Most Surprising Album in Jerry Harrison's Production Discography

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Jerry Harrison has great music making credentials, but we all know -- a baby has the tendency to raam. It's tempting to ask which album is worst, but that question feels too mean for this collection. So which of these albums is most surprising to find in his little black production backpack?

Poll Results

OptionVotes
1995 Lost in the Former West The Fatima Mansions 6
1994 Throwing Copper Live 4
2014 A Song In My Head The String Cheese Incident 3
2000 Return of Saturn No Doubt 3
1993 God Shuffled His Feet Crash Test Dummies 3
2018 bi / MENTAL Le Butcherettes 3
1995 Rub It Better General Public 3
1997 Trouble Is... Kenny Wayne Shepherd 1
1999 Live On Kenny Wayne Shepherd 1
2001 Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday Creeper Lagoon 1
2004 Pawn Shoppe Heart The Von Bondies 1
2005 Stories of a Stranger O.A.R. 1
2007 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads Kenny Wayne Shepherd 1
1996 No Talking, Just Head The Heads 1
1991 Mental Jewelry Live 1
2019 Wonder Park: Music from the Motion Picture Various Artists 1
1996 Remember Rusted Root 0
2002 Rip It Off Stroke 9 0
2003 Love The Juliana Theory 0
1992 Pureafunalia Pure 0
1992 Volo Volo Poi Dog Pondering 0
2008 The Black and White Years The Black and White Years 0
2011 How I Go Kenny Wayne Shepherd 0
1992 Bush Roaming Mammals Billy Goat 0
2014 The Turn Live 0
2017 Believe The String Cheese Incident 0
1987 Outside Looking In BoDeans 0
2001 Stroke 9 Stroke 9 0
1994 Home of the Brave Black 47 0
1996 Neurotic Outsiders Neurotic Outsiders 0
1996 Villains The Verve Pipe 0
1997 Beautiful World Big Head Todd and the Monsters 0
1998 Fallout The Mayfield Four 0
1998 Useful Music Josh Joplin Group 0
1999 The Distance to Here Live 0
1995 Life Begins at 40 Million The Bogmen 0
1986 The Blind Leading the Naked Violent Femmes 0
1999 I’d Rather Eat Glass Bijou Phillips 0
2000 Watering Ghost Garden Creeper Lagoon 0
2000 Shine Pat McGee Band 0
1999 Nasty Little Thoughts Stroke 9 0
2013 Can’t Get Enough The Rides 0


bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:16 (two weeks ago) link

oh my god I forgot about Stroke 9. one more late-nineties number-band to remember for when I'm trying to remember them all at once

the burrito that defined a generation, Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:23 (two weeks ago) link

sounds like a great children's book idea

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:28 (two weeks ago) link

shit I voted General Public before I saw Le Butcherettes, which seems even more out of place w/ the rest of this stuff (I saw them open for Social Distortion)

sleeve, Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:34 (two weeks ago) link

The unformatted nature of this list provides a wealth of surrealist word salad.

the Naked Violent Femmes
Beautiful World Big Head
Roaming Mammals Billy Goat
Live On Kenny
Eat Glass Bijou
Ghost Garden Creeper
My Head The String Cheese

Of course I can parse most of them (having been alive at the time), but I pity the 23rd century music historian who might happen upon this list and have to figure out where the album title leaves off and the band name begins.

we're ommaway to nowhere (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:42 (two weeks ago) link

All that Kenny Wayne...

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:44 (two weeks ago) link

makes jerry a blue boy

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:47 (two weeks ago) link

I wish he'd produced all of Return to Saturn. "New" is one of the few great songs they released post-Tragic Kingdom.

beamish13, Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:55 (two weeks ago) link

I know nothing of Big Head Todd and the Monsters beyond the fact that their lead vocalist appeared on an episode
of The Real World many years ago and supposedly slept with one of the cast members.

beamish13, Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:57 (two weeks ago) link

It's almost awe-inspiring to me how a guy with such an impeccable musical pedigree can spend last 30(!) years working exclusively with so many utterly no-account doofuses. "We really loved the sound of those mid-period Stroke 9 records, and so we knew Jerry was the guy we had to call." Incredible.

