Book Review: The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader
by Matt Houghton
For a music
book, the title of this one certainly stands out from the crowd, and
its approach is equally refreshing. This book is apparently intended
to be read in the bathroom, because you can dip in and out of it, digesting
small sections at a time. However, if I limited myself to that usage,
I'd spend years in the bathroom, as I found I couldn't put it down!
Paul D Lehrman is a multi-talented guy: musician, composer, film-maker,
music technologist and, most importantly here, a writer. The Insider
Audio Bathroom Reader is a collection of a decade's worth of his musings
on the industry in the pages of Mix magazine, covering a period
of massive change and significant world events. At times you wonder
where he's heading, but at the end of each article, you find yourself
feeling that little bit more enlightened about music and often life
more generally. His style is distinctive and he travels along some delightful
tangents. As with the best books, you're not just enjoying the author's
opinions but feel as though you're being taken inside his head and are
seeing the world from his perspective. There's plenty of humour (including
one of the best collections of guitarist/ drummer/ vocalist/ [insert
other musician here] jokes I've seen.
not all lighthearted: the book is designed both to entertain and to
educate, and there are some excellent factual articles exploring issues
such as aural health, as well as various practical tips. He also explores
many of the big issues facing the music business: the endemic nature
of post-modernism in modern pop music, or the 'loudness wars' in mastering,
for example. He also takes time out to reflect on 9/11 and other non-audio
issues that seemed to touch him personally, such as the passing of Douglas
satirical and beautifully crafted, this refreshing book reveals
Lehrman to be something of a Swift of the audio world and the fruits
of his decade's labour form one of the best books I've read in a
long time. If you ever feel as though you're being suffocated by
a huge, commercial, inaccessible audio industry, this book will soon
help you put the world to rights. I can't recommend it highly enough!
by Geary Yelton
more than a decade in print and straight from the pages of Mix,
Paul Lehrman's monthly “Insider Audio” column is arguably
that magazine's most popular read. It's almost inevitable, then, that
Thomson Course Technology PTR (www.courseptr.com) would compile the
best of those columns into a book.
Insider Audio Bathroom Reader ($24.99) is filled with insightful
interviews, humorous anecdotes, heartfelt eulogies, questionable speculation,
adamant opinions, and plenty of jokes about musicians. The 430-page
anthology delivers an entertaining romp through the audio industry
as seen from many angles, virtually all of them skewed by Lehrman's
unique outlook. Beginning with a hilarious foreword by the Firesign
Theatre's Phil Proctor, The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader tackles
subjects ranging from politics and social issues to software upgrades
and vintage recording gear, complete with new introductions and updated
commentary by the author.
room in your bathroom's magazine rack for this one...
By Scott B. Metcalfe (Director, Music Production and Technology, The
Hartt School, University of Hartford ), January
For more than a decade Paul Lehrman has become a fixture in the field
of audio and music technology. His monthly column in Mix magazine
has become a must-read for many audio professionals, myself included.
When I first heard about the book I thought: What could possibly be
in there that I haven't seen already? Turns out quite a bit! Other than
the months in recent years that, regrettably, I've missed the column,
and those in Paul's earlier days with Mix that I wasn't the regular
reader that I would later become, the book also contains articles that
were never published -- some that were a bit too "colorful"
for a family oriented magazine such as Mix, unabridged versions
of articles that were "abridged" for publication, and music
jokes you can file away for those lulls during recording sessions.
The bite-sized articles are perfect for those of us without a lot of
time for pleasure reading. If you have read Mix over the past decade
you will enjoy revisiting some of Paul's best work and even, perhaps,
be inspired by some of the topics Paul himself clearly gets excited
about. My personal favorite—which I didn't immediately recall
reading in Mix—is the article from May of 1999 written
after attending a lecture given by Sir George Martin at Berklee.
