In the early 00s a friend was doing a recording up in Malibu and he asked me if I could come to the next days session because the guitar player on the session wasn't cutting it. We winded our way up to a doublewide trailer not on the shore of the Pacific ocean but pretty close. The drummer on the session was from Megadeth. The bass player had been in Wham! I never met the singer. The doublewide studio and keyboard player belonged to Rami Jaffee.
The session had ground to a halt with the other guitar player trying to do something and I picked up my guitar and bashed out the part and it rocked. Rami and I bonded and started tweaking things and making sounds. He had a lap steel there and we started scraping the strings and using a bunch of delay to add dynamic to the intro. Rami's Grammy for "One Headlight" was on the piano that we used to hit a 9 or 10 fingered chord and then flipped the recording backwards and put that part in. We bonded over a love of Daniel Lanois songs and production.
I can remember driving to band rehearsal in the 90s and listening to his playing with The Wallflowers and dreaming of having that Hammond sound in our band. To be hanging out with the guy that made those sounds felt surreal.
When we started working on our second album "where the road bends" I got in touch with Rami about recording at his place and he was keen. I knew that he had the magic touch on the Hammond organ that a lot of those songs would benefit from and besides that - he was so much fun to record with. The positive energy he put into the air inspired you to do more, create more. I remember getting a take of one of the songs down, it was just bass, guitar and drums rhythm track and he got so excited he re-wired a couple of mics so he could play the Hammond on it right there and then. He didn't want to wait.
When inspiration strikes - you got to catch it.
That album ended up being nominated for "Album of the Year" in the Orange County Music Awards. We didn't win, I think The Offspring did but I don't remember. When you don't win, it's sometimes hard to remember who did.
One day when we were recording Rami got either a phone call or a message that Dave Grohl wanted him to come play on some recordings. This wasn't that odd. Rami had already played on sessions with nearly everyone in Rock and Roll but he was excited.
Rami would stay at our place from time to time as he had family that lived near us and I remember us sitting at our piano and working out parts to a Rush song because he was going to be jamming with Geddy Lee and Alex Leifson in Toronto at a Foos show. Tracy had a virtual meeting going on in the other room and her co-workers were like "what's going on there?" and she said "One of the Foo Fighters is in my living room learning a Rush song for this weekend." Her co-worker was a fan of both bands and couldn't believe what he was hearing. That year Tracy and I arranged for the end of our first European tour to be in London so that we could see the Foos at Wembley Stadium. On that trip we had been visiting our German relatives and I foolishly told them "it's too bad you can't meet us in London, I'd get you backstage passes to the Foo Fighters..." and then my German relatives buying tickets to London because I had promised them backstage passes - I frantically called Rami and said "You know how you got us two backstage passes to the show? I NEED THREE MORE!" And him pulling some favors with I think the road crew to get me three more backstage passes.
Him texting me from my house while we were away - "Your cat has me trapped in the bathroom and won't let me out!" Topper was a mean old cat and that's a pretty funny visual.
So many great rock and roll memories and his Kris Kristofferson story is fantastic.
All the stories and every musician that knows him will tell you the same thing - Rami is a true gentleman of rock and roll. He plays with class and sophistication and can also just straight up rock and make the best noises. Just knowing Rami and him playing on my stuff legitimized a lot of what I do and made other folks give me a listen just because he was on it. That's not a thing I know how to repay or say thanks enough for.
I'm so happy today for my friend being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He truly deserves it.