[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Frank Heller

Related: rap - Enjoy Records


Frank Heller was a recording engineer, composer and musician from 1970 to 1996.

He recorded all of the Enjoy records in NYC from roughly 1979 to 1981. He also recorded Spoonie's "Spoonin' Rap" for Pete Brown.

He made up the groove and played the bass and drums on Spoonies record....The weird little percussion tracks were played by Spoonie and Frank Heller. Incidentally, the drums were recorded on a 16 track, bounced to stereo where 4 bars were looped on a 2 track machine and shot back to the 16 track...after which all the instrumental overdubs and vocals were laid on....making this the very first rap record ever to use a drum loop....2 years before the first sampler became available. It was recorded in a studio called Studio 21 Sound on 59th St and Madison Ave.

Frank Heller was Bruce Forest's partner and engineer from 1986-1989 and he was Marley Marl's engineer from 1991-1996.


=Frank Heller (res1ajae@verizon.net)


As far as I can remember, Peter Brown screwed Spoonie on his first disc. I think he paid Spoonie 500 dollars and then sold about 35,000 copies of that record out of the trunk of his car to every small black owned record shop he could find in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx...making somewhere around $150,000 in the process.

Peter Brown found my studio (Studio 21 Sound on 59th and Madison Ave. It went out of business in 1980) in a newspaper ad and set up a date to do Spoonie's first record there. He showed up with just Spoonie alone, fully expecting the studio to provide the music track. I explained to him that usually musicians do that. I told him that besides engineering, I could whip up a quick bass and drum track for Spoonie. I explained that I had been a drummer and guitar player for years and the last band I had been with was a black soul band. I was the only white guy in it...and its drummer.

I was in love with the funk and I had been experimenting with drum loops at the time. I ran pre-mixed looped recordings of my beats through the two tracks back onto the 16 track we had at the studio. I played a number of these beats to Spoonie. He picked one and we laid it onto tape. I overdubbed a bass line against the drums and Spoonie did two or three tracks of the vocals against that. The two of us scoured through a box of percussion instruments and laid 2 tracks of percussion against the vocals.

I mixed it a couple of times. One version had Spoonie's voice running through an effect that gave it a musical tuning in tune with the bass line. Pretty radical at the time. I think that version wound up on the "B" side.

When Peter Brown and Spoonie showed up for that first recording, Brown had been literally dressed in rags. The second time he came back, he was fully fur covered in pimp regalia, complete with a beaver skin hat. And he was now driving a brand new Lincoln Continental.

Now, he was bringing in 3-4 rap groups at a time and kept overdubbing each group against the same music track. Over and over. And he'd never give any of them them a second take. It was: get in, one take...next group. It was pathetic to watch. Then he'd send them all home and get a rough mix of each group against the track. Little did I know that he would simply put those roughs out as records.

When Spoonie (who was Bobby Robinson's godson) realized he'd been fucked over, he went to Bobby and told him the story. Bobby, who used to work for Atlantic Records as an A&R guy before running his 125th St record shop, knew the record business inside out and saw the dollar signs. He knew the potential of how much money could be made with this music, by cutting the major labels out of the loop and doing it on his own independent label.

He asked Spoonie who had played the music and recorded the track for Brown.

That's how I got into the picture. Bobby wanted to keep the whole thing self-contained. He hired the late Pumpkin to form a band for the recordings. On all of the Enjoy dates, Pumpkin played drums and overdubbed bass guitar. The guitarist was Jeff Washington, the percussionist was Bobby's nephew, Poochie (I'm not really sure how he spelled that) and I apologize, but I cannot remember the keyboard player's name. If anybody knows...drop me a line.

Pumpkin would work with the different rappers to form the musical arrangements, which were recorded first. Most of the breakdowns were built into in the arrangement by the group and band. As the we'd go through playbacks, we'd add extra breakdowns using the board.

