Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Bob Lefsetz – Tom Werman Interview

Here is the Spotify link.

His first production credit was a co-production on a Ted Nugent album, because he remixed the album with the engineer to make it sound great in radio.

Werman was an A&R guy for six years at Epic. Epic wasn’t big on rock music and the label during the time passed on a few bands that Werman brought to them like Kiss, Rush and Lynyrd Skynyrd but he was allowed to sign Reo Speedwagon.

So Werman was really looking for an artist to deliver a platinum album so he could justify his A&R existence. The Ashboy Dukes just broke up and Nugent was available. He was the artist that Werman wanted and he convinced the label to sign him.

The debut self-titled Ted Nugent album went platinum and suddenly Werman was known as a producer.

Then the Cheap Trick project came along. Werman signed em based on a recommendation by producer Jack Douglas to see em perform live in a packed strip club.

Douglas produced the first Cheap Trick album and Werman did the second one “In Color” as Douglas was busy with Aerosmith.

Werman was focused on getting a pop sound that would translate well on to the radio. That was his thing. Because if the band got radio play, they would sell a lot of records.

He spoke about the Cheap Trick “In Color” album and how the band had a lot of material which is typical of a band in the early stages of a record deal as they’ve had their whole lifetime to amass a catalogue of songs.

He missed out on being involved on the “Budokan” album because he was working with Ted Nugent at the time. And the last album he produced “Dream Police” was put on hold for 8 months because of the good business the “Budokan” album was doing. And then the relationship ended and the band went with George Martin, to release an album that didn’t do great business compared to the Werman albums.

Werman at the time was at CBS and when he asked for a pay raise, he was turned down and he left to work with Elektra.

Krasnow (the Elektra head) wanted to drop Motley Crue, as he saw them as an embarrassment, but then “Shout At The Devil”blew up and that was that.

Werman enjoyed working with Mick Mars, a highly underrated guitar player. He went out for sushi with Nikki Sixx the day after he was pronounced dead. He also said that Nikki produced some nice fiction with “The Heroin Diaries”.

“Tooth And Nail” from Dokken was the other album he did at the time.

Two platinum albums to start off his Elektra career.

He got a call from Doug Morris (the president of Atlantic) to work with Twisted Sister. They had success in Europe with the “You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll” album and Atlantic wanted a new album to be unleashed on the US market.

That album of course is “Stay Hungry”.

But after the album was done and approved, Werman and Snider fell out. And still to this day, they are at odds.

He saw the writing on the wall at the start of the 90s. His production values were not liked by the new breed of bands and getting production gigs with these bands didn’t lead to any success and traction because he was known as the producer of Motley Crue and Poison.

He still gets paid from all the albums he produced. He said the payments were healthy up until 1999 and then the payments went down and kept on going down up to 2009 and since 2010 the royalty payments started to increase and they have been increasing ever since.

Streaming has increased the amount of royalties and he gets paid enough to not care if the labels even skim a bit on the royalty.

He hasn’t done any production since he checked out of the music business but if there was an artist that would have gotten him in the chair, it would have been Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters.

Werman produced records are all over my collection and his production values played a big part in the soundtrack of my youth.

Thank you.

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4 thoughts on “Bob Lefsetz – Tom Werman Interview

  1. I’m glad you posted this as I seen Bob talking about it and than I forgot. lol. Never knew he brought RUSH/KISS/Skynyrd to Epic and they turned both him and those bands down.

    • Yeah I know that was so surreal to hear but he did clarify that the label wasn’t a rock label at the time and they didn’t really get or understand rock music, so those biases are pretty hard to overcome.

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