Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Expressions to avoid during a recording session

I was reminded of this list by a thread about Steely Dan on the Afterword blog. When SD reformed in the 1990s, their website was an extension of Fagen and Becker's sardonic humour. This list appeared on the site, together with things like '36 Rules for Bands'. Anyone who has been in a band, or in a studio, should get a laugh or two out of this.


1.     Ready, Freddie (pronounced red-eye fred-eye)
2.     Bingo, gringo
3.     Uno, Bruno
4.     The phones sound O.K. but I need more of myself
5.     We won't need a click
6.     I like what you're trying to do but not the way you're doing it
7.     An excellent first attempt
8.     Was that the sound you had on the demo?
9.     Make the click louder
10.   That was a pretty good take for this time of night
11.   If you want the tempo any brighter than that, we better wait for a sunny day
12.   No dynamics? We're playing as loud as we can
13.   I think that's a pretty good sounding take for what were getting paid..
14.   That was great, let's do it again
15.   Is that about as tight as you boys want to get it?
16.   Is it possible the click is speeding up?
17.   I'm at the point where I'm making dumb mistakes - before I was making much smarter  mistakes
18.   So many drummers, so little time
19.  Why don't we do the double first and the lead will be easier to get once we've got the double
20.   I never had this problem when I was being produced by Lenny and Russ
21.   We got some things, we need some things
22.   Fabulous
23.   Punch in at the section
24.   You can't make ice cream out of shit
25.   You can't polish a turd
26.   Just let your spirit soar
27.   My spirit's already sore from the last thirty takes...
28.   Close
29.   Less is more
30.   Less is Paul
31.   Less is Brown
32.   Less is less
33.   That's the way I've been playing it all along
34.   I just wish I could get a whole band that sounds as good as I do
35.   This will be a great opportunity for me to show off my chop
36.   Let's hear the bass, if you can call it that
37.   Does your amp have an underdrive channel?
38.   You can erase that one, I remember exactly what I played
39.   We'll catch that in the mix
40.   You guys can fix that in Soundtools, right?
41.   I brought my kid along, he's never been in a recording studio before
42.   My girlfriend sings great background vocals
43.   I know a great drummer
44.   You guys want to try some heroin?
45.   Your girlfriend's been in the bathroom a long time
46.   Please, man, stay away from my faxes, okay?
47.   I'm not going to be any more dishonest with you than I am with Donald
48.   I'd like a little more of a live feeling on this tune.
49.   I also play eleven other instruments
50.   Sorry I'm late, I just got through with my blood test (or CAT scan)
51.   That vocal's not a keeper is it?
52.   That's how I wrote it but that's not how I like to play it
53.   I can't think of any improvements that won't make it worse
54.   That ground loop is a trademark thing for me
55.   That's the new old comp from today - I want to hear the new old comp from last Tuesday
56.   That reverb would sound a lot better if it were coming out of a piece of MY GEAR
57.   How bout we get rid of these 3M machines and get ourselves a frozen yogurt machine
58.   Skunk called, he's on his way down
59.   The frozen yogurt machine is broken
60.   When was the last time we worked together? Tonight.

While we're on the subject of behaviour in the studio, here's a glimpse of what it was like to be in the studio back in the day (early 1980s) with legendary producer Quincy Jones. My reaction in the comments section (from 2009 apparently) is: have they been at the nose candy or what?

"I Love Quincy" documentary from 1982, featuring Patti Austin 
recording the song "It's Gonna Be Special"

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