Interviews

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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.

Equipment:

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.

Mike McGill  |  Apr 30, 2007  |  0 comments

… or, why does it make sense for musicangle and other perceptive writers and sites to still be discussing and rating this stuff 40 years later?

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 31, 2006  |  0 comments

Editor's note (please read!).

This story was written in the late 1980's. I don't remember the exact date. At the time, Greg Calbi and Ted Jensen were working for Sterling Sound. Between then and today (2005), Calbi left Sterling and went to work for competitor Masterdisk for a few years. He later returned to the new Sterling Sound (www.sterling-sound.com), a sprawling complex on Manhattan's west side near the "meat packing district," where Ted Jensen and George Marino also work as part of one of the most distinguished teams of mastering engineers anywhere in the world.

So much has changed since this piece was written. Vinyl has made a comeback, digital has improved, and more people are willing to go on record extolling the superiority of analog and vinyl. I'm not sure if these two guys will go on record on it, but perhaps we'll hear from them and if so, we'll let you know.

Please keep in mind the dated nature of so much of what you're about to read. However, despite being "ancient history," I think this story remains a good read and I hope you agree.-MF

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 31, 2006  |  0 comments

Editor's note (please read!). This story was written in the late 1980's. I don't remember the exact date. At the time, Greg Calbi and Ted Jensen were working for Sterling Sound. Between then and today (2005), Calbi left Sterling and went to work for competitor Masterdisk for a few years. He later returned to the new Sterling Sound (www.sterling-sound.com), a sprawling complex on Manhattan's west side near the "meat packing district," where Ted Jensen and George Marino also work as part of one of the most distinguished teams of mastering engineers anywhere in the world.-MF

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2006  |  0 comments

Back in 1987, I interviewed the young up and coming and not particularly well-known Warner Brothers recording artist Chris Isaak. Thanks to a reasonably successful recording career, an effective and consistent live show, and an unusual “reality”-type comedy series on Showtime, Isaak divides his celebrity between being a respected recording artist, and a campy “celebrity,” known in some quarters simply for being known.

With his swept-back ‘50’s hair and Eddie Cochrane-like haberdashery, Chet Baker-ish schnozz, hollow body electric guitar and especially his shiver-inducing, close-to-the-microphone intimate wail, Isaak was heralded as both a musical throwback and a “new” Roy Orbison at a time when “New Wave,” synth-based “hair bands” still dominated radio airplay.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2005  |  0 comments

At the end of Part 1, Mr. Porter had just left RCA Studios.

MF: Why did you leave?

BP: I left RCA because they tried to dictate to me and I wasn't gonna be dictated to.

MF: Dictate to you what?

BP: I had a small publishing company and they told me it was a conflict of interest. I said, 'How can that be, everybody else has got one. Chet has one.” “yes, but you work with a lot of different clients.” “Yes, but I'm not abusing the privilege.” So they said either the publishing company or you go. So I made my decision. The legal department said there was nothing wrong, but personnel did. Steve Sholes called and said “Now Bill, please don't leave.” “ I said story Steve.”

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2005  |  1 comments

BP: I didn't pull out all the live recordings I've done. This is Homer and Jethro from 1962. Now at all the live recordings at RCA, Victor went to extreme lengths to modify the tape machines to increase the signal-to- noise ratio. And I copied some of those same principles in the studio back in Nashville. And primarily, it's putting in low noise resistors-everything is tube amplified, of course-in the front end and changing to a high-quality capacitor. So they usually were able to get the S/N ratio about 10dB better. You were telling me a while ago that you couldn't hear any hiss on my recordings. That's one of the reasons. And also you're not hearing third and fourth generations on my recordings. I didn't let them out the door that way.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2005  |  0 comments

Porter, not really blindfolded, was kept in the dark about what he was listening to, then asked to comment before it was revealed. (The subsequent identifications have been edited out of the transcript).

1)Dionne Warwick: “People Got To Be Free” Soulful (Produced by Chips Moman and Dionne Warwick, no engineering credit) Scepter (German) SHA-S 401

BP: It's not bad. It's been electronically gimmicked slightly. You can hear it on the horns and voices. It sounds like, to me, a second-or third generation tape that's been equalized to compensate for whatever deficiencies they heard.

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