Go Your Own Way
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We really like that second take more. I remember one time, Lindsey literally screamed at me: 'Goddamn it, Ken! Would you let him do some engineering? He was the one who cracked the jokes.
And that was fine. I liked to turn the knobs. You see, the real turmoil on that album only took place at the start of the sessions and it probably lasted two or three weeks. That was down to not only the relationship issues but also the pressure to deliver. We had been recording songs and getting some nice basic tracks, and suddenly their level of interest changed — 'Let me hear that bass part again.
Solo it up for me. We've already been high-fiving one another. It's great. I remember him walking into the control room as white as a ghost, and of course everyone rallied around him, but then there was John and Christine's break-up. She'd sneak her new boyfriend into the studio just as John was walking out through another door, and we were kinda ducking — 'When are the two chemicals going to mix?
When are we going to have the explosion? I remember them singing background vocals to 'You Make Loving Fun', sitting on two stools in front of a pair of microphones, directly facing me on the other side of the control room glass, and if we had to stop tape for whatever reason, during the few seconds that it was being rewound they'd be shouting and screaming at one another.
I'd be thinking, 'Go tape, go tape, hurry, hurry, let's hit play! In fact, it was pretty harmonious compared to other sessions I'd do later on. This often revolved around recording new parts once the basic backing tracks had all been completed. It felt nice and fresh because we kept rotating everything. You see, I really think the whole topic of drugs on those sessions has been overplayed. Yeah, that stuff was around, but it wasn't like everybody was crawling all over one another, and I don't think it got in the way of the music-making.
It was more a case of 'Hey, we're all getting kind of tired.
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Maybe we should get some coke. Fourteen to 15 hours didn't leave enough time, so every day we pushed back another two or three hours. You know, 'It's two in the morning, but let's try to start at noon tomorrow. We were always trying to push ourselves to get in at a decent time, but eventually we were starting at 10 o'clock at night and finally we said, 'OK, this is crazy.
Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way (Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, Single) | Discogs
However, we felt like we weren't getting enough done and that we couldn't keep taking days off, so the coke seemed like a good solution. Today that wouldn't be the case; I would just say, 'We're taking Saturday and Sunday off, everybody have a good night's sleep, have a good time, and we'll see you bright and early Monday morning. Although Ken Caillat generally didn't edit between takes, there were one or two exceptions, the most notable of which was a track titled 'Keep Me There', recorded during the first few weeks at the Sausalito Record Plant, and described by him as a 'weedy song' with a three-minute bass-and-guitar solo that evolved into 'The Chain'.
He actually had me take some blank tape and cut it in exactly where the verses were. So we got rid of the verses, and then he had Mick play the kick-drum part — we didn't know what the hell Lindsey was doing. He kept the drums and bass on the chorus, although he changed the key of the song and changed the chords, and he also came up with an all-new kick drum on the verse and new background parts.
That's how he came up with 'The Chain'. We cut the hell out of that tape. After all, with Pro Tools you can do it so fast, who cares? You can deal with it later, and I think that gets rid of innovation. You're basically running at the pace of Pro Tools — you can cut and paste, take a guitar part from the first verse and put it in the second verse, and you do it so fast that you don't really sit down and say, 'Gee, why don't we build some effects here?
I taped this Sony ECM50 lavalier mic onto Lindsey's Fender Strat, which was kind of a crazy idea because no sound would be coming out of there. However, I noticed, when he would sit around and play in the studio, that I liked the sound of the high frequency that comes off the strings — it's hardly a note, but more of a second-octave, third-octave harmonic thing.
So I taped the ECM50 on there and he was actually playing the part through his volume pedal, meaning that when he plucked the string and opened up the pedal you'd hear this 'wah' sound', while preceding that there would be the little glassy clink of the ECM Then we ran the pedal sound through the Leslie and had a delay on that, slowing his part down — he was actually going to double that part, but then when he heard the delay he started playing along to it and that changed the whole tempo of the song You wouldn't have had that in the Pro Tools world, where there's no credibility given to putting some space into the songs.
Back then, you'd put echo on there and create space, and you were painting a portrait while you were going. Rumours was recorded between February and August , and the first two months were spent at the Record Plant in Sausalito, mainly so that the band members could temporarily escape the attention of attorneys and record company execs while laying the foundations for their new album.
