Music production for film is a different animal from the music production I was used to; once you’ve assembled and installed the band in the studio, you’re all sitting in the control room literally on call to turn out a variety of arrangements of the same song as quickly as possible, depending on the requirements on the set. A couple of times we were required to learn, arrange, record and mix a song, all in one day. This was not a low-stress experience.
For Rock Star, because of the storyline, we needed two separate bands playing the same songs. One band had to sound as though it had been playing as a unit for 20 years. The other was a tribute band, and had to be good, but not quite as good as the older band. In a couple of cases, I actually preferred the tribute band’s finished version to the more seasoned band’s finished version. For the main band, Budd Carr had secured the services of Jason Bonham and Zakk Wylde, so the choices for drums and guitar were already made. After spending a little time with the two of them separately, I knew that I would need someone really diplomatic and cooperative to play bass and keep things running smoothly. I called Jeff Pilson, the bass player from Dokken. Jeff is a great bass player, has a good sense of humor, and is a real team player. He wants things to work, and he’ll do what he has to in order to make sure they do. As it worked out, his presence was quite useful in the studio. We needed a strong, mature lead voice with a huge range, so I called the singer from Steelheart, Michael Matijevic. I had worked with Michael several years earlier on an MCA album, and I had never heard a vocalist with a greater range – especially on the upside.