Things had been boiling up nicely before the release of 'Reckless'.
An international tour in 1983 helped push the previous album 'Cuts Like A Knife'
into the American top 10 and set things up perfectly for what some describe as
the perfect Adams album. 'Reckless' was released on the 5th of November 1984 to
coincide with BA's 24th birthday, and was partially recorded in 1983 but mostly
in the spring of 1984. The album could of been buried a few times, critics took
hard shots at the record, and the record company in the US, was in the middle
of switching to a new distribution label in Europe and basically 'forgot' about
promoting the record until BA's infamous tour with Tina Turner had finished -
but 'Reckless' was unstoppable. The songs are still being played all over the
world 20 years later and it contains a few of the best songs written by the songwriting
team of Adams and Vallance - songs like 'Heaven', 'Summer Of '69' and 'Run To
You' that are now all international rock hits.
album features more or less with a few exceptions the same band that works with
Adams today. Mickey Curry on drums, Dave Taylor on bass guitar (parted company
with BA in '98), Keith Scott on lead guitar and Tommy Mandel on keyboards (also
parted company with BA in '98). Also appearing on the record were Vancouver drummers
Pat Steward, Jim Vallance and also 'Journey' drummer Steve Smith. Guest vocalists
Tina Turner and Foreigner's Lou Gramm appear, so does recording engineer Bob Clearmountain
who co-produced with BA, who also co-produced the previous 2 albums, 1983's 'Cuts
Like A Knife' and 1981's 'You Want It, You Got It'.
sessions commenced in 1984 after a small tour of Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia
supporting The Police (24th February > 8th March 1984). This was, incidentally,
one of the only times that Adams and Vallance performed live together and it was
on this tour that songs like 'One Night Love Affair','Boys Night Out' (a song
that didn't make the record along with 'Diana') and 'Somebody' were first played.
The only other time they played together was on the October '83 UK Tour and the
Yamaha Song Festival in 1981.
3 recording studios
were used to record the album. The principle studio was Little Mountain Sound
(no longer in existence) in Vancouver. It added something unusual to the sound
- a large 'loading bay' behind the actual recording room that was connected by
a single door. Clearmountain placed the drums infront of the door so the sound
was directed into the loading bay - making the 'dead sounding' 70's studio, seem
like a live concert hall. This sound ended up being imitated by many producers
and artists that worked there afterwards.
studio was Power Station Studio in NYC which also had an extraordinary 'live chamber'
- it was quite simply a huge stairwell with a large loudspeaker at the bottom
of the stairs and a microphone at the top. Adams and Clearmountain pumped everything
into that stairwell when mixing - this extraordinary sound is featuring throughout
'Reckless' but was discovered on the mixing of 'Heaven' in 1983. The stairwell
was eventually scrapped as a live chamber by the New York City Fire Dept shortly
after the making of the record and turned into a fire exit - another great studio
idea ditched in the name of safety!
Studios in NYC was the last place you would of found the guys for recording. It
was used for a few 'overdubs', like keyboards with Tommy and a few vocals. Generally
this studio was used as a patch up place when they couldn't get into the Power
Fueled by Indian Food and Danish Tuborg beer
brought in by 'beanbag' Adams' long time friend, the group worked late hours and
weekends to complete the recording which took approximately 4 months. In vancouver,
Vallance would drop in on the sessions to see how the songs were coming along
and would spend time with Bryan discussing details, while Dave would overdub his
bass with Bob recording. All the tracks were recorded in an old analog 24 track
Studer tape machine and in a mid 1970's 24 track Neve 'spitfire' console that
only had 16 track playback capabilities! All the musical instruments were recorded
at the same time with overdubs being done after a good 'take' or performance was
decided upon. Editing played a big part in the production of the record. The band
would do 4 to 5 takes of each song and once a good take was decided upon, Adams
would sit down and map out the best performances between the various takes, which
Bob would then edit together. Using this technique - Bryan had a lot of flexibility
in getting the best performance and was able to make the track very exciting without
having to compromise with a 'take' that wasn't quite right. (All of BA's albums
were done this way).
