Recordings

After producing records for more than 35 years, the process still continues to be a learning experience. While every project has been memorable to me in some way, these six recordings are especially significant. See Complete Discography

Future Shock

Herbie Hancock

Future Shock (1983)

Herbie was at the end of his contract with Columbia and had nothing to lose. His personal assistant convinced Read more

Stream or Purchase

Herbie Hancock

Future Shock (1983)

Herbie was at the end of his contract with Columbia and had nothing to lose. His personal assistant convinced him to do a trial run of two songs with us, which would lead to a full album. The result were the tracks Earth Beat and Rockit. Although Herbie was initially somewhat confused by the direction we were going in, it was obvious that we were creating something very special, and he subsequently engaged us to provide four more tracks. It was an amazing time- it really felt as if we were pushing the envelope and forging some new ground. The success of Future Shock ensured that instead of being a man without a record label, Herbie was able to renegotiate his contract with Sony from a position of strength.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date August, 1983
Duration 37:11
Studio OAO Studios, Brooklyn, New York
RPM Studios, New York, New York
Garage Sale Recording, Los Angeles, CA
Label Columbia
CK 38814
Grave Dancers Union

Soul Asylum

Grave Dancers Union (1992)

This was another project where I had barely any knowledge of the artists prior to working with them. Over Read more

Stream or Purchase

Soul Asylum

Grave Dancers Union (1992)

This was another project where I had barely any knowledge of the artists prior to working with them. Over time, I found that I always did better work with artists whose previous work I was unfamiliar with, since I hadn’t had an opportunity to build up any preconceptions about them. Their demo had gone out to a few producers and once I heard it, I was stunned by the songwriting and the quality of the performance. Most of all, I marveled over why other people in my position weren’t climbing over one another to get this project. We did pre-production in Minneapolis for three weeks and then recorded everything in New York over a four month period. Most of the overdubs were done at Donald Fagen’s studio, River Sound, except for the session we did with Booker T., which was at Cherokee a few days after the L.A. riots had ended. Driving into Los Angeles from the airport and seeing destruction everywhere one looked, added an indescribable and surreal element to the recording.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date October, 1992
Duration 44:42
Studio The Powerstation, New York, NY
River Sound, New York, NY
Pachyderm Discs, Cannon Falls, MN
Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA
Label Columbia
CK 48898
Superunknown

Soundgarden

Superunknown (1994)

The word on the street was that Rick Rubin had already been engaged to produce, but I was encouraged Read more

Stream or Purchase

Soundgarden

Superunknown (1994)

The word on the street was that Rick Rubin had already been engaged to produce, but I was encouraged to meet the band anyway. Much of what happened around this project had an essence of Kismet and under the circumstances, me getting the gig was no exception. When things began rolling, it became apparent that the band were light on material, so we had an extended pre-production phase. It took two months for them to compose enough music to get us into the studio. Even when we began recording, we were still short by a few songs, but by that time, I wasn’t worried about the quality of the material. The band never really jibed with my approach to the production and sound, but they inevitably trusted my judgment. Overall, it was a very difficult recording to make for many reasons, but it was well worth the effort.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date February, 1994
Duration 70:13
Studio Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, WA
Label A&M
540198
Celebrity Skin

Hole

Celebrity Skin (1998)

This was one of two recordings (Mechanical Animals being the other) that Billy Corgan- whom I’d never met Read more

Stream or Purchase

Hole

Celebrity Skin (1998)

This was one of two recordings (Mechanical Animals being the other) that Billy Corgan- whom I’d never met nor spoken with- recommended me for. Needless to say (or not needless, since I’m saying it now), I will be forever grateful. We spent a month and a half in pre-production at SIR studios to tighten up the arrangements and performances, and write drum parts. The debacle surrounding the drum session on this project has since become the stuff of legend. Once that was completed, the recording took an entire year and involved finishing our overdubs in New York. We also recorded a string session with Michael Kamen at Abbey Road in London, and started a mix with Mark “Spike” Stent at Olympic- both of which wound up getting scrapped. As fate would have it, Tom Lord Alge was still mixing this when “Mechanical Animals” was ready to go, so he worked on both, back to back. It was another extraordinary, unbelievable journey, but the results spoke- and continued to speak- for themselves.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date September, 1998
Duration 50:21
Studio Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Record Plant West, Los Angeles, CA
Quad Studios, New York, NY
Olympic Studios, London, England
Label Geffen
GED 25164
Mechanical Animals

