Category Archives: Producing

Jonius pt. 1

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.

City of Wood

After my first two records people complained to me that the major label didn’t promote it. They told me this like I could/ should do something about it but what? Seemed lucky to be taken seriously by the machine that could otherwise be indifferent and corporate machines were the whole game then, distribution was all theirs.
 
If one were to listen to what became my next record they might notice many musicians credited on it and they might notice it sounds like only solo guitar or solo piano and voice. And one might notice the peculiar names of the guest musicians like Bjorn Mulroney, Gloria Duracell and Blind Loosa Bernstein, might even notice the unknown producer named Dame Julia Nesbelch. One might just question the whole thing and ask is this bullshit? Are there really all these people on this record? Is this some type of test? Anyway I invoiced the label as usual and they didn’t have any questions either.
Had one cool aspect to my record contact by the way – $3000 in guest performance fees that didn’t have to be paid back from sales.

wary

I was into Brian Eno with my teenage pal Campbell. We were like a secret club listening to Another Green World, Before and After Science, Taking Tiger Mountain By Surprise. Eno was an underground artist then not well known, then the ambient series emerged and it disappointed me, I found them only fit as a soundtracks for a documentary on torture.
 
CUT TO 1994 and I’m living in the country driving home down long country roads in the dark listening to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and they announce they are about to premiere music produced by Brian Eno of a band from the Soviet Union blah blah blah, it’s a big deal, he found them so unique, behind the Iron Curtain is still a fresh thing more or less – then they start the music and it sounds like all the Eno albums from the 70s, the ones I liked but strangely missing was whatever suppose to be “unique” about these Rooskis.
 
Realized then to be wary of things I produce sounding like me. My contribution should be realizing the artist’s work before doing anything that exposes my own musical habits even if they ask me to play. Maybe Eno knows that too (?) but he sure coloured the whole thing like his other records. What a surprise when I realized George Martin was the producer on Blow By Blow by Jeff Beck. The only clue that the same person produced that and the Beatles catalogue is intense creativity, stimulating design, and talent out the wazoo. What a cool thing to be known for.