20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Producer Ric Browde
We got an email last month saying, Gosh everytime I feel old all I have to do is log onto your web site and there is my misspent youth…all the bastards I love/hate and owe a gratitude of buying me my Beverly Hills mansion! If you ever want to talk – drop me an e-mail.
Ric Browde was the producer for Poison, Faster Pussycat, Ted Nugent, and many others, so we thought it would be interesting to see what he had to say about working with all those bands. However, like most producers, there aren’t a lot of photos laying around of them, so we don’t have any to share of Ric. We’re sure you’ll be able to enjoy this anyway.
1. What are you currently up to? This is the only chance to promote whatever it is you have going on.
I’ve just signed a movie deal with movie producer Andrew Lazar to turn my first novel, "While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog", into a movie (If you have any extra money left over from your drug and alcohol budgets please buy it from Amazon.com!). In addition to writing the book, I will be in charge of the soundtrack. I’m finishing work on the sequel to "While I’m Dead" (entitled "Son of God…the Sequel") and I’ve been working with an Italian glam band, Bastet, with whom I wrote and produced their debut album and rock opera "Gimme Some More of Sodom and Gomorrah"… plus I’ve been spending a lot of time in Thailand doing research for another book. "Lord of the Thighs" that I’ve been asked to write.
2. You produced Poison?s ?Look What The Cat Dragged In.? What do you remember about recording that album? What comes to mind?
Recording Poison was interesting because I felt I was doing a great service to frustrated wannabe vocalists around the world by opening the singing profession up to those who were tone deaf and cannot sing , which had previously been barriers to aspiring singers.
3. What band or artist have you not yet recorded but would very much like to?
I’d love to produce either John Lennon or Otis Redding… not only because I think they were amazing but the Lazarus effect would prove my Jesus complex isn’t totally out of line!
4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
The list is too long… but basically every metal/glam band from Los Angeles who had any records in the 80’s.. and the Darkness because they bore me.
5. Rate the following producers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody who is deaf and 10 being a Producer Extraordinaire!
Tom Werman = the king of hiring great engineers 8
Michael Wagener = 9.998 he’s brilliant – but he’s not quite as good as Mutt Lange and Bob Ezrin
Bob Rock = 8
Beau Hill = 2
Andy Johns = There are two Andy Johns – Andy Johns the drunk maniac 7, Andy Johns the sober maniac 5
Ted Templeman = 8 never liked his records but he’s a great producer
Mutt Lange = 10 …the best, period full stop
Howard Benson = don’t know his work
Bruce Fairbairn = 9 too bad he died too young.
Bob Ezrin (Have to add to the list) 9.9999
Roy Thomas Baker = before 1985 – 9.8 after 1985 – 5
6. You worked with both Taime Downe and Bret Michaels. Neither one are exactly known for their vocal ability. Who did you have to work more with to make them sound good?
Taime was a piece of cake, I’m quite proud of what he achieved on the first album. Bret never sounded good no matter what I or any subsequent producer did.
7. Who?s the most famous celebrity you have in your cell phone?
Sorry I lost my cell phone … and never missed not having it… but when I had one my two best friends Jo Dawg and Bam of the Dogs D’Amour were in it as was the girl on the cover of my book, Jenteal
8. You wrote a book called ?While I?m Dead?Feed The Dog.? The book is full of lying, deceit, bags of money, Mafia murders, riots, dead Latin teachers, and trying to get laid. Are these subjects you?re familiar with or what? And how well did the book do?
While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog is autobiographical except for when I lied. Lying, Sex, bags full of drugs and money, strippers, whores and the Mafia was what rock and roll was all about until Post Nirvana, when Rock became so corporate it shrank to only lying, money and the Mafia. The book did fairly well in its German editions, and has done well enough over here to spawn a movie…
9. You once said that Poison hates you guts? Why is that? Explain.
Poison hate me because I made them into something they felt they weren’t. They thought, and were right, that I changed them into being a lightweight bubblegum band instead of the heavy metal band they wanted to be. It also didn’t help that the first night we started recording Bobby, Brett, Bruce and I went to see an unsigned band play at the Troubadour. This band blew me away and I told Poison that no matter how many records they ever sold they would never be as good as this unsigned band. Poison were really upset that I could say some unsigned band was better than them. They may have been right, the unsigned band was called Guns’n Poses or something like that. But nothing ever happened with them! They also hate me for a quote I gave to Billboard magazine, a quote I still stand behind today, which was "Poison are the triumph of image over substance."
