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  • Writer's pictureFred

An Obscure Tribute to Dave Jerden

I, too, was saddened by the premature death of Steve Albini (1962-2024), but when pressed by a musical friend of mine who MY favorite Engineer/Producer was, he was shocked when I stated Dave Jerden without pausing.


"Dave Jerden? He hasn't done anything in 20 years!"


Doesn't matter. Between the years 1985 and 2000 there was no better. Yes, I'm familiar with Rick Rubin, Brian Eno, and Kramer, but there was something about the Jerden's producing that had that Alternative stamp on it.


Again, god bless Albini, I still read tributes to him nearly every day, but there was just something that gravitated me more towards Dave Jerden. These were his Top 10 Efforts:


Honorable mention: Ixnay on the Hombre by the Offspring

From the disclaimer:

This album contains explicit depictions of things which are real.

These real things are commonly known as life.

So, if it sounds sarcastic, don't take it seriously.

If it sounds dangerous, do not try this at home or at all.

And if it offends you, just don't listen to it.



10. Ritual de lo Habitual by Jane's Addiction

Ritual is a strange beast. The first half picks up where Nothing's Shocking left off. The second half? An Epic Prog/Classic Rock vibe with songs like Three Days and Then She Did.



9. A Passage in Time by Authority Zero

I thought a Passage in Time would propel Authority Zero into elite company with other punk-pop royalty like Sum 41 and Blink 182. They just seemed to fade away.



8. Swandive by Bullett LaVolta

One of my favorite albums, I got a free cassette from the promotions director at local college radio station WBWC. As soon as the tour ended for Swandive, the band went splat, never to be heard from again.



7. Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell by Social Distortion

Described as Punk, Honky-Tonk, or Cowpunk (?), Mike Ness' band was a hard sound to pin down. Jerden made the album play like a Rock Band from the origins of the genre itself, fast-forwarded into 1992.



6. Remain in the Light by the Talking Heads

Many consider Remain in the Light the best album by a great band. Yes, I know it was produced by Brian Eno, but Dave Jerden was credited for engineering and mixing.



5. Sound of White Noise by Anthrax

It was the 90's and Anthrax was lost. They didn't know which way to go and they had a new lead singer. Jerden focused the band and re-established Anthrax in the Big 4. The Sound of White Noise is like getting punched in the face. (In a good way.)



4. Dirt by Alice in Chains

Some grunge is dated, Dirt is timeless. The despair practically oozes off of the vinyl. If Dirt was Jerden's only production credit, this effort still would have put him in the Top 10 producers of his generation.



3. Mother's Milk by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Mother's Milk was the sound of a band blowing apart. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was the sound of a band pulling together. Mother's Milk was my favorite Chili Peppers' album by a mile.


Editor's Note: We saw the Chili Peppers on the Mother's Milk Tour and they were....TERRIBLE!!! They goaded the crowd, Anthony and Flea screamed at John Frusciante throughout the night, and they barely played any songs from the album they were touring to promote. When I walked out of the venue, I thought to myself "well, their career is over." That was 1989.


2. Future Shock by Herbie Hancock

Hancock was the primary producer, whereas Jerden was in charge of mixing. Herbie Hancock is one the pillars of modern jazz and it's amazing to me that Jerden is the one that mixed his biggest hit Rockit.



1. Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction

Alternative Press once wrote that if it wasn't for Nevermind, Nothing's Shocking would have been the definitive statement of the Alternative Generation.



I concur.



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