Decibel Geek Podcast

Sometimes, things are better the second time around. Such was the case in the circumstances that led up to the making of this episode.

Multi-platinum, award-winning producer/engineer Toby Wright has worked on so many amazing landmark rock and metal albums that a cursory glance of his discography is staggering. For Chris & Aaron, Toby literally helped build the soundtrack of their lives. So, it was no surprise that upon learning about his move to Nashville in 2011 that he was added to the Decibel Geek interview wish list. We're very proud this week to present to you our in-depth and engaging conversation with Toby Wright that touches on many notable albums from throughout his career. What you are hearing today is take 2. The reason for this is explained the  opening of the show. After everything we went through to bring this episode to you, we think you'll agree that Toby Wright is truly a great sport when it comes to being interviewed.

Jar of Flies, the acoustic-based 1994 EP from Alice in Chains, was a pivotal release for the "Grunge" era as it proved that there was more to this new genre from the Pacific Northwest than overdriven, sludgy guitars and doom & gloom vocals. Toby Wright's involvement in this album, as well as its creation, was a very organic thing. In this discussion you will hear Toby's memories of how all parties involved went from zero preparation to writing, producing, and mixing a full EP in just 10 days. Jar of Flies has since gone on to sell over 4 million copies and remains one of the most relevant releases of the early 1990's.

While not all of our listeners prefer the mid to late 1990's genre loosely known as nu-metal, there's no denying its impact on the ever-shifting tides of what's popular in the musical world. Toby Wright was right in the middle of this, love-it-or-hate-it, groundbreaking new style with his work with bands like Sevendust (Home, 1999) and Korn on their massively successful 1998 release Follow the Leader. Wright remembers being aware of what he wanted to do with Korn's sound right away. "Personally, I thought that the sound was a little sloppy. I was looking to make it bigger and fatter." Raising Korn's production level with a thicker, deeper sound, Wright's work paid huge dividends and Follow the Leader caused Korn to explode in popularity as it has gone on to sell over 14 millions copies.

Some projects that Toby Wright was involved in have had some controversy from fan circles over the years and in this long-form discussion, you will get his take on some long-running rumors and speculation.

In 2005, Ozzy Osbourne's camp released the Prince of Darkness box set. This package was intended to be all-encompassing of Osbourne's career and included studio tracks, live tracks, b-sides, demos, duets, and cover songs. Toby Wright was brought in to produce the new material for the box set. In this discussion, Wright remembers back on Ozzy's displeasure over the speed at which the basic tracks were prepared and the encounter with Sharon Osbourne that led to his dismissal from the project.

Slayer's 1994 Divine Intervention album is discussed in this interview with Wright reflecting on Tom Araya's thought process in the lyrical composition as well as the painstaking process of mixing the album numerous times to make Slayer and American Records owner Rick Rubin happy. 

One longstanding question among Metallica fans is in regards to the bass sound, or absence thereof, on the ...And Justice for All album in 1988. Rumors have abounded over the years that then-new bass player Jason Newsted was enduring a rough hazing by guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich as the reason for the burying of Newsted's bass tracks. Toby sets the record straight on this rumor and also looks back on the grueling hours spent as an engineer on this album perfecting Ulrich's drum parts; "We actually walked out of the studio with about 45 seconds worth of recorded music per day. 6 months to do drums, my friend."

We finish things off with a heavy discussion of two KISS albums that Wright was involved in; the polarizing Crazy Nights (as an engineer) and Carnival of Sous (as producer). 

Crazy Nights, released in 1987, seemed to be the apex of Paul Stanley and co. chasing trends. Featuring pop-friendly hooks and over-the-top guitar acrobatics from lead guitarist Bruce Kulick, Crazy Nights was a bold attempt to take KISS back to the forefront of the musical mainstream. With slick production, catchy songwriting, and top-notch production courtesy of Wright's engineering and Ron Nevison's production; the album had all of the ingredients needed to be a hit. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be as KISS had a hard time shaking their previous reputation as an old arena act and longtime fans of the band were turned off by the slick sound of the album. In this interview, Wright recalls his time working on the album, his history with Ron Nevison (over 25 albums together) and fondly remembers his brief time working with the late Eric Carr; "He was just an amazing dude. I remember laughing quite hard in the studio a few times."

