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How many mixes
Old 24th August 2006
  #1
How many mixes

did it take, til Quincy and Michael said: Yeah, that's it. 5 ? 20 ? 50 ?

This question is directed to Thriller and Off he Wall.

And how was the work schedule ?
Was everything figured out before or did you have to redo certain passages, cause someone had a better idea or wanted to have the bridge 2 bars longer etc ?
Could you guys react, when a player had a good idea ?

And who had the idea with Eddie van Halen ? Did he record in your studio or was he sending a tape ? Is the solo really cut together ?

thanks for your patience,
kosi
Old 24th August 2006
  #2
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

Quincy and Rod usually arrive together because neither one of them can drive a car..

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosi View Post
did it take, til Quincy and Michael said: Yeah, that's it. 5 ? 20 ? 50 ?

This question is directed to Thriller and Off he Wall.

And how was the work schedule ?
Was everything figured out before or did you have to redo certain passages, cause someone had a better idea or wanted to have the bridge 2 bars longer etc ?
Could you guys react, when a player had a good idea ?

And who had the idea with Eddie van Halen ? Did he record in your studio or was he sending a tape ? Is the solo really cut together ?

thanks for your patience,
kosi
I'll make this as short as I can...

First item that I want to make perfectly clear, there is no one on earth better to work with than Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and Rod Temperton....

Our work schedule is usually as follows----->I start at 12:00 noon.... Get everything ready to go... Quincy comes in at 1:00 pm... With Rod Temperton in tow. Quincy and Rod almost always arrive together because neither one of them can drive a car.... they both come to the studio with Quincy's driver... Michael comes in when we need him......

It was Quincy's idea to have Eddie play on "Beat It". Eddie Van Halen is absolutely fantastic!!! We recorded Eddie in my studio. I hired Eddie's engineer. Great guy. Can't remember his name, but I do remember he did a wonderful job!!! Also, I didn't want to subject my ears to that kind of volume level!!!

Here's a photo of the first day of "Off The Wall"..

Bruce
Attached Thumbnails
How many mixes-bbbs1.jpg  
Old 24th August 2006
  #3
OHA
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OHA's Avatar
It's a honor to have you here Bruce.

Keep posting old pictures

I'm so sorry I missed your workshop in Fredrikstad, Norway, 2 or 3 yrs ago, but I was in the middle of finishing a record.

Are you coming back to Norway/Sweeden soon?
Old 24th August 2006
  #4
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

I can see it like it was yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OHA View Post
It's a honor to have you here Bruce.

Keep posting old pictures

I'm so sorry I missed your workshop in Fredrikstad, Norway, 2 or 3 yrs ago, but I was in the middle of finishing a record.

Are you coming back to Norway/Sweeden soon?
I have no plans to be in Scandinavia soon....

Here's the story that goes with that photo above...

Rod Temperton

I can remember first meeting Rod Temperton like it happened yesterday. It really stands out in my mind. It was in 1978 and we were beginning work in Los Angeles on Michael Jackson’s album “Off The Wall”.

Rod is quite different from anyone else I have ever known. He is an extremely disciplined composer. When he comes to the studio to work, every single small musical detail is on paper or accounted for in Rod’s mind. He won’t take a day off, or even much of a break, until he feels confident that the music he has brought to life, is happy and healthy, and able to breathe on it’s own. He is a giant in the industry.

Quincy asked me to check out the “HeatWave” album that was such a big success at the time. He said that “HeatWave” was Rod Temperton’s band, and that we were going to be working on Michael’s new album with Rod. So I listened to his stuff on the “HeatWave” record. Wow! I simply loved Rod’s musical feeling. Everything about it! It was a good band, but the concept of Roddy’s arrangements, and tunes, was exceedingly hip. Rod Temperton shone through the music on that album like a bright shining light.

Rod is from Grimsby, England. When he first came into our lives, everyone I talked to in the recording business knew of him from his music with ‘HeatWave”. Quincy said that he was amazed by the fact that Rod had all of the urban values, including all the ghetto stuff, in place in his music. He very obviously knew American R & B ‘Pop” music. He’d been hanging out in the American Army camps playing music, and had been listening to a steady diet of “Radio Free Europe.” Rod had been absorbing music style and sounds like a sponge. They all thought that Rod was a black man. When the musicians met Rod Temperton for the first time they all made the comment, “I thought you were Young and Black, why you’re Old and White!”

