SEATTLE | 19/05/2019 | 12:37

Seattle-Budapest Grunge Magazin

Jack Endino: This was something new, since prior to that everything in Seattle had been indie rock

Szerző:

“We all grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, all that stuff. Kiss. Jeff and Stone just changed their music taste a little bit. I don’t know. You can’t call Skin Yard a punk-rock band either. Not that much of what was going on really was actually punk rock. All of it was in attitude, but stylistically I think a lot of the Seattle bands from that time were looking more towards 70’s hard rock and 70’s heavy metal”. Jack Endino, the legendary record producer and musician of Seattle Grunge movement talks about the late 80’s and early 90’s and his present works. Read our in-depth interview.

 Jack Endino (Photo: Miklós Pintér)

___

Jack Endino.

Legendary record producer, recording engineer, mixer and musician from Seattle. Since 1986 he has worked on 400+ records for bands from 14 countries on 4 continents.

He was “the guy in the engine room” during the early voyages of the battleship “Grunge” in the late 80s. Many of the early releases that put Seattle label Sub Pop on the map have his name on them; Mudhoney, Nirvana, TAD, Soundgarden, L7, Mark Lanegan, Hot Hot Heat, etc. He played guitar in Skin Yard; they made 5 albums between 1985 and 1992, some on a subsidiary (Cruz Records) of the SST label.

Just as Skin Yard ended in 1992, Seattle music exploded worldwide and he began producing records full time, which he is still doing, although he never entirely stopped playing in bands [nowadays in MKB Ultra featuring lead singer/guitarist Mia Katherine Boyle and co-lead singer Lisa Mansfield, Beyond Captain Orca!, Sky Cries Mary]. Most of his Seattle work currently takes place at a studio called Soundhouse.

Jack Endino. Godfather of Grunge.

___

“I decided I wanted to play the guitar some more.”

How are you doing Jack?

Just fine.

Just sitting here I just noticed this Giants in the Trees CD here. I was at their show in August in Raymond.

Oh, were you? You went all the way out there?

It was so far away from here in a small town. It was amazing to see them. Do you like their music?

I think it’s great. I mixed the record, as you know. They are a great live band. They are working on new stuff now. So, you probably already have the record but I wanted to make sure you knew about it.

I read that the next MKB Ultra album is coming out soon.

Yeah, we’re working on it now. You know, got to record some guitar tracks and record some vocals and so forth but yeah, we’re working on another record. Probably an EP, seven or eight songs. I’m in a couple of other bands. I’m in a band called Sky Cries Mary right now. It’s a new version of the band and I’m playing guitar along with Kevin Whitworth, who is in Love Battery, the two of us are playing guitar in the band actually. So, it’s a very psychedelic guitar rave up version of Sky Cries Mary. It’s all new songs too. We wrote new material. There’s an album we made, it’s on iTunes right now, ‘Thieves and Sirens’, I think is the name of the album. Nobody has any money to make a record, so we just put it up ourselves. There’s no promotion. I don’t think there are any reviews. We just put it on iTunes and started writing songs for the next one. And I have another band that I’m in which is called, Beyond Captain Orca! It’s an improv band, we’re on Bandcamp. We have no songs and no singer and there are no rehearsals but it’s actually the drummer and the bass player from MKB Ultra. This MKB Ultra CD is old. We had a different drummer on here but the current line-up of MKB Ultra has the Orca drummer and bass player. So, it’s like we have a band inside the band.

You seem very busy. I mean, as a guitarist and I’m happy to see that.

Yeah, I am now. For about a decade there, I wasn’t really playing very much. I think in the 90’s, I spent most of the time in the studio. And then, I decided I wanted to play the guitar some more.

Skin Yard

Most people think of you as a producer mainly. I found something interesting out. That the 27th anniversary of 1000 Smiling Knuckles album was back on August 6th. Didn’t you know?

No, I had no idea. I don’t know what day it was released.

It was released three weeks before ‘Ten’ and you did something unique with Skin Yard. It was a totally different scene if you take a look at the popularity of this. How do you remember that time?

It was a totally different scene because what we were doing was not very commercial. You know, it really wasn’t. It was kind of, a little bit, prog… If you will. And, at least for Seattle, it was a little bit prog and really, looking back on it, it’s no more prog rock than Soundgarden or Alice in Chains were but at the time it was a little less, I don’t know. We didn’t write simple music. We had to keep ourselves interested in it so we tried to always have interesting rhythms and there had to have a good guitar riff. There had to be a good guitar riff. There had to be a good melody on the vocals. It’s like we had to have interesting rhythms, good guitar riffs and good vocal melodies. And, what more do you need, you know? I thought that we had achieved that, actually, with a lot of the Skin Yard stuff but that record was probably the most artistically realized record that we made. The record before that is called, ‘Fist Sized Chunks’, we had a different drummer and the artistic approach of the band was a little more like straight up high-energy heavy rock.

You remixed that record.

