My Pac Man Fever Buddy & Partner for 40 Plus Years – Musician, Composer, Voice Actor – Jerry Buckner
Good morning. Good morning. Hey, it’s Mike Stewart with Mike Stewart live. So glad to be here. Hopefully you’re getting in your seats right now. And boy Have I got a fun, exciting show today that I believe you’re going to have a lot of fun with. And you’re going to maybe learn a few things about audio and video marketing. That’s the whole purpose of this show is to talk about audio and video marketing. And I’m having a lot of my good friends and colleagues that make money from audio and video marketing, their marketing their audio services and, and techniques. And so you’ll learn some things. But you know, I always hang behind me. You can see right back there, Pac Man fever and my gold record. I’m really, really proud of having been a part of that project from over 40 years ago. And I was involved with that project with two Dear Dear friends Jerry Butler and Gary Garcia of Pac Man fever. And the day I got that gold record, made the newspaper 40 years later. You can see there, there is the picture that was in the paper back in May of 2020. The day I got that gold record that was the gold record party that I attended there you can see a 25 year old Mike Stewart. And there’s our friend Edgel gross, but there’s Jerry in the middle. And then of course there’s Gary who we love Gary, but we lost him a few years ago, but but Jerry’s still kicking around and having fun with us. And of course Jerry and I get to do, I’ve got to do a lot of things together over the years. We’ve been to Pac Man, conventions. There we were in Florida together at a Pac Man video games event. And then of course, you know, some of the projects that we did together as we worked on Wreckit Wreckit. Ralph, back in 2012. In fact, I highly recommend you go check out the Netflix show high score Jerry and Pac Man fever are in that Netflix show. And then of course, one of the other things that Jerry and I worked on together was we did the W current QRP in Cincinnati record together so we have a huge music connection over the years. And of course one of our crazy claims to fame is we were involved for many, many years Jerry Jerry, Jerry and and Gary effect was involved. But Jerry and me and my partner in my studio, Danny Jones, we did Waffle House records and back fat back last thing was fall of 2019. Before the pandemic, we got one of the few people in the world to receive Waffle House tuning awards. So let me play you some of mine and juries work that goddess award you you’ll enjoy this little clip here.
Joining me now are three of the pioneers of Waffle House records. Mike Stewart, Danny Jones and Jerry Buckner.
We’re so glad to be here.
We’re happy to have you guys now. Jerry, you had to hit Pac Man fever. So you’re no stranger to having a hit. Talk about the early days of Waffle House records, Waffle House
records decided to form a record label and they called me and asked me if I would like to be a part of them to help them do it. And I said yes. So we started on that project. And 25 some records later. Here we are.
We have an award for you for the Waffle House. Most played songs, I would like to present to you a toonie 2019
I’ll take I’ll take that for you because we’re gonna make them work a little bit. You guys like to hear a little bit of racing. You guys get to sing along and get everybody started. Okay. Raisin,
raisin, raisin toast.
So there’s a little bit of mine and Jerry’s history to give a little flavor and there’s a whole lot more to come but ladies and gentlemen I want to bring to the virtual stage. My good friend, longtime friend, Mr. Pac Man fever. Jerry Buckner.
Seeing that video I just brings me to tears Mike. Yeah, Pac Man fever What? So, you know, millions of records around the world and on American Bandstand all these big shows, you know, and and, and then we do raisin toast and get awards for that, you know, and we’re in the Waffle House video. So, I’m kidding. I love Waffle House had been great. But essentially, I mean, the truth is, Mike, and why would I lie? people, people seem to be sometimes more impressed with the Waffle House stuff that you and I did, than anything else. I mean, we’ve, we’ve done so many projects together, I mean, some we’ve been on a bunch of different labels, as you can see, in the back there, a lot of hits and everything, but it’s the Waffle House has been great for what it was and enjoyed it. And, and we’ve done a lot of stuff together with that.
