The band was in trouble after ‘Done With Mirrors’. What was supposed to be their comeback album, flopped big time. The drugs were still a big problem. So the band had to make a huge change…and they did. They got sober! ‘Permanent Vacation’ is the first album the band has ever made that they were sober…no drugs, no drinking…clean and sober. And people reacted to that in a big way. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer had a lot to prove and they couldn’t do it alone.
The studio that the first batch of help should come from a great producer. At the helm this time around was Bruce Fairbairn and his amazing engineering staff of Mike Fraser and Bob Rock which is one of the most impressive crew behind the boards every in music history. Heck, Bruce even played trumpet, cello and sang background vocals while Mike Fraser played something called a plunger mute. Huh??? Well, that is a trumpet with an attachment on the front that mutes the sound a little. I don’t see where Bob is credited with anything other than masterful engineering. The recorded at the very famous Little Mountain Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. If you saw my interview with Paul Laine we talked about that studio a lot.
The second row of help came from some song doctors, however, this was one big area of contention with the band. They were forced to work with outside writers much in the way Cheap Trick had to with ‘Lap of Luxury’ that we discussed earlier this week. The biggest contribution came from Desmond Child who co-wrote 3 of the tracks, 2 of which were massive singles for the band. They also had help from Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams writing partner) and Holly Knight (Kiss and Cheap Trick).
Continuing the saga of all the 12″ Singles I picked up at the big Metalocalypse sell at Noble Records, we are now on a 4 week run of singles from The Cult. First up was from the band’s 1985 album ‘Love’ with “She Sells Sanctuary” and then we took a look at the lead track and third single form the band’s 1987 album ‘Electric’ with the song “Wild Flower” and from that same album we did the song “Love Removal Machine”. And finally we are on “Fire Woman” written by Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy off their 1989 classic ‘Sonic Temple’. Like “Love Removal Machine”, this copy was still sealed, but since it wasn’t expensive and music should be listened to, it is no longer sealed and it sounds fantastic now that it finally gets to breathe and be heard. I could feel it sigh with relief when I broke the seal. I swear I heard it say softly…”thank you”.
This 12″ was a “Specially Priced Maxi-Single, whatever that means. The song “Fire Woman” was produced by Bob Rock and is the first song I think I really heard by them that made me take notice because when I did, I was hooked. The song is about a femme fatale who is fiery and hotter than hell. She might be a dancer the way the moves around like a flame or she is really wild and sexy…probably all of the above.
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.