Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
DavidZoso

Behind The Board With Led Zeppelin Recording Engineers

Recommended Posts

The Song Remains The Same: Behind The Board With Led Zeppelin

2383_EdPanelLizzy.jpg

Ed Cherney, Andy Johns, Ron Nevison, Eddie Kramer and Recording Academy West Regional Director Lizzy Moore

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage.com

2384_Panel7.jpg

Ed Cherney, Andy Johns, Ron Nevison and Eddie Kramer

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage.com

Santa Monica, Calif.

The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter and the Producers & Engineers Wing presented a panel discussion with three engineers that worked with one of the most successful bands in the history of rock and roll, Led Zeppelin.

The evening examined the role of Andy Johns, Eddie Kramer and Ron Nevison in creating Led Zeppelin's body of work, and to present a board's-eye view of the band's history. The panelists brought together this evening represented a mind-boggling list of engineering and producing credits — practically a three-man embodiment of the history of modern rock and roll. The evening was moderated by producer/engineer Ed Cherney, who, despite his own list of estimable credits (Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt), made it clear at the outset that he considered himself a "pisher" compared to his panelists.

Decades after having been recorded, the music of Led Zeppelin continues to evoke certain reliable descriptions: powerful, thrilling, awesome. And while monster rock tunes like "Kashmir" and "Whole Lotta Love" aren't usually thought of as the soundtrack to a lighthearted, rollicking good time, it was laughter and camaraderie that filled the air — along with some high-volume playbacks of those songs — at the panel discussion.

As the evening progressed, there were many light moments as Kramer and Johns exchanged impersonations of Jimmy Page and Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. But there was also a deep respect for the music — every time a song was played to the audience as a point of reference, the three engineers seemed transported into a state of rock and roll bliss. Kramer pointed out that the innovative forward echo effect during the vocal break in "Whole Lotta Love" was a sheer accident — he couldn't erase a reference vocal Plant had recorded, so he added reverb to it. Nevison revealed that John "Bonzo" Bonham's thundering drum sound of "Kashmir" was achieved by running the drum track through an Eventide phaser.

Johns spoke about one of any engineer's greatest challenges: overcoming the fear of working with a great band. "I started out with Zeppelin worried about how I might screw things up," he recalled. "But I learned quickly that the band didn't really care what I did — they were more interested in arguing with each other. If I played back everyone's part loud enough, they were happy with me."

Page produced the band's records, and all three engineers recalled their collaborations with him fondly. "He had a remarkable sense of direction and focus," said Kramer. Nevison remembered Page's attention to the basic building blocks of Led Zep tracks. "He used to come in for playbacks and turn the guitar way down. At first I thought it was because he'd made mistakes. Then I realized he wanted to listen very closely to the drums. He knew that if we got Bonzo's track right, everything else would work."

The most heartfelt responses of the night came when moderator Cherney asked if the engineers had had any sense at the time that they were helping to create exceptional, historic recordings. "When I was in there working I was just focused on getting things right so that Jimmy didn't take my head off," said Kramer. "You just try to do your job correctly, which is to interpret the artist correctly, no matter what the recording medium is. We all brought different perspectives to the band's sound and had particular ways of working but essentially we were servants to the music. And it was amazing music."

"It was always Led Zeppelin, not us," said Johns. "If you put Eddie and Ron and me in a studio together, all you'd hear at the end of the session is hiss coming out of the monitors. The band created the magic. We were just lucky enough to catch it."

...Taken from the website: www.producersandengineers.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome, thanks! I've heard the band didn't like Ron Nevison at all and he was fired from the sessions and replaced. I read a great interview with him about it a long time ago but for the life of me I can't find it. They take a jab at him on the back of one of the album covers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awesome, thanks! I've heard the band didn't like Ron Nevison at all and he was fired from the sessions and replaced. I read a great interview with him about it a long time ago but for the life of me I can't find it. They take a jab at him on the back of one of the album covers.