Once the sessions moved to New
York, the recording schedule changed. This time they worked from 6 in the evening
until 6 in the morning everyday. Studio's in New York at that time had a habit
of booking 2 sessions a day so you either had the morning/afternoon shift or the
evening or 'graveyard' shift as it was called. So - they worked the graveyard...
writing of 'Reckless'
It took a little under a year to write the bulk of
the songs for 'Reckless'. The title 'Reckless' comes from a lyric in a song called
'Ain't Gonna Cry'. Some songs like 'Run To You' and 'Heaven' were written earlier
in 1983 during another writing session - which gave the record a slight advantage,
because they were both big singles.
There was a 'demo'
cut for every song on this record - (just imagine what these blueprints for the
finished thing must sound like). Well, if you were wondering, the songs are almost
identical to the master recordings in arrangement, just the masters sound a lot
better. Once a song was demoed and it was agreed that the song was worthy of recording,
a sort of replication process would go on. From Vallance's basement studio, where
the 2 songwriters would work doing all the instrumentation on the demo's themselves
(except for the odd guitar solo by Keith), to the rehearsals and finally the studio,
each part was meticulously put together like a puzzle. The final sequencing of
the album's songs was arranged to suit the vinyl format. Coincidently it worked
out well for Cd's as well.
Love Affair: Written 08/09/83, this track was recorded twice in it's entireity.
One of the few songs that was performed 'live' before the band went into the studio
(if only he did that nowadays!). It features the simple signature guitar jangle
that has gone on to appear stylistically on songs like 'All I Want Is You' and
'The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You'.
She's Only Happy When She's Dancin': This song was an interesting track
that needed a finished lyric, so it sat around for ages. the lyric ended up being
written in Amsterdam in a hotel during a European tour, Vallance was accompanying
the entourage at the time, so the two just sat down in a hotel room and finished
the song. It's still a popular song live on the 'b-stage' at BA's concerts...that
is when he decides to use the b-stage!
To You: Written on 10/01/83 and didn't get recorded until 02/04/84! It was the
first single off the album and it reached the top 10 in the US - it was also the
first Adams single ever to enter the UK charts. It stayed at #11 in the UK for
3 weeks. The interesting thing about this song is it was never intended to be
recorded and it sat around as a demo until they realised they were one song short
for the record! BA approached the band with it and they gave it a quick run through
to see what it would sound like. Luckily Bob recorded the first take because the
final recording of this song is the basic track of the very 'first take'. There
were no edits on this track. BA describes this song as "About 3 people. You,
the one you love, and the one you fancy."
Heaven: Recorded 10/06/83 and released as the 3rd single off the album
later in 1985. It went straight to #1 in the US once it became a single. This
song was the only song recorded completely at New York Powerstation - it took
one afternoon. The song had to be cut quickly, so during a day off from touring
with 'Journey' in NYC, the band was recruited to the studio and the session began.
This was one of the few times that Mickey Curry was unable to record with BA (he
had prior commitments with Hall & Oates), indesparation Adams called Journey's
Steve Smith to sit in on drums. BA plays all the piano and keyboards with the
exception of NY session cat Rob Sabino on synth strongs. This track was the 3rd
take of 4. There was one edit taken from take 4.
Somebody: Recorded on 01/04/84. The writing process in those days was
to sit down and jam. This song was the second single off the record, and would
never had happened had a 'work tape' not of been recording! A cassette tape would
always be running to capture any interesting ideas that might come about. Jim
found the idea while meticulously going through the 'work' tapes. At the time
it was only a chorus but it soon became a song. The groove was inspired from an
idea of possibly working with producer Nile Rogers (which never happened)!
