Rob: So what happened when you first got in there?
Mike: Like when I first
walked in the door?
Mike: I just went...I
walked...I think I went straight into the main room and was just like,
“OK. This is cool." Yeah, we were actually working on
drums before I even met Butch. And then...because Mike was like,
“Oh, yeah! I guess you want to meet Butch!" I was like,
“Well, yeah. It might be nice." Because he had come
into the main room, so I walked over there and talked to him for a minute.
And once we got the drums pretty
much set up...you know, we still hadn't picked the snare yet.
We kind of got everything set up where they get the mics...
Rob: What kind of drums
Rob: So were they new
or were they like...?
Mike: They were relatively
new. That was the set...I believe he said they were custom built
for Matt Sorum [sp].
Rob: OK. Who's
Ben: The Cult, and then
Guns N Roses after...Steven Adler, was that the first drummer?
Mike: I don't know.
Ben: Anyway, he was the
second drummer for Guns N Roses.
Mike: But he didn't
like...he told them he wanted black sparkle...And the shells are a custom
thickness on that set, and it is custom finish. But DW makes this
custom one of a kind drum set for him, and it was like, “OK.
Here you go!" And he set it up and the rest of the band saw
it, and it had kind of a multicolor sparkle in it. And they were
like, “OK, that's lame."
Rob: They were making
fun of him?
Mike: Yeah, so he returned
it and said, “Nevermind. I don't want it." And so,
they had this one of a kind kit sitting there. And basically,
Mike the drum tech bought it at cost. He paid like two grand and
it is like an 8 piece kit or something. Yeah, it had like a 24
and a 26 inch kick drum, six toms or something. He was like, “But
I just wanted like a 22 kick and like a 10 inch tom or something, you
know, one other tom size it didn't have." So he wanted to
use smaller toms instead of the bigger ones. And just the two
additional toms were like $1,700-almost what he paid for the whole set,
because they had to custom tool it and the shells were a custom thickness.
Rob: So they looked at
pictures of you playing online, and from that they could kind of figure
out that you played a five piece?
Mike: Yeah. That
was why they did a four piece, because most of the photos...Because
for a long time, I did just play a four piece.
Rob: But I mean you ride
cymbals on the other side...
Mike: Yeah, they had
that set up correctly. They had the ride already on the left side.
Of course, I told Butch that on the phone, too. He was like, “Oh,
Rob: So when he called
you at Gun Dog, beside the fact that we lost contact with him four or
five times or whatever, what all did you tell him about....What did
ya'll talk about?
Mike: Well, you know,
we talked about what song we were going to be doing. And he told
me, “I would kind of like to make this change," and, you know, just
a couple minor things, like he drums in the middle and a couple guitar
bits. As he put it, everything we will do on the fly. Those
were his words.
But honestly, it is hard to
remember at this point after, like, the whole week doing all that stuff,
because it wasn't, like, you know, anything crazy. It was just
kind of like...
Rob: About the song and
that kind of thing.
Mike: Yeah, pretty much.
Rob: Well what about
like with the drum tech. I mean he got you...he had that, like,
huge case of different snares that he brought in, right?
Rob: And you used your
Mike: Yeah, I used my
own kick drum pedal. That was all...I just brought the stick bag
and the kick drum pedal. That's all I brought. Didn't
get to use the finger cymbals.
Rob: Yeah, well, only
13 hours, you know?
Mike: Yeah, we will do
that when we do the dig-redo...
Rob: Yeah, for the Australian
Rob: All right.
Ben: Um, it's on the
Rob: It may be that Texaco.
Mike: There are only
a couple more before we are out of town.
Rob: I think it's that
Texaco. Is it?
Ben: It might be.
Rob: I think it is.
Mike: Well, that is where
we are headed!
Ben: That would make
sense. They have got to have something to compete with the Dairy
Mike: It's not a Dairy
Queen; it's a DQ. Get it right!
Ben: Oh, sorry.
Rob: They changed their
name? Or is that a movie thing that I don't get?
Mike: No. Well,
you know, it is like KFC. Most...actually, there are a few that
Rob: All right.
Mike: For the exclusive?
Rob: Yeah, this is for
Westwood One. You are listening to Behind the Music...Inside the
Music...In Between the Music...
Mike: In the Backseat
of the Music?
Rob: Yeah, exactly.
All right. So, Mr. Hodge, what did you do when you first came
Ben: Let' see.
I just kind of started looking around trying to get comfortable.
I was like, “All right. Looks nice."
Rob: Funky lights?
Ben: Oh, yeah.
Walking in the big tracking room was awesome. I was like, “Oh,
this place is awesome."
Rob: And you didn't
really have like...I mean there wasn't a bass tech, so Billy...
