System of Love EP by The Swimming Pool Q's- MP3 Album
Photographs by Anne Richmond Boston
David Anderle & Jeff Calder of The Swimming Pool Q’s in 1984
For youth, or the almost still young, wisdom is a remote peak. I caught a glimpse of it in 1984 when I walked on the A&M Records lot, its cottages draped in bougainvillea, and met David Anderle.
He had the common touch, but he was a complex persona: part-mandarin, part Mandarin orange. Which is to say that, with his gentility and Zen composure, David had survived Sixties California with the best parts of the time intact.
He was Vice President of A&R then, and he had known great success, with more achievement to come. He signed my band to the label based on our little cassette, which was so pitiful you had to hold it under a hair dryer to get it to play. Then he produced our album, guiding us around the shoals and jetties of the process, always standing by to right the dinghy after this or that turtle-up or two.
There can be no doubt that David appreciated equilibrium, but he could be fluid, first moving one way, then another, and then, if necessary, a third way, as situations with musicians—who he loved—often demand ongoing adjustment to tri-polar confusion.
With his keen sense of organization, David made our day-to-day affairs manageable. He carried a notebook and a pencil with a big eraser, rubbing out overdubs as we went along—and, on most days, given our tendency to pile up crags of Jangle, there was a fair amount of rubbing out to be done by David. He brought the project in under budget, and he did the best he could to save us.
Both Sides Now: Engineer/associate producer Ed Stasium & David Anderle at Hartsfied Airport, Atlanta, June 1984 with The Swimming Pool Q’s album.
David was shy of public profile, unfazed by stardom. Authority sat well on him, partly, to my mind, because he was tall. He had been comfortable with the giants: Tim Buckley, Brian Wilson, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Sandy Denny, Nico, Frank Zappa, Kris Kristofferson, Van Dyke Parks, and so forth. He was careful to frame your perspective, to reassure you these were just regular people...kind of. And he had all the best stories, cautionary tales without the caution, which, if you behaved, he might tell you, if you swore a blood oath of secrecy, which he knew you would violate at the first opportunity.
The Q’s capturing Anderle in his A&M Records office
He understood the importance of fun, though his natural disposition was toward ease and clarity. In the World War I espionage novel Mr. Standfast (1919), author John Buchan has his hero say, “There was a plan somewhere, which you will find in the history books, but with me it was blank chaos.”
For nearly everyone I’ve known who had a brush with the music business, that’s what it was like most of the time: blank chaos. It was among David’s greatest strengths to create for the artist—or anyone fortunate enough to have been around him— a sense of calm enclosure where small decisions of life-changing consequence might be made.
He was a serious painter in the manner of Modigliani, though with a style all his own. His luxurious oils of Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson hung within the sanctum of his hacienda, located mere feet from the real Beatle path, Blue Jay Way. These portraits cast an aura of deep enchantment, one that summoned a flood of youthful feelings: this was where you wanted to be, talking about nothing; where others had sat before you with the same insurmountable insecurities; where David Anderle made you feel that you had joined an historical flow in which you might have something to offer—maybe—if only you would just stop not doin’ right. He would be your friend for life, and he was.
One of the Swimming Pool Q's' great heroes, David Anderle, died on September 1. David's biography has a breathtaking sweep. He had an overwhelming impact on the lives and careers of hundreds of artists, spanning decades, from Frank Zappa to Sheryl Crow. He signed us to A&M Records in 1984, produced our album The Swimming Pool Q's, and remained our advocate. This additional photo gallery is a tribute to David. Many of the photos which include The SPQ's were taken by Anne Richmond Boston.