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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 08:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Check out this interview with Mack from the Brian May site...

http://www.izotope.com/artists/reinhold_mack.asp


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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 08:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

LOL, I wonder what Brian thinks about Mack's comment that he easily gets lost in insignificant details when the first rush of creativity is over. Funny part, that.

Jan

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 08:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's interesting, some of those insignificant details are what makes Queen unique, and they were sadly lacking in the Mack albums, I do love many of the tracks as they were brilliantly recorded, but I think restraining Brian was not always the best way. I am sure he can get totally lost in the detail, but that's no bad thing unless you have an urgent deadline.


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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 09:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You mean like on "The Prophet's Song"? I'm really not sure if that was possible in the 80's, with Hammer To Fall, Tear It Up, Gimme The Prize, I Want It All or Headlong coming up. Brian didn't seem to be into those 70's details anymore, nor did anyone else in the group. But blaming Mack for it would be like blaming Bob Rock for making Metallica sound soft first and strange later (from the Black Album to St.Anger). The last word is the artist's, and they could always complain, which they surely did.
On the other hand Mack says he would always decide things faster than the band did, so a lot of decisions could be made solely by him. I don't think that's a bad thing though. Other than many fans, I love Queen both in the 70's and 80's. They've chosen the producers they wanted, from Baker to Mack to Richards, and they all contributed to Queen, but the band was what it was because of its members, I think. And they had already moved away from the rich opera multitracks to simpler sounds on News of the World or Jazz. You couldn't release Queen II in 1986, right?
And being cheeky, you have to admit, Brian doesn't care about deadlines with his solo albums. Back To The Light took about 12 years to make. Haha. So much for getting lost in details. ;-)

Jan

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 09:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No. I don't really mean turning tracks into mini opera's etc, I guess I mean some of the more subtle things that go on within the tracks, the songs from that period are much more one dimensional compared to say Innuendo or Made in Heaven.

It's a style I guess, I don't blame mack I like the albums but to me they are not as strong as finished songs as many Queen have done before or since, take something like Put our the fire, or Dancer, both tracks have an almost unfinished feel compared to other Queen songs like say Mother Love, I know you are dealing with different styles, it's just that those albums seem rushed compared to others.


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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 10:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

At the bottom of the interview, it has a link to Nightjar, LLC. http://www.nightjarco.com/

Among many other projects listed (lots of anime), Nightjar worked on the Freddie Mercury Box Set and the DTS version of The Game.

Anyone know if this one of Roger's companies? Is he affiliated with it in any way or even funding it?




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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 10:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't believe it is the same company, this one is based in LA and Rogers company is in the UK, Rogers is Nightjar Productions which he uses for a number of business activities including his solo releases and other artists from time to time. This company seem to be more based on technology for producing DVD's etc.



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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 18:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree with Queen's 80's music w/ Mack. Nowhere near the quality as 70's stuff, or News of the World or Jazz, which were toned-down Queen records. Game, Hot Space, Works, Magic just don't have a whole lot of feel in them compared to Queen thru News. THe 80's albums were albums of singles and the 70's albums were albums of songs. Queen were 2 different bands: 1 band in the 70's (better in my opinion) and 1 band in the 80's (too commercial and not hitting the mark enough sometimes).


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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 19:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Although I love the Mack years stuff, I do have to agree that it seems this is when something happened and some depth was lost.. I hate to say it's just the well-known transition to more "pop" music, but it fits.

Even as late as "Jazz" there were some songs that were very complex and sorta told stories. Starting with Mack & "The Game" (nearly) everything got sorta simple for awhile. More of the easily digestable pop song types than songs that painted mental pictures and told stories. But you can hear Brian's songs trying to hold on to that, and it makes sense that perhaps he had to struggle to get those produced.

"Am I making sense?" :-P

I can imagine Freddie by this time having an idea, giving it a go and wanting to get it done in an efficient way so he could move on, whilst Brian might want to explore the possibilities more and take longer to get something more meaningful out of his songs (meaning no offense to Freddie). I think Freddie changed.. he sorta sped up and lost the patience that he used to have. His own words document this.

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 19:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I wouldn't go that far, saying Freddie's songs were just supposed to be efficient (remember Freddie asking Mack if a song was good, and he said yes, and then Freddie would change a chord or two and smiled and knew it was better now).
I understand it when you look at Mr Bad Guy, but those songs were just usual productions at that time, like the 70's songs were that too.

There's no need to keep bashing Queen for what they did in the 80's. Can you imagine A Night At The Opera being a debut album by some band called Queen in 1985? Impossible! What is that with the songs band and the hits band. Guess what are hits? Songs that very many people enjoy. I enjoy them too. People should try and listen to the music more in the context of its time, they would like the songs much more. Those are the guys who would have wanted the Millionaire Waltz or Flick of the Wrist to be played on the Magic Tour, ignoring that they indeed played Seven Seas of Rhye and In The Lap Of The Gods revisited. Freddie himself kept saying that "a lot of good songs aren't being played live because it just wouldn't work".

