When I first met Tod Dockstader, he was a name on the spine of a few CDs in my collection. He was the sound of a music that I didn’t (and still don’t) completely understand but that I was intensely drawn towards. He was a myth of a recording engineer who created a world all his own and on his own terms. Today he is still all of those things, but for me he has become something else entirely. He has become my friend. We’ve built up our weekly routine: I explain, to his great amazement, that my Zoom H4n replaces his old Nagra tape deck and how my tiny SD card can hold hours and hours of recordings, we share laughs as we listen to his music, and as I leave him he genuinely thanks me for my visit. I believe, despite his dementia, that he truly does remember me, and I know from his smile as I leave that he enjoys our time together.
As I move into the next phase of making this documentary, I hope to show this human side of Tod. For every creator, no matter how great or little their work, no matter how tragic or commonplace their life, is human. Nowhere in the previously existing writings about Tod do you discover one of the most startling (for me anyway) facts about him: he’s funny! He has this strange sense of humor that often comes through in the amusing wordplay he engages in. I can’t do it justice here in written and remembered form, but I hope to share those moments with you so that you too can get to know him the way I do.
So, I will be showing these other sides of Tod in two ways. First, I will be trying to capture those moments on film and/or audio, and second through this blog. I will be occasionally posting musings like this one to share some personal moments, and to reflect on my thoughts as I continue on this fascinating journey.