Ben: Yeah, Billy was
handling...Like, he was kind of hanging around by the bass amp kind
of waiting for me to come over there.
Ben: Where is that coming from?
Mike: I don't know.
Ben: Oh, over there.
Rob: They found us.
“I didn't mean to download that!" So you got your bass out
and got it all tuned up and everything.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Rob: So was that the
Ben: Yeah, it was an
Ampeg SVT running an 810 Ampeg cabinet.
Rob: And that was in
another room, like a separate room for the...
Ben: Yeah, to keep the
sound from bleeding into all the drum mics. And then that was
miced with the $40,000 microphone.
Rob: That was awesome!
Rob: And here it is right
here in my...
Ben: I was afraid to
look at it too closely. I was like, “I am just going to glance
Rob: Yeah. Peripheral
Ben: It was like the
mic of God.
Rob: How could you hear
your tone? Was it like through the headphones?
Ben: Yeah. You
could actually hear pretty good. At first it was just kind of
crappy. But after they tweaked it for a little while, it got to
where it was pretty accurate.
Rob: OK. They had
like a 412 underneath the amp, didn't they?
Ben: It was just sitting
there. Yeah, it was just a table. Because at first I thought
that is what it was, too. I was like, “Ah, well. All right.
Rob: Won't be too bad.
Ben: Still had a squeaky
Rob: Yeah. So Mike,
could you hear the bass amp at all? I mean did it bleed at all
through the room?
Mike : I could hear it through
the wall just a little bit.
Rob: So he had it cranked
up pretty loud?
Mike: You know, it is
kind of hard to say, because I walked through the room where the actual
amp was to get to the bathroom at one point, when Boom was playing,
and it really didn't seem all that loud. And I was kind of wondering,
especially given the microphone that they had it miced with...I didn't
think they were going to have it, you know, blowing the walls down loud.
But, like I say, it was loud enough...I could hear it a little bit through
Ben: They managed to
make it sound loud, because he still had, like, a little bit of that
overdriven kind of gravel to it. I like that sound a whole lot.
Mike: But since I didn't
stand in the room while we were actually doing a take, I am not exactly
Ben: And they had a direct
out running, too.
Rob: OK. So they
were micing it and they had it...
Rob: Was it going to
like a special kind of direct box?
Mike: It was a tube one...
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
It wasn't just like one of those little black DI boxes like everybody
Mike: Were they using
that one that was sitting right by the...
Ben: Yeah, the blue one?
Mike: OK. That
was an Evil Twin to DI. That was what it said on the front.
Mike: I happened to look
at that and I was like, “Ooh, what is this thing?"
Rob: “I need to get
me one of those!"
Ben: Yeah. But
yeah, that was what threw me...After I got done tuning one time and
I came back over, I got my bass on, put the headphones on, and I was
about to reach back and turn the standby off, and then I hit my strings
and it made a noise I could hear in the headphones. And I am like,
Rob: “I guess I'm
Ben: “I guess I'm
on." But no, I was not.
Rob: So once they got
the overall drum sound done, is that when they came back in and started
Mike: Yeah, because we
actually tracked just a little bit of stuff...I think that was when
you and I were both playing...
Ben: Yeah, it was.
Mike: And just kind of
Rob: Just rhythm section,
Mike: Yeah, just bass
and drums, not to a click or anything, just off the cuff, just to check
Ben: Yeah, we do like
a verse and a chorus.
Mike: Yeah. And
that was after...I mean they had me sit there just with the drums by
Rob: Individual drums?
Mike: Well, sitting there
playing a groove for a long time, just kind of like a “Boom, kick,
boom, boom, kick" kind of thing. Throw in a little fill here
and there just to kind of balance it all out. And then they had
Ben play along with me. And that was when Butch came in and said,
“The snare is not quite doing what I want it to do." And then
we tried...I think, all together, we tried four different snare drums.
Rob: What were they?
Do you remember?
Mike: Let's see.
You had a...
Ben: A Mel Gibson...
Mike: Well, there was
a ‘70s engraved Ludwig Black Baby snare, which is the one I wanted
to steal and take home. Then there was the...What was it, a Craviotto
DW snare, I think was one of them. Then we had a Tama which was
made out a of cymbal brass shell.
Rob: Oh, wow.
Mike: Yeah, it weighed
a ton. And then there was...I guess it was just the DW snare,
or maybe...I am getting a little confused. The Craviotto, I think,
was the one that matched the kit. That was the one we ended up
using, I think. It was the one that...But, yeah...
Rob: Was that the Mel
Gibson or was that not the Mel Gibson?
Mike: The Mel Gibson
was the Ludwig. We did not get to use...I know we did not use
the Ludwig. We did not use the cymbal brass. And there was
another metal one that we tried that we did not use.