Yeah. It’s called ‘Fist Re-Mixed’ now on iTunes and all that. And it’s a much better record than it was, than we thought that it was at the time. So, that’s actually now, one of our favourite Skin Yard records. The remixed version of our third album ‘Fist Sized Chunks’, ‘Fist Re-Mixed’ and it even made me re-evaluate the record. It’s a pretty cool record, actually but ‘Knuckles’ was the first record we made with Barrett Martin on the drums. Barrett was very good and he kind of gave the band some new life for a few years because he’s a very good musician. He’s very intuitive and very diverse as a drummer. He can do almost anything. So, that freed us to do anything we wanted to do. We had a good time when Barrett was our drummer.

You had five talented drummers in Skin Yard.

At least five, if not six. I’m trying to think. Matt Cameron was our first drummer. That’s pretty hard to follow. That was actually the first album he ever made. The first band he made a record with was Skin Yard. Some of it, is four-track recordings from my basement. You can’t really tell. And then we had Scott McCullum on the second record and the third but later he became known as Norman Scott. He was in Gruntruck. He has been in a few bands since then but in between we had Jason Finn on drums and he became famous later for being in the Presidents of the United States. They are a very funny band but he is a great drummer. We only did a few B-sides with Jason; he wasn’t in the band for long. We did two shows with Greg Gilmore but he ended up in Mother Love Bone and we did two shows with Steve Weid who ended up in Tad.

Then you got Barrett Martin.

He ended up in the Screaming Trees and Mad Season and he’s doing solo albums now. They are interesting instrumental, sort of jazz rock records. So, we are all busy doing things. We are all active, everybody is busy, still in music I think. I don’t know what Daniel House is doing. He’s thinking of doing a book about his years with Skin Yard because you know Daniel and I started the band and then he ran C/Z Records for years. Until about the year 2000, I think, is when he officially stopped.

Yeah. That was a question but you mentioned it, the great drummers of Skin Yard. They are a part of music history now.

It’s a funny thing actually. And they are all still alive! [SPINAL TAP reference]

Re-issues: Green River, U-Men, Soundgarden, Nirvana, TAD

We live in Europe in Budapest, Hungary. It’s very difficult to imagine what was going on in Seattle at that time. Was there any real speciality from that era, in the late 80’s when you were growing up with the likes of Soundgarden, The U-Men and Malfunkshun?

‘Deep Six’ came out in 1986. The late 80’s was when The U-Men were still a band, Soundgarden was just starting, Skin Yard was starting, Mudhoney was starting, Mother Love Bone was starting, Nirvana had just started. That was all in ‘87-’88, in that period. Actually, Soundgarden played their first show in December of ’84? Maybe November? Skin Yard’s first show was June of 1985. Nirvana recorded with me in January of 1988. I think Mudhoney was in the studio with me in, I think it was, April of 1988. I was in the studio with Mother Love Bone in January of 1988. A lot of things were starting in that period of time. Soundgarden and Green River were recording with me in 1986 when the studio that I worked at had just opened, Reciprocal Recording. There were a lot of things going on at that time. The U-Men were a band that everybody looked up to because they had been around for a few years. They started in 1981.

Their first record, I think, was 1984.

You’d have to look on The U-Men box set which I sort of supervised because I’ve been doing a lot of, what I would call, archival work for Sub-Pop. Involving old catalogue and things that are being re-issued. So, one of the first things I did was re-mastering the first three Tad records to be re-issued. And I found some old demos and mixed them down and put them in the package.

You re-mixed Soundgarden’s ‘Ultramega Ok’ record and Sub-Pop re-issued it.

Originally it came out on SST Records with a different mix and I had nothing to do with that record. I had recorded Soundgarden’s first EP, ‘Screaming Life’ in 1986-1987 and then they recorded this other record for SST Records which I had nothing to do with. Then, they moved to A&M Records and made major label records from then on. Anyway, this ‘Ultramega OK’ record had never really been mixed correctly so they elected to have me re-mix it and it’s a much better record now. And that went very well. Then, The U-Men box set project came along. Now, I have this thing. For old analogue tapes, if they’re older than about ten years… You usually can’t play them anymore because the tape does what’s called sticky tape or tape shedding. Shedding is a word that means that something is coming off. The tape, the oxide, the brown stuff that’s on the tape that you record on starts coming off and sticking to the tape machine. And it’s a real problem. What you have to do is what we call “bake the tapes”. Now, you’re not actually baking the tapes but you have to put the tape in warm air and basically dry it out. You have to get all of the moisture, all the humidity, out of the tape. The easiest way to do that is with a food dehydrator. It just runs hot air over the tape for like a whole day. And then, you let it cool and you can play the tape and it will play perfectly. And so, I have a vegetable dehydrator that I use specifically for tapes. I’ve been doing it for years and years.

Did you have to do it with the Nirvana tapes, for the ‘With the Lights Out’ box set?

Yeah, I had to transfer to digital, some of these old tapes but you have to bake them first. So, the baking and transferring is something I end up doing all the time with old tapes. I had to do that with Tad’s thing, I had to that with some bonus tracks from the Nirvana ‘In Utero’ Deluxe re-issue that I had to re-store that way. The U-Men box set I did that and there are some things I mixed that had never been released. And the most recently, I did a Green River project which is going to be released next year. I re-mixed the album, ‘Rehab Doll’. Which was, kind of, a terrible sounding record and you know I did Green River’s ‘Dry as a Bone’ EP.

