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Questions for Terry Brown?


Rod in Toronto
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I hope I get some cool responses, but I'm mindful of making it too much about Rush. I'll massage the questions I received, and see what kind of replies I get from him. Will keep you posted for sure!

 

I was trying to think of a question to ask him about Rush, but I could see where perhaps he would get tired of that stuff.

 

I would be curious to know if he saw any trouble between James LaBrie and Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater. Did their troubles show up after he was done working with them or did he see problems even back then?

 

Not sure I would ask him about DT, I think he screwed them over pretty bad around Scenes.

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I hope I get some cool responses, but I'm mindful of making it too much about Rush. I'll massage the questions I received, and see what kind of replies I get from him. Will keep you posted for sure!

 

I was trying to think of a question to ask him about Rush, but I could see where perhaps he would get tired of that stuff.

 

I would be curious to know if he saw any trouble between James LaBrie and Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater. Did their troubles show up after he was done working with them or did he see problems even back then?

 

Not sure I would ask him about DT, I think he screwed them over pretty bad around Scenes.

 

Ditto. I don't know the facts, but have heard that it ended badly - whatever it was.

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If he had produced the thin sounding albums like HYF and RTB, what different choices would he have made?

Hold Your Fire is produced fine, it's Presto that's got the worst production values.

Oh please, stop. Presto is a balanced recording.

The sonic assault known as Vapor Trails is a welter of production problems. It's the only album they ever tried to fix.

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I hope I get some cool responses, but I'm mindful of making it too much about Rush. I'll massage the questions I received, and see what kind of replies I get from him. Will keep you posted for sure!

 

I was trying to think of a question to ask him about Rush, but I could see where perhaps he would get tired of that stuff.

 

I would be curious to know if he saw any trouble between James LaBrie and Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater. Did their troubles show up after he was done working with them or did he see problems even back then?

 

Not sure I would ask him about DT, I think he screwed them over pretty bad around Scenes.

 

Ditto. I don't know the facts, but have heard that it ended badly - whatever it was.

 

I want to draft the question in a way that compels him to understand. I know DT's side of things, but I never heard him address it or tell his side of the story.

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If he had produced the thin sounding albums like HYF and RTB, what different choices would he have made?

Hold Your Fire is produced fine, it's Presto that's got the worst production values.

Oh please, stop. Presto is a balanced recording.

The sonic assault known as Vapor Trails is a welter of production problems. It's the only album they ever tried to fix.

Give me the weather report now Mr Weatherman.

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Maybe you could ask him if he has ever thought of writing a book about his career? He has worked with so many stellar artists, Jimi Hendrix up to present day bands, the stories should be put down somewhere for history. I would buy it! :)
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I want to draft the question in a way that compels him to understand. I know DT's side of things, but I never heard him address it or tell his side of the story.

 

If you can, please do. I am unsure how much of his side of the story he has discussed.

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Maybe you could ask him if he has ever thought of writing a book about his career? He has worked with so many stellar artists, Jimi Hendrix up to present day bands, the stories should be put down somewhere for history. I would buy it! :)

I had to look up his Hendrix connection, didn’t know about it before. He was an engineer on Axis: Bold As Love?? There is a group of people who would argue that album is better than anything else he worked on! Wow. Rod, can you ask him about Jimi?

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Maybe you could ask him if he has ever thought of writing a book about his career? He has worked with so many stellar artists, Jimi Hendrix up to present day bands, the stories should be put down somewhere for history. I would buy it! :)

I had to look up his Hendrix connection, didn’t know about it before. He was an engineer on Axis: Bold As Love?? There is a group of people who would argue that album is better than anything else he worked on! Wow. Rod, can you ask him about Jimi?

 

I might have peeked a little at some of Terry's information. ;) ;) I knew he went way back to a famous recording studio in London but I couldn't remember the exact artists. He's got to have a lot of great stories with such an awesome career.

Edited by blueschica
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What is his opinion on why Rush's albums and live music starting with Vapor Trails sound like low end rumble and muddy noise? They completely lost the ability to record themselves.
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I think the muddy noise live sound started as far back as Counterparts. I rarely ever listen to Different Stages disc 1 or 2 because of how muddy and distorted it sounded
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I think the muddy noise live sound started as far back as Counterparts. I rarely ever listen to Different Stages disc 1 or 2 because of how muddy and distorted it sounded

Yeah, the Counterparts tour sounded terrible live.

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In the Limelight studio promo vid at the very end of song when Neil is doing his caveman drum fills his headphones are just about to fall off but was edited out...why wasn't it left in?..it would've been cool to leave it in and pan to Neil at the end readjusting himself with a "whoops" smile on his face.
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I think the muddy noise live sound started as far back as Counterparts. I rarely ever listen to Different Stages disc 1 or 2 because of how muddy and distorted it sounded

Yeah, the Counterparts tour sounded terrible live.

 

For me CP was the worst sounding show, but I blamed Veterans Coliseum for that.

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I think the muddy noise live sound started as far back as Counterparts. I rarely ever listen to Different Stages disc 1 or 2 because of how muddy and distorted it sounded

 

I am with a noted Rush collector on this topic. I think the trouble started in 1987 and didn't sort itself out for about 10 years.

