You Am I returned to the rock for their fourth album, aptly titled You Am I’s #4 Record. The album was recorded during July 1997, again in America at Hollywood’s Sunset Studios, where the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street was mixed with sloppy perfection (“that’s why we chose it” – Tim) in 1972. The band also brought in big-name producer George Drakoulias (Black Crowes, Primal Scream) who worked with the band previously on Trike and Opportunities for the international release of Hourly, Daily.
“We’ve never had anyone crack the whip before and we’ve so little patience for really nutting things through,” says Tim, about working with Drakoulias. “Fifteen times through we go, ‘yeah, let’s record this’ but the way they do things for that production quality, they wanted this clarity… really dissected arrangements. “When bands say, ‘we’re not going to be fucked around (by a producer)’, I can appreciate that if they really know what they want. But I don’t think we know what we want, we’re not afraid to listen to someone else… and then slag them off in interviews for years.”
The band were also afforded the luxury of recording with the Memphis Horns (who appeared on tracks such as Junk and Come Home Wit’ Me) and members of US punk outfit The Muffs who belted out the chant “R.A.D.I.O.” on Rumble.
The return to rock wasn’t intentional, but more of a reaction to the bands life on the road during a gruelling year of festivals, ordinary support slots and desperate headlining affairs across Europe and the US.
“We finished Hourly, Daily so long ago and since played all these shows so we really felt like digging in and doing more rockin’ material,” Rogers explains, “That’s what we’re good at, doing entertaining shows rather than the sensitive singer-songwriter bit, which is more my thing. When the three of us get together it’s like, let’s make a racket. It’s very special and very exciting. Gut level stuff.”
“I honestly wanted to make an album that was just about real things,” Rogers said “It’s not vignettes to suburban heroes any more. It’s about love and hate and spite and the whole gamut of emotions in between.”
You Am I took it’s place in the annals of Australian music history when #4 Record debuted at No. 1 on the national ARIA charts – their third consecutive album to do so – You Am I website