Yeah, that was the first one.

Well, the first one on Sub-Pop. The very first one is called, ‘Come on Down’. It was released on Homestead Records in 1985. This is what it looked like [shows the CD]. That’s a re-issue. This was the first Green River record. I think it was 1984 or 1985 when it came out. Sub Pop didn’t exist yet. So, when Sub-Pop started they released Green River’s ‘Dry as a Bone’ EP probably in 1986 or 1987. And then, Green River recorded their last record ‘Rehab Doll’. It was released after the band broke up. They actually broke up while they were making the record. And then, they turned into Mother Love Bone and Mudhoney. So, the last Green River record, ‘Rehab Doll’ was mixed after the band had broken up and I think it was mixed very quickly. Sub Pop just put it out anyway. They said, “Oh let’s just finish it”. Anyway, it needed to be mixed correctly and I had nothing to do with the original record except I did some eight track demos for them. So, the new package has the original record, re-mixed last year, plus the eight track demos. So, it’s a much better record… Much, much, much better record! You will hear it. I think it is one of the best records of the grunge era now.

Oh.

It’s a much better record than anyone had any idea because now you can hear everything and you can tell that the band is actually very, very good. Meanwhile, there is a deluxe re-issue of the EP I made which is ‘Dry as a Bone’ and I found a lot of unreleased material which we added to that. So, both of the records are double vinyl and big CDs with lots of extra tracks. I think there are a total of thirty-four songs between the two records. Whereas ‘Dry as a Bone’ was originally five songs and ‘Rehab Doll’ was eight songs, that’s thirteen and now it’s thirty-four. Plus the two songs from ‘Deep Six’ are on there now. Those are re-mastered and sound a lot better. So, it’s a complete Green River re-issue thing going on. So, that’s cool. You’ll enjoy it! It’s a really good package.

Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, Coffin Break

So, Jeff and Stoney weren’t too lucky with this because they split up before the LP was released and there was a bit of a similar situation with Andy Wood when Andy died.

Yeah. Later, but exactly. Andy died and the Mother Love Bone album came out after Andy died. Yeah, which is unfortunate. There was a Mother Love Bone box set actually that came out with all the re-issues. And there are some demos I recorded that are in there too.

So, you recorded them?

We did a lot of eight track demos, Mother Love Bone. Many hours of demos and they put those on their deluxe re-issue package. That’s what the deluxe re-issue was. So, I don’t think I had too much to do with it except for the demos that only got put onto the CD versions. I haven’t even listened to it.

I did an interview with Toni Wood, Andy’s mom, and I found that Andy was a really brilliant guy.

He was.

Mother Love Bone was totally different than you or the other six which included Malfunksun, so Andy. How is it possible that Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard from the Green River’s garage punk background started to play such different music?

Because I think those guys liked a lot of different music and all of us did, you know. We all grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, all that stuff. Kiss. They just changed their music taste a little bit. I don’t know. You can’t call Skin Yard a punk-rock band either. Not that much of what was going on really was actually punk rock. All of it was in attitude, but stylistically I think a lot of the Seattle bands from that time were looking more towards 70’s hard rock and 70’s heavy metal. You know, what we call 70’s hard rock now we called heavy metal back then. Nobody calls Led Zeppelin a heavy metal band now.

Yeah.

They’re just hard rock but in the 70’s you thought of them as a heavy metal band. That’s how the critics or journalists used to write about them. And now, you don’t really think of them as a heavy metal band; you think of Slayer. The grunge bands were looking at 70’s rock but they were putting on a punk-rock attitude on it. A punk-rock aesthetic. Jeff and Stone when they started with Mother Love Bone they were going for a more 70’s arena rock kind of thing. And, Andy himself, I mean nobody every though of Malfunkshun as a punk-rock band. They were kind of punk-metal, if you will. They were more… I don’t know what they were. They were unique. They didn’t sound like anybody. Andy himself grew up listening to 70’s rock and, I think, his big heroes were Freddie Mercury…

…and Elton John.

Yeah. So, it’s just what Mother Love Bone turned into. It’s just the kind of songs that they were writing. It was logical if you think about it but at the same time Mark Arm and Steve Turner, they were coming from a punk-rock and garage-rock background. And psychodelia. Garage-psych. I mean, if you look at their record collections, that’s what you are going to see. So, It was very logical that they would do one thing, and Stone and Jeff would do another thing. And obviously, everybody’s done ok. Mudhoney is still playing.

Like Pearl Jam.

They always play a different show. I was in a band called Wellwater Conspiracy. We opened for Pearl Jam, I think it was November 6th, 2000here in Seattle. It was us and Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. And Matt Cameron, of course, was playing in Wellwater Conspiracy so his drums were already there on stage so it was fine. We had a good time but I remember backstage, I think, Stone was sitting there making a setlist and this was like an hour before Pearl Jam were going on stage. He said, “This is how we keep it fresh. We take turns. A different band member makes the setlist every night”. And I don’t know if they are still doing that now but back in 2000 they were experimenting with that. So, the other guys don’t know what the songs are going to be until they get out on stage. I thought that was a really interesting way of keeping it fresh.

