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  #41  
Old 03-22-2024, 05:23 PM
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I must emphasize here, tracking live and recording is 2 days job if you want. But crafting songs together, after normally someone brings a rough acoustic demo, is a band's main principle of doing creative music together. Jovi was like that at least until after KTF. Since Crush, and especially since Lost Highway it's more of a Jon (and Richie) doing everything with Tico expected to to the usual simple beat. But after Shanks got power and band grew old, I am convinced that on majority of songs samples are used to mimic Tico (and the rest of the band), and then band comes to "mimic" those samples when recording. And even then, some of programmed stuff gets to the record, which is not a per se problem for me. Problem is this lack of any fluidity you get this way. Same old boring drum track, same old pattern of Jon's chords perfectly alligned to the tempo on point, means the same old washed pattern. This is especially evident in singles, why though beats me as they are boring and never succesful. In fact, Lost Highway, Born to Follow, What about now, This house, now Legendary, are completely the same in this sense. You can replace the band in the background with AI elevator music following basic chords and structure and noone would notice. Is it Jon's fault? Absolutely. Why is it Jon's fault? Because he lets Shanks do it like that
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Old 03-22-2024, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bonjovi_cro View Post
Sorry but it's not a theory and it's not explicitly meant as Tico is not on a final recording, but no way Tico was present while that album was made and crafted. And this is not a new story, it's like that since Crush at least, with varying degrees. They even bragged that for House album they (finally) got together to craft some songs (again, in minority). Ofc Tico in the end recorded, but that transcipt proves that much of the sampled stuff still found a way to a record. Admittedly, in 2013 samples were not good enough. Today? It's harder to find a popular metal band or a pop artist for that fact that records their own drummer (just as an example). So yes, I stand by what I said, that record is half assed Jon with half assed demos given to Shanks to "produce", read finish them, arrange them and finally record them with a band in the least timeframe possible. His choices along the way define that album as the worst produced and arranged album of Jovi's discography
There's video footage of Tico recording the drums for It's My Life alone in the studio so again I ask, why is this different? The drum sample stuff has been present since Destination Anywhere and used off and on. My point is it's not new. And if you have beef of something that's been happening since 1997, complaining about it it still in 2024, I don't know!

"Same old boring drum track, same old pattern of Jon's chords perfectly alligned to the tempo on point, means the same old washed pattern. This is especially evident in singles, why though beats me as they are boring and never succesful. In fact, Lost Highway, Born to Follow, What about now, This house, now Legendary, are completely the same in this sense."

Born to Follow was recorded live in the studio with overdubs added later so they weren't all recorded the same. Some are one instrument at a time, some are mostly live tracks and tweaked as they go. But success has nothing to do with how they are recorded. It's incredibly naive to think any normal person can tell "oh this was recorded by a split band and that's why I don't like it". That stuff is all in our heads and does not factor into song likability and chart success.

"So yes, I stand by what I said, that record is half assed Jon with half assed demos given to Shanks to "produce", read finish them, arrange them and finally record them with a band in the least timeframe possible." Even after reading song writing started with Shanks in 2011 with the majority of the album recorded January through August of 2012 and still sticking with your theory, I don't think we're going to change each others minds and that's fine. I don't care for the album much either and at least that we can agree on!
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  #43  
Old 03-22-2024, 07:37 PM
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There's video footage of Tico recording the drums for It's My Life alone in the studio so again I ask, why is this different? The drum sample stuff has been present since Destination Anywhere and used off and on. My point is it's not new. And if you have beef of something that's been happening since 1997, complaining about it it still in 2024, I don't know!

"Same old boring drum track, same old pattern of Jon's chords perfectly alligned to the tempo on point, means the same old washed pattern. This is especially evident in singles, why though beats me as they are boring and never succesful. In fact, Lost Highway, Born to Follow, What about now, This house, now Legendary, are completely the same in this sense."

Born to Follow was recorded live in the studio with overdubs added later so they weren't all recorded the same. Some are one instrument at a time, some are mostly live tracks and tweaked as they go. But success has nothing to do with how they are recorded. It's incredibly naive to think any normal person can tell "oh this was recorded by a split band and that's why I don't like it". That stuff is all in our heads and does not factor into song likability and chart success.

"So yes, I stand by what I said, that record is half assed Jon with half assed demos given to Shanks to "produce", read finish them, arrange them and finally record them with a band in the least timeframe possible." Even after reading song writing started with Shanks in 2011 with the majority of the album recorded January through August of 2012 and still sticking with your theory, I don't think we're going to change each others minds and that's fine. I don't care for the album much either and at least that we can agree on!
I think there's a misunderstanding as we're not talking about the same thing. It's hard to get your point across in few paragraphs. I'll start with conclusions. My point is there's a significant Shanks' culpability in both how modern Jovi sound and in production quality of modern Jovi albums. Your conclusion is there isn't Shanks culpability (correct me if I got that wrong).

