Terry Brown: Differed with Band on Electronics

Long-time Rush producer Terry Brown said in his intervew wth Canadian Music Scene’s Paul Beaulieu earlier this year that his split with Rush in 1983, after working on 10 albums together, “was and wasn’t” amiable, because he and the band were conflicted over their musical direction. Neil was starting to experiment with digital drum pads and Geddy was ramping up his use of keyboards, which had the effect of relegating Alex’s guitars to “second fiddle” status. “I didn’t like the sounds I was hearing,” he told Beaulieu, who’s been conducting a series of interviews with people who’ve worked with Rush over the years.

“I really didn’t get it. . . . The balance was shifting from [being] guitar-oriented, which of course I loved, and was becoming very heavily keyboard-oriented. I just wasn’t really enthused about going down that road. . . . I said, ‘Hey, if that’s what you want, that’s what you get,’ so it was amiable in that sense. And we had a really good run together.”

Brown also talked about the trouble Geddy was having with the vocals on Hemispheres, the whole album of which was written “a semitone” too high for him to sing comfortably. A semitone is also referred to as a halftone or half stop and is the step between two adjacent notes. “He worked really hard for two weeks to get those vocals, and they drove him crazy,” he said. “It drove everyone crazy.”

On recording the band’s second live album, Exit . . . Stage Left, Brown said the big challenge, unlike on the first live album All the World’s a Stage, was making the album sound cohesive, because the pieces were being pulled from different shows in different venues and were recorded using different equipment. All the World’s a Stage, by contrast, was recorded over three nights at the same place, Toronto’s Massey Hall, using the same equipment. On Exit . . . Stage Left, some pieces were recorded with trucks using a Neve console and others were recorded with trucks using an API console, which doesn’t use transformers. The API consoles produced very clear sounds, but compared to the Neve consoles, which use transformers, the sounds were transparent and thin. So, to thicken up the sounds to match them with the Neve recordings, engineer Paul Northfield ran the API recordings through transformers. “We finally got it together and we managed to match it and use takes from different nights,” he said.

Beaulieu asked Brown if the irony of “The Spirit of Radio” becoming a Top 40 hit was intentional. The piece takes a poke at the commercialism of Top 40 radio, which had always shunned the band. Brown didn’t have an answer to that but called the song a “killer. . . . It appealed to me so much because it had a progressive edge to it and yet it was devastating commercial. Poppy almost.”

More on Beaulieu’s interview with Brown about his Rush years.

More This and That.

~ by rvkeeper on December 27, 2011.

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