I started playing music in 3rd grade when I got a small Magnus Chord Organ and accompanied myself on songs I'd sing, such as Silent Night and Glow Worm. I picked up guitar in 7th grade, thanks to Joe Naspini, who showed me how to read chords out of a Beatles songbook.
In the late 60's and early 70's I wrote songs and performed with Larry Dunlap, mostly at the People Of Orphales Coffee House and various other locations around Long Beach, California. From 1970-1972 (during high school) I also played at local parties with schoolmates Frank Furillo, Simon McPherson, Jerry Earwood, Casey Simpson, Bob Bennett, and others from my drama class.
In 1974 I moved to Hawaii, lived in Waikiki, and worked in the produce department at the Beretania Safeway store in Honolulu. While living there I was introduced by one of the stock clerks to Jerry Santos and Robert Beaumont, who had just formed the group Olomana . They played at the Black Angus in the International Marketplace, which happened to be right where the bus dropped me when I got off work each evening. Jerry and Robert were kind enough to let me perform my songs on their breaks as well as sit in with them often. It was there I also met Liko Martin, Tony Tamsing, Chris Rego, Autumn (the violinist), Steve Vaile, Ginger Johnson, Cindy Combs, Ren Beaumont, and many other musicians from the local Hawaiian music scene.
During 1975 I went back to Seal Beach, California and started up a group called Paddlefoot with singer/songwriter Bob Bennett and bassist Joe Naspini. We performed at Captain Jack'sin nearby Sunset Beach, but we also played at the West Coast Bodega in Long Beach. During this period Bob and I wrote songs and started showing them to the publishers in Hollywood. We had some interest from a guy named Kerry Chater at Chappell Music who had been in Gary Pucket and the Union Gap. Kerry helped us with our songwriting form and recorded us at Chappell. We didn't get any covers from Chappell, but I think the experience really helped Bob and I focus our songwriting, recording, and production skills.
Fidelity Recording Studios
When I was 23 years old, in 1977, I got a job working as a staff-recording engineer for Artie Ripp's Fidelity Studios (now called Studio City Sound) and Family Productions in Studio City, California. I apprenticed there under Joel Soifer, Boris Menart, and Larry Elliot, who each had very different engineering styles and backgrounds.
Artists and projects I was involved with at Fidelity included Billy Joel, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lita Ford, The Bay City Rollers, Billy Burnette, Papa John Creech, The Krofft Super Show, The Ramones, Simon Posthuma, Sneaker, Mandrill, CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Gabor Szabo, Ambrosia, 707, Bugs Tomorrow, Gerard McMann, The Steve Miller Band, Vinnie (Vincent) Cusano, Thom Rotella, Tom Saviano, Heat, Chick Corea, Don Ciccone, Ava Barber, Peter Yarrow, Floyd Dixon, Bernie Hamilton, Wayne Henderson, and Peter Noone. Some of the producers I have had the privilege to share the console with include Phil Spector, Clive Davis, David Campbell, Mallory Earl, Wayne Henderson, Artie Ripp, Artie Kornfeld, Jim Ed Norman, Dean Kay, Kenny Laguna, and Ricthie Cordell.
During the late 80's and early 90's I was part of the band Kindred Spirit with Elaine Latimer, Robin Rader, Bill Plummer, Keith McCabe, Mark Wenner, and sometimes Scott Fulton. Later, in 1994, I formed a group with Bill Plummer, Dale Spalding, and Keith McCabe called the Blues Monks. We recorded an album of acoustic blues tunes called In Your Living Room (out of print.) Now I play mostly in a trio called DoRoJo with Don Reed and Robin Rabens and another with Marshall Hawkins, Don Reed and I called The Louie Bluies.
The name The Louie Bluies came from one of my favorite music teachers, Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong. I also studied guitar with Del Ray, Orville Johnson, Wolfman Belfouer, John Miller, Steve James, Roy Bookbinder, John Cephas, John Jackson, and Mary Flower at Centrum up in Port Townsend, Washington.
Family Computing and computer magazines
In 1983 I became a founding contributor and editor for Family Computing Magazine and K-Power for Scholastic, Inc. My game, music, and utility programs were featured in The Programmer section of Family Computing. In K-Power we created the first computer music column I know of in a magazine, called MicroTones. This column featured music programs and information about the latest computer music products. K-Power and Microtones also featured type in songs by artists such as the Ramones, Talking Heads, and the Steve Miller Band. Check out PDF archives of Family Computing and K-Power below.
Additional magazines I wrote programs and articles for included COMPUTE!, COMPUTE!'S Gazette, Run, InCider, A+, Rhythm, Parents, Home Office Computing, and Small Business Computing. I wrote or cowrote several books for Scholastic, including The K-Power Collection, 10 Starter Programs for Family Computing, The Best of Family Computing Programs Volumes I and II and Amazin' Games.
As an offshoot of my work on Microtones I was very active in supporting the MIDI standard when it was being proposed and wrote many articles about it when the standard was made available [Below: See PDF files of articles below]. I met a guy named Perry Leopold from the Pan Network (a music BBS I participated in) at the CES show in Las Vegas in 1984. He was the first one I remember telling me about it and I thought that a standard connecting computers and synthesizers was sorely needed. So, I through all my support behind it and experimented with a lot of the first MIDI products. [See the You Tube video below to hear a song I composed and programmed for the Commodore SID chip before the advent of MIDI.]
