“I loved the idea of recording. The idea of sound-on-sound-recording captured me as a young kid, and once I realized what it was I had an epiphany. Before I was even playing the guitar, I would create these lists of how I would record things and overdub them, like Led Zeppelin songs: ‘I could put this guitar on this track...’ and so on.
“When I moved out to California, the first thing I did when I had any scratch was buy a four-track machine, and I started recording and recording everything – television commercials, you name it. I was working with Frank, who showed me how to edit. Man, he was so great! I remember he recorded something, then he recorded something else and he cut the tape. I was like, ‘Oh my God, what is he doing? He’s cutting the tape!’
“But once he glued the two pieces together and played me what he did, I was in shock. Suddenly, just like that, I understood the whole editing process. I said to myself, ‘I have to do that.’ It was so funny, because I said to him, ‘Holy shit, that’s amazing!’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it makes every day like Christmas.’ [laughs]
“So I just recorded tons and tons of everything. I don’t think there was anything I didn’t document. And then I began to formulate these things into songs. Because I was so entrenched in Frank’s music, I really loved quirky, compositional humor. I had no aspirations for what it would be – it was really something for me and my friends to get a kick out of.
“I bought an eight-track Fostex machine, and that was like heaven. Eight tracks! I recorded the whole album, but I did it really sloppily. But I was also working with Frank, who was so precise, so I learned from that. I scratched the whole album and rerecorded everything. That was the beginning of my production life. I decided, This isn’t finished until I’ve done it to the best of my abilities.
“There’s so much on it, so much diversity. If I had a whole album of Attitude Songs, it would’ve sold millions of copies. But I had so many things that weren’t genre-specific, and I really liked that. I didn’t care what anybody would think because I never thought that anybody would hear it.
“Even so, I did my research and I found out that all I needed was a distributor, and I found one, Important Records, run by a man named Cliff Culteri. He was a fan. He started to distribute the record, which was unbelievable. Because I was with Frank, I sold 1000 copies. To get $4,000 in one lump sum was amazing to me. And it kept going, another thousand and another thousand. Once The Attitude Song hit Guitar Player, that was it – it went crazy.
“By the time I joined David Lee Roth’s band, CDs were available, and I was getting $7.50 on each one through my own label, Akashic Records. I wound up selling 400,000 units, so do the math. Incredible!
“It was a peculiar little record, and it was made with complete artistic freedom.”