Roll Tape

IMG_4949This is what was said for many years in the recording studios of New York and L.A., London, the old Caribou Ranch Studios, the studios of Seattle where Grunge Rock was born.

“Roll tape.”

The phrase, for those of only the digital age, was meant to begin recording, on “tape”—magnetic reels of analog “tape”—and to capture everything, all of it, and don’t turn off the recorder until it’s done, all-the-way done.

We are “rolling tape” in Chicago—the production days for the audiobook of Walk with Sam. Several hours and then several hours again. I’ve recorded audiobooks before, and although I am far from a voice actor, I am a broadcaster and that does make things a bit easier. Still, recording your written words in a listenable fashion is always a process. And reading out loud has the author questioning his prose. It happens every time. No matter how many times I have written, shaped, and read aloud this manuscript in the editing process, the words are always suspect.

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But in the end, I think it is all there. And it is listenable. Or it will be. My producer and engineer, Nick, is more than competent. He’s an artist. Easy to work with. Fast and smart. He is making the work feel like play. It should feel like play, right?

Sam, however, is not with me in the studio. That would be an issue. She’d want to play and if she had one of those squeaky toys of hers, well, that would probably not work out inside a recording booth. But she is with me in spirit. Certainly, she is.


Walks with Sam, the paperback, will be out in September from John Hunt Publishing/Roundfire Books, UK. The audiobook will accompany it. You will find the recording at Audible and Amazon. The paperback there too, along with bookstores, of course, all those great independents. You can check it out for pre-order HERE.

After the session today, when I arrive home, Sam will be waiting. I’ll tell her about my session and how she is part of this audio endeavor, in fact, I’ll tell her she is the star because she is. She’ll like that.

For now it’s back to the studio.

“Roll tape!”


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