That first day we met(it was a Saturday morning), I was already at Allen Zentz Recording Studio waiting for Rod and Quincy to come from LAX. Rod had flown all night on the ‘Red-eye” from New York. He was working with our old pal Phil Ramone on a new “Heatwave” album. I think at about the same time he was also working on an album with Karen Carpenter.

When Quincy’s car pulled into the parking lot at the studio, Quincy and his driver were in the front seat. In the back seat was this exhausted-looking dude in a wrinkled trench coat. His eyes were red-rimmed with fatigue, and he was staring into space. A Marlboro cigarette with a three inch ash was dangling from his lower lip. That was my first impression of Rod Temperton. I can see it like it was yesterday.

Rod is Brilliant!!!

Bruce

Old 25th August 2006
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Loud Noize Ent.'s Avatar
 

Hi Bruce,

Do you know if in fact Rod wrote "Thriller" while making the album or was this a pre-written track and Michael just happen to fit the bill?

Btw, great to have you here and thanks for your time...
Old 25th August 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
 
djui5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosi View Post
How many mixes did it take, til Quincy and Michael said: Yeah, that's it. 5 ? 20 ? 50 ?
thanks for your patience,
kosi



Bruce,
I think you might have missed this question. It's the one, I personally, am most interested in.

Thanks for your time
Old 25th August 2006
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

"It was Quincy's idea to have Eddie play on "Beat It". Eddie Van Halen is absolutely fantastic!!! We recorded Eddie in my studio. I hired Eddie's engineer. Great guy."

I almost forgot, you recorded one of the, if not the greatest hard rock lead of all time!Indeed, we are most blessed to have you here.
Old 25th August 2006
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
I'll make this as short as I can...
No. don't ! could read these stories for hours, so, if you have time, go on
Thanks anyway for the pic and the quick response.

I also thought, that Rod Temperton was a black guy til today, where I read your post !
I did a search on Wiki and found this out:

Temperton wrote for the following singers/bands (also through Quincy Jones):
Rufus: 'Masterjam' LP.
The Brothers Johnson: 'Treasure' on the 'Stomp' LP.
Donna Summer: 'Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)', 'Livin' In America' and 'Love Is Just A Breath Away'.
Quincy Jones: 'The Dude', 'Razzamatazz', 'Somethin' Special', 'Turn On The Action', 'The Secret Garden' and 'Back On The ***Block' and 'Q's Jook Joint'.
Herbie Hancock: 'Lite Me Up', 'Getting To The Good Part'.
Aretha Franklin: 'Livin' In The Streets'.
Jeffrey Osborne: 'We Belong To Love' (which Rod also produced).
Bob James: 'Sign Of The Times' and 'The Steamin' Feelin'.
Manhattan Transfer: 'Mystery', 'The Spice Of Life'.
George Benson: 'Give Me The Night' LP.
James Ingram: 'It's Your Night' LP.
Anita Baker: 'Mystery'.
Patti Austin: 'Every Home Should Have One' LP.
Michael McDonald: 'Sweet Freedom'.
Stephanle Mills: 'Time Of Your Life' and 'Hold On To Midnight'.
Michael Jackson: 'Off the wall', 'The Lady in my life', 'Rock with you', 'Thriller' and 'Baby be mine'
Karen Carpenter: 'Lovelines' and 'If We Try'

which were my biggest influences at that time ! (okay, without Bob James
What a giant. But he stayed always kinda in the background.
I like that
Old 25th August 2006
  #9
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

"Listen to this!!!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosi View Post
did it take, til Quincy and Michael said: Yeah, that's it. 5 ? 20 ? 50 ?

This question is directed to Thriller and Off he Wall.

And how was the work schedule ?
Was everything figured out before or did you have to redo certain passages, cause someone had a better idea or wanted to have the bridge 2 bars longer etc ?
Could you guys react, when a player had a good idea ?

