Monday, January 30, 2006

Eccentric Producers

I saw this topic on one gear forum the other day. It got me thinking about all the wacky producer stories I heard and decided that "eccentric" didn't have to involve firearms and boatloads of intoxicants, but merely a different way of looking at things. Tom Dowd and Jim Dickinson represent these qualities to me of all the producers that I've worked with. We all have our Tom Dowd stories, so I thought it was time to give Jim his props.

In the early '90's Jim and I were mixing Toy Caldwell's last album at Chip Moman's Three Alarm Studio in Memphis. We were mxing a ballad when Jim decided it needed a bit of "ear candy". Jim brought in three crystal goblets and a violin bow. He filled the goblets with water to tune them to the track, he then had me set up a U47 fet mic through a Fairchild limiter to tape. with the preamp gain cranked all the way and the limiter spanking the signal, Jim would induce feedback by leaning his chest toward the mic as he bowed a note. After a pass or two, he placed seven perfect sustained notes under the guitar solo. Magic!
Albhy tells a story about Jim opening and closing the door to Studio C at Criteria in time to the track being played in the room. He had the control room monitors cranked and the control room door held open. The compression from the hall fedback through the control room, both rooms were pumping. Eccentric!