On the Record
In early 1981, while I was an air traffic controller at Youngstown Municipal Airport in Youngstown, Ohio, a local rock band, Sir Bentley, contacted the control tower looking for someone to help them with a project they were working on. They had written a song about a pilot flying through bad weather trying to get to his 'true love' in a distant city. They needed some air traffic control dialog that might realistically go on between a controller in the tower and the pilot of a small plane fighting for his life in a killer storm. Knowing my interest in music, I was chosen and put in contact with the band's leader.
I got to meet the band at the Youngstown recording studio where they were cutting their first 33 1/3 rpm LP (the forerunner to CDs, for those who don't know), and went over the project with them. They played the song Pilot to Copilot for me, explaining to me where they needed my help and exactly what they wanted. I took the project home and worked on some dialog, working it into the words of the song between verses, and bringing it back to them a few weeks later. We did some refining and rehearsing, and, after filtering my voice through some electronic gadget to make it sound like I was talking over a radio, we laid down my whole track in one take. I would forever be immortalized on vinyl!