Pop Garden Radio
It was sometime in the early 2000s when I was first introduced to a Beach Boys fan created CD series called Net Sounds that I had first heard of Marty Rudnick. His powerful version of “Sail on Sailor” caught my attention right away. His voice sounded just like Carl Wilson to me and I wanted to hear more. Not long after that I heard a blistering version of the Beach Boys “Marcella” as performed by Michael Carpenter and that same guy, Marty Rudnick. I needed to find out more about him.
I found Marty on Facebook and sent him a friend request. He accepted and sent me a message right away “Precisely half of my FB friends are also friends with Adam Waltemire! Small world…” I knew instantly that this man and I would become friends.
Conversations with Marty almost always revolved around music, with a lot of names shared and a bunch of ‘have you ever heard of so-and-so’ name dropping. It was Marty who introduced me to the Rubinoos. I had heard of them and a few tracks here and there but Marty made sure that I got to know the band’s music, as well as the band members themselves. Within a few weeks of that first message we were sending each other musical care packages.
In one of those care packages in the summer of 2006 there was a CD called More Songs about Cars and Girls by none other than Marty himself. I had no idea that he was working on a record, let alone a project with the one and only Michael Carpenter. The album was a fantastic blend of covers and originals, all played with some heavy Beatles and Beach Boys influences. His voice was front and center with some of the best harmonies that I have ever heard. The song “Julie” is still a Pop Garden Radio staple to this day.
That same year, I was working on a Rick Nelson tribute CD and I really wanted to have Marty involved as an artist. He mentioned that he would love to record a cover of Rick’s song “Legacy,” but he said that he didn’t think he could do it any justice. He cited that the original was perfect and the cover by Jeff Larson was untouchable. Marty was always so humble about his music and his talent. I suggested that instead of thinking of the other versions of the song that he just make a Marty Rudnick version. He enlisted the help of Michael Carpenter and the two of them created a song so great that I made it the title track of the tribute.
Over the years Marty mastered all of the Pop Garden Radio CDs. He was always my go-to mastering guy because he took special care to make sure that the CDs sounded exactly the way that I wanted them to. We had in depth conversations about how the track list should flow, and he would often change my mind about certain song placements. He wasn’t shy at asking me to have an artist send me a better mix. I absolutely appreciated the attention to detail and perfection. He had also mastered albums by Lisa Mychols, Agony Aunts, Nushu and the Corner Laughers among others.
In the early days of Pop Garden Radio we shared a radio chat room with The Time Machine in Maui, Hawaii. Marty was always a fixture on what I dubbed the Group W Bench. His humor kept things interesting. As anyone, for this example we will say Lisa Mychols, would be signing off of the chat he would always say to them after they would sign off “Lisa wait…” We all came to expect it from Marty.
One year Marty recorded a Christmas song or me, cleverly rhyming ‘fire’ with ‘Waltemire.’ During the intro he improvised a holiday message that ended with ‘drive safe.’ It was classic Marty and cracked us all up.
I regret that Marty and I never met in person. I always invited him to my Rock on the Road Tour shows when we would perform in Southern California. He would graciously decline and say that he never really strayed too far from home. I always understood and respected that the Bay area and Orange County weren’t exactly close to each other, so the drive wouldn’t have been an easy one. There was always hope that one day, maybe, possibly, we would meet in person.
I was in the middle of an episode of Pop Garden Radio when I heard the news that Marty has passed away. It was one of the few times where I was left speechless. I switched gears and closed the show with over 20 minutes of his music, and a lot of tears. He was a wonderful singer, a great musician, a talented mastering engineer and a terrific friend. I treasure the memories of our friendship and will miss him, always.
I you get the chance to hear any of his work or find his masterpiece More Songs about Cars and Girls, sit back and enjoy the work of one of the nicest and most talented people to ever grace us with his presence. You won’t be sorry.
Marty wait… drive safe.