10. What do you remember about working with the following bands:
Ted Nugent = Nugent’s band were amazing to work with – and Cliff Davies the drummer, who was the real genius of the band, was my mentor and the one who taught me everything I ever knew about production. Unfortunately Ted wasn’t very dedicated and prefered hunting to tuning his guitar and working at writing new songs.
Faster Pussycat = Faster Pussycat was a lot of fun. We had a great relationship because the day we started recording the record the bigwigs from Elektra came to the studio and wanted to drop the band. But because the label had given me $50,000 up front and I got to keep what I didn’t spend, Elektra was too cheap to drop them until the album was finished. This motivated everyone from Pussycat to work their asses off – the record took three weeks to do and I think it came out really well. Even though Elektra did its best to not to work the album (they never worked the single, "Babylon" which would have been huge) the album still sold over 750,000 albums (and I still wonder why they never had it officially certified gold?)
Poison = my mother always said if I couldn’t say something nice about someone not to say anything. Although I never listened much to my mother, my lawyer’s advice was similar. The one good thing I have to say about them is I was able to buy a nice expensive home in Beverly Hills…
Joan Jett = she’s amazing – perhaps the most underrated rhythm guitarist I know. Solid with a strong work ethic… it would be nice if she got away from the albatross around her neck, Kenny Laguna, and also if she actually paid Desmond Child and me the royalties she owes us.
Skew Siskin = my friends from Berlin. Nina is incredibly talented as is Jim. I wish them success, they’ve always let me write whatever I want – even when they didn’t understand what I was writing about.
Dogs d?Amour = the most talented band I ever saw or worked with. Recording "Straight" was the most fun I have ever had and I remember saying to my wife after I finished the album, this will never sell because the management and record label are fucked, but at least I had the experience of working on a perfect album. We became brothers, and to this day Jo, Bam and Share are my closest friends on the planet and have keys to my house…so if you ever want to steal everything I have make them a deal and I’m sure it could all be yours!
Shooting Gallery = wow! The band should have been made into a movie. Andy McCoy tried to sell his guitar solo on the album to his drug dealer – an aspiring musician (I heard rumours that it was for seven grand worth of drugs), the lead singer was going through withdrawal symptoms, and Dave Tregunna – the lone nice person in the band – was trying to hold it down all by himself. McCoy is talented, funny, evil and a hopeless junkie loser. What a waste of talent!
Jetboy = I only had the privilege of doing one song with them as a supplemental single for their debut album. It was a shitload of fun and the band were really cool guys – especially Billy. I liked them and felt they deserved better… hopefully Billy will achieve it with American Heartbreak.
Hey how come you guys don’t ask me about the Wildhearts? They were, and still are, amazingly talented. Ginger is perhaps the most brilliant songwriter/ guitarist/frontman alive… only held back by his self destructive personality.
11. Of all the albums you produced, which one are you most proud of, and which one are you the most embarrassed about?
I’m proud of two albums especially – "Straight" by the Dogs D’Amour, and Flies on Fire’s self titled first album. Together with Flies on Fire’s second album and Bastet’s new record, they are the only albums of the 40 or so I produced that I still listen to.
12. The last of Ric Browde:
Last band you produced = Bastet
Last CD you purchased = Turbo Negro
Last movie you saw = I’m All Right Jack
Last rock star you wanted to meet = Louis Jordan – but he was already dead before I was born.
Last poorly produced CD you heard = what was the last record I worked on? Producers are the most overrated people in rock and I should know!
Last book you read = (now I get to show what an over educated twit I am !)
in English: Tertherballs of Bougainville by Mark Leyner,
in French – Van Gough ou le suicide de la societe – by Antoin Artaud
in German – Futtre den Hund wahrend ich tot bin by Ric Browde
in Thai Rian Phasa Thai – (Engish translation Learn how to Speak Thai)
Last concert you saw = It was either Cheap Trick or Wilco four or five years ago (I never go out to see bands unless dragged at gunpoint)
Last studio client you turned down = a porn star named Houston
Last time you were drunk = Believe it or not, I haven’t ever been drunk (I never have drunk, done drugs or smoked). I’ve always lived debauchery vicariously
Last song you heard that you liked = Shooting Kurt Cobain by Bastet
13. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Any rock star who did anything other than sing. Rock stars, contrary to public myth, are neither humanitarians nor philosophers. They are overpaid minstrels with huge egos (bigger than mine and that’s saying quite alot!) and tattoos that set them apart from all the other rock stars with tattoos. Sing your song, dance your dance, and now get the fuck out of my face and off my television set please!
14. Really now, what made you decide to work with Smashed Gladys? Even back then, that couldn?t have looked like a good idea?
