Eddie Kramer

JIMI HENDRIX – LED ZEPPELIN – KISS – THE BEATLES - The Rolling Stones - David Bowie - Santana

 

Eddie Kramer has such an astonishing pedigree that his career description reads almost like the history of rock ‘n roll itself. During the sixties and early seventies he was right at the heart of the birth of rock, when he worked with the likes of The Kinks, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Traffic, John Mayall, The Small Faces, and most of all, Jimi Hendrix—Kramer engineered all four albums released during the guitarist’s life, as well as five Led Zeppelin studio albums.

If this had been the sum total of Kramer’s achievements, he’d still be remembered as an important player in the early history of rock, but fortunately the engineer, mixer and producer did not stop there, instead carrying on to play a central role in the creation of seminal albums by the likes of Peter Frampton, Kiss, Derek and the Dominos, Mott The Hoople, John McLaughlin, Buddy Guy, Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, David Bowie, and Carlos Santana. All this has given Kramer iconic status. He remains active to this day, in the studio, but also as an educator and speaker, being involved in signature gear and plugin series, and nurturing young talent.

Eddie Kramer’s remarkable journey through the annals of rock began when he moved to London in 1961. Born nineteen years before in Capetown, South Africa, to art and music-loving parents, he began to play piano at the age of four, and later studied classical piano at the South African College of Music. After moving to London he recorded local jazz-groups in his home studio, and went on to work at Advision Sound Studio in 1962, and Pye Studios in 1963, where he recorded Petula Clark, The Kinks, and Sammy Davis Jr. Kramer opened his own KPS Studios, in 1964, which quickly became so successful that it was bought by Regent Sound, who then recruited Kramer to run the studio for them.

In 1966, Kramer moved to Olympic Studios, where he worked with many of the above-mentioned legendary names, most of all Jimi Hendrix. It was the connection with Hendrix that lured him to New York in 1968, where he worked at The Record Plant for a year, with the Seattle guitarist, as well as Joe Cocker, and many others. Kramer went independent in 1969, a move that saw him expanding into production, engineering and producing Johnny Winter’s and Carly Simon’s first albums, for example.  In that same year he recorded the Woodstock festival, with such spectacular results that he went on to become one of the leading live music engineers in the industry during the seventies and eighties.

Hendrix was one of several major artists who Kramer recorded at Woodstock, and during that time the guitarist also asked him to help him with setting up his ambitious Electric Lady Studios in New York. After Hendrix’s death in September 1970, Kramer continued to work at Electric Lady for another four years, working on albums by the likes of Zeppelin, Bowie, Peter Frampton and Carly Simon. After leaving Electric Lady, Kramer recorded a number of important live albums by bands like Zeppelin, The Stones and Kiss.

The eighties and nineties saw Kramer in action with acts like Anthrax, Twisted Sister, Alcatraz, Raven, Whitesnake, and Robin Trower. After the family of Hendrix gained control of the guitarist’s recorded works, in 1995, Kramer was asked to oversee the release of previously unreleased material, which to date has amounted to four studio albums, and several live and compilation albums.

The new millennium has seen Kramer in action on various fronts, working with Santana, John Mellencamp, Joey Santiago and Dave Lowering (ex-Pixies), and various less well-known up-and-coming artists and bands, producing several Hendrix tribute albums, and remixing, remastering, producing, and/or in other ways overseeing the release of boxed sets, compilations, and live recordings of a whole swathe of A-list artists, including Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Deep Purple, The Grateful Dead, Jock Cocker, Sly and the Family Stone, and many more.

In addition to all of the above, Kramer also has conducted a career as an accomplished photographer, many featuring the artists he worked with, and various pieces of Kramer signature gear have been released over the years. They include a new Hendrix FX Pedal by Digitech, as well as an ongoing collaboration with Waves, which has seen the Eddie Kramer Artist Signature collection of plugins, the Vintage PIE compressor, Helios EQ, and MPX Tape Simulator plugins.

Kramer has during the last twenty years also been very active as a lecturer and educator, appearing at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, the Conservatory of the Arts in Arizona, Columbia College in Chicago, Full Sail University in Florida, the Grammy Museum, the SAE Institute in Paris, and, of course, La Fabrique, where he conducted Mix With The Seminars in 2012 and 2013. These sought-after seminars offered participants unique and extraordinarily in-depth insights into Kramer’s engineering and production work on dozens of classic albums and his dealings with scores of legendary artists, as well as his views on technology and the state of the music industry today, and what lessons and approaches from the past continue to be indispensable today.

Text by Paul Tingen.

 

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2012 Session

Teaser – 2012 Session