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Old 21st February 2012
Lives for gear
charlieclouser's Avatar
Regarding farting during NIN sessions or rehearsals - are you kidding? That band was a freaking gas factory! There were countless "drive-bys" - where you act like you're getting up off the couch to go to the kitchen but instead stick your arse in someone's face and let rip! Reznor was the king of the drive-by, and I think he was the one in our group who originally coined that term. The control room had to be evacuated on many occasions due to the after effects of takeout meals from the Pho Palace, the Thai Curry Shop, or just plain ol' spicy N'Awlins cooking. If someone called you from the phones at the studio, it actually came up on your caller ID as "Hot Snakes LLC" - a reference to a Jim Rose routine about what you left in the toilet the morning after one of those meals. I remember once when we were at the food court in some terrible mall in the midwest and some 300-pound lady noticed all the tattoos on Danny Lohner's leg and said to her companion (loud enough for us to hear), "I hope those aren't real" - to which Danny instantly replied by lifting one leg and releasing a blast with such perfect tone and massive volume that it reverberated throughout the place - people's heads lurched around to see if a gas main had exploded or a car had just crashed through the wall or something - it was perfect timing and expert execution - a true virtuoso performance. I can still see that scene perfectly in my mind and I still chuckle to remember it. So, yes, many farts were cut and not a single feck was given.

As to the TX802 - man, that was a long time ago. I got it back in the years when I was desperate for any and every synth and would buy just about anything with a MIDI jack - I had a TX-816 for a minute before that. I probably sold the TX-802 fifteen or twenty years ago. I had a TG-77 for a while after that but to be honest I thought all of them sounded like ass. There was one multi I made on the TX-802 in the late 1980's that had a charang-type sound in one slot and a wobbly pad in another slot, both on the same MIDI channel, and I'd run the charang into the mic input and the pad into the carrier input on a Roland SVC-350 vocoder, which created a wobbly, distant keyboard sound that I used on the TV series "The Equalizer" (late 1980's) - but that's about all the TX-802 got used for. The TG-77 was "better" but I couldn't name a single thing I ever used it on - it looked cool though.

My college bought the original DX7 when it first came out, and I was impressed because it was such a new and different thing, so I sat down and was determined to program something revolutionary with it - but all I was able to make was fizzy FM garbage - except for one bass sound that was basically a woody, solid tone with an organ-like envelope. I still have that preset, converted and loaded into NI's FM8 and it sounds just like it did 25 years ago - but more for nostalgia's sake as I haven't actually used that patch on anything.

I do still have a few original DX7s, but only because they were leftovers from the NIN live tours. We used them exclusively as onstage MIDI controllers (no audio connected) because they could be bought in quantity at any pawnshop for $300, were easy for our techs to repair, only transmitted on MIDI channel one, and spare keys were available in quantity from Yamaha - plus the high-quality keybed was nice to play. Most importantly - they had those 32 buttons for one-touch sending of MIDI program changes, which we used to switch banks on the Emax (and later, E4) samplers that made all the onstage sounds. With these samplers you could designate one incoming MIDI program change to initiate the "load bank" command (we used #32), and the next program change would specify which bank to load from the hard drive - so to load bank 12 you'd hit button 32 and then button 12 - boom, next song loaded. The sounds for each song had a separate bank, and this was really the best way of loading on the fly. Imagine trying to do that with a number pad? Type 3,2, enter, 1, 2, enter - surely a mistake would occur sooner or later. The DX7 buttons made it as easy and foolproof as could be. They were also very durable and easy to waterproof by just filling them up with silicone, but as they were fairly heavy they were kind of difficult to throw all the way across a big stage - but once you've been hit between the shoulder blades by a Reznor-tossed DX7, you learn to always watch your back on stage! Those videos of Reznor using his boot to shred the keys off a keyboard at the front of the stage are all DX7s - we used to call that "corn-cobbing" as it looked like shaving the kernels off a corncob. I think we had four big trunks that held six DX7s each, so we always had 20 or so ready to go, and on a typical show we'd destroy about four of them, despite their durability. They'd just keep on sending MIDI from any keys that were still attached even with entire water bottles poured in them, and you could swing them around by the power cord and they'd just keep on ticking. I do have a couple pristine ones left, but most of the ones I have are all stage victims with many keys missing and the cases bent to shit, and one is pretty well covered in dried blood from a particularly violent show. There's one that's been out in my yard for years, mounted on my old rotating keyboard stand, and is starting to achieve a nice patina of rust.

I have FM8 and I've flipped through the patches and found two or three that were interesting, but I've never actually used it on anything. When I worked at a music store in the 1980's the FB-01 and TX-81z came out and even though we sold a lot of them, a buddy who went on to play synths for Ministry and Killing Joke coined the term "bell-tone fweep" to describe the sounds they made. We still use that term as a way to insultingly describe the lamest and weakest sounds made by any overly-complex synth. So, yeah.... not really a big user of FM synths.