Eddie Kramer Talks Hendrix and Restoring the Historic El Mocambo Nightclub In Exclusive Interview for Produce Like A Pro

Eddie Kramer is as much a record industry historian as he is a storied engineer and producer. Apart from his work with such names as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, Mr. Kramer is also a wealth of knowledge about the music business’s beginnings, which were discussed at length here.

In this interview, Mr. Kramer recounts the origins of analog tape. Developed in wartime Germany and captured by an American soldier, the Germans’ advanced recording technology (in the form of Neumann microphones and BAFS tape machines) eventually led to the first Ampex tape machines in the US. Further revisions would yield portable Ampex machines—the same with which Les Paul pioneered multitrack recording. “If it weren’t for this guy, Les Paul,” Kramer remembers, “we wouldn’t actually be sitting here.”

Kramer has played a pivotal role in the record business and has become something of a living historical figure. His close working relationship with Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960s led to the construction of Electric Lady Studios in New York City—one of the first studios designed with a specific artist in mind. Kramer recalled the studio costing one million dollars (in 1970s money!), and Hendrix returning from tour with bags of cash to pay off their debts. At the time, Hendrix was spending around $300,000 a year for studio bookings, Kramer reminisced, so it made sense to have his own. Sadly, Hendrix spent only about a month using Electric Lady before his untimely death.

Kramer is also an archivist. His many candid photographs of artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s are acclaimed for their historical value in the rock community—some of which are a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life on the road.