Recording for the album commenced in late August 2005 in Rome. Mixing began in late October 2005.
Originally Morrissey was to record the album with producer Jeff Saltzman, however he could not undertake the project. Early in recording Morrissey's publicist described it as "the most full-on rock record Morrissey's ever done. It's a balls-to-the-wall rock record, not a slow one like the last one." Yet in typical Morrissey style this seems to have been a myth. Producer Tony Visconti, of T. Rex and David Bowie fame, took over the production role and Morrissey announced on true-to-you.net, a respected fanzine site, that Ringleader of the Tormentors is to be "the most beautiful—perhaps the most gentle, so far."
The musicians recording with Morrissey in Rome were: Jesse Tobias, Alain Whyte, Boz Boorer, Gary Day, Mikey Farrell and Matt Chamberlain. Matt, a previous session drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins and R.E.M. , replaced Dean Butterworth who decided to continue drumming for Good Charlotte. Marco Origel, from the San Francisco area, engineered the album.