Rob: And then, like,
how was he micing the snare? He had like a mic on the top and
on the bottom?
Mike: Yeah, the top and
the bottom. I didn't get a look at what kind of mic was on the
bottom. The top one was some kind of a...I think it was a Telefunken
of some sort. Something a little more expensive than your run
of the mill SN57.
Rob: So the next thing
was like getting the rhythm tracks, or did they get the guitars dialed
in at that point?
Mike: Well after they
got it where they were happy with the snare sound, yeah, they told us
to take a break for 5 or 10 minutes and they started dialing in the
Rob: So Todd had his...what
was that, an orange Chet Atkins?
Mike: Yeah. It is a
Gibson Tennessean. And then Jason had that American Tele.
Rob: Todd was going into
what amp? He was in the Marshall?
Ben: Yeah, it was the
Rob: And it was an older Marshall?
Mike: I think it was
kind of a reissue Plexi, is what it looked like. I didn't get
a really good look at the guitar amps.
Ben: And then they had
Jones in the crazy Diesel amp.
Rob: Yeah, the Vin Diesel,
the $5,000 four channel....
Ben: Those whacky Germans!
Rob: Yeah. Oh,
it was awesome.
Ben: It sounded great.
Rob: And then, that didn't
take too long for them to get the guitar sounds.
Mike: Not too long.
I don't know, we were...I was outside just kind of hanging out...
Rob: Hang on just a second.
Mike: Ah, man.
If we had driven out here we could have saved 10 cents a gallon!
Oh, that reminds me. You want this, don't you?
Rob: Oh, I might.
Rob: It's doing it
again. I wonder what that means.
Mike: It means hang on
to your pants!
Rob: And we are back.
All right. Sorry about that. So where were we?
Ben: Uh, guitar tone?
Rob: You got the guitars
dialed in. And at that point, did ya'll do like a basic take?
Mike: Well, we did a
run-through with everything just so you get to hear it again and just
kind of check everything. Once again, just an off the cuff, once
all the way through the song...
Ben: Well, then we did
several all the way through just to kind of get the drums down, or the
drum part that he was happy with.
Mike: Yeah. Well, you are jumping ahead, though. We actually made the changes to the songs.
Rob: So what were they?
Mike: Yeah. After
we played through it that first time, he said we needed...the bridge
needed to have a little more...
Mike: Yeah, or, you know,
just something that really establishes it and differentiates it from
the verse proceeding it or the chorus preceding it, or whatever; the
part that precedes it.
And so what he suggested that
was we add, I guess it was four bars to the front of the bridge and
bring it on the...
Ben: On the D instead
of on the A.
Mike: Thank you.
Ben: Yeah, no problem.
Mike: And, you know,
but not have the words start until it gets to the A. So it just
added a little instrumental section, almost kind of like a little pad,
a little buffer zone...
Ben: Which kind of makes
the bridge hit a little harder.
Rob: Before you started
Mike: Right. Before
I started singing. So you have that, and then the vocals come
in. And it really completely changed the whole feel of it.
Rob: Yeah, it really
did. It kind of...I don't know.
Ben: Well it made the
bridge pop a lot more.
Mike: Well, it's that,
and then we also changed the drum part in the bridge from the way we
had originally done it. And this was one of the things he and
I talked about on the phone, on that drum part. And he said, “Yeah,
you know, maybe try to come up with something..." He said he
liked the half-time I did on the outro. “Maybe come up with
something not exactly like that, but something with, maybe, that kind
of a feel."
And so that was also what we
were doing. We kind of practiced it to get that change, and then
I was kind of feeling out...trying to find a drum part that worked and
Rob: That went really
quick, though. I mean I was kind of like...
Ben: And we moved the
bass up an octave.
Mike: Yeah, we did that
Rob: And you said, like,
you didn't do the pumping until a certain point?
Ben: Yeah, well that
was...We were just trying different stuff with it, because we knew we
wanted to do something different with the bass. We thought moving
it up an octave and driving instead of just hitting the long notes might
sound good. But then when we tried it, it made it a little too
busy, so we decided to stay with moving it up.
Rob: Oh, OK. So
I caught the second half, I guess. And then once you kind of got
the form of that song right...I mean that was probably...That was an
hour or two into it, you think?
Mike: Honestly, I didn't
have a watch.
Ben: Yeah, I have no
Mike: There was no timeframe
at all that whole day, really, except for when I would go outside and
go, “OK. The sun is here now." That was really about
it. You know, it was just kind of...
Rob: But then at that
point, it was like, “OK, well let's get the drums right."
And so everybody played and he recorded everything...
Mike: Yeah, that was
doing the drum takes for keeps, for real.
Rob: Playing to a click?