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 8 October 2020 16:57 (two weeks ago) link

I wish he'd produced all of Return to Saturn. "New" is one of the few great songs they released post-Tragic Kingdom.

― beamish13, Thursday, October 8, 2020 9:55 AM (three minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

return of saturn >>>>>> tragic kingdom, which has phenomenal singles and pretty fallow album tracks

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:00 (two weeks ago) link

"new" is great tho

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:00 (two weeks ago) link

the Von Bondies album is solid

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:07 (two weeks ago) link

I think it's weird that he's spending all this time doing Kenny Wayne Shepard and String Cheese Incident albums and then just last year pivots to Le Butcherettes.

📺👁️ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:09 (two weeks ago) link

None of these are surprising, because none of these are albums I have either heard or want to hear, which is exactly what I would expect from a "produced by Jerry Harrison" credit.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:12 (two weeks ago) link

Throwing Copper gets my vote. It was my favorite album as a fourth grader so it's hard for me to be objective about it, but I think it holds up pretty well. Return Of Saturn is great too.

J. Sam, Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:31 (two weeks ago) link

return of saturn really shouldn't be here imo, except for "new" it's a glen ballard joint

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:39 (two weeks ago) link

Josh, you have definitely heard some of these. to post otherwise is just outrageous.

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:42 (two weeks ago) link

i also don't understand why you'd expect jerry harrison to produce albums you've never heard. he was a beatle after all (shout out to U Talkin' Talking Heads 2 My Talking Head podcast).

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:44 (two weeks ago) link

I've heard songs from some, but swear to god I've not heard any of those albums.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:45 (two weeks ago) link

Forgot about that Poi Dog production

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:51 (two weeks ago) link

xpost And as I posted on a TH thread, the band was truly greater than the sum of its parts. I don't think there was anything about Harrison in particular that would have attracted me to a project. THs are one of my all times, but for a Beatles comparison, I still think of them as, like, three Ringos and a George.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 October 2020 17:54 (two weeks ago) link

Where’s that one Psychefunkapus album?

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:02 (two weeks ago) link

LOL, that's literally one I *have* heard!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:05 (two weeks ago) link

Oh shit, the Surfin' on Jupiter guys?

📺👁️ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:16 (two weeks ago) link

voted Crash Test Dummies

we're ommaway to nowhere (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:16 (two weeks ago) link

It's like his intention was to ensure that the cut-out bin would remain perpetually stocked.

OrificeMax (Old Lunch), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:18 (two weeks ago) link

lol

📺👁️ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:20 (two weeks ago) link

Lolx2

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:20 (two weeks ago) link

So much terrible music, I can't in good conscience vote for any of it.

From the Femmes wiki:

Members of the band said they were unhappy with the choice of Harrison as producer, with Ritchie saying, "We knew Jerry and he'd seen us live and, uh, he didn't like it... And when I heard the reasons that he didn't like it, well, they were the reasons why we do like it! We didn't think he was right to produce music as weird as ours." Gano further claimed that Harrison had been suggested by Warners, "solely on the basis that he lives in Milwaukee, because we'd stipulated to them that we had to record there. This was outrageous from their point of view.

Weird, somehow I didn't know he was from/in Milwaukee.

change display name (Jordan), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:25 (two weeks ago) link

He’s now the only Head on the West Coast. He’s lived in Malibu for some years

beamish13, Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:27 (two weeks ago) link

he tried to release an album under the moniker "The Only Head on the West Coast" but David Byrne sued.

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:38 (two weeks ago) link

Voted for Fatima Mansions because I own it and adore it and had NO IDEA Jerry produced it! It's so un-Talking Heads, that's for sure.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:39 (two weeks ago) link

OAR ewww

global tetrahedron, Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:39 (two weeks ago) link

would be fun to slip one absurd album into this list to see if fresh eyes could find it

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:41 (two weeks ago) link

would have made for a much better poll tbh

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:42 (two weeks ago) link

a new poll genre

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:42 (two weeks ago) link

1994 four Blues Traveler

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:43 (two weeks ago) link

who finds it?

