Legendary Producer Explains Why Nobody Cares About Making Good Records

Legendary Producer Explains Why Nobody Cares About Making Good Records
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Max Norman has produced some of the most iconic heavy metal albums of all time. His resume includes all of the early Ozzy Osbourne records, Megadeth (“Countdown to Extinction,” “Youthanasia”, “Hidden Treasures”), Lynch Mob (“Wicked Sensation”), Armored Saint (“Delirious Nomad”) and many more. 

On a recent appearance on the Talk Louder podcast, Norman said no one listens to quality-produced records anymore. 

“The problem now is people can’t make world-class records because there’s 10,000 records a day coming out or whatever,” he said. “So nobody’s making world-class records because nobody gives a sh*t. Because it doesn’t matter how good the record is. Only f*cking two people are gonna listen to it anyway. And they’re both related to you.”

Norman said the shift in the music industry has gone from making and selling records to the live show. 

“I’m trying to think where the industry is going and where it’s happening,” Norman said. “To me, there’s a lot more activity of live stuff. And to me, it shows that there’s a lot of longevity in live performance. Whether it be a cover band, whether it be a tribute band or an original band.”

“And I think tribute and cover bands are huge now. F*cking huge,” he continued. “They’re so huge that Kiss now can become a cover band of itself and keep going. They don’t want to pay anybody, so they’re gonna use computers. Whether that’ll work out or not, I don’t know. Maybe AI can help them.”

Norman said he might switch his focus to recording live shows. 

“Maybe the future, or some of the future of music, is live performance. And I was thinking — maybe I should just put a whole rig together in a little van or truck and just go out and just punch, just kept performances from these clubs. Just go out and get all these and just keep pumping them out. Just f*cking live mix them, don’t f*ck with them too much, fix the sh*t that needs fixing a little bit.”

“But then bang them out because intrinsically, those things can’t be reproduced. I remember — years ago, I used to love the live albums because you can really hear the guys play, and you can really hear how good everybody was,” Norman said. “On the record, it’s all kind of sterilized and in the right place. And you knew what the song was. You didn’t necessarily get the real character of these players until you go to see them live.”

“So these actually are now becoming very special events because everybody’s trying to computerize everything. So I see, maybe there’s a good opportunity there to actually just start going out — f*cking mic it up, press record, just record the whole f*cking evening, have a few beers, quick mix the next day. Bang — put it out.” 

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