And who had the idea with Eddie van Halen ? Did he record in your studio or was he sending a tape ? Is the solo really cut together ?

thanks for your patience,
kosi
The number of mixes that I do varies greatly with the project. "Thriller" was one that sticks out in my mind. 10 mixes to 110 mixes or more.... That really doesn't matter to me.

When I mix with Michael and Quincy and Rod, I am pretty much left to myself...... Until I have a mix that is ready for "Q, MJ and Roddy" to listen to...

That works realy well. "Thriller" was no exception. I called the guys into the control room and played my mix of "Thriller". I thought I had it nailed.

UNTIL.... Quincy reached in his bag and gave me this horrible, beat-up looking cassette with no plastic cover, a bunch of chicken-fat stains on it... It was the rough mix that I had done the day we recorded the track for "Thriller".... "Quincy said... "Listen to this!!!"

HOLY COW!!! It totaly blew away my mix that I thought was so great... And a G-- D--- Cassette too!!!

This is a really deep subject.... shall we talk some more about it???

Bruce


Old 25th August 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
The number of mixes that I do varies greatly with the project. "Thriller" was one that sticks out in my mind. 10 mixes to 110 mixes or more.... That really doesn't matter to me.

When I mix with Michael and Quincy and Rod, I am pretty much left to myself...... Until I have a mix that is ready for "Q, MJ and Roddy" to listen to...

That works realy well. "Thriller" was no excepetion. I called the guys into the control room and played my mix of "Thriller". I thought I had it nailed.

UNTIL.... Quincy reached in his bag and gave me this horrible, beat-up looking cassette with no plastic cover, a bunch of chicken-fat stains on it... It was the rough mix that I had done the day we recorded the track for "Thriller".... "Quincy said... "Listen to this!!!"

HOLY COW!!! It totaly blew away my mix that I thought was so great... And a G-- D--- Cassette too!!!

This is a really deep subject.... shall we talk some more about it???

Bruce

Yes Please. Keep it coming.
Old 25th August 2006
  #11
Yes please! I am on record here for admitting that I "dislike" mixing.. I prefer recording.. So in depth on mixing would be great!
Old 25th August 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
GP_Hawk's Avatar
Pulling up my chair and getting comfortable....please continue Bruce
Old 25th August 2006
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

YES!!! let's talk some more!!!!!
Old 25th August 2006
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
This is a really deep subject.... shall we talk some more about it???
Yess, please ! I like this brain vs stomach subject !
Old 25th August 2006
  #15
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Question

Quote:
HOLY COW!!! It totaly blew away my mix that I thought was so great... And a G-- D--- Cassette too!!!

This is a really deep subject.... shall we talk some more about it???

Bruce
So did you start over........ Or just adjust the levels, Effects, Ect.........


How long do you spend on a large mix like that,,,,,, 1 day, 2 days ...............

Thanks,



steve



Old 25th August 2006
  #16
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

It was titled "Starlight"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loudnoize ent. View Post
Hi Bruce,

Do you know if in fact Rod wrote "Thriller" while making the album or was this a pre-written track and Michael just happen to fit the bill?

Btw, great to have you here and thanks for your time...
Rod had written the song earlier. It was titled "Starlight"... And what happened is history!!!

What you are probably refering to is when Rod wrote the verses to the song "Thriller" in the taxi cab on the way to record them with Vincent Price...

Bruce
Old 25th August 2006
  #17
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
So did you start over........ Or just adjust the levels, Effects, Ect.........


How long do you spend on a large mix like that,,,,,, 1 day, 2 days ...............

Thanks,



steve



Of course, I started over. Actually there is another whole aspect to this very thing. We need to discuss that separately...

How long does it take to do a mix. - UNTIL IT'S DONE!!!

One thing I'd like you to understand. It's much easier to be done than to be satisfied!!

Bruce Swedien


Old 25th August 2006
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Loud Noize Ent.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
Rod had written the song earlier. It was titled "Starlight"... And what happened is history!!!

What you are probably refering to is when Rod wrote the verses to the song "Thriller" in the taxi cab on the way to record them with Vincent Price...

