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Studio engineer Micajah Ryan talks recording AFD (new interview)


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Excerpts from UG:

--------------------------

Asked if he has any wild stories from those days, Micajah replied (transcribed by UG):

"Oh yeah, I'll tell you one. It was a Thursday morning, [producer Mike Clink] came in, he had a call - we were waiting for the band to show up, and he got a call.

"The call was from the manager of the apartment that the band lived in. So he looked at me, he kind of chuckled, and he goes, 'Wanna go for a ride?'...

"So we hopped in his car, we drove up to the apartment, and we got there, the manager was there, and she was just flustered.

"She opened up the door to the apartment and let us proceed, go ahead of her into the apartment, and we walked in there...

"Every single thing made of glass in the apartment was broken. Windows, mirrors, cups, saucers, everything made of glass was broken - the mirror in the bathroom was broken.

"And she was absolutely flipped out, she just didn't know how to handle it all.

"Mike just handled it with great grace, he said, 'Don't worry, the record company will pay for all this stuff to be fixed, we'll take care of all of it. You don't need to worry about it, I'll talk to the guys, find out what's going on.'

"So we drove back to the studio, he just chuckled all the way. He was shaking his head, 'I can't believe that... That's unbelievable.'"

Was anyone of the band in the apartment?

"Well, Slash, Duff [McKagan, bass], Steven [Adler, drums], Axl didn't... They all crashed at that apartment, so I'm not sure who was breaking the stuff.

"It was deserted when we got there. They only used it I think as a kind of a place where they could crash when they were going between the Hollywood and the studio."

It was a long kind of development period with Guns N' Roses, I know they went through a few producers for a year or so. By the time they're working with you, is Axl cutting vocals, or is it just straight-up guitar solos and things like that?

"Well, we started out with rhythm guitars, we did rhythm, then Slash started doing some solos. But the reason why we were doing rhythm is to cut the vocals.

"So we would work during the day cutting the rhythm tracks, and then we would start on solos, and then in the evening Axl would come."

Did they come in separately, like Slash by himself or would he and Izzy [Stradlin, guitar] come in at the same time?

"That was one at a time. I hung out with Slash, it took us at least two and a half, maybe three months for all those guitar parts.

"And then Izzy came in, we did all his parts in probably about three weeks. He seemed to have more focus, and Slash seemed to be experimenting a little bit. And then Axl would just go in and sing."

What kind of mics, were they 57s? And the amp - there was some crazy story of going through a gazillion amps, right?

"Well, I wasn't part of that. They did all that before they came to the studio. When they came to the studio, they showed up with the amp."

It wasn't a JCM 800?

"I think it was the JCM 800 on the outside, but I think it had been modded, so nobody was sure. What the big source of controversy is, nobody is sure what that mod was, nobody can find that amp anymore.

"It was a great-sounding amp, no question about it, just blistering loud and really warm, so it was just a great amp, but it was definitely was something that nobody was sure where that went or what happened to that."

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/appetite_engineer_recalls_gnr_destroying_apartment_they_lived_in__how_producer_reacted_touches_on_big_controversy_regarding_recording_process.html

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There are also some interesting bits about Axl recording vocals, how many takes he did on each song etc.

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8 hours ago, Blackstar said:

Excerpts from UG:

--------------------------

Asked if he has any wild stories from those days, Micajah replied (transcribed by UG):

"Oh yeah, I'll tell you one. It was a Thursday morning, [producer Mike Clink] came in, he had a call - we were waiting for the band to show up, and he got a call.

"The call was from the manager of the apartment that the band lived in. So he looked at me, he kind of chuckled, and he goes, 'Wanna go for a ride?'...

"So we hopped in his car, we drove up to the apartment, and we got there, the manager was there, and she was just flustered.

"She opened up the door to the apartment and let us proceed, go ahead of her into the apartment, and we walked in there...

"Every single thing made of glass in the apartment was broken. Windows, mirrors, cups, saucers, everything made of glass was broken - the mirror in the bathroom was broken.