Marilyn Manson

Mechanical Animals (1998)

Most of the songs had been written by the time I got involved, but we spent about two weeks Read more

Stream or Purchase

Marilyn Manson

Mechanical Animals (1998)

Most of the songs had been written by the time I got involved, but we spent about two weeks doing pre-production at Manson’s house to tighten everything up and work on an additional song. This project came together very quickly and was completed in two and a half months. I appreciated how he conceptualized his work and the way he created a new alter-ego for each successive recording. With of the integration of machines and normal band instrumentation, I envisioned the project like a cyborg from a sixties sci-fi novel- this weird, imprecise amalgamation of human and machine. The band were well prepared, excellent musicians and apart from the occasional silly behavior, professional and hard-working. One of the most entertaining parts of the project was when I decided that we needed a more anechoic listening space. We wound up hiring in a piping system, heavy, black theatrical drape curtains and built a room within the control room with AC/ventilation and blue neon lights under the console for vibe (and so we could see what we were doing). The added atmosphere made the project that much more surreal.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date September, 1998
Duration 62:30
Studio Conway Studios, Hollywood, CA
Westlake Studios, Hollywood, CA
The White Room, Boston, MA
Label Interscope / Nothing/Interscope
IND 90273
Untouchables

Korn

Untouchables (2002)

One of the most difficult recordings I’ve ever been involved with but ultimately, one of the most satisfying. Read more

Stream or Purchase

Korn

Untouchables (2002)

One of the most difficult recordings I’ve ever been involved with but ultimately, one of the most satisfying. I’d originally met the band when I was working with Hole, and to say that we didn’t hit it off is an understatement. For this reason, I was both surprised and amused when, four years later, they reached out again. Strangely, when we met the second time, we got on quite well and developed an immediate rapport. Subsequently, we began working a month or two later, once their drummer recovered from an operation on a bone spur in his left shoulder. From there, we spent about six months in songwriting and composing mode before starting to record. The project was a veritable exodus that took us from Long Beach, California to Scottsdale, Arizona, to Los Angeles, to West Vancouver, B.C. and back to Los Angeles again. This was a journey in every sense of the word. The diverse- and often, bizarre- experiences we encountered along the way could easily fill a book. Fifteen months from the project’s commencement, we put the last mix to bed. The subsequent release was marred by the fact that it had been hacked from one of the band members and leaked onto the Internet, but in spite of this, it still was successful and continues to be loved by the band’s fans.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date June, 2002
Duration 65:00
Studio NRG Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA
Metalworks Studios, Toronto, Ontario
Southern Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA
Label BMG / Sony Music
787958

Sign-up for access to special features and rare and limited material

It's almost impossible for me to select a handful of favorite songs that I produced, but many of them had a unique, and often strange, genesis. These six songs have great stories attached to their creation. See Complete Discography

Rockit

Herbie Hancock

Rockit (1983)

“Rockit” was the very first song that Bill Laswell and I created for what became Herbie Hancock’s album, “ Read more

Stream or Purchase

Herbie Hancock

Rockit (1983)

“Rockit” was the very first song that Bill Laswell and I created for what became Herbie Hancock’s album, “Future Shock”. The year prior, via producing a few 12” singles with some local rappers, listening to a lot of electro-funk and being regulars at The Roxy on West 18th street, we’d been immersing ourselves in hiphop culture. Herbie’s project came along at the right moment and was a perfect opportunity to extrapolate on the direction we’d been heading in and to create something really exciting with a legendary artist who we both respected. Up till then, we’d been a bunch of guys scrounging around New York trying to make a name for ourselves. We had no inkling of the importance that “Rockit” would have.

Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date June, 1983
Duration 5:27
Studio RPM Studios, New York, New York
OAO Studio, Brooklyn, New York
Garage Sale Recording, Los Angeles, CA
Label Columbia
CK-38814
Fight Like a Brave

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Fight Like a Brave (1987)

In 1986, of all the artists on EMI Records, the Chili Peppers were the consummate red-headed step-children. No one at Read more

Stream or Purchase

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Fight Like a Brave (1987)

