Bob Ezrin is a legendary Canadian producer, he’s done everything from produce, mix, engineer, and sequence albums. These are my favorite ten albums he’s worked on as a producer, but he’s worked his magic on albums by Nine Inch Nails (album sequencer, had he of produced it would appear in the top three), alternative rockers Catherine Wheel, glam pioneers Hanoi Rocks, uber talented Hurricane, and a band that was at one point dubbed the next big thing, Kula Shaker.
10. Deftones – Saturday Night Wrist – I’ve always managed to find something I like about each Deftones albums, and this one is no different. Ezrin is able to work his magic and allow the band to do what they do best, Stephen Carpenter is able to breath, and build a pallet full of sonic textures, while Chino Moreno injects his unique voice in the overall ambiance of the album.
9. Bonham – Disregard Of Timekeeping – I wasn’t privy to Virginia Wolf, or see The Song Remains The Same documentary, so this was would be my first encounter with Jason Bonham. I wanted to see if he could play as well as his father, who was a huge influence on me as a drummer. I remember hearing “Wait For You” for the first time on my single speaker clock radio, while tuned to New York’s WNEW. Shortly there after the video was on MTV, but what got me to pick up album was the second single “Guilty”. A shame the intro to the song is cut out of the single version. Would love Ezrin to remix this album, but who knows what type of an audience it would garner. He squeezed everything he could out of the band, just listen to the layering in a track like “Guilty” and all of the harmonies, doubling of guitars, fiddle, keys, etc. This is a band that should have been bigger than it was.
7. Aerosmith – Get Your Wings – Ezrin is one of producers on the album, unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard at least “Train Kept A Rollin” half a million times, but as much as I’ve heard “Same Old Song And Dance” and “Lord Of The Thighs” it never really gets old. Their are very few other things this band has released that is better than this album, at least for me! Listen to what Whitford and Perry do on the aforementioned “Lord Of The Thighs”, how they blend it all in with Tyler’s keys, and the foundation Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer are laying down. Sure the syrupy ballads the band has released in the last few decades have probably sold more, but there is just something organic, special, and just flat out majestic with this track and album.
6. Alice Cooper – Love It To Death – This is the first Alice Cooper album I ever listened to, and up to this point (the mid 90s), I wasn’t a fan. The radio hits did nothing for me, but I had a co-worker that kept telling me to give Alice a chance. So he let me borrow two cassettes, Killer and this one. So I finally caved and decided to listen with an open mind, and right from the get go tracks like “Caught In A Dream” and “Long Way To Go” got me, but the track that I was told to look out for was “Ballad Of Dwight Fry” which hooked me instantly. This track to me is one of the best hard rock songs of the 70s, and although not as popular as “I’m Eighteen”, the track has influenced countless bands. We all know what a huge influence Ezrin has been on all of the albums he’s worked on with Coop.
5. Heroes Del Silencio – Avalancha – A lot of you are saying who? Heroes Del Silencio was a hard rock band from Spain that regardless of singing in Spanish hit the top of the charts all over Europe, Asia and South America. They toured the U.S., but only hit a few select cities, more than most bands that have zero success there. The band had previously worked with Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera on their previous two albums, but this is a recurring theme, Ezrin just added something sonically to the albums that were not present on their previous releases. The band was always a little The Doors, a little The Cult and a little Led Zeppelin. Ezrin’s album featured less experimentation, and more of a straight a head hard rock album. The band unfortunately fell apart shortly after this album and tour cycle due ended. Excesses from the road, addictions, and your typical jealousy between members due to one person getting more attention than another. They have only reunited a handful of times in the last 20 years, usually in sold out soccer stadiums that hold 50 thousand fans or more.
4. Army Of Anyone – Army Of Anyone – This is an album that was completely ignored by the masses due to the fact that it didn’t have the name Stone Temple Pilots plastered on it. The band was made up of STP’s DeLeo brothers, Richard Patrick of Filter, and future Korn drummer Ray Luzier. The songs are great, and the production is outstanding, Ezrin is able to make each player shine on every track of the album. Often you have one component shoved towards the front, burying the rest of the band, but you can distinctly hear each trademark nuance of each of the members of the band throughout. Hopefully they revisit the project at some point in the future. Luzier’s drumming on “Father Figure” is just badass.
3. Jane’s Addiction – Strays – Here is an album that a lot of people were not expecting, and definitely didn’t think that these alternative hard-rock giants would work with someone known most for working with bands that were on the opposite side of the spectrum to what they were pedaling in the 90s, or at least what the press was trying to say about them. But this match up was pretty brilliant, given Jane’s members, and their musical chops. This is another band where each member has a distinct sound, and Ezrin is able to allow them all to breath and be present throughout the album. I remember hearing the lead off single “Just Because” and thinking, what was that? That’s not the Jane’s Addiction I know, and initially I didn’t get it. Then I kept hearing the song, and it slowly became an earworm. To the point where I couldn’t get it out of my head. It is just a great rock track, and the album is full of awesome tracks.
2. Kiss – Destroyer – This is the first album I ever listened to, I have listened to it more than any other recording I have ever possessed. I still make a point to listen to it at least once a year. For better or worse, Ezrin took Kiss to another level with Destroyer, you could argue that “Beth” and “Great Expectations” weigh the album down, and as a result isn’t as rocking as other albums by the band. But even if you don’t like the tracks, listen to the instrumentation on both tracks and throughout the album. His Resurrection version from a few years back takes the album to another level. I honestly wish every Kiss album received the same remix, remaster treatment.
1. Pink Floyd – The Wall – This is one of the first rock albums we had in our house as a kid. My brother got it for his birthday, and this album showed me how it was possible to mix all types of musical and theatrical elements into an entertaining double album. This album is a masterpiece start to finish and takes you on a journey with all types of peaks and valleys to help sell the album’s concept, in an extremely easy fashion. It made whistle and shout hey at strangers, shout about pudding and eating meat for no reason, and from time to time my brother still calls up and says “this is United States calling are we reaching……he keeps hanging up”. Ezrin’s stamp is all over this album, sure the core of Floyd is there, but compare it to other heralded albums by the band, and there is just something about this album that puts it over the top for me, and I think Ezrin had a lot to do with making this album as great as it is.