Roger Bechirian

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Roger Bechirian (born 1954, Calcutta, India)[1] is an English engineer and record producer. Bechirian was a key player in the British new wave scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, best known for his work with Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack, Elvis Costello, The Undertones, Dave Edmunds, The Monkees, the Flamin' Groovies, and Squeeze. He was also a member of the pseudonymous new wave group Blanket of Secrecy, which issued one album in 1982. More recently, Bechirian has worked with the Trashcan Sinatras and Bell X1.

Life and career[edit]

Bechirian was born and spent his early years in Calcutta, moving to England with his family at the age of 10. His engineering career started at Eden Studios, in London in the mid-1970s. The studio was based around an Ampex 4 track and a custom built desk based in part on EMI/BBC designs. Bechirian progressed to become assistant mastering engineer, using an early Scully lathe during the day, and spending the evenings in the studio with bands improving his engineering skills. Eden then moved to a much larger premises and built a brand new studio complex from the ground up. Being involved in the building of the facility, from wiring the studio to helping to build their custom desk, gained Béchirian a great insight into acoustic design and audio electronics. He even designed the studio's logo. Eden opened as a 16 track with Ampex MM1100, but made the rapid leap to 24 track recording, moving up to an Ampex MM1200 and Dolby A. It was one of the first few 24 track studios in London at that time.

Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson sought out Béchirian and he began recording and mixing projects for the label's then fledgling artist roster.

He continued to develop his engineering talents at Eden as house engineer on an endless mixture of sessions ranging from solo artists to rock bands, big bands and orchestra. He worked as an assistant on sessions with some of the most successful producers and bands at the time, including Jethro Tull, Marc Bolan, Manfred Mann, Moody Blues, David Essex, Georgie Fame, The Damned, Clover and many others.

Bechirian had come to the attention of various A&R men, and also continued to work with a variety of Stiff artists. He was asked by Robinson to be involved with the production of Lene Lovich's first album, which produced her first hit single, "Lucky Number". Malcolm McLaren brought the Sex Pistols into Eden to work on various drum and guitar tracking sessions, and around this time, Nick Lowe approached Bechirian to work on his solo project, which was to become Jesus of Cool. As a result, he wanted Bechirian to act as his exclusive engineer on all his forthcoming projects, which led to working with Graham Parker, Huey Lewis and Clover, Elvis Costello, Rockpile, and others.

Seymour Stein, founder of Sire Records, signed the Undertones, asking Bechirian to take on production duties for the band's first album.[2] Bechirian ended up engineering and producing the band's first three albums. Jake Riviera, who looked after Costello and Lowe, began representing Bechirian as manager.

Bechirian continued to work with various bands and artists as engineer and producer. He produced (with Elvis Costello) and engineered Squeeze's hit album East Side Story, and their American breakthrough hit single "Tempted".

Around that same time, he formed the band Blanket of Secrecy. Their first and only album was released in both the UK and the US, and garnered some attention as all the band members wrote and performed under pseudonyms ("Tinker", "Tailor" and "Soldier") and refused to be photographed. This led to speculation about the band members' identities—as Bechirian was listed in the album's credits as a producer, it was posited that he may have been behind the group. However, public and media interest in Blanket of Secrecy was short-lived after the album and associated singles failed to chart, and the group broke up. The actual identities of the band members were not revealed for more than twenty years.

Bechirian went on to build his own recording studio in London and formed Vinyltone Productions with Epic Records in New York, developing and releasing new artists. The next three years he divided his time between London and New York. He later remastered Elvis Costello's first nine albums, and produced The Monkees' 1986 reunion album Pool It![3]

Looking for a new direction, Bechirian later formed Trick Management. Amongst his clients are Tom McRae and Bell X1. Signing Bell X1 to Island Records, he produced the band's breakthrough hit album Flock.

Now based in London, Bechirian engineers and produces, as well as being involved with the development and co-management of new bands and artists.

Discography overview[edit]

Note: engineered (e), mixed (m), co-produced (cp), produced (p)

Elvis Costello (e-m-cp-p)

albums:

singles:

  • What's So Funny' Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding
  • Oliver's Army
  • Alison (remix)
  • I Don't Want to Go To Chelsea
  • Accidents Will Happen
  • Pump It Up
  • I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down
  • Radio Radio
  • Big Tears
  • Green Shirt
  • High Fidelity
  • New Lace Sleeves
  • Talking in the Dark
  • New Amsterdam
  • Riot Act
  • Clubland
  • From a Whisper to a Scream
  • Watch Your Step

Squeeze-e-m-p

albums:

singles:

