Robbie's answering machine: Hey, you must have called me while I'm off doing something else, driving around or cleaning up dust off the counter, so leave me a message. Make it long, detailed, rambling and pointless. Okay. Bye-bye.
[Well, it turned out that Robbie was home but was laughing so hard on a call with Danny Barnes that he didn't hear the phone clicking. The genius of Danny Barnes is described in our review of his last Terminus release, Dirt on the Angel, and we hope to be covering Danny's new release shortly. Robbie and I started our conversation on the subject of the inimitable Mr. Barnes.]
Robbie Fulks: I think his new CD is the best, including Blood and Mood. I think that hip-hop record is a great thing.
Puremusic: Yeah, see, I'm not up on that record.
RF: The last record he did under the name Bad Livers was this hip-hop amalgam with bluegrass. They use it now at CMT for buffers during their promotional shots. All the time on CMT you hear that come up. It was recorded eight years ago, but it's just starting to sound contemporary right now. Just on the edge of the mainstream is how it sounds now. It's cool.
PM: I wonder if he even gets paid when they use it for buffers and stuff.
RF: Yeah, it depends on what his deal is with the label and the publisher and the rest of the cats.
PM: Man, I thought your new CD, Georgia Hard, was just unbelievable.
RF: Oh, thanks.
PM: Come on. That's--
RF: Come on! [laughs]
PM: That's not only my favorite record of yours, that's the best country record I've heard in a long time.
RF: Well, thank you. We were really enthused working on it, and we thought we'd have something kind of superior with it. I don't want to blow my own horn too much. But we had a great time making it.
PM: With all them ringers at Oceanway, I mean, that's an expensive disc, right?
RF: You know, it surprised me. It wasn't real expensive. I mean, it kind of ended up being, because I was there for a while, but man, the production!
It's depressing in a way how the production houses in Nashville have got real competitive rates going on now, and there's a lot of places up for sale, and it's kind of a buyers' market, you know?
PM: It is. Yeah, Seventeen Grand is on the block, and a number of places. Yeah. We've got a little Nuendo studio just down the block from Oceanway, and I often wonder what it must cost to cut there. What's it a day there?
RF: I was in the B room, and I think the rate card there is 1,100 or 1,200. I got a better rate through a friend. I don't know, it's probably dumb of me, but I've always been attached to a good room, a big tracking floor. I like a big comfortable tracking room--the romance of it, and everything else.
PM: So what about all the ringers? Everybody comes in for the buddy rate, right?
RF: Oh, the players on the record?
RF: Well, no, not really. I paid people pretty good. I paid my band a little less than the other guys. But it was a union record, so I couldn't really goof around with that stuff too much.
PM: Yeah, yeah, of course.
PM: So it must have been something having some really, really classic guys like Lloyd Green and Hank Singer on the record.
RF: Oh, it's always fun. I can say always because I worked with them--well, I worked with Hank on a couple of things, but Lloyd on the Paycheck record, and Dennis [Crouch] too. That's where I met those two guys.
RF: Of course, I've been a fan of both of them, for a long time, so playing with them was like paradise for me. continue