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Howard, Mark

On Bob Dylan: Oh Mercy (1989) Time Out Of Mind (1997)

Howard was in the engineer's chair for both 1989's Oh Mercy and 1997's
Time Out Of Mind, both of which were produced by Dan Lanois. The first
time around was "a bit spooky" for Howard. "I was pretty green at the
time," he says. "I had just come down from Canada six months before and
I was in the hot seat." The second time around, though, was considerably
less stressful. "I did all the vocals with him and I think he respected
me more by that time," says Howard. "He actually trusted my judgment on

Dylan, however, threw his share of curve balls at Howard. All of them,
however, were expertly fielded.

"On that 16-minute song, Highlands, that closes the disc, I ended up
writing down the running times for the first and last word of each line
in the song," he recalls. "So when he (Dylan) asked to hear the third
word from the 15th verse, I was able to retrieve it quickly.

"He tried to stump me a couple more times, doing that, but I kept
getting them. So I started throwing it back at him, saying, "how about
hearing this line from that verse.' I think he was impressed by that.

"He's one of those people you can't hype up. If you tell him something's
great, he won't go along with it."

Mark Howard, session guy to the stars by Bruce Mowat.

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