Mike: Yeah, with the
click track, but with the full band playing and Todd doing the scratch
vocal just to kind of help keep everybody together.
Rob: But he wasn't
singing the whole time. He was just kind of giving like slight
Ben: Yeah, just so we always knew where we were.
Ben: Yeah. And on that song, since there are only two chords that keep coming over and over and over again, the scratch vocals really help with something like that.
Mike: And so, the bass
and the guitars that he recorded during those takes...I think he kept
them maybe just for kind of emergency backup. But those were never
going to really be the serious tracks. They were all replaced
Rob: How many takes did
it take to get the drums?
Ben: Four or five, maybe?
Mike: Once we fired up
the click track and we were doing them for real, after we had gotten
all the changes done, we only did three takes and we kept...it was takes
two, three, and four, because take one was before we changed it, and
it was the sound check take. I don't think it had a click on
it either, so that one was set aside.
Yeah, we just used...we had
takes two, three, and four. And if I remember right, it was take
four that he used for most of the song. And then we took a couple
of drum fills from like takes two and three, a couple things that I
liked. I was like, “Hey, I really like what I did here.
Rob: Yeah, I saw the
song map, and it was really interesting to see kinda how he would...
Mike: He was checking
off, like, which was the best...
Mike: Yeah, the full
map of the song. It was like, “I am going to have to steal that.
Rob: Yeah, he had a column
for each take, and he had checkmarks. And to me it was like the
darker the checkmark was, the better the take was.
Mike: Well there were
some where he would just draw a line. It is like not even...And
t hen there were some where he would put two checkmarks, because he
had one that was his favorite, and then it was like, “OK. Now
here is my double favorite."
Rob: Right. And
then, the other thing, from that, did he comp a rhythm track together?
Mike: He did a...what
did he call it?
Rob: Speed comp?
Mike: Speed comp, yes.
But it was mostly take four, as I recall. Most of the rhythm,
just the groove, I think almost all of that was take four. And
then, like I said, there were a couple fills. I think a little
bit of the stuff from the bridge, we used from take three, just because
he and I both agreed that was the...
Rob: The looser...
Mike: Well, it was the
best performance. It was the most confident. The most interesting,
too. By the time I got to the fourth one, I kinda got stuck in
a rut on that one and kept repeating fills and stuff.
Rob: From that, he made
a speed comp, but he still used the bass, and the guitar, and the vocals
Mike: Yeah, he had them
in there for reference, because then when Ben went in to track bass,
he could still put that guitar in there, or the scratch vocal, or whatever.
Rob: So in your headphones,
Ben, what were you hearing, like, when you went in there?
Ben: Guitar, drums, and
what I was playing. Later, I got them to add the scratch vocals,
because it helped out a lot on the bridge.
Rob: Did he make any
changes like to the micing or the tone of the bass or anything while
Ben: Once we got it established
originally, no. They kept it pretty solid.
Mike: Because remember,
weren't they...I think they had some trouble with some hum or something...
Rob: Oh no, that was
Ben: Yeah, that was Jason
playing with his...
Mike: Well no, I could
hear the amp buzzing back in the room, though.
Rob: Yeah, there was
Mike: There was some
60 cycle hum going on.
Rob: Yeah, somewhere.
But that was funny. Jason's Theremin app for iPhone was going
off, and they could not find where it was. I mean Butch was walking
around the control room putting his ear up to things, and he finally
put his ear up to Jason's chest, and he was like, :"It is coming
Rob: That was so funny.
Because, I mean, Mike the studio guy, tattoo Mike was like freaking
out, because they could not...they thought it was like a speaker feeding
back inside the studio. They were listening to the wall.
They were listening to behind Jason. And Jason would move and
the sound would move. It went on for about three or four minutes!
Mike: [makes weird humming
Rob: Yes! Made
you really, like, cock an eyebrow. And tattoo Mike was running
around like a chicken with his head cut off going, “What's that?"
Ben: So when did I blow
the speaker? I missed that.
Rob: That was after...I
think it was after we got all the bass stuff done and he was playing
it back through the big speakers. And he cranked it up really
loud...Well, I think you were still in the big room.
Ben: Yeah, I wasn't
in there for that. You guys told me about it later.
Rob: It was kind of like...We
were like listening to the track...Like, you would record something
and then he would play it back so that you could hear it, but also so
that we could hear it. At that point, he cranked it all the way
up, you know, like that Maxell cassette commercial.
Mike: Martini glass blowing
Rob: Yeah, yeah.
And there was a loud ripping sound...
Rob: Because he had the
bass...He had the bass turned all the way up, you know? And tattoo
Mike jumped in, too. That was interesting. But then he just
started to back down. He was using the reference monitors, the
one that were sitting up on that...George Martin's desk, the Barefoot
monitors. He was running it through those most of the time.
