On Mick Ronson
With Ronno, a lot of people pitched Ronno ideas — he’d go in for a session and he’d help out to change one or two musical things. On one or two occasions these songs became hits. And he never got paid. But he knew he did it. The guy who didn’t credit him did reveal it years later when he was financially out of the woods, he’s gotta live with that.
The work is the main thing as long as you’re living all right, which we managed to do for a long time. There was a point in time when we did You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic, and produced Ellen Foley, and Ronno was a notorious for going out and spending.
We actually had him by the balls for three months, and my wife and his wife made him buy a house and made him buy a car while it was going good and that’s how he got himself together.
On You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic, a missed hit, and Springsteen
We had a situation with the E Street Band with a song called “Just Another Night.” They wanted to do it like Bruce. (Ian sings a slower Springsteenish version of it.) But the song wasn’t like that; it was supposed to be a lot sloppier than that. [E Street Band keyboardist] Roy Bittan thought we were turning our back on a hit. But I couldn’t resolve to do it; it wasn’t the original, sloppier feel. So we did it mine and Mick’s way.
Oh, of course it never was a single, never even made the short list for a single. But it didn’t sound like Bruce.
On making the famous Power Station studios famous
This was all at the same time there in the Power Station studio, wasn’t it? The reason Bruce went in there was ’cause I’d had his E Street Band on Schizophrenic, and it sounded great. That studio got off the ground with that album ’cause I was on Chrysalis, and when Blondie heard the album, they said, “We’ve got to go into Power Station too.” It was disco and, before you knew it, it was a rock studio.”
Playing in Ringo’s All-Stars
I had a lot of fun doing it; he’s a great bloke. When someone rings you up from the Beatles on your answering machine it’s kind of weird. I guess you have to do it.
On record production
I Think people buy passion more than anything — that’s what they really buy in music. Look at some of these new bands and they sound so perfect. I don’t mind ProTools, if you know how to use it. It can sound perfect and it can sound perfectly sterile. It can sound like a doctor’s waiting room.