It’s always a surprise.

Keeping it interesting. And imagine it now, I don’t know how they can do that now because there’s what, eleven albums to choose from? How are you going to remember all those songs? So, of course, they are going to start a song and somebody is going to forget part of it. That’s funny actually. Is Eddie drinking a lot of wine?

Two bottles. As always.

Whatever works, he’s got the bottle of wine on stage. Well, that helps him relax.

We all are happy with this split up. I did an interview with Mark Arm and Steve Turner in Vienna, Austria a year ago. Very nice guys.

Is the Arena still there? Club Arena?

Yeah, it’s very small.

Nirvana played there and Skin Yard opened for Nirvana. It was in November of 1991. Nirvana, Urge Overkill and Skin Yard. It was the last time we played with Nirvana, actually. It was the only time that they headlined. Because the other times, they always opened for us.

Oh, yeah! I know the story. ‘Let’s go on tour with Skin Yard and you’ll be world famous.’

No, no.

It happened with Soundgarden, it happened with Nirvana.

Well, we always opened for Soundgarden actually. Soundgarden never opened for us. But Nirvana used to open for everybody in Seattle until ‘Nevermind’ came out. They weren’t really that famous. When they played with us it was 1988-1989. Then we were touring Europe in 1991 and our tours happen to cross and somehow we ended up opening up for them. It was right after ‘Nevermind’ came out so it was kind of blowing up at the time.

There was a band, Coffin Break, you worked with and they released an album in 1991 called ‘Crawl’. There was a song, “For Beth”, which was covered by a Hungarian band in Hungarian. This band’s name is Tankcsapda (Tank Trap). They are the most popular band ever in Hungary, a punk rock band. The most popular band, you cannot imagine their popularity in Hungary the last 25 years. They covered this song. They changed the name, it’s ‘Csak Neked’ (‘Only for You’). What about Coffin Break now?

Oh, I don’t know.

Are they still working?

Oh, no! They haven’t played in years. They do reunion shows occasionally. I know they did one in 2008 and I know they did a few more. I think the bass player Rob Skinner works for Pearl Jam in their mail order operation. He’s been working in there for a long, long, long time. And the drummer Dave, he’s in a punk band and they’re pretty good. They have a female singer. They’re a pretty good band. I saw them play actually and I didn’t realize. I thought, “This drummer looks familiar. I think I know this guy.” Hadn’t seen him in years. They were great. Peter, the guitar player/singer, I don’t know what he’s doing. I have no idea. I don’t think he’s in a band. Yeah, Coffin Break broke up in 1993. I did all their records.

We love them in Hungary.

That’s very interesting. Nobody ever asks me about Coffin Break. Never. That’s really good.

“Hi, I’m Bruce.”

Let’s talk about the Skunkworks album. I wrote a very long article about that project but not from Bruce Dickinson’s viewpoint but about you. I know how you met Bruce but it was 1994-1995.

It was something like that. Yeah, because I did some recording for a band called Kerbdog. Sanctuary Management who managed Iron Maiden, managed a few other bands, and one of them was this band Kerbdog. Bruce liked what I did for Kerbdog’s record. It’s a pretty heavy record, the first Kerbdog album. He liked that enough and he had a solo career and he thought, “I want that sound”. Now, I think people don’t realize that Bruce was a DJ. He had a radio show on one of the BBC channels where he could play whatever he wanted like once a week or something like that. So, he actually was pretty in touch with what was going on around the world musically. He was listening to new stuff. He knew all about Seattle. He knew what was happening here. He liked Soundgarden. He knew about Nirvana. He knew all the stuff and then he heard the Kerbdog record and gave me a call. So, I get a phone call from Bruce Dickinson.

Were you surprised?

Yeah.

Like, “Hi, I’m Bruce”.

Yeah, exactly. I was like, are you? Is this a prank phone call? No, no! It really was Bruce Dickinson. Yeah! It was fun. And you know, we got along very well and I ended spending almost four months in the UK working on this record and it was a little strange because he really wanted to make a record that didn’t sound like Iron Maiden but it still needed to be a heavy record. He wanted it to sound kind of modern, you know, and like something now. You know what I mean, and I said, “OK, well, we’re not going to make a grunge record here.” I grew up listening to a lot of metal and a lot of punk and a lot of psych. And, all that stuff! My record collection is over there [points across room].

It’s amazing.

It’s ridiculous. So, I mean I knew the Iron Maiden records that were really good; the ones that I liked. But then I was, obviously, part of this new thing. If that’s the mission that I am assigned; let’s see if I can try making a modern sounding heavy rock record for Bruce Dickinson and I pushed him to write lyrics that were not all swords and dragons and whatever you know. I thought, “Come up with some political stuff whatever”. I didn’t tell him what to write but he wanted to make a complete break from Iron Maiden because he had quit the band. He was trying to have a solo career. You know his first two solo records sound like they’re Maiden-ish.

