Superproducer Kevin Shirley: my 12 career-defining records

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Superproducer Kevin Shirley: my 12 career-defining records

Postby tater1977 » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:56 am

Superproducer Kevin Shirley: my 12 career-defining records

By Matt Frost October 24, 2016

http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/ ... rds-643623

"I definitely much prefer to work with a band on the floor and have everyone playing at the same time."

For over three decades, Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley has engineered, produced and/or mixed some of the biggest names in rock’n’roll history.

Rush, Journey, Slayer, Deep Purple, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa, Iron Maiden, Joe Satriani and Dream Theater are just a few of acts to have benefitted from Shirley’s high calibre skills in the studio.

Shirley kicked off his illustrious career working at various facilities in his native South Africa before relocating to Australia in the late-1980s. His killer job on helping craft multi-million selling debut album Frogstomp by teenage Aussie grungers Silverchair earned him plaudits across the globe and it wasn’t long before he was plying his trade in the US, developing his reputation as one of rock’s most in-demand and well-respected record producers.

Before Shirley digs into his personally-selected 12 career-defining records, we quiz him about his own unique personal approach to engineering and production.

“When I started, I was working at a studio that did a lot of advertising jingles and I did my first records there,” explains Kevin. “We had a few limitations so the way I started was building up tracks one instrument at a time, which is still the way a lot of people approach making records.

"But, now, I definitely much prefer to work with a band on the floor and have everyone playing at the same time so I can really incorporate the interactions that are happening between them. There’s a natural energy that happens in those spaces and I happen to be a really big fan of it, a lot more so than of sculpted and produced music

"I just love being in the studio with musicians and I love guiding a band through a song and it’s still as big a passion as it ever was. Some people like things that way but then there are certainly others who like to hear music a lot more produced, even if it’s rock. I’m just not really that fond of that, to be honest.

"I’m adaptable but I think that people really do enjoy my approach if they enjoy the challenge of being able to give you a performance rather than the drudgery of having to work through things. I don’t sit down and go, ‘Give me 55 guitar solos and let me find the best one!’”

Aside from Joanne Shaw Taylor’s scorching new album Wild, what other recent and upcoming projects have been taking up Kevin Shirley’s time?

“I’ve been very involved in making concert videos recently but I always take them a little bit further than just a concert video,” he says. “With Joe [Bonamassa], we’ve been working on conceptualising this program of Keeping the Blues Alive, where we have him play songs that different blues artists have done in an effort to demonstrate the heritage and the legacy of these artists and how it’s applicable to rock music.

"We have one that [came out on September 23rd] called Live At The Greek Theatre, which was originally called A Tribute To The Three Kings - Freddie King, Albert King and B.B. King. Unfortunately, one of the protagonists decided to take umbrage with the fact that her father was one of those ‘Kings’. It was very difficult and so we had to remove all ‘Kings’ from the packaging and everything else, which was disappointing.

"On Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks, we covered Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and you get to meet them and hear a bit of their music and see how Joe’s adapted it. I think it’s part of the responsibility of musicians to keep young people engaged in the history and the legacy of music.”

It was never going to be the easiest of tasks narrowing down 12 career-defining records from the many hundreds that Shirley has been involved with over the years but the legendary producer gave us more than a helping hand with the selections.

“It was certainly difficult to leave some out that I’ve left out but, basically, it’s quite a comprehensive overview of all of the kinds of stuff I’ve done,” explains Shirley. “There’s no point in having two albums by the same artist. I think the diversity is really much more interesting.”

8. Journey – Trial by Fire (1996)

“It’s interesting because I came to produce a Journey record when I was not a Journey fan in that I just didn’t know Journey at all.

"I knew Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain worked with Jimmy Barnes, strangely enough, on the Freight Train Heart [1987] album. I think Jon produced it and they both played on it and I had immense respect for them because I loved the work that they did on that.

"When we had a meeting and they asked me to produce them, it was a real challenge. It was like, ‘What do you do with this iconic American classic rock band?’ but it was great! We rehearsed a lot, we did a lot of work and it was really fun.

"I went back and listened to all the old records and found these things that I thought were great but that they’d sort of given up along the way and we re-injected those into the new songs that we were doing. Working with those high calibre musicians on the floor with Steve Perry singing was an absolute dream.

"And that was the big launching pad for me in the States because after Journey, I went on to do Aerosmith and the Crowes and a lot of other bands that I really like.”

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http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/ ... rds-643623
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the venue.TR.com
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