For his part, Ken Caillat took a leave of absence from Wally Heider's, promising that he'd attempt to have Fleetwood Mac record there once they felt comfortable about returning to LA. And he succeeded more of which later. There was a 3M track machine, great mics, an API console with A equalisers, and a medium-sized live room; about 30 by 20 feet.
The fact that Caillat was used to working on API desks at Wally Heider Recording made for a smooth transition up in Sausalito, yet it didn't prevent him and Dashut from initially running into an extended period of big-time sonic trouble. Everything sounded like a miniature person was playing these miniature instruments, and we were just pulling our hair out. I'm sure Fleetwood Mac were going, 'What the hell did we do? We only tried out this guy Caillat on one mix.
He certainly can't engineer. We even taped two kick drums together out of frustration, trying to get some size and some beat out of them, but nothing would work, and finally I got pissed off. I said, 'Goddamn it, what the hell's going on here,' and I literally just started turning knobs, and within about five minutes of doing this on a track we were trying to cut, it was sounding great. Once I did that, I started twisting knobs, and boom-boom-boom, it worked. The band walked in after we'd recorded this one song and they were like, 'Wow, so what was the last eight days all about?
It just took you guys 10 minutes to get a killer sound. Looking through the control-room window at the rectangular-shaped live area that ran lengthwise from left to right, Ken Caillat could see a drum area at the right side, with wood on the floor as well as on the wall that was to the rear of the kit. Baffles were placed around Mick Fleetwood, and also around John McVie, who stood facing his own amp as well as the drummer, while Lindsey Buckingham was positioned behind the bass player — or to the left of him from Caillat's viewpoint — and Christine McVie's keyboards were close to the window, somewhat isolated from the drums.
And because we wanted to have enough flexibility for songs having different effects, I always had two or three mics on a guitar amp — I could put one out of phase, slide the others back and forth to change the sound, and I'd do the same with the bass. With a Leslie on a send, if I needed to send an electric guitar through the Leslie, I'd just bring that fader up.
Go Your Own Way songs
While the songwriting and performances were obviously central to the album's success, the production and engineering cannot be discounted. And this is particularly true with regard to how the instruments not only blend together but also retain their own space, courtesy of Dashut and Caillat ensuring that each was allotted its own place within the frequency spectrum. When we were recording Rumours , Christine would ask, 'How does everything sound, Ken? Did you like this take better than that take? Yeah, you're right, Ken.
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We're playing in the same register. Why don't I invert the keyboard down a third and get out of Lindsey's way?
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After that I'd go, 'Hey, you know, you two guys are playing in the same spot. One of you should go up or down, so let's figure out who's going to take which frequency. The prime example of Rumours ' excellence in terms of composition, arrangement, performance and sonic clarity was 'Go Your Own Way', whose complex drums originated in a discussion between Richard Dashut and Lindsey Buckingham that Ken Caillat overheard while driving them to the Sausalito studio one morning.
In short, the two men agreed that they loved Charlie Watts' drum pattern on The Rolling Stones' 'Street Fighting Man', and Buckingham asserted that he'd love to hear Mick Fleetwood play something similar. John played along on bass, and after that we built the song with Lindsey's guitar and Christine's organ. In fact, before we left Sausalito I did rough mixes of every song, and that tape was very similar to the final version of Rumours , just without all the little frosting and bells and whistles, including the solos.
He had to be able to hear the part to play the part, and he was a really heavy hitter of everything except the kick drum. We used to call him 'Feather Foot', because there'd be these tremendous snare and tom hits while the kick was going 'pfff-pfff, pfff-pfff. It was loud enough to come through the kick drum, and you couldn't hear anything else with the gates on the snare and so on.
The bass, meanwhile, went through a Fat Box DI. The amp got in the way most of the time, but still, we'd record the bass on two tracks — direct and amp, probably mic'd with something like a — and many times we then erased the amp when we needed another track. I found that those two mics complemented each other, and if I put the 57 about an inch from the cloth and the about two inches from the speaker, a little off to the side, and then moved the two faders up and down both together and independently, I could change the sound radically.
And you'd get a really interesting sound if you also put phase on one of them. Added to that there was always a direct, although I didn't use that so much with Lindsey unless we were feeding a Leslie with it. We had everything mic'd up for whatever effects we wanted. Pretty much all of the electronic stuff was recorded direct, but again we'd have an amp in another room in case we wanted that sound on a keyboard. It all depended. We had plenty of time, so when they started playing we'd dial up everything.
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