From The Inside: From the other side of the studio.
Record producer and musician Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi talks about working with various artists for Frontiers Records and more.
I thought it about time to throw some interview questions at you.
You have recently wrapped up working with Danny Vaughn - how did you rate this experience?
Really good, Danny is a great singer and one of the best guys around...you gotta love him!
How did you involve yourself in the song selection for this project?
Not really, that was more Danny and the record company.
Any particular favourites from this album?
The song Danny and I co-wrote Nothing at all .
You co-wrote the opening track with Danny and you also co-wrote with Jack Blades for Over The Edge. How do you go about working with different writers?
It's when I get the most fun ....it all depends what I need or want to write about and get the right partner for it ....I really like co-write , sometimes more than write just by myself.
On some projects you can play virtually all the instruments, but on others, such as From The Inside, you contribute bass and keyboards. It must be great to have such versatility, but how do you decide what is needed and when?
My main instrument is bass, but I do lot s of keys programming and I use the guitar for arrangements...sometimes I record a guitar part as a reference for the real guy to play on it or sing on it, and it comes out that is good the way it is, so: ...it stays.
But I am not the kind of guy that wants to do everything himself, when it happens is just coincidence or necessity.
Tell us about the recording process for From The Inside. How did you work with Danny and the other guys involved?
Very simple, I exchanged files back and forth with Danny to make sure we were going the right direction, and lay down some basic reference tracks for the other guys.
Then the others came in and did their part, their own way, and the result is what you hear.
Did this differ at all from previous projects like Over The Edge and Vertigo?
No, the only difference is that From the inside was made based on a long distance relationship, I am in LA , Danny is in Nashville.
The other 2 project where all California prunes ...eh, eh, eh!
How does your thought process figure out the best way to work with the individuals that you do?
Obviously working with the likes of Mickey Thomas, Joseph Williams and Danny takes a varied approach. How does one work that out?
Well let me tell you, in the AOR community people might know me because my works with Mickey, Joseph and many more, but AOR is only 30% of all the music I handle with my production company.
I produced George Clinton and the P-Funk, Ice T and Body Count, Killah Priest and the Wu-Thang, Glenn Hughes with Dave Navarro and Chad Smith, Slash, Downset, Godhead, Stereo mud, Beautiful Creatures, and some side projects with the Marylin Manson Band and POD...and then again Steve Lukather, Nina Hagen. I am getting ready to do 2 new works with TNT and another one with Public Enemy...plus a variety of semi known or new bands and artists spacing from nu-metal, to Death Metal, to pop.
I love music, I always listened to all kind o different music and for me is good do all these different things , otherwise i will get bore quickly in doing just one thing.
You often take more pop orientated songs like Suddenly (From The Inside) and Jagged Little Pill (Perfect World) and turn them into melodic rockers. Does that require much re-structuring, or do you just 'turn the guitars up'?!!
.....between you and me ? .....pssssss, don t tell nobody, but .....yeah, crank those fuckers up and you pretty much got it.
Over The Edge caught Mickey Thomas at his best - you wrote a number of the tracks featured there. Were they written with Mickey in mind, or did they just suit his voice?
Mickey tracks were written with Mickey in mind a 100%.
Any good stories you can share from that process?
Well...Jack Blades for once ....he's a story.....and a good one too...love him ..one of the best!
How about the Vertigo project. Joseph Williams is another great talent. Any shining moments from those recording sessions?
Well when I was 16-17 Toto was a major influence on my, their playing was outstanding and their composition really good.
They were one of my idols, so sitting down with the bands singer (the Williams years were my favorites) and give him suggestion about the recording and just getting along so well was really rewarding...
From the projects you have recorded so far - do you have a favourite and why?
Not really, they are all good because they fill a space in a specific time and create good memories...I love all my children...ha ha ha.....the are a couple of works that didn't turn out the way I was expecting, but we don't talk bad...don't we!
Where did your days as a musician start and how did you come to learn to play all the instruments you do?
All the instruments...you are too nice. My instrument of choice is bass and I started at 16. I became a professional player, but again I was getting bored about playing what other people told me to, so I became the other people ...and now I tell people what to play...isn't that crazy?
Where did you get your start as a producer?
I was in Italy in vacation and a local artist, befriended by my cousin needed a bass player for some recordings. I was coming out of a series of sessions with Steve Vai and this artist, even if pop, was a major Steve fan. I agree to the recordings, but the whole thing was chaos.
The producer didn't have his shit together, and pretty much the rest of the band.
I was about to leave after 2 days of work and nothing accomplished, when the record company guy asked me if I had any suggestion...well I ran the show for an all afternoon, and we got 3 songs done...the artist was happy and asked me to produce her record, the record company (Warner if I remember well) was happy too and...I didn't stop since then.
How did you wind up in LA and how hard was it to get established there?
I moved here from NYC where I had my band and I was constantly touring. The band broke up and I decided for a change.
Established ????? Like David Lee Roth once said, in this biz you are on today and gone another day.
Your resume includes other more varied projects which are quite modern and almost alternative. Where does your natural preference for music lie? Do you have a favourite genre to work with?
Rock with balls and intensity....than it can be Death Metal or Brit Garage.
What are you currently working on and what's next for Frontiers Records?
Well ,like I said I am really looking forward to the upcoming TNT live album and DVD I'll be working with, and the new Public Enemy.
I just finished the new Glenn Hughes with Chad Smith for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dave Navarro from Jane's Addiction, and it was a blast...for sure one of the best album I have ever worked on. I am working on a new Frontiers project with Tony Harnell and Magnus Karlsson (super mean and heavy, but really melodic) and I am developing a new artist, a (can I call her Goth?) really young girl that sings her guts out for this band I am putting together, that will go towards the Lacuna Coil, Evanence, Type O Negative, Him crowd, but with a 70's twist.
Who are you a fan of personally? who are your favourite past and present musicians and albums?
that pretty much covers it !
Anything you would like to add Fabrizio?
My wife always says to shut up, you're asking me more talking....what s going on ?
No, nothing else...love you all!!
Many thanks for taking time out of a busy schedule to do the interview.