Summer Of '69: Written 25/01/84, it was the 4th single off the album
and a top 5 hit in America. This song was recorded 3 times in it's entirity before
the final arrangement was decided upon. Originally it was recorded a lot slower
and not as sparse. Inspired by the film title 'Summer Of '42', the song was written
to imitate a summer of love as BA says in the tag of the song... "Me and
my baby in a '69". The year '69 was chosen because of sexual references and
just basically because it sounded good. It has undoubtedly become the most famous
Adams concert anthem. (The "Jody got married" lyric was in reference
to Jody Perpick, BA's concert soundman... who still does the sound to this day
at all of Bryan's shows!)
Rock: Most of the songs were written on and off in 1983/84, although the story
is that manager Bruce Allen stormed into the New York studio at one point to hear
what was going on, and after the first playback yelled... "WHERE'S THE ROCK?"
(something he should have done on 'Spirit me thinks hehe). Adams and Vallance
returned to the basement and wrote the rock anthem "Kids Wanna Rock"
and also rearranged 'Summer Of '69' as a result of that meeting.
It's Only Love: The 5th and final single off the album. Ba was asked
to write a song for Tina Turner who was in the process of making her comeback
record 'Private Dancer'. There was no time to write another song as it was right
in the middle of recording 'Reckless', so Tina was invited to do a duet. The vocals
were recorded in Vancouver on 29/06/84 while Tina was supporing Lionel Richie
on tour and happened to be in town at the right time.
Long Gone: Recorded on 27/03/84. A simple shuffle toon that lay around
for a while until the lyric was inspired by bassist Dave Taylor's divorce... a
great shuffle groove reminiscent of Lennon's 'Instant Karma'.
Ain't Gonna Cry: Written 01/02/84. It's the 'unknown' song from 'Reckless'.
Nobody ever played this song - including the band - except for this one performance
in the studio! You can hear Keith's blood curdling scream at the end of this song
while he was lying on the floor playing the guitar with gaffer's tape wrapped
around his head so the headphones wouldn't fall off. Only performed once in concert
Keith at the end of 'Ain't Gonna Cry' with the tape around his head screaming!
Buskin of SOS interviews Bob Clearmountain on recording 'Reckless':
'Reckless' album was a huge success for Bryan Adams, giving rise to six hit singles
- but the first one, 'Run To You', was almost never even recorded.
of the most recognisable names among the studio elite of the past 25 years, Bob
Clearmountain has certainly earned his stripes as a producer and engineer. Indeed,
since the 1980's, 'Mixed by Bob Clearmountain' has been an industry catchphrase.
Suffice it to say, it would almost be easier to list the major artists whose records
he hasn't worked on, such is the veritable 'Who's Who' of his track record.
by his guitar-playing older brother, Clearmountain began playing bass as a teenager.
However, it was his fascination with recording technology that led him to apply
for a job at New York's Media Sound after a band that he played with had cut a
demo there. The year was 1972, and although, with much persistance, he was initially
hired as a delivery boy, after just a couple of deliveries he found himself assisting
on a session for Duke Ellington. Not a bad start, and one that quickly led to
several of the afforementioned engineering assignments, as well as productions
during the second half of the decade for artists such as The Rezillos, Billy Cobham
and Narada Michael Walden.
Nevertheless, while bigger
things ensued at the start of the 80's courtesy of projects with the Stones, Roxy
Music, Bowie and Huey Lewis, 1984 was arguably Bob Clearmountain's halycon year.
Not only did he produce and engineer Hall & Oates' 'Big Bam Boom' and mix
Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The USA', but he also co-produced and engineered
Bryan Adams' smash-hit 'Reckless' album, having previously fulfilled the same
role on Adams' 'You Want It You Got It' (1981) and 'Cuts Like A Knife' (1983).
It was on the advice of A&M Records
A&R exec David Kershenbaum that Adams initially hooked up with Clearmountain,
and the latter duly helped the Vancouver native assemble a band in LA for the
'You Want It You Got It' sessions.
"He had been
rehearsing with some musicians there and I guess he was really disapointed with
their performance," Clearmountain explains.
