Producer John Leckie has worked with legions of incredible bands over the years including Ride, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, The Verve, The Fall, Trash Can Sinatras, XTC, and Magazine. Leckie recently sat down with Iain McNay, founder of Cherry Red Records to discuss his incredible career as part of Cherry Red's Adventures In Music television series. The two part video interview is a fascinating window into music recording and is recommended for anyone show shares a love of music, especially U.K. music, and music history.
The interview begins with Leckie explaining how he began as a tape operator at Abbey Road where he worked alongside the Beatles on their solo projects, and detailed how he was able to advance to become an engineer and eventually a producer. Throughout he shared stories about bands he's worked with: "rude and aggressive" Public Image Ltd, the "fun, loud rock and roll" of The Fall, and how he's especially proud of producing Magazine's Real Life, an album he considers timeless.
Leckie discussed recording the seminal debut album from The Stone Roses, revealing there were "good vibes" in the recording studio for the entire 55 day process. He called the Roses "good fun to be with," "well rehearsed," and contrasted that with the recording of The Second Coming, which took much longer to record and was an overall dramatically different experience because the bond between band members had deteriorated.
As time went on bands requested to work with Leckie, though he turned many down. The one and only band that he actively pursued was the Verve -- he revealed he knew he had to work with them after seeing their "classic cosmic psychedelic" live show and was blown away by their guitar sounds he hadn't heard before. He's pleased he produced the seminal A Storm In Heaven but suggests it would have been even better had the songs been kept longer (the band's label Virgin requested the songs be chopped from 10 minutes to a more radio friendly three or four minutes).
Other fun stories include Leckie discussing how he recorded XTC's early material on the sly because his studio wouldn't allow him to do it, how Radiohead were in awe of Ride, and confirmation that Syd Barrett really did mysteriously appear in the studio during Pink Floyd's recording of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."
And there are so many more great stories...
Watch the interview below -- the interview is cut up into two parts: part one focuses on Leckie's beginnings, includes stories about the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Be Bop Deluxe, XTC and Public Image Ltd. Part two focuses mostly on the late 80's and 90's era with stories about The Stone Roses, The Verve, Radiohead, Alan McGee, and the evolving music industry.
Published November 29th, 2016