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Re: (TV) Todd Rundgren / NY Dolls

Agreed. His production has grown on me over the 7 years since I first heard the
album, but in general I think TOO MUCH TOO SOON sounds 100 times better -
sharper, fuller, better EQ, etc. In Rundgren's defense (hey, my girlfriend went
to the same high school he had gone to 20 years earlier), years ago a TR fan
sent me the following article (from where, I don't know) relating Rundgren's
reflections on recording the first album:

Once again becoming involved with a band who later became famous or notorious,
depending on your point of view, Rundgren produced the first lp for the New
York Dolls. 

"That was a great contrast to almost everything I'd previously done, and at the
time, we had a lot of problems with it, although not necessarily in the
recording process, but in terms of the expectations of everyone involved. The
New York Dolls were one of the first bands who the critics felt they owned, or
at least felt that if they were in a band, that this was the type of band that
they would like to be in, because they played at a level that critics could

As far as I was concerned, they were simply a sort of imitation Rolling Stones
who would get dressed up in drag for sleeve photographs, but I did them because
I had been very involved in the New York scene at the time, and I knew I wasn't
going to be involved for much longer, it was just before I left New York. For
me, it was like a novelty, another different thing, something else to try, and
as it turned out, I think it would have been a much better record if it hadn't
been for the involvement of some of the other people, the critics, the
management, and even at times, the band. 

It wasn't even necessarily in the performance sense, it was when it came to
mixing the album, because they wanted to be involved in the mixing, but they
didn't want to invest the time it takes to do it properly. People seem to feel
that that album's some kind of milestone, which is really funny, although I
think that at the time, even the band felt it might be a milestone and it
seemed important to them, but certain crucial aspects of it escaped them. For
instance, they insisted on having it done by a certain time, and if were to
achieve that, the only available studio was one that happened to have the
worst-sounding studio at that time. So we had to mix it there, and also they
insisted on being there to put in their two cents' worth, and probably any
producer knows at this point that the worst thing you can do is to allow the
band to be there when you're mixing, because the bass player only hears the
bass, and the drummer only hears the drums, and everybody's saying "Make me
louder", which completely destroys any kind of overview you're trying to get on
the production, because they're putting in their two cents' worth all the time.
At the same time, it was, "We've got to be in Long Island by 3 'oclock, so
let's get finished by then". 

So they would do that, and they don't even want to spend the money to have it
mastered on an up-to-date mastering studio, they want to master it on Mercury's
antiquated mastering equipment, which makes it sound muddier than it already is
because of the bad mixing room and the rushed mixing job. 

So after all the work of putting together an album, it just sort of petered
away in the final minutes because of things they felt were unimportant. But
also, there was a lot to endure during the course of the production because of
everybody trucking in and out of the studio  all the time trying to give their
opinions. I really like to exclude all those people as much as possible,
critics, record company people, management or anybody else who thinks they know
how things are supposed to go in the studio, because ultimately, I come from a
totally minimalistic place of making records. When I make records, it's just
me-I start with just me, and I only add personnel as absolutely necessary, like
an engineer if you need an engineer, because a lot of times you don't need one.
If it's a band, of course, you have to have the band there, but you don't want
to have more people than that, because it produces all these complicated inner
relationships and the political junk that you have to go through all the time,
when all you're there to to is record a musical performance."


--- Sam Inglis <sam@sospubs.co.uk> wrote:
> Hmmm... for all his good qualities, I think he ballsed up that album
> quite badly. You can hardly hear Johnny Thunders' guitar, and most of it
> sounds both rushed and muffled. 'Personality Crisis' and 'Jet Boy' are
> great, but otherwise the demos they did for that album (now released as
> a CD I can't remember the name of) knock spots off the album itself.

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