Finishing off the interview is an in-depth discussion of the 1997-released (but 1995-recorded) Carnival of Souls album. This album will always be somewhat of an anomaly in the KISS canon due to the circumstances in which it was made. Recorded as the follow-up to the critically successful Revenge album from 1992, Carnival of Souls featured KISS going a much darker route. In this conversation, Toby Wright shares his memories of making this album, its material, his take on the fans' opinions of it as well as Paul Stanley's not-so-kind words on it. Wright was also present in the studio the day that the final offer for KISS to reunite came through and shares his memory of Gene Simmons breaking the news to Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer and their reactions. 

Before we go, we get a quick take on Toby Wright's attitudes and opinions about the music industry today, what he thinks of the do-it-yourself state of recording, what he looks for in a band, and details about current and future projects.

Keep up with Toby at

There's so many more questions that we have for Toby Wright and hope to have in on for a second interview in the future as we really enjoying speaking with him. We hope you enjoy listening. Rock on and......

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Alice in Chains




Ozzy Osbourne



Hip Kitty

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Direct download: Episode_61_-_Toby_Wright.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 3:24pm EDT

We were all set to release a very big interview-based episode this week with producer/engineer extraordinaire Toby Wright until we discovered that the week of Thanksgiving (here in the U.S.) is not particularly kind to podcasts as many listeners are on holiday and podcasts, by nature, are consumed by a large number of listeners while on the job.

With that in mind, we wanted to make sure our conversation gets the exposure it deserves so we are pushing it back by a week. In the meantime, this week we give you a music-based taste of the massively impressive Toby Wright discography. Episode 60 - The Wright to Rock gives you a heaping helping of Rock & Metal to tide you through until next week.
We open the show with a kicking track from Corrosion of Conformity's 1994 Deliverance album before seguing into System of a Down recording a blinding Black Sabbath cover for 2000's Nativity in Black II album.

One of the most interesting stories that will be revealed in next week's conversation with Toby Wright will be that of the controversy surrounding Jason Newsted's bass sound (or lack thereof) on 1987's ...And Justice for All. With a good primer for that discussion, we give you a track that is truly to die for from this landmark album. We follow that up with a rare track from a rare band, Cats in Boots, that was an American/Japanese hybrid. Toby Wright was an assistant engineer on this 1989 release.
Coming back from the break we relax things a bit with a great tune from Alice in Chains from their massively successful EP, Jar of Flies before cranking things into overdrive with a Slayer cover of a Steppenwolf tune from a NASCAR-themed release. How's that for digging deep?!

We travel back to 1991 to spin a track from the first album that Toby Wright produced by Canadian-bred band Brighton Rock from their Love Machine album before spinning a track of a much-discussed, controversial KISS album that never got the exposure that it deserved.
Korn reached overwhelming mainstream success in 1998 with the release of Follow the Leader. In next week's discussion, you will hear about the circumstances that led to Toby Wright being the producer of this album that showcased a fuller, thicker guitar sound. In the meantime, we give you a deep cut that will certainly get you fired up.

It's rare that a tacked on "new" track on a greatest hits compilation can stand up to the hits that it's sandwiched with but we finish off today's Toby Wright-themed episode with a track that is every bit as worthy as its competitors-in-song from Motley Crue's 1991 Decade of Decadence album.
We think you're gonna love next week's discussion with Toby Wright and hope this week's music-themed episode helped get you in the mood for it. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Direct download: Episode_60_-_The_Wright_to_Rock.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:48pm EDT

This is not a test! We have "jammed the transmission" and taken over the Decibel Geek Podcast. Consider this the Hostile Hoser Hijack as this week your favorite podcast has been taken hostage by CANADIANS!