So, like, how many tracks was
it to get, like, the bass track?
Mike: You only did like,
what, two takes?
Ben: I think it was three,
because there was one where the amp wasn't on.
Rob: Oh, OK, the standby?
Ben: Yeah, there was
one where the amp was on standby and it was just the direct. But
yeah, there was one...Yeah, I guess two real takes. And I think
they punched me one time on the beginning and one time on the end.
Rob: And that went really
Mike: That is our Ben!
Ben: Ha, ha.
Rob: That was great.
Rob: Yeah, “Here is
your plane ticket back home! See ya!"
Ben: “I guess I'll
just go drink a..."
Rob: Like 12 beers.
Ben: Barley Pop.
Rob: How much beer did
Ben: Well, we started
off with that 12 pack and we went through that in about an hour...
Mike: See, I didn't
even drink any of those. The first round of beer was gone before
I had my first one.
Rob: So they had to make
a...ya'll were spelling out a beer run, I guess.
Mike: There were two
beer runs. I know that.
Rob: Yeah, didn't he
send Alyssa to go get beer or something?
Ben: Yeah, Alyssa went,
and then he and Todd went. There might have been three.
Mike: Yeah, I think so.
Rob: Geez. That
Mike: I don't know.
Rob: Yeah, he's a big
Rob: OK. So the
bass track was done. And then what was the...it was the guitar
Ben: Yeah. Todd
went first, I think. Well, I think we took...We took a break before
we did the bass.
Rob: OK. Was that
the lunch break or whatever, kind of like where we were standing around...?
Ben: Well, it was kind
of like a 25 minute, everyone kind of relax, stretch your legs...
Rob: That was around
3:30 or four o'clock, because I remember it was like...it was either
four or 4:30 we were going to be back...we were going to be done with
our lunch break.
Ben: Oh, that was a different
one. That might have been after tracking some of the guitars,
because I think the bass one, we were starting at...Actually, hold on.
I might have it on my phone because I think I texted somebody.
Let me see.
Rob: But I think from
the pictures we will be able to put a timeline together.
Mike: See, I never caught
anything about starting at any particular time for anything. It
was just like, “OK. We are taking five..."
Rob: Yeah, people were
rotating out. Like if somebody wasn't doing something, they
would be hanging out in the alley, or in the kitchen, or in that little...
Mike: Hallway, or sitting
in the control room.
Rob: The control room,
yeah, because everybody seemed to kinda wind up there.
Mike: Where the action
Rob: Man, it sounded
great. I had the best seat in the house up there in the captain's
nest, you know?
Mike: In the center of
the stereo field.
Rob: Yes. Right
behind Butch Vig's head. And every time he would turn around,
I would be like, “What? What did I do wrong? What did
I do wrong?" You know, he was just getting his notes off the
desk that was like right in front of me. But I swear, every time
he did it, I would jump, you know?
But he was really grooving
on it. I was excited.
Ben: Yeah. Actually,
that would have been right. We started the bass about four.
Mike: Wow. See,
it doesn't seem like it was that late.
Ben: No, not at all.
Mike: I thought it was
like one or two.
Ben: Yeah, that is what
it felt like.
Mike: Yeah, because I
guess like, while we were doing drums, everybody was wanting to play
it over, and over, and over again.
Ben: Which was nice,
because it got us all good and warmed up.
Mike: So yeah, I guess
we did take a fairly decent little break after that, I think.
Ben: Yeah, about 30 minutes.
Rob: I think I ate my
weight in cheese off that cheese tray.
Ben: Man, that salsa
was awesome! I gotta get some more of that.
Mike: I didn't try the salsa.
Mike: I had some turkey
and some potato chips.
Ben: I had many a turkey
sandwich this week.
Ben: Good thing I like
Rob: And so after tracking
the guitars, didn't Jason come back in? Was that the arpeggiated
part? Was that the...where was the...?
Mike: Well, the first
arpeggiated part was in the song originally. And Butch decided
he wanted to get a little bit different tone on it so it kind of cut
through better. Todd did his part, and then Jason went in and
did the riff part, and then they went back and did a separate track
with the arpeggiated part that was in the middle of the song.
And that was all they did initially,
because didn't we do...We did vocals before Jason did the second part,
Ben: Yeah, that was late
in the evening.
Mike: So we did all that
guitar stuff and then that was when Todd started singing.
Rob: Man, I mean how
many takes did he do to get the vocals the way he wanted them?
Ben: A lot!
Rob: I mean it was like
12 or 13, wasn't it?
Ben: Yeah, watching it,
especially on the end of it when it is so high and it has got to be
like loud and rocking...