I agree.

And meanwhile, the band that he got, he got these young guys playing in his band. He called the band Skunkworks. That was the name of the band. They were young guys and they loved all the modern stuff. They loved what I was doing with the Seattle bands and a lot of other stuff. They were also fans of a lot of bands that were big at that time in the UK. They were fans of King’s X. Oddly enoughSo, if you listen, you can probably hear some of that in the arrangements. God, there was a couple of other bands that they were big fans of but they were UK bands. That’s where I heard Skunk Anansie actually, from those guys. Anyway, so there I am in London, I think it was 1995 and we made the record. And you know, the Iron Maiden fans didn’t really like it that much. And then, the record label had some financial difficulty. The record didn’t get released in the United States right away. It got released eventually but on a different label.

Wasn’t it available here?

Yeah, it didn’t really get into the US but it did end up doing ok in South America. Somebody licensed it in Brazil. So, the record didn’t end up getting any promotion. And the Iron Maiden fans, who as it turns out, were the only people who really wanted to hear a Bruce Dickinson record didn’t think it sounded enough like Iron Maiden. Bruce wrote about more interesting things than that. You know, the thing is the lyrics on that record are good. His singing is great. The band is really good. I like the record but it’s completely unique in Bruce Dickinson’s discography because the next thing he did is, Adrian Smith who had left Iron Maiden, joined Bruce’s band. And so Bruce ended up firing his band that we made the Skunkworks record with. And he got Adrian Smith in the band and then his next solo records sound much more like Iron Maiden. In fact, they were better than the records that Iron Maiden was making at the time. If you hear the Bruce Dickinson record that’s after that, “The Chemical Wedding”; it’s an amazing record but it sounds like an Iron Maiden record but way better.

It’s like a really good Maiden album.

So, Bruce had to experiment and try to get away from the Iron Maiden thing but that’s not what the fans wanted to hear. So, the record didn’t do his career much good. And it didn’t do my career any good because nobody who follows my career seems to have any interest in Iron Maiden, at all. It was kind of an experiment and I think the record is a good record but there doesn’t seem to be any context for it. It’s just a unique, weird experiment. It came out and I still think it’s a pretty good record but I don’t know anybody who’s heard it.

We got it in Europe.

Yeah, maybe in Europe. Nobody ever heard the record here. You know, it’s on my discography and people go, “You worked with Bruce Dickinson?” And, I go, “Yeah!” and they never heard of the record. It just did nothing in the United States. Like I said, I don’t think it even got a real release. I never saw a review of it here. I never heard any promotion. It was unfortunate.

Yeah, absolutely.

Partly, I think, it was Castle Records. Anyway, they went out of business and eventually Sanctuary ended up buying them out. The record got re-released ten years later and it did ok. I saw some royalties about ten years later when they re-released the record. So, that was actually nice. It’s an odd part of my career.

I found a Bruce Dickinson picture from 2005. He was wearing a Skin Yard t-shirt. It was like nine years after the album was released.

Oh, yeah, there’s a few. I gave him a Skin Yard t-shirt but there are a few pictures of him in a Skin Yard t-shirt actually. You probably found the same ones I found on the web. There’s a picture of him standing with Rob Halford. I don’t know if he’s ever listened to Skin Yard.  It’s nice that he likes the shirt. I’m not in touch with Bruce. I don’t know how to reach him.

 Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford (Credit: rocking.gr)

“Jeff Angell is a great singer and I think he’s a really good guitar player.”

You did a Therapy? album in the 90’s.

Yeah, yeah. They came to Seattle and recorded with me and that was really interesting. They were fun but again the record label ran out of money just before the record was released. I knew this because after I had recorded and mixed it, it had been mastered at a mastering studio in Los Angeles. I knew something was going wrong when I got a phone call from the mastering studio about a month later asking why they couldn’t get paid for the mastering job. And I thought, this is not a good sign.

It’s not.

So, that record came out, and I don’t think it was released in the United States. They never toured in the United States again. They would have had a chance to do a US tour and promote the record but none of that happened. I think that was one of the last things they did. I think they made another record but it only came out in Europe after that. They were lovely people, they were really delightful. So, you know, I did a Tad record for Electra. The band got dropped like the week the record was about to be released. That was “Infrared Riding Hood”. I just haven’t had very good luck with record labels or at least the artists haven’t with the record labels. I’m still making records but it’s a little frustrating working with record labels sometimes. They don’t always do what they say they’re going to do.

One of the best albums in the last few years is “WP2”, the second Walking Papers album. You worked on it with Jeff Angell.

I think there are six or seven songs on there I did the basic tracking for and I think some others they recorded. I didn’t have much involvement in that record. I did all the work on the first record. The second record they did some of it here in Seattle and some of it at Rancho De La Luna. I know they recorded in LA somewhere. I didn’t mix it so I actually have not heard the record. I know some of the songs. I did versions of most of those songs. There are some great songs on there.

How was it to see Barrett again?

Oh, it was great! I mix records for him all the time and we’ve even co-produced a few things.