If you attack my conclusion through relativization and say that it doesn't matter that Shanks personally is involved, cause Jon would just take another yes man instead and all would be the same or very similar, I would say that is a fair point. It is probably wishful thinking that anything would be different. Reasons why Shanks is here are the same in why Jon will not let him go, and why another producer would behave very similarly. But it's a discussion board and we can share counterfactuals and/or hope that somebody (perhaps by Jon's mistake) get hired and forces the band to do their absolute best (and then gets fired, why not). I mean, we are here to share.

All of this doesn't change the fact that Shanks oversaw worst and least successful records in Jovi catalogue. As he is here (and not some other yesman), I choose to criticize him (and Jon for that part) and not just resign to "it is what it is". I do not put all the blame on him, in fact all the blame is on Jon, but after the fact its' Jon's decision, I concentrate on Shanks and his role. But I respect that you do not, it is just a stance, not a factual disagreement.

Now, with the part about producing a music record, we are not talking about same things, you are not wrong, but please let me clarify. With usual caveats that every producer and every record are somewhat different, there are general guidelines in making a record. These start with songwriters, their pen, instrument and notebook. In our case, Jon with a guitar and bottle of wine late nights in his mansion and/or Jon, Shanks (and Richie) in same safe space going for it. This part I cannot have any problems with.

Second part is introducing the band to your idea (it can be scratch idea as one riff, or one riff and a verse, or complete song structure on acoustic guitar, whatever, it depends from band to band and from song to song; there are bands that just jam and something comes out of it, I would argue Jovi was never that band, though less important for the argument). BUT, this part is very important in how Shanks dealt and influenced the Jovi sound by enabling more comfortable and easy ways to do it. (and when I say Shanks, it can be whatever yesman since Crush, but this is exactly my point).

I will explain, but let me digress. Great records are made when bands and artists are pushed to the limit. When they are young, the sheer energy and talent needs to be guided by producer and then magic happens. When older, it can be even harder to get it out, due to energy and inspiration rather depleted. In any case, magic does not happen with "recording" of the record, but in the way there is a unique blend of band member's talents and visions in assembling the record. In Jovi's case those were Jon and Richie's way of writing and using harmonies, with in my opinion, key influence of producers in band's heyday.

Regarding recording (last phase), sometimes it can take hundreds and thousands of seperate takes in studio, but also not a rule, there are songs and bands that proud themselves of doing it in live studio setting, with minor subtle mistakes naturally creeping in the record themselves. Both are valid ways. To record drums alone is how it was done since 60's at least. To use samples or plugins, it is very common and again, valid choice, nothing wrong with that even for a rock band IMO. Same for any kind of overdubs. I emphasize, RECORDING the record is not the point of my argument. Recording is done one way or the other, but obviously with a band that knows material, normally doing first tracking with a click, and only then doing candidates for final takes. There's nothing here that Shanks does bad or relatively different than state of the art of music industry.

My main problem with modern Jovi is the way how the band gets introduced in the process. And I'm not naive in thinking that in 1988 Tico or Alec wereinstrumental in doing harmonics of bridge for several songs, I'm not stretching the argument to extremes, it was always mostly Jon and Richie doing the demo and then to other guys. But here comes the crucial job of a good, overall producer. He would try and emphasize the magic of a band working together, sometimes going more to details, sometimes backing off. But he would use the band. Most extreme example is Bob Rock producing KTF, and making the whole band go crazy for several months.

If you believe that Shanks does that no differently, okay believe. I cannot force this as there is no way it's coming from him and the band, we have no objective source whatsoever and yes, in the very end, this would be a speculation, but I'm not talking out of my a**. It is evident that with Shanks, more than ever, he takes Jon's (and Jon's and his) demoed takes on acoustic guitar and puts a programmed simple drum track on it. Then they proceed to finish it by adding or subtracking time for solo, changing chords for bridge, deciding on one more or less verse, etc. When song is kind of ready, he takes Jon in the studio and brings vocals onto programmed tracks of drums, keys, bass, all because they are programmed, its' all bland, middle of the road, cause you desperately need musicians to give it life. Afterwards, he ofc introduces the band. And then, modern Jovi does not get it done like in the past, precisely because they are comfortable and not pushed.

Main problem is exactly this timing. The process of arranging and finishing songs can take (and does take) months, and if you only introduce the band in the very late stage of it, you are making duds of songs, elevator music always with the same rythmic and chord patterns. And even more painful, it is bi-directional: it influences the way they write songs in the first place.
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  #44  
Old 03-22-2024, 07:37 PM
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You even have a very revealing paragraph from the article you linked (and also take in mind this is Shanks POV and he will tilt to the side he deems necessary, but nontheless revealing and making the point more clear):

""Jon and Richie would come to my house, and after the songs were written, or occasionally as a starting point, we'd start programming beats and they'd play guitar, while I played guitars, bass and keyboards, and programmed loops in Logic. We laid the foundations of the arrangements for many songs in that way, with help from my engineer, Paul Lamalfe, and the album's engineer Dan Chase. That was fun, because we could experiment with different sounds and arrangements, and we could then live with the songs for a bit, and revisit them and improve them. We'd later go to the various studios, where we'd record one or two songs at a time, and then we'd add overdubs. With some of the songs for which we did programming, we overdubbed the drums to the programming, but there were also many songs that the band cut from scratch. We'd have done the demo, and would then start again, recording it with the band playing just to a click, and build a new arrangement from there. I might play guitar with them"

