I stand before you and I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me... I have abused Pro Tools. I have used it in ways that are extremely inappropriate. I have made it do things that are against the laws of nature and decency. I have made criminally terrible bands sound as if they could actually play their instruments. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you may as well lock me up and throw away the key, because I know that I will do it again. I do not want to be this monster, recording a band whose drummer DOESN'T REALLY KNOW HOW TO USE HIS KICK DRUM, SO HE JUST DOESN'T USE IT! I don't want to let him get away with it by tapping in bass drum hits with my finger and a mic, and then replacing it with a sampled hit. I don't want to be that person. True story, by the way.

[Popular] Music has gotten really, really, REALLY FUCKING HORRIBLE. I blame people like myself who take a beautifully designed editing program and Frankenstein together bits and pieces of barely usable rubbish. Subsequently, this lets these "bands" (I use that term very loosely) walk away thinking to themselves, "Wow, we really pulled it off in the studio. Let's barely write some more half-witted songs and get back in there ASAP. No need to improve our playing or actual songwriting abilities, we'll just use Pro Tools and everything will be okay." It's so not okay, dudes.

I told you before, I am guilty. I am ashamed of myself, yet somehow pretty impressed with myself also. You should hear some of the ridiculousness that I have made sound like a group that can actually play. But I am taking measures to rehabilitate myself from someone who abuses Pro Tools. I'm going to be someone who is not going to record your band if you suck. Sorry.

Listen to modern rock radio. It is scary. You will hear nothing but sound-replaced drums, double AutoTuned or computer generated vocal harmonies, guitar tones that hurt and offend the ears, over-processed and over-compressed everything. Most importantly you'll realize the songs are terrible, recycled, predictable and generic. I don't know what has happened, but these bands are getting away with murder. You don't have to be even remotely good at your craft anymore. "You got the look? You got Pro Tools? Let's make some money!" I don't wanna pick on your favorite groups or anything, to each his or her own, but Fall Out Boy? Come on now kids — that ain't music. That is men wearing make-up, who are told by a big fat corporation to write more songs that sound like their last terrible radio hit. I am generalizing. Fall Out Boy are just my scapegoat for hundreds of cookie-cutter bands that all have that same empty, soulless quality about them. I am not picking on them per se... but they do suck though.

The whole point of this is that bands used to have to actually sound great, play well and have good songs. That is just not the case anymore. Listen to any good rock record from the '70s or '80s, even the '90s, and compare the sounds captured on tape to something you hear on the radio recorded in the past five years. Put on a Big Star or Jellyfish album and then turn to whichever new rock station you choose. Please, do that for me. I'll wait...

Hear the difference? I do. Organic and musical versus over-produced and over-processed. Maybe the real point of this rant isn't the abuse of Pro Tools at all. It seems just as likely that I simply hate what rock and roll has become — or is becoming.

Pro Tools rules. It is an amazing program. When it's used properly, it can make a good recording great. I love it. I dream about its squiggly little multi-colored waveforms. I write it love notes. I think about it when I am having sex. But I am begging you guys to stop and think before you say to whichever band you happen to be recording, "Don't worry, I'll fix it in Pro Tools. Let's move on." Make them do it right. That's the least you can do.

I know that's what I will be doing from now on... I think..

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

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