We are now on our 4th Producer Extraordinaire in this series. We have seen Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Brendan O’Brien and Bruce Fairbairn so far, and now it is time for Bob Rock. Bob Rock actually got his start as a recording engineer and mixer under the great Bruce Fairbairn so he learned from one of the best.
Bob’s musical career started back in 1979 / 1980 when he started engineering from Bruce as well as joined the band Payola$ who had a big hit in 1980 called “Eyes of a Stranger”. They were pretty successful in Canada and won a Juno Award in 1983 for Single of the Year. However, Bob’s real talent (or at least to me) is his ability to work with bands and produce amazing albums.
Bob Rock has worked with some of the biggest bands in the world, but they don’t get bigger than Metallica. Bob was selected as the Producer for the band’s biggest album they had ever done, however, at the time they did not know it would become so big. “The Black Album” as it is commonly known made Metallica cool in the mainstream world as well as the Thrash world.
Bob’s tenure with the band would last through six albums and around 15 years. He produced ‘Metallica’, ‘Load’, ‘Reload’, ‘Garage Inc.’, ‘S&M’ and ‘St. Anger’. He was so involved with the band that when Jason Newsted left in 2001, Bob stepped in and recorded as well as wrote the bass parts for the ‘St. Anger’ album even playing a few live shows until Robert Trujillo finally joined the band.
Bob was also involved with another bigger metal band, Motley Crue. Although his involvement wasn’t to the extent of Metallica, he still worked on numerous projects including the band’s biggest album ‘Dr. Feelgood’. He would go on to work on the next album, ‘Motley Crue’, that featured John Corabi on vocals after the firing of Vince Neil. he would also work on the 3 greatest hits albums with the new material that was released with the hits.
In 1989, Bob Rock did some huge albums. Not only did he do Motley Crue’s ‘Dr. Feelgood’, he did The Cult’s ‘Sonic Temple’ which gave us “Fire Woman” and “Sweet Soul Sister”. His relationship with band has lasted up until today where he has done their 2016 album ‘Hidden City’. He didn’t work on every album after ‘Sonic Temple’, but The Cult liked something about him and kept coming back. All-in-all, he has done five studio albums with the band. And there are some great albums and songs in this bunch.
Another artists he has had a long relationship is Michael Bublé. That is right, Bublé, the crooner himself. After working with so many bands, it seems like such a 180º turn. However, it has been a beautiful relationship with some great albums and songs produced. He didn’t produce all the songs on the albums, but had his hand in most. He was fully involved in the very successful album, ‘To Be Loved’. He worked on a total of 4 albums for Mr. Bublé.
After working with Bon Jovi as an engineer on ‘Slippery When Wet’ and ‘New Jersey’, Bon Jovi brought Bob Rock into actually produce their follow-up album called ‘Keep the Faith’. This is one of my favorite albums with songs like “I Believe”, “Keep the Faith”, “Bed of Roses” and “In These Arms”. You can’t go wrong with this album.
One of my all time favorite albums he produced was by the band Blue Murder in 1989. Blue Murder consisted of John Sykes, Carmine Appice and Tony Franklin. After Sykes was fired from Whitesnake, he put together this trio and made one kick ass rock album. Sadly, it didn’t do well but it wasn’t for lack of production or songwriting. I have heard Coverdale killed it since they were on the same label and David was higher up on the importance level for the label. That is a rumor and I don’t know for a fact. If you don’t know it, GET IT!!! You won’t be disappointed.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES:
There are a ton of other notable albums that Bob Rock has had a hand on producing from the 80’s, 90’s and even the 2000’s. One thing that struck as strange in the 2000’s is how many bands from the 90’s flocked to him to produce their albums, but not to the same level of success they saw during their heyday in the 90’s. Here is a list of what I found to be worth mentioning…
Kingdom Come – Kingdom Come – 1988
David Lee Roth – A Little Ain’t Enough – 1991
Skid Row – Subhuman Race – 1995
Bryan Adams – On a Day Like Today – 1998
American Hi-Fi – American Hi-Fi – 2001
Our Lady Peace – Gravity – 2002
Tonic – Head on Straight – 2003
Lost Prophets – Liberation Transmission – 2006
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Sinner – 2006
Gavin Rossdale – Wanderlust – 2008
The Offspring – Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace – 2008
311 – Uplifter – 2009
Bush – The Sea of Memories – 2011
The Offspring – Days Go By – 2012
Black Veil Brides – Black Veil Brides IV – 2014 (I wonder if he thought this was early Motley Crue???)
And there you have it. It is not all inclusive, but it definitely hits the highlights of why I like him as a producer. I hope you enjoy and I still need to decide who to do next in this series. Any suggestions???