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Old 07-03-2007, 01:40 AM   #1
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Ask a music scene micro celebrity

From this thread:

I have traveled in the music scene as a musician and recording engineer for better than 25 years. I have worked on a couple thousand records, some of them with famous rockstars, though most of them you're probably never heard of. I know a lot about making records, recording technology, touring, being in a rock band and the like. I own Electrical Audio, a 2-studio recording complex in Chicago, Illinois, where I make records every day.

I will answer any questions related to being in a touring/recording rock band, working in the studio with musicians both great and famous, making records, brushes with actual rock star celebrities, etc.

In NLHE, I am a prolific donator. I can hold my own in 7stud.

Any questions?
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:46 AM   #2
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

You are Steve Albini? That is awesome. Of all the people you've worked with what bands do you feel have the best musicianship.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:09 AM   #3
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Do you honestly feel like Cobain was a genuis? Or just a hard worker guy who hit the lotto?
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:13 AM   #4
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Pattdown, the Jesus Lizard was easily the best group of musicians I've ever worked with in terms of aggregate talent and ability, but I've worked with a bunch of incredible musicians on individual instruments. I have been most impressed by great drummers and great singers, because drumming and singing are the two most difficult things to do well.

Drummers:
Jim White (Dirty Three, Nina Nastasia)
Rey Washam (Scratch Acid, Big Boys, Rapeman, Ministry)
Britt Walford (Slint, Breeders)
Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd, Ministry, Pigface)
Glenn Kotche (Wilco, Edith Frost)
Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick)
Dave Grohl (Nirvana)

Singers:
Nina Nastasia
Robin Zander (Cheap Trick)
Kim Deal (Pixies, Breeders)

Most recently, I had my mind blown by Joanna Newsom's playing on the harp. She is a wonder on that thing.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:15 AM   #5
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Which album of her's did you record? She is so great!
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:32 AM   #6
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Micro? Albini? from Big Black? every indie rock band's dream producer?

Any other avid card players among your contemporaries? Regular card games in Frank Black's or PJ Harvey's basement or somesuch that I'm missing out on?

Also, thanks for the sheer awesomeness of:
Surfer Rosa
In Utero
Goat
Transaction de Novo
Arise Therefore
I'm sure there's like 50 more in my meager collection that I'm not thinking of.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:35 AM   #7
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

My ladyfriend tells me that your original mix of In Utero was not green lighted by their label, and they went with a different mix/track list. She claims that your version is floating somewhere (she says a coworker has it on his iPod) and she's wondering how she could get a hold of it?

EDIT: She also would like to know the rate you charge to record at your studio? Whether you or someone else is the engineer.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:41 AM   #8
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

this thread is very close to delivering. please answer the others questions and continue providing additional intriguing information.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:41 AM   #9
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Genius is a weird and inappropriate word, and hard work is underrated, but Kurt Cobain had a distinct and personal take on the world, and generally, when someone strikes a chord with his audience, that's what people respond to.

There were a lot of bands the "sounded like Nirvana" at the time Nirvana made it big, but none of them have had the same long-lasting influence. I have to admit that I wasn't particularly a fan of Nirvana when I was asked to work on In Utero, but during the course of making the record I came to appreciate that they were genuine about their band and their music, that Kurt was capable of sophisticated thinking, and that they and their music were unique.

If you think of the other bajillion-sellers of the Nineties, not very many of them have survived as significant influences today. I think there's a reason beyond luck for that to be the case.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:43 AM   #10
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Who were the worst musicians? Any guys that could barely play their instruments?
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:48 AM   #11
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Quote:
Genius is a weird and inappropriate word, and hard work is underrated, but Kurt Cobain had a distinct and personal take on the world, and generally, when someone strikes a chord with his audience, that's what people respond to.

There were a lot of bands the "sounded like Nirvana" at the time Nirvana made it big, but none of them have had the same long-lasting influence. I have to admit that I wasn't particularly a fan of Nirvana when I was asked to work on In Utero, but during the course of making the record I came to appreciate that they were genuine about their band and their music, that Kurt was capable of sophisticated thinking, and that they and their music were unique.

If you think of the other bajillion-sellers of the Nineties, not very many of them have survived as significant influences today. I think there's a reason beyond luck for that to be the case.
Thanks for the response. I hope it didn't come off like I was knocking him for "just being hard working". I have read a few Biography's on Nirvana (with you included) and I find him to be fascinating.
Just wondered what you thought having actually met the man.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:53 AM   #12
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

in utero, one of my favorite albums, and there are VERY few that compare, in my opinion.
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:07 AM   #13
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Quote:
Any other avid card players among your contemporaries?
There's a regular game here in Chicago that has several musicians and engineers in it. Guys who have worked with Sonic Youth, Pavement, Tortoise, Wilco, Smashing Pumpkins, and members of various rock bands. I once had to pay-off a straight flush held by the bass player of High on Fire (a Five-card draw hand no less), and I played a bit with Ed Cherny (a first-call engineer for hit records) but that's about it. The card player and music worlds don't overlap that much.
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:13 AM   #14
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

A friend of mine has been slowly releasing some tracks he made with McNeilly from their Atlanta days together around the mid 80s, if you are interested in hearing something you might not have come across before let me know.
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:40 AM   #15
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Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity

Quote:
My ladyfriend tells me that your original mix of In Utero was not green lighted by their label, and they went with a different mix/track list. She claims that your version is floating somewhere (she says a coworker has it on his iPod) and she's wondering how she could get a hold of it?
There were only a couple of different mixes used on the final album. Ultimately, the band made the decision about what versions they would use, though they had to suffer a combination of their own insecurity and a bunch of people at their label freaking out, which probably influenced their decision. The version of the album in the stores is the version the band wanted people to hear, and I respect that. Any "alternate version" floating around out there is either totally bogus or a generations-removed copy of a cassette dub, and not worth your attention.

Quote:
EDIT: She also would like to know the rate you charge to record at your studio? Whether you or someone else is the engineer.
Pricing is kinda complicated, depending on which studio is being used, which engineer, whether there is an assistant required, lodgings, etc. There is a session cost calculator on the rates page of the studio website. For location recording at an outside studio, I charge my normal daily rate, $650 a day. I don't charge a royalty on any record I work on, something that has caused some controversy within engineering circles.

I try to make myself as inexpensive as possible for the underground and independent bands that are my closest peers and regular clientele. For big label stuff that will require an open-ended schedule and a lot of bureaucratic nonsense to get paid, I get paid a lot more.
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