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Old 26th June 2009
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ButchVig's Avatar

Originally Posted by steve10358 View Post
I just wanted to take the time and elaborate by saying I was more interested in a brief summary versus an epic 20 paragraph reply. The Q was more about your thought process, rather than a specific band story.

I just figured I'd throw that out there so you didn't feel obligated to be that detailed- should you have time to reply. I know you are very busy, and if you don't reply, that's ok too!

Thanks again!

Every situation is different, let me walk you through an example.

A couple years ago I got a call out of nowhere from Craig Aaronson at Warner Brothers. He told me about a group he had signed Against Me, and that they were great, really passionate young band. He was VERY enthusiastic on the phone, so I told him to send me some of their music.
A couple days later I received a package which had contained their previous album as well as several earlier EPs. I listened to the album Searching For A Former Clarity and really liked it, especially the song Don't Lose Touch.
i called Craig and he wanted me to fly immediately to Florida to see a gig, which i couldn't do as I was in the middle of another project. I looked at my schedule and saw an open weekend about 3 weeks later, so I flew to Milwaukee to see them on Warped Tour.
The day of the gig, I went straight to the venue (a huge, hot, asphalt parking lot) and their tour manager took me right to their tour bus. We chatted for a few minutes, and I followed them onstage, and was able to watch their performance a few feet away (always good to see them that close, you can really see how they play together).
After the brief set, I went back to their bus, and we sat down and talked for about 2 hours over a couple of beers. I asked them a lot of questions. They asked me a lot of
questions. They played a few new songs for me (one of them Up Th Cuts, which I immediately loved, and I noticed they had played it in the set earlier).
I really, really liked them, so as I shook hands and was getting ready to leave, I asked them "so, do you want to make a record together?" And they said "hell yeah!"
Normally, I would wait a few days to make a decision, talk to the A&R person again, listen to all the new demos...but I really felt a good vibe from hanging with them, and just decided to go for it.

The next step was pre-production, and I told Tom Gabel to start sending me demos. As the songs came in, I would give him very specific feedback..some of them were great as is, some songs needed a different groove, some I suggested chord changes to make the chorus better, etc...Sometimes I will suggest a reference point to a band, like "how about writing a song like this." iI had noticed a lot of the new songs were very social political (which is one of Tom's strengths, and one of the reasons i love his songwriting) and i suggested he write something more personal, maybe something that tells a story. I suggested "why don't you write a song that's a cross between "Rebel Rebel" and "Walk On The Wild Side"....a couple days later, he sent me an early demo for Thrash Unreal, which became the first single from "New Wave" and needless to say doesn't sound anything like the song references!

After I felt the songs were good, we booked studio time in Los Angeles, and I booked 2 weeks of pre-pro rehearsal. Andrew asked me a couple day beforehand "What are we going to do for the next 2 weeks?"....During rehearsals, I would deconstruct everything they were playing, have them play their parts solo for me (just the drums, just the bass, just the guitars) work on arrangements, and work on tempo maps (I also brought in a drum machine for Warren to play with as some of the songs were unstready...and at the end of two weeks, I knew, and the band knew, every part and note on every song they were playing!

Then we went into the studio and recorded the album!