R.I.P. Andy Johns

April 8, 2013

You are completely familiar with Andy Johns work.  He was present at some of the greatest moments in Rock recording history as a Producer and Engineer.  Here's a short list of some of his work:


Stand Up - Jethro Tull (1969)
Town and Country - Humble Pie (1969)
Highway - Free (1970)
Marquee Moon - Television (1977)

Night Songs - Cinderella (1986)
Long Cold Winter - Cinderella (1988)
Dirty Weapons - Killer Dwarfs (1990)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge - Van Halen (1991)
The Extremist - Joe Satriani (1992)
Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot (2009) [8]


Ssssh -Ten Years After (1969)
Blind Faith - Blind Faith (1969)
Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin (1970)

Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin (1971)
Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones (1971)
Exile on Main St. - Rolling Stones (1972)
Goats Head Soup - Rolling Stones (1973)
Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin (1973)
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll - The Rolling Stones (1974)
Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin (1975)
Coda - Led Zeppelin (1982)
IV - Godsmack (2006)
Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton

Just a couple of classics, nothing major right?  It was Andy Johns who was the glue keeping it all together through The Stones' "Exile On Mains St." sessions, at the Nellcote Villa in the South Of France.  Keith Richards rented the place out to escape paying taxes in England and immediately set up shop recording and shooting tons of heroin with his entourage and whoever wandered through the place.  It was a recording engineer's nightmare.  Humid, damp rooms, with cables running through hallways to kitchens and closets.  The Stones would often record with people just hanging out in the same room partying, shooting up, eating.  Andy Johns had to also be on call 24/7 ready to record when Richards was lucid enough to get it done, and when Mick Jagger decided to show up.  No easy accomplishment.  No Pro-Tools, no auto-tune.  All of these ingredients make "Exile" one of the greatest and dirtiest Rock albums of all time.  

He also achieved the same Organic griminess with Led Zeppelin IV, recorded at The Headly Grange Mansion in East Hampshire, England.  

Andy Johns recording philosophy can be summed up from a interview he did with Recording Tech Blogger Bobby Owsinksi: "fidelity is obviously of prime importance. My idea is to make it sound as if you are in the best rehearsal that the band ever did, and you are about 12 feet back from the stage, in a nice rehearsal place...You're supposed to be there and feel them playing."

Some material used from Billboard.