Dwight Yoakam

Sep 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz



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3 Pears album cover

3 Pears

“Marc knew where everything was hidden up in the old storage attic as far as old analog equipment,” Yoakam says. “He’d rummage around, and we’d come back from dinner and he’d go, ‘They’ve got a Cooper Time Cube. We gotta use this.’”

The Cooper Time Cube actually became one of the album’s secret weapons. “It’s basically a hose in a box, from the early ’60s,” DeSisto says. “It was used as a kind of pre-delay, which is not very long, but it makes a whooshing, booming sound that’s like nothing else. When we did overdubs on ‘Missing Heart,’ we were looking for an effect, and I remembered as a kid listening to ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ and later finding out that the engineer [Roy Halee] was hitting the plate with his hands to make that big boom. So we asked the assistant, Kevin Mills, who’s also a drummer, to hit the Cooper; that boom on the record is him hitting the Cooper into a plate or chamber.”

All ideas were welcome on 3 Pears; Yoakam says this project was one of his most collaborative, with sounds and arrangements growing from give and take in the studio. “‘Waterfall’ is a great example,” he says. “We were at Paramount, and I showed [the players] the song. We kept trying different things, and then Jonathan Clark on bass did a little choked kind of gliss—just a two-note thing like a pulse—and I said, ‘That’s cool, stay on it.’ That became the bed of the verse.

"Then Mitch [Marine] did something that was very tribal on the drums, and I said, ‘Hey, we stole a little bit from The Beatles, let’s steal more. Let’s put towels over the drums—go beyond dead with the drum sound. So we covered the drums. Then I stopped playing guitar and instinctively thought, I need to just sing it with those two. That led to a wonderful happy magic garden to explore. By the second verse there’s an organ pad that Brian Whelan’s playing—really a growl—and then on the B section, he comes in with kind of a lullaby piano answer. When it comes to arrangements, I always have some kind of plan, but you never know until the day. It helps to have musicians who are capable enough to let go of the orthodox approach.”

For a complete Q&A with Dwight, CLICK HERE.

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