Here`s part 5 of "Smokin J" By James Rontondi
From Guitar Player Oct 94:
(Once Mascis had enough material in the can,
he and bassist Mike Johnson retired to
Dreamland Studios in Woodstock,New York,to
lay down the basic bass and drums tracks.It`s
not hard to firgure out why J chose Dreamland.
It`s main room is a huge converted church that could make the Duracell bunny`s bass drum sound like "When The Levee Breaks."
He makes it sound easy on the final mixes,but
getting tempos straight was tough.)
"My tendency is to play real fast,"(groans Mascis)"I`m always speeding up."(Ironically ,it was on the moody,mid-tempo "Outta Hand"
on which he played to existing acoustic guitar
tracks,that J had the easiest time.His performance,filled with accents,snare rolls,and tom flourishes,is loose and airy,with the kind of
live feel you associate with CSN and Y`s Dallas
Taylor or Procol Harum`s B.J. Wilson.)
"The guitars were moving that song,so I decided to fit the drums into them,"(J says of the track,which gains orchestral scope via piano and Mellotron.)"Normally,that`s pretty hard,but it worked out."
(Apart from Johnson`s hopelessly and intentionally out-of-key solo at the end of"Yeah Right"and Kurt Fedora`s Tony Iommi-like licks on "Even You",Mascis played all the guitars on Without A Sound,redefining his characteristic wall-of-barre crunch and saturated solos with some surprisingly pretty
pull-off phrases.A stickler for tone,J played with various amp/speaker/guitar combinations.
For dirty rhythms,he`d pull out his `61 SG-shaped Les Paul Junior with P-90s)"definitely
my favorite pickups"(or his `64 Fender Jazzmaster,wire up his `59 Fender tweed Bandmaster through both a Marshall 25-watt
4 by 12 cabinet and the Bandmaster`s own three 10 inch speakers,and send each signal-
close miked with an SM-57 or a Sennheiser 421
-to a separate track.Clean rhythms called for a vintage,15 watt,all tube Vox Super Berkley.)
"I played the beginning of "She Said She Said"
through it-exactly like the beatles!"