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Do I deserve "Producer" credit?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by MidnightBottle, Apr 14, 2021.


  1. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Howdy! Here's the situation. Started a band with a guy 2.5 years ago, he's a singer/songwriter/guitarist and I'm a bassist (duh). We're on our third drummer and third lead guitarist at this point, both are the best we've had. Frontman is very creative and a brilliant songwriter, but honestly pretty "green" when it comes to understanding the behind-the-scenes work that needs to get done to actually go anywhere as a band - making a website, networking, booking gigs, social media, recording, live sound, etc. Anything requiring organization, communication, or planning, he is totally out of his element. Honestly pretty lazy IMO.

    Thankfully, I am not lazy, and have experience in all of those things, and am a hell of an organizer and planner. I have been the driving force behind getting us into the studio to put out our first EP. I contacted several studios and found one near us that was in our budget and could do what we needed to do. I came up with a detailed plan/schedule for approaching the recording session that our recording engineer and everyone in the band approved of, have made significant arrangement changes to literally every song on the EP (intros, outros, drum/bass breakdowns, wrote a bridge for one song). I've been keeping notes on the songs, including BPM, which takes we liked, timestamps of spots that need to go back and be addressed. I set up a place for us to stay nearby while we were recording, made a bunch of bomb food at home that I brought to the studio for everyone, and arranged for a professional videographer to be present one of the days to capture footage for video release. When we lost our lead guitarist (and practice space) a couple months before recording, I brought in a guy from another band I am in (who is an extremely quick study) and immediately began setting up a legit home studio/practice space at my place. Our drummer doesn't own a drumset and has been using mine.

    Our studio engineer's role has been basically setting up mic's, operating DAW, discouraging the use of pedals while recording and discouraging the weird small intentional tempo changes that our frontman thinks are cool (both of which I have been telling our frontman for months) and being an outside opinion to say "that take was good" or "I think you guys can do better". He is fairly reserved and hands off in terms of guiding the session, though he did convince everyone to try a click track since we have a problem with rushing songs, which has been massively helpful.

    So, does the work I have been doing qualify me as "Producer"? I feel like I am producing this album. I am doing the behind-the-scenes, unglorious work to make it happen. Frontman refers to our engineer as our "producer", and I have previously brought up my desire to get production credits on this album, which he got defensive about, saying something like "these are my songs, this is my baby, I don't want to feel like I am being "handled" or losing creative freedom" (to be fair, as far as singers/guitarists go he's pretty good ego-wise about respecting my ideas and opinions, but the idea of me getting producer credits clearly touched a nerve).

    What say you, talkbass?
     
    Sushi Box FX and Lukasonbass like this.
  2. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Also... I made the band website, made the band email, sent demos to engineer and to new lead guitarist. Not trying to sound too salty cause things are going really well, but I am going to bring the subject back up with a physical list of "producer" duties I have been doing at the end of the session and say "I want producer credits or you can do all of these things for our next LP". If our engineer wants co-producer credits I'm cool with that, but I am trying to kickstart a broader career in the music industry and I want that damn producer credit! :D
     
  3. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    Did Lennon and McCartney resist George Martin producing the Beatles? That seemed to have worked out pretty well for everyone...
     
  4. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    I think the issue resides more in having someone who is a member of the band taking on a producer role. And really I am seeking clarification on other people's ideas of what exactly a producer's role is, and if what I have been doing qualifies as producing an album. I would love this band to work with an established producer at some point, but it doesn't appear to me to be our current dynamic.

    Basically if a bunch of other bassists who presumably sympathize with my struggles with lazy/egotistic singers/guitarists come on here and tell me "nah what you've been doing is more of a band manager role and less of a producer role" then I can drop the whole thing before making a big deal of it.

    I'm also going to ask our engineer in private what he thinks of the situation.
     
  5. 80jazz

    80jazz

    Jun 28, 2008
    Kansas
    THIS.

    They will have the insight that will best serve you.
     
  6. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    But I also want to hear from you guyyyyssss!
     
