Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sirius News: 3/23/2011

Other than a promise by Tim Bierman to keep an eye on your e-mail tomorrow, there wasn't a terrible amount of breaking news on last night's All Encompassing Trip.  That being said, the interview with Brendan O'Brien and our forum member, spenno, did a great summary.  Here are some of my favorite tidbits.

  • Most of the time bands are happy to work in whichever studios Brendan likes to work in. He works most of the time in Atlanta (where he lives), Nashville and LA however at the time Vs was recorded he was living in LA. The band weren't keen on recording in Seattle or Los Angeles and so they picked a spot in between and went for San Francisco. They looked at a few studios out there before selecting one but Eddie wasn't involved in the decision making and ended up not being comfortable with the place they chose. Rob recounted the story of Ed sleeping at night in his truck because the studio accommodation was too nice, Brendan confirmed felt Eddie was really struggling with everything that was going on at the time but what came out of it was a great record.
  • Brendan can't remember the song Hold On. There was a lot going on, they recorded a bunch of songs at that time, some of which ended up on Vitalogy. Everything that should've ended up on the record got on there. One song they were jamming on that time he was really excited about, he couldn't wait for Ed to record vocals for but he changed his mind and said he wasn't feeling it anymore which Brendan was really crushed by at the time.
  • They had an idea that Vs would be getting a lot of attention and they knew it would probably "open big" (in terms of first week sales) but they had no idea it would sell in such huge numbers, it was one of the first producing jobs he'd ever done so he had no preparation for that. It was "mind-boggling". He was working with Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots all around that time and success was like "the elephant in the room" for the band members, it was almost frowned on to discuss their financial success. Other bands would've reacted very differently.
  • Brendan states analog vs digital doesn't matter to him at all, but it seems to matter to other people immensely. There was a long period of time when all he used was tape but after a point it just became a massive pain in the ass. It's hard to get tape, it's hard to do the transfers. He's pretty much abandoned tape at this point as he can get digital to sound like he wants it to. He loves the sound of analog tape but it just doesn't matter that much, it just gets in the way of getting things done these days. He can get the sounds he wants by running audio through older outboard processing units and plug-ins designed to emulate analog sounds. He's not worried about trying to make digital recordings have the warmth of analog, he just concentrates on making things sound good as he can. His ears want to hear things a certain way because of his years using tape so that probably influences the way he makes things sound but it's not a conscious decision.
  • Re: loudness wars. He remembers hearing that whoever worked on Motley Crue's Dr Feelgood actually went to the plant to make sure they turned it up loud and he thought that was awesome. He doesn't think that story's true at all though. He thinks the public really doesn't care about it, if they have great music and great songs it's not a big deal. It's only a very vocal few who have an issue. That said, he tries his best not to overdrive people's stereos or cars, it can do that once you push volume high enough. Artists and producers want their music to sound competitive and be as loud as the next band's.
  • Songs like Stupid Mop or Pry, To he wasn't really involved with. He's generally better with stuff with choruses, verses, beats. He remembers one occasion when Ed asked him to leave the studio so he could work with Nick the engineer on something alone, he thinks that's when he did Bugs. Brendan was "perplexed". When it says "produced by Brendan O'Brien and Pearl Jam", that was the "and Pearl Jam" part. They didn't want him involved or going anywhere near that stuff and he was happy to oblige.
  • He remembers playing keys with the band at Soldier Field in 1995, it was the hottest he'd ever felt in his life that week. They were recording at that time, whenever he turns up like that it's usually because he's also doing some work with the band. He remembers them rehearsing a Split Enz song to play that night that they didn't end up playing.
  • He never really wanted to remix Ten. The band were never happy with the original mix but his view was it was an iconic record and people would be attached to the sound of those mixes. When he remixed the tracks for the RVM greatest hits collection, he was just trying to make them sound as good as he could. When he remixed the whole album for the reissue he really wanted to ensure the original mix would be included, he felt uncomfortable with the idea that someone might buy only his remixed version, it was just an amendment to the original in his mind. As to the difference between the earlier RVM mixes and the Ten remixes, he couldn't really say, just a moment in time. It's just whatever happens on that day.
  • He wouldn't hold his breath for another Mirrorball like collaboration with Neil Young. It was a moment in time and a really great tour afterward but it probably won't happen again. There was a film of the Dublin show directed by Jim Sheridan that never came out, he'd love to see it one day - Brendan: "dig it up, Tim!" Tim: "It's going to be a big year, Brendan"
  • Re: tensions in the band during Vitalogy. It was never a particularly easy time, though it was exciting. It was difficult for the guys in the band, they were under a huge microscope, but they had a lot of fun too. They used to play softball every morning when recording and sometimes that seemed like the main focus, like they just made records in-between. There was tension though, there was stuff going on between the guys and a few drummers came and went. The work he's done in the last few years with the band has been the most enjoyable, everyone's a little older and wiser and nothing seems like life and death anymore. It felt that way back then.
  • The band were always very happy with how Vs and Vitalogy sounded and so there wasn't any need to have them remixed for the reissue. He mixed the live show and outtakes that weren't finished but the records were just remastered. He thinks reissuing the records is a great idea, they made a lot of music in a very short amount of time, especially 1993 to 1996. 
  • On Vs and Vitalogy, they were really working on the fly: the band would have an idea in the morning and by night time have a new song. He had an almost ten year break producing for the band and Backspacer was a little more put together than the early records. He'd meet them early, work on songs, they would go off and work on them as a band and then they'd come back and work on them together again. Right before they went into record Eddie came in with lyrics and they did some rearranging, the recording process was more about getting the right performances than trying to figure out the songwriting. When they work together again which will be soon, it'll be that same way - they'll try to work out the songs before they go in. He came out to Montana for the rehearsals prior to recording Backspacer and it was a blast. They had a great time, four or five of the songs on Backspacer came out of those sessions.
  • They recorded Of the Earth during Backspacer, but they didn't finish it. Backspacer was a record they wanted to be very concise and he was really happy with that. The idea was to remind people they could write great songs with great choruses. That song didn't fit in quite as much but it's still out there and we'll see. 
  • Did Dave A really throw his sticks at the end of Rearviewmirror? "Uh…I'll say yes and I have no idea why. I don't know."

As always, if you missed it, Gremmie.Net archives episodes of All Encompassing Trip for your on-demand enjoyment.