What, you know, Jerry, in my audio and video marketing world, you’d be surprised how many people will see these videos, like on YouTube, Facebook, and in social media, whatnot, or even when I was doing websites where I would be selling a training or something. And, and and I’m true, I mean, when I showed that newspaper picture that the day I was standing there with you and Gary, you know, that was the gold record party. And you know, you guys, you know, I got that gold record for working on that album. And I that has been a proud possession of mine for years. And you’d be surprised how many I’ve made more money by people saying Do you really have a gold record? And and I say yes, yes. And there’s the man, you’re you’re seeing him you’re hearing him right now that they had a very, very successful album in the 80s. The Pac Man fever album, and you guys saw to it that, that I had a gold record. And I’ve hung it proudly on my wall. And I found out from an internet marketing strategy that when you hang credibility awards, in your videos online, it creates a credibility. I mean, I’ve made money was like, well, I’ll do business with you because you have a gold record. And it’s like, you know, it has nothing to do with my business. But it gives you a certain amount of credibility. And so I’m very grateful that it’s real. It’s not something I bought on eBay and hung it up and it has nothing to do with me. I was there the night you guys recording those things? I remember you sitting in the studio fact last week, I had Rodney Mills as my guest. And you know, one of the things that was really interesting back back in those days, you know, you recorded Pac Man fever and that whole album, were Sweet Home Alabama was recorded where moonlight feels right was recorded by Bruce Blackman. Where I love the nightlife was recorded. We’re all the Atlanta rhythm section. I mean, that was a very it was, as you said on Dick Clark. It was a very electric electric time and Atlanta.
Thanks for bringing that that up. Yeah, we were pretty nervous that day. Yeah. And in 38 special was recording their album. At the same time, the the album, which went you know, sold a zillion copies, had all those big hits on it. They were recording at night, we were recording in the daytime. And it was quite an interesting thing, a lot of hits, and come out of that studio, including classics for hits, you know, the songs, he’s always big hit records and all that. So yeah, it was really neat working in Studio One.
Well, here’s, here’s one of the questions is that you know, you have this amazing music history. And if you want to know more about Jerry’s music, there’s the web address. It’s really easy. If you can remember Jerry Buckner, calm fact we were working on your site just the other day, you’re getting that really ready to let people know that you’re still making music. I mean, you don’t say I stopped making music, you know, it’s just part of our lives. And, and I do the same thing. I mean, I don’t want to stop making music, I don’t want to, I don’t want to stop being around music. But you know, as life went on, and, you know, the hit made you a good chunk of money. And then the way you maintain that money is you got to keep having hits. So, so that’s why we got into waffle house because that was you know, good money. It was corporate music because what we were doing and, and and of course, one of the things that you and I have been staying in touch with for 20 years now is using your talent and letting people know that you’re available. through the internet. And so let’s talk about microphones. Like for instance, I love the microphone, talk about the microphone you’re using to record yourself now. Well, this
is a Shure SM 78 that I have here. And it’s an incredible microphone. I love this. I’ve tried different microphones over the years, and they’ve all been been good broadcast quality. But this one is just just remarkable. I love this. It’s for my voice, it works really well. It gives a nice tone, I have a little bit of a deeper voice. And it has a nice tone. And of course, I do a lot of voiceover, which we may talk about later. But it’s a great microphone, and for the price is wonderful. So I recommend if you’re doing any kind of work this you can do master recordings with it. I think Rodney Mills, who is one of the top engineers ever said this, you and I were talking about that, what a great microphone, but I highly recommend it if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. You know, there’s always the I have one of these, I should have brought it out, you know, one of the
Yeah, the Yeti. It’s a pretty good mic. It works pretty good. And it’s, it’s, I think about 100 bucks, I don’t know, right? Right, good mic to start with him, especially if you’re starting out doing voice work and so forth. But if you can afford it, this is the mic.