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:43 (two weeks ago) link

1997 Whatever and Ever Amen Ben Folds Five

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:45 (two weeks ago) link

2007 Courage to Grow Rebelution

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:46 (two weeks ago) link

all of these pass

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:46 (two weeks ago) link

What was that artist you all got worked up about years ago, Denny Vertigo?

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:51 (two weeks ago) link

Maybe even Denny Lethargy.

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 October 2020 18:53 (two weeks ago) link

LIGHTNING CRASHES,

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 October 2020 19:14 (two weeks ago) link

1998 Hard to Swallow Vanilla Ice

OrificeMax (Old Lunch), Thursday, 8 October 2020 19:21 (two weeks ago) link

responsible for an awful lot of dross from the 90's, Jesus. ugh.

akm, Thursday, 8 October 2020 19:32 (two weeks ago) link

2002 An Awful Lot of Dross From the 90s Jesus. Ugh.

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 October 2020 19:39 (two weeks ago) link

It's like that one Spy cartoon of Dan Aykroyd's desk with his Accept Box overflowing with scripts alongside an empty Reject Box.

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 October 2020 19:47 (two weeks ago) link

He's the Rick Rubin of acts that want to be forgotten as quickly as possible.

OrificeMax (Old Lunch), Thursday, 8 October 2020 20:00 (two weeks ago) link

I have nothing to offer as a producer so I only work with bands that are beyond help syndrome.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 October 2020 12:39 (two weeks ago) link

Little column A, little column B

OrificeMax (Old Lunch), Friday, 9 October 2020 12:45 (two weeks ago) link

he tried to release an album under the moniker "The Only Head on the West Coast" but David Byrne sued.

He's the Rick Rubin of acts that want to be forgotten as quickly as possible.

No Surfing, Just Shred

Covidiots from UHF (sic), Friday, 9 October 2020 12:51 (two weeks ago) link

I kind of agree with mark e: all of them are surprising, until you've gotten halfway through the list and realize what he's about as a producer, and then none of them are surprising.

Let's put the X in 100 gecs (Tom Violence), Friday, 9 October 2020 13:48 (two weeks ago) link

"college rock" in the sense of what jewel boxes littered the most floors of dorm rooms, as opposed to what was played on college radio stations

Yeah this is epically true, and so evocative.

Maybe what we need right now is a POLLege rock poll, that focused on stuff (mostly US, white, burby) college students actually listened to in 1993 or whatever. Yr Hootie and the Crows, Duncan Loeb, BNL, DMB, GooGoo Blossoms, Rusted Spin, Semisonic Ray, Third Eye Doctors, Counting Root, Live Traveler, Sheryl Sweet type shit.

I recall feeling a little too old for it, but some of it became a guilty pleasure and I confess there was some of it that hit me just right.

nonsensei (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 9 October 2020 13:59 (two weeks ago) link

1992 Volo Volo Poi Dog Pondering

I'd completely forgotten about this band. They were like Rusted Root for grad students. And now I see that Jerry has produced both bands, which is a degree of masochism I was not aware was possible.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 9 October 2020 15:10 (two weeks ago) link

Poi Dog sort of bounced around, from Hawaii to Austin and ultimately to Chicago, where they remain kind of an outdoor music mainstay in the way the Bodeans are to WI (and Chicago, too). Every bar band in Chicago seemingly features members of Poi Dog.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 October 2020 15:16 (two weeks ago) link

Yes. I seem to recall that one of the Poi Dogs, the one who would call me to drive him to the ramen noodle shop when his car broke down, produced an album by a band featuring one of the Chicago ILX0rs.

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 October 2020 15:20 (two weeks ago) link

I remember in the early '90s, XRT pretty much played them hourly.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 9 October 2020 15:20 (two weeks ago) link

They were a really good live band. I remember somebody- some of the band members, I think! - making the following joke:
PD1: Somebody said we should make a kids album!
PD2: I thought we already did!

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 October 2020 15:22 (two weeks ago) link

My only memory of PDP was seeing Dag Juhlin (I think) as part of "John Wesley Harding's All-Male Threesome." Iota in Arlington maybe 2003 or '04?

