d go over the parts to find something that worked. One day Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts who were in Paris recording a Stones record came by the studio to hang and I had the great opportunity to play with Charlie.
It was a great experience recording the Arcadia project. I believe that it was re-released recently with a bonus track, which I haven’t heard yet.