  7. I would suggest doing a search on the question of what a music producer's role is, read a few articles and look at some videos where producers talk about their role. If those results look like the things you did, then you might be on the right track. Sometimes it's tricky because input comes from many sources, but at the end of the day the producer is responsible for bringing all the parts of the music together cohesively and making them sound the way they do. That can be done at the console by an engineer or by someone who is instructing an engineer. Some bands really co-produce, some don't.
     
    wboyd68 likes this.
  8. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    Pretty sure Roger Glover has producer (and engineer, for that matter) credits on a bunch of Deep Purple stuff, but the CD liner notes are incomplete and I' not going to dig out my vinyl...
    Here's some videos from the Disc Makers guy talking about 'Producer Points' but first he talks about the roles and what they do.

    Martin Atkins talks about these issues in Tour:Smart and Band:Smart. There are several other good references; All You Need To Know About The Music Business, the Music Producer's Handbook, and The Music Business Advice Book come to mind.

    IMO, you've probably done enough to qualify as 'Producer' although a lot of what you've described (video stuff, booking rooms) has nothing to do with the music (what a producer does) and more to do with management. If you're influencing the sound (your best example was writing a bridge) that's producer-land. If you're telling the engineerwhat the project should sound like, that's producer stuff.
     
    Lukasonbass, Joe Nerve, 31HZ and 2 others like this.
  9. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Yes! Okay that's good stuff. I liked that video. I am beginning to understand the role of a producer a bit more.
    On one song I wrote an intro, another song I wrote the outro, a third song I wrote a bridge, a walking bass solo section on the fourth, and a bass/drum breakdown on the fifth. Only one song have I not made significant compositional/arrangement contributions. I have made suggestions for song order/transitions between songs that we are using as well.

    I have been giving "coaching" to the drummer ("pull back more on that section" "try going to the ride here" "you know the songs, don't feel like you have to wait for cues, trust yourself, act don't react") and lead guitarist ("this guitar part is too busy/clashes with the other guitar part, can we simplify it by doing xxx?" "reference the vocal melodies in your solos" "I was listening to Carlos Santana the other day and really admiring how much he gets out of one long held note, feel free to embrace the long notes and really milk them"), and even our frontman to an extent ("here's a recording from practice where I think your vocals are spot on, this is the energy and passion you need to tap back into for this song"). In communicating with the engineer I have been pulling up practice demos and songs by other bands to reference certain tones that we are going for as well.

    Now in fairness, our frontman is doing some of this type of stuff too, but definitely to a lesser degree. Mostly his contributions in this area have been helping craft the lead guitar parts, and in pulling up tone references for the engineer. Perhaps I ought to approach it as "co-produced by *bassist* and *frontman*", with my name coming first to reflect my arrangement contributions (and my role in session management/scheduling, even if those things aren't strictly a part of "producerland") and since he is already getting songwriting credits. I'm not above minor ego-stroking, only because most of the time I don't put up with that poopie and everybody knows it :)

    This is good food for thought, and definitely has me feeling like I have been doing some producing - even if some of those arrangement contributions came two years ago before we were ever thinking about recording. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  10. cxcxcx

    cxcxcx

    Mar 8, 2019
    Hate to say it, but this may be a situation where the singer won’t know or appreciate what he’s missing until you’re gone.

    I know it isn’t much solace now, but the wisdom, skills, and abilities you’ve gained from this experience are not gifted on everyone, and may be very well appreciated by the next group of people you work with. The top two lies that musicians tell are that they are endorsed by a company “x” and that they’re a “producer”. It sounds really good until you have to prove it. The skill set required to be a truly competent producer becomes evident very quickly in a recording studio and the people that matter will notice this quickly.

    You can bet that the first few projects that Bob Rock or Mutt Lange did were not smooth, hassle free successes but time and persistence made them so later on.

    Also, The term “Producer” may mean many things. Eddie Kramer will go in and set up the mics, run the cutting sessions, move amps around, offer arrangement advice, and mix the thing. These days, Rick Rubin has hired help do most of the bull work that he signs off on, and Puff Daddy comes in and listens to a twice to a track his employees mix and engineer, makes a few comments, and splits. All these guys have the “producer” title somewhere on albums so you have to remember the term has a very fluid definition. Down in the trenches the Eddie Kramer model is the most common, and he’s usually the studio owner as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
    sears, M0ses, J R Knots and 2 others like this.
  11. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Isn't playing on the album, recording the album, working on the album, etc, credit enough? I mean, how many of these home made mp3 demos do you plan on selling for profit?