Tell us more about the jab on the album cover?

I'd love to read more anecdotes about Zep in the studio. Is there a good source anywhere? Any books which concentrate on the creative side rather than all that salacious stuff about touring?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tell us more about the jab on the album cover?

I'd love to read more anecdotes about Zep in the studio. Is there a good source anywhere? Any books which concentrate on the creative side rather than all that salacious stuff about touring?

It's from Physical Graffiti: "guitar lost courtesy of Nevison. Salvaged by the grace of Harwood." (on The Rover)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's from Physical Graffiti: "guitar lost courtesy of Nevison. Salvaged by the grace of Harwood." (on The Rover)

or, "guitar lost courtesy of Nevermind..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's funny is Ron nevison is responsible for the cool phasing effect on the drums on Kashmir. He left the sessions under the impression that that they hated what he did and all of it turned up on the album.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd love to read more anecdotes about Zep in the studio. Is there a good source anywhere? Any books which concentrate on the creative side rather than all that salacious stuff about touring?

That's the book I'm looking for too! It doesn't seem to exist yet, and I don't know why. There are some excellent, analytical books on the musicology, creative process & recording techniques of Pink Floyd ("Which One's Pink" by Philip Rose), Brian Wilson ("Inside the Music of Brian Wilson" by Phil Lambert; "Brian Wilson & the Recording of Pet Sounds" by Charles Granata), plus countless serious books about the Beatles, esp. "The Beatles as Musicians" by Walter Everett.

Why doesn't Zeppelin get this treatment? Their music, and Jimmy Page's production, certainly merits it. There are a couple of books that discuss the recording of the fourth album, but they are not very in-depth, IMO. I've read Robert Godwin's book "The Making of Led Zeppelin's IV" and it was very good; I just wish it went further! Most of the books, understandably, are going for a more general audience. But a lot of Zep fans are musicians as well, and we'd love a more serious consideration of their artistry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Song Remains The Same: Behind The Board With Led Zeppelin

[...]

Page produced the band's records, and all three engineers recalled their collaborations with him fondly. "He had a remarkable sense of direction and focus," said Kramer. Nevison remembered Page's attention to the basic building blocks of Led Zep tracks. "He used to come in for playbacks and turn the guitar way down. At first I thought it was because he'd made mistakes. Then I realized he wanted to listen very closely to the drums. He knew that if we got Bonzo's track right, everything else would work."

The most heartfelt responses of the night came when moderator Cherney asked if the engineers had had any sense at the time that they were helping to create exceptional, historic recordings. "When I was in there working I was just focused on getting things right so that Jimmy didn't take my head off," said Kramer. "You just try to do your job correctly, which is to interpret the artist correctly, no matter what the recording medium is. We all brought different perspectives to the band's sound and had particular ways of working but essentially we were servants to the music. And it was amazing music."

[...]

...Taken from the website: www.producersandengineers.com

Fascinating! Thanks for posting. Until I read this, I didn't know that Jimmy focused that intently on the drums but, now that I think about it, it makes sense.

The part about creating exceptional, historic recordings is very interesting. I think the same might be said of the fans who attended Zep's early concerts. I will readily admit that, at the time, I was focused on the music and the scene without a thought to how important and significant those concerts and the music being created on stage would be more than three decades later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's the book I'm looking for too! It doesn't seem to exist yet, and I don't know why. There are some excellent, analytical books on the musicology, creative process & recording techniques of Pink Floyd ("Which One's Pink" by Philip Rose), Brian Wilson ("Inside the Music of Brian Wilson" by Phil Lambert; "Brian Wilson & the Recording of Pet Sounds" by Charles Granata), plus countless serious books about the Beatles, esp. "The Beatles as Musicians" by Walter Everett.

