“Crazy Bitch” BuckcherrySingle: “Crazy Bitch”
Album: 15 (Lava/Atlantic
Date Recorded: Over fifteen days in May 2005 at Mad Dog Studios in Burbank, Calif.
Single Producers: Mike Plotnikoff, Keith Nelson, and Paul DeCarli
Single Engineers: Mike Plotnikoff
Single Mixer: Mike Plotnikoff at Studio Atlantis in Hollywood
Mastering: Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in New York City
Other Projects: A prolific producer, engineer, and mixer, Plotnikoff has worked in various roles with artists such as Hoobastank, Papa Roach, Less Than Jake, P.O.D., The Cranberries, KISS, Yes, Mudvayne, and INXS, among others.
Single Songwriters: Keith Nelson and Josh Todd
Consoles: Neve 8088 (tracking) and Solid State Logic 9080 J Series (mix)
Recorders: Pro Tools|HD, Ampex ATR-102 half-inch analog two-track running Quantegy GP9 analog tape
Monitors: Yamaha NS-10
Vocal Microphone: Neumann U47
Vocal Preamplifier: Neve 1073
Vocal Processing: Teletronix LA-2A compressor
(click thumbnail)“Crazy Bitch” — a fun (and slightly profane) romp through traditional American rock territory — channels icons such as Aerosmith and AC/DC but is unmistakably Buckcherry. On hiatus since 2002, the band’s principal members — vocalist Josh Todd and guitarist/producer Keith Nelson — decided to reassemble the band to record a third album for Japanese release. Nelson, also a studio guitar tech who frequently works with engineer Mike Plotnikoff, approached his coworker to coproduce, engineer, and mix the entire record with him as well as a third coproducer, Paul DeCarli.
“It wasn’t really meant to come out in the US, but they were going to look for a deal,” explains Plotnikoff of 15, the album named after the number of days needed to record it. “Then the band decided to put ‘Crazy Bitch’ on their website. One of the satellite radio stations downloaded it, started playing it, and got tons of requests for it. The next thing you know, they get a US deal with Lava/Atlantic. They never serviced radio at all. Satellite radio found the song and broke it.”
Like the rest of 15, “Crazy Bitch” was recorded live in Mad Dog Studio’s great-sounding main room with minimal overdubs. Predictably, the guitar tones — dialed in by the Nelson/Plotnikoff duo — are stellar. “We knew all our sounds,” downplays Plotnikoff. “We used all vintage gear — mostly Marshalls, Vox AC-30 amps, and Les Pauls.”
(click thumbnail)Mike PlotnikoffTo create fat, aggressive, and anchoring bass guitar tones, two tracks — one distorted and one clean — were recorded. “We used an SDT-1 pedal with a Big Muff for distortion, then a clean track with just enough Big Muff to give it some aggressiveness.”
For Todd’s distinctive and edgy rasp, Plotnikoff settled on a signal chain comprised of a vintage Neumann U47, Neve 1073 microphone pre-amp, and a Teletronix LA-2A straight to Pro Tools|HD, the entire project’s recording format running at 96 kHz. “We tried out a few different mics, but he sounded best on the U47,” offers Plotnikoff. “It gave him a little more depth and warmth.”
For the mix, Plotnikoff hit Quantegy GP9 “harder than normal” using the only two reels of analog tape that Studio Atlantis had left. “After we’d print a mix to half-inch, we would dump it back to Pro Tools, wipe the tape, and go over it again.”