Glyn Johns Talks With Michael Fremer About Eric Clapton's New Album (and More)

Glyn Johns spoke recently by phone with Analogplanet editor Michael Fremer about recording Eric Clapton's just released album I Still Do, about his recently published book "Sound Man" and about his incredible career as one of the world's most revered and respected recording engineers and producers.

The new album, released today on double 45rpm AAA 180g vinyl sounds incredible, but more importantly it's a vital work by Clapton that will shortly be reviewed on Analogplanet.

I know you'll enjoy the interview:

pmatt's picture

Thanks Michael. Great interview. So much to comment on. Interesting that the Clapton record was mixed down to 15ips (and then released on 45rpm vinyl). Loved the vintage Neve module commentary. Rough Mix - YES! and will certainly look for Benmont Tench release. Such a simple and lucid approach is not as easy as it sounds - dammit!

Jim Tavegia's picture

Will try later this Saturday.

vinyl_lady's picture

I really enjoyed that Michael. Some great insights into a great producer. A friend turned me on to Rough Mix a few years ago--a great record. I wish more engineer/producers had his philosophy of getting out of the way of the music. I listened to I Still do last night. One of the best Clapton records ever and the sound is incredible. I wish more records were cut at 45 rpm.

marmaduke's picture

Album (vinyl) is available in small quantities on Amazon and other sources now.

Snorker's picture

Good interview Michael! You very adeptly handled a bit of testiness (and a technical issue) and got some interesting and informative stuff. I have an even greater appreciation for how Johns recorded the amazing roster of artists he's worked with. I was just listening to an original RSO Slowhand last night (with TML-M on both sides) and thinking how wonderfully natural everything sounded. I am excited to hear the new Clapton album now!

DaveB's picture

Wonderful interview. It's amazing that Glyn is still recording. I first saw his name when I was a little kid, on my Canadian London Ruby Tuesday 45.."Engineer: GLYN JOHNS"

Mark Tarone's picture

Thanks for the interview Michael! Lots of great bases covered - particularly helpful to hear his approach to mastering.

Highly recommend checking out Ethan John's work (Glyn's son). Ethan is a special producer / engineer. Albums that stand out in particular to me are: Ray LaMontagne (first two albums), Kings of Leon (A-Ha Shake Heartbreak) and Ryan Adams '29'.

And no surprise, he likes to record to tape - preferably live. What is unique is how great a musician he is - e.g. he's the sole drummer on Ray LaMontagne's debut. Ethan Johns interview:

Last week, I was looking for mastering credits on his LaMontagne albums, and there are none. Now I get it. Like his father, he likely had the mastering focus solely on volume and perhaps Ethan did it himself.

Thanks again!

my new username's picture

Nice interview, Michael. Johns clearly takes himself seriously and knows his craft. I can see why he took exception to your well-intentioned (but worrisome) assertion that he had done something fundamentally different on some albums that has resulted in their having a different sound. My point is, that guys like this should be taken at face value ... it shows respect, because it is respect.

And when I hear industry luminaries like this speak, I'm struck between the differences between "best vs. great." Making something you feel is "best" locks you into a corner that might preclude greatness, whereas working to achieve something great is always "best." It's a subtle distinction, but one I feel leads many professionals to consider digital workflows best. And so, WE never receive greatness.

One thing, perhaps for next time: When and if there's confusion on a record jacket regarding provenance, ask the producer please not only for clarification, but also if they have the influence to make it clear on the record jacket for succeeding titles.

Lazer's picture

I really wanna say how I effing amazing that interview was but I don't want to swear. Amazing. Thank you is not adequate.

Lazer's picture

About Keith Emerson was fascinating to me. It's only one of many tid bits that fascinated me about this interview. There is so much info in this it's hard to comprehend in just one listen. listen twice or more.

Jakobean613's picture

I'm a " period " person. I hate to use the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel or Paul Simons solos albums as the standard for the 68- God knows what period ,but here goes.
I think one must remember context and time.
Take a Stones album from same period,produced by Glyn Johns and put on the correlating Beatles album of the period.
It's no contest. The Stones sound so thin,it's embarrassing.
What Johns got shafted on was Let It Be.
EMI ,had they any integrity,they would have bought back every LIB album sold,that was produced by the sociopath ,and released Johns fantastic recordings,of the band live .
I don't have a clue why the big four didn't nix the released album.
S&G ... From Bookends to Bridge. Then all of Pauls solo efforts ,up to Graceland .
Roy Halee was Simons Sir George and Phil Ramoan was right there ,as well.
The thing is.
Regardless of your musical preferences in popular music,there are some that can't be compared to on any level.
Musicianship,writing,vocal talents and range ,arranging,recording and producing.
I'm sure it's no accident ,that the creme de la creme rose to levels that required the best in the fields of engineering and producing .
I also know for a fact,that when you hit that bar,as an artist ,the arranging and production is shared by the artists and whomever is credited .
George Martin realized technically,what the Beatles were thinking ,and brought it to fruition .
Roy Halee knew Paul Simons headset ,like no other .
But,you have to realize Paul and Artie figured out the harmonies by instinctually having the gift . ( A nod to Phil and Don )
After I listened to Michaels interview,I put on Gimme Shelter ... ( First press,UK. Love the album )
I propose you do likewise ...
Then put on ANY Beatles from BFS onward ...
The Stones sound so thin,I couldn't believe it.
I EQd the hell out of it,just to get something ...
No luck.
I'm just scratching the surface .
Who's next ?

jramohio's picture

At 35:30 you are talking about a favorite album of Mr. Johns and I am not sure which album you guys are talking about. Is it the new Clapton album or something else? Thanks.

mendps's picture

"Rough Mix," Pete Townshend, Ronnie Lane.