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Especially in today's music industry, achieving all the desired effects and elements that otherwise used to depend on the performance during recording can typically be achieved in post production. One of my favorite examples where sometimes it's nice to break the mold (though they didn't perhaps know it at the time) was the Rolling Stones track "Satisfaction," where the guitarist missed the start of the riff while he switched instrument cables around the middle of the song. Since this was before all the post wizardry of today, they faced a choice: keep it or re-take the set. In the end, the production liked it enough. And in retrospect, hardly anyone notices that. Some even prefer the rugged, raw quality that the set offered.

This got me thinking, it seems that risk-taking during the recording sessions is really on the decline. I hope I'm wrong about that though, so I really want to see what artists (past or present) have really gone big with their ambitions for getting the sound they want. Can default to "tone" if that helps define what we mean by "effect."

I have no idea what to expect, maybe something where instead of generating some tones on the computer, a band goes deep-sea diving to actually record a whale sound for something ambient. Or maybe other extreme measures like using an insane amount of voltage in a really dangerous pedal configuration.

Question

Hvae any rock bands put their lives in danger or done something really extreme just for the sake of getting an awesome tone or effect?

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    Interesting question. I thought of the Kinks' "you really got me" "The influential distortion sound of the guitar track was created after guitarist Dave Davies sliced the speaker cone of his guitar amplifier with a razor blade and poked it with a pin". Risky, destructive if it went wrong, but not life-threatening.
    – Angst
    Dec 18, 2021 at 16:04
  • I've never done anything more risky than put a speaker in the studio toilets & miked the result to add ambience on a kick drum, [in maybe 83/84] before everybody had digital reverb ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 20, 2021 at 17:56

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My Bloody Valentine has a song called "You Made Me Realize" which features upwards of 15 minutes of sonic chaos at (purportedly) 125-130dB.

This is actually dangerous.

They give out earplugs and warnings at shows and (purportedly) get noise variances for when they want to perform it.

Plugged up, the "holocaust section" sounded less like frontal-assault white noise and more like the recordings made of weather or atmospheric events, only played at horrifying volumes: unending stratospheric rumble and crackle.

Pitchfork.com Source

As a person who actually has seen MBV live, I can say that their 20 minute feedback/noise/jet engine bridge in the middle of You Made Me Realize is actually the loudest thing I've ever heard at a concert, ever. [...] noise was brutally [redacted] loud and I can totally see how this would permanently damage your hearing.

Reddit post entitled "My Bloody Valentine has damaged my hearing" Source

Motley Crue was known for 120dB concerts but anecdotally people say MBV is louder.

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