The producer: the unsung (for the most part) hero of the music industry

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You ever listen to some music and think to yourself “Wow, that sounds great!” I’m not talking about the band or the song, I’m talking about the SOUND of it. The drums are huge, the bass is punchy, the guitar tones come through, the vocals have presence, and the entire package is clean and brilliant.

So how did it get that way? Proper production that’s how. A lot of things are necessary to making a recording with great quality:  the band and their songs , recording equipment and place to record, and a producer.

The pre-production process is a necessity for any recording project. This is an opportunity for the band and the producer to put their heads together and come up with a battle plan to record the band and their songs in the best way. Often times during this process the songs are reworked with the assistance of the producer in order to maximize the tracks for recording. I have spoken to producers who have told me that sometimes a band has reworked all of their songs intended for an album based upon the producers’s input.

Over the years some producers have become stars in their own right often sought out by artists for the particular “sound” that is associated with them . Does this change the band? I don’t think so, in fact, I think that a working relationship between a band and a producer over time can become a magical thing. Think of the relationship between Rick Rubin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, magic, sheer magic.

Sometimes the artist puts on the producer’s hat as well. This can work for some and be too daunting for others. I feel that this can be exhausting both physically and mentally  and takes a superhuman effort to pull off.

Then there is the producer who is also a musician who does double duty, producing AND playing on project he is working on. While this sounds like it would be cool for the producer it makes me wonder if something is lost on either side because of the hard work it takes to play and produce. I know some who have pulled it off successfully, more power to them. Chris Collier  and his double duty work on the Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza Project song “It’s All I Need” comes quickly to mind.

Here’s a piece of advice to up and coming bands: Do yourself a favor and make sure you pay attention to the production of your recordings, it will pay off in the end.

I wish to thank the following producers for the body of work they have given to the world of music: George Clinton, Roy Thomas Baker, Jerry Wexler, Jimmy Miller, Trevor Horn, Steve Lillywhite, Jeff Lynne, Jimmy Iovine, Sam Phillips, Berry Gordy, Mutt Lange, Teo Macero, Jim Steinman, Chris Thomas, Daniel Lanois, Todd Rundgren, T Bone Burnett, Arif Mardin, Brian Wilson, Brian Eno, Rick Rubin, Phil Spector, Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Sir George Martin, Chris Collier, Sterling Winfield, Steve Thompson. While in no means complete, these producers quickly come to mind for me.

In conclusion, take out that favorite recording and listen to it, I mean REALLY listen to it. The mix of bass, drums, guitars, and overall presence combined with the talent of the band. Then look at the production credits, seek out the producer and thank them.

 

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

-the Hellion

BLACK SABBATH – some thoughts and reflections on the past, present, and future leading up to 13.

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http://www.blacksabbath.com/

     I have been a Black Sabbath fan since the moment I heard “Planet Caravan” when I was 6 years old. Since then I have felt like I was with them from high to low. Listening to Sabbath has taken my mind to different planes of existence and back, floating away on the guitar licks of Tony Iommi, my heart beating in time to the drumming of Bill Ward, the dark and monstrous basslines of Geezer Butler, finally, the madcap lunacy of the voice of Ozzy Osbourne. From the self titled Black Sabbath to Never Say Die!, Sabbath was there for me. And then things changed.

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     1979- Ozzy and Sabbath had parted ways!!!! Say it wasn’t so!!! What was going to happen now? I so wanted to hate Heaven And Hell, but I couldn’t. I was familiar with Ronnie James Dio from his prior work but didn’t think he could replace our beloved Ozzy, but it worked. Then Bill Ward was gone as well and Vinny Appice was in. This marked the start of many lineup changes to come. The Mob Rules was released and was a truly amazing piece of work.

     Well, as we all know, Ozzy launched a stellar solo career and Sabbath released several more records with varying lineups. There were several reunions but no full blown release with the classic lineup until now (well sort of).

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     Enter 13 – The long standing rumors were true,  Black Sabbath: Ozzy, Tony, Geezer, and Bill were going to record a new record!!! Then, amidst great controversy, Bill Ward was no longer part of the project. Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave was to fill in behind the kit. I will withhold my personal feelings on the matter. I heard that one of my favorite producers of all time, Rick Rubin, was working with Sabbath on this. It is my opinion that pretty much anything Rick works on is amazing (note that I said pretty much and not everything).  I am hopeful that 13 will return us to the storytelling, journeys of Sabbath past…. we can dream….

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL

the Hellion