A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from February 09, 2022
“Before Pro Tools, there were pros”

Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation that was initially released in 1989. What did music producers do before this? They relied on professional studio musicians, sometimes called “hired guns.” A popular joke is, “Before Pro Tools, there were pros.”

“Before Pro Tools, there were pros” was said by American songwriter, recording artist, guitarist, singer, producer, arranger, and recording engineer Jay Graydon in the documentary film Hired Gun (2017). Graydon was talking about the band Steely Dan and the album 1977 album Aja, with the song “Peg” in particular.

American YouTube personality, musician, multi-instrumentalist, music producer and educator Rick Beato did a YouTube video on February 9, 2022, about the song “Josie” from the same Steely Dan Aja album, and he also used the “Before Pro Tools, there were pros” quote.

“Before there was Auto-Tune, there was talent” is a similar saying.


Wikipedia: Pro Tools
Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation (DAW) developed and released by Avid Technology (formerly Digidesign) for Microsoft Windows and macOS. It is used for music creation and production, sound for picture (sound design, audio post-production and mixing) and, more generally, sound recording, editing, and mastering processes.

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Hired Gun
2016 (Released August 1, 2017 in the United States.—ed.)
Not Rated 1h 38m
A documentary film about session and touring musicians that are hired by well established and famous bands and artists like Metallica, KISS, and Billy Joel. These hired guns may not be household names, but are still masters of their craft.

Twitter
Eli Howard
@eliphoward
Before pro tools there were pros.
9:44 PM · Jan 2, 2017 from Molalla, OR·Twitter for iPhone

The Hollywood Reporter
‘Hired Gun’: Film Review
Fran Strine’s doc ‘Hired Gun’ listens to the unknown sidemen who make some of the world’s biggest hits.

BY THR STAFF
JUNE 28, 2017 12:38PM
(...)
Strine’s movie tries to right that wrong with copious praise, letting players brag about each other’s chops and proclaiming that “before Pro Tools, there were pros.”

Newsweek
Steely Dan’s ‘Aja’ at 40: The Inside Story of the Band’s Most Legendary Guitar Solo
BY ZACH SCHONFELD ON 09/24/17 AT 4:01 PM EDT
(...)
Jay Graydon (guitarist who played the solo on “Peg"): You can make anything perfect in Pro Tools. But back then there was no help, man. Before Pro Tools, there were pros!

Twitter
Connor J. Denis
@connordenis
“Before pro tools there were pros.”
5:55 PM · Dec 17, 2017 from Nashville, TN·Twitter for iPhone

Twitter
Peter W. McAuley
@Peter_W_McAuley
Great line.
“Before Pro Tools there were pros, I’m a studio musician, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, I gotta save this now in real time, that’s my job.”
Jay Graydon, producer, and session musician for Steely Dan, George Benson, Earth Wind and Fire from Hired Guns on Netflix.
6:44 PM · Jan 22, 2018·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Lee Harvey
@valleyguitarist
Highly recommend Hired Gun on Prime. It’s about session musicians, if that’s your thing. Very interesting and contains the great line: Before Pro Tools, there were Pros.
8:55 AM · Jan 14, 2021·Twitter for Android

Twitter
Jason Dunn
@jasondunn
I’m watching “Hired Gun” (https://amazon.com/Hired-Gun-Alice-Cooper/dp/B073RFNY3C/ref=tmm_aiv_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1621615745&sr=1-2) a documentary about studio musicians and the music industry. Fascinating stuff!
Best quote so far:
“Before Pro Tools, there were pros…I’ve got to save this now, in real time.” - Jay Graydon, session musician
amazon.com
Hired Gun
They are the
12:50 PM · May 21, 2021·Twitter for Mac

Twitter
Cami Hidalgo
@Cami_Hidalgo_
Replying to @pwcdanica
“before pro tools there were pros”. A line from “hired guns” a documentary about session musicians and sidemen.
10:28 AM · Jul 25, 2021·Twitter for Android

YouTube
The WEIRDEST Pop Song Intro of All Time
Feb 8, 2022
Rick Beato
Is this the weirdest pop song intro ever? In this video I answer that question.
13:50
“There’s the joke that I love. Before Pro Tools, there were pros.”

YouTube
Eric Mead
@meaderic
Replying to @rickbeato and @YouTube
Really great vid, Rick. “Before pro tools there were pros.” That goes into my mental Rolodex of “funny ‘cause it’s true” smart ass comments. Love it. Love what you do. Thanks.
4:04 PM · Feb 9, 2022·Twitter for iPad

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Wednesday, February 09, 2022 • Permalink