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Toby Wright Interview

Posted on 11/30/2012
The Decibel Geek podcast has released Episode 61 Interview with record producer/engineer Toby Wright. In this episode Chris and Aaron sit down for an in-depth, engaging conversation with Wright about his multi-platinum, award-winning career that includes projects with artists such as Metallica, KISS, Motley Crue, Korn, Alice in Chains, and Ozzy Osbourne among many others. Jar of Flies, the acoustic-based 1994 EP from Alice in Chains, was a pivotal release for the "Grunge" era as it proved that there was more to this new genre from the Pacific Northwest than overdriven, sludgy guitars and doom & gloom vocals. Toby Wright's involvement in this album, as well as its creation, was a very organic thing. In this discussion you will hear Toby's memories of how all parties involved went from zero preparation to writing, producing, and mixing a full EP in just 10 days. Jar of Flies has since gone on to sell over 4 million copies and remains one of the most relevant releases of the early 1990's. Toby Wright was right in the middle of burgeoning genre of nu-metal in the mid to late 1990's with his work with bands like Sevendust (Home, 1999) and Korn on their massively successful 1998 release Follow the Leader. Wright remembers being aware of what he wanted to do with Korn's sound right away. "Personally, I thought that the sound was a little sloppy. I was looking to make it bigger and fatter." Raising Korn's production level with a thicker, deeper sound, Wright's work paid huge dividends and Follow the Leader caused Korn to explode in popularity and has gone on to sell over 14 millions copies. Some projects that Toby Wright was involved in have been mired in controversy from fan circles and in this long-form discussion, he shares his take on some long-running rumors and speculation. In 2005, Ozzy Osbourne's camp released the Prince of Darkness box set. This package was intended to be all-encompassing of Osbourne's career and included studio tracks, live tracks, b-sides, demos, duets, and cover songs. Toby Wright was brought in to produce the new material for the box set. In this discussion, Wright remembers back on Ozzy's displeasure over the speed at which the basic tracks were prepared and the encounter with Sharon Osbourne that led to his dismissal from the project. Slayer's 1994 Divine Intervention album is discussed in this interview with Wright reflecting on Tom Araya's thought process in the lyrical composition as well as the painstaking process of mixing the album numerous times to make Slayer and American Records owner Rick Rubin happy. One longstanding question among Metallica fans is in regards to the bass sound, or absence thereof, on the ...And Justice for All album in 1988. Rumors have abounded over the years that then-new bass player Jason Newsted was enduring a rough hazing by guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich as the reason for the burying of Newsted's bass tracks. Toby sets the record straight on this rumor and also looks back on the grueling hours spent as an engineer on this album perfecting Ulrich's drum parts; "We actually walked out of the studio with about 45 seconds worth of recorded music per day. 6 months to do drums, my friend." We finish things off with a heavy discussion of two KISS albums that Wright was involved in; the polarizing Crazy Nights (as an engineer) and Carnival of Sous (as producer). Crazy Nights, released in 1987, seemed to be the apex of Paul Stanley and co. chasing trends. Featuring pop-friendly hooks and over-the-top guitar acrobatics from lead guitarist Bruce Kulick, Crazy Nights was a bold attempt to take KISS back to the forefront of the musical mainstream. With slick production, catchy songwriting, and top-notch production courtesy of Wright's engineering and Ron Nevison's production; the album had all of the ingredients needed to be a hit. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be as KISS had a hard time shaking their previous reputation as an old arena act and longtime fans of the band were turned off by the slick sound of the album. In this interview, Wright recalls his time working on the album, his history with Ron Nevison (over 25 albums together) and fondly remembers his brief time working with the late Eric Carr; "He was just an amazing dude. I remember laughing quite hard in the studio a few times." Finishing off the interview is an in-depth discussion of the 1997-released (but 1995-recorded) Carnival of Souls album. This album will always be somewhat of an anomaly in the KISS canon due to the circumstances in which it was made. Recorded as the follow-up to the critically successful Revenge album from 1992, Carnival of Souls featured KISS going a much darker route. In this conversation, Toby Wright shares his memories of making this album, its material, his take on the fans' opinions of it as well as Paul Stanley's not-so-kind words on it. Wright was also present in the studio the day that the final offer for KISS to reunite came through and shares his memory of Gene Simmons breaking the news to Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer and their reactions. Before we go, we get a quick take on Toby Wright's attitudes and opinions about the music industry today, what he thinks of the do-it-yourself state of recording, what he looks for in a band, and details about current and future projects. Toby Wright's full discography and news of current and upcoming projects is available at www.tobywrightmusic.com The Decibel Geek Podcast is a free classic rock and heavy metal music discussion podcasts. New episodes are available weekly and all episodes are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, as well as the official Decibel Geek Podcast website at www.decibelgeek.com Direct Link to Episode: http://traffic.libsyn.com/dbgeekshow/Episode_61_-_Toby_Wright.mp3
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