And that’s the Shure SM seven one or something 7878. Yeah, sure, SM Seven, eight, you just Google it, we usually buy our equipment, I buy my equipment at Sweetwater or Guitar Center, those are great places to buy. That’s right. And, and of course, one of the things that you mastered, you know, back when we were working in studios, you know, 40 years ago, we weren’t the engineers, we weren’t the guys running the tape recorders, or, or using the sound mixing boards, or hooking up the microphones, we were just you were a piano player, you were a keyboard player. And Gary was a guitar player, you were songwriters. But the technical stuff was always left up to somebody else. And what happened, when computers came along, you know, I became an audio engineer to the best of my ability, as well as Danny did, and you used to come to our studio, because we were the engineers, and you could come in with with your ideas or whatever, we could end up making a record, right. And when I got out of the studio business, it became evident to me that if you own a computer, I don’t say 80 90% of the work we were doing in our studio back in those days, you could do with a microphone and your computer, which which really brought about this, this was pre internet audio days. But now internet audio is basically communication, its content. And so, you know, you had to learn how to hook up your microphone to your computer, and record and edit and save your content as an mp3 file. So that’s one of your experiences is that you’ve got, you’ve got the IRS for what sounds good from your old recording days, all the records you made, and being around engineers. But tell us a little bit about you know, the software you started doing and, and the skill level you got before we were going to get to five or here in a minute. But talk about you know, your learning curve. I mean, here, here, you you’ve been in studios all these years, and now all of a sudden, you’re at we’re at home studios with microphones, tell me tell me that tell our folks a little bit about that audience
probably should mention my voice work because this is it all kind of comes together. I got into radio is something I always loved all my life. In fact, I wanted to get into radio to begin with back in my younger days. But I also love writing songs and that one out and I did that. But then after Pac Man, we did a lot of stuff in the music business for a long time had a lot of success. But I had a lot of radio friends to from over the years. And I love comedy I used to like like working with comedy. So I got into a friend of mine started using me on his morning show doing some comedy bits and so forth, that mushroomed into a whole whole other business for me. And I had to learn how to record myself at home. So I could submit these demos because it used to be if you wanted to, you’d have to get on an audition for if you want to do a voice then you have to get on town and audition with 100 other people and the same people would always get it and it was just it was really a pain in the butt. And they had to they had to book studio time and everything well now, the advertising people everybody loves the idea that they don’t have to do any of that. All they got to do is they see my site and they come to me I can do everything. And it’s not you know, it’s not that complicated. And and so I had to get you taught me forge how to do. That’s where I started, which is Sound Forge is basically just a stereo track for doing voice types. It’s not a multitrack system, just a regular
for boys a tape recorder. Basically,
it’s a tape recorder. Exactly. And learn how to how to use that. And I can do my own demos. So people, agencies, and people love to come to voice talents who can do this stuff themselves, because they don’t have to pay all those recording fees. And so that gives you a heads up over everybody else that’s still trying to do it the old way. And so that’s how, that’s how I got into doing studios. And then I also morphed into doing music by getting a multitrack I used mix craft, I don’t know what you recommend Mike. And I need to say to everybody, this Mike Stewart. Yeah, he’s my close, dear friend, but he knows this industry frontwards and backwards, and I’ve told him, I made more money with him than I haven’t packed my feet. He’s taught me so much stuff. He’s amazing, man, just knowledge just pours out of them so well. But it’s it’s well, you know, it’s very true. Well,
a DA W is a digital audio workstation. Basically, the ability to layer sounds, we used to call it multitrack recording, you’d have a track of a voice and a track of another voice. And that’s how you made records. But you know, most of the folks in the internet world here, they’re podcasters, where they want to be able to record and edit a show. They want to do an interview like you and I are doing right now. They want to be able to edit in sound effects. And they basically want to make a radio show. And some of them want to do voiceovers for YouTube videos and television, commercial online television commercials. So so the principles that you and I learned as kids in these big studios in Atlanta, like, like buddy buoy, and Rodney Mills, Studio One and Lowery studio, and then my own studio, you know, we learned how to make professional sounding audio, and then the internet came along. And, and basically, you know, an iPhone is almost as good as the tape recorder is better than a tape recorders we had back in the day. A computer is Is anybody can own a studio now. That doesn’t mean anybody has the ears and the talent to make good content. That’s why, you know, learning, you know, and listening and training your ears is one of the things that that’s that why you why you got work is because Jerry, you are talented, you know if it’s right, you know if it’s wrong, you know how to create a piece of audio content that is professional. And, and so therefore. Okay, so you got an audience there just to let people know what I use as a multitrack. You still use a mix craft or have you graduated to the acid program?