Consider this episode as a sequel to the previous Radio Sucks - Canadian Edition show but this time broadcast from the pirate studio in the Great White North. Chris and Aaron get to take the week off whether they expected to or not! Your hijacker hosts, Wally Norton and Rich Dillon dig through some of their Canadian Cd's in hope of turning on the Decibel Geek Army to some new sounds from north of the border.

Things get rolling with a new Canadian band featuring a familiar name. Front man Darrell "Dwarf" Millar (Killer Dwarfs) has stepped out from behind the drums and exercises his vocals with "Back in the Sun"

Wally dedicates his first pick to Aaron Camaro who mentioned Slik Toxic on the last Canadian episode. From the "Doin the Nasty" album comes "Cheap Nicotine". Slik Toxic's vocalist can be now heard fronting his new band Famous Underground with a new album just released not long ago.

Slash Puppet is up next, with "When the Whip Comes Down" probably one of the greatest Canadian bands to never get signed back in the day. Up here though, they burned bright with some great tunes and kick ass live  shows.

Up next, something almost unheard of on the Decibel Geek show is a ballad. In what Wally describes as the greatest rock ballad ever written, we have Gypsy Rose and "Don't Turn Your Back On Me Now" from the Gene Simmons produced Prey album.

"One Way Ticket" is a tune from a great young band out of the Hamilton area, 40 Sons. This tune proves that there is hope for the future as these kids are writing some really melodic, kick ass rock tunes.

Fraze Gang, featuring Greg Fraser and Stevie Skreebs of Brighton Rock have just released Fraze Gang 2 and "Saint or Sinner" the lead off track is Wally's pick to kick things into overdrive. With a real Judas Priest feel, the guitar work on this track is truly smoking!

Some Decibel Geeks might know of the television police drama Flashpoint. What you may not know is that Hugh Dillon who plays Officer Ed Lane on the show is also the front man for Canadian Punk rockers The Headstones. Rich spins the high octane "Reno" off the Smile and Wave CD.

The Decibel Geeks have already been introduced to Carl Dixon and Coney Hatch. This time we turn to Coney's bass player Andy Curran and his solo band Soho 69 with the track "Scatterbrain".

Next up Rich chooses the song "Pine Valley" from the obscure Canadian band Mushroom Trail. A bluesy little rocker from a band so obscure that he even stumped his co-host.

Closing out this Canadian metal feast, after all the back-bacon and beer. We have a real treat, West Memphis Suicide rocking out a crunchy version of Kiss's "War Machine". This track can be found on the new Kissin' Time - Canada's Tribute to Kiss CD. This Cd was just released on Halloween 2012 with all proceeds going to Sick Kids Hospital here in Toronto.

If you dig any of the songs played this week....

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Back In The Sun -

Cheap Nicotine - Slik Toxic

When The Whip Comes Down - Slash Puppet

Don't Turn Your Back On Me Now - Gypsy Rose

One Way Ticket - 40 Sons

Saint Or Sinner - Fraze Gang 2

Reno - The Headstones

Scatterbrain - Soho 69

Pine Valley - Mushroom Trail

War Machine - West Memphis Suicide

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Direct download: Episode_59_-_Hostile_Hoser_Hijack.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

Few things are more synonymous with Rock and Roll than drinking. Like peanut butter needs jelly or carrots need peas, Rock and Roll tends to go down easier with alcohol. Of course, no one probably ever woke up hungover in a stranger's bed after eating vegetables. But, we digress.

This week, Aaron and Chris pick their Top 5 Drinking Songs. With the huge plethora of choices out there, this was a pretty tough list to put together and there are tons of other choices that could have been made but who's to say this subject won't be revisited in the future?
Things start off on a humorous note with a track from Buckcherry's Black Butterfly album that describes the frustration that many of us of the male persuasion have endured due to excessive imbibing of substances crossed with an opportunity for companionship. 

