The greatest thing about dismissing The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Mingus when I was a teenager is that I get to have them now like brand new Joni Mitchell records and vintage.
Great art isn’t necessarily understood when it’s released or maybe I needed 40 years to figure it out.
What especially stuck out in my last conversation with Ron Proulx was when he said “this better not end up in your blog”.
I knew exactly what he meant but I can keep a secret.
When I was younger I thought in the studio I needed to control everything myself
not that drum sound,
yes that bass line,
not that vocal harmony,
yes flute in the bridge,
Thought my taste represented the smartest decisions possible and I always had at my disposal a full tank of certainly.
Hence affronted when a fellow music producer told me this joke
“How many producers does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
pause “I don’t know what do you think?”
Snickering he expected a comrade-like slap on the shoulder but I thought to myself, you don’t know what you want in the studio and you think everyone else feels just as insecure, that’s not my problem.
Then time passed and did what time does and something inside me opened up and a different picture came into focus. I noticed on some of my favourite works of art that behind the creation was more than one person at the wheel. I also noticed those pieces were stronger for it, stronger for that opportunity to mash up the ideas of other people and that it’s very unlikely those choices could have been predicted by just one person. To put it another way, what’s predictable is that one person left alone all the time will probably make the same tasting dish.
On my recent records or recent records produced for other artists I try to keep that close. To consider that ideas I could quickly dismiss, that they might be worth taking a little longer to decide upon especially if I sense more than one other person liked it. When I was younger I thought they just didn’t know what was right and wrong but I instantly did! Now consider a different idea over a little longer time is like a way to gain objectivity.
It’s like when you’re angry and you send that angry email and a day or two later you realize you might have played it differently if you lived with the facts al little longer.
When directors hire me to score a film I do some time travel and I’m face to face with my younger self. Maybe twice in 30 years a director asked me to just do what I do and didn’t upon hearing my work respond in terms of what is right and wrong, what works and what doesn’t work. I understand their response and they aren’t “wrong” but it’s rare that someone considers what I made and lives with it awhile if they don’t like it immediately.