Screaming Treesthings maybe, right?

Yeah, we did that Screaming Trees “Rarities” record, “Last Words”. I mixed that for him. And I mixed most of his solo records and some Tuatara and things.

You won a Latin Grammy last year.

I have a Grammy, it’s a little statue but it’s written in Portuguese because it was for a Brazilian record. Barrett and I co-produced and I mixed. It’s for a friend of ours named Nando Reis, a huge star in Brazil but you’ll never hear about him outside of Brazil. He sings in Portuguese. So, Barrett and I share that Grammy and I’ve worked with Barrett for so many years. He’s kind of a band leader now. So, he’s busy with his own band, he couldn’t tour with the Walking Papers.

Do you know Will Andrews the drummer who’s been playing in the Walking Papers?

Yeah, he is a really good drummer. I’ve played with him. He’s outstanding; one of the best. So, they’ll do fine, assuming that they’ll continue as the Walking Papers. You know, because without Duff and Barrett, it’s kind of a Jeff solo project.

Do you think?

What’s the difference doing that vs. the Missionary Position? I don’t know but Jeff needs to be on stage. He’s a great singer and I think he’s a really good guitar player.

I totally agree with you. I mentioned this to Jeff, I need more guitar solos on stage, please share it!

Or record some of it! He’s a great guitar player. He’s really good but he thinks of himself as a singer. He’s kind of a story-teller. I like Jeff. He’s a great guy but he needs his own band.

 Jack Endino (Photo: Miklós Pintér)

Mark Lanegan recordings

You mentioned in an interview that one of the best moments in your professional life was when Mark Lanegan shared some stories about his life when you were in the studio with “Winding Sheet”.

He did share his whole life story with me at some point. I wouldn’t share any of that because I don’t think it was for other people’s ears. I spent a lot of time with him very early when we were making the first two albums. There were some emotional ups and downs he went through while we were making those records. The first record was very easy, it took a week. Maybe less, maybe like six days or something like that; and it was done. The second record took two years, off and on. We recorded in pieces, a little here, a little there. Probably, I think, three or four different producer-engineers worked on that record, maybe five, I don’t know.

Five producers?

Terry Date started it, and then I worked on it, and then someone else worked on it. I think Ed Brooks worked on it. And then, I worked on it again a year later and we almost had it finished. Mark recorded so many songs with the second record. He just kept recording and recording and then kept going, “That’s not good enough”. And recorded more songs and wouldn’t finish those and then he’d record more songs. The first record was really easy and I think he was thinking too hard, you know. That’s what we call the “sophomore jinx”, I don’t know how you would translate that into Hungarian but sophomore is the name for your second year at college. Freshman is first year at college and sophomore is the second year at college. So, we call it the sophomore jinx. A jinx is like a curse. It’s like there’s a hex or curse. So, sophomore jinx refers to that problem, making the second album. The first album was easy and now you have to make a second album. It suddenly becomes very difficult because you’re comparing everything to the first album. So, he was having a terrible time finishing the second record and it is true at one point I had to talk him out of throwing away the whole thing and starting over. He really wanted to trash the whole project and just start a whole new record. They did that in the Screaming Trees once.

Yeah.

I wasn’t going to let him do it with this record. Screaming Trees, actually, started recording a record in 1994 and they ended up completely stopping. They started over again with a different studio, different songs and a different record producer. And ended up making the “Dust” album which didn’t come out till like 1997 or something like that, which was unfortunate because the Screaming Trees lost all their career momentum that they would have had by that. There I was with Mark Lanegan in 1992, and his record did get finished. I think I have three or four songs on the record that I worked on, that actually made it on the record. It could have been a double album.

Yes.

You know there was so much material on there. I wish I still had some of the recordings. But it’s a great record, “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost” but the first record was a lot easier. I play bass on “The Winding Sheet” [Mockingbirds, Undertow, Ugly Sunday, Down in the Dark, Ten Feet Tall]. That was a proper easy record to make.

“To us here in Seattle, the whole thing blew up in 1989.”

Do you have a favourite album from when you were young, a favourite musician maybe that influenced you musically? And do you have a favourite album as a producer?

One of them is the “Winding Sheet” actually. I really enjoy the Mudhoney “Mudhoney” album and “Superfuzz Bigmuff”. I like the re-master of TAD’s “God’s Balls” that I was able to do. I am very happy with my remix of “Ultramega Ok” and I like the records I did for The Accüsed. They’re fun. I like the Gruntruck records and I like all the Skin Yard records. I did High on Fire in 2007, their record “Death Is This Communion”. I got to work with Matt Pike and that was really fun. I’m really happy with that record and of course there was Hot Hot Heat in 2003, I think. Then, there’s Therapy? in 1999. Then, there are the Zeke records I made. I made three records for Gas Huffeand that was really good and four albums for Coffin Break. Three records for The Makers and two records for Zen Guerilla.

Cool bands. We love all of them in Hungary.

