Bands are no better than football teams - they need a coach with a vision.
Production, I agree is almost more than the sound but keep in mind the sound of many 50's and 60's recordings was still great because the simplicity of approach was able to harness a whole band performance.
Remember that the Beatles first sessions often yielded as many as 27 takes of a 2 and 1/2 minute song to find that special magic ... and they were songs of a talented band who'd played the songs dozens if not hundreds of times before.
Mutt Lange also sharpened his teeth on good old analogue - ala Foreigner 4 and Back in Black ... know the essence of the song and distill it for the band to understand and have them work on it.
Pre-production is everything. Try and record as much live as possible - heaps of overdubs become more and more sterile. Often the mix can emphasize where the strength of a take is and remember to embrace the strengths and mask the weaknesses.
A leaf out of John lennon's book "embrace mistakes as creative opportunities" and go with the flow - the recording studio brings out the best and worse in musicians so ultimately keep your ears and heart open and make it all enjoyable ... then sit down and listen to what was created.
Hope this advice helps,
David Rogers - studio owner/record producer/engineer/musicianCome on the FREE COURSE TOUR