Tag Archives: “It’s the Middle Class Stupid!”

What Does John F McElroy Know That You Don’t?

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New York-based Award-Winning Audio Book Producer John F McElroy records with Airlift Mike at Airlift Productions

If a thirty second radio ad is a sprint, audio book recording would have to be the marathon.

To capture the spirit, essence & dedication of an author is without question a meticulous, pain-staking and arduous ( do you like these words? ) task.

With four Grammy awards on the shelf – for  Best Spoken Word (3X) as well as Best Comedy Album –  Audio Book producer John F. McElroy knows the task well.

John has personally worked with and recorded ( for hours on end ) Jon Stewart, Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jason Alexander,  Stephen Colbert, along with scores of other notables.

And just imagine, if you can, working with, directing & producing President Bill Clinton through his personal reading of his triumphs & tribulations in the Grammy Award winning autobiography “My Life”.  I mean, really.

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James Carville Mouths-Off at Airlift Productions, New Orleans

Now, all that being said, Airlift Productions & I are honored and thrilled to count this guy among our clients. Together, hour after hour, John & I steered  James Carville through two entire audio book recordings.  “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” and “Love & War”, along with his lovely wife, Mary Matalin.

The amazing thing?  All of our work was conducted via Skype and a Symetrix phone patch. John & I have never personally met.  Similar to the set-up of a radio talk show host, we did all of this work, every second of every hour with John F. coaching and directing long distance from New York!

JamesCarvilleAndMaryMatalinRecordLoveAndWarAtAirliftProductionsQuite a remarkable feat.  Quite amazing sessions.  Quite a Marathon indeed.

Mr. McElroy, thanks for the vote of confidence, sir.  I’m certainly gratified to know that Airlift and I did not misplace your trust.

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“Micheal Ziants and I have worked on a number of celebrity productions together. He’s a cool head in tight spots, keeping the talent moving ahead happily.  He has a wealth of experience at the controls and behind the mic and knows what he can and can’t get–a valuable and rare sense of proportion. Working at Airlift remotely via Skype or phone patch is seamless. It’s like being in the next room.”

~ John F. McElroy, New York based Grammy Award winning Audio Book Producer                       

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Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants shoulder-to-shoulder with JAMES CARVILLE at the Airlift Studios during the “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” sessions, 2012

                    To communicate is the beginning of understanding.

                                   Airlift Productions communicates.

Notes On Recording James Carville at Airlift Productions

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James Carville & Mary Matalin on Meet the Press, along with former BFF Tim Russert

In my thirty-plus years of recording voice overs & musicians at Airlift Productions in America’s most fascinating and interesting city, you could say that I’ve encountered quite a few characters.

 
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Dr. John ‘da Nite Tripper records at Airlift Productions NOLA

Doctor John (aka Mac Rebennack) has spent hours with me, recording voice-over tracks for awards shows, and even cartoon voice tracks for Quincy Jones’ Take it Back Foundation.

I still can’t get over that, not even asking if he could smoke, at the Airlift Productions Iberville location, he pulled out a cheroot at the mic and lit it up! (We rushed an ash tray in to his rescue.)
** Dr. John at the Airlift mics telling the story of N’awlins’ bawdy, infamous Red-Light District, known as  “Storyville” **
Archie Manning records with Airlift Productions
Archie Manning recorded  radio spots with Airlift Productions

For several years in the 90s, Peyton & Eli’s dad Archie Manning had the Gold’s Gym franchise here just outside NOLA in Metairie, and I served as a one-man ad agency, writing, voicing & producing all the radio ads for the gym, which brought Archie & his partners regularly into the Airlift Productions Studios.

** Archie Manning’s Golds Gym Christmas Radio :60 Classic  – with Airlift  Mike as Santa, along with Archie, at the Airlift mics **

 
The cast of characters – from the mayors (both Morial & Landrieu), to all the city council members, Morgus the Magnificent, stand-up/fall-down comics, radio rebels, misfits, in-laws and outlaws  – has become the stuff of legend.
 
JamesCarvilleAndMaryMatalinRecordLoveAndWarAtAirliftProductionsBut I would have to say the most memorable and colorful of them all is none other than James Carville!
 
We’ve spent dozens of hours together one-on-one – with only a producer, long distance on a phone-patch Skype connection – recording two separate audio books, ‘It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!’ and, along with wife Mary, ‘Love & War’.
 
Now, by his own admission, James has untreated ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  He’s tried the drugs but didn’t like how they made him feel, so he and Mary just ‘deal with it’.  Add (ADHD) me to the list.
 
Imagine working through hour-after-hour with someone in this situation and condition.  Add to that, someone very highly opinionated (ya think?), outspoken, given to tantrums … and ‘caged’ for an extended length of time!  Yowza & Yikes!
**  Airlift Mike reflects on 1st sessions, along with classic James Carville musings and rants, captured at Airlift Productions NOLA **
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Micheal Ziants and Political Firebrand James Carville at the Airlift Productions Studios 

But we worked through it all and laughed, bonded, and created two very memorable and collectible audio books, now available from that amazon crowd.

James’ take on his experiences at Airlift?

“I’ve been in studios from the Bayou to the Beltway and I can say after recording my last two audio books with Mike that there is no better place than Airlift Productions.  The quality of the production, the studio, and quite frankly, the comfort, make it the only place I want to record now or in the future” ~ James Carville
And, needless to say, but I will anyway, the out-takes are simply priceless!  Perhaps a tale for a blog for yet another day.
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JamesCarvilleRecordsAtAirliftProductionsA candid shot – through the studio door into the Airlift ‘green room’ – of Carville on the cell, taking a needed break, talking to George Stephanopolous in DC, with his feet ON my ping-pong table! Really, James?