These sessions were all done from roughly 10pm to 5am which meant that Bobby, who was in his late 50's, had to come in after working at the record store all day. So he'd take his usual position on the control room couch and would fall asleep by 11pm. Pumpkin and I had no choice but to produce the records ourselves. No one had the heart to wake him up. Together, we did roughly one or two records a month for about two years or so. I exaggerate a bit about Bobby being asleep all the time. He would pay attention to the energy of the recordings and make the group do it again if it didn't measure up. He was a professional and a real nice guy. He was a pleasure to work for.

Besides engineering and mixing the recordings, my job also entailed riding herd over the sessions. What I mean by riding herd is that that each group would bring a posse with them and that could mean that besides the group and band, as many as 30-40 kids might be running around the studio. I'd have to chase kids out of my chair because there wasn't enough seating the lounge and control room. But we always put 'em to good use.

We'd bring them into the studio and ask them to react to a rough mix playing back through a couple of speakers on the floor. We'd double track the kids as the "PartyCrowd" tracks on all of the tunes. We did the first one or two recordings at Studio 21 Sound and then moved over to the much larger J.A.C. Recording to accommodate the growing entourages.

The last 2-3 dates that I did for Enjoy were done at Unique Recording on 49th St. and 7th Ave. I believe these were Treacherous 3 recordings and didn't require partycrowd tracks. By this time, Arthur Baker had managed to track me down there. That's another story.

