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Author Topic: most extreme thing you've done....  (Read 7501 times)

j.hall

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most extreme thing you've done....
« on: April 21, 2004, 05:56:39 pm »

to get the performance you wanted out of an artist or band.

let's here some.

me personally, i've tackled a few drummers (while playing), lept over gobos, head butted guitar players, made singers cry, swung head phones around and around, and spit water on band members that "aren't feeling it".
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RedRawSore

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2004, 12:48:10 am »

I like to take things from them.  Shoes, car keys, whatever, but alawyas something important.  I do it in a way that makes me seem as though I'm helping.  Once I get it, I lock it up, and explain that if I get a good performance, they'll get said object back tomorrow.  

Admittedly, I didn't think of it myself, a buddy of mine uses it all the time and I simply assimilated.  Nonetheless, it works like a charm.

-Chris
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Christopher Moore
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Fibes

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2004, 09:29:05 am »

Good to see you here J....

Getting a performance huh? The lost art of the new century. Sure, we have the cattle prod for insurance, we have "I Love Lucy" psychology and the occasional game of piss off the performer with violence, verbal abuse and caustic banter but you ask for extremes? There are none in my opinion, except for the old bait and switch. If an artist has been fucking up all night i move on, we hang and drink a few before heading home and i ask 'em to knock down a scratch so i can do some edits or whatever. 50% of the time the drunk ass nails what has been the bane of my very existence for weeks. Not as interesting as you'd think but the basics are there: No pressure, loose and warmed up. The other 50% of the time it sucks, but the upside is we didn't spend a day making a bucket of suck.
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Ross Hogarth

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2004, 10:50:42 am »

I am not sure if extreme is always my answer and PERFORMANCE is everything. I think very simple things can make the most difference if a performance is actually there to be had. and I mean that ....it might not be there ...but
I find that a headphone mix can change everything on a dime. Make big changes to whatever the the thing is that is what you are after.
If it is a vocal, check and make sure the bass is loud so there is a strong pitch center and if groove is at issue make sure that the snare and kick are loud enough and so on .....
diversion is probably the go to thing if a mental issue is at the root of the problem and in the spirit of this forum another of my little sayings apply
"Anything You Resist, Will Persist "
let it go and move on, coming back to it might change everything
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lucey

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2004, 11:01:09 am »

seems to me that every tracking session is extreme, on the one hand we do a layman's 'therapy' on various individuals while having a loose control of the project's overview, while at the same time being totally out of the way of the music and the artists in their process

it's an extreme-ly hard thing to do well, often

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Brian Lucey
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j.hall

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2004, 11:18:34 am »

lucey wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 10:01

seems to me that every tracking session is extreme, on the one hand we do a layman's 'therapy' on various individuals while having a loose control of the project's overview, while at the same time being totally out of the way of the music and the artists in their process



that is a tough balancing act indeed.  personally, i've stopped getting "out of the way".  i very rarely suggest a drastic change to a song structure.  but i'm pretty involved with the process, and the interaction with the band.  i could never get the balancing act quite right, so i dove in head first.

figured the bands' would hate it, but they totally love it.  they want some one to steer the ship, swab the deck, and be the captain.  i'll do it all so they can focus on performing.  i even make em walk the plank, when they don't perform well.


Quote:


it's an extreme-ly hard thing to do well, often



ain't that the truth!!!!
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Ross Hogarth

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2004, 11:24:55 am »

Quote:

it's an extreme-ly hard thing to do well, often


I absolutely agree !!
extreme-ly
I find that the being invisible and ruthlessly compassionate is an art form in itself ....

I was thinking about extreme and remembered a time when I was producing/engineering a young band and they were not understanding the commitment it was going to take to get to the next level ...that level being what they wanted as a dream but not yet focusing on and going for. There is a time to fuck around and a time to be serious and make it happen.These guys were always in the fuck around mode. I figured it was about time to show these guys a bit of my ruthless compassion.
The studio we were in was a facility that I had the keys and security code for.
After the drummer and singer returned from a 1.5 hour break to get a pack of smokes, I decided it was enough.
I announced that it was time for the band to decide if they wanted a career and be successful and they had the next few hours to decide if this was what they wanted.
I let them know that I was leaving and locking them in with the security on so if the tried to leave the cops/security would show up.
I said that when i returned i wanted real commitment or I would bail and let the label know that we did not see eye to eye.
I then proceeded to lock up and go to a pub with a pal that lived close.
I think I hung for around 3 hours and put on a good buzz as the band freaked/stewed/called their manager/girlfriend/freaked out more/cursed me/ and then understood that their career was in their own hands and it was time to kick ass and not fuck around ...... I came back and they were pissed at me and pissed at themselves and we put the ship on the right track and got three tracks in that short night .... After it all we made a baddass record and they had their shit together and their A&R guy got fired and the label president changed and they got dropped ...sorry no real happy ending but my extreme tactic worked ....
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lucey

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2004, 02:44:47 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 10:18


personally, i've stopped getting "out of the way".  i very rarely suggest a drastic change to a song structure.  but i'm pretty involved with the process, and the interaction with the band.  i could never get the balancing act quite right, so i dove in head first.


Oh i dive in at times.  i'd like to think we all have strong ideas and good ears for music.

simple things like "Sorry, we need to tune" should be written on my forehead in red neon! it's a pet peeve.




Wearing the ME hat I sent a note to a recent client "sit down Pete ... this will test our relationship ... your record will be awesome and you will be a 'genius' if you use the following song order ... if you use your order it will suck badly and you'll be seen as a 'lunatic'"

A little different role than tracking/mixing, yet 'extreme'.


