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Author Topic: I Love Lucy Psych 101.  (Read 4963 times)

Fibes

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I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« on: April 27, 2004, 11:23:39 am »

FWIW I've mentioned I Love Lucy psychology many times and some of you have expressed confusion about it's true meaning. Uh, it's all about giving people what they want and not what they ask for, it takes courage and a bit of sway to get it across. How does it relate to Ricky and Lucy? Imagine Ricky is going to the bar to blow off some steam, he knows Lucy wants to stay home and watch her favorite show on TV but if he mentions that he's going to the bar, the thought of being alone would convince Lucy to tag along. Ricky knows that both of them will ultimately be displeased with the results if she hangs with him and the guys so he employs a classic tactic in his ILLPsych back catalog. The red herring coupled with a bit of reverse psych. He askes her about her favorite show and what is happening tonite, she gives the requisite reply, he then adds a comment about the dress he bought her last week and how he can't wait to see her in it. He then asks her to go to the bar with him in her new dress because a friend of his has some Cubans and they are going to smoke and play cards. Lucy is suddenly opposed to going, it's her new dress, she hates cigars and by Mithra she really wants to wear that dress somewhere special and holy smokes, her favorite show is on. She then decides to stay home. If Ricky hadn't have used the ILLPsych technique 143 they would have both had a miserable time. How does this relate to record production? It's simple give them what they want and make it their idea.

Sure this may seem underhanded and childish but the more i work with solo artists the more i realize that they need direction to get what they want. They need to concentrate on writing and performing while thinking they are going after what they want, the invisible leash is important to everyone's happiness and satisfaction. This is afterall about what they want, not what you want but ultimately you have to have some balls, bravado and most importantly insight into the artist to get there.

Are these things that you wrestle with? Do svengali style artists usually buckle and ask you to hold their hand when you are alone and not under the influence of public ego?

Give them what they want not what they ask for, by any means necessary.
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Fibes
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j.hall

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2004, 02:59:46 pm »

LUUUUUUCYYYYYY......

it might be a strange way of describing it, but i think your point is dead on

it's much easier to let the artist (mainly solo artists) think they thought of it, or they decided it at your suggestion, then it is to be seen as "pushy"

the thing about lucy is that she was always the "lost sheep" with out guidance.  MANY solo artists i work with are not lost, they just can't always articulate their thought in recording terms.

th flip side to your post is that, lucy always ended up breaking something, damaging property.....you know.

moral of the story, be a good shrink, but don't let them in the mic locker!!!

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Fibes

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2004, 03:28:11 pm »

j.hall wrote on Tue, 27 April 2004 14:59

LUUUUUUCYYYYYY......

it might be a strange way of describing it, but i think your point is dead on

it's much easier to let the artist (mainly solo artists) think they thought of it, or they decided it at your suggestion, then it is to be seen as "pushy"

the thing about lucy is that she was always the "lost sheep" with out guidance.  MANY solo artists i work with are not lost, they just can't always articulate their thought in recording terms.

th flip side to your post is that, lucy always ended up breaking something, damaging property.....you know.

moral of the story, be a good shrink, but don't let them in the mic locker!!!




So many views and one reply that is dead on. I swear my original post was written under the influence but I actually was watching my one year old when i wrote it. Same brain lock, different elixer.

Dealing with solo artists is a world apart from bands. the dynamic is completly different and can get very personal. Hell you can't make the bass player or the drummer the hate boy while you have your way with the vocalist. It is, for the most part, one on one. Ya' gotta be smart about it.

Keep all songwriters out of the mic closet, they often wonder where the 9v battery goes and it's an expensive fix.
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Fibes
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j.hall

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2004, 03:44:36 pm »

for some reason, and with no effort of my own, i seem to get a lot of solo artist work....either a few people have big mouths, or i'm some sort of magnet......who knows

you're right though, bands vs. solo artist is like bringing a stick of butter to a gun fight.

i've worked with some that don't want anyone else in the room, EVER (this icludes assistants or any studio personnel) to the artists that have 25 different players coming in to play little overdubs here and there, like a revolving door.

to me, the key is to be the best friend of the artist, no matter who comes in, who doesn't come in, you have to be the guy they lean on, or you're screwed!!

