"Just For The Record" is a section at the RockUnited site where 'DJ Urban' has a look at some old(er) records/albums in the great history of hard rock and metal. It could be some "obscure" minor record label release that simply didn't get the attention it so rightly deserved the first time around. It could also be a what you would call a "classic" album or sort of a best-seller. They all have one thing in common though. They all ROCK and and they all have at least one classy enough band member to answer our q's.
The RODS: "Let Them Eat Metal"(1984)
The RODS and "Let Them Eat Metal" - If there's ever been a album that literally reek of metal, denim, and leather. Originally formed in NYC in the very late seventies (1979) by former ELF guitarist David "Rock" Feinstein (the cousin of Ronnie James Dio) and Carl Canedy (drums/vocals), the band recorded their debut album the following year. "Let Them Eat Metal", their 5th studio album may not sound like truly original hard rock (a little bit of Priest, AC/DC, and your daily dose of typical NYC biker music), but it's the darn fun and energetic album with some of the most "80's metal" anthems ever put on record. The title track with it's enchanting E-A-T or the smashing 'Nuclear Skies'. I enjoyed it so much I did the remix of the latter in the 1990's (basically the same guitar riff for about 15 minutes) that drove my friends insane. LOL! I should try and find it one of these days. They recorded a new album (Vengeance) in the early 2010 and are just about to release a brand new album. Here to give us his insight on the Let Them Eat Metal album, their drummer, producer (Anthrax, Exciter, Overkill, etc.), the one and only, Mr. CARL CANEDY...
How long did this album take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
I believe we recorded this album in only a few weeks. I believe only two actually. Recorded in Rochester and Ithaca, NY. It was an interesting experience in that I was very busy during the writing. I had come up with the idea of doing a song called "Let them Eat Metal" and David and I were going to write it together. I was so busy producing that I couldn't find time to work on it with him and one day he showed up with the completed song. It was freaking great so I couldn't complain. Still one of my favorite songs and I love playing it live...
What kind of initial budget are we talking about here?
As I recall we had a budget of $10,000.00. Not much but we were able to get it done with that budget. .
How much of the budget did you actually spend on useless equipment and other nonsense?
You're asking how much we spent on "Hookers and Blow"? hahaha. There was only enough money for McDonald's (without Super Sizing any meals). Fortunately for us we didn't do blow and we each had girlfriends so we came in "on" budget. :)
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
I wanted a more "ambient" sound. Similar to John Bonham's, "When the Levee Breaks". I don't recall what David and Garry were thinking. I do know that David had brought in a new guitar and I never loved the sound but his playing is always so great it really didn't matter.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
We were the producers, therefore it was typical band production. We all get along well, so it was pretty much a team effort. Each being mostly responsible for our individual sounds. The engineer was never given the credit or consideration he deserved (Chris Bubacz). He was such a great engineer and we would insist on him doing things that he may not have agreed with. He was always a team player and gave in to our demands, despite his knowing he had better ideas.
And were you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Hindsight and distance are not always your friend. I wasn't not as happy as I'd hoped when we completed the album. I didn't love the guitar sound but I loved the songs. I also felt that, as I was just beginning to play with a click track, I played a bit stiffly on some songs. Now I really love the album.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Chris Bubacz placed my drums in the center of a very large room. He then placed microphones all around the drum kit. I love that sound. He also got a great bass drum sound on that album. Chris produced Metallica's first album in that same studio.
How much time did you spend on overdubs?
I believe the guys were very quick. I took the longest, getting sounds and playing my parts to the click tracks. Back then I hated it (I now love it). Back then it was not my friend. :)
Which band member spent most of his days in the studio and why?
See above. I was the hack that chewed up most of the time on that session.
Which band member hardly spent any time at all in the studio and why?
Probably Garry. Garry is always prepared and knocks his bass tracks out quickly.
Let's talk about the lyrics. Are you just as fond of them today or are they typical of its time?
They are typical of the time (for what I was writing). My songs are no longer lyrically approached in that manner. If you listen to my new CD (shameless plug) Canedy "Headbanger" (www.CDBaby.com/Canedy you'll see that my lyrics have evolved a bit. I actually smile when I hear some of the lyrics from the past I've written. I've made some interestingly bold choices with regard to lyrics along the way.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound', or perhaps you didn't?
I'm not sure this album captures our live sound or feel. It certainly captures the band but not our live feel per se. Aside from the "Live" album, "In The Raw" is the closest we've come to our live feel in the studio. That album was actually almost all recorded live in the studio
Did the record company interfere withanything on your "sound" and "songs", considering what's 'hot and not' at the time?
No, none whatsoever. We were basically doing it all on our own. Sometimes it's good to get an outside opinion and other times it's not.
Your favourite songs off the album and why?
Let Them Eat Metal. I also love Nuclear Skies, I'm a Rocker and She's Such A Bitch.
Any 'oh-I-wish-we-had-never-recorded' song on this album?
For me it would be "She's So Tight". WTF was I thinking. It was inspiration from a one night stand that should have stayed in my head. There seems to be a theme. Are you actually trying to get me to talk shit about our album? I think in some ways it's dated. As I'd stated I never really cared for the Guitar sound and felt the Drums were too out front. I think many of the songs kick ass and hold up today. I notice that many fans have favorite songs from this album so clearly it still has fans.
Were there any other tracks recorded during those studio sessions that didn't make the cut?
No, we used to pretty much map out and record our albums without additional songs (with the occasional exception)
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
I remember it was cold (winter time) and lots of snow. It wasn't one of my fondest memories of a session. I was isolated quite a bit doing my tracks. The studio was two hours from our home so the guys weren't there during most of the drum tracks. My girlfriend could only visit on weekends. Overall it was a sad lonely experience. I have to take a break now to dry my tears and compose myself. :) Seriously, we always had fun when Chris Bubacz Engineered a Rods project. We always had a lot of laughs in the studio and even when it was work it was still fun. I mean really, we were in a band that was getting to make an album. It could have been much worse and we knew it.
Were you ever a "priority" case or merely just another release at your record label?
Honestly, I think The Rods always seemed to be a low priority with everyone we worked with. I'm not sure the people we surrounded ourselves (with the exception of Jon and Marsha Z) saw that the band was truly great in its own right. Typical story of many metal bands.
Did you ever feel like the record label supported you guys enough afterwards? (promotion-wise, tours, etc.).
No, it wasn't supported at all. For some reason Combat didn't love the album as I recall and were pushing other bands.
Any regrets whatsoever? (regarding the album of course)
I loved that our friend Sherry was up for the cover when I asked her. She even provided her own accessories. I remember the cover being held up on a national TV show here during the PMRC censorship days. I guess that alone justifies the album. The ultimate Spinal Tap cover.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, or promote, please do:
I'd like to thank all of the The Fans who have
supported us all these years. I always encourage fans to come and say hi
at shows. We love meeting and hanging out when we're able. As for
promotion, I have a brand new solo CD, Canedy, "Headbanger" and David
Feinstein also has a new solo CD out called "Clash of Armour". The Rods
have new music coming as well. There's a page for Canedy, Feinstein
and all of the Rods merchandise can be purchased there. Urban, thank you
for the support all these years. It's truly appreciated my friend.
Interview by: Urban "Wally"