Star producer John Leckie talks to Andy Jones about engaged on among the most vital albums of the final 4 a long time
Tlisted below are ‘in-demand’ file producers on the market, however John Leckie takes the definition up a stage and has turn out to be nearly as legendary as among the albums he has labored on.
He has artists queuing up at his studio door asking for a dose of his manufacturing magic – certainly The Verve are the one band that Leckie requested to work with, after seeing them play in a pub in Camden.
“I needed to be a part of that,” he recollects. “I needed to maintain going again as I couldn’t imagine what they had been doing.”
In any other case it’s been a a method road in the wrong way because of Leckie’s CV from the 80s and 90s when he labored with everybody from Easy Minds to Radiohead, typically on a band’s formative album that may go on to achieve iconic standing.
Leckie lower his tooth while at Abbey Street Studios. He began out as a tape operator, however quickly discovered himself thrown right into a world of former Beatles, when he began working with George Harrison on his solo album All Issues Should Cross.
His first outing as engineer was on Pink Floyd’s album Meddle, though he admits the leap up may need been somewhat untimely for a recording session with Paul McCartney and Wings.
“I did a single known as Hello, Hello, Hello, then I did some tracks on what turned the Wings album, Purple Rose Speedway. I used to be fairly nervous working with Paul, one minute he can be your finest good friend and he would assist, and the subsequent he’d be actually indignant and stomping round. Possibly it was my inexperience on the time or me simply not being that good!”
Within the late-70s Leckie’s first undertaking as producer was Be-Bop Deluxe’s Sunburst End. He labored with XTC and Journal on Virgin Information earlier than beginning a trio of albums for Easy Minds.
After Leckie produced their debut, Life In A Day, the band needed a change in course.
“They mentioned I’d made them sound a bit an excessive amount of like Roxy Music and so they needed to sound extra like The Velvet Underground or punk rock. So with the second file, Actual To Actual Cacophony, they needed to do one thing totally different, go within the studio and make it up as they went alongside and never inform the supervisor or the file firm.”
Within the 80s, Leckie labored with The Human League and was first alternative for the album Dare, however was working in Berlin on the time.
He produced Beggars Banquet labelmates The Fall and Gene Loves Jezebel earlier than one in all his proudest initiatives, producing the debut album by The Stone Roses.
“I first met them by their supervisor,” he says. “He had these huge golf equipment in Manchester and the band may rehearse in them in the course of the day. Then one time they performed a gig on the identical membership and it was jam-packed with individuals. Everybody had Stone Roses t-shirts on. It was a distinct tradition to London, nearly like one other nation.
“The file firm needed them to work in Battery Studios from seven within the night to seven within the morning. After a few days the band hadn’t acquired any sleep, their lodge was the opposite facet of London, however we recorded among the finest tracks on the album there – I Wanna Be Adored and She Bangs The Drums. Then we complained and went to Rockfield Studios the place we completed the file.”
The album put the Roses on the map and, to a sure extent, Leckie himself.
He produced a string of Brit-poppers within the 90s together with Solid, Kula Shaker and Elastica, nevertheless it was Radiohead’s The Bends that’s most likely his most memorable undertaking and, with greater than 30 songs recorded, it is without doubt one of the largest he’s undertaken.
“The file firm needed a follow-up as much as the only Creep which had a whole lot of curiosity in America,” says Leckie. “I met the band at a rehearsal studio with the file firm, managers and two A&R guys from America.
“The band had been all arrange for us to decide on a single and so they performed about 30 songs, however no-one may work out which one to decide on. So lastly, out of frustration, we selected 4 tracks together with (Good Dream) and The Bends.”
Leckie was given 9 weeks at London’s RAK Studios to file the album plus 4 singles and B-sides. Extra recording time was required at The Manor Studios in Oxfordshire.
“It was tough, the band had been pissed off and almost break up up,” Leckie recollects. “I re-recorded The Bends and (Good Dream). Planet Telex was the one one which wasn’t rehearsed.
“The band don’t actually drink however one night time we went to a restaurant, had a number of bottles of wine, got here again and made up Planet Telex… You by no means know when issues like which are going to occur.”
Nevertheless, it hasn’t all been plain crusing for the producer. After the success of their debut album, Leckie was requested to return to supply The Stones Roses’ notorious follow-up The Second Coming.
“We simply exhausted ourselves,” he recollects.
“There was no assist, no supervisor, the file firm was in America, so was the A&R man, so there was no stress from anybody to do it, you understand? The band had cash, infants, huge vehicles and wives which they by no means had earlier than.
“On the primary file there was no women, no Mercedes vehicles, no homes, nothing however a driving drive to do the file. With the second file there was all that distraction and that’s what occurred.”
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