    You know what you did. That should be good. Right?
     
    Dr Zee, ThePez, Jim Nazium and 4 others like this.
  12. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    I know this came off as pretty salty and I appreciate your sentiment, but that's not actually the case here - I know because I've been in bands where I wasn't appreciated, and I split. I'm EXTREMELY appreciated as a hard worker and talented bassist and carry a LOT of sway in the band. I think the main issue here is him (and myself) not really having a good understanding of what a "producer" actually does. I think he was concerned if he told me I could "produce" the album I'd be running around bossing him around or making a bunch of executive decisions on my own or something. In reality I think it's more like the work I've already done and that has become a natural part of my role in the band is deserving of a producer title.

    Quote from our drummer "you're pretty difficult sometimes, but it comes from a place of getting stuff done and making things happen, so it's cool." Unlike our old lead guitarist who was difficult because he was always being a stick in the mud and resisting all the stuff I was trying to get accomplished for the band. Man I'm glad he left before we got into the studio that would have been a nightmare.
     
    M0ses and cxcxcx like this.
  13. Maybe every recording should just have a list of names and then the word "musicians." No one needs to know who did what.
     
    Dr. Keebs and MidnightBottle like this.
  14. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Homemade mp3 demos? Sorry bud guess you didn't actually read my post. I've been in a lot of bands with some great musicians over the years, but this group (and in particular these songs, he's really a very VERY gifted songwriter and charismatic frontman) I think is truly special.

    I ain't got any room for this kind of limiting, negative talk. I'm busting my ass and taking this group as far as we can go, and I'm not into anyone who wants to set limitations on that. That's the kind of attitude that got our old lead guitarist the boot (by me, for the record - how many bands have you been in where the bassist has the clout to fire the lead guitarist two months before going into the studio?).

    My motto - Get on my level or get out of my way. Clearly you're not on my level. See ya in the funny pages, amigo!
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Sounds like you're the production assistant, caterer, travel agent, web master, talent handler, booking agent, arranger and producer. But unless you have a mutual agreement, you can't expect credit for any of that work. I'd say the singer/songwriter is the defacto leader in this scenario, and it's up to you whether you want to produce him for free and whether you want to keep trying to convince him to cede that level of creative control. But you don't want to hash that out while the studio clock is running.
     
    Amano, ThePez, Selios and 10 others like this.
  16. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Did you know Led Zeppelin got it's name because Keith Moon told them the band was going to go over like a "lead balloon"? (cue the "he compared his band to led zeppelin!!!" yea yea go ahead, talk about my ego some more - I was born the day Jaco died, I ain't jack compared to him, but the man and I have more than a few things in common - for better or for worse - and you sure as hell are barking up the wrong tree if you want to shake me of my confidence in my/my bandmates abilities or my determination in my goals)

    I've got a multi-faceted music career I'm building here. If you never get your first production credit how are you supposed to ever get your 100th?

    Next!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  17. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    No, you won't. But, no one's gonna want to play with you with that attitude either.
     
    Amano, ThePez, MasterG and 7 others like this.
  18. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Or just a list of songs, and a label emblem with a date? Right?
     
    mdogs likes this.
  19. MidnightBottle

    MidnightBottle Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Well that's just not true, but OK, believe it if you want to. Doesn't make a difference to me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  20. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    It is where I'm sitting. Read it all again tomorrow. You should feel the same way. If not, I'm sorry bro. But, I'm done man. I don't know you, and you don't know me.

    Hi, I'm JC. I play bass. Have been for a good long time. I'm also a union carpenter, a painter, a husband, and a father. I'm also a pretty decent MacGyver Producer, and more than hold my own on a drum set. I play bass in three bands, and have a solo project. I also rap. I'm alright.

    My favorite color is purple, and I don't pay for anything I can do myself. I listen to everything. From classical to gangster rap. From swing to Madonna. I like Beck. I like Gorillaz. I like The Butthole Surfers. I like my focus hatchback. My wife likes her suburban.

    There.

    Now that you know me, goodbye.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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