What Records/Producers Inspired You to Start Recording?

Howdy gang. I’m curious to know which records or engineers in particular inspired you to take up recording/mixing/mastering. I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Wagener despite all of his stuff sounding really '80s, I loved the sounds he coaxed out of the guitars. I always loved Bob Ezrin’s bombastic style as well, but I’d have to rank the team of Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero as #1. They did so many great rock records in the '80s and '90s and no two records sounded the same. They avoided the trends of the time, the huge reverb and the flashy electronic drums. Even if they did more than one record with an artist you couldn’t tell it was the same two dudes. The three albums they did with Tesla sound completely different from each other, and don’t sound anything like Appetite for Destruction which they were also responsible for. Malmsteen’s “Odyssey” record sounded more trendy because the album was more trendy, and Trash by Alice Cooper may have been a bit polished but it was perfect for the sound he was going for. They’d do stuff like that and go the opposite direction with an earthy sounding album with Soundgarden “Louder than Love”. Huge influence right there.

Barry Diament is another influence of mine. I’ve had the chance to speak with him before, couldn’t be more humble despite being responsible for mastering the entire Led Zeppelin catalog (except IV), the entire AC/DC catalog up to “Who Made Who” (execpt '74 Jailbreak & Fly on the Wall), the Bob Marley reissue discs on Tuff Gong, a bunch of Yes albums, the aforementioned Appetite for Destruction. He taught me to think about audio in ways I’d never thought of before. He’s got a blog here. What are your stories? Who are your audio heroes?

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While as a music fan and musician I was always interested who the engineers and producers were, I first started recording my music to capture my music. A practical endeavor. I’m sure paying attention to all that stuff helped inspire me to do it (with a Fostex X-15, probably the first cassette “porta-studio” on the market) and gave me some clues what to try and how to experiment. I had no training and very little information, just did the best I could. It was actually an interesting learning experience to do it that way. Later, of course, I began to look more to industry icons and got more involved in production. Then the digital age turned things on their head a bit, but it was a very exciting time. Now it just seems like “how it is”.

I think an early influence on me was the early Alice Cooper records. I loved Alice in the ACB and at least through Welcome to my Nightmare. Also “Clones (We’re All)” from Flush the Fashion.

Black Sabbath and Budgie came up too, I think that was Rodger Bain. I was big on Bachman-Turner Overdrive which I think Randy Bachman produced. I was really big on Sweet who were produced by Mike Chapman and Nikki Chinn. I thought the songwriting and performing was great, and they had some cool production tricks to make the music jump out with excitement.

Other early influences were AC/DC (Vanda & Young), Scorpions (Dieter Diercks), Judas Priest (Rodger Bain, Chris Tsangarides, Roger Glover, etc), Van Halen (Ted Templeman), Def Leppard (Mutt Lange) … the list could go on and on.

I saw Eddie Kramer on a “Waves Signature” tour or something like that, pitching his line of plugins basically. But he gave a full presentation that was really cool. He talked about the old days working with Hendrix and Zeppelin, the Woodstock recordings, etc. Then the modern DAW of course. One thing he said really stuck with me; “make decisions and move on”. That was his creative process and it worked well for him. Back in the days of tape you didn’t have much choice, unless you were into fancy tricks and splicing. As technology has given us tons more options, it’s easy to get caught up in too many choices.

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I migrated into recording from the midi sequencing an keyboard programming world. I didn’t have a clue who any of the big name engineers were until I downloaded a cracked copy of the Waves bundle and started playing with them. I obviously own a full license now, but I didn’t start paying real attention to particular engineers and their sounds until I keep having to stare at a plugin with Jack Joseph Puig’s name on it, same with CLA, Kramer, and Maserati. (Greg and Manny didn’t have signature sets back then).

Then a guy at Sweetwater recommended ‘mix engineers handbook’, which was basically an interview with a bunch of heavyweights. That was probably when I started learning who all the hall of famers are.

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Are you subscribed to Tape Op magazine? Print and digital is free in the U.S.A.

I love them. They’re so big and analog sounding, really pleasant to listen to. Love it to Death-Muscle of Love has to be one of the greatest album runs in the history of rock, yet they barely get any recognition. Welcome to My Nightmare is as good, but I don’t think Alice solo has been able to match the quality of the Alice Cooper band exempting that first solo album. Billion Dollar Babies is probably in my top five rock albums ever, it’s perfect start to finish.

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Back when I bought that book, magazines and internet articles weren’t anywhere close to as useful as they are now. Online mixing resources back in 2005 weren’t anywhere near as abundant as they are now.

Subscribed to tape-op?

I just did! :smiley:

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They’ve been around for YEARS. Always been free, but you’ve got to pay if you want access to articles before you subscribed. Some great info and gear in there.