In 1986, of all the artists on EMI Records, the Chili Peppers were the consummate red-headed step-children. No one at EMI liked or understood them and yet, they wouldn’t let the band out of their contract. At the same time, they were unique, had great potential and I was determined to help them get a leg up. The extreme trials and tribulations that accompanied this project from its inception to completion are still unique in my experience. I’ve always felt that “Fight Like A Brave” summed up the spirit of our project and the determination that was required of us to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds on a daily basis. It was also one of two songs on this record that I wrote the vocal melodies for.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date September, 1987
Duration 3:52
Studio Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA
Eldorado Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA
Label EMI Music Distribution
CDP 7480362
Higher Ground

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Higher Ground (1989)

After the previous debacle of “Uplift”, The Chili Peppers were finally being taken seriously by people at EMI. They Read more

Stream or Purchase

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Higher Ground (1989)

After the previous debacle of “Uplift”, The Chili Peppers were finally being taken seriously by people at EMI. They also had two new band members. Going into their follow-up recording, we’d been tossing around ideas for a cover song and had narrowed the choices down to “If You Want Me To Stay” by Sly Stone and “Higher Ground”. Having heard them play both, I lobbied for the latter song and it stuck. Not long after the recording began, two of the Chili Peppers began a feud, and stopped coming to the studio to avoid one another- often for weeks at a time. I wound up recording some overdriven guitars with John Frusiciante and some other weird stuff like overdubbing a vocoder track. We put vocals on and recorded a group of people singing in the chorus. Later, I heard that the band hadn’t liked the way the track came out, but in the long run, it was their first major step toward becoming superstars.

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date April, 1989
Duration 3:21
Studio Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood, CA
Label Capitol/EMI Records
CDP 7921522
Runaway Train

Soul Asylum

Runaway Train (1993)

This was the very first track on the demo tape that Sony Music had circulated to find a producer Read more

Stream or Purchase

Soul Asylum

Runaway Train (1993)

This was the very first track on the demo tape that Sony Music had circulated to find a producer for Soul Asylum. It was one of those songs that you knew was very special, just from hearing the first few bars. I loved the bittersweet mood that Dave had created and how he summed up feeling completely out of control so immaculately, and with such restraint. Although Dave did many vocal passes, he never quite nailed the first two lines of the song. I wound up going back to his guide vocal which had been recorded hastily, many months prior, to find the two lines that we ultimately used.

Grammy Award for Best Rock Song

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date June, 1993
Duration 4:26
Studio The Powerstation, New York, NY
River Sound, New York, NY
Pachyderm Discs, Cannon Falls, MN
Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA
Label Sony Music Distribution
52163
Black Hole Sun

Soundgarden

Black Hole Sun (1994)

About 1 1/2 months into the songwriting phase of “Superunknown”, we were still short on material. After a particularly intense come-to-Jesus Read more

Stream or Purchase

Soundgarden

Black Hole Sun (1994)

About 1 1/2 months into the songwriting phase of “Superunknown”, we were still short on material. After a particularly intense come-to-Jesus conversation I had with Chris, he sent me a tape with 4 songs- the first was “Fell on Black Days” and the last was “Black Hole Sun”. It was another instance of hearing a piece of music that you instantly knew had not come from this world. In fact, I had such a visceral reaction that I played it 15 times in a row before calling Chris and telling him his song was incredible and that he was a genius. Judging by his reaction, he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about but he was pretty amused by how animated it had made me. Everyone else on the project seemed pretty blasé about the song, too- until the record was released and the furor began.

Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date June, 1994
Duration 5:20
Studio Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, WA
Label A&M
540198
Here to Stay

Korn

Here to Stay (2002)

We started pre-production/songwriting at Korn’s rehearsal studio in Long Beach and after 2 months, had moved our base Read more

Stream or Purchase

Korn

Here to Stay (2002)

We started pre-production/songwriting at Korn’s rehearsal studio in Long Beach and after 2 months, had moved our base of operations to Scottsdale, Arizona (which was, as I discovered, the epicenter of Southwestern hedonism). In one of three houses we were renting, was a small, finished basement where the band had set up a bunch of combo amps and an electronic drum kit so we could continue writing. “Here To Stay” evolved from the opening riff that James had written and it took about two days to write, arrange and demo the song. No one was particularly excited about it until Jonathan took the demo away and put a guide vocal on it. When we all listened back with the vocal, the track came alive instantly. Because of its relentless quality, the song acquired the working title, “Assmower”.

Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance

Visit AllMusic for more information about this album.

Release Date June, 2002
Duration 4:32
Studio NRG Recording Studios , Hollywood, CA
Label BMG / Sony Music
787958

Check out some of the Videos that were created for some of these singles.