Power Station had already been booked, and a couple of weeks before he said, 'Look,
do you know any musicians? I've fired everyone.' Well, I had worked with [drummer]
Mickey Curry on a G.E. Smith album that I'd produced, and another guy named Brian
Stanley who was the bass player, and then I also knew Tommy Mandel, a keyboard
player who had worked with Ian Hunter, whom I'd previously engineered. So, I just
called them all up, and that worked out really well for the 'You Want It You Got
It' record. For the next album, Bryan brought in a different bass player, Dave
Taylor from Vancouver, and these were the guys who also formed the rhythm section
for the 'Reckless' album."
Bryan Adams at the top of his game, even if it would be subsequently be eclipsed
in terms of sales by 1991's 'Waking Up The Neighbours'. Boasting an idiosyncratic
mid-80's sound and spirit, it spawned no less than 6 American top 30 singles,
and the first of these was 'Run To You', that paean to illicit love co-written
by Adams and Jim Vallance, and largely built around a chorus that melds melodic
hard rock with the singers trademark raw-throated vocals. Still, while one of
the tracks distinguishing features is the obligatory heavy drum sound, this was
crafted by Clearmountain in unconventional fashion amid fairly adverse conditions.
Jim & Bob at Jim's place in Vancouver
with all the Bryan Adams albums that Bob Clearmountain worked on, the MO was to
rehearse for a couple of weeks before the start of recording. The material was
all written beforehand and demo'd at the home of Jim Vallance, and while these
demos often served as blueprints for what ended up on the finished record, Clearmountain
used the rehearsal period to offer his own suggestions in terms of the musical
"When I first heard 'Run To You'
I thought it was pretty good," he recalls, "but Bryan was thinking about
leaving it off the album. He was writing songs for other bands at the time, and
there was some other band that he was going to give that to. I remember riding
around town in his car when I first arrived and he was playing me the demos, and
when we got to 'Run To You' he said, 'I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this
one,' and I said, 'You're gonna put it on this album! It's a great song.'"
truth it was a song of simple and somewhat incomplete structure, looping around
a hook without ever developing in the manner that might have been achieved by
way of greater applicational during the compositional process.
could have been the cause of Bryan's uncertainty," Clearmountain agrees.
"I don't think he considered it to be up to the standard of his other material.
But it had such a great guitar hook, which was there right from the start, and
that everything was kind of based around that hook. Sure, it was real simple,
with a nice and simple melody, but it just sounded like a hit song to me, as did
a couple of others. It was 'Summer Of '69' that I wasn't too sure about. 'Run
To You' was very straight forward comprising about a half-dozen takes out of which
the best two or three were then chosen to edit between."
was a good guitarist and he kept getting better as we went along, doing a couple
of really good solos on the  'Into The Fire' album," Clearmountain
says. "He really worked on his guitar playing over the years and I now think
he's a great guitarist - he was both meticulous in his approach and capable of
letting it rip. He would let it rip and then we'd go back and fix bits. Both of
us were pretty meticulous, and that's one of the reasons why we got along so well."
While most of the 'Reckless' overdubs
would take place at New York's Power Station, where the album was also mixed,
the basic tracks were recorded at Little Mountain in Vancouver, owned by Bruce
Fairbairn and Bob Rock, where the setup included a Neve 8048 console, a Studer
A80 and, according to Clearmountain, little else. Indeed, one of his fondest memories
there is of assistant engineer Michael Fraser sitting cross-legged on the producers
desk infront of the patchbay and re-patching whenever there was need for a playback.
thing had an antiquated design, so it was a lot of work" Clearmountain recalls.
look at Mike like, 'I don't know what the hell you're doing,' but as long as I
could hear what I wanted to hear, whatever he did was fine by me. He was amazing,
and I'm not surprised that he went on to become a brilliant engineer. That studio
was basically just a console and a tape recorder, which was a problem because,
while the A80's were great sounding machines, their motors were kind of under-powered
for two-inch tape. I remember one song, maybe 'Summer Of '69', where we had a
bunch of edits - it came right at the end of the reel, and as it would hit the
edits the tape would start to slow down a little bit."
