Tell us about Steve Hoffman?
Steve was born and lives in Los Angeles, California. He has a Master's degree in Mass Communication Sciences from Cal State, Northridge. Steve spent time On-air on public radio during college his college days and then was an afternoon broadcast engineer at a commercial LA station. He then moved to MCA Records for nine years, where he found buried treasures in the vaults and championed the idea that catalog artists' re-releases could be profitable.
Is there a Mrs. Steve Hoffman? If so how did you meet and what does she think about your work?
Steve has been married since July 2, 2001 to Karla who tells a little about herself: Before I met Steve, I was a model for Jordache Jeans, and did other modeling work. Then I went back to college and got a BA in English. I've worked in the record biz too, in fact that is how Steve and I met: At the C.E.S. in Las Vegas four years ago. DCC and the company I used to work for (Cisco Music), shared a demonstration suite at the Alexis Park Hotel, where most of the Audiophile companies strut their stuff. He walked in - our eyes met - and that was it (and I'm not kidding!).
One child, Michael Kenneth Hoffman, who was born October 14, 2003 and two dogs, "Scruffy", a terrier mix, "Tatters" a Mini schnauz..., and we had one more, "Sauci" a Mini Italian Greyhound that we had to put to sleep on January 12, 2004. She was an incredible 19 1/2 years old. I had her as a pup, and believe me, even though we knew this day was coming, I was heartbroken. On the other hand, the dog lived a amazingly long life, and she lived one year longer than our vet thought she would so every day was a blessing. I'll miss her.
Well, Karla, what do you think about Steve's work?
I also know that Steven works his butt off to do the best work he can. I've seen him work for many days on remastering one song, until he "has it". He is very dedicated.
Steve, how did you get into mastering?
I was hired at MCA as an administrator; the guy who thought up the projects on paper. I worked on 20 projects per month and wormed my way in to the engineering side of it because I didn't like how the projects were coming out. But I was not an official engineer. After that he joined DCC and has worked there until it's demise in 2001.
Since we all pretty much agree that we enjoy the remastering work you do, maybe you can tell us about some of the folks who got you rolling who are the folks who showed you tricks at an early age? What unsung heroes at MCA or in the radio biz made the vacuum tube glow above your noggin?
At CSUN in the 1970's, the director of the radio station was a guy named Doug Brown. He was just a student, but REALLY into the history of Pop radio. When I worked at the station, he taught me how to cue the records for a fast segue, watch the gain, watch the limiter (and why) and all the other fancy tricks that make radio DJ's sound so good. Radio king Bill Drake (the inventor of "Boss Radio") showed me (when I worked for him in college) the differences in "cuttings", and how two copies of the same disc cut at different times could sound totally different, depending on the cutting engineer and the tape used. Blew my mind. THAT was why he had 10 copies of the same LP or 45!
Here's a random thought - most of us working stiffs go to work, come home and kick out the jams on the old hi-fi; what the heck do you do to kick back after a busy day of masters? I'd guess the novelty of cranking up the Close 'N Play (my first record player man, do I miss the tonality of that beast) might not be the same for you... so, do you fire up Zippy for some Green Acres action, run the old Lionel train endlessly in loops, or stare endlessly at your UNIVAC screen (gotta have tube driven computer action at the lavish Hoffman estate)....
Are you asking me what my hobbies are? That's cute. Well, I like to spin records of all three speeds, using neat vintage gear, watch old movies, watch funky old TV shows on Zippy, Buster and (new) Nigel, hang out with my wife and three dogs, do Leica photography, cruise around in my 1962 Buick Skylark, and generally try and be normal. I also spend time each day on the computer like most folks, cruising cyberspace, and I guess you could say that I "converse" with my electronic pen pals (like you).
What are your earliest memories of music?
Well, I grew up in the 1950's, and my parents had a 1945 Zenith phonograph. A great old machine. It was a phonograph-radio. My first memory is my father playing something on there. I must have really liked it because I crawled over to the speaker and, I don't know I was maybe one and a half, but it was Benny Goodman's Let's Dance. I know that because I asked him years later what it was he remembered first playing for me.
What kind of music do you like?
I was a music minor and a psych major in college. Always been into old music and old records ever since I was kid. I'm equally well versed on jazz from the 1920's as I am on 1960's rock. Ultimately my favorite group is the Beatles.
The name of our band was "Quagmire". It was made up of MCA Records people who could play. There were four (sometimes five) of us. I think that was it for the entire company. Silly, but we were pretty OK, as long as we didn't try for any lofty musical heights. We had a deal with my landlord. We could make as much noise as we wanted in my apartment, one night a week (Tuesday night) for three hours. In return, when the landlord went on vacation (which was a lot), I had to take his place as the junior landlord... Mainly we did covers: The Shadows/Beatles/Who/BTO/Elvis, etc. You know, the usual stuff. Two of the Quag's are still working at UNI, one lives in NYC and married a famous record producer, and one is a computer expert who STILL has the largest LP collection I have ever seen!!!
What instrument did you play?
Oh yeah, I forgot that. The fun part, was that we could (mainly) switch instruments, to keep from getting stale.
I usually played guitar, but sometimes drums or keyboards (helpful on "Good Lovin", "Let's Dance", or anything by the Sir Douglas Quintet or Joe "King" C.).
How many instruments can you play?
I play several instruments, averagely. I was taught guitar by a electric player I knew in high school. I drummed since I was a lad, and I took piano when I was 8 until after college. Can't play any reeds, brass or violin-type instruments. But, being able to play piano, means one can play pipe organs, xylophones, marimbas, etc. That's pretty neat. Also, playing drums, one can play triangle, tympani, and all types of cool percussion. I used to goof around in school in the band room. Fun, but pointless, since I lacked the discipline (sp?) to really be good. I can carry a tune, but couldn't get away with singing lead on anything newer than 1966. I love guitars, and even though I can't play like Clapton, I can at least play the same type of guitars he plays.