It sucks when a band releases an album due to pressure from the record companies and eventually fails to attract the audience due to audio issues.
One such example is MR. BIG. In a new interview with the “Music Mania” podcast, MR. BIG bassist Billy Sheehan expressed his disappointment over the last studio album ‘Defying Gravity’.
“We fell into a trap again with the label [Frontiers Music Srl], [where they] had to have the record by a certain day. And that has ruined so many records. If the label would just realize, ‘The record isn’t ready to go yet. You’ve gotta give us more time.’ Instead, they insist on having it and putting it out when it’s not ready. ‘Cause we had a problem with mastering. We took it to a mastering place. I was there for the final mixes, and they were killer. The mastering came back, [and I thought], ‘What in the world happened?’ It was unlistenable. And so they tried to do a second mastering, and that didn’t quite work, but then they had to ship it off.
“The label ruined the record, because they insisted on having it.”
“If we had another day to get it to proper mastering and get it done right, it would have been fine. ‘Cause I was there for the final mixes — I went in there every day and listened to mixes. Pat was there with us too. We went through the mixes, and they were sounding great. And, unfortunately, we got screwed.
Billy talked about the pressure other bands feel as well from the labels, saying:
“I’ve seen it before in many other situations with many other bands.”
“We’ve got the marketing department and they’re ready to go and they’ve gotta have the record now. And then I’ve also seen other bands just say, ‘No. The record is not done. You’re out of luck.’ And I wish we would have just said that, because I just don’t think the record had the kind of life it had when I heard the final mixes.
“I thought there were some great songs on the record.”
“I thought ‘Be Kind’ was a great piece of music. I thought that could be kind of a hit anywhere — really, really great. And there was some good stuff on there. Some stuff I didn’t really… I thought the title track, ‘Defying Gravity’, didn’t do much for me. I wouldn’t have picked that as the title track. That little oddball time signature thing didn’t work for me as a regular straight-up rock song. So it’s certainly not my favorite MR. BIG record, but I think if we wouldn’t have gotten screwed on the mastering, it would have been a lot better. We had to defend it — a couple of people were commenting right away, ‘Oh, man. This record sounds horrible.’ And what am I gonna do? Agree with them? I’ve gotta defend it and stick up for the record, but in our hearts, we knew — I knew it didn’t sound like the final mixes I had. So the producer, Kevin [Elson], was heartbroken, because we couldn’t get the label to give us more time to get it mastered properly. So there went that record.”