Great! You know, I’ve been to Chile like five times. I have a lot of friends down there. Lot of bands I’ve worked with are from Chile. They had a dictator, Pinochet. When they got rid of the dictator and went back to being a democracy, or whatever you call it, they loved the Seattle music. One of their young people explained it to me. He said, “When we had the dictator, we couldn’t hear any of this music.” It wasn’t on the radio. You couldn’t buy it in the stores. They didn’t have the internet yet. The first thing they heard when the dictatorship fell was Mudhoney and Nirvana and Seattle. He told me, “This was the sound of freedom”.

Very nice.

In Chile, actually, it was the first thing they heard. When the dictator came, popular music was kind of frozen. You could still hear The Beatles and The Stones but you couldn’t hear Black Flag. The radio was completely controlled.

They had no opportunity to listen to those kinds of songs.

Yeah, you could get thrown in jail for having some of that stuff. So, when their society opened up this was the first thing they heard, Seattle. And I think that something similar must have happened with Central Europe after the Wall came down because I was there with Skin Yard. It’s a long story but I was there recording a record for Blue Cheer. It was January of ’91 and the Wall was coming down but it was still there. People were still chipping away at it with hammers. The countries were still separate because I have a stamp in my passport that says DDR.

The East side.

We had to go through the check-point, to go to the highway that goes to the other side, to Berlin. That has the fence on it. This is back then, so the Wall was just coming down right then. And then, when I went back a year later, the Wall was gone. So, then I’m thinking, you’re in Czechoslovakia or Hungary or Poland, what’s the first thing you hear?

The first thing that we got from the US was MTV in our houses. I can’t remember but it was like 1990-1991.

Oh my god, yeah!

We got MTV and other channels. And that was the beginning. That was when we got Cult, Guns n’ Roses. Then, the second line was the Seattle thing.

Yeah, you would have seen Jane’s Addiction and all that. That’s what MTV was playing in the 90’s. Seattle happened before so MTV wasn’t playing Mudhoney. They weren’t playing the Screaming Trees. They weren’t playing any of that stuff on MTV except for Nirvana’s video which blew everything up and that was January of 1992 or maybe a little bit later. To us here in Seattle, the whole thing blew up in 1989. That’s what it seemed like to us with Mudhoney and Soundgarden, you know. In 1991, along come Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. And then, Nirvana, meanwhile who had been here all along, suddenly they have a major record label. We have “Badmotorfinger”, “Ten” and “Nevermind” all in the charts at around the same time. We have the Screaming Trees first major label record “Uncle Anaesthesia” around the same time late 1991. So, all of those records are on the charts at the same time in 1991, major label charts. This was something new, since prior to that everything in Seattle had been indie rock.

Indie rock?

Yes, exactly. I did not work on any of those major label records. I was the indie rock guy. I didn’t know major record labels very well. It’s just the way it worked out.

I think the best Nirvana album is “Bleach”.

Oh, thank you.

I like “Nevermind” but…

No, no. It’s a different record.

The power of songs like ‘School’ or ‘Paper Cuts’.

“Paper Cuts” has a bit of an Alice in Chains feeling to it. If you listen to it again it sounds like an Alice in Chains song.

The words and the harmonies.

The harmonies, yeah. My gold record is over here. It’s hanging on the wall there.

Was it in the air in 1990 that it was going to happen?

It was already happening here.

Ok, but at an international level?

We didn’t know. We knew that the major labels had come and were giving bands record deals but we had to see how that was going to work out. Because usually it doesn’t work out and then, when Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains all did really well, that was a new thing.  That was a new phase. It was a new era. Like, it had already been really big and we thought, “Ok, how can it get any bigger than this?” And then it went up another level and then it just went crazy from there on because now it was part of popular culture.

 “This was something new, since prior to that everything in Seattle had been indie rock.” (Photo: Miklós Pintér)

“I don’t pay any attention to popular music.”

How do you see music in the present? We are just kind of waiting for the next big thing and I don’t know if it will happen or not. 

No, you never know. How do I see music? I don’t know, I don’t pay any attention to popular music. Most of what I listen to is the bands that come and record with me. So, I don’t really know what’s going. I don’t listen to the radio, I don’t read the magazines. I don’t really pay attention to that because I’m too busy making records. So, I can’t really tell you that. I know that on the popular charts in the United States, the most popular music is hip-hop but I don’t know how that translates outside the US. I have no idea. My friends in Chile are still into psychodelia. I don’t know what you like in Hungary. Everybody has different music tastes. Rock & Roll has been pronounced dead multiple times. You know, rock is dead. You hear it every few years. And then it always comes back again. I still have plenty of work. There are still plenty of bands who want me to record them. So, to me there’s plenty of rock. It may not be driving popular culture like it was in 1991 but it’s back underground again like it was in the late 70’s. In the late 70’s, we had disco and rock wasn’t part of the big media picture. It wasn’t until the mid to late 80’s, really the early 90’s, when rock became very dominant and popular in the United States because that’s all I knew at the time. And, who can say now what will be the next thing. Now, we are living post-internet and because of that, all styles of music are easily accessible. You can hear anything from anywhere, instantly. It may be difficult for a local or regional music scene to develop the same way it did before the internet existed.

Music was localized.

