Thursday, July 12, 2018

Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class

A very nice piece on the making of The Replacements Don't Tell a Soul -- and, more specifically, the recording of "I'll Be You," which may be one of my top five favorite rock songs ever -- in the current issue of Mix.

We talk a lot about “paying your dues” in the music business. Producer/engineer Matt Wallace paid his back in 1988 when he produced The Replacements’ raw, charming and clever album Don’t Tell a Soul. “I was basically hazed for most of that record,” he says.

Wallace had relocated to Los Angeles from San Francisco in January of that year. “I was hitting a wall in the Bay Area,” he says. “I kept making demos for bands that would get signed, but ultimately I couldn’t get hired because I wasn’t a big enough fish in the pond.”

Wallace signed on as a staff A&R rep/producer for the Slash indie label, where one of his early claims to fame was producing a song by the so-called New Monkees.

“Warner Brothers was working on a Monkees reboot,” Wallace explains. “They had four guys who were ready for TV and a bunch of writers. Obviously, it never really broke through, but I got to know the people at Warners. Then I heard The Replacements were making a record, and I started calling and saying, ‘Hey, I’m a fan and am interested in working with this band.’ But they were like, ‘Well, Tony Berg’s doing the record, sorry.’”

You can read the rest of it HERE.

Consumer alert: I'm a huge fan of the Replacements, and if you're reading this here blog presumably you are too, but be warned: after reading that piece, I sort of concluded that they're not particularly nice guys. Let's just say that if I had been Matt Wallace, I would have come away from his experience with the band thinking they were very large, unpleasant assholes.

On the other hand, they made the above record, which is such a magnificent work of art that I guess pretty much anything can be forgiven. Hell, given "Be My Baby," I've forgiven Phil Spector, and he actually killed somebody.


Blue Ash Fan said...

I agree 100% with your assessment of Don't Tell a Soul. And I'll Be You is definitely the standout tune on the album.

But, oddly, whoever it was who wrote the liner notes for the 'Mats reissue program from sometime in the 00's was entirely dismissive of DTAS. Basically, he didn't even think of it as a legit Replacements album due to its studio gloss. All I know is that I played that thing to death and then played it some more.

pete said...

I have the same problem with Trout Mask Replica. Now that I know what Don put the musicians through I can't listen to it.

Mark said...

Must agree with Pete here about Trout Mask Replica, though the four consecutive Replacements albums (Tim, Pleased To Meet Me, Don't Tell A Soul, and All Shook Down) are a pretty remarkable string of great albums.

With regard to Trout Mask Replica, I never "got" the Captain in the first place, and whereas Frank Zappa was reportedly just as tough on his musicians, Zappa's finished products were of much higher quality.

"Getting" artists is a strange thing. And by "getting" I mean appreciating. Only this week did I "get" the early 1970s McDonald & Giles album, and earlier this year I finally "got" many of the late 1960s Brian Auger albums, some of which were with Julie Driscoll.

Based on these "getting" experiences, I can only hope that I "get" Captain Beefheart, and other impenetrable artists such as Focus and Eloy, sometime well after I'm gone.

Worse things could happen.

Noam Sane said...

" Prince’s Paisley Park facility. It was there that Wallace addressed the band’s timing issues. He used the delay in a Publison Infernal Machine to adjust each guitar or bass part."

ooh very punk