Great show today! John from 2loud2oldmusic brought on engineer/mixer/musician/songwriter Ryan Williams for storytime. Though his credits range from pop to metal, we tended to focus our discussion on rock and roll. If you’re a fan of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Slayer, Staind, U2, Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Limp Bizkit, Velvet Revolver, Dave Navarro, or Kelly Clarkson then you’ll want to check this show out.
From starting out in Atlanta, to travelling the world recording epic performances, Ryan Williams has seemingly seen it all and done it all. Recording music on a Tascam 4-track home studio, graduating to two synced 24-tracks machines, to the modern tools of today, Ryan has kept learning. We talked about his beginnings, and working with Brendan O’Brien, all the way to the present day and the imminent release of a Stone Temple Pilots box set for Tiny Music. Ryan even had a little bit of show and tell with some hand-written original Eddie Vedder lyrics.
The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and John Snow
Saturday July 3 – Episode 74 – Ryan Williams
Have you ever had anything with your name on it nominated for a Grammy award? Ryan Williams has — for his work on Train’s Drops of Jupiter, Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger. And we’ll be talking to him about it on Saturday’s LeBrain Train.
Join John Snow and I for this special Saturday episode with a very in-demand engineer. How much demand? Well, besides Stone Temple Pilots, he’s either engineered or mixed for Matt Nathanson, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Staind, Michelle Branch, The Panic Channel, Phil Collen’s Delta Deep, Korn, Static-X, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Biffy Clyro, 10 Years, Atreyu, Mastodon, Billy Idol, P!nk, Sugar Ray, Deftones, Adam Lambert, Coheed & Cambria, The Black Dahlia Murder, Bush, Neon Trees, and Beck. He even has a co-write on a Kelly Clarkson song. Is that enough demand for ya?
This is going to be a great chance for us to pick the brain of a guy who has literally worked with the biggest names in modern music. You do not want to miss this one — catch it live so we can ask Ryan your questions!
No preaching, no lectures. Just personal feelings, regarding another sad rock and roll suicide.
I wasn’t a Linkin Park fan, though I do own the Stone Temple Pilots EP. That’s all irrelevant. I’m a human being, and as a human being, I grieve the loss of one of our own. I don’t know the personal battles that Chester Bennington fought. Nor do I have to. It’s none of my business.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical body. You need both your mind and your body to survive. Injuries and damage to your mental health can be hard to see, even for the one experiencing it. There are resources out there, and there are people to talk to who can help. It’s not necessarily easy to access all the help available and you may need help and guidance to navigate the system. There are other human beings out there who love you. Who need you. There are even strangers willing to help. People who have been through it and understand the pain you may be feeling.
We don’t live in an easy world, or even a friendly one. It is easy to believe you are alone. You are not. You are never alone. Chester Bennington was not alone, but whatever was killing him inside probably made him feel isolated and helpless.
As we mourn yet another great who went long before his time, please try to focus on your own well being. There are other ways to deal with the hurt. Chester Bennington was younger than I am, but he had enough. Many people out there have had enough and don’t think they can take any more. We are all human. We have a tremendous ability to absorb pain but eventually it must be dealt with. There is no shame in it. You are not weak. You are stronger than anyone who hasn’t dealt with what you deal with. The stigma must end. People who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses are not different or abnormal. They are regular human beings just like you. Maybe even more normal than you know.
Apologies in advance to my lovely wife. She really is awesome for letting me do this.
RECORD STORE TALES Part 314: The Musical Crimes of Mrs. LeBrain
As we wind down the Record Store Tales, we get to the point that I met Jen in September 2005. The funny thing about love is the rose-coloured glasses. I don’t remember Jen having such bad taste in music. However, the photographic proof is here. She recently dug up her old Linkin Park CD wallet (!!!) , inside which are many dirty and scratched CDs. Yes, Jen never took proper care of her discs either before we met, it’s true. I can’t even identify some of the filth on her Marilyn Manson CD. Could be coffee.
So here I am, a single Record Store Guy in the fall of ’05, meeting the love of his life…and these are the CDs in her collection. Thankfully we shared a love of bands such as The Beatles and The Darkness too. Even more thankfully, Jen doesn’t listen to Limp Bizkit anymore. (I mean seriously, look at these! She even owns the Limp Bizkit CD without Wes Borland!)
In her defense, I found no Nickelback. What I did find may upset you.
Nothing like NIN and Spice Girls on the same page.
Sometimes, shopping in a music store can be a frustrating experience especially for those who don’t know a lot about music. They might not have a clue what section to find (for example) Linkin Park in. Are they rock? Metal? Alternative? Something else? Somebody who only knows a couple songs might spend a long time walking around aimlessly in a store trying to find Linkin Park.
Sometimes just the simple act of trying to find where Linkin Park is filed alphabetically can be frustrating to the uninitiated. Some people are confused. If Barry Manilow is filed under “M” instead of “B”, why is Linkin Park filed under “L” instead of “P”? This gets even more hard to understand when the band’s name sounds like a person’s name. Max Webster. Pink Floyd. The difficulty is tripled when you’re shopping in a store that has a loose grasp on the alphabet in the first place. Ever shopped at one of the local HMV stores?
Sometimes in order to find something, you might have to get the store employee’s attention. If he or she is busy with customers, please don’t yell across the store. “I can’t find anything in this damn store!” I’ve heard that too many times. Come up to the counter, wait until I’m done giving my full attention to my current customer, and ask. I know some people think they are more important than other customers, but that’s life. Sometimes you have to be patient. And please don’t yell, “Hey, buddy! Little help?”