Bruce
Brilliant! Thank you Bruce. Love these stories..
Old 26th August 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 
orange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosi View Post
I also thought, that Rod Temperton was a black guy til today, where I read your post !
I still find it amazing that Rod is from Grimsby (I think its actually Cleethorpes - a slightly 'tired' seaside resort). I'm struggling to find a more unlikely place for someone like Rod to come from. If you've ever been to Grimsby you'll know what I mean.

It's about as unlikely as finding out that Smells Like Teen Spirit had actually be written by George W. Bush.
Old 26th August 2006
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
This is a really deep subject.... shall we talk some more about it???

Bruce
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO..!

heh
Old 26th August 2006
  #21
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Empty Planet's Avatar
 

My God, yes. We're all ears.






Old 26th August 2006
  #22
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Please continue with your thoughts on this Mr. Swedien!
Old 26th August 2006
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sammyp View Post
"It was Quincy's idea to have Eddie play on "Beat It". Eddie Van Halen is absolutely fantastic!!! We recorded Eddie in my studio. I hired Eddie's engineer. Great guy."

I almost forgot, you recorded one of the, if not the greatest hard rock lead of all time!Indeed, we are most blessed to have you here.

That solo was what made we want to play guitar. I ,still to this day, don't think anything has ever come close to it. I would agree it to be the greatest of all time. I heard it was the first or second take too. Maybe Bruce can confirm that??
Old 26th August 2006
  #24
pan
Lives for gear
 
pan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
It's much easier to be done than to be satisfied!!
I enjoyed earlier discussions about this topic on the board.

Are you eager to "top" those mixes, and/or do you feel about it like: Well I already made "my" mix, now it's up to the others to direct me what _they want?

Can you / do you sometimes forget about it, when working on large projects? Where do you draw a line between yours and the artists vision?




...so, what made the final version? Theres rumours, - you know - that err.. you used one of the earr..rlier mixes?

Cheers, Niko
Old 26th August 2006
  #25
Smile Thanks for that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
Of course, I started over. Actually there is another whole aspect to this very thing. We need to discuss that separately...

How long does it take to do a mix. - UNTIL IT'S DONE!!!

One thing I'd like you to understand. It's much easier to be done than to be satisfied!!

Bruce Swedien



Thank you so much for that statement, Bruce. That's what all my own work is about.

UNTIL IT'S DONE!!!

And the best part is that more and more of my clients start to agree with me at this. Makes me feel like I'm on the not-so-wrong path. I can spend a week on a lead vocal track until it's absolutely there. And it's great to listen to a mix you did three years ago and say: that's as good as it gets, couldn't have done it better (maybe only different, that's another story...)

Admiration for your work, I really like your philosophy. Your statements are a big inspiration.

Best wishes, Mat
Old 26th August 2006
  #26
Gear Head
 

The blown monitor

Here is the monitor that was blown during the EVH session.

(If Jules will post it, 2nd attempt)
Attached Thumbnails
How many mixes-beatitfire.jpg  
Old 26th August 2006
  #27
Viking
 
Bruce Swedien's Avatar
 

NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Level View Post
Here is the monitor that was blown during the EVH session.

(If Jules will post it, 2nd attempt)
NO!!! NO!!! NO!!! That burned up monitor, in no way, happened during the Eddie Van Halen recording. It was a totaly separate event....

Bruce Swedien


Old 27th August 2006
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Plec's Avatar
 

Mr. Swedien, I'd like to ask.. when you work on a project, do you ever find yourself cutting corners in order to stay on budget? I mean if working on a relatively small project and you feel the need to do a 10 day mix instead of a 2 day mix of a song in order to be satisfied and not just done, and that decision would mean going way over budget for the project... how would that situation be handled?

When being asked to produce an album for a band, I'd love to tell the label "Well, it will be finished when it's finished, and it will cost you what it took to finish it."
Old 28th August 2006
  #29
Gear Head
 

Quote:
NO!!! NO!!! NO!!! That burned up monitor, in no way, happened during the Eddie Van Halen recording. It was a totaly separate event....

Bruce Swedien
OUCH!!!

I was under the impression that "Beat it" did ruin that monitor though..

Sorry for misrepresenting there bro. Bruce.

Old 28th August 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Ahhhh, I want more, I'm like a sponge with this info and I'm in desperate need of more. Please Bruce, discuss away, the wait is killing me!!!
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