“(You Want To) Make A Memory” Bon Jovi
Single: “(You Want To) Make A Memory”
Album: Lost Highway (Island/Mercury Nashville)
Recording Dates: November 2006 through January 2007 at Blackbird Studio in Berry Hill, TN (Nashville) and NRG Recording Services in North Hollywood, CA
Single Producer: Dann Huff
Single Engineers: Mark Hagen (overdubs and digital editing) and Justin Neibank (basic tracks)
Assistant Engineers: Seth Morton (Blackbird Studio), Casey Lewis (NRG Recording Services), and Drew Bollman (for Justin Neibank)
Single Mixer: Jeremy Wheatley
Mastering: George Marino at Sterling Sound in New York City
Other Projects: Hagen has worked on projects for artists such as Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Megadeth, Evan & Jaron, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill and many more.
Single Songwriters: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child
Recording consoles: 72-input Neve 8078 with 40 31105 preamp/four-band EQs (Blackbird), 64-input Neve 8078 (NRG Recording Services), Digidesign ICON (Huff’s private studio)
Recorder: Digidesign Pro Tools|HD
Monitors: ATC 300 (Blackbird) and Genelec 1031
Select Microphones: Neumann M49, Neumann M269, Neumann U67, Neumann CMV 563, AKG C12A, Royer R-121 and Shure SM57
Vocal Chain (Jon Bon Jovi): Neumann M49, RFT Lorenz preamp and Empirical Labs Distressor EL8 to Pro Tools|HD
Select Microphone Pre-amps: Neve 31105 preamp/EQ and RFT Lorenz
Select Other Gear: Neve 2253 compressors and Little Labs PCP DistroNotwithstanding the occasional cowboy lyrical theme, superstar rock act Bon Jovi had never recorded what could officially be called a “Country” album … until now. More appropriately, Lost Highway — the veteran band’s latest full-length release — is simply their “Nashville album,” featuring a variety of new acoustic textures, a few Country music guest stars and one particularly hot yet subtle ballad: the first single, “(You Want To) Make A Memory.”
“That song was always special,” recalls engineer Mark Hagen, who worked alongside producer Dann Huff on Lost Highway. “You could always tell that there was this vibe about it. It’s just a classic, great song.”
“Make A Memory” starts quietly, dry, and, as Hagen explains, “It keeps you on the edge of your seat. It has a stripped down quality to it, which adds to its intimacy.”
(click thumbnail)At NRG’s Studio B: Assistant Engineer Casey Lewis, Engineer Mark Hagen, Producer Dann Huff, Richie Sambora and Guitar Tech Willie.
From Jon Bon Jovi’s close, nearly whispered first verse to the song’s tastefully built finale, lead vocals were captured with a simple, yet notable signal chain: a Neumann M49 to a vintage RFT Lorenz mic preamp to a Distressor EL8 “hitting him pretty hard” before residing at a PT|HD rig. On all other songs for Lost Highway, Jon’s voice was recorded via a Neumann M269. “I believe that the Lorenz was made during the ‘50s in East Germany,” offers Hagen on the quite rare mic preamplifier.
According to Hagen, recording Richie Sambora’s guitar tracks was especially enjoyable. Between both Sambora and Huff’s extensive guitar and amplifier collections (Huff began his studio career as a first-call session guitarist), there was no desired guitar tone that was unreachable. Capturing guitar tracks involved such gear as Bogner Ecstacy and Matchless Chieftan amp heads with Bogner 4X12 and Matchless 2X12 cabinets, respectively, with two mics on each: a Shure SM57 and Royer R-121. For ambience, a pair of Neve U67s in a stereo X/Y about 15-20 feet from the cabinets were recorded through two preamps from a Neve 8078 followed by two Neve 2253 compressors.
In a rather elaborate routing scheme featuring a Little Labs PCP Distro signal distribution box, Hagen was able to utilize Sambora’s signature tone coming from the two amps in a very effective way. “I love the combination of the SM57 with the Royer,” Hagan explains. “It gives me a lot of control in shaping the tone coming out of a guitar cabinet.”