"And she was absolutely flipped out, she just didn't know how to handle it all.

"Mike just handled it with great grace, he said, 'Don't worry, the record company will pay for all this stuff to be fixed, we'll take care of all of it. You don't need to worry about it, I'll talk to the guys, find out what's going on.'

"So we drove back to the studio, he just chuckled all the way. He was shaking his head, 'I can't believe that... That's unbelievable.'"

Was anyone of the band in the apartment?

"Well, Slash, Duff [McKagan, bass], Steven [Adler, drums], Axl didn't... They all crashed at that apartment, so I'm not sure who was breaking the stuff.

"It was deserted when we got there. They only used it I think as a kind of a place where they could crash when they were going between the Hollywood and the studio."

It was a long kind of development period with Guns N' Roses, I know they went through a few producers for a year or so. By the time they're working with you, is Axl cutting vocals, or is it just straight-up guitar solos and things like that?

"Well, we started out with rhythm guitars, we did rhythm, then Slash started doing some solos. But the reason why we were doing rhythm is to cut the vocals.

"So we would work during the day cutting the rhythm tracks, and then we would start on solos, and then in the evening Axl would come."

Did they come in separately, like Slash by himself or would he and Izzy [Stradlin, guitar] come in at the same time?

"That was one at a time. I hung out with Slash, it took us at least two and a half, maybe three months for all those guitar parts.

"And then Izzy came in, we did all his parts in probably about three weeks. He seemed to have more focus, and Slash seemed to be experimenting a little bit. And then Axl would just go in and sing."

What kind of mics, were they 57s? And the amp - there was some crazy story of going through a gazillion amps, right?

"Well, I wasn't part of that. They did all that before they came to the studio. When they came to the studio, they showed up with the amp."

It wasn't a JCM 800?

"I think it was the JCM 800 on the outside, but I think it had been modded, so nobody was sure. What the big source of controversy is, nobody is sure what that mod was, nobody can find that amp anymore.

"It was a great-sounding amp, no question about it, just blistering loud and really warm, so it was just a great amp, but it was definitely was something that nobody was sure where that went or what happened to that."

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/appetite_engineer_recalls_gnr_destroying_apartment_they_lived_in__how_producer_reacted_touches_on_big_controversy_regarding_recording_process.html

--------------

There are also some interesting bits about Axl recording vocals, how many takes he did on each song etc.

Interesting to hear another perspective of the Vicky's apartment story.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, MaskingApathy said:

Interesting to hear another perspective of the Vicky's apartment story.

He's talking about the apartment the record company or Alan Niven had rented for them, not Vicky Hamilton's place (that was much earlier).

EDIT: It must have been the "Oakwoods apartment" (as Slash calls it in his book) that Niven had rented for them.

Edited by Blackstar
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6 hours ago, Blackstar said:

He's talking about the apartment the record company or Alan Niven had rented for them, not Vicky Hamilton's place (that was much earlier).

EDIT: It must have been the "Oakwoods apartment" (as Slash calls it in his book) that Niven had rented for them.

But the “manager” in this story is female. Wouldn’t that be Vicky?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, rocknroll41 said:

But the “manager” in this story is female. Wouldn’t that be Vicky?

Except for the manager being a lady, it also fits with the DeMille house that they thrashed while Arnold Stiefel was managing the band: (16) 07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (a-4-d.com)

Stiefel quit over this and sent the bill ($22,000) to Geffen. This was obviously after they had been signed and could have happened after they started recording. Perhaps this place is what Slash refers to as the "Oakwoods apartment"?

Edited by SoulMonster
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Posted (edited)

Yes, the female manager is the apartment manager.

The Demille/Stiefel apartment must have been before they started recording AFD, as Stiefel dropped the band because they trashed the apartment.

Then, according to Slash, Niven rented them an apartment "at the Oakwoods, which are these generic fully furnished complexes all over the world" when they started recording AFD, which they also trashed. Slash says they were thrown out from that apartment while they were recording at Rumbo and then they were staying wherever, but he must be mistaken, because the incident Micajah Ryan is referring to happened during the second phase of recording which took place at Take One studio (Micajah was the engineer there, not at Rumbo).

