The Great Loring Read
Where did I get my interest in recording? From an audio engineer named Loring Read.
Loring was a giant, in my memory and in the green rolling chair that barely contained his 350 pounds. Grunting, sweating, he would wheel from one end of the control board to the other, tweaking dials and faders, pressing the talk-back, monitoring the metal reels as they spun. My father, an audio producer and one of Loring’s prized clients, sat next to him. Me? I was the kid in the corner, taking it all in.
Loring worked at Radio Recorders, a legendary Hollywood recording studio where the big stars went—Elvis Presley, Billie Holiday, Paul Frees, and on and on. In addition to my father’s modest projects, Loring’s jobs featured his own list of star clients: Orson Welles, Casey Kasem, Peggy Lee, Jonathan Winters.
A few years later, trained by my dad, I took his place in the client’s chair and got a closeup view of Loring at work. In those pre-digital days, editing meant splicing the tape with a razor blade—cutting it apart and reassembling it the way a surgeon might. Loring’s sausagelike hands, surprisingly graceful, would caress the tape, find the spot, and slice, usually at a 45-degree angle but sometimes, for tricky edits, on a more gradual slope. If I questioned him, he would flash me a smile and say, “Ron, always trust your doctor, your lawyer, and your engineer.”
Loring passed away a few years ago. Through my books, in my own small way, I’m trying to keep the memory of his world alive.