Also, here:

"The laptop plays a central role in Shanks' songwriting and arranging because, he explains, "it has many of my favourite soft synths, like Lennar Digital Sylenth, Absynth, Nexus, all Tone2 stuff, especially Gladiator, the Rob Papen synths, Kontakt, and the Arturia synths, all of which I play with my Pro Control controller. I find Logic easy to use because of its drag-and-drop functions, and I can play something on a guitar or keyboard and it's very straightforward to loop it. It's very knucklehead. I get my initial ideas in Logic and when it's up and running I'll put it into Pro Tools. I'll also use a MIDI Time Piece to lock Logic up to Pro Tools, and I'll get beats going in Logic, or use the Absynth, and my Logic rig will then be like an alternate keyboard rig, because I know where all my sounds and sequencer parts are in it.”

To conlude, my point is that the problem of modern Jovi is that songs get crafted and finalized at the intersection of Jon and Shanks, with stale pre-programmed drums and instruments that perfectly coallign with Jon's laziness or comfortability in this way. Band is normally, with some exceptions, introduced very late and there is no point in Tico saying "I want drums differently" on every song. Hence, songs are subpar in average. They are more reflections of Shanks talent than the Bon Jovi's talent. I am not contending that Shanks is lazy or not working hard, but I am contending that I didn't fall in love with his take on Jovi music, but with the band doing the best they can.
But if you believe there was a band Bon Jovi with all its members for several months recording in the studio for long hours (as was in fact, situation with Bob Rock and KTF), then we must kindly disagree on that. However Shanks frames it, that is just not true.

EDIT: I'm not implying anything would change without Richie's absence. Same pattern existed until 2013. Jovi was never too much outside the formula band, it never had wild passages ala Tool or whatever, I'm not going to extremes. And it's completely possible that the pool just dried up. But because I refuse to believe that, there is a sense of hope that band has some of it's magic in the reservoir. But it stays in the reservoir in part due to Shanks overwhelming role of producer, songwriter, arranger, and comfort and safe zone provider. Couple that with a fact there is 0 reason that Tico or Hugh or David or Phil X would constantly nag Jon let's do it differently, we have what we have. I think it's the role of producer to get the best of the band, and not the role of band to push the producer, but feel free to disagree
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  #45  
Old 03-23-2024, 01:34 AM
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By the way, the Offspring's guitar player had this to say about Bob Rock a couple days ago:

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Rock has already produced several albums for Offspring, starting with "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace", from 2008. "He already knows us well and knows how to get the best out of us. He's a demanding guy, who keeps pushing us to do things It's always the best. Sometimes we record a chorus and we're happy with it, but Bob comes in and says, 'Are you sure? What if we did it another way? Shall we try it?' That's really good for us."
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Old 03-23-2024, 02:12 AM
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By the way, the Offspring's guitar player had this to say about Bob Rock a couple days ago:
I have great respect for Bob Rock, hell, I think he's the best of the best in business from my generation or point of view. But then again, is he hungry enough still? Is Bon Jovi hungry enough? The answers may be positive, but they are for sure not absolute as in the past when Bob Rock was making the name for himself, and Jon Bon Jovi was proving that he can at the same time survive grunge movement, as well as make a great rock record with a band faced with adversity. I respect them both, but both are old men with everything accomplished.

I wish a miracle happens and something stings Jon (and Bob Rock if possible) to join again and do something different; but its' more about Jon then anybody else in the end. It's true, it's not that Shanks blocks it, it's just that Jon is now comfortable and its' really too late for hits. Bob Rock would be perfect for The Circle. With his and Desmond's work, I would put Brokenpromiseland (Shanks cowrote also btw) as first single with heavy (non political) promotion. I bet it would get to other rock music fans, cohort that Jon always deemed subpar. If not a hit, at least a good song (unlike any other single Jovi placed since then)
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Old 03-23-2024, 12:23 PM
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By the way, the Offspring's guitar player had this to say about Bob Rock a couple days ago:
great quote, that's exactly the point I was trying to get across about Bob
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Old 03-30-2024, 12:12 AM
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https://web.archive.org/web/20051231...&news_id=96268

This is interesting. While I figured this counts for Shanks' Jovi work in general, especially WAN, but I didn't know it was already established so early in HAND recordings. Basically, Jon admits HAND is the first time that he crafted songs with drum machines without Tico and Hugh (and David). No wonder quality took a nosedive from then on
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Old 03-30-2024, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bonjovi_cro View Post
https://web.archive.org/web/20051231...&news_id=96268

This is interesting. While I figured this counts for Shanks' Jovi work in general, especially WAN, but I didn't know it was already established so early in HAND recordings. Basically, Jon admits HAND is the first time that he crafted songs with drum machines without Tico and Hugh (and David). No wonder quality took a nosedive from then on
Yeah it was talked about back then and gets brought up here a lot. There are some interviews from The Circle where they went the other way and Jon talked about Tico's drumming and how he was more involved in coming up with parts but HAND was just a mess of experimenting (For both the better and worse)
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