Lee Roy Parnell
An Interview with Lee Roy Parnell
Auralex Acoustics provided acoustic products and consultation services for legendary artist and guitarist Lee Roy Parnell. In the summer of 2001, Lee Roy released ”Tell the Truth” on Vanguard Records. This is his first release in which a great deal of the tracking and all of the mixes were done at his home. Before a recent concert appearance, Auralex Acoustics Technical Consultant, Jeff Hedback, interviewed Lee Roy regarding his Auralex products and the benefits to his ”home studio.” Below, you can read the entire text of this interview and hear several audio excerpts, highlighting Lee Roy’s unique style and personality. These audio clips are available in Windows Media Audio. To download WMA, click here!
JH: ”Could you briefly describe your experiences recording at your home before Auralex treatments?”
LRP: ”Okay, let me just kind of give you a brief synopsis of all that and how it might be pertinent to your article or whatever you’re wanting to do with it. You know, I, like so many other people started out just as a musician and back years before there was recording gear available that was, I’d call it ‘semi-pro recording gear,’ whatever, available where people could use it for demo purposes in their houses and what not. I would, uh, we’d always cut in studios and stuff, so we never had to worry about that; how a room sounded at home, you know, but as time went on, every single solitary soul had some sort of recording device in their house. And maybe it was just for demos and then, like for me for the longest time it was for demos and then it turned into, well, let’s cut the basic tracks. This was as early as my second album. Let’s cut the basic tracks at the studio and I think back then I had tascams and uh, we would cut the vocals at the house. So I’d bought a vocal chain; that was my microphone of choice, which was an M149 Neuman, and uh, I bought a pre-, a mic-pre , which was the Grace, the Grace Mic-Pre, and then the big TubeTech, the big blue TubeTech CLMB, and that was the chain, so wherever we were, that’s what we went through, you know, we didn’t realize that there would be differences. We just tried to make the room as dead as possible. And, wherever the space was, so there wouldn’t be a room sound. We weren’t taking advantage of any room sounds because you get into trouble, because of standing waves and all that sort of thing. And for me, just to cut to the chase, what happened was as I got further into it, I just fell in love with the recording process and I didn’t have another freestanding building so I just flat moved it right into my house. My house is built like those old 50s’ ranch style houses, you know, the front rooms that nobody ever used that were like there was the dining room and there was the…”
JH: ”the living room that nobody lived in”
LRP: ”Nobody lived, where momma kept her good furniture, you know, and don’t sit on that. So, all that stuff, out of there. And then, a big console in it and tons of outboard gear, and a Hammond B3 and a piano and everything and it basically turned into a studio. But, I didn’t have any sort of, I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants and really I knew we were dealing some problems with, but we were mixing there yet. Well, with this album it all changed. So, by having Auralex products and having you guys do your, you know giving you the specs of the room the way we did. We were able to, you guys did your voodoo and your whatever it is that you do to, you know, put this piece here and turn it this way one inch you know. I mean, it took a few days to get all that stuff up. It made the room, both the mixing room, where we spend most of the time. It made the room obviously good enough to mix in because we ended up mixing the entire record in there and it’s probably the best sounding record I’ve ever made. Now, you know, there were bass traps all over that room when we started out and we just followed your directions and did exactly what you told us to do. And, then in the cutting room, we were able, just out of the simple bedroom, we were able to get a live side and a dry side and this is out of a room that’s, and I forget the dimensions of that room were, but it wasn’t big.”
JH: ”range of 13′ x 13′ or 14′ x 14”’
LRP: ”Something like that, yeah, with a little alcove in there. So, it actually, it was able to, it afforded me the luxury of being able to actually get room sounds on, not only my guitar, but backgrounds, vocals, and my vocals, and you know, we didn’t have to put up, if we wanted something dead, real, real dead, we would use the MAX-Wall, we would put it up, you know, but, other than that, usually that would go behind me sometimes. Sometimes that depends on what room you’re in, sometimes a lot of it’s trial and error and it’s just finding out what works best. It definitely made it possible for me to take, I had a great gear to start with and then what we weren’t, you know, what we didn’t, what we weren’t able to do with any kind of real confidence was to take a mix to someone and then have any idea what it was really going to sound like, uh, in a mastering room because if the low end was suddenly just killing you in a mastering room because it was lying to you in your room because it will lie to you if you don’t treat that room it will lie to you. You know, that’s the thing that’s almost like being in recording and treating a room is sort of like being in the music business and having a song. It’s like first things first, no song, no studio. If you don’t have a song, don’t even get near a studio. Wait ’til you have a song. And I think when you’re getting ready to do, as inexpensively as you can treat a room these days. I don’t care if your running a little Roland machine and you’ve got 8-tracks or whatever, or you’ve got a maxed out DAW or you’ve got a Mackie Digital 8 Bus with a Radar, um, you know, your end results are going all be about the same if you don’t treat your room. What’s that funny sound pinging in the background? It definitely upped the notch on my little studio by a big jump. Thank you.”
For more information on Lee Roy Parnell, visit his website atwww.LeeRoyParnell.com.