IMHO.

i tend to play on most artists records and that crosses a whole different bridge......

one guy i had to lay tape on the floor in areas he was not allowed.

"you stay on this side of every taped off room, we have to stop breaking things."
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Ross Hogarth

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2004, 02:17:18 am »

I totally relate and agree. For years and years I have wondered if NARAS could see about us engineer/producer guys getting some kind of honorary psych degree since I feel more deserving than most true students of psych.
On a daily basis I use so many different tactics. I would be laying my nutsack out on the chopping block if I spoke in specifics BUT again, everyday no matter who the artist, I am digging into the bag of tricks to make sure the ship is on course.
I love the Rikki/Lucy analogy. and I like the fact you came up with your post while looking at your 1 year old. My boy is now 7 and he very often is more emotionally stable then many of the dudes I produce.

I use very often the analogy of being both the chef, the waiter,the busboy/dishwasher and the maitre'D in a fine restaurant.
In this restaurant you always get a window seat with no wait, when you order you get whatever is on the menu with very few "No's or No We can't " , a gourmet meal served hot, your wine glass stays always filled with no spills, and behind the scenes someone has to show up early and open up and someone has to stay late and clean up ... all with a good attitude of service with a smile .....

we follow the muse. It is not about us. whoever they are, if they are the creators , then it is our job to serve them ...kinda really no matter what ..stopping short of physical or really verbal abuse ... we take our lumps
I know this sounds suck shit kiss ass but I speak the truth
It is our job to show up with our Full Body Teflon Suit on and let the neurotic shit just run off our backs because it is not personal
the artist is just that ..an artist and all the great ones come wound and cut from very much the same molds ...some more skillful and tactful and better at their own people skills than others.
It is our job to use whatever we can conjure up and turn it around and make it like that wonderful fine dining experience
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j.hall

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2004, 10:19:52 am »

Ross Hogarth wrote on Wed, 28 April 2004 01:17


we follow the muse. It is not about us. whoever they are, if they are the creators , then it is our job to serve them



great post......i have to add one thing though.  i've found with solo artists in particular, that often times, i'm the muse (to a certain extent at least).  i've found that often times the more attention i bath the artist in, the more they shy away.  if i remain quiet yet busy, they gravitate toward me and want my direction.  it's really odd.  the solo artist (at least in my small world) is a totally anomaly to what i was used to dealing with.

i try to engage all artists in a conversation about the emotional value of the songs we are recording.  i want them to start thinking about the music as a statement and not just "a cool part followed by a cool part".  with bands it's a slippery slope.  i can get inquisitive looks but no conversation, laughed at, or launch into a big discussion if music actually has a statement to make in the first place.  i rarely get bands to talk about their songs and what they are really about.

solo artists dive right into this topic.  some jump in as if they waited their whole life for some one to ask, others start talking like it's something they discuss daily, and some step in cautiously as they are unsure if they can open up to me.

it's a strange dynamic.  and i agree, we should have honorary degrees for this job.
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Fibes

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2004, 10:44:46 am »

Yeah the solo artist is a different bird and ther is only one combo that comes to mind that wanted to talk about their songs to me. It was one instance that I wish they hadn't. Dumb and Dumber...

A lot of solo artists do need a bit of slap and tickle and unfortunately they are footing the bill all by their lonesome (in Indy land). So yes, I play on a bunch of their stuff and try to build their songs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Talking about the emotional impact and vibe J. is important to the big picture.
I did an album about two years ago with a folky chic who wanted a full band, wanted a bit of an etherial modern twist to her stuff and didn't have the budget to do much experimentation. It's not a great album, but due to the way we worked it's much better than she could have imagined. From day one I insisted that we had to lay down the feeling of each song and use it as our guide. She didn't have the budget to second guess and redo a bunch of stuff so we went from the gut and i'll be damned if she wasn't pleased as punch. She kept an open mind and lived with things before passing judgement. That is the key. Live with it for a while. Slap and tickle.
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ted nightshade

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2004, 02:56:21 pm »

Y'all blow my mind.  I don't think I could ever manage what you folks do. Rock on.
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natpub

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2004, 04:26:14 am »

In my case, I actually got the psych degrees too, lol. However, my most interesting use of this was not producing, but while being produced.