Next up is a track from Guns N Roses' legendary debut album that speaks from a directive point of view and also predicts a hazy night ahead. That track segues into a tune from Thin Lizzy's 1979 Black Rose album that was clearly coming from the songwriter's realization that you can lean a little too heavily on the good times and wind up drowning your sorrows with the same solution. A cautionary tale for sure.
Before we head to the break, we hear from a drinking all-star with a track from Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society that is matter of fact in kicking your ass.
We return from the break with one of the all-time classic drinking songs and certainly a no-brainer for the Decibel Geek Podcast. This is the song that fully inducted Chris into the KISS Army and sounds just as fresh today as it did on 1975's Alive! album. 

One band that knows a lot about having a good time is Ugly Kid Joe as their song history bears out. This week we decided to include a track that will remind many listeners of high school parties while the parents were away. 
Alice Cooper was at the height of his drinking dependence in 1977, releasing the Lace and Whiskey album and assuming the fictional role of a hard-drinking PI; not exactly a stretch for him at the time. The album was a success but his drinking had become too much to bear and was his last material released before entering a sanitarium for treatment. He wouldn't, however, be done with his battle with the bottle for several more years. Our inclusion of the title track from this album is a must for its quirky, yet dark, tone at the time.

We return from the break with the second contribution from alcohol-consumption expert Ace Frehley with a track from his 1978 KISS solo album that will leave you as blind as a skunk before spinning a ZZ Top track that is so intoxicating it's been covered by a slew of other great artists. We had to go with the original 1973 track though for authenticity.
Closing things out is a track by WASP that celebrates getting hammered in the state where everything is bigger. We think you'll like it. And if you do......
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Direct download: Episode_58_-_Top_5_Drinking_Songs.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

After having a great time discussing the first half of the Year 2000,  we're back this week to finish it off as we cover July through December of Y2K.

We lead things off with some stories from 2000 including the AOL (remember them?) merger with Time Warner, the first season of Survivor, and the Elian Gonzalez custody drama that had America on the edge of its seat.

Jumping into July, we discuss Rage Against the Machine's free concert outside the Democratic National Convention in protest to the two-party system. If you've paid attention since then, not much has changed but they get an "A" for effort. 

We spin a variety of artists in our coverage of July and August of 2000 including clips from newer groups such as Jack Off Jill and Mudvayne as well as tried and true rockers such as UFO and Motley Crue. We also include a track that slipped our mind during part one but was too good not to include.

September saw Rage Against the Machine back in the headlines as bassist Tim Commerford is arrested for climbing on the set of the MTV Video Music Awards after losing the award for Best Rock Video to Limp Bizkit. Who could blame him?

We spin polar opposite tracks from David Coverdale and Suicidal Tendencies during this segment (how's that for diversity?)

In October, the aforementioned Limp Bizkit released the nausea-inducingly titled Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, selling over a million copies in its first week. My how things have changed since 2000.

Covering October, we spin tunes from Fozzy, Hammerfall, Megadeth, Slash's Snakepit, and Over Kill. No Linkin Park being spun on this show.

We return from the break to close out the year with a controversial tune released by ever-controversial Marilyn Manson in November.

December saw the Backstreet Boys racking up 1.6 million sales in its debut week with Black & Blue. To properly react to that stat, we share a clip from Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 that sums up our thoughts nicely.

Closing out this episode is a great song (one of many other great songs) from the Iommi album that was released in October of 2000.

We dug deep once again to give you a nice variety of rock and metal that you may have missed in 2000. If you dig something that you heard on today's show, remember to......

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Jack Off Jill


Motley Crue


(hed) PE


Hair of the Dog

Suicidal Tendencies

David Coverdale




Slash's Snakepit

Over Kill

Marilyn Manson

Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13

Tony Iommi

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Direct Download

Direct download: Episode_57_-_2000_Year_in_Review_Par.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:12pm EDT