However, there are two points. One being Mack and Freddie working together. They were close friends, Freddie was even the godfather of one of Mack's sons. And remember on The Untold Story...Mack first "he's a genius" and then Freddie "he's a genius". Mack replaced the input of the other four on Mr Bad Guy. But when you look at the production footage of One Vision, do you see Mack being a dictator or wasting anything? Now who are we to complain about the music? They enjoyed making it. And if you don't like Queen in the 80's, go and listen to Bros or Rick Astley.

Albums are written by a band or their individual members. Mack did not write Dancer, Staying Power, Radio Gaga, A Kind Of Magic or even Another One Bites The Dust. The band did. And producing an album of singles is far-fetched. You never know if a song becomes a hit, but if it does, someone must have done something right. Mack himself says a lot in this interview about how Hot Space is a good album. Easily digestable is a term typical for the 80's. How could you expect the band to produce ANATO or Queen II all over again? Just to stick to the roots? They did. In the context of their time. Including the producer.

Second point: when you don't like Mack and his productions ("you" not meaning anyone on here personally), when you don't like Queen in the 80's, have you tried to compare? There are "Mack-songs" and "Richards-songs" on the same album, A Kind Of Magic! Do you tend to enjoy Richards' songs more? I mean, Mr Bad Guy is not the greatest album ever, but is that because of Mack or because generally music in the 80's was strange? He had a great input. But then again, most of Roger's solo records are crap too. IMO.

Now wonder what Queen in the 90's would have been like, as a band, with all that Nirvana/Prodigy/Smashing Pumpkins/Radiohead stuff happening everywhere. They couldn't stay out of pop in the 70's either (Somebody To Love, Don't Stop Me Now, You're My Best Friend, Bicycle Race...). Greatest Hits I is full of little pop hits. Why they were hits? See above. Failure of Roy Thomas Baker? Think again.

Jan

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 23:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jan78 that was an awesome post, thank you. I read the Mack interview, also surprised he considers Hot Space a strong effort. He makes a good point about technology, as several classic rock bands experienced success when first involving keyboard arrangements on radio singles. And, Mack worked on Megadeth and Marty Friedman material as well. Thanks!

However, other bands I'm aware RTB worked with--The Cars and Devo for example-- were very visual. Maybe Queen kept this part of the 70s material, imho, with films like Flash Gordon and Iron Eagle and Highlander. Queen's rebirth in 1985 on the heel of the fabulous Live Aid performance, and the guitar-oriented tune "One Vision," made a statement in and of itself about songwriting, taking them back to their 70s style.

So I settle on David Richards being a happy medium between Queen and the styles of the other producers, like other posters in this thread state, the orchestral styles in the early albums show a real force of melodic aggression-- as in solos from Great King Rat, March of the Black Queen, and Stone Cold Crazy. What works live is also shown in Roger's first thoughts on AOBTD, but changing his mind when first hearing the crowd's reaction to it being played live.

It's true that some of my favorite Queen songs are from the David Richards era, and while there are a few Mack tunes included, the Roy Thomas Baker albums still sound fresh from start to finish.


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Posted: 02 Nov 06, 05:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks. Just another thought. When you think about Queen's changes in style and the producers...how much would you say are external influences involved. The boys growing up and out of the camp/gayish songs (See What A Fool I've Been studio recording, anyone?)...Queen feeling they've come to a limit with Roy Thomas Baker, trying new directions... And you know, they have changed really. They have changed with the music like the world around them. New York, Los Angeles...Munich? The parties, the big stadium concerts in South America. I think I remember Brian said, they heard their songs in a club (The Shack or whatever) and after that wanted to change their sound. And around that time, Mack appeared on the scene, made Crazy Little Thing Called Love and a lot after that.
When Freddie's life slowed down and they all got a bit more mature as a band because of the general atmosphere in the band, you had Barcelona and you had The Miracle and Innuendo. David Richards was there because he was working for the Mountain Studios anyway. Which are in Switzerland which is not exactly Munich or New York. I think that changed the writing and production more than a producer really can. Montreux compared to Munich is in my opinion very responsible for mentioned changes, not so much Mack or David Richards. I think there are a couple of factors in here. Bands change and with them does their music and with that come new producers.
I'm sure that is the reason why Queen dropped Roy Thomas Baker or why Metallica dropped Bob Rock. And sometimes bands want to get back to their roots and want to rely on the producer of that time because he knows best what the band wanted at that time, like U2 with Steve Lillywhite.
But people who miss the old operatic Queen with all those choires...I recommend Barcelona really. It's from the 80's, believe it or not.

