Record your songs at your rehearsals or live shows before going into the studio. Hearing yourself back on tape, even a poor recording, will point out potential problems with your performance of the tune or song structure.
Have a pre-production session with, or at least send demo recordings of the songs to be recorded to the producer you’ll be working with. Do this at least two weeks before the scheduled session. This will allow your producer time to review the material, make necessary suggestions for changes and allow enough time to rehearse the revisions.
When selecting a studio or engineer/producer to record with, GO TO THE STUDIO AND MEET THE ENGINEER/PRODUCER. The studio should be a comfortable place for you to work in and the engineer/producer should be someone you can communicate with and enjoy being in the same room with for hours on end. Have them play some of their work for you. Some engineers/producers specialize in certain styles of music and may not be suitable for your music. Also discuss formats and materials needed.
Have all of your parts worked out in the studio. The Number One killer of studio time is cutting background vocals because 95% of the time they were never correctly worked out in advance. Know your solos. Solos can also be a huge waste of time.
Take care of yourself and your body before and during the recording. Eat well, get good sleep and keep your ears rested and clear.
If you are using a live drummer, PLEASE practice to a click. Again, for at least two weeks before the recording session, have the whole band play with the drummer on a click. I also recommend that you use a drum machine pattern versus just a straight “click click.” That’s much easier for a drummer to relate to. Preferably, use a drum machine you can program songs with to accommodate tempo changes. To help make the songs even tighter, try practicing the songs at a very slow tempo with the click. That really makes you subdivide.
Make sure your gear is in top shape! Put new heads on the drums finger tight the night before the session. Ask in advance if your producer/engineer wants you to tune the drums or if they’ll do it for you the day of the session. Also consult about what heads that engineer/producer likes for recording.