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Matthew Greenwald  |  Apr 30, 2010  |  2 comments

This interview, conducted by Matthew Greenwald back in 1997, first appeared in issue 14 of The Tracking Angle. As Rhino readies the new Doors LP box set (now set for April, 2008), we figured it was a good time to present it here-ed.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2010  |  3 comments

Swiss-born recording engineer Marc Aubort began his career in the late 1940’s working first with wire recorders and later with tape. Aubort first came to America in 1955 to inspect the American operation of European budget label MMS (Musical Masterpiece Society).

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2010  |  0 comments

Five years ago, during a visit to the Hi-Fi News “Heathrow” audio show someone passed along an intriguing tidbit: EMI’s mothballed record pressing plant was back in business on the Hayes-Middlesex campus. Since it was but a short cab ride from the show venue, I paid an unscheduled visit.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Part II:Building Gold Star Studios, Phil Spector and Alvin & The Chipmunks Come to Play:

FREMER: Where did you get all this (recording)stuff?

ROSS: We bought the parts. There were no recording consoles available. We had a broadcast console that was available to us. It was a stereo console because one channel was for cuing and the right was for the air. It was gorgeous. A guy had this wonderful board with the colored knobs and [it was] just what we wanted. And so we got it for a good price and I said, ah, we got the console.

FREMER: So you had to make an investment. So you had to have savings? You borrowed?

ROSS: We borrowed the difference, whatever. Hey, I wasn’t a GI so I had a problem. Anyway, we found out that this console was hot. [LAUGHTER]

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Chico Hamilton Plays Demo Dates, "The Happy Whistler," "Ina Goda Da Vida" and the Closing of Gold Star— Part III

ROSS: When we closed Gold Star, we called up Atlantic, “We got a lot of tape here for you.” Black Oak Arkansas we did for them, and Sonny and Cher.

FREMER: And they didn’t care about the master tapes?

ROSS: No, they couldn’t care less.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Part IV: Pet Sounds, “The Wayward Wind,” Dwayne Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser" and more

FREMER: Now, what about the Beach Boys?

ROSS: Oh, sure. “Good Vibrations.” We did some of Pet Sounds at Gold Star.

FREMER: Really?

ROSS: We did some tracks there.They vocaled elsewhere because they had the sound (they liked elsewhere), but they had their music sound at our place. He (Brian) tried out studios all over town.

FREMER: Because he liked that sound.

ROSS: Phil Spector was – he liked going where Phil was.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Back in December of 1986, I flew to Denver, Colorado to interview the great recording engineer Bill Porter. Part II of that interview has already been published on into multiple parts If you search Porter’s name you’ll find it. Why was part II published before part I? Don't ask! As promised, here’s part I of part I— MF

Note: The intro that follows was written in 1986

Face it: Too many of today’s popular music recordings are garbage. I just slipped Bryan Adams’s new album Into The Fire on the Oracle. It’s a Bob Clearmountain co-production (with Bryan Adams). Although he’s responsible for popularizing the Yamaha NS 10M as a nearfield studio monitor (thereby earning him a place in my Hi-fi Villains’ Hall of Shame [along with Dr. Amar Bose]), Clearmountain also co-engineered (along with Rhett Davies) and mixed Roxy Music’s Avalon, a musical classic and one of the finest recordings in the modern rock ear. So I was hopeful.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Few people know this, but Orbison’s voice initially was very thin-sounding. It didn’t have much body to it. And in a mix you couldn’t make it stand out. I had to figure out a way to fatten it up. Equalizers weren’t available. Of course, you can broaden the image electronically very easily today.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Listening session conducted at Listen Up! (thanks to Walt Stinson), 685 Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado.


Goldmund Dialogue Speakers
Double Kimber TC-8
Mark Levinson ML 20 amps
Mark Levinson ML 10A preamp
Goldmund turntable, T-3F arm
Carnegie Cartridge

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  1 comments

(Back in 1984 I was assigned to interview Don Henley, who'd just released Building the Perfect Beast his second solo album.

Henley picked me up in his black Porsche 911 and off we went to the Sunset Grill for lunch. We talked about music and life while downing burgers, fries and Cokes. Despite the classy name and the complex arrangement for the song that immortalized the place, the Sunset Grill was a tiny, hole in wall burger stand on Sunset Boulevard.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2009  |  0 comments

Back in the 1950’s, with major labels like Capitol, RCA and Columbia owning their own Los Angeles recording complexes, small, independent recording concerns were left to pick up the scraps: voice-overs, song demos, commercial jingles and other small-time bookings.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 31, 2008  |  0 comments

>(Editor's note: back in 1985, with the release of Richard Thompson's Across A Crowded Room and Linda Thompson's One Clear Moment, the two were in Los Angeles at the same time and I got to interview them, both on the same day.

The assignment brought back still-raw memories of the legendary June, 1982 Roxy appearances by Richard and Linda Thompson in support of their final collaboration, the masterpiece Shoot Out the Lights, recently reissued on 180g vinyl by 4 Men With Beards.

Everyone knew the couple had broken up and this would be the last chance to see them live. To add personal insult to musical injury, I called my ex-girlfriend who'd left me four months earlier, and with whom I was still in love, and asked her if she'd like to attend the show. She said yes, and so there we were sitting once again across from each other as we'd done so many times at concerts and clubs for the previous four plus years. Whatever was going on in our heads (or at least mine) played out that evening on stage. Here's the piece written in the aftermath of the two interviews—M.F.)

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2007  |  0 comments
Part Two picks up with a discussion of the disappearance of commercial recording studios, the recording of Sings Greatest Palace Music, and the life and times of an \"indie\" recording artist--MF

WO: Yes. I mean even in Nashville when Mark and I did tours of studios for this new record thinking where we were going to record, the studios were dead because everybody has their home studios now.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2007  |  0 comments

With a new album "The Letting Go" just out (Drag City DC420 LP/CD) and a co-starring role in "Old Joy," a film Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwartzbaum (happens to be a second cousin of mine!) called "The Best of The (Sundance) Festival," and The New York Times's Manohla Dargis wrote was "A Must See..." and "One of the most persuasive portraits of generational malaise-a tentative hope-to come from an American director (Richard Reichardt)in recent memory," Will Oldham (a/k/a Bonnie "Prince" Billy") is on an impressive roll.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2007  |  0 comments

MF: So when are you touring again? When is the next time?

WO: We go to Japan for the first time in March (of 2003).

MF: When in March?

WO: March 10th.

MF: Oh. I’m going to be there until the 8th. Where are you going to play?

WO: We’re playing all over. It’s like ten or 11 days where the show is maybe five or six cities, which is pretty exciting.