In the glitzy heyday of ’80s hair metal, producer Tom Werman played a pivotal role in crafting the sonic landscape of bands like Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Dokken. However, in a recent conversation with “Classic Album Review,” Werman candidly expressed his growing concern about the creeping “sameness” that enveloped the genre he helped shape.
Werman, known for his involvement in major releases by glam metal icons, reflected on the irony of his perfection-driven approach leading to a proliferation of stale records. In his own words, he admitted, “Even I started to be a little concerned about this certain sameness of the procedure that I would take to make records.” This concern manifested in a uniform sound among the hair bands of LA, with the likes of Warrant, Ratt, Skid Row, and Mötley Crüe all falling victim to a cookie-cutter formula.
Via UG and transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs – The veteran producer’s doubts about his perfectionist ethos are revealed in a recent chat, where he explained, “I strove for perfection. I wanted everything to be neat, in time, in tune because that was how I figured you could make a powerful song [and] have a powerful production.” The quest for flawlessness inadvertently contributed to a musical landscape saturated with predictability and monotony.
Enter grunge—a seismic shift in the musical paradigm that Tom Werman acknowledges as a necessary change. In his autobiography, ‘Turn It Up! My Time Making Hit Records in the Glory Days of Rock Music,’ Werman sheds light on the role grunge played in dismantling the polished perfectionism of ’80s hair metal.
“It was time for a change,” Werman asserted. The pretty boys in tight leather outfits singing about girls were dethroned by a raw, unapologetic sound that embraced imperfection. Werman highlighted the evolution, stating, “And eventually, not more than ten years later, bands avoided perfection like the plague. So I guess mistakes and clams and imperfection were kind of critical to the success of any street band, any grunge band.”
As mainstream music today leans heavily on surgical precision, Werman’s reflections on the grunge era raise intriguing questions about the potential for a new revolution. Could we be on the brink of a grunge-like resurgence, where authenticity and imperfection reclaim their place in the spotlight, challenging the prevailing sameness of today’s musical landscape? Only time will tell if the pendulum swings back towards the soulful and distinct, but Werman’s insights serve as a poignant reminder that music, at its core, thrives on the raw and unfiltered.