A diagram of how Little Mountain in Vancouver was setup to get that 'Reckless'
it was really well known, Little Mountain was almost like a low-budget studio,
with virtually no outboard gear, a smallish control room and these horrible speakers
that were pretty much unusable. I can't remember what they were - I just listened
to them one time and turned them off. The main room, meanwhile, was enormous -
they recorded orchestras in there - but it was very dead. It was also used for
jingles, and the walls were all thick with insulation and padding. If you had
your eyes closed, you'd swear you were in a bedroom or closet, but then you'd
open your eyes and see this enormous high-ceilinged room."
the first day I thought, 'Man, how are we going to get a rock drum sound in here?'
But then I walked around and found a door off to the side of the studio that led
into a loading bay; a big concrete garage into which you could back a truck. They
just used it for storage, they never really opened the garage door, but it had
this incredible sound. I went in there and clapped my hands and said, 'Wow, can't
we record drums in here?' As it turned out, we decided it would be kind of arkward
to have Mickey the drummer in a whole different room, so I setup the kit right
infront of the door, got these gobos on which one side was a real hard wood surface,
and made a big funnel-shaped device that focussed the sound through the door into
the loading bay. I put a couple of mics in there, and thats how we got our big
rock drum sound."
"The funny thing is, someone
apparently measured exactly how we'd set the drums up, and when Aerosmith's records
and other rock records were done at Little Mountain they'd set everything up the
same way. So, if you listen to some of those Aerosmith records, the drums sound
almost identical to the ones on the 'Cuts Like A Knife' and 'Reckless' albums."
the best of Clearmountain's recollection, for the latter album Mickey Curry's
kit was miked with an AKG D12 on the bass drum, Sennheiser 421's on the top and
bottom of each tom-tom, AKG 451's on the hi-hat and cymbals, and a Shure SM57
on top of the snare with an AKG 451 on the rim in order to catch a little more
attack. Room mics were Neuman U87's. It was, in essence, a straighforward setup
that acheived an amazing sound, not least considering the environment in which
the recording took place.
"Having such a dead-sounding
room was quite an obstacle," Clearmountain remarks.
I found these big 4' x 8' pieces of sheet metal out in the loading bay. I don't
know what they were there for, but we put them up on the walls around where the
drums were setup just to try to get some ambience. The drums were setup at a sort
of right-angle to the door, and with the gobos infront of the kit the sound was
bounced at a 45-degree angle into the loading bay. It was interesting, to say
the least, and was further proof that you can pretty much achieve anything anywhere.
I mean, I record drums now in my tiny little lounge, which is certainly not a
studio, and that works really well, so you can work just about anyplace."
Alongside the drums, the other musicians
played together as a live rhythm section, scattered around the room.
guitar amps would always be way off to the side, because unfortunately that studio
apparently had power mains that ran right down the middle of the floor,"
"So, if you got a guitar
amp anywhere near there, it would just hum like crazy... It really wasn't a terrific
studio. But the room was big and a lot of people liked it. And it was also one
of the only games in town at that time."
Keith Scott had a Marshall amp, recorded with an SM57 infront, but I'd also sometimes
use a couple of mics, place a gobo nearby and face one of the mics away from the
amp, towards the back of the gobo, to get this reflected sound. Then I'd mix that
with the main mic, maybe put it out of phase, just trying to get a bit more. Sometimes
we'd also combine amps - a Marshall with a Fender Twin, or something like that
- just to get different sounds."
of keyboards there was always a Hammond B3, so I'd usually have four mics on the
Leslie - two 87's on the top and two on the bottom, recorded in stereo. Tommy
[Mandel] also had this cheap little Casio keyboard which sounded really good.
