When I played on Michael Jackson's last record, I knew what they were going to do, so I said, "Hey, Michael, here's like a billion ideas. I'm going to play all this cool s***, and you go off and do it." So I didn't have to write it, so to speak. I didn't have to give them the definitive, perfect, guitar part; I gave them lots of definitive, perfect guitar parts, and they decided which ones to use. That's weird to me. Once you're unlimited, you'll never play that same way--you'll just go on and on and on and on. It's like the ultimate jazz person's fantasy: "You to tell me I'm going to solo for the rest of my life, and you guys will think it's great?"
Having infinite options also means you don't have the pressure on you...
--which means that you won't necessarily work as hard as you would if you knew you had just two takes in 20 minutes to get it right.
You can't help it. You see, I grew up in the days of, time is money--as Madonna would say, "time is money, and the money is mine." And I like that, I love that.
You had a limitation of tracks, too. You were lucky if you had two tracks and you could do an alternative take.
You know what people do now when they want me to overdub on a record? They'll send an album with a mix, and I have like 22 open tracks of guitars I can put down. So now you are going to figure out what my part is.
Michael Jackson routinely works with zillion dollar recording budgets. But when I can report similar examples based on recording on Sonar in my den, it's obvious that it's becoming increasingly easy--heck, virtually effortless--to assemble a solo or vocal part after the artist leaves, like a film editor, rather than trying to get a complete, perfect, magic take.
Putting Technology In The Hands of Home Musicians
Since the 1990s, many professional studios have used a hardware and software combination called Pro Tools to record digitally. And the recording studio version of Pro Tools and its associated hardware is great if you've got about $10,000 or so to get started. But software such as Sonar puts a similar level of flexibility in the hands of home musicians, for a few hundred dollars.