Interview with Doug Pomeroy
[Conducted in March 2004]
March sees the 21st Anniversary of Cookie Puss so in recognition of this we decided to interview the engineer for the project, Doug Pomeroy, so he could shed some light on the release.
What was your role during the recording/mixing process?
I simply told Adam Yauch I had the keys to the studio since I was working there, and we could go in on a weekend and use it. Which we then did.
Did you give the Beastie Boys any advice or direction throughout the development of the project?
Are you kidding? I had no idea what to expect, and I just "went with the flow". I didn't contribute anything until it came to the re-mixing.
What was Celebration studio like back in March of 1983? To the best of your knowledge is it still around today?
It was a commercial jingle studio! A twenty-four track studio with pretty good equipment (Studer) but the worst drum booth in the entire world. It's been gone for many years. It was at 2 West 45th Street, NYC.
Three different tracks (+ an edit of Cooky Puss) found their way onto the Cooky Puss 12". Do you recall any other material that was recorded at Celebration nearly making the release?
All I know is that there were a few other things recorded. That's all I can say.
Adam Horovitz had just recently been added to the group when Cooky Puss was recorded. In your opnion, was there creative cohesion right from the start?
Well "creative cohesion" sounds a bit academic. They were wild and crazy, having a really good time being nutty. I didn't know Horowitz had been recently added to the group; I assumed they were all old friends. Kate was still the drummer at that time.
Were you at all involved with the lawsuit that the Beastie Boys filed against British Airways (for the use of Beastie Revolution in a British Airways commerical)? Was the case settled out of court fairly fast...or did it drag on over several years?
Yes indeed, I was involved. And, no, it did not drag on for years. The Beasties gave me one fourth of the award, since I gave the lawyers a tape which absolutely proved British Airways had used the Beastie's recording. I put the commercial on one channel of a cassette tape (heavily edited), and the Beastie's record on the other track, and syncronized them perfectly. That cassette won the case, out of court: it proved conclusively what had been done. Creating the cassette was a a huge job, since the studio in England had made MANY small edits to disguise what they had done. But I was eventually able to reproduce (undo) all their edits. I must have used my computer for the editing, but I'm not sure.
What do you recall about how the song "Cooky Puss" was originally created? Were you surprised with its popularity and the buzz it created?
I'm positive the recording was completely spontaneous, without any pre-planning whatsoever. The studio had a phone line which could be patched directly to any track on any of the tape recorders. I must have told them this because don't think they would have know about it otherwise. What made Horowitz think of calling up Carvel to order an ice cream cake, I'll never know! But he did it, and it was all recorded without any edits. They also had a Steve Martin comedy Lp and did some scratching on it - it's funny I don't remember excctly where the turntable was, but I know one of them did some scratching (which I may have edited - can't remember).
I thought "Cooky Puss" was a great piece of confrontational and politically incorrect comedy, and I loved it. It did not surprise me that it became popular and "made their reputation". When we mastered the 12" single, I requested the disc cutting engineer to compress the sound grossly, as a kind of joke, to make fun of over-compressed records generally. The Beasties didn't ask for that, but they evidently liked it ok.