Dave Schramm: I remember being in the studio in
Boston and hearing that the shuttle blew up, and how weird that day
was. Sleeping on Byron Coley's floor, eating some strange rice dish
he cooked up. Working on "Alrock's Bells," one of my favorites, and
finally hearing Ira's vocals clearly for the first time. Hearing the
words clearly for the first time, and, with some elucidation from Ira,
realizing that he means PANTS. I knew who Alrock was. A local Hoboken
thrift store guy. And all this time while we were working the song out
I had been trying to get bell-like sounds out of my guitar, like really
trying to play that angle up. After my revelation (who can blame me
for not hearing the words clearly? - in those days Ira often didn't
even finish the words to a song before we played it live - he just sang
nonsense syllables to fill in the gaps). I thought it was even cooler
to "play up the bells angle". So we ended up with that wild little grandiose
instrumental part in the middle of the song, with speeded-up and tuned-down,
slowed-down guitars and steels everywhere. What fun. I don't know if
Ira and Georgia still like that part. Hope so. What's on the record
is actually a much less full-blown thing than what we recorded, thank
god. There were even more wacky sounds in there that we took out. I
was disappointed at the time, but luckily, cooler heads prevailed.
Clint Conley: Right out of the box, I earned my
handsome producerial remmuneration by detecting a slight but profound
misreading of key notes in the Kinks' "Big Sky." Disaster was averted,
a career launched.
The sessions were free of the tantrums, tawdriness,
and extravagant excess that I'd been told to expect from YLT. The sessions
were also free of promised money from Coyote Records, which brought
forth an eviction notice half way though. I would have to say my greatest
contribution to the making of RtT was a temporary cash infusion.
The recording was completed, the record released, and soon what would
come to be known as the Great Punk Bull Market was off and running.
Coincidence or catalyst? Let history judge...
Our engineer was extremely patient and helpful,
given our limited knowledge of studio ins and outs. But he was sort
of a normal human from the music industry. So we were from different
planets. He kept saying he heard unacceptable tempo changes. Variations
that were completely undetectable by us punk rockers. I think by the
time we packed out we'd successfully lowered his professional standards.
This was my first gig as a hi-paid session-man bass
player. Coming at pre-existing music and creating my part was a fun
challenge and different from my experience in Mission of Burma. But
my contributions on the low end led to some moments of high drama. I
thought I had come up with a cool pattern, sort of plain and structural,
for my big bass showcase solo in "Forest Green" (?) but Dave Sch. couldn't
stand this little squiggle I put on the end of one of the notes--one
of those half-step squiggles you hear all the time with the funk bassists.
Man I love those little squiggles. And the guys in Burma would never
let me do them either. But Dave's disgust was so palpable, the look
in his eyes so resolute, I knew then I was learning a brutal first hand
lesson in the power of the Artist over the hi-paid session man. I swallowed
up my little piece of self expression and did a total cave.
Dave Schramm: What else? Well, on "Screaming Dead
Balloons" I remember us trying to get the wacky guitar solo at the end
to feel right, and it not happening, over and over. Then it occurred
to me that I was attempting to fit all the little notes in nice little
cubby holes beatwise, and that's why it sounded stiff and unimaginative.
So we recorded the next take and had Clint turn off my headphones once
the ending started. That worked fine, and if I'm not mistaken we used
that very next take on the record. I remember Georgia first singing
along with the tracks, incredibly fucking softly, and how cool it sounded
and everybody going wow! wonderful. Like on "Big Sky" and "Alrocks"
and singing along with her on "Pain of Pain".