Rob: But it is funny.
Ben: Oh, yeah.
Rob: You know? Because at first, like the first take, I was like, “OK. Well there is something in there we can use." And then the second take, it was like, “OK, well..." But man, by like the fifth or sixth take, it really was kind of like an amp warming up, you know?
Rob: And then by like
the seventh or eighth or ninth take, man, he was just nailing it.
Mike: Yeah, because once we was doing it kind of phrase by phrase, or verse by verse, you know, wasn't he trying...I think he was trying to get something like five or six really good...
Mike: From each section;
each verse, each chorus...
Rob: OK. Now, he
didn't track like from zero to the end of the song. He would
do it like a verse at a time. He did like 12 on the first verse,
and then he did the chorus, right?
Rob: And then he did
Mike: Yeah, verse, chorus,
verse, bridge, ending...
Rob: So like five or
Ben: It makes a lot of
sense to do it that way.
Mike: He did my vocal
the same way. I did a verse and an “Ooh part", and then the
next verse and an “Ooh" part, and then my little middle section,
and then the ending. And I did four times of each.
Rob: But from that, he
would take the best ones and build like a comp. But he was also
using them to double up, right?
Mike: On some of it.
Rob: And he told me he
liked to pan like hard left and hard right when he would double something
Mike: Yeah, it gives
it a really wide sound, especially like on “Oohs" and “Ah's".
You know, it sounds really neat on that kind of thing.
Rob: And then, OK.
After he got all the vocals tracked, then that is when he came back
in and started putting on the extra stuff?
Mike: Yeah, that was when we...Yeah, because the idea was that the vocals, obviously, are crucial. They have to be there, so we went ahead and did those. So the vocals were done...All the...
Mike: All the essentials
were in the can.
Ben: Yeah, “Let's
see what else we can add in the time that we have got left."
Rob: We had about two
and a half or three hours left, and that is when ya'll went it...like,
Jason was doing different things with the chords.
Ben: Yeah, we put an
arppeggiated part on the end.
Mike: Yeah, that was the first thing, doing that.
Mike: Yeah, the up and down...
Ben: Actually, no. That wasn't.
Rob: It was different?
Mike: Well, he was adding
just another part which was kind of high....
Ben: But you know what?
He always played only the riff on that song. He never had to put
chords into that before.
Rob: And they were weird
chords or something?
Ben: Well, it was the
chords we had just changed.
Mike: But yeah, he was always just playing the riffs and he was oblivious to what was going on around him. Normally, as far as...
Mike: So that is what
the up and down was.
Rob: But then somebody
turned it into flipping Jason off? I missed that little part of
Mike: Yeah, I think Butch
was actually the first one to do that...
Rob: He said something
rather obscene to one of ya'll. I can't remember what it was.
Maybe it was Todd when he was tracking his vocals.
Mike: I don't know.
Rob: But we won't go into
Mike: And Todd kept getting it wrong. That was funny.
Mike: Well, no.
Ben: The up and down
point. “All right. Up for D, down for A. No, wait.
It is up for A, right?"
Mike: “D is down, right?"
Rob: Yeah, we got some
pictures of both pointing in different directions, and that was funny.
Ben: Yeah, and that first one
where Jason was like, “You have to point before! You can't
just do it as I am making the chords!"
Mike: Yeah, Todd was
very diligently pointing on the downbeat of each measure. You
know, waiting and....up, two, three, four, down...
Ben: It is hard not to
do that because you are so used to doing everything on the beat, because
I was doing it, too. I was trying to point along.
Rob: So then after that,
that is when the feedback and stuff was added, and the tambourine part
Mike: Yeah, the tambourine
was the very last thing that we did for the night.
Rob: And then he went
and made another speed comp...
Mike: Well, by that point,
there wasn't really much left to comp...
Ben: He did a couple of speed comps here and there...
Mike: We had a rough
Ben: But I guess the
speed comps were like once we got the drums done, speed comp.
Once we got the bass done, speed comp. Once we got the guitar
part, you take the best of each and make one guitar part.
Rob: Billy's fingers
were flying over that keyboard.
Mike: That was one thing
I noticed as kind of the day was going on, like when we were doing bass
stuff or something. Whenever there was a moment of downtime, like,
he was going back into the drums...
Rob: Cleaning them up?
Mike: And like going
ahead and edit, edit, edit, edit, you know, whatever, cleaning up fades,
just like constantly...He was always doing something.
Rob: I remember he said
he took samples....
Ben: Oh, yeah.
I forgot about that.
Rob: What he meant by
that, though, is he was just recording a clean, you hitting like the
Mike: He took a single
Rob: And letting it resonate...And
then later on, if he needed to, he could cut that out and paste that
one top of a mis-hit or something that sounded a little wonky, or...
