80’s Hair Rock Project for AudioNetwork ‘A Work In Progress’ – March/April/May 2013

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OK, so I’m old enough to have lived thru it & come out the other side.

The 80s was a strange transitional time for music. I was brought up on the post Beatles bands like ELO & Queen, but something happened mid-1980s that kinda went a little further with the ‘over the top’ stuff.

Bands like Bon Jovi, Journey, Metallica, Def Leppard, etc. really started to hit mainstream, & with the big egos came the big hair!

Through the 80s and 90s (though still in my teens & early 20s) my path into music, drums & recording began. We did the ‘then obligatory’ tours in the back of a ‘Tranny’ Van up & down the M1. Recordings, gigs, support tours, etc. We really felt we were learning our craft & building our characters and ‘metal’ through hard work & determination.

Fast forward to 2013 & ‘here we go again’ writing, producing & recording an 80’s ‘Hair Rock’ album for AudioNetwork. Brain child of Barrie Gledden following a request from Jo Belcher at AudioNetwork, this project had us all over-excited right from the off!

Barrie, Kes, Chris Bussey & I, started writing with our sights set on making the project as authentic as possible, in every way possible.
The songs were demo’d up & we got a working method of making the drums sound as they did on all those 80s records – for the most part, additional triggered ‘signature’ snare & kit sounds that had become a given producer’s sound.

It seemed that the 80s rock bands circulated around a small number of popular producers who had that ‘current’ sound – Bob Rock, ‘Mutt’ Lange, Kevin Elson, Keith Olsen to name but a few.

The bands of the day had access to the best studio equipment, in the best studios, with the best engineers & producers available. We needed to go all out on this one & booked into The Chairworks studios in Castleford. The live room had just been re-fitted and expanded and now had double height ceiling apex, plus they have the big old SSL desk in there too – seemed the ideal place to go.

Fellow AudioNetwork composer Richard Lacy took charge of the desk & engineering on the big drum session, which left the rest of us to concentrate more on the playing.
Equipped with the best mics, pre-amps, desk & this great recording space, it was also decided to fly the stuff to analogue tape. Pro Tools didn’t exist back in the day and this was how the ‘big boys played’ so we thought we’d join them too!

The whole day was filmed (recorded to disc) by Ryan Seville, who’s going to be putting together a ‘big hair drums’ day video diary presentation for us. That’s to follow, & if it’s half as much fun as the day itself, I can’t wait to see it myself!

At the time of writing, I’m now working on the drums from that session. Comp’ing, re-triggering, pre-mixing & readying the data files for the next stage of recording… The guitars…

More to follow…

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