Ross Hogarth wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 10:24

I find that the being invisible and ruthlessly compassionate is an art form in itself ....


well said


it's way too painful to suffer through bad actions and see the potential go unheard.

the extreme-ly hard balance is always there .. to somehow tell them how and what to do and have them feel like they own it all the more.

my respects to the seasoned (or is it haggard) pros ... it's a tough, underpaid gig.
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Brian Lucey
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KevinC2

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2004, 03:29:47 pm »

Nothing overly extreme here but I think the best thing for a band to do is practice like nuts for a few weeks before they come in. Practice with the band practice at home and when your not practicing continue to think about music until your crazy.

Before you come in take a day or 2 off and then when you come in everybody is required to drink a beer or 2 while setting up and smoke up also if they feel like it.

The work is done for them at that point and then it`s my turn to work and their time to relax and get into a flow and groove instead of worrying about every little note which they`d been hopefully doing the previous weeks in preperation.

I try to get as much of the whole band in the room at once as possible which eases tension as it`s a team effort.

I try to encourage people to do multiple takes at the get go instead of going for the first one or 2 too hard and then getting frustrated.

Practice stops at the studio and it`s then time to perform and have fun which should be easy and effortless.
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ted nightshade

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2004, 01:13:20 pm »

Most extreme thing I've done to get a good performance-

Shacked up with the girl for 12 years, made it the ongoing focus of my life, relocated the whole scene to the deep woods, shelled out for all kindsa nice instruments and made sure they got played nice too.

It worked, pretty much.
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jwhynot

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 02:27:11 pm »

Hey guys!

Anyway, it's not extreme but a great way to warm up a roomful of newbies working their first album.

If they seem a bit awkward on arrival, I will set out whatever libations they like on a table in the tracking room and allow a little lube to happen.

Then I get everyone set and tell them to make me one and only one performance of all the songs prepared for the project.  If they screw up or have a train wreck, I just back them up 8 bars or so and count it in without interrupting the roll.

Usually takes about 2 or 3 hours, and everyone starts off thinking "shit, all this $ and we're wasting time making ruff performances" and "when do we do that stuff we keep reading about in magazines..."  I make sure the drink (or whatever) keeps flowing between songs.

After about 4 or 5 songs the resistance within the band starts to drop away, and they start just playing as if they're at a rehearsal or an often-played gig.

When it's done, all 12 or 14 songs either on a roll of 2" or a series of PT sessions, the session's over.  Leave the building.

When you return (either later that night if the band are just crazy to work - which happens, or the next morning) cut your ruffs together so they play as songs.  Have a listen without the band there so as not to pollute the sense memory of the previous night's work.

Every time I've done this I've gotten at least 2 great performances, and once I got 10!  In 3 hours!

When the band returns, play them the best ones and get ready to work on the others.

You might have some tracks ready, but even if you don't,

1.   The band now OWNS the space.
2.   They're probably not worried about mistakes anymore, since they've seen that mr professional can build a track with stops and starts.

JW
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wireline

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2004, 09:57:25 am »

A real cheap shot...percussionist was having a very tough time following tempo and sustain when doing a cowbell overdub...he kept telling me it 'couldn't be done'...

Called my wife (she has a medical condition which forces her to wear a metal brace on her right arm...long story)... when she arrived, I explained what I wanted...she grabs an empty one lb coffee can and a wooden spoon from the kitchen area, and commences to lay down a GREAT groove...

Obviously, the 'percussionist' was embarrassed to tears - here an essentially one-armed 45 year old woman playing a coffee can with a wooden spoon whipping his butt all over the studio...the guy finally got it right...but needed the "Folger's track" as a guide.

Interestingly, I kept the coffee can track in the final mix...added an interesting contrast to the deep cowbell.

The percussion guy has not been called back since, though...
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dnafe

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2004, 08:11:12 am »

Way back when, our singer wasn't putting out any emotion on this "you broke my heart so f-ck you" rocker.

So we took a break grabbed a beer and I we got into a conversation with her about her very recent-ex hubby.

In no time she was fuming mad...put her back in front of a mic and two takes later was done.

Did the same sort of thing with her during a "you broke my heart, oh how I miss you" ballad, just slightly different conversation...she was as close as you can get to tears without crying...nailed that puppy in no time...between sobs of course Wink

Don
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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2004, 11:46:25 am »

Most extreme thing I did was kick outthe band except the vocalist. Stuck him in the vocal booth on a short chair in front of the mic, wedged blankets and whatever I could to trap him in the corner. No movement at all. All I wanted to see was lips moving. I ran the mic into a pre, and then into a compressor at 10:1 and then another at 6:1 both with fast attacks. Historically the singer during live performances held the mic about 3 feet from his mouth.  There is glue...and then there is contact cement Smile Its amazing how a roll of duct tape next to the mic stand can influence someone not to move around.


Peace,
Dennis
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Fibes

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Re: most extreme thing you've done....
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2004, 12:14:56 pm »

Hahaha! kicking the band out during vocals is usually the best thing that can happen on a vocal session. A bunch of laughing, joking, stupid comments and suggestions really hurts the mood, pace and interaction between the "interested" parties. Getting them completely out of the studio is always best. We used to have a deal with a bar up the street that gave bands happy hour prices, unfortunately they closed. BTW I drank for free. heh heh.

Guitarists that insist on playing naked don't play any better. Explaining to your landlord when he drops by to see the new renovations why there is a naked man playing guitar in his building isn't all that much fun to deal with either.

I recntly finished up an M&M wannabee album and the fact that there were always strippers taking their tops off for inspiration made things interesting. I don't know if it helped him, but it sure as hell made the long nights more interesting for me. I'll never forget when I first heard: "Would it help if I took off my top?"

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