Mike: Well, not so much
a mis-hit. Primarily, it was there for....For example, I play
the high hats really low, so they were real close to the snare mic.
And when I go into the open high hat, if it bleeds into the snare mic
too much, he can replace that top snare sound with the sample one, keep
it clean so that high-hat is not...You know, if it is a backwards reverb
on the snare, you are not getting backwards high hat also.
Rob: Well, I noticed
one time he came over to the drums and was tightening up the snare drum
a little bit. That was after he picked the...?
Ben: Is that a deer?
Rob: Yeah. That's
a big buck, too.
Rob: So, like he was
saying that the snare is a little doinky and he went over there with
a drum key or whatever...
Mike: Well, the one he was tuning, that was actually the brass snare that we didn't use. But it was actually really loose when we first set it up. It was floppy, kind of loose. So he was tightening it up.
Rob: I remember him saying
something about, because he was using compression on the drums, that
was causing an over ring or something like that to get emphasized that
normally wouldn't. He said he counted eight of them in the track
that he was going to replace with one of the samples, which I thought
that was pretty cool.
Mike: Oh, OK. I
wasn't there for that conversation, so...
Rob: Yeah, that is some
of the stuff I wish ya'll would have got to hear. I wish I would
have had this recorder in there recording, but I didn't want to push
it too much, you know?
And the other part, he was
like, “Hey, does Ben play with a pick?" And Butch Vig said
to Billy Bush, “You are just being lazy."
Ben: I remember him asking
Mike: Yeah, he came on
the headphones and he was like, “Well, that is what compressors are
Rob: I was like, “I
bet he could!" But he was like, “Well, look at the blood blisters
on his fingers. You tell me: does he use a pick or not?"
Ben: I was hoping the
blood blisters were going to come up in conversation just around him
Rob: Yeah. I think
he noticed. I think he noticed.
Rob: You bleed for your
art, you know? So he had separate tracks in Pro Tools for each
of the drums channels. I mean he had like overheads...there were
overheads in the room...
Mike: You had stereo
overheads, you had stereo room mics, you had snare top and bottom, each
rack tom, and two kick drum mics, and a high-hat mic. So actually,
with the exception of the high-hat mic, he actually miced it the exact
same way I did in my house. I didn't have a high-hat mic.
He did have that. Yeah, otherwise...
Obviously, his mics were a
little nicer and little more expensive than mine, but...
Rob: Same idea.
Mike: Yeah. And
he even had, like the overheads, he had set up in a spaced cardioid
patter, which is also exactly what I did. I was like, “Wow!
Maybe I do know what I am doing."
Rob: Well they were running
HD3, so it was in a...at 192 kilohertz, right?
Mike: Well, that is the highest setting. I don't know what they had it set on.
Mike: Well, if it was
44.1, then it wouldn't be at 192.
Rob: What is 48?
Mike: Well, 48 is just
another sample rate. Those are all different options. You
can do 44.1, which is CD. 48 was old VAT; you used 48. And
ADAT's...was it ADAT's also, maybe, that could run on 48?
I don't know. And then you have got like 96...
Rob: Multiples of 48...
Mike: And then you get
into multiples, because there is like 88.2, or you can get into, yeah,
96, which is double 48, then 192...it is all multiples.
Rob: But I think there
is something where he set what the target resolution is going to be
at the end of the song...I think that is what he was setting, not the
Mike: That was probably
for the mix, then. What he was doing, he had the stereo two track,
that would have had to have been at 44.1. And also, dropping [xx].
Rob: All right.
So that is the technicalism for the night.
Mike: Thanks Mr. Science!
Rob: When ya'll went
out in the alley and were talking about stuff, do you remember what
he was talking about?
Mike: Like outside?
Rob: Yeah, just talking
about different bands...
Ben: Just whatever.
Mike: I honestly don't
really...Unless somebody says something that like jogs my memory...There
wasn't any...Like literally, it was just kind of goofing off.
Rob: My favorite moment,
though, when I was asking him about what Garbage was going to do next,
and he said they were going to get together in studio and do some songwriting,
that is when I got up in his face and said, you know, “Where is my
album?" No pressure. That was awesome.
Rob: But he was really
digging on ya'll. I mean I remember like him...I mean, you know,
nobody is paying attention to him. Nobody is recording.
Nobody is looking at him and he is playing the drum part and whistling
the melody while he is kind of bopping around the studio. That
was really cool seeing him get into it like that.
Mike: Yeah. Hell,
yeah. I did talk to him about gear just a little bit. I
asked him, at one point, if like the old vintage stuff compared to like
Rob: The reissues?
Mike: The reissues or
some of the new recreations, if there is a noticeable difference to
justify the huge price difference. And he said, “Not really."
