Nigel Godrich and Six Other Producers Who Stepped in Front of a Mic

Categories: List-O-Rama

The dude about to get noogied by Thom Yorke is Nigel Godrich, the long-time producer of Radiohead. Godrich recently formed Ultraista, a side-band from his usual producing duties.
If there was ever an example a good musical soldier, it would be Nigel Godrich. The British producer has been an essential behind-the-scenes figure with Radiohead for years and years and years, so much so that he's colliquolly referred to as a sixth member of the band.

Radiohead's titanic sound shift throughout the years may have confounded most producers, but not Godrich. He's deftly moved the band from being another cog in the 1990s alternative rock machine to one of the most influential groups in the world. Certainly the actual band members deserve the lion's share of credit, but a wise producer can stop a group from doing incredibly stupid things.

But while it's easy to envision producers as introverts who fiddle with buttons all day, many are actually talented performers themselves. Pitchfork reported that Godrich had started a new band called Ultraista with fellow producer Joey Waronker. This isn't the first time Godrich emerged from the producer-y shadows, as he played with Thom Yorke's live band Atoms for Peace.

What Godrich is doing is not entirely unusual. Producers have long dabbled in the public musical sphere, both before and after keeping busy with behind-the-scenes work. And while some endeavors have been decidedly low-key, other producers have become successful performers in their own right:

Dave Fridmann

Godrich and Fridmann seem to be following analogous trajectories. Fridmann is well-known for his association with the Flaming Lips, a partnership that goes back before the band recorded experimental material. But unlike Godrich, Fridmann actually was a part of the band Mercury Rev before he became established a producer. Fridmann played double duty for Mercury Rev, serving as both the bass player and the producer for the band's records.

Bob Rock

Like Fridmann, the Canadian producer established himself in his own right as the leader of the Vancouver-based Payolas. But his bread-and-butter has been producing records for groups such as 311, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and - most notably - Metallica.

As seen in the film Some Kind of Monster, Rock actually subbed in as Metallica's bassist after Jason Newstead left the band. He recorded all of the bass portions on Metallica's St. Anger album before the group hired Robert Trujillo as a full-time member.

Phil Spector

Before he blew people's minds with his Wall of Sound, Spector was a member of a pop group called The Teddy Bears. He and other group members recorded the highly-successful song "To Love Him Is to Know Him." Not only did that song go to number on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but it was covered by mega-famous artists such as The Beatles.

Unfortunately, Spector's talents as both a performer and a producer are largely overshadowed by his conviction for murder. That, and his absolutely crazy hair during the trial.

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