Frank Heller Discography

  1. 3rd Bass - Pop Goes The Weasel
  2. 7 A 3 - Brooklyn Way
  3. 7 A 3 - Funk To My Beat
  4. 7 A 3 - Kings & Queens
  5. 7 A 3 - Precious
  6. 808 State - How Long(Ooops)
  7. 808 State - Pacific State
  8. Age Of Chance - Dont Get Mad
  9. A'Me Lorain - Follow My Heartbeat
  10. Angela Winbush - Run To Me
  11. Artz & Kraftz - Give A Good Lovin'
  12. Atlantic Starr - Let The Sun In
  13. Bananarama - Ready Or Not
  14. Bell Biv Devoe - She's Dope
  15. Belouis Some - Some Girls
  16. Big Daddy Kane - Cause I Can Do It Right
  17. Black Britain - Real Life
  18. Black Sheep - Pass the '40'
  19. Blue Train - All I Need Is You
  20. Book Of Love - Happy Day
  21. Brian Slawson - Bach Beat
  22. Bryan Galligan - It's Over
  23. C&C Music Factory - Things That Make You Say Hmm
  24. Candy Flip - Red Hills Road
  25. Carly Simon - Interview
  26. Carol Lynn Townes - My Love Is Disposable
  27. Carrie McDowell - Casual Sex
  28. Chad - Fast Music & Love
  29. Chaz Jankel - Soulfire
  30. Cheryl Lynn - If You Were Mine
  31. Cheyenne - Calling Mr.Telephone
  32. Chocolette - Tell Me That You Like Me
  33. Christopher Gavin - Cant Put Out The Fire
  34. Chubb Rock - Lost In The Storm
  35. Climie Fisher - Keeping THe Mystery
  36. Club Paradise - Film Sound Track
  37. Clubland - Love Strain
  38. Conquest - Better Get It
  39. Conquest - Take It Easy
  40. Cover Girls - Spring Love
  41. Craig "G" - Now That's More Like It
  42. Da Youngstas - Rip A Rhyme
  43. Da Youngstas - Stick Up Kid
  44. David Cole - Take My Breath Away
  45. David Johansen - Big Trouble
  46. Debbie Harry - Backfire
  47. Deborah Sasson - Passion & Pain
  48. DeLeon - Time To Get Ripped
  49. DeLeon - Everything I Love
  50. Deniece Williams - I Cant Wait
  51. Denise Lopez - Saying Sorry
  52. Desiree - Take Me Back
  53. Devoe - Strapped
  54. Dhar Braxton - Jump
  55. Dominatrix - Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight
  56. Donna Summer - All Systems Go
  57. Dr.Ice - Calling Dr.Ice
  58. Earth Wind & Fire - Thinking Of You
  59. Ed Terry - Spend The Night
  60. Etienne Dahd - Patch Up My Heart
  61. Evelyn King - Heartbreaker
  62. Fat Boys - Crushin
  63. Fat Boys - Don't Be Stupid
  64. Father M.C. - Dance With Me
  65. Fearless 4 - Rockin It
  66. Force MD's - Love Letters
  67. Force MD's - Tears
  68. Freeze - A.E.I.O.U.
  69. Gail Ann Dorsey - Wasted Country
  70. Gail Ann Dorsey - Where Is Your Love
  71. Georgio - Lover's Lane
  72. Georgio - Tina Cherry
  73. GLOBE & WhizKid - Play That Beat Mr.DJ
  74. Go West - Dont Look Back
  75. Head - Head
  76. Heaven 17 - The Contenders
  77. Heaven 17 - Trouble
  78. Heavy D & the Boyz - Come On Heavy
  79. Heavy D & the Boyz - The Heavster
  80. Hothouse Flowers - Feet On The Ground
  81. Information Society - How Long
  82. James Brown/Bambaataa - Unity Rap
  83. Jennifer Holiday - Lovers Prayer
  84. Jenny Burton - Bad Habits
  85. Jenny Burton - One Night Affair
  86. Jerry Harrison - Rev It Up
  87. Jesse Johnson - Crazay
  88. Jesse Johnson - She(I Can't Resist)
  89. Jimmy Cliff - Cliff Hanger(Grammy Winner)
  90. Jimmy Cliff - Hot Shot
  91. JM Silk - Standing In The Shade
  92. John Adams - Strip This Heart
  93. Jonzun Crew - Lets Talk It Over
  94. Jonzun Crew - Lost In Space
  95. Kate Holmes - It's Heavenly
  96. Keith Thompson - Beleive
  97. Kevin Paige - Dont Shut Me Out
  98. Kevin Rowland - Tonight
  99. King Missle - My Heart Is A Flower
  100. King Tee - At Your Own Risk
  101. Kool G Rap - On The Run
  102. Kool Kyle - It's Rockin' Time
  103. LaToya Jackson - Heart On Fire
  104. Laura Branigan - Moonlight On Water
  105. Little Steven - No More Parties
  106. Living In A Box - So The Story Goes
  107. LL Cool J - Earrings Jinglin'
  108. LL Cool J - Get Off The Wall
  109. LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
  110. LL Cool J - No Frontin' Allowed
  111. LL Cool J - Pumpin' It Up
  112. LL Cool J - Rollin" With A Outlaw
  113. LL Cool J - She's Rockin
  114. LL Cool J - Stand By Your Man
  115. LL Cool J - Straight From Queens
  116. Lords o/t Undergrnd - Flow On
