Monday, December 11, 2006

Producing : Not Always Glamour.. Sometimes God Fear

It’s not always a perfect marriage between producer and a bands personnel or it’s management team and ultimately sometimes the bands following . Even while in The Cars Ric hated the tedious monotous work Mutt Lange had him and his bandmates did during 1984’s Heartbeat City sessions. Even some Cars fan cringe at the sometime mechanical way HBC sounds.

Ric himself has occasionally ran into problems as a producer over the years, most often typified by the publicized falling out between Ric and the group Hanson’s management over the direction of the bands sound on the 2000 album “This Time Around”.

Ric also faced a similar problem a year prior in 1999 when he went behind the boards during the Guided By Voices sessions for their album “Do The Collapse’. GBV is best known as a low fi band fronted by Bob Pollard who had and still have a diehard fan base that loved the band for their bare bones four track album releases.

When it was announced that Ocasek was taking on the GBV project eyebrows were immediately raised. Because of Ric’s big time producer cred many feared GBV would lose the essence of their sound through over production. After it’s release this proved to be true at least in the minds of GBV‘s fans. Their hardcore fans still to this day views Ocasek production on that album with mostly disdain.

The following excerpt explains what GBV’s front man and songwriter Bob Pollard thought of Ocasek's production. The song he mentions in the following article "Hold On Hope" is excellent and I have made it available for download.

Bob Pollard on Ric Ocasek.

I’m a huge Cars fan. Especially the first record—that would probably be in my top 50 albums of all time. I think he did a good job (with us). I listened to Do The Collapse the other day for the first time in a couple of years and I think it’s a really good record. The thing about Ric Ocasek is he still has the same intimidating presence he’s always had. He still comes flamboyantly into the studio with the same kind of stuff he used to wear. It was kind of an intimidating experience, but he was a really nice guy and I appreciate the fact that he showed us the ropes in a big studio. I think we learned a lot from that experience.

Was “Hold On Hope” one of those songs?

It’s weird, but that wasn’t. “Hold On Hope” was like my own embarrassment. When I was sending all the songs to Ric Ocasek, I would talk to him on the phone three or four times a week and I’d tell him I’d written these new songs and he’d say to send them. When I was waking up one morning I kind of dreamt that chorus, and I thought, “Is that mine or someone else’s?” I told him I wrote this really pretty, ballad-type song, and he said send it, and I said, “Oh, man, it might be kind of embarrassing.” Naturally, he gets it and goes, “Oh, that’s the big one, that’s the monster ballad.” I go, “Oh, shit, here we go.” It got even worse. They did a remix that was really, really, creepy and creamy. I thought it was kind of career-threatening. I went through a complete tug-of-war with the label about that song. So, though it seems like that was one of the pop songs they coerced me into writing, no, that was my own thing.

Guided By Voices - Hold On Hope

No comments: