Recording studios can be a very stressful environment for musicians, as they need to perform to their utmost ability, but they also need to keep an eye on the clock, as professional studio time is never cheap!! So just to allow the musicians to relax a bit and decompress for a while, most studios (back in my recording days) had lounges with a pinball machine, or a television, with coffee, and other snacks available. Most of the time this was enough for the majority of our clients, but I will never forget how one band and the producer and us engineers blew off steam after a long session.
We were recording ‘Black Noise’ , an album by a top Canadian band called FM, and we would be in the sessions for many hours on end, and for some reason one evening, just as we were wrapping up, the engineer for the session, decided to have some extra-curricular fun with the band…..The producer , engineer and assistant engineer (myself) were on one team and the 3 band members were on the other. The rules of the game (war) were simple…turn out all the lights in the studio, turn out all the lights in the control room, so there was only an eerie glow from the meters on the console and tape machines, and then run around in the dark, AT FULL SPEED, throwing toilet paper rolls at each other as hard as you could!
The engineer was from England, as was the producer, and they called toilet paper rolls , “bogrolls”, and we had a good supply on hand as it was one of the top studios in Canada with a number of washrooms. So we would raid the supplies of Charmin, or Downey or whatever it was , from all the washrooms, and each person would have about 20 rolls to fire at the other team. It was total war and total havoc, as we ran around between the large but very dark studio area , through dark hallways into the control room, out the other side into the glass enclosed drum booth, yelling and heaving these ‘bogrolls’ as hard as we could, when we saw someone on the opposing side.
I of course had put away all the microphones and moved other gear out of the way in the studio, but in the control room, there was the 48 input Neve console, all the Studer tape machines, and all the outboard gear and here we were whipping these missiles at each other with all this very expensive gear at our mercy!! Luckily, I don’t think we ever damaged any equipment, but we did do damage to ourselves, with lots of scrapes and cuts and bruises.
These battles went on almost every night after that, and the band would have strategy sessions on how they would ambush the production team, and vice versa.
When the album was finished, we all were kind of sad that our nightly ‘Bogroll’ battles were at an end…and we even tried to resurrect them on the next album a year or so later, but it just wasn’t the same. I recall it as a really fun, spontaneous time in the studio that had nothing to do with music or recording, just people having fun and blowing off steam in what could be a stressful atmosphere, and its one of my favourite memories from my studio days.