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Old 11th July 2009
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ButchVig's Avatar

Originally Posted by Acereject View Post
Way before Nevermind and Garbage, you and Duke Erikson were in two cult-Midwestern bands, and along with Steve Marker engineering or as soundman, and released a number of records at the beginning of your production career.

I began to check out Spooner and Fire Town material over the last few years, after only being aware of The Good Life from the video (YouTube - Fire Town "The Good Life" for anyone who doesn't know it) and was pleasantly surprised by how melodic and listenable they were 25 years down the line. I must've had some other idea in my head what they would sound like.

I'm particularly fond of "Walking with an Angel"

I was wondering how your production techniques and knowledge from self-producing those records have influenced your later career and how you look back on those records now.

I know that there was a Fire Town re-issue last year, is there plans for a re-issue of the three Spooner albums?
I look back at my days with Spooner and Fire Town with fond memories, and now I realize how both bands were very influential on my becoming a producer. We had a DIY attitude (out of necessity really) and since wanted to make records, I was the guy who sort of took charge and figured out how to do it. Some of the early Spooner singles sound pretty funny to me now, very lofi in charming way, but by the time we made the first album we were getting smarter in the studio. Gary Klebe (from Shoes a great power pop band from Zion, Ill) co-produced the first album "Every Corner Dance" and he saw that I had an interest in recording, and told me one night "Don't just be a drummer, you have an ear for recording, you should keep moving in that direction" and I took his advice to heart. We had some amazing experiences in Spooner: crazy wild gigs, some bad record deals and near deals (on the advice of our lawyer, we turned down and offer from Arista to make an EP with up and coming producer Robert Lange...aka MUTT LANGE...duh!) and lots of time spent writing songs, jamming and drinking beer. It was fun! We went back last year and found all the old demos and out takes in the vaults, and we hope release them sometime soon.

Fire Town was also cool. We wanted to make a jangly midwestern pop record, and we recorded the first album at Smart on my 8 track, released it on Boat (our Madison indie label), and when MTVs 120 minutes played our home-made video of Carry The Torch, all the labels came a calling. We signed with Atlantic after never having played a single gig together, and after we made the second album it all went downhill. The A&R guy who signed us left and we had no one at the label to look after us...this was in the days of hair metal, and Skid Row, White Lion, and Twisted Sister were all the rage, there was no room for a little jangly pop band from the midwest. But I learned a lot about recording making that second album with producer Michael Frondelli in NYC, and the day after I flew back to Madison, I started work on Killdozers "12 Point Buck" which we did in 6 days. After hearing it 6 months later, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana called....