I just finished reading Blair Jackson's article, “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: 25 Years of Great Recordings From the Mix Era,” and although I found most of the individual album notes enjoyable, I found the information as to who mixed/engineered and where they were recorded to be filled with inaccuracies. So many engineers and/or studios were either omitted, or just plain wrong.
Our studio is proud to have participated in two of the albums as a mixing studio, yet we were not credited on either of your write-ups. The first is Nirvana's Nevermind album, which was not only a huge-selling album but quite possibly the Sgt. Pepper's of the 1990s. You listed Butch Vig, Nirvana and Andy Wallace as engineers, and the studios as Sound City (Seattle) and Smart (Madison, WI). I'm looking directly at the CD, which says “produced and engineered by Butch Vig and Nirvana,” “Mixed by Andy Wallace,” “Recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, CA,” with no mention of Smart Studios. You also state that Sound City is in Seattle, when, in fact, they have always (over 20 years) been located in Van Nuys. The Nevermind CD also says, “Mixed at Scream Studio, Studio City, CA,” yet you failed to mention us. Every track and every single on that album were mixed here at Scream by Andy Wallace in 1991.
The other is U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. I do not presently have the CD in front of me; however, I am looking directly at the Platinum plaque, which U2 sent us for being the mix studio where Tim Palmer mixed the hit song/single “Stuck in a Moment,” which was a worldwide hit record. I know that Scream Studios is listed on the album as the mix studio for that song. Why are we not listed in your article?
Studio City, Calif.
Please accept our humble, public apologies for these errors.
CAN OF WORMS
I started to write this letter to you to point out what I consider a glaring error on your part in the “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: 25 Years of Great Recordings” story in the 25th Anniversary supplement. On the Jane's Addiction album of 1990, the tracks you mentioned as standout were, in fact, not on that album but actually on their 1988 release Nothing's Shocking. The big hit off of the album you mentioned was “Been Caught Stealing.”
As I prepared to jot this down, I took another look at the albums you listed and realized there were several albums included and many that were omitted that I think deserve a second look.
In the last 25 years of recording, does it really make sense to include two Elvis Costello albums and two by Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and U2, but omit such influential and great-sounding albums as Miles Davis' Tutu , which sold millions of copies and won a Grammy that year? Does it make sense to include albums by the likes of Hole and Baha Men (neither of which are notable for their production, originality or, frankly, the talent of the artists) and not include groundbreaking selections like Living Colour's Vivid  (sold millions and got the whole funk-metal movement started), or Rage Against the Machine's debut album (huge commercial success and got the whole rap-metal movement started). How about Never Mind the Bollocks  by the Sex Pistols (one of the most influential and profitable albums of all time, which defined a whole genre of music still viable on today's charts) or either of Korn's first two albums that begat the detuned nu-metal sound that still dominates rock records to this day? How could any retrospective on milestone productions of the last 25 years not include anything from the Windham Hill label? Where would new age and the adult contemporary genres be without them?
Don't George Harrison's Cloud Nine, Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever and the Traveling Wilburys all sound like the same record? Why mention all three and yet not mention revolutionary and influential albums by Tool, Alice in Chains, Public Enemy, or for that matter, Chic, KC and The Sunshine Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck or John Lennon?
I realize that you can't get ‘em all, and I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Joe Ely? I think Joe's okay; heck, I live in Austin, Texas, and have worked on a number of his shows, but Musta Notta Gotta Lotta and no Sarah McLachlan or even Seal? Come on, folks! To put it in the vernacular of the day, “That's whack!”
As stated in the introduction to “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” in our 25th Anniversary special issue, assembling our list was a largely subjective, space-limited can of worms that, we admitted, was bound to leave out many memorable recordings. That said, you raise some valid issues that many readers will doubtless agree with.
However, we must beg to differ with a few of your points: The Sex Pistols were awesome, but they did not define their genre. Punk was already alive and well in New York City before the Pistols were formed; look back to the New York Dolls and The Ramones. Rage Against the Machine may have heavily influenced the type of rap-metal we hear today, but the genre began earlier in the mid-'80s, with recordings by groups such as Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and Faith No More. And KC and The Sunshine Band's best-known disco recordings were released before 1977.
Senior associate editor
I enjoyed Paul Lehrman's “Insider Audio” (“Dumbing Down the Dial: Why Your Radio Doesn't Work, and Why You Should Care”) in July Mix. I work for Crown (amps/IQ/mics, not broadcast) but still consult with the NC-FM at my college (Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wis.; www.wmse.org).
WMSE is a 24-hour, free-form station at 91.7 MHz. We did a power increase in 1995 with similar issues to those you described. Those who live near the main antenna farm in Milwaukee would do better with little/no antenna because of the front-end overload issues. The guy at WUMB has got it right.
Great article. Nice to see. Loved the “litigious” reference; we see plenty of evidence on that subject here at Crown.
Product development manager
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