INTERVIEW WITH HIRSH GARDNER
Copyrightę 1999 -> for everything in this page by Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone
and Hirsh Gardner
Gardner produced Ramainz: Live
In N.Y.C -album.
1) How did you started co-operation with Ramainz?
Gary Borress, CEO of GB Music is very good friends with the guys in the
band. I know he hangs out with Johnny a lot in L.A. and has stayed in
touch with Marky and Dee Dee in New York. So the idea of a live Ramainz CD
was born when Gary and Marky put there heads together and decided that GB
Music was the right label for the release. GB Music is a small label, but
great attention to detail is given to every release. I mean, just look at
the cover and the packaging for the CD it's amazing. Whenever I listen to
the CD I sit and stare at the cover. It is amazing work.
Once GB decided to do the Ramainz CD, Gary flew up to my home just outside
of Boston, we listened to the raw tapes from many Ramainz shows, and it
was then that I decided that I HAD to produce the CD.
2) How it was to do work at the same time with old legends (Dee Dee,
Marky) and fresh new rocker (Barbara)?
I was honored to work on this CD. I would have done it for free (but don't
tell them that)!!! There I was in my studio, producing songs like
"Sedated", Sheena, and Rockaway Beach. Every once in a while it would hit
me "Holy shit, these are rock and roll CLASSICS". Also, I love Barbara's
3) You've played also at least with New England?
Yes, New England was my
band. I play drums and sing. We toured for many years before breaking up,
had an amazing time. In fact our last gig was with the Ramones in 1982.
4) You've produced really many albums, but what is the most important
memory for you of the producing Ramainz -album?
Like I mentioned earlier every once in a while I would realize that I was
working on a song that was (is) a rock classic. Millions of people have
heard this song. I would be driving in my car and a Ramones song would
come on the radio that I was producing and I would have to laugh (with
pride) that I was producing that song.
5) How easy was work with Ramainz stuff, was it hard 'cause all these
classic Ramones -songs? Your main points when you planned producing?
It was not an easy project by any means. The first thing I did was listen
to every live Ramones CD ever put out. I said to myself, "OK Hirsh, what
don't you like about the sound of this CD, and how can you make yours
better." Some of the other live CD's were thin sounding, not enough bottom
end to show you the true power of the band live. Others did not have a
great balance between the vocals and the band don't get me wrong,
generally the other live Ramones CD's were great but this one had to be
So once I had a plan as to how I wanted the album to sound, I re-recorded
it all into my computer and started to go to work. First we re-sequenced
some of the songs. Well when you do this on a live show, you have to cut
the audience applause tracks so now you have "cuts" in the final
performance. So I resampled the audience tracks, and dubbed them in where
the cuts were. Once I had a smooth flowing show from beginning to end, I
started to master the actual sound of the band. Keep in mind now, the only
dubs on this were the audience track, just to cover the cuts where we
moved a few of the songs.
The next step was the sound of the band. Here I used digital EQ, frequency
dependent compression, normalization of the digital signal, reverb, stereo
enhancement, etc. to give the performance the depth, character and punch
that you would get if you were sitting in the front row of the hot and
sweaty Continental in New York City. When I listened to the final mix
through headphones, I closed my eyes, and low and behold, there I was, in
the club, with The Ramainz right before my eyes.
6) Your own Ramones favourites?
All of them. There was never a Ramones song that I didn't like. What they
do, they do the best!!!
7) You're also a drummer, what do you think about Ramones drummers: Marky,
Tommy and Richie?
I truly like all the drumming. Tommy was solid and had some nice ideas and
I could say the same for Richie, but from a musicianship standpoint, Marky
is really the best drummer. He is rock solid and had tempo that few
drummers in the world have.
(Many thanks for you Hirsh)