Session drummer Dave Mattacks: excerpts from his recording studio diary, starting with Jimmy Page & the Death Wish II soundtrack

Go here for DM and Page, part II of the Death Wish II sessions. The theme this time ’round is snare drum backbeats. In this pursuit, Dave Mattacks is a master. You will learn just as I’ve learned from DM over the years.

Part I of the DM-Page Death Wish II sessions is a real inside-look an elite-level record date. DM and Page recorded a zillion cues for the major motion picture soundtrack Death Wish II (Charles Bronson) before calling in bass, keys, vocals, and string overdubs. This is but one page in the recording career of a master. More to come from DM….

Dave Mattacks, session drummer, photo T Bruce Wittet

Session drummer Dave Mattacks, pages from his recording diary

Here’s the scoop in freaking detail! The Jimmy Page/Dave Mattacks Death Wish II soundtrack session: part I of a long story that branches out into areas of significance to all drummers, studio and live!

Dave Mattacks will return to these page. You might also want to check my own walk thru a record date I did in April, 2011. Guess what, I used those cheapo, 1960s Coronet (a “stencil brand” from Pearl) drums. Guess what else? They sounded freaking magnificent. Honest. I give you my word here.

How about this blast from the past, lifted straight from volume 5 of my 5-volume diary of my recording sessions….

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Alone with the click for entire David Wiffen album


I’ve cut some text from this diary entry. I know, I promised to reveal everything but there are people who might get hurt if I were to show all. That would pain me.

Other than what follows, I remember one thing about this session: a stabbing pain in the abdomen, the result of stress, as in Is this album going to come off? What will we do if the artist doesn’t return? Where is he?

This sort of thing, a AWOL artist, is rare. Generally speaking, at my level in the recording world, artists pay the bill themselves. In this instance, the producers were fronting the bucks with good expectation of major label reimbursement (as was, eventually, the case). I think my behavior probably saved the day, although at the time visions of Jeff Porcaro and what he would have done, in renegade fashion, flashed through my mind. Knowing Jeff as little as I did, I’m sure he would have approved of my actions, which are summarized in: I came to play. I intend to play. Feed me the click; first tempo is 114 bpm.

There will be more from me, to be sure, but why not take wisdom from the session drummer who inspired me the most, Dave Mattacks. More pages to come from his recording diary!