He said, “Occasionally...Usually the ones..." I was actually about
to start spouting my opinion...
Rob: Were you talking
about microphones or guitars, or...?
Mike: Like recording
gear. Like preamps, and microphones, and that kind of thing.
A good example is an LA2A compressor. It is a tube compressor.
You can buy a brand new one that is a reissue that looks pretty much
just like the old ones, made by the same company that made them...You
know, it is like the son of the guy that invented it is still making
them. A new one is, I don't know, three grand, $2,500, and an
old one, I don't know how many thousands of dollars you are looking
Rob: Did he say they are virtually the same?
Mike: Yeah, pretty much.
You know, it is not a big difference. He said it was a lot easier
when not as many people knew about Ebay. It was a lot easier to
snap up vintage stuff. And he said the vintage stuff is cool,
but, really, when it comes down to it, from a utilitarian standpoint,
that you can pretty much get the same effect with the reissue stuff.
Rob: What was he talking
about the console? Didn't he say it was like George Martin's
console from Sky Studios or something like that?
Mike: Air Studios.
Yeah, that was on the website for The Boat. It talked about it.
It was originally built, I think, in '69 for George Martin, Air Studios
Rob: Well that is cool.
Mike: And actually, I
didn't get a chance to ask. I was curious what all modifications
had been made to that board over the years.
Rob: They need to fix
the talkback button.
Mike: Well, at least
they have the foot pedal, yeah.
Rob: Yeah, he did not
like that. And the headphone mix; when ya'll were tracking your
parts, did ya'll have a bad headphone mix?
Mike: Mine was fine.
Ben: They never got the
vocals in for me right.
Mike: I think a lot of
it...I don't know if maybe they had some stuff patched wrong or what
was going on. I didn't really experience it until I was...I
tracked drums and then I didn't do anything else until it was tambourine...Well,
I guess vocals. And it was a little...I couldn't quite figure
out what was going on when I was doing vocals. It was like, “OK,
I got some guitar and I had bass." There were no drums in it
at all. But I had enough to go on to sing to, so I didn't really
worry about it.
And Todd had it cranked as
loud as it would go, just about, so I was turning all the volume way
down, because I put the headphones on and it about blew my head up.
But when I went in to do the tambourine, it was like...It was just going
[makes static noise]. You know, it was just distorted and all
bass and nothing else...
Ben: So it was awesome.
Rob: What else do you
Mike: Well, I don't
know. You know, when you are shaking a tambourine, drums would
be awesome. You know, a source of rhythm other than [makes distortion/static
Ben: Bless you.
Rob: Thank you.
Mike: Rob is dying in
Rob: No, no. I
Mike: But it turned out
that what the problem was, tattoo Mike...I wish I knew his real name.
I hate having to use all the...
Rob: But there were three
Mike's there. There was drum tech Mike, the Mike Yeager, and
Mike: Right. But
anyway, he came in and he pointed at two of the knobs on the little
mixer there. He said, “OK. This is your tambourine and
this is everything else." Well, that wasn't exactly the case.
The knob that said Bass still controlled the bass, and it was on 12
of 12 or whatever.
Rob: Right, like it should
Rob: Gosh, Mike.
You just don't appreciate us, you know?
Mike: And then the two
knobs that said guitars still controlled the guitars. And the
one that he said was everything had the drums and the vocals on it,
which was kind of weird. I think I ended up having...I got the
bass volume turned down enough where I could actually hear the rhythm
in it, and that was still about all I had in my headphones to do tambourine,
but I could hear the [simulates bass progression]. And it was
so...Good old Mr. Hodge here was so solid that...that was all I needed.
Rob: So you are admitting
that bass is all you need.
Mike: Well, it certainly
worked for Vic Bonham [sp] with Spinal Tap, although they did have drums
Rob: OK. Well,
I guess maybe a little bit.
Mike: And a little bit
Rob: OK. And he
had, like, yall's names down from like the first 30 seconds.
Ben: Yeah, he did.
Rob: I mean because he
had your names written by your instruments on the console.
Ben: Yeah, I saw that.
From the get go, it was almost
like...I mean I felt as comfortable as I do in my home studio from the
minute we got there.
Ben: Yeah. The
whole crew did a really good job of making us feel at home...
Mike: I was never nervous
at all. Now, I was serious about it. While tracking drums
to that click, I was concentrating. I was serious. I was
focused, but I was never nervous. I am more nervous playing at
Dave's Dark Horse Tavern than I was being there recording with Butch
Vig in a real studio in LA. You know, recording with a guy that
I would have to mortgage my house to afford to hire.
Rob: Right. He's got
a hit or two. Cool. I think I got enough...
|by Rob Snell|