Why doesn't Zeppelin get this treatment? Their music, and Jimmy Page's production, certainly merits it. There are a couple of books that discuss the recording of the fourth album, but they are not very in-depth, IMO. I've read Robert Godwin's book "The Making of Led Zeppelin's IV" and it was very good; I just wish it went further! Most of the books, understandably, are going for a more general audience. But a lot of Zep fans are musicians as well, and we'd love a more serious consideration of their artistry.

There are in fact four books out now on the fourth album; and many magazines with original interviews, specially devoted to that album as well.

And thanks for posting that David! I only wish the article was longer and more thorough, but it's certainly interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Song Remains The Same: Behind The Board With Led Zeppelin

2383_EdPanelLizzy.jpg

Ed Cherney, Andy Johns, Ron Nevison, Eddie Kramer and Recording Academy West Regional Director Lizzy Moore

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage.com

2384_Panel7.jpg

Ed Cherney, Andy Johns, Ron Nevison and Eddie Kramer

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage.com

Santa Monica, Calif.

The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter and the Producers & Engineers Wing presented a panel discussion with three engineers that worked with one of the most successful bands in the history of rock and roll, Led Zeppelin.

The evening examined the role of Andy Johns, Eddie Kramer and Ron Nevison in creating Led Zeppelin's body of work, and to present a board's-eye view of the band's history. The panelists brought together this evening represented a mind-boggling list of engineering and producing credits — practically a three-man embodiment of the history of modern rock and roll. The evening was moderated by producer/engineer Ed Cherney, who, despite his own list of estimable credits (Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt), made it clear at the outset that he considered himself a "pisher" compared to his panelists.

Decades after having been recorded, the music of Led Zeppelin continues to evoke certain reliable descriptions: powerful, thrilling, awesome. And while monster rock tunes like "Kashmir" and "Whole Lotta Love" aren't usually thought of as the soundtrack to a lighthearted, rollicking good time, it was laughter and camaraderie that filled the air — along with some high-volume playbacks of those songs — at the panel discussion.

As the evening progressed, there were many light moments as Kramer and Johns exchanged impersonations of Jimmy Page and Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. But there was also a deep respect for the music — every time a song was played to the audience as a point of reference, the three engineers seemed transported into a state of rock and roll bliss. Kramer pointed out that the innovative forward echo effect during the vocal break in "Whole Lotta Love" was a sheer accident — he couldn't erase a reference vocal Plant had recorded, so he added reverb to it. Nevison revealed that John "Bonzo" Bonham's thundering drum sound of "Kashmir" was achieved by running the drum track through an Eventide phaser.

Johns spoke about one of any engineer's greatest challenges: overcoming the fear of working with a great band. "I started out with Zeppelin worried about how I might screw things up," he recalled. "But I learned quickly that the band didn't really care what I did — they were more interested in arguing with each other. If I played back everyone's part loud enough, they were happy with me."

Page produced the band's records, and all three engineers recalled their collaborations with him fondly. "He had a remarkable sense of direction and focus," said Kramer. Nevison remembered Page's attention to the basic building blocks of Led Zep tracks. "He used to come in for playbacks and turn the guitar way down. At first I thought it was because he'd made mistakes. Then I realized he wanted to listen very closely to the drums. He knew that if we got Bonzo's track right, everything else would work."

The most heartfelt responses of the night came when moderator Cherney asked if the engineers had had any sense at the time that they were helping to create exceptional, historic recordings. "When I was in there working I was just focused on getting things right so that Jimmy didn't take my head off," said Kramer. "You just try to do your job correctly, which is to interpret the artist correctly, no matter what the recording medium is. We all brought different perspectives to the band's sound and had particular ways of working but essentially we were servants to the music. And it was amazing music."

"It was always Led Zeppelin, not us," said Johns. "If you put Eddie and Ron and me in a studio together, all you'd hear at the end of the session is hiss coming out of the monitors. The band created the magic. We were just lucky enough to catch it."

...Taken from the website: www.producersandengineers.com

man I love your Larks tounge in Aspic graphic

makes me want to go dig it out and jam easy money B) B) B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...