Tributes to Gus from friends and colleagues
We’ve had so many technological things happen since Gus left. It’s hard to think back to all the technology that he didn’t have; this whole range of stuff that he would have absolutely loved. He was so keen on technology…going right back to the very first computer games — Pong and the like. He had that sort of thing in his studio (The Mill) all the time and he loved them.
Nothing compared to The Mill; arriving there was like arriving at Buckingham Palace, really. It was all plush. The carpet was about three inches deep. The recording lights were golden hands with torches and red flames and things. The whole thing was completely over the top and really exciting.
I thought Gus was the coolest bloke I’d ever seen. He had long, skinny legs and this fantastically expensive jacket with a fur collar and these amazing Elton John-type glasses. And he had a story for every occasion. He was very animated and fun and was very perceptive. When you were with Gus it was never boring. He’d done everything. He’d been everywhere. He’d done it all with Elton. But he was very easy to talk to and he would never let anybody talk themselves down. He was good fun and warm and interesting and he would make you laugh within ten minutes of meeting him.
Gus would work faster and faster as it went through the night. He would get ideas and everything would get louder and louder. They would occasionally blow the speakers. When Gus got the MCI desk that he had built especially for The Mill, one of the things he had built into it was…like an accelerator pedal. It was a little switch pedal down on the floor. And every time he clicked it, it would knock the volume up half a notch. When he was doing a mix he would start off relatively normally and then as the record got exciting and it got to its climax, he would every now and then just give it a little click and it would just lift the volume — and lift it and lift it. We used to call it his accelerator pedal.
Gus also never stopped working for what he thought the industry was about and what he thought he could achieve. He never stopped. A lot of people would have sat back on their laurels but he was always traipsing about and then he’d be up in Scotland with some band nobody ever heard of or whatever. He would do it all with the same enthusiasm no matter what.
My favorite Gus story is: A singer I knew was doing this demo recording with Gus for one of the publishing companies, and he wanted to have that effect where it sounds like you’re singing down the telephone. So Gus and the engineer looked at each other and said, “Okay we can fix that. We’ll get it ready for tomorrow and we’ll do the vocal then.” So they got some flexible plastic tubing and the next day they taped the tubing over the microphone with some gaffer tape and said, “You sing down there.” So he started singing and they said, “It’s no good — you’re not singing into the tube enough. We’re going to have to tape it to your face.” So they gaffered it to his face…he’s got this tube on his face, like an elephant! And Gus and the engineer were absolutely in fits over it, because they knew very well all they had to do was use a recording effect on the board!