You can hear it on 'Run To You' - these little tinkling sounds, especially coming
out of the solo section. The Casio was Dl'd, and so was Dave Taylor's bass, which
also used an amp - I think it was an Ampeg SVT."
Dave Taylor on bass
"I would always put the
bass player as close to the drums as I could get him, so they were as tight as
possible, and Bryan would be standing somewhat in the middle of the room because
he'd also be singing a rough vocal into an SM58 and directing the band. Keith
Scott was off to the right and facing the control room, standing in front of the
drums that were at the back and to the right."
average of two backing tracks per day was the norm during recording sessions -
all of the pre-production evidently paid off - yet the Little Mountain session
ended up lasting about 3 weeks due to some overdubbing of guitars, as well as
the non-Pro Tools editing of each number."
decision to relocate to Power Station was borne largely out of Clearmountain's
desire to return to his home base.
NYC during the 'Reckless' sessions
nice to be in New York, it was nice to get out of Vancouver for a bit," he
says. "Then again, we couldn't really mix at Little Mountain. They didn't
really have the facilities for mixing, and Power Station was great. I'd mixed
tons of records there, so I was very comfortable, and Bryan also liked being in
New York. Plus the fact that the keyboard player Tommy [Mandel] was from New York."
The control room in Power Station's Studio C as it is today. In 1996 it was renamed
to Avatar Studios & is still one of the world's best.
the mix took place on the SSL E-Series console in Power Station's Studio C, the
facility's Neve 8068 came into use for more overdubs, as it had for all the recordings
on the preceeding 'You Want It You Got It' album. Among the assignments this time
around was to capture the lead vocals, with a number of microphones being used.
live room in Power Station's Studio C as it is today.
Keith & Bryan doing vocals in the very same room all the way back in 1984.
would choose the mic for the song," Clearmountain says. "We actually
used a Shure SM58 for a couple of the tracks because we wanted a real edgy sound,
and then for other songs that we didn't want to be as edgy we used a U87 or an
FET 47. That studio didn't have good vintage mics, and neither Bryan or I could
afford expensive mics back then, whereas now I've got a few good microphones and
he's got an amazing mic collection. So, back then we just used what was in the
studio, and I remember at one point lining up one of every mic there and just
getting him to try a verse and a chorus with each of them, before picking the
one that we liked best. Usually it was a U87."
was pretty confident about his vocal abilities and also very objective. He's got
an amazing ear. We'd be doing vocals and he'd go, 'Oh I sang out of tune. Let's
do that again'. You see, we wouldn't do comps in those days, because it was all
24-track. We'd have two tracks and keep punching-in on one track, and he was really
good at that. He could punch word after word and it would sound like a performance.
He was pretty amazing at that. He would perform a line and go, 'Okay, yeah that
was good,' and I would say, 'Well, let's try it again.' He'd go, 'No, no, no,
that was good,' and I would persist: 'Let's try one more on the other track.'
So, we'd give it a shot and then compare the two, and if it was better then I'd
just bounce it over. That was the extent of our comps."
aforementioned ability to punch-in is all the more remarkable in the light of
sustained high energy and rounded performance of a vocal such as that on 'Run
"He was unbelieveable at that,"
Clearmountain confirms. "And he would never get worn out, because he'd only
do a couple of lines at a time. Each line was like a burst of energy, so it wasn't
a case of being a little bit tired by the time he'd get to the third verse. He'd
just concentrate on each line, and he would use that technique to really get something
amazing. Infact, he would often start off by doing a couple of complete passes
to get a take that he felt really good about, and then we'd go back and listen
to it and say, 'Oh, we can do that line better.' We'd go line by line, and he
would always say, 'Yeah, I can do that better,' so we'd usually end up redoing
the whole thing. It was a case of having a blueprint to work with and then just
Hurry up & Wait
always had a tendency to sing on top of the beat because he was so energetic,
and then I'd actually have to pull him back, saying, 'Okay, you're too far ahead
of the beat. Keep the energy and pull it back.' He would pull back so that he
was still pushing it, and that's part of where the energy came from. Infact, that's
why I was disappointed when he started to work with 'Mutt' Lange - Mutt would
actually sample each line of his vocal and lay in back in so that it was exactly
on the beat. Mutt had a mechanical approach where he wanted it to be perfectly
in time, and to me that kind of overlooked Bryan's energy, where he was pushing
the band, leading the band. I always thought that was an exciting thing about
his voice, and the later albums don't really have that. Of course, most listeners
aren't aware of it, but there's an immediacy to the way that he pushes everything."