$5 /mo? Looks like they have some pretty good stuff. I wouldn’t mind that at all if I had the time to go through it. I’m focusing a lot on the video game audio stuff right now, but it sounds like a great place to get some pro-reads in if I ever get time to go through that stuff! :smiley:

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I’d recommend their article with Tom Werman. That’s one of my favorites. A lot of the people that have worked with him bashes him now and I don’t know why. Because he made their records sound good? Cheap Trick, Twisted Sister, early Nugnet, Mötley Crüe, Kix, Junkyard, L.A. Guns, Molly Hatchet, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. He knew how to get singles out of bands, that’s why most of these bands had their most successful album with him. People point to Dr. Feelgood with Bob Rock as the best sounding Mötley Crüe album, but I disagree. I prefer the punchiness of Girls, Girls, Girls. I love the way that record sounds, so dynamic yet powerful. Love the guitar tone.

That interview they did with Rock in this month’s issue was interesting though, I’d give that a read.

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As far as who influenced me I’d give the nod to Tom Werman (obviously), with the stuff he did with Mötley and especially Cheap Trick. Dream Police to me is one of the best sounding records of the 1970s. No dry boxy drums that were indigenous to the era, wet and powerful. A lot of people point to Eddie Kramer, but I think a lot of his records sound kind of muddy. I love LZ II for what it is, but his albums with Kiss like “Rock and Roll Over” and “Love Gun” just seem sludgy. When he came back in the ‘80s with Ace Frehley in Trouble Walkin’ I heard the same problem only with '80s trends. The first Frehley’s Comet album sounds pretty decent though, if not a lot like 1987.

If I had to pick a number two I’d go with Mike Shipley. Mutt Lange’s mixing engineer. His stuff is so immaculate it almost scares me. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “(Let Me Up) I’ve Had Enough” mixed by him was a huge influence. A lot of people don’t like that record, but it was my first Petty album. I’d heard his other songs on the radio, but that was the new album when I decided to explore him. Damn the Torpedoes is another really impressive one, probably my favorite Petty album. Come to think of it, so are “Full Moon Fever”, “Into the Great Wide Open”, and “Wildflowers”. Tom really knew how to pick 'em.

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Ooh, that’s a good sounding one. Runaway Trains is one of my favorite Hearbreakers songs. I think it’s the best record they did in the '80s since Full Moon Fever was a solo album. I like Hard Promises and Long After Dark all right. Southern Accents sounds like they overcooked it production wise, that’s why Let Me Up was so refreshing. It seemed really off the cuff.

Yes, I like them all, but I’m particularly fond of Killer. Ha, when I got the (phonograph) album, my mother looked at the cover and said the snake’s tongue/mouth looked very sexual (I was young and she wasn’t amused by it :slightly_frowning_face:).

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So the next album being wrapped in a pair of panties probably didn’t amuse her either? I’m surprised the song title “Dead Babies” didn’t offend her. The snake has got to be the least offensive thing about that album!

Ha, I didn’t get that album, just the single of “School’s Out”.

I don’t think I let her listen to that one. :blush: Yeah, the sound effects in the song “Killer” where Alice is choking from a hangman’s noose was creepy but fascinating. I didn’t think “parents” would get it, so I kept those songs for private listening. :zipper_mouth_face: Long live Theatrical Rock! :beerbang:

I have to mention “Halo of Flies” as that is an epic song! All the different movements in that song that create emotion and drama are fantastic.


I love Halo of Flies. AC said that was the band’s response to people who said they couldn’t really play their instruments. Did you ever end up getting School’s Out the album? I love it. If I had to rank them.

  1. Billion Dollar Babies
  2. Killer
  3. Love it to Death
  4. Muscle of Love
  5. School’s Out
  6. Easy Action
  7. Pretties for You
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I started buying used records while in college and I began to pay attention to producers of my favorite bands. I guess the number one for me was Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, etc.) Just an amazing discography. :slight_smile:


That’s another good one because he didn’t succumb to trends. Those '80s Iron Maiden albums still hold up today. Especially Powerslave.

No, just the single. That was one of my first records ever, right when it came out on radio. I bought 3 single 45’s (phono) at one time as my first record purchase. The other two were good songs but lame by my evolving tastes: I think they were Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” and Maria Muldaur “Midnight At the Oasis” or something like that. They were playing on the FM “pop” radio station and I liked them. Same with AC because the song was a hit, but man was that a weird one for the time period for Top 40. I guess that’s why I really liked it. So very “stick it to the man” too. :beerbang:

A friend played me “Be My Lover” off Killer sometime after that, and I was hooked. I got some of the other albums later.

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This, pretty much.

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I’m a little older than some on here, but the first chord of Good Times Bad Times had a huge effect on my perception of what a guitar should sound like, and apparently a lot of that came from Jimmy Page’s ideas of mic placement. I also got the same feeling listening to Hendrix on Electric Ladyland, so Eddie Kramer became someone I would read about whenever i could. On the other side of the coin, when AJA came out, it was so precise in its approach that it became a big influence on me as well. The drum production on that album was very different from what I was used to, but it fit so well.
After that, honestly, a lot of recordings in the hard rock and metal genres sounded like they were done by the same guy to me, and I started to lose interest in who recorded or produced most of what I listened to.

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