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For a non-Rush question, I'd love to know how he got involved with Blue Rodeo. He produced their debut album, Outskirts, which went platinum in Canada and is still my favourite album of theirs. It sounds excellent and speaks to his talent at getting wonderfully organic, analog-sounding instruments on tape, especially in a time period (1987) that was known for sounding anything but analog and organic. I'd like to know how he weathered that time period, when synthesizers were taking over and the trend was for very thin, brittle production.
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For a non-Rush question, I'd love to know how he got involved with Blue Rodeo. He produced their debut album, Outskirts, which went platinum in Canada and is still my favourite album of theirs. It sounds excellent and speaks to his talent at getting wonderfully organic, analog-sounding instruments on tape, especially in a time period (1987) that was known for sounding anything but analog and organic. I'd like to know how he weathered that time period, when synthesizers were taking over and the trend was for very thin, brittle production.

 

Good one!

 

I'm planning to compile all the questions tomorrow, and send him the list this weekend.

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My question:-

After working with Rush on the debut album did you think the band had something special about them, and was that immediately apparent after Neil arrived for Fly By Night?

 

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Hey everyone,

 

I got a response from Terry Brown about my request to interview him. It won't be a recorded interview, but he will write his replies to my questions. I was wondering if you guys had any questions for him? It can be related to anything - Rush, Fates Warning, Voivod...let me know your questions, and I will add them to my list!

 

How did you become involved with the Rush reissue campaign and did you work on anything (live) that didn't appear on a release?

 

What were some Rush songs that changed the most from when they were recorded and what were those changes?

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Questions sent! Here's how I phrased all the suggestions I received, with a few of my own questions added:

 

1) Tell me about your formation years, and how did you get to become a producer. What drove you in this career path? Did you ever intend to write and play your own songs?

 

2) What are your memories of working on Jimi Hendrix’ Axis: Bold as Love?

 

3) When you worked with Rush, was all the material they brought in usually completed or did you have to help them expand or contract some songs? What was the song they brought that you changed the most?

 

4) It’s no secret that Neil, along with the other members, could be somewhat stubborn when it came to altering his already conceived drum parts. What was it like sharing your thoughts about those kind of band issues in the studio?

 

5) When Rush’s “A Farewell to Kings” was being recorded, what was the feeling like, recording in England, free from the pressure of the record company, since 2112 gave some semblance of artistic freedom?

 

6) Was there ever any discussion at any point after Rush’s “Signals”, about you possibly working again with the band?

 

7) Have you listened to all of Rush’s post-“Signals” material? What's your favorite album from their career after Signals?

 

8) How difficult was it for Rush to transition from recording bed tracks "off the floor" as a band, to tracking individual performances? Whose idea was it? Do you feel that what was gained by such an approach overcame any losses?

 

9) What qualities about Rush made you want to keep working with them after the first album? What did you see or hear in them that made you interested?

 

10) I would love to know your thoughts about developing artists over a period of several albums as Rush were allowed to back in the 70s before they started really having major success. How do you view your role as producer in terms of having played a part in Rush’s development?

 

11) Having worked with Lawrence Gowan way back before he became well known, what are your thoughts about Gowan's work with Styx?

 

12) Can you share some details of producing Cutting Crew's album, The Broadcast? The production was excellent as was the songwriting!

 

 

13) Do you see that sort of a relationship among band/producer/label as something that can ever come back in today’s music environment? Or is there some other way that the industry can foster artist development that doesn’t seem to be happening so much anymore?

 

 

14) Tell me about working with IQ on their “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” album. Did they contact you because of your work with Rush? How did the sessions go? Did you enjoy the experience and final product?

 

15) Voivod’s “Angel Rat” is a curious entry in the list of albums you produced. There was a lot of controversy among the band’s fan base when it was released, but through the years its reputation has been somehow redeemed. Was it a difficult album to work on?

 

16) Next month is the 25th anniversary of Fates Warning’s “A Pleasant Shade of Grey”, so it seems like a nice time to ask you about that masterpiece. What can you tell me about that album – it’s a very dense collection of songs, full of ambition on the band’s part!

 

17) Do you have any interest to work with Ray Alder or even Jim Matheos again, specifically to write vocal lines? Many fans really love the work you did with Ray on the Fates Warning albums (Parallels, A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Disconnected).

 

18) Speaking of another famous prog band, apparently the relationship between you and Dream Theater did not end well. Would you like to shed some light into that, and maybe tell us your side of the story? You worked with them on “Metropolis Part II: Scenes From a Memory”, one of the highlights of their career!

 

19) Metal / hard rock bands like Lizzy Borden and Fifth Angel speak wonders about working with you. How does your approach to production change, depending on the style of band you’re working with?

 

20) What singers and bands would he like to work with (or hypothetically, would have liked to have worked with), including some bands who may not be active anymore or even from the past?

 

21) Who are some producers or engineers that you particularly admire?

 

22) Who are some specific songwriters you particularly admire? Both from the past or more recent.

 

23) With all of the technology available, how come many albums recorded in the 80’s have a superior sound to an album recorded in the 2020’s?

 

24) You have worked with so many stellar artists, Jimi Hendrix up to present day bands, the stories should be put down somewhere for history. Would you consider writing a book at some point?

 

25) Your last production credit is 2021’s “Unfolded Like Staircase”, from Discipline. What are you working on at the moment?

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