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Some Studio Tidbits...
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Some Studio Tidbits I've Been Reading About

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

A conversation starter, if you will. I hope others will share the little pearls they may have heard or read about.

I've been reading a book by an author who assembled a series of interviews with Tom Petty. Generally a format I don't care for, but this book has had some timely topics. I swear Boxboy told me something about Petty that I read later that night. Enough rambling. Some tidbits. No order, other than to throw them out as they come accross my mind.

A:) He prefers home studios and has since at least the late 80's.
B:) Since that late 80's era, he's been involved with 1-4 people engineering/producing the albums. They have a practice of kicking one of the principals out of the sound room and letting him back in. Invariably, he says, the person who just got let back in would hear something off right away and open everyone's eyes to it. simple things, like an instrument too loud or something.
C:) One of his friends, I think it was Roger McQuinn, made a broadcast radio and for at least one album they'd broadcast out to the parking lot where other principals would come up with their thoughts on how it sounded as a final product in the final setting. They might come up with stuff like "the bass ws too low" or something like that.
D:) Keith Richards was cribbing about this in his recent book called "Life" as well. He much preferred to record the whole of the band playing the song instead of each single piece of music collected in a vacuum and then tried to be patched together to sound like they were being played together. Petty seems to have shared some of this concept. He's very quick to point out that a song was done "live", most likely having a bit of dubbing here or there to clear something up or add an element.
E:) He ad-libbed quite a few songs' verses and choruses and kept a little bit. Mostly he would dub over his vocals after the live session & such.
F:) One Album ws cut in Mike campbell's studio. I think it was Full Moon Fever. His little home studio would only hold a few people. people often had to go out to the garage, which was near this studio room, in order to participate.
His band or collection of all-stars, whichever he was playing with at the various times, would never rehearse the song outsode of the studio as a general rule. They preferred to catch the moment on tape when the song came to life, stating that it was something that could rarely be repeated.

All of these little things seemed really interesting. Amatuers trying to get into top studios and pros trying to do their stuff in rooms little bigger than a closet. None of these were ever practiced 100% of the time except this. If someone is doing something in the "studio", it gets recorded. I think he said it was high cost to do so, but allowed them to retain things that they could not repeat.

A few rules of thumb too. One that comes to mind is to keep less than 1/2 the songs in a minor key. Another was that he liked his vocals to be high and upfront in the mix, he used the Rolling Stones as an example of a band who keeps their vocals lower in the mix.

Anyhow, I always think it's interesting to hear what the big boys do. I'll try to remember more. He spoke a liot of song writing as well, but that's another thread for another forum and another evening.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
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Lots of good info!

Bass player for Undercover

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4459

Doesn't suprise me and there are some good things there but it's just the way Petty likes to do it. Ask 10 other bands and you'll get 10 different answers.

As for studios I think most of the bands that already have made it do a lot of recording in home studios because they have the money to build one and it's a heck of a lot easier to wake up and head down to the studio then to have to travel some where.

As much as I don't like Keith Richards or the Rolling Stones I agree with the taping it live rather than piecing together a song from individual parts.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!