Jan

PS: What Mack considers his influence, comes out clearly in this interview though:
- "They were set in their ways like pensioners. Their credo was, "this is how we are used to doing things."
- "The idea was less is more, and it worked pretty well. The band would have never contemplated going about recording in this manner, ever."
- "Keeping the focus and direction was difficult at the best of times with this mixture of personalities. Getting a track finished was the prime goal, not the flavor."
Now with this attitude, you can't imagine them working on something like Bohemian Rhapsody for 3 weeks alone without recording any other song at this time.

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Posted: 02 Nov 06, 10:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I was going to post this interview when I got my izotope newsletter. It's just a little bit interesting. But really, a little boring and I'm usually totally into these things.

Adam.

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Posted: 02 Nov 06, 13:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Mack's productions were, in one of the phrases Brian and Roger use over and over again in DVD commentary, "of its time."

If you listen to Jazz -- produced by Queen with Roy Thomas Baker -- you will hear a lot of the same minimized, stripped-down production you will hear in The Game. It's guitar-bass-drums-piano, with maybe an overdubbed guitar or three, and vocals. What sort of got me down in the later albums is, instead of Brian and Roger and Freddie doing vocals, it will be one of the three overdubbed by himself. And that you can hear in a lot of the later albums, post-Mack.

What I admire most about the Mack interview, actually, is that he stands by Hot Space. I took a listen to some of it today, and if you listen to songs like "Calling All Girls," that's some great production. Much more sonically interesting to me than, say, "Delilah," which to my ears sounds like a charming demo.



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Posted: 03 Nov 06, 18:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Daniel Nester wrote:

It's guitar-bass-drums-piano, with maybe an overdubbed guitar or three, and vocals


Um, thats what Queen did, guitar, bass, piano and drums... me don't understand how thats evident of Jazz being stripped down, News of the world was more stripped down than Jazz. Jazz really was a sllight return to over the top production. I'd say it was over the top production that was mindful of not going too far or becoming a caricature of their past work.

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Posted: 05 Nov 06, 07:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

well I don't agree with Jan 78 at all. Mack's production sounds very dated now, the detail was lost, the drums sounded horrible, the synths sounded awful at times. Mack has to accept part responsiblity for The Game and Hot Space, Queen's poorest albums. It's no conicidence that The Miracle and Innuendo were produced without him and thank goodness. The man had no understanding of what makes Queen's sound good.


hj
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Posted: 06 Nov 06, 00:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Asterik wrote:

well I don't agree with Jan 78 at all. Mack's production sounds very dated now, the detail was lost, the drums sounded horrible, the synths sounded awful at times. Mack has to accept part responsiblity for The Game and Hot Space, Queen's poorest albums. It's no conicidence that The Miracle and Innuendo were produced without him and thank goodness. The man had no understanding of what makes Queen's sound good.
The game sounds dated now?...according to who?...The game was one of their biggest and loved albums ever, so mack doesn't have to take responsibily for shit. I agree with everything jan78 said and disagree with everything asterik had to say.

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Posted: 06 Nov 06, 15:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I never cared for "Mack's" producing skills. His sound tended to be flat and condenced. I always wonder what they later albums would have sounded like if Roy Thomas Baker had been there producer all the way through like George Martin with "The Beatles".



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Posted: 06 Nov 06, 15:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The game sounds dated now?...according to who?...The game was one of their biggest and loved albums ever, so mack doesn't have to take responsibily for shit. I agree with everything jan78 said and disagree with everything asterik had to say.


Good for you! You're wrong of course. Rock It Prime Jive's synths sound like a microwave bleeping and the drum sound has a thin early eighties feel that lacks substance. All of the lovely nuances are gone, the vocal harmonies, the little percussion touches that you can hear on ANATO and Innuendo, replaced by unsubtle wide spaces. Just listen to Machines on The Works, horrible dated synth trash that Mack programmed may I add. What about the phone bleeps on Dancer, the weak percussion on body Language? Mack played his part in destroying the hallmarks of Queen's sound.


hj
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Posted: 06 Nov 06, 16:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm surprised to see Machines get a bad rap considering it's one of the best tracks on The Works album.

But what annoys me are the people that try to blame Mack saying he "played his part" in ruining Queen's sound. HUH! Fact is, if Queen didn't like what he did, then it's their fault because it comes down to whether they liked what Mack brought to their sonic table. Fact is, if you don't like Mack's style, then it's your opinion. But to say that HE played his part in ruining Queen's sound, no no no! It was up to Queen to do whatever they wanted and that means you can't blame anyone else.

My view would've been different a year ago before recording my friend's band. Queen chose to work with him. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean you can blame him for what Queen wanted.


And imo, The Game is a great sounding album. Lastly, Asterik, drop the "you're wrong" bit because, we're supposed to have opinions on things here. This is why you can dislike what Mack brings to the overall sound, while another person can like it. No one's wrong in what they personally think, which is why mike said that he doesn't "agree" with you.

Adam.