Q&A With Dwight Yoakam

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


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And you cut one song at Paramount, right?

Yeah, we cut “Waterfall” there, which was one of the gifts on the record as far as finding a moment in the studio and pulling something together that you hadn’t imagined when you walked in that day. There was some famous stuff cut there, too, of course; the Jackson 5 cut there. And then we also worked at Henson, which is the old A&M studios where Marc worked for years. He did things on U2 there; I believe he cut “Desire” with them there in Studio D. I worked in the front room, Studio B, where Carole King did “Tapestry” and some of the Carpenters’ stuff was done. We worked all over among the ghosts of L.A. recording, and hopefully some of the molecular echo return of that shows up and haunts us on the record.

Tell me what it was like working with Marc at Henson. He says working there is as comfortable as putting on a pair of old sneakers. Had you worked there before?

I cut one previous thing, one or two. I did a vocal for Michelle Branch’s album, but that’s all I’d ever done previously.

Marc was great because he knew where everything was hidden up in the old storage attic of analog equipment. He’d go up there and start rummaging around, and we’d come back from dinner, and he’d go, “Look at this. They got a Cooper Time Cube. We gotta use this!”

When they rebuilt A&M in the late ‘80s Marc had been one of the staff engineers there that rewired it. So it was fascinating to make a record with someone who had such a breadth and width of understanding—a deep, resonant understanding of the historic legacy of the rooms.

And you did end up using the Time Cube, right?

We did. The Cooper Time Cube is a coiled up garden hose in a box. You can hear us hit it. Kevin [Mills], who was the assistant engineer when we were overdubbing on Missing Heart, actually hit it to get a crashing roar kind of sound effect on that track.

Marc said he had the effect on “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in mind.

Right. Kevin is actually a former drummer; he would reach down with his hand and hit it. Actually, two or three of the assistant engineers on this were former drummers, so that was interesting. I always find it’s great when the technical guys—the guys who work behind the board—are former musicians or musicians. It brings immediacy of understanding. It allows for shorthand and a gestalt to the final result.

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