From the late 1980's until 2008 I worked at the Idyllwild Arts campus in Idyllwild. For many of those years I served as the IT Manager, responsible for fostering technology growth. During this time we built a campus-wide fiber optic network, computer labs for artists, musicians, and film makers, and integrated all the different departments into Blackbaud software for running the school.
Recently, I rebuilt my home recording studio around the latest digital, analog, and MIDI equipment (thanks to Linda and Richard Page for the studio furniture) and I am often busy recording.
Radio Free World
Radio Free World began in the early 1970's when I received a wireless radio transmitter kit for Christmas from my aunt and uncle. I built the kit, turned it on, and in the very first broadcast in Downey, California declared, "This is Radio Free World on the air!" This historic broadcast made it a few blocks away to the house of one of my friends who was on the phone with me and said, "I hear it!"
I wanted a broadcast kit because I heard that another of my friends, Fred Jones (later known as PanaFred, but that's another story,) and a guy named David Baker (of Oink!, Middle Earth Records, and Rhino fame) had set up some home built transmitters and began broadcasting under the name Radio Free Downey...pirate radio in suburbia! Hanging out with Fred Jones in his garage studio one night (I'm not sure who all was there) we were bouncing cool 'Radio Free' station names off each other until we agreed that 'Radio Free World' was the bee's knees of Radio Free names--radio that reaches all over the world!
Later, after graduating high school, Fred Jones went on to become a DJ (General Birddog) at KNAC and being a Firesign Theater freak, eventually produced an album or two of them. Fred, myself, and other high school drama friends, including Ned Bernardin, Kevin Bray, and Cindy Johnson, created an improvisational radio theater group called Radio Free World, with the intent on being like the Firesign Theater. After many personnel changes and not much to show except a lot of great ideas, RFW faded out after a few years.
Radio Free World was revived when I lived at a large apartment complex in Huntington Beach, California during the late 70's, called Huntington Gardens. Huntington Gardens was broken into four thematic sections (like the movie Westworld) with themes such as Polynesian, Roman, Greek, and Tudor. Around the outside were "pods" made up of studio apartments situated on stilts around circular staircases. Each living room in the Huntington Gardens complex was equipped with a speaker and volume control, which the management never used. I lived in a pod and came up with the idea to hook a large Scott tube power amp up to the speaker leads in my living room and began podcasting 'Radio Free World' over the 'Huntington Gardens Underground Radio Network.' Since people had volume controls, they could choose to tune in or not. The management didn't have a clue who was broadcasting, but it soon became the talk of the neighborhood. The programs were made up mostly of comedy shows and funny music, interspersed with L.A. Dodgers games, local weather, surf reports, and improvisational bits created by various friends when they dropped by.
In the 1990's, when the Internet began to develop, I read some articles about Internet broadcasting, and realizing that this could be a way to revive RFW and send it across then entire planet, I started radiofreeworld.com and began Internet broadcasting--you guessed it--comedy shows, funny music, and bits created by friends as they dropped by. Realizing that a Web site is also informational and part of the World Wide Web, we also made radiofreeworld.com into a guide to connect people to other cool sites around the world. Some of the personalities who have been featured on Radio Free World include Wierd Al Yankovic, Tommy Chong, Ian Whitcomb, Rusty Warren, Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer and Crazy Jay. --Joey Latimer 2011 (updated 2015)
Transcript of interview with Utah Phillips - About the decline of the oral tradition and the meanings of folk music. Now hosted on Radio Free World, but originally I conducted the interview for Folk Music Quartly Magazine.
Mix Magazine March 1980 L.A. Studio Roundup Fidelity Studios.pdf - This is a photo copy of Mix Magazine's Los Angeles area 24-track studio roundup in 1980 when I worked as an engineer at Fidelity Studios in Studio City. It is interesting to see the gear we had then, just before the computer revolution changed recording forever.
Mix Magazine - Classic Tracks: The Runaways Cherry Bomb - I worked with Joan Jett at Fidelity Studios in 1979 and was interviewed for this article on the recording of Cherry Bomb, which also was recorded at Fidelity.
Eric Klein's Vintage Computer Blog about Family Computing Magazine - Blog discussing Family Computing and K-Power Magazines.
Hacksville Hoedown - This is a You Tube video of a bluegrass tune I composed and programmed for the Commodore SID chip back in the early 80's--before MIDI! This user bread-boarded the 6581 SID Arduino chip, entered my original code, and got it to play back correctly in 2012. My how things have changed since I first started doing music with computers .
Index of COMPUTE! articles by Joey Latimer - I also wrote quite a few articles for COMPUTE! Magazine in the 80's. Some of them seem pretty funny now.
PDF Files of Articles and Programs
Compute! April 1990 PC Sound Gets Serious by Joey Latimer.pdf
Compute! Dec. 1988 Music By The Numbers by Joey Latimer.pdf
Compute! Dec. 1988 Yamaha C1 Music Computer Review by Joey Latimer.pdf
Family & Home Office Computing July 1988 Making Music by Joey Latimer.pdf
Family Computing August 1985 Music Hardware and Software by Joey Latimer.pdf
Family Computing August 1985 The Programmer by Joey Latimer.pdf
Family Computing July 1985 Hit Or Miss Game by Joey Latimer.pdf
Family Computing K-Power Microtones July 1985 Curly Calipso.pdf
Family Computing May 1987 Face Cartoon by Joey Latimer.pdf
K-Power March 1984 with Joey Ramone song Slug.pdf
K-Power Microtones August 1985 by Joey Latimer.pdf
K-Power Nov.-Dec. 1984 Musical Stings by Joey Latimer.pdf