I recommend this book to anyone working in the music technology or audio
production fields. Every studio lounge needs to have a copy on the
coffee table! And every bathroom, well...you know.
just for the bathroom!,
By W. Holab (Brooklyn, NY), November 9, 2006
I was truly surprised by this book, both by the breadth of subjects that
Lehrman covers and how much insight he brings to the topics. Since he
writes for Mix Magazine I thought the book would be a bit heavy
on tech talk relating to pro audio. There is a fair amount of coverage
in that area, but also some wonderful gems like an interview with
Tom Lehrer, an article about George Martin, and objective discussions
about digital downloading and the problems associated with the ever-changing
landscape that seems to have brought down giant retailers like Tower Records.
A lot of time and care went into writing these essays and the book is
a must-read for anyone who works or is interested in music, technology,
or likes jokes about musicians that really make you groan!
THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT
INTO THE BOOK,
OR THE MOST RECENT
ONES? THEY'RE HERE…
Foreword…into the Past!, by Phil Proctor of the Firesign
• Introduction: Who is this Guy?/About the Jokes
• What We Do Makes a Difference — Whether We Believe
it or Not
• A Tale of Two Countries
• Vintage? You Don’t Know Vintage!
• Short Cycles: How Fast Can We Make People Buy Into New
• Careers from Hell
• Revisiting Tom Lehrer + extended interview
• A New York Minute: Grumpmeier Goes to AES
• Course Catalog for the Real World: In This School, You'll
Learn What Truly Matters
• I Had Nothing to Do with Titanic: But I've Had a Sync'ing
Saga All My Own
• In Memoriam: Three Pioneers of Electronics and Information
• My Favorite Vintages: Good Old Gear Doesn't Have to Cost
• A Personal Journey into the Heart of Darkness
• Recalling a Legendary Playpen: A Revisit with Bell Labs
• 04/01/Y2K: What Really Happened
• George Martin: Doing It on the Road
• Perils of the Free Market: Grumpmeier Goes Looking for
• Making the Most of Audio 101: An Address to the Incoming
Class of 2003
• It's a Large and Confusing World, After All: Dealing With
a Global Industry
• A Couple of Audio Moments: Fidelity Isn't Always in the
• How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Adventures in One of
• Great Concert Spaces
• Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This! Why You Should Be Worried
• Caught Napstering: Why We're Missing the Real Problem
with Digital Downloading
• Who Will Fix Our Stuff?
• Ask Grump: Advice from the Dean of Curmudgeons
• Morons, Oxymorons, and Technology Patents
• SMPTE-ed Off! Why we can't drop drop-frame
• RIP Douglas Adams
Living on Borrowed Culture
• Hardware, Software, Wetware
• I Ought to Have My Head Examined: Adventures in Ontological
• Insider Interview: Son of Grumpmeier
• The World Above 20kHz: What Are We Missing?
• The RIAA tires to outrun the hackers
• WAR STORIES: Readers' Reports from the Front Lines of
• Hacking and Hijacking: What's he building in there?
• Posting and Beaming into the Future: Grumpmeier Builds
His Dream Studio
• The Kids Are Alright: Learning from the Next Generation
• In the Shadows of Motown: You Know The Hits, Now See the
• Audio Products Go Wild! What You Won't See at AES
• Bungling In the Jungle: A Third-World Memoir
• In A Silent Way: Why is Everything So Loud?!?
• Alone Again, Virtually: The ups and downs of all-in-one
• A Law Unto Itself: Misusing the Legal System Hurts Us
• Out of the Garden: One Man's Trip to Woodstock
• Back to the Future: Ancient Tomb Reveals Low-Cost Audio
• A talk with John Chowning
• On the Road with Kronos: Chamber Music That's Eclectic
• Do You Hear What I Hear? Learning to Listen in a Mediated
• "Bikes, Harps, and Yo-Yos
• Teaching Engineers and Artists to Talk to Each Other"
• Tomorrows Musical Instruments and the NIME Conference
• To Preserve and Protect: The Library of Congress Gets
Busy with Our Recorded Heritage
• Marketing to Myself: The promise of the Web…the
reality of the business
• False Sense of Security: How Not to Get Caught in the
• Two Hearts: Do Musicians and Audiences Beat as One?
never before published:
• For the Benefit of Mr. Harrison
• A Ray Bradbury Moment
• Remembering Stephen St. Croix
YOUR COPY TODAY!