Footnote: The third member of the threesome was REM side-bro Scott McCaughey.

nonsensei (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 9 October 2020 16:52 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, Dag frequently plays in my guitar teacher's cover band, along with a former PDP drummer. (Plus singer/multi-instrumentalist David Blamires, who used to play with Pat Metheny; I love it when all these talented folks just end up in certain places, playing with whomever).

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 October 2020 17:24 (two weeks ago) link

i know some of the many who love this music will hate to see a companion spotify playlist, but here it is Take a Look at These Bands: Jerry Harrison Produced It

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 October 2020 18:55 (two weeks ago) link

i tried to be fair to jerry, choosing the song that seemed best from each piece. or the song that seemed least bad. or a song with a word from a talking head song in it. or the first song on the ablum. i tried to be fair to jerry, and this is what came out.

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 October 2020 19:00 (two weeks ago) link

oftentimes, i'd look up the album art and try to find the most popular song from that album in the artist's most played list. oftentimes, that particular album was absent.

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 October 2020 19:01 (two weeks ago) link

No Casual Gods, No Credibility

Boring, Maryland, Friday, 9 October 2020 19:05 (two weeks ago) link

wikipedia is the one truth

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 October 2020 19:09 (two weeks ago) link

Sometimes, all I can say is Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

nonsensei (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 9 October 2020 19:29 (two weeks ago) link

Lol at playlist title, Sufjan

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 October 2020 20:06 (two weeks ago) link

I think Throwing Copper is the answer here. That Big Head Todd record was pretty inescapable on my college campus at the time and I remember liking that one Von Bondies single okay.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 9 October 2020 20:13 (two weeks ago) link

I agree. It was everywhere, so you've heard it. But it sounds nothing like anything you'd to be associated with a Talking Head. There's a line from talking heads to some of the jam band sounding stuff. Throwing Copper is the most surprising and kind of sets up the later surprises like The Verve Pipe and Stroke 9.

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 October 2020 20:20 (two weeks ago) link

*you'd expect to be associated with at Talking Head

bogo jumbo boba (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 October 2020 20:20 (two weeks ago) link

I didn’t like that Poi Dog Pondering album but I loved the Thanksgiving EP and their cover of “Love Vigilantes”

All cars are bad (Euler), Friday, 9 October 2020 22:46 (two weeks ago) link

My friend wrote "Thanksgiving." Sometimes I contact him around that holiday to check in on his royalty payments. Nowadays he mostly does big Bowie and Queen tributes and such in Austin.

She Thinks I Will Dare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 October 2020 22:59 (two weeks ago) link

Nice, good song!

All cars are bad (Euler), Friday, 9 October 2020 23:05 (two weeks ago) link

no way did he do Throwing Copper. that's amazing

Specific Ocean Blue (dog latin), Friday, 9 October 2020 23:43 (two weeks ago) link

Black 47 came through Bloomington a few times and would pack clubs. I saw them a couple of times and they were way better live than the cuts I heard off their CD.

earlnash, Saturday, 10 October 2020 12:13 (two weeks ago) link

Outside Looking In BoDeans - listened to this one a bunch on tape as a teenager, but it's pretty much ruined.

earlnash, Saturday, 10 October 2020 12:15 (two weeks ago) link

I also saw them play a free show in downtown B-ton and James McMurtry opened the show and he was killer. I'm pretty sure it was fall of '89.

earlnash, Saturday, 10 October 2020 12:17 (two weeks ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 18 October 2020 00:01 (six days ago) link

'Jerry Harrison produced "Lightning Crashes"' should be under a snapple cap

seven day permanence (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:09 (six days ago) link

lol!

Here Comes a Slightly Irregular (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 October 2020 01:25 (six days ago) link

Jerry was the latest guest on the Talking Heads podcast Sufjan mentioned upthread. He has a lot of good stories and thoughts about the Talking Heads and he even mentions Throwing Copper and the Heads album (but otherwise doesn't mention his productions). seems like a very chill guy

Vinnie, Sunday, 18 October 2020 09:44 (six days ago) link

Y’all know Jerry also is big medtech investor? Trying to recall the podcast where I heard him talk about, iirc, hearing assistance technology.

