Exclusive Preview of Eric Johnson’s "Europe Live"
The legendary guitarist gives us a preview of his latest live album and talks about his new approach in the studio.
On how the album came together:
“There wasn't a lot of forethought going into it. We were already on the road and the label that was interested in signing us asked if we’d like to do a live record. I wasn’t even really thinking about it when they put the mics up and recorded the three shows. It’s funny, because I look back and think I should’ve had more of an ‘I’m doing a live record’ mentality. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, so I didn’t even really shift mentally. We just recorded the shows.”
On going back and fixing the guitar tracks:
“I had to do them because there was a damaged microphone on a couple of the tracks. On a couple other ones, I loved the track, but didn’t like the way I played, so I recut them. There are a couple of tunes where I just replaced the guitar. But, I told them if I’m going to do it, there’s only one way I’m going to do it: Just start the tape and I’ll play it all the way through as a full take performance live in the studio. There’s no punching or fragmenting.”
On his newfound perspective in the studio:
“I don’t want to make studio records where I piece them together anymore. It’s just not the best way to make a record. I’ve paid too high of a price in some of my recordings by doing that. You gain this pristine thing, audio-wise, but you pay with the heart. That’s expensive. It changes the enjoyment factor of the music. When I started just performing the music and then listened back, I can feel the experience happening. Where in the other way, you don’t feel that. Your ear hears something that’s really great, or put together well, but you don’t viscerally feel the event happening. I think a lot of people know that—I think I’m late to the party as far as getting that. I’ve been too seduced by the grammar of everything being just right in the studio and at the expense of not just going, ‘Wait a second, which one is really moving my heart more?’ All of a sudden, it’s a total game changer.”