I did this album as a favour to my then manager who complained I only worked on albums by groups I discovered – and never on things he brought me (and got paid his commission on). So the first time I whored myself out as a producer (the only other time I did that was years later for Jesse Camp – but I was an expensive prostitute by then!) was a total disaster. The music was uninspiring, the group with the exception of the rhythm guitarist, Roger Erickson, who is still a good friend of mine, was dull and the lead singer was an egomaniac looking for a clue and her wife – I mean husband – I mean lead guitarist was criminally boring. Other than that they weren’t all that bad.
15. Which do you prefer:
Dealing with Bret Michaels ego or Dealing with Ted Nugent?s ego = Nugent’s because, although he’s an asshole Nuge is a funny asshole.
Soundfield or Schoeps microphones = never used or heard of either… I’m a Neuman man.
Warrant or Winger = Warrant…’cause I thought Bobbie Brown was hot.
A C.C. DeVille solo or a Greg Steele solo = Bruce Johannsen’s cause he made me laugh.
The Roxy or The Whisky = The Whiskey – because the Roxy was always a pay for play joint.
Pro Tools or SoundForge = how about actually recording things and making them sound like the band played them instead of trying to make it artificially perfect and bland? Mistakes are what makes records brilliant and both of those systems sanitize music into the bland "factory sanitized for your protection" pulp that comes out today.
Blackie Lawless or Alice Cooper = Alice Cooper because he’s not a pathological liar and has written and performed some pretty amazing albums – albeit twenty years ago.
London Quireboys or Dogs D?Amour = The Dogs…though I loved the Quireboys when Ginger was in the band.
Kelly Osbourne or Jessica Simpson = I don’t watch television except for the Simpsons… so I don’t know much about either but I saw a picture of Jessica Simpson and she looks hot – so I’ll go for her.
New York or Los Angeles = Los Angeles hands down.. I’ve lived in both cities – although if George Bush and Arnold Schwartzenegger are around much longer I might be setting up digs in Thailand!
16. When you were working with Joan Jett, did you know she was a lesbian and did she hook up with any chicks in the studio?
I’d have to have been Helen Keller not to know that Joan was a dyke … but she didn’t pull any cool chicks in the studio…so there was no masturbation fodder there.
17. Yes or no, has Ric Browde ever:
Gone hunting with Ted Nugent = No
Done cocaine with C.C. DeVille = Never did drugs period
Seen Taime Downe laying out by a pool = yes
Had studio musicians play on a CD because a band couldn?t pull it off in the studio = yes
Been arrested = yes
Considered suicide = no
Used a ghost writer = no
Talked to a member of Poison within the last 10 years = yes talk to Bruce every now and then. We’re still friends and he wanted me to produce his solo album
Been to rehab = Sorry to report I never did drugs or drank… so I never got to meet the groovy crowd in rehab
Met Bob Rock = no
18. Bands like Poison and Faster Pussycat had good success with you producing their albums, but they only worked with you once. Why is that?
Poison and I couldn’t stand each other so there was no relationship. Faster Pussycat’s not using me took me by surprise and I often wonder why… was it because I pissed off Elektra by telling them Smashed Gladys sucked or was it because I asked Taime for the share of the writing and publishing on the songs I wrote?
19. Do you feel to blame for Poison?
Maybe that’s why I don’t sleep very well! Although I do my penance twice a year when the royalty checks come!
20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Dokken = poor Don… he had to sue his band over who owns his last name and it still doesn’t rhyme with Rocking!
Ted Nugent = a fascist… when I heard they were looking for Timothy McVeigh’s accomplices in Michigan I actually thought the Nuge might be involved – as did a couple of other Nugent alumni!
Andy McCoy = talented, but drug addled
Guns N? Roses = the best band ever over a one album stretch.
Brent Muscat = nice guy – but bland as vanilla pudding
Bobby Dall = The brains behind Poison… I think that says alot.
Rikki Rockett = I really respect his work for animal rights. Too bad he ever owned a drum kit
Sebastian Bach = pathetic, but his sister is hot and his brother is a damn good goalie on the Coyotes!
Nikki Sixx = smart, funny and interesting…
C.C. DeVille = I happen to like Bruce. I produced Poison as a favour to his girlfriend who at the time was married to my roommate Herman Rarebell, the Scorpions drummer
Now that’s some good smack talking! Outta ruffle some feathers.
Ric doesn’t have a website so we have nothing to promote here, other than our own CD, "Hey, That’s What I Call Sludge" in which Ric has nothing to do with it. Thanks!