  117. Lords o/t Undergrnd - Here Come The Lords
  118. Lords o/t Undergrnd - Mad Skills
  119. Lords o/t Undergrnd - Sleep For Dinner
  120. Lorelei McBroom - Passion
  121. Lorelei McBroom - Sacrifice
  122. Loud Sugar - Cremesicle
  123. Lt.Stitchie - Big It Up
  124. Madonna - Everybody
  125. Melba Moore - Read My Lips
  126. Meli'sa Morgan - Through The Tears
  127. Mica Paris - You're My One Temptation
  128. Michael Cooper - You've Got A Friend
  129. Michael Cooper - Prove My Love
  130. Modernique - So Much Love
  131. Monie Love - Greasy
  132. Monie Love - Born 2 Breed
  133. Monie Love - For The Children
  134. Monie Love - Greazy
  135. Monie Love - There's A Better Way
  136. Monie Love - Wheel Of Fortune
  137. Movement Ex - United Snakes of America
  138. Movement Ex - Whole Nutha Story
  139. Nat Augustin - That Girl
  140. National Lampoon - The White Album
  141. Natural Selection - Do Anything
  142. New Edition - Candy Girl
  143. New Edition - Candy Girl
  144. New Kids O/T Block - New Kids On The Block
  145. New Order - Confusion
  146. Nice & Wild - Obsession
  147. Nikolij Steen - The New Message
  148. Nona Hendryx - Too Hot To Handle
  149. Nu Shooz - Are You Looking For Love
  150. Off Shore - I Can't Take The Power
  151. OMD - I Was Only Dreaming
  152. One 2 Many - Another Man
  153. Out Loud - It's Love This Time
  154. Pale Devine - Something About Me
  155. Parachute Club - Nuthin(Love is Fire)
  156. Paradise Project - Get Into The Grid
  157. Patti Day - No One
  158. Phil Saatchi - Wheel Of Fortune
  159. Phillip Bent - The World Is A Ghetto
  160. Planet Patrol - Planet Patrol
  161. Planet Rock - Planet Patrol
  162. PM Dawn - Set Adrift In A Sea Of Bliss
  163. Pointer Sisters - Shut Up And Dance
  164. Powerule - Young Stars From Nowhere
  165. Pretty Poison - Catch Me I'm Falling
  166. Prince - Seven
  167. Quincy Jones - Listen Up
  168. Red Hot Lover Tone - My Lady
  169. Red Hot Lover Tone - Like A Virgin
  170. Red Hot Lover Tone - Never Love Again
  171. Red Hot Lover Tone - Up And Down
  172. Rick James - So Tight
  173. Rick James - Sweet & Sexy Thang
  174. Rick Springfield - Rock Of Life
  175. Riff - Everytime My Heart Beats
  176. Riff - White Men Can't Jump
  177. Rock Melons - New Groove
  178. Roxanne Shante - The Rapper
  179. Royalty - Baby Gonna Shake
  180. Royalty - Romeo
  181. Shannon - Let The Music Play
  182. Skipworth & Turner - Cant Give Her Up
  183. Slick Rick - Childrens Story
  184. Slick Rick - The Moment I Feared
  185. Slick Rick - Whose House?
  186. Slick Rick - Young World
  187. Sly Fox - Como Tu
  188. Snow - Babylon
  189. Snow - No Mercy
  190. Spoonie G - Spoonin'Rap
  191. Spoonie G - Love Rap
  192. Steve Winwood - Roll With It
  193. Strafe - Coming From Another
  194. Swing Out Sister - Twilight World
  195. T.C.F. - I Want You To Sex Me Up
  196. T.J. Swan - All Girls Are Material
  197. T.J. Swan - All Girls Are Material
  198. T.J. Swan - Don't Make Me Beg
  199. T.J. Swan - Don't Make Me Beg
  200. T.J. Swan - Mellow Love
  201. T.J. Swan - Mellow Love
  202. T.J. Swan - Never Let You Go
  203. T.L.C. - That's The Way We Like 'Em
  204. T.L.C. - This Is How It Should Be Done
  205. Teen Dream - Slip Slide
  206. The Aleems - Fine Toung Tender
  207. The Aleems - Stay Another Day
  208. The Spinners - Put Us Together Again
  209. The Wild Marys - When She Goes
  210. Toni Smith - Who's Sorry Now?
  211. Tragedy - Still At Large
  212. Tragedy - Def Row
  213. Tragedy - Here We Go
  214. Tragedy - Life
  215. Tragedy - Same Game
  216. Tragedy - White Power
  217. Tragedy - Black Rage
  218. Tragedy - For Your System
  219. Tragedy - Thirsty
  220. Trisha Fisher - Empty Beach
  221. True Culture - Annihilation
  222. Val Young - If You Should Ever Be Mine
  223. Was Not Was - Boy Gone Crazy
  224. Was Not Was - Out Come The Freaks
  225. Was Not Was - Walk The Dinosaur
  226. Was Not Was - White People Cant Dance
  227. Wilson Pickett - Midnight Hour

    your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

    Managed Hosting by NG Communications