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Questions for Terry Brown?


Rod in Toronto
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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?

 

Looking for more "nothing in the vault" content? Please, yes!

For me, I think of him talking about how this trio came up with concepts and didn't know how to make it work.

Please help us, we are new but have a lot to say :)

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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?

 

You didn't ask him about a Signals Tour release for the 40th Anniversary! And, asking him if he's going to work on the Grace Under Pressure one would be fantastic as well!

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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?

 

Great questions.

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I sent everything to him on Saturday...if he decides not to respond this will be a MAJOR flop.

 

He's nuts if he doesn't want to correspond with you! Your interviews are always so well done and thoughtful. (And of course I thought of another question today :lol: :lol: But it wasn't an earth shaking one.)

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I sent everything to him on Saturday...if he decides not to respond this will be a MAJOR flop.

 

He's nuts if he doesn't want to correspond with you! Your interviews are always so well done and thoughtful. (And of course I thought of another question today :lol: :lol: But it wasn't an earth shaking one.)

 

Wow, that's quite a compliment! Thank you!

 

My first message to him was in 2019, and he agreed to record an interview but then disappeared. Only recently when I decided to follow up, he said he'd answer to the questions in writing. Let's hope he replies soon...

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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?

 

He replied!!!!!!

 

I'll post the link here once it's published.

 

Some GREAT questions here, looking forward to reading them when you've got chance.

 

I'm SO jealous you got to meet Terry in person in 2019!!! It must have been special :) :)

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I'll tell you the story about how I met Terry...it was totally unexpected! I was in Montreal with my family on the day that Cinema Strangiato was going to happen, and our flight back to Toronto was going to be at night, so I wouldn't be able to attend. My wife didn't want to wait for the flight, and said "you know what? If we get on a train now, we'll be back home mid-afternoon. I'll get us tickets". Off we went, and now I could attend Cinema Strangiato. I looked for tickets, and the session at Dundas Square was sold out. Luckily, another Rush fan reached out to me on Facebook and said "I have a ticket, but won't be able to make it. It's yours for free". I went there and met many friends at the event. On the way out, one of them said "man, you just missed Terry...he went down those stairs a second ago!". I rushed downstairs, and exited the theater. Luckily, he was outside chatting with a friend, who kindly volunteered to take our picture:

 

20190821-215510-1.jpg

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He skipped the one about DT and the one about the Rush albums after his tenure...sorry to disappoint you, man. But the other responses were really great.
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He skipped the one about DT and the one about the Rush albums after his tenure...sorry to disappoint you, man. But the other responses were really great.

 

I kinda figured he wouldn’t want to talk about DT.

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He skipped the one about DT and the one about the Rush albums after his tenure...sorry to disappoint you, man. But the other responses were really great.

 

I kinda figured he wouldn’t want to talk about DT.

 

I have a feeling that this is the reason why he wanted to do an email interview, as opposed to a recorded one.

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Asking about Dream Theater was certainly bold. Reading an interview with Mike Portnoy about the matter really soured me towards Mike. After Terry contributed to the album, it would be entirely reasonable and customary for him to be compensated, either as a flat fee or a performance royalty. It says a lot about DT that Terry was not written into the contract, and then thrown under the bus by at least Mike.

 

As for Rush post Signals, he's obviously on good terms with the band. The band is on record multiple times saying they just wanted something different.

 

Terry seems like a very kind and classy guy. Cheers!

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He skipped the one about DT and the one about the Rush albums after his tenure...sorry to disappoint you, man. But the other responses were really great.

 

You did not disappoint. I did not expect an answer.

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He skipped the one about DT and the one about the Rush albums after his tenure...sorry to disappoint you, man. But the other responses were really great.

 

Well, it was worth a shot. Thanks for asking.

 

Looking forward to the interview. :)

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I definitely find it interesting that George Martin is Terry's favorite producer. Usually I don't really think of Rush in relation to The Beatles, just so many differences on so many levels, but in terms of having a special bond with a particular producer who "gets" the artists, they're actually quite similar. Add to that the sonic perfection Martin achieved on Abbey Road as perhaps a benchmark for Terry and Rush to aim for, which I'd say they finally achieved on Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, and that influence starts to make more sense.
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I was too late.....gonna read it. Edited by Todem
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