Here’s a true story: One of my staff members, Matt, was once hailed by a 300 pound Jamaican man with, “YO! WHITE BOY!”
Be clear about what you want to know. For example, a lost customer once had this question for me:
Him: “Who designed your shelves?”
Me, slightly puzzled: “The owner’s dad built them. Why?”
Him: “Well is the owner’s dad dyslexic? Nothing makes any sense! You’ve got B coming after C, everything’s backwards, upside down, I can’t find anything!”
Hey, thanks for the feedback! Here’s how it works – it’s like reading the page of a book! Go across, then down. Across, then down. Across, then down. Then when you’re at the bottom, you go over to the next section! Across, down. Across, down. Across, down. No need to be a dick about it.
For those who get frustrated finding music in a record store, I offer you these three tips:
1.Before you get too frustrated and feel like blowing your lid, ask. Ask in a clear, reasonably polite manner.
2. If all the staff is otherwise busy with customers, wait your turn. Don’t yell, don’t interrupt, don’t get yourself all worked up over a CD.
3.If the store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, don’t tell the staff that they or their store sucks. Some kid making minimum wage doesn’t care what you think.
Following these three simple tips will make your shopping experience that much more efficient, stress-free, and pleasant. You might even want to say “thanks” for the staff’s help. Saying thanks will help ensure a better experience next time you come in.
A few months ago, I did a video review of one of my favourite Transformers toys, Soundblaster aka Soundwave.
Linkin Park must dig him too. Check out this article at Seibertron.com, for a full gallery of Botcon 2013 photos of the official Soundwave – Linkin Park Edition figure! It’s really cool looking. The set contains recoloured G1 Soundwave, Ravage, Ratbat, and Lazerbeak figures, all done up in gold. According to the Linkin Park website, Joe Hahn is behind the colour choice. Only 2000 will be made.
I don’t like Linkin Park too much, but Mrs. LeBrain does so I’ve heard a lot of their albums. I did like their singer Chester Bennington, I thought he had amazing pipes. It was more the rapping and the samples I didn’t like. I always kind of wished Chester was in a band that I liked.
I do like Stone Temple Pilots though, and “Out of Time” sounds like Stone Temple Pilots! It sounds like the young STP, when Weiland could really wail. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Scott’s voice is simply not what it once was, but Chester is in his prime. And the song is great! Solid riff, powerful sound. If it lacks any of Scott’s swagger, the track makes up for it with Chester’s lungs. It’s just great to hear Eric Kretz and Robert & Dean DeLeo rocking behind such a strong song. Album and a tour? Sure. My interest is peaked.
The Great Change happened around the turn of the millennium.
Prior to that, CD sales were fast and furious. DVD sales had begun to replace VHS sales. We still carried blank cassette tapes. Not too many people were downloading music. Most people weren’t even connected to the internet yet. I still had friends who would come over to use it, and I only got it in mid ’98.
Then I noticed a change. Cassette sales dwindled while requests for blank CD’s increased. Initially we resisted carrying blank CD’s. We thought by doing so, we would be unintentionally killing a CD sale. Eventually we began carrying blank discs, when they started dropping in price. They, they took off. We started hearing about Napster. And Metallica. Metallica fans began selling off their discs.
I remember one guying coming in with a great selection of Metallica discs. All the albums, plus the Live Sh*t box set.
“Wow, this is a great Metallica collection you have here,” I commented as I went through the discs.
“Thanks. I’m selling them because of that fucking asshole Lars. I ripped them all to my computer and now he can go fuck himself.”
I’ll never forget that because at first I felt like, “Well, that doesn’t really do anything to Lars, you already paid for the discs and gave him your money,” but I guess it was the principle of the thing. People were really pissed off. And that represented a huge change. People always bitched about CD prices. $24 for a regularly priced disc, that’s a lot of money. I used to get two albums for that money in 1986. There’d never been a satisfactory answer as to why a kid had to pay $24.99 for the new Judas Priest in 1998. And believe me, it wasn’t the stores ripping off the kids. The margin we made on new CDs could barely be called profit.
Over the next five years, I watched CD prices and sales drop, while we were forced to diversify in order to stay alive. We had already been carrying DVD’s. We started carrying McFarlane dolls. They were cool, but a lot of them were really limited. For example, for Kiss, we only got one Eric Carr, and two Aces. People would want the whole set, but all you’d have left was Paul and Gene.
Then bobble-heads came (which I hate, I absolutely hate bobble-heads). Then Osbournes family toys. Trivia games. Simpsons toys. Clocks. Posters. Books. Hats. CD wallets with a Linkin Park logo on them. Anything we could make a reasonable buck on, even if it was only marginally related to what we did, like the Simpsons toys. (We carried DVD’s, so Simpsons was marginally related.) Then we’d knock down whatever wasn’t selling to clearance prices, and try something else.
The only tangent that was really successful was Xbox and Playstation games. We had so many requests, and physically a game is identical to a CD or DVD, so games were a no brainer. People asked for them all the time. We had to educate ourselves from the ground up on game pricing and we jerry-rigged a way in our computer system to inventory them. However to me, the scent of decay was in the air. Because downloading had killed such a huge chunk of our music sales, the stores were nothing like the way I remembered.
Working in a store selling video games and bobble-heads wasn’t the dream job that started me on this path. I was always there for one reason: the music!