You know, I have that too. I have a wall. I guess I prefer the mixcraft seems to work easier for me. But but I’ve got I’ve got the so for me, I’ve got them all. And and I use them for various
purposes. Well, nobody at the bank says Did you edit that audio with with XYZ program? Because it’s all about if it works, don’t worry about it. And of course Charlie just said, the model number it’s and we put up here, it’s the SM 78. Just you know that’s a microphone that is really, really good. That’s it’s kind of becoming the podcast or voiceover. Choice microphone, and
it will, it’s hard to overdrive it. I mean you can but it’s just it’s just so, so perfect. And it will really reproduce your voice. And that’s, that’s so important. If you’re going to get in voiceover work. That’s the quality is so important. That’s one of the most that’s more important. That’s one of the top things I mean, people are not going to agencies are not going to buy your product, not going to use you if you don’t give them quality, quality sound, including the software they don’t. There’s a lot of rules going well,
you know, and one of the things that I want folks to know here is we just built this new website because because Jerry is doing some different marketing, but his specialty is Southern voices. So go to Southern voices Jerry buckner.com because one of the things I highly recommend for podcasters and people making what I call web marshals or even television or radio commercials, Jerry is a professional talent affordably priced. You can reach out to him there at Southern voices Jerry buckner.com. And you know, hire Jerry. He does an amazing job. He’s a pro all the way and he knows you know, years and years of experience and You know, even if you’re doing a podcast, you want to have a professional voiceover intro even if your voice is not that great, you know. So anyway, just putting that out there. All right, well, we get to the this. This is a good question here from Charles. He says, How does one get a musical ear?
You’re born with it. It’s pretty much. Yeah, I mean, when I was a kid, and I probably make this a very short story, when I was when I was about eight years old, my dad was trying to take piano lessons, he was on a gospel group, and had an old upright piano and he were getting he was getting these melons. Well, one day, I sat down there with my mom, she was singing a little song working in the kitchen sentimental journey, I think. And I sat down, I just started picking it out on the piano. And she said, she come in and he goes, how can you do that? I go, I thought everybody can do. So my dad came home, she said, Come in here, do that, play that for him. And that’s when they discovered that I had this ability to instill Can I mean, I can hear a song. And Mike, you know, from playing in clubs, it really helps a lot, you know, you hear these things, and we can sit down and play them. I mean, you know, work come out. And that’s just, it’s nothing I did. I mean, it just, I had it, you know, just came with the package?
Well, you know, one of the things that I do know is that if you know something is good, go back and forth between what you know is good, and what you did, and try to train yourself to discern the difference. And, and there’s just, there’s just little things that you got to learn to listen for, you want to make sure that you’re close to the microphone, when you’re doing voiceover, you want to make sure that you have some sort of, you know, Jerry’s got foam on his sm 78. That is a pop filter, I’m using a wire mesh pop filter, there’s little things that you can do, that you everybody can learn producing music. That’s a whole nother gut, you know, sometimes it’s a god given talent, sometimes it’s something that you just gotta want one, it’s so bad that you work very, very hard to get that skill. But But I think what I want to go to next is, you discovered a way to get people to buy your services, through fiber can tell a little bit of that story.