  • Is That Love
  • Tempted
  • Labelled With Love
  • Messed Around

The Undertones- e-m-p

albums:

singles:

  • Get Over You
  • Jimmy Jimmy
  • Here Comes the Summer
  • You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)
  • My Perfect Cousin
  • Wednesday Week
  • It's Going To Happen!
  • Julie Ocean

Nick Lowe-e-m-cp-p

albums:

singles:

  • So It Goes
  • Marie Provost
  • Endless Sleep
  • 1Halfway to Paradise
  • I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
  • Little Hitler
  • American Squirm
  • Crackin' Up
  • Cruel to Be Kind
  • Cool Reaction
  • Ragin' Eyes
  • Wish You Were Here

Graham Parker: e-m

  • Howling Wind
  • Stick To Me
  • Heat Treatment

Twist: e-m-cp

albums:

  • This Is Your Life

singles:

  • This Is Your Life
  • Ads

The Rumour: e-m-cp

albums:

  • Frogs, Sprouts, Clogs & Krauts

singles:

  • Emotional Traffic
  • Frozen Years
  • Tired of Waiting

The Jam: e

Lene Lovich: e-m-p albums:

  • Stateless
  • Flex

singles:

  • Lucky Number
  • Little Bird
  • Too Tender To Touch
  • I Think We’re Alone Now

Wang Chung: e-m-p

albums:

  • Wang Chung

singles:

  • Hold Back the Tears
  • China
  • Ti Na Na

Carlene Carter- e-m-p-cp

albums:

  • Carlene Carter
  • C’est c Bon
  • Blue Nun

singles:

  • When You Comin' Back
  • Too Many Teardrops
  • Love Like A Glove
  • Meant It for a Minute

Dave Edmunds: e-m

albums:

  • ‘4’
  • Tracks On Wax
  • Repeat When Necessary

singles:

  • Deborah
  • Television
  • A1 on the Jukebox
  • Girls Talk
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Crawling from the Wreckage

The Trashcan Sinatras: e-m-p
albums:

  • Cake

singles:

  • Only Tongue Can Tell
  • Obscurity Knocks

Bell X1: m-p

albums:

  • Music In Mouth
  • Flock
  • Blue Lights on the Runway (re-mixes)

singles:

  • Man on Mir
  • White Water Song
  • Tongue
  • Snakes and Snakes
  • Alphabet Soup
  • Eve, the Apple of My Eye
  • Next to You
  • Bigger Than Me
  • Flame
  • Rocky Took a Lover
  • The Great Defector-m
  • The Ribs of a Broken Umbrella-m

Tom McRae: cp-m

albums:

  • Tom McRae

singles:

  • You Cut Her Hair
  • Walking to Hawaii rm

The Flamin’ Groovies: e-m-cp

  • Jumpin’ In The Night

The Attractions: e-m-p

  • Mad About The Wrong Boy

The Shakin’ Pyramids

  • Celts & Cobras e-m-p

The Monkees: e-m-p

  • Pool It!

The db’s: e-m-p

  • Judy(single)

Tony Koklin: e-m-p

  • Time Chaser

Robert-Ellis-Orrall: e-m-p

  • Special Pain
  • Walking Thru Landmines

Rockpile: e-m

  • A Pile Of Rock

The Photos: e-m-p

  • The Photos

Siouxsie and the Banshees: e-m

  • New Skin (Showgirls’ soundtrack)

Blanket Of Secrecy: e-m-p

  • Ears Have Walls

The Passion Puppets: e-m-p

  • Like Dust

Dirty Looks: e-m

  • Dirty Looks

The Pretenders: e-m

  • Better Stop Sobbin’(single)

Stewart Agnew Band: e-m-p

  • Stewart Agnew

Bear Driver: cp

  • Wolves(single)

e and ae-Joe Jackson/Paul Jones/The Sex Pistols/The Bay City Rollers/TV21/The Three Degrees/Wreckless Eric/Clive Langer/Barbara Dixon/Jonah Lewie/Larry Wallis/Telephone/Maxine Nightingale/Shirley Bassey/Kathy Kirby/Simon May/Paul & Barry Ryan/Dolly Mixtures/Hello/Clover/Huey Lewis/The Damned/The Passion Puppets/The Belle Stars/Marc Bolan/The Three Degrees/Jethro Tull/David Essex

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elvis Costello & The Attractions 'Oliver's Army'". Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Bradley, Michael (2016-02-15). Teenage Kicks: My Life as an Undertone. Music Sales Limited. ISBN 9781783238521. 
  3. ^ "Roger Bechirian: Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Undertones". tapeop.com. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 

External links[edit]