When I'm working with a band that I'm unfamiliar with I always start out acting quiet and polite, but by the end of an album (sometimes as soon as the end of the day) my cynical/smart-ass side starts to get comfortable and I start talking too much. Most of the time I run the same joke into the ground, or pick on one of the band members in a joking manner, but as exhaustion sets in I find my mouth opening before I can think and sometimes the wrong thing is said at the wrong time. In order for others to achieve proper studio etiquette, here's a list of things that should never be uttered while you're in session with your wonderful clients.

1. Umm, that was interesting, I guess. (after any overdub or take)

2. Have you heard this song before? (ditto)

3. Has anyone introduced the drummer to the bass player? (after a sloppy take)

4. How long have you been playing together? (after a really sloppy take)

5. Wow, you sound just like __________. (excellent bringdown)

6. It's been an hour... can we take another break? (when things are going rough)

7. I'm getting a headache. I need some aspirin. (bums them out any time)

8. Do you have any lyrics written for that? (after a vocal take)

9. Yuck. I totally hate __________. (whatever artist they are raving about)

10. Hey, are you digging for clams in there? (after a clumsy solo overdub)

11. Maybe we could rent an AutoTuner. (after any vocal take)

12. Once more, with feeling. (just like in the movies!)

13. Have you ever been in a studio before? (three days into a record)

14. I've never really done this before. (six days into a record)

15. Just a minute, I think the tape snapped in half. (right before mixing)

16. Who cares? (when asked to form an opinion)

17. Maybe you should go sell insurance instead. (while the band is loading in)

18. Steely Dan. (when asked what you enjoy listening to)

19. Shit, my cat can play better than that. (after any botched part)

20. Are you sure you can hear each other? (after a take)

21. It doesn't matter. They all sound the same. (when quizzed about mic choices)

22. I realized alcohol affected my hearing so I switched to heroin. (good anytime)

23. Hey, that song reminds me of Air Supply. (breaks them every time)

24. Maybe we can hire a session musician to play that part. (makes some people cry)

25. No, go to the E sharp on the chorus. (helps baffle some people)

26. Did you bring tape? (only ask if they told you to pick some up and it's Sunday)

27. I do everything to a click track. (only if they're young punks or doing free jazz)

28. It doesn't matter. We'll fix it later. (instills confidence or fear)

29. I'd move the mic but I don't feel like getting up. (shows you really care)

30. I don't know. What do you think? (pass-the-buck production style)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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