Well, I was doing voice work, of course, from working in radio, doing morning shows, and so forth. And then I started getting some people that asked me to do some commercials and everything. And I discovered very quickly that if I did a character voice, I would get more of a response. And, and it could get more work. Because they seem to like the sudden I had a southern character that I can disable and I can do and they like that. So I began to try to find ways to to get more work. And there’s there’s sites called voices.com and voices 123 dot com, and their membership sites. And you know, you pay a yearly fee for those. So I started working on those. And that that I did okay in there. And every you know, it was fine. But you did Oh, I did a lot of free. A lot of free demos on there. I mean, you spent a lot of time because you you submit them and they don’t pay you. Well, I heard about fiber. And I thought I’m not, you know, $5 for something. I mean, I don’t want to do that, you know that? Well, I went and kind of investigated it. So I thought, well, I want to try something. So I did, I went in and did an anonymous, put up an anonymous site, you know, kind of a little bit of a joke, kind of a thing with a funny picture and saying I was a regular talent, but I didn’t want anyone to know, you know, well, it caught on. And I started getting people coming to me. And what I found out is is that there’s extras on fiber that you can add to what you’re doing legitimate is not trying to pad it. License, you know, people want to use your voiceover for commercial than any to pay a licensing fee for that which they most people will do. And I found out that I could make better or as good or better money than I would on the membership sites, and not have to do all the free demos. I don’t you don’t do any free demos on Fiverr. So it’s a great place to start. If you’re brand new will then do one for five or 10 bucks if you want just to get started. Because once you build up, you start moving up the chart, you’re moving up into the system to where people can see who you are. But there’s a lot of tricks involved with Fiverr. But it’s a great place to go and yes, you can make money. I’ve made a lot of money on Fiverr. And I’m glad I discovered that.
Well that’s that’s the lesson here is that that Fiverr can be a Li it’s not about doing things for $5. That’s the thing I learned from you is that you can no matter what your skill is. You can have layers of profitability and you’re using the little five Dollar or $10. And in fact, I’ve actually seen some people on Fiverr that have nothing for $5. And I guess it’s that that’s
very common. I mean, it’s it’s kind of fibers is huge. In fact, I think there was a fiber commercial and
they ran a superbowl commercial yesterday.
so they’re doing okay, that was $5 million to run that commercial. Yeah.
Yeah, they’re doing okay. And they got a lot of different areas. But the voiceover thing works very well on there. I highly recommend them. And as I say, there’s there’s a few more tricks, but it’s a great place to start. If you want to get into doing doing voice work.
Well, I want to talk about this for a second, we got a couple more things. And my gosh, the show’s almost coming to an end here, because we’ve been on for half an hour. But you know, you’re involved with Waffle House records. In fact, one of the things here, you can search eBay, and Jerry has Waffle House records. He’s a seller there you see Jerry, Buck, any three, that’s the seller information. And you got all kinds of crazy things that you’re selling on on what happens.
Whenever Mike is I, I happened to was looking for something else on eBay one day, and I saw that somebody had a couple of his records for sale for some pretty good prices. And I thought, well, that’s pretty well, because I had a bunch, you know, when we used to do all the waffle stuff back in the day, they would give you know, I would get a box or two of records. I’m not even sure why I guess it’s producing it and get records. So I had a bunch of records hanging around here that I probably was going to throw away, you know. And when I saw that on there, I thought well, people are collecting them, they become kind of collector’s items. And people have jukeboxes, and they want to put the songs on it. So I put a few of my records up and they just, I mean right out the door. So I was able to secure a lot more of these from the warehouse that nobody, nobody cares about them. I do. And so we put them up on eBay, and it’s great people love them. And they, you know, as I say they they’re collector’s items and they put them on two boxes.