Julius Caesar Memento Hoodie (bendy), Sunday, 18 October 2020 12:08 (six days ago) link

Y’all know Jerry also is big medtech investor? Trying to recall the podcast where I heard him talk about, iirc, hearing assistance technology.

He's also the co-founder of a medtech corp that's trying to develop a field antidote to snakebites:
https://www.ophirex.com/our-team

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 18 October 2020 18:31 (six days ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 19 October 2020 00:01 (five days ago) link

Harrison was foisted on the Fatima Mansions by their record label, who wanted them to crack the US market. The album is a punchy hard rock effort with the usual vicious lyrics, but apart from three or four great tracks it's fairly forgettable by their standards. It also has a slightly monotonous uniformity of sound which isn't there on their other records, which are all really varied and jump from genre to genre (something which is very difficult to pull off but the Mansions managed it).

I found this quote by Cathal Coughlan about Harrison from the time (1994):

“He’s an amusing kind of a man, but it was always very evident that he comes from a slightly different background to the one that I did, and I never lost sight of that fact. He understood a lot, but there were some music references that were completely lost on him, and some of them were about American music as well.”

does it look like i'm here (jon123), Monday, 19 October 2020 01:20 (five days ago) link

Why would anyone be surprised by No Talking, Just Head (of all these albums)?

bagel in the streets, donut in the sheets (morrisp), Monday, 19 October 2020 01:50 (five days ago) link

Yay, Mansions!

I'll agree with Jon's point about uniformity of sound - that was the goal, after all. But I disagree that it's "fairly forgettable". All of their albums sort of blend in my head until I play them and their widescreen white hot anger burns bright.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 19 October 2020 01:53 (five days ago) link

You won't encounter a bigger Mansions fan than me, and Lost In The Former West would probably have sounded brilliant if it had been released by almost any other 1990s rock band. I just think that while it certainly has some real moments, it's not a patch on Viva Dead Ponies or especially Valhalla Avenue, that's all.

By all accounts they were on their last legs as a unit while recording it, which if true is an echo of what happened to Microdisney in the late 1980s. Coughlan put out the Bubonique album a year later and his own solo debut a year after that, which suggests that by 1994 he had already mentally checked out of the Mansions for various reasons.

does it look like i'm here (jon123), Monday, 19 October 2020 02:49 (five days ago) link

Huh somehow missed that he produced God Shuffled His Feet. I've only heard a few albums on this list but that one is surprisingly good

Vinnie, Monday, 19 October 2020 15:02 (five days ago) link

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm has always been earworm comfort food for me, but I have never brought myself to listen to the entire album or anything else by them.

peace, man, Monday, 19 October 2020 15:31 (five days ago) link

I have never heard of Cathal and/or Microdisney/Fatima Mansions until exactly an hour ago and I'm suddenly extremely obsessed

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 19 October 2020 16:06 (five days ago) link

Microdisney are phenomenal. Do you know Sean O'Hagan? He got his start there as well...

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 19 October 2020 17:33 (five days ago) link

Oh yes, I know his stuff... never been a fan! always preferred Stereolab without him and never cottoned to the High Llamas. I love all the Cathal-related stuff I listened to this morning, though! Fatima Mansions isn't on Tidal but I just was Youtube playlisting it and was delighted, Cathal has a proto-Falkous vibe or something. Haven't figured out if I agree with his politics yet ha

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 19 October 2020 19:45 (five days ago) link

Hands up, who are the three ilxors that voted for the same String Cheese Incident album? I wouldn't have been surprised to see them get a joke vote or two, but three for the same album?

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 19 October 2020 19:53 (five days ago) link

it's true. kenny wayne arguably as surprising but suffered some vote splitting.

seven day permanence (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 19 October 2020 20:08 (five days ago) link

failed to keep the herd moving in one direction

seven day permanence (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 19 October 2020 20:12 (five days ago) link

or failed to herd the flock in one direction, sorry

seven day permanence (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 19 October 2020 20:14 (five days ago) link


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