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"Stage Fright" Mixes/Todd Rundgren Speaks

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by LaserKen, Jun 22, 2004.

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  1. LaserKen

    LaserKen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Avon, Indiana
    From Relix magazine:

    You produced The Band’s Stage Fright album [1970] alongside engineer Glyn Johns. As the story goes, the original album mix had seven of yours cuts and three of his, though it’s been claimed that they used all of Johns’ mixes which is what the credits read. It was re-released in 1994 and featured the “alternate mix” of the album and drastically changed what all the songs sounded like. Many believe they are all your tracks and think they are considerably better than the original and much more in tune with their previous albums and feel. Can you lend some clarity to the situation?
    Well there is a lot of confusion there. As a matter of fact, no one gets producer credits on The Band’s albums because no one is actually the titular producer. They were, in my experience, done in a completely democratic manner involving, first, all the members of The Band themselves and whoever else was participating might also make a contribution. But in that sense, there was no singular person that guided the process; it was more or less done by consensus. That’s an interesting process. It resulted in a third set, well I’m having trouble keeping track of them. Here’s what actually happened.
    They had made an agreement with Glyn Johns to have him mix the album. Since I had recorded the whole album, they figured I should have a shot at mixing the album as well. So they sent me, with the tapes, to London and put me in one studio and I would mix. I gave half the reels to Glyn and he was mixing half the reels while I was mixing the other half of the reels and then we swapped reels and completed our mixes. Then I came back with two versions of the record. As it turned out, they weren’t completely happy with either one so we went into the studio and did a whole other series of remixes while The Band was there. So those were essentially The Band’s own remixes.

    With you and Glyn both there?
    No, no. Just me. Glyn Johns was too busy to leave England. So we went back to Bearsville Studios and essentially went through a very long, torturous remix process again because it was five guys. We spent all day mixing a tune and then they would take the references back and come back the next with all new ideas or sometimes start the mix all over again. So it took a terrifically long time because you had to satisfy five guys. So in the end, I have no idea actually which ones went on the original record or which ones might be on the reissue of the record [laughter] because in the end they made decisions about which ones would go one. I’m pretty sure that on the original release, it was a combination of the three. That they’re might have been one or two mixes I did, a couple that Glyn Johns did, but also many that we done in the third mix session with The Band all there. So the album that was re-released, I haven’t gone back and listened to it. I probably couldn’t tell you anyway which one was which. I felt a little uncomfortable in my own mixing situation because I was sent into a strange place with speakers I had never worked with before and so I was just kind of trying to make my way through it and hoped that I was getting it right. Just kind of following my instincts.

  2. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Looks like it's still pretty confusing.... The mix on my old Capitol lp is different than the CD version I have. Not sure which is which but I like the lp mix better. It's a little more live sounding, especially Stage Fright and WS Walcott's Medicine Show
  3. David Powell

    David Powell Well-Known Member

    Atlanta, Ga.
    Thanks for posting the interview Ken. A while back, Steve said he used Rundgren's earlier mix for the DCC gold CD version. Other tapes from the Capitol vault were apparently later generation copies with added reverb.
    George P likes this.
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