Das Ist Walter - Recording


After gigging locally in their hometown Sarajevo during 1982 and 1983 in university student clubs such as Kuk, Trasa, and CEDUS, Zabranjeno Pušenje was ready to take the next step, which was releasing a studio album. Consisting of seven energetic youngsters in their early 20s, itching to increase their profile on the scene, they recorded demos for some dozen tracks during spring 1983 in a studio in Kiseljak. The lineup that recorded the demos was — frontman and vocalist Dr. Nele Karajlić, rhythm guitar player and main songwriter Sejo Sexon, lead guitarist Mujo Snažni, bassist Samir "Ćera I" Ćeramida, drummer Zenit "FuDo" Đozić, keyboards player Seid Mali Karajlić, and saxophonist Ogi Gajić.

At one of their gigs in Sarajevo's Trasa club sometime during summer 1983, the Zabranjeno Pušenje youngsters were seen by 33-year-old Milić Vukašinović, established musician from Sarajevo at the time fronting his band Vatreni Poljubac having already experienced a measure of fame as former drummer of Bijelo Dugme during the 1970s. They also gave him their demo tapes at the gig. Liking what he saw and heard, Vukašinović put them in touch with his friend and former bandmate at Čičak during the late 1960s Mahmut "Paša" Ferović who now owned a modest recording studio located in his own house where he worked as producer.

Going into the studio to record the album, Zabranjeno Pušenje made some personnel changes compared to the lineup that recorded the demos six months earlier. The band got a new rhythm section with Munja Mitić and Šeki Gayton becoming new bassist and drummer, respectively. Produced by Ferović himself, the recording sessions began in November 1983 and took almost 7 months to complete due to various extenuating circumstances. Karajlić said the following about the recording sessions:

The process of recording Das ist Walter with Paša Ferović at his house was very symbolic of our whole rocky road as a band. It can be summed up as - "per aspera ad astra". It took about 7 months to complete the recording, not because we struggled with the material - we could do those songs in our sleep - but because the combination of us and Paša Ferović was like one long continuous anecdote. I could literally write a book about those 7 months. Just one of the many things we had to overcome was for example that our typical working day during that time consisted of seven band members getting up in the morning and then around 10am splitting up in groups that went from one kafana to another around the city of Sarajevo, looking for Paša Ferović who spent the entire previous night drinking at one of these places. Unfortunately, there were no cellphones back then, which would've shortened this search considerably. After tracking him down, we would then literally peel him off the bar table and take him home to produce our record. It was the worst produced record in the history of Yugoslav rock'n'roll, but the energy we injected in it is evident when you listen to it. And it's precisely that raw honesty that later struck a cord with a lot of people...... Once we finally finished recording Das ist Walter, we were literally spent, both physically and emotionally, as evidenced by the fact that each and every person involved in making it was so stressed that we all fell ill from ailments ranging from liver cirrhosis to pneumonia. I for one ended up with enlarged lymph nodes all over my body.

The band's rhythm guitarist and main lyrics writer Sejo Sexon remembers the recording sessions as follows:

Recording Das ist Walter for months with Paša Ferović in his studio was like getting a masters degree and PhD in rock'n'roll. We'd come to his house to record at the hour we previously agreed upon, but he would never be there because he was off drinking in some kafana. So all you'd see on the wall of his house were angry sprayed and written messages from his other studio clients that he screwed over. Threatening stuff like 'Paša, you're a dead man', 'Paša, you're fired', 'Never again, Paša'.... Then we realized that half of the equipment in his studio is not actually his. For example one day Goran Bregović showed up at the studio to take back his 8-channel sound board, but we somehow persuaded him to leave it with Paša just little while longer. So, basically if Brega hadn't been nice about it, we never would've made the album.... Then, the recording itself was another story. Seven of us recorded on 8 channels - those who know sound recording can appreciate how difficult that is - for example we recorded the flute and the timpani on the same channel..... But still, if it hadn't been for Paša Ferović and Milić Vukašinović, the band would've folded in 1983 or 1984 without ever making anything. It was a critical time for us, we were going into our fourth year together with very little to show for it and our families were already nagging us with stuff like 'what's the point of all this' and 'how much longer are you gonna be doing this pointless crap of yours'. And deep down we were on the verge of asking ourselves those questions too, fully conscious of the fact that if you now get a job as a waiter or at a gas station, the band is finished.

Midway through the recording session, the young band got a hold of Raka Marić, Bijelo Dugme's manager, who helped them find a record label that would release the material. He first offered it to PGP RTB, but after they refused it, Marić contacted Jugoton's creative director Siniša Škarica who accepted it.

Read more about this topic:  Das Ist Walter

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Famous quotes containing the word recording:

    Write while the heat is in you.... The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    He shall not die, by G—, cried my uncle Toby.
    MThe ACCUSING SPIRIT which flew up to heaven’s chancery with the oath, blush’d as he gave it in;—and the RECORDING ANGEL as he wrote it down, dropp’d a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for ever.
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    I didn’t have to think up so much as a comma or a semicolon; it was all given, straight from the celestial recording room. Weary, I would beg for a break, an intermission, time enough, let’s say, to go to the toilet or take a breath of fresh air on the balcony. Nothing doing!
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