MÖTLEY CRÜE Producer TOM WERMAN - "I Was Never A Heavy Metal Guy; I Was A Pop Guy"

January 21, 2012, 12 years ago

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Ultimate-Guitar.com recently caught up with producer/engineer TOM WERMAN, known for his work with CHEAP TRICK, MÖTLEY CRÜE and TWISTED SISTER. An excerpt from the interview is available below.

UG: You forged a successful career as a heavy metal producer, what elements were important to you as a producer when it came to producing bands in this genre?

Werman: "Basically I tried to identify and feature the pop elements in their music, so I could get them AM radio play. In the 70’s and 80’s, if you had a hit single you could sell millions of albums. Without a hit single, you could be successful, but not really big – when FM stereo radio came in, then bands could be very successful through album play alone, but having a hit was an effective shortcut to the big time. I tried to do this without compromising the band’s metal street credibility. Fact is, I was never a heavy metal guy – I was a pop guy."

UG: You were largely responsible for the success of Mötley Crüe in the 1980s, what was it like working with the band in the studio on the albums you produced?

Werman: "This was a different kettle of fish – Tommy and Mick were very quick in the studio, and very accomplished on their instruments. Nikki was not a particularly good bass player when I started with the band, but he did improve considerably by the time we got to Girls Girls Girls. Tommy was a fine drummer with a great hard rock style, and a curiosity about technical sound innovations, like samples and triggers. Vince was very good natured, but also a veteran partier, and this would sometimes render him less than productive when he came in the following day to do his vocals. Still, he worked hard behind the mike. We finally achieved a satisfactory guitar sound when we got to Girls Girls Girls, and this song and ‘Wild Side’ were my two favorite tracks in terms of production ideas and execution."

UG: Over the years, members of Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister and Cheap Trick have all questioned your role in their production of their albums, stating they’re not happy with how the albums came out?

Werman: "I find this very curious. It’s the principal guy in each band that has come up with an incredibly inaccurate version of history. First, each of these three individuals absolutely approved every album in question. Second, each one of the seven LP’s involved was either platinum or multi-platinum. Third, with Mötley and Cheap Trick, isn’t it odd that both bands used me 3 times in a row as a producer? Why didn’t they change producers after the first album if they were so unhappy with the outcome? Fourth, these albums were recorded with technology that’s now 30 years old. Consider the stunning progress that’s transpired in the audio-visual world since 1975…naturally the music is going to sound considerably better now.

Frankly, I feel that Dee Snyder was simply unable to share credit for a hugely successful LP after being only marginally successful for the first seven years. Cheap Trick has made lots of bad decisions, and has managed to blame the record label, their manager and their producer for all of them. Nikki Sixx created a work of total fiction in his Heroin Diaries and accused everyone involved with the band of taking advantage of him. He actually alleged that I spent much of my studio time on the phone and that he did most of the work with Vince’s vocals. This could not possibly be less truthful. Isn’t it strange that I was able to produce 20 other gold and platinum records without his valuable assistance?"

Click here for the complete interview.

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