Slash also says that, for a while, they were banned from all "Oakwoods"* properties in the world.

* I see it's actually called "Oakwood" (without an 's'), not "Oakwoods" as Slash calls it.

https://www.oakwood.com/

 

 

Edited by Blackstar
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He was also the engineer in the Lies session when Patience was recorded. Interestingly, he says other songs were also recorded during that weekend session, but only Patience made the record. I suppose one of those songs must have been Move to the City acoustic.

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10 hours ago, Blackstar said:

He was also the engineer in the Lies session when Patience was recorded. Interestingly, he says other songs were also recorded during that weekend session, but only Patience made the record. I suppose one of those songs must have been Move to the City acoustic.

Lies basically got recorded twice, although originally it was intended for b-sides. I’m pretty sure that session he is referring to is the first one with Patience, the You’re Crazy version that ended up on the Jungle single, Cornchucker and the different versions of Used To Love Her and One In a Million that are floating around. All of which got out there when Alan Niven sold off some stuff. From this first session only the version of Patience ended up on Lies.

This topic came up once before and subsequent to that from what I understand the Locked & Loaded had the dates where some of the Lies sessions were held, showing Patience being recorded before the others.

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2 hours ago, Euchre said:

Lies basically got recorded twice, although originally it was intended for b-sides. I’m pretty sure that session he is referring to is the first one with Patience, the You’re Crazy version that ended up on the Jungle single, Cornchucker and the different versions of Used To Love Her and One In a Million that are floating around. All of which got out there when Alan Niven sold off some stuff. From this first session only the version of Patience ended up on Lies.

This topic came up once before and subsequent to that from what I understand the Locked & Loaded had the dates where some of the Lies sessions were held, showing Patience being recorded before the others.

Yes, he's referring to the first session.

And you're right about the recorded songs. I only vaguely remembered that the topic was discussed, but, thankfully, there's this great work by @zombux

https://www.mygnrforum.com/topic/220883-guns-n-roses-related-studio-sessions-a-definitive-collection-of-available-info/

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On 5/21/2021 at 2:56 PM, Blackstar said:

He's talking about the apartment the record company or Alan Niven had rented for them, not Vicky Hamilton's place (that was much earlier).

EDIT: It must have been the "Oakwoods apartment" (as Slash calls it in his book) that Niven had rented for them.

Oh ok

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What he's saying about the parts being recorded separately seems to contradict what Axl says in the 1987 interview that the instruments were recorded together, and that there is 'bleeding' of instruments into other ones microphones..

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1 hour ago, Nice Boy said:

What he's saying about the parts being recorded separately seems to contradict what Axl says in the 1987 interview that the instruments were recorded together, and that there is 'bleeding' of instruments into other ones microphones..

I don't know where I read it but I know I did somewhere. I read they recorded rhythm guitars, bass and drums for AFD together and then Slash did the leads and Axl did vocals.

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2 minutes ago, SoulMonster said:

I don't pick up on such things.  Free Bird may have told me before, but I also don't remember things :D

I meant, you're not a native speaker? Aren't you the one who makes a4d, or one of them? 
Man, nothing makes sense in this universe any more! 

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7 minutes ago, jamillos said:

I meant, you're not a native speaker? Aren't you the one who makes a4d, or one of them? 
Man, nothing makes sense in this universe any more! 

Hah. Thanks. Yes, but I am not writing that much on A4D, more just piecing together quotes. But I use English in my work and have been doing that for a long time now, and it probably all started when I was trying to understand the lyrics on the back of the Appetite vinyl cover back in 1988. So, thanks Guns N' Roses. 

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2 hours ago, SoulMonster said:

You know what, I hadn't noticed and wasn't aware you weren't English speaking naturally :D. Maybe because I am not, either.

I think I read somewhere on here that you are from northern Europe but I wouldn't have noticed either that you aren't a native english speaker from the way you're writing.

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