This chap, who shall remain nameless, indeed had an arsenal of tricks and tools to play any and all of us in the band like a fiddle. Not only could he get us to see advice as if we had thought of it, or guide us in certain musical directions, but he could elicit emotions from us almost at will. When he wanted us angry, he pushed button A, and bam, we were angry, When he wanted ecstatic joy, he pushed button B, and got it.

He even had the gall to tell me flat out that he was doing it. He mentioned to me in pre-pro that he was studying us, to learn how to push our buttons. However, sometimes, even when you see that Oz is behind the curtain, you still respond to the big flaming green headed wizard.

After all was said and done though, I will tell you that there is one pitfall to all this...

The final album I made with that chap did not end up how I had hoped, not at all. I did not get what I wanted, because I did not know what I wanted until it was too late. The drummer knew what he wanted, the bassist knew what he wanted, the mooks knew what they wanted. But I did not. As a result, everyone just kinda filled in the empty spaces.

Still, it was a great learning experience.

Due to that experience, I now look very closely at bands, and see if anyone is supressing a deep desire to be going a different direction, or if anyone is getting shoved around by stronger personalities in the band or organization.

Working with bands and mooks and techs and managers and engineers and girlfriends and on and on...can be very hairy once all these persona's get in the ring. It isn't just Lucy and Ricky anymore, it is a frigging circus Smile


lates,
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j.hall

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2004, 10:56:56 am »

sounds like you worked with ross robinson....

anyway, you bring up a good point.  it's good to do a lot of this stuff if your intention, as the producer, is good.

when you cross the line and start working on your personal agenda, that's when i disagree with your actions.  it's a work in progress as i say.  you have to keep checking with the artist to see if the project is still moving the right direction.

in the end, i firmly believe....."it's not my record, it's 'yours'.  i can help you and make suggestions all day, but in the end, i'm not the one who has to live with it forever."

i tell artists that from day one.  don't hesitate to tell me what's up, i need that input to deliver YOUR record, and not mine.

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Fibes

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2004, 12:31:44 pm »

Give them waht they want, not what they ask for. A sticky wicket.

Ironically I'm catching hell right now on a local music site because a guitarist who's been playing for nine months insisted that I didn't do anything his band wanted during the recording of their demos. I backed off 99% of my suggestions but these are some of the issues we faced. BTW I was aked by their manager to produce, this is one good deed that went punished.

They are a pop metal act. When i say pop, I mean the shit that's on the radio.

1. I did an edit to one of their songs it was 6 minutes long i edited 2 minute off the front of it. The band played an intro (the verse with a poorly played solo rhythm guitar)into the verse (no lyrics) into a double chorus (no lyrics) into a verse (no lyrics except for an awwwww)into the chorus and finally into a verse with lyrics. All parts were played identically so i did an alternate mix where i placed a half chorus first (no vocal) into the first verse(with vocal). Essentially i chopped the song down to get to the vocal in the first minute instead of the third. I also did a vesion with the lame guitar intro intact. They freaked (the guitarist anyway), insisted i was killing their music, called everyone but my dead mother and complained. It was a fucking suggestion, it took all of one (non-billed hour) and the manager and his assistant loved it. We went with the long version. If the song actually was more than AABBABABABABABABABB and had an ounce of variation i wouldn't have said shit.

2. The infant guitarist insisted that his sound was the sound of his peavy trans tube pushed so bass heavy that the voice coil was clicking and the speakers were totally blatting out. I actually could have worked with it if the bassist wasn't tuning his e string to B and cranking 15 db of 60hz on his amp while the kick was pumping out the def-tones style 808/click combo. MMMPPPH.