You couldn’t just get your music out. You had to make cassettes and mail them to people and hope that they would listen to it. Now, you just send an mp3 by email or post music on Bandcamp. So, the whole idea of localized, regional, geographically separated music scenes, I don’t know if that can happen the same way that it did before the internet existed. It would happen with geographical areas due to language difficulties. Like, if you had a particular punk rock scene where everybody was singing in Hungarian, we probably would not see it over here.

Yeah.

I had a guy in Poland who used to trade albums with me. If I would send him some Seattle CDs, he’d send me CDs of interesting Polish bands. I have a whole box of them. It was some strange stuff all in the Polish language which I thought was pretty interesting because it sounds really convincing in punk rock. I couldn’t make out a word of it but it doesn’t matter. So, that’s why Brazil has its own culture because it’s in Portuguese. It doesn’t really get out of the country very much. And I think that’s going to be true about a lot of scenes and regions. Let me ask you your opinion, what do you think of bands singing in English when it’s not their native language?

It’s easy to understand the lyrics I think.

Is it? If their English is good you mean? Sometimes it’s hard for an English speaker to understand the lyrics.

Yeah, yeah.

We listen and go, “Is that English?”

Yeah, if you listen to US bands, it’s ok for us. Not all bands from Texas probably, that’s too difficult.

JE: {Laughing out loud}

Australian bands are also too difficult to understand, Irish bands…

Impossible.

Impossible but British English is not a favourite either. You speak English from the North and it’s easier to understand than the South.

It could be one of those bands that are big in Europe and not in the US.

And the interesting thing is that we’ve had a lot of Hungarian bands who sing in English. I can send you some CDs, from great bands, if you like although you may laugh at their English.

I know I will, and I get in trouble for saying anything because they take it very personally. I know why they sing in English. It’s because it allows them to play anywhere in Europe but sometimes the English is terrible. And you think, if the English is so bad you can’t understand it, no one is going to understand. If you know what I’m saying.

Absolutely.

If you are trying to get your message across, I think it’s hard to convey emotions in a language that is not the language that you think in. You hear the English singing in the lyrics, there’s something strange because you can feel that the phrasing or the timing of the syllables is a bit uneasy or unnatural. I know they sing in English because you can’t sing in Hungarian or Italian and expect to play anywhere else besides your own country.  Like Danish or Norwegian or whatever. You pretty much have to sing in English if you want to play throughout Europe, which is unfortunate, but it’s just the way history has ended up I guess. Hey! It might have been German!

{Laughing} Yeah!

{Laughing} But that didn’t happen. So, I get it, but I find that bands think if they sing in English it means that maybe they have a chance at being famous in the US, but it’s not so easy. And you know why it’s not so easy? Because it’s not even easy for a band in the United States to get famous in the US. I record with bands every day who never go anywhere because they don’t know the right people. They are not touring. They don’t have the management. They aren’t on a label. They aren’t in the right geographical region. No one’s signing bands from Seattle right now. You would have to move to Los Angeles which is what they were doing in the 80’s. I mean there’s amazing bands that I work with who’ll never get a record deal because the record labels aren’t signing rock bands anymore and most of the indie labels have disappeared. There aren’t as many indie labels as there were about the turn of the century. I’m still making records, just as much as I did in the 80’s or 90’s but now there are no indie labels to release them. The bands just put them out themselves on the internet. And you’ll never hear them, you know, because no one’s promoting them. There’s no promotion. There’s no money behind them. There’s no management. There’s no corporation. There’s nothing international going on. It’s just another band putting their music out on Bandcamp and it could be amazing music but you won’t hear about them. But unfortunately I get bands, not as much anymore, but I would get bands from overseas singing in English and they think this gives them a chance to become famous in the United States. And then, I think, The Scorpions did it after twelve albums or something. But, who else?

Oasis maybe?

Oasis, ok, sure. They didn’t get that famous in the US. Hardly anybody. I mean, Stone Roses didn’t do anything in the United States. It’s not easy to break over here. It’s especially difficult if you are trying to sing in American English but you’re not really good at it. So, that’s an unfortunate thing. But I think nobody cares about rock in the US anymore. It’s very difficult to tour this country if you are in a rock band because the country is so big. You’ll drive fourteen hours from city to city and all your money will go in your gasoline tank. But there are lots of bands who will go and tour every city in Europe, like Zeke, and come back with money but it’s much harder for them to tour the United States because it’s just too big. So, my point being, Europe is probably a better market to concentrate on. If you are a rock band, you should probably put your efforts into Europe because that’s where you are going to have the most fun and in the US, like I said, the labels are just not signing bands anymore, the labels are gone. Even the indie labels, there are just not so many left. It’s hard.

___

Follow Jack and his bands:

Jack Endino
Web: http://www.endino.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackendinopublicpage/

MKB Ultra
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MKBULTRA/
Bandcamp: https://miakatherineboyle.bandcamp.com

Beyond Captain Orca!
Bandcamp: https://beyondcaptainorca.bandcamp.com

Vélemény, hozzászólás?

Your email address will not be published.

*

Legutolsó English

A LAP TETEJÉRE