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13 Oct 2010

Unforgettable People (XLVIII): Stuart Epps

With a more than forty years career in studio engineering and production, Stuart Epps has hiw own studio in Cookham, a village in the north-easternmost corner of Berkshire in England, on the River Thames. He works for new and established artists and his services include: quotes for productions big or small and critique of demos, as well his available for music college/university lecturing.

"(Stuart) has an intuitive knack for knowing just what will make each track sound most authentic, a deep understanding of musicians and their needs and a clearheaded, dedicated approach to getting the job done" reads his website's presentation. And that's so: many young artists like Kendal Sant, Juliet Gough, Danny Shah or Lara Franks started their career on Stuarts' hands with good results. “This is serious business. It’s very nice to play, but making a disc and working the songs require dedication”, emphasizes Stuart.

Stuart Epps is definetely one of the big names on Elton's career. That's because he made his first steps in music business in 1967, as a 15-year old office junior at Dick James Music, the same label a young Reg Dwight started to fullfill his dreams. "When we were all 18 you kind of thought music was something that you'd grow out of and that it was a young person's game. The mad thing is that everyone's still doing it" he said to Linda Serck when he was asked.

He had a band, "The Claggers", with Clive Franks, Kaplan Kaye and Jeff Titmus, and dreamed about fame. Stuart used to sing and play acoustic guitar and piano. "Caleb (Quaye) once had an unfortunate case of haemorroids and got: "Man, I have a severe case of clagnuts"" declared Clive Franks on the #54 Hercules issue; and because Dick James didn't let them to be called as that, the abbreviated for "The Claggers". They put together an album and released a couple of singles with a quit airplay. But hearing Elton John for the first time, Stuart realized that at the microphone he wouldn’t be able to bright that vivid. In front of a table full of buttons in the recording room, he noticed that he could be part of the fantastic music world in another way. And he became Chief Engineer at DJM Studios, before he toured the USA with Elton John as personal assistant. He developed a good friendship with Reg, Steve Brown and Clive Franks. He ended up at The Mill, working firstly with Gus Dudgeon, Elton's then producer, and later Jimmy Page. His now studio is precisely situated in part of the now defunct Mill Studio complex.

Some of Epps' most noteworthy clients have included Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Chris Rea, George Harrison, Mick Fleetwood, Nigel Olsson, Barry White, George Michael, Mark Owen, Cliff Richard, Twisted Sister, Brian Adams, Oasis, Kiki Dee, Robbie Williams, Bill Wyman and, of course, Elton John.

hercules #54 issue
linda serck,

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