John Leckie was the man behind what many consider to be the best modern pop / rock album ever: The Stone Roses’ eponymous debut. Here are some of the qualities he attributes to his success in his own words as described to the Iain McNay on Cherry Red Records’ youtube.
When talking about the success of the first Stone Roses LP, he talks about being part of a team; “I saw them all as being equal.” Famously , the LP ends with the fantastic euphoric sounds of guitars and drums in the quasi-instrumental “…Resurrection” – so the charismatic singer Ian Brown wasn’t allowed to hog the limelight all the way through the recording.
“We worked as a team…good vibes….”John Leckie
Listening to the LP now, what’s remarkable is how the Stone Roses encapsulated the enthusiasm of the late 60s with the danceability of the nascent rave scene that was prevalent in late 80s Manchester. Leckie liked and enabled them. They were a team, that unfortunately was falling apart at the seams by the time the tried to record their very–much–less–critically acclaimed second LP, the Second Coming.
John Leckie’s ambition in his studio was “to work the equipment” in order to get new sounds. Granted, the studio where he happened to get his first job – after applying to every studio in London at that time (in the late, swinging, sixties) – was none other than Abbey Road, scene of such great Beatles LPs as…Abbey Road!
Tellingly, Leckie’s initial ambition was to be the “man on the moon”; the sixties were a time when anything seemed possible. Indeed, when he talks about going into the studio now, it’s still with that possibility of being in the control room of a “spaceship” with all the equipment there to be played with, like a new toy.
“It’s the closest I’ll get to walking on the moon!”John Leckie
Indeed, perhaps–not–coincidentally John Leckie spent large parts of the early 80s in meditation at a commune, where he found that people would still ask him to set up PAs (Public Address sound systems) and so gradually he found his way back to the aural ‘spaceship’.
His ambition when in the producer’s chair was always “to make it sound not just good, but special…like no-one had heard before [with] new sounds and new ideas.”
So, in his own words the main qualities that he espouses that can be applied to any walk of life – or work are in the main:
determination, hard work and the will to succeedJohn Leckie
Here then are The Top Ten Leckie Tips that he espouses can be applied to any walk of life that – if replicated properly – will make you much more likely to succeed, whatever your taste in music:
1 Believe in yourself.
2 Make yourself available.
3 A producer of any content of note ” sees the project through from start to finish…to its optimum result” .
4 Be enthusiastic.
5 Work hard.
6 Know what you enjoy and do what you love doing.
7 Know the history of your chosen field.
8 Meet and converse well with people you’d like to work with, and work as a team.
9 “You have to be strong…you are the authority”
10 “Be determined and have the will to succeed”
If you compare your CV – metaphorically at least – to the 100 tapes that Leckie listened to in order to find a star, remember that there was only 2 or 3 he ever wanted to hear again.
What comes across again and again in the feature-length interview by Iain McNay is how grateful he is for every opportunity and for:
“making great records with like–minded people.”John Leckie
His work logic can be applied to any field – so try to do great work with like-minded people. As a record producer, he was able to facilitate some of the finest music known to man…
So are you making the most of your opportunities?
Have a great summer and stay safe.