Clearmountain asserts that the energy of the thundering chorus on 'Run To You'
was more down to the recording than to the mix.
of it was the performance," he remarks. "We'd always push for really
exciting performances. Like on 'Into The Fire', there's a song called 'Victim
Of Love' which has this long outro, and we had Mickey Curry just go out and fill
up the whole tape with his drum fills. He would play the end of the song and every
four bars he'd do a different drum fill, and then we'd go through it, pick the
ones that we really liked and place them in the outro. We did the same on 'Reckless'
where a lot of the song were kind of pieced together even though they sounded
totally live. It was all about getting the most exciting bits, and once in a while
we'd also get a great take. That was pretty rare, but occasionally we would actually
have a full take."
"To be honest, it was
a great band. Mickey Curry is an unbelievable drummer, besides being hysterically
funny, and so we'd always have a great time cutting tracks. Everybody would be
cracking jokes in between cuts and sometimes they would just start jamming on
something. There was usually a Linn drumm machine in the control room, which we'd
use to provide a click track, and so Keith would do these little rap things, I'd
start playing handclaps on the Linn, and we'd just crack ourselves up with these
silly, stupid things and then go for a take. Everybody would be pumped up, having
a great time, and it was all about getting this vibe in the studio. I think that
comes through on all those records, where it just sounds like there's this energy
going on. Well, that was there. It was in the original recordings."
didn't have the boxes back then to create different room sounds, so we did it
the hard way, and that was always the fun of recording for me. No matter what
record I was producing, I would always insist on having everyone in the band play
together, even if ultimately we weren't going to keep the tracks. It was about
having everybody's vibe in there and the drummer hearing as much as possible coming
through his headphones. That energy was so important, whereas a lot of the records
nowadays are all done bit by bit and they don't have that thing that those 80's
records had; the excitement of a band playing together."
"Sonically, I didn't leave much
to the mix. Especially recording on analogue, which is so different to digital.
Nowadays you can record pretty much flat with digital and then do everything in
the mix, but you couldn't do that with analogue because you'd just get a load
of noise. You'd go to EQ and be bringing up tape hiss, and the more you'd play
the tape the duller it would get. So, I would always put extra top-end when I
EQ'd, trying to make something sound as if I was mixing it when recording it.
You know, I'd really crank the treble, because the nature of analogue was that
as soon as you played it back it would be missing something. That's why I was
so glad when digital started to sound good!"
Keith & Bob at the desk
As for the mix of
'Run To You' Bob Clearmountain has never been completely happy with the effects
that were applied to Bryan Adams' vocal... Too much delay for his liking.
one song I've always wished I could have remixed," he admits. "Looking
back now, I don't know why there was so much delay on the voice. It obviously
seemed like it sounded good at the time, but when I listened to it later I thought,
'Jeez, I wish I hadn't put so much delay on the voice and I wish I hadn't put
so much bass in the mix.' I thought there was too much bottom-end, and it never
sounded right to me, but then other people seem to think it was fine."
song starts without any bass, just the guitar lick and a little cross-stick on
the snare drum, and it sounds so great. But then the bass kicks in and hits radio
compressors and the whole thing gets kinda quiet, and it always bugs me when that
happens. At home it sounds fine and in the car it sounds fine, but on the radio
it's another matter. Still, that didn't keep it from being a hit, and nobody else
has ever commented on the problem, only me. So, who knows?"