Well, I just want you to know that you need to check them out. There are a lot of fun going if you have a waffle house restaurant, in your area, you can go to the to the digital jukeboxes, all the records all the way back to 1980. The very first one we ever did, and then you and Danny did him for many, many years afterwards. So I don’t know how many songs are on there anymore. But you can check out Waffle House records. But now what we’re going to talk about, and we’re going to wind it up here with is this was the party that brought you on is Butner garcia.com. And, and I remember we were you and I and Gary were doing jingles at my house. for local rent. We I’ll never forget we had a local restaurant. Joe rigatoni was was he did Joe’s and we did all kinds of different jingles. And we would do the demos at my home studio. And then we go to a real studio to cut the final product and and that’s, you know how we were we were playing music at night and making jingles during the day. And and you guys started playing Pac Man at near that studio, I think was one the Marielle It was called
shillings on the square up in Marietta, Georgia.
And you know, these new video game arcade games were tabletop? Is that a tabletop game? Or was it an arcade
tabletop, sitting in the middle of the room plugged in at a plug in the floor? They’re sitting there. And we were wanting to get a bite to eat and between working at a local studio and saw all these people so we started playing it got hooked and spent more time in there then working in the studio. We thought maybe we should let’s do a little song because we were songwriters as you are Mike you know, always been and and we would try it. We were trying to get hit songs you know, but commercials was how we were making a living. So we thought well, let’s do the song. And maybe we’ll get a little bit of work from commercials. And that was the idea behind doing it. We never never dreamed that it would do what it would it did but that was the idea behind it.
Well, you know the the gaming community community just still loves this record. I mean, it’s amazing. The people you’ve met over the years as a result of this record. The song has been used in Family Guy The Simpsons The Goldbergs South Park, South Park
been in the Rose Bowl parade. I mean it’s been everywhere
you know, and you know one of the things I think that will be a lot of fun is that that we’re going to help Jerry get Jerry Butler dot live setup. And because I think the gaming world just loves hearing about Pac Man and and, and so that that’ll be a fun show. Hopefully you can get going, launching pretty soon. But I’ll tell you what the way we’re going to end the show is, we’re going to play you and I, and the remaining members of the studio band made a video this past May. And we found some old footage of me and you, and Gary and the original drummer, Johnny. And we actually at Chris Bowman, the guitar player from the from the album, we play the only time that I know of that there’s ever a video of us playing Pac Man fever live. That’s right, it was at Chris’s wedding. And we took that footage, and we made a video and we did a live stream on it. And we started getting some momentum. And then of course, this year has been one crazy news event after another and the world didn’t seem to have much interest in Pac Man after the craziness of last year. So we’re going to play it right now to end the show with maybe have some closing comments, see if there’s some questions. But Jerry, thank you for sharing your your stories. And I will come back if we some time and do another show in the future. Mike? Well, if nobody has any questions, Jerry I once again, this was a lot of fun, a lot of things that brought back wonderful, happy memories. I’m glad that you and I are still good friends and and you know, brother, I’d do anything to do to help you. You just ask and you know that and folks reach out, go to Jerry buckner.com check out Buckner guards. garcia.com check out, you know, the Kindle book back here behind me. That’s one of the things that I’m a firm believer in. It’s it’s maybe the music industry hasn’t really completely accepted it. But our fans that like Pac Man favor are loving it. And we’re just going to keep keep doing the things we’re doing. And the quote my good buddy, Jeff herring, he says that was cool. So sometimes you don’t have to teach something. Sometimes you can just have fun being cool. Jerry, any last words before? Here’s Vicki says thank you, Vicki. Glad you’re here. And so we had a good audience today. You know, one thing about these live streams is a lot of people see it after the fact it’s it becomes immediately posted in social media. And so you can always rewind it, watch it again, visit Jerry’s websites. Jerry, anything you want to say before we head on out of here, just thanks to all all the fans and all the folks who support us over the years and love to meet you and get you know,
Check. Check us out Jerry becker.com and kiss my my partner Jerry Garcia. And Mike Stewart, my close dear friend who’s done so much for me and just a tremendous talent. You need to check him out in all these areas because you’re gonna make money and you’re going to learn stuff. So anytime I can be on the show love to my loved one.
Well, Charlie says fun stuff. And with that, everybody have a great day and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks with the next Mike Stewart dot live
Transcribed by https://otter.ai