Spotlight: Jeff Richmond, Senior Electronics Technician
is present at every musical performance on campus, but very few
people actually know he’s there.
Like the Wizard
of Oz, Richmond is an invisible facilitator, making sure that
each concert, recital and presentation goes smoothly.
mind his role behind the curtain, either. As the music department’s
senior electronics technician for 21 years, he’s devoted
to helping others record, edit and compose their own music.
very rewarding to be with the students and faculty here, who are
working to learn as much about their craft as possible and to
prepare themselves to spend their lives making music,” Richmond
said. “The music business itself would never offer that
kind of gratification.”
whereof he speaks. After earning a B.S. in electrical engineering
in 1974 from Pittsburg State University in Kansas, he decided
that he wanted to be in the music industry. He packed up his family
and moved to Austin, Texas, where his electrical expertise won
him a job at the Austin Opry House, owned by Willie Nelson.
been helping move some sound equipment before The Byrds gave a
concert,” he recalled, “and right before the show
was supposed to start, one of the guitar connectors broke. No
one had the tools to fix it, but I had stuff in my car so I ran
out, came back and fixed it. The gig went great and Willie’s
sound crew was impressed, so they offered me a job.”
After a year
at the Opry House working with acts like Waylon Jennings, Tom
Waits and Kris Kristofferson, Richmond moved to Los Angeles for
a job at Capitol Records, where he helped maintain the equipment
that made 8-track tapes. In the late 1970s, Richmond took a job
as assistant chief engineer at The Village Recorder studios in
West Los Angeles.
later, while editing a documentary on The Doors’ Jim Morrison
at UCLA’s film school, Richmond applied for and accepted
a position in the music department.
to recording all musical performances, Richmond supervises the
department’s CD dubbing lab and oversees the recording studio,
where music students work on compositions.
He also maintains
the audio and video equipment in the music classrooms, purchases
all recording and dubbing equipment for the department and does
some live sound support when guest lecturers and musicians perform.
Some of the
artists he’s helped record include Tito Puente, Kenny Burrell
and Elgart & Yates. But Richmond is not motivated by celebrity
names. He loves working with and helping students become better
can make a lot of money in the music industry,” Richmond
explained, “but it’s not very fulfilling. At UCLA,
people are hungry for learning and growth, and that’s a
great way to live your life.”
from a story by Simone Kaplan for UCLA Today.