3. Why are the newbs without a clue so difficult?

4. they want to do 4 more songs, who's interested? They are about to go to the hack in town, as much as i'd love to hear it, I'm not totally evil.

Rant over. Forgive me.
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Fibes
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Trash Monkey

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2004, 01:31:12 pm »

This is such an interesting thread. In February I  tracked an album for an up and coming blues artist who is in Nashville this weekend to perform at the Handy Awards of which they are nominated for 3. This was a departure from the last album and strictly acoustic. Hence problem #1, the artist wanted to get nominated for next years Handys in the acoustic blues category.

When the session started we had people literally from all over the country coming in to work. All the session cats were pretty damn cool, seasoned players that knew what to do and above all listen first and talk later. Pre production took about 5 days since no one knew the songs for shit.

As soon as tracking began the problems started. Now keep in mind that drums, upright, piano, guitar and vocals were being tracked basically live. First problem, "the piano is not In tune", me: "Well I had the tuner in last week to get it ready" (them, as in the artist)"Can you get them back in to go over it again?" (me) "Sure" thinking great another $125.

Piano retuned, everyones happy. (artist) "What do you want me to plug in to?" (me) " Nothing I'm gonna MIC the acoustic Guit" (me) "Are you serious? Thats going to sound awful and what about the acoustic thing?" Well that's what I like says the artist. OK if thats what you want thats what we'll do. Fast forward to playback. (artist) The guitar sounds thin. (me) "Yeah well thats what happens when you run a guitar with a crappy acoustic pickup in it direct" (them)Well what are we gonna do?" For starters how about sittin back down and letting me mic the guitar and blend the direct and mic'ed sounds.

Done, all of a sudden the manager (who really got up my ass, no I mean literally sitting at the desk with me, while I constantly elbowed her, rolled over her feet etc.) and artist think I've hung the freakin moon. Sheesh, and this was just a little taste of 2 weeks of tracking.

It seems like the AE's problems are universal. I can tell you guys get it.
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j.hall

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2004, 04:35:16 pm »

Trash Monkey wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 12:31

I can tell you guys get it.


man, i always feel like i'm flying by the seat of my pants.

i let the art hit me, bounce off my chest, take a minute to look at it, feel it, think about it.....then i dive in

i've blown it many times.....
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Fibes

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2004, 05:24:03 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 16:35

i've blown it many times.....


"If you aren't taking chances you might as well be dead."
I'm pretty sure Miles Davis said something like that...

In a lot of ways the problems are universal but usually in the upper echelons you don't have to mess with the source as much. Eric Clapton's guitar is going to sound pretty damn great before you put a mic up. Bubba OTOH can't even tune, never mind tone...




This is a screwed up world. The lead singer of the piss and moan group just emailed me wanting to do a solo project. He's fed up of dealing with dumbasses.  
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natpub

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Re: I Love Lucy Psych 101.
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2004, 12:41:37 am »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 09:56

sounds like you worked with ross robinson....

anyway, you bring up a good point.  it's good to do a lot of this stuff if your intention, as the producer, is good.

when you cross the line and start working on your personal agenda, that's when i disagree with your actions.  it's a work in progress as i say.  you have to keep checking with the artist to see if the project is still moving the right direction.

in the end, i firmly believe....."it's not my record, it's 'yours'.  i can help you and make suggestions all day, but in the end, i'm not the one who has to live with it forever."

i tell artists that from day one.  don't hesitate to tell me what's up, i need that input to deliver YOUR record, and not mine.





Very true, though in all fairness, the producer of that project I spoke of was quite excellent and really did try to create what we wanted, it is just that I allowed my original vision to be burried in the collective vision of the Mooks and other band members. While some Producers might catch this, I certainly don't blame the guy who did the project. It was my fault for falling prey to the idea that just because someone is a big name producer must mean they know what the music should sound like. I also allowed more dominant band members and the business mooks shove me around. As a result, songs that I wrote, sang, arranged, etc., ended up being nothing I had hoped for. Needless to say, the project failed miserably:P

Cheers,

KT
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