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RIP Derek Lawrence!

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cstack3 View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 16 2020 at 22:20
Ray Bennett of Flash posted this to his Facebook page:

British Record Producer Derek Lawrence Died This Week.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Derek Lawrence was in no small way responsible for making Flash a success in the US. 

I remember him as a no bullsh*t guy. And he didn’t like to put up with it from others. He was plain spoken and straightforward. That very honest approach coupled with his production experience was a huge help to us young Flash guys. We were a new band and had a lot to prove. He kept the work moving along in the studio and was quick to intervene when occasionally things got wobbly. When he said a take was happening, we knew it was Ok. His advice was always spot on. He had that good producer’s knack for knowing when to tell the hard truth and when to keep quiet. We took his advice most of the time, but sadly not always. 

Besides guiding the band along in the studio he also played a considerable part in Flash’s success in the USA by traveling around to radio stations and introducing our first album prior to its release. This critical effort made a huge difference. Derek promoted Flash in key US radio markets: Boston and New York and others. The DJs took a liking to us and gave us a lot of airplay. That attention was noticed by other stations around the country and they picked up on Flash. Our first Flash album, and a single, crept into the US charts. 

All that valuable work then triggered Capitol Records into action and a big promotional push started. Soon, with a hit record, we were on our first major US tour and playing major venues. An amazing kick off for a band. 

The first album, recorded at De Lane Lea, went by so fast. We had rehearsed a lot. We were ready. And with some very long days in the studio we had it done in two weeks with another week added for mixing (these days it takes me that long to work out a guitar intro). But back then you got it done quickly by getting the band ready properly and then by starting recording at ten in the morning and going till very late. That was Derek’s schedule and we pretty much stuck to it.

Things did relax along the way and Derek had the ability to not only produce records but also to produce a bottle of scotch now and again when the path of the album was well on its way. 

As the first Flash album started taking shape he said to me “how does it feel to know you are going to be big?”

He took me by surprise with that. He also said he heard from Capitol in the US that John Lennon had asked for a copy of our first album. Another time he remarked on one of my bass lines in “Small Beginnings” saying, “that’s a very commercial bass line”. It never occurred to me. A new way of looking at things.

We shared a fair bit of Johnnie Walker during the course of two albums. I don’t think Derek was sentimental, he certainly didn’t seem to me to be, but I’ll raise a glass of scotch and have a sentimental, and sincere, toast to our days spent together.

Cheers.

Ray Bennett.

Interview with Derek:
http://www.deep-purple.net/interviews/derek-lawrence.htm

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