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Michael Fremer  |  Oct 31, 2005  |  0 comments

Back in the 1970's, your editor (me!) was doing stand-up comedy at colleges around the country. In the fall of 1976 I was invited to perform at Ithaca College. Since I was a Cornell alumnus (1969) I really looked forward to the visit. At the time I had a pet Coatimundi—a racoon like animal that ranges from Oklahoma, through Arizona, Mexico and points south. Look it up and you'll see a "stretch racoon" with a cartoon-like face. His name was Jeepy—named by a friend for Popeye's imaginary friend The Jeep, which he sort of resembled.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 01, 2005  |  0 comments

MF: Do you have studio that you work out of now?

SA: I have a 24 track studio in my house-all top of the line equipment-but more importantly than the studio, I have a large collection of very high quality microphones that I tote with me whenever I go anyplace else to make a record.

MF: How did you accumulate them and what are some of them?

SA: Well I got them by buying them......There's the Calrec Soundfield- an amazing microphone that sounds really good.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 01, 2005  |  2 comments

I conducted this interview with the great Steve Albini way back in 1993, before MP3, before the iPod, back when all but a few outspoken critics like Albini, Neil Young and a few others had anything negative to say about the digital recording revolution. It's fascinating to read Albini's thoughts today. He was right on target then, as he is today.

-Michael Fremer

He's the dean of alternative rock engineers, a thirty-something (now 43) veteran of literally thousands of get 'em in, get 'em out recording sessions, mostly with young, inexperienced bands who can't spend a great deal of money, but who have something to say and who don't want to be restrained in the recording studio. More than anything, they want to recognize themselves when they hear the final product.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 01, 2005  |  0 comments

You won't find Roy Halee's name on many great sounding records. Not because the veteran recording engineer hasn't made them, but because Columbia Records' policy for many years was to not credit the engineer on the jacket. So, aside from the few that do credit him, the others require you to know who they are. That's one reason I tracked Roy down through Sterling Sound's Greg Calbi who has mastered many of Halee's recent projects. But more importantly, as with Bill Porter, I just wanted to sit down face to face with someone who has consistently provided us with great sound, and find out why and how he managed to do it, when so many others failed.

Some of Halee's recording credits are well known:all of Simon and Garfunkel's records, the best sounding Byrds albums (Notorious Byrd Brothers and Sweetheart of the Rodeo), and of course, Paul Simon's two fascinating and extremely successful projects (both commercially and artistically) Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 30, 2005  |  0 comments
MF: Sonically, the 3 CD set (issued by Columbia in 1991) is a real disappointment.

RH:  Yea, well hey! It's fourth and fifth generation tapes! They lose tapes now. They had a foolproof filing system at one time. I don't know what happened. Anyway, here come these things in the studio, what am I supposed to do with this stuff? So my first reaction is send it back! I call CBS. I say “Hey, give me a break! Let's get the originals. I'll remix it. I'll  do anything. Anything you want! I don't care. It's history, I want to do it right.

Robert J. Reina  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

An exclusive and extraordinary interview with Gary Wilson conducted by Frank Doris

Matthew Greenwald  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

BMG’s 2003 Jefferson Airplane Reissues

Q: Is this, in fact, the very first time the albums have been digitally re-mastered from the original multi-track masters?

A: No, but I’ll tell you what they are. There were some mixes that I used the multi-tracks for and I’ll get to that, but these are re-mastered from the original two-track masters. In all honesty, I’d love to put that feather in my cap, but those masters have been used before; although I can’t speak for the very first editions of CD’s that came out in the ‘80’s…

Matthew Greenwald  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

When I first interviewed humble reissue genius Bob Irwin back in 1997, he told me that working as a freelance producer for Sony/Columbia/Legacy and other major labels, and having his own label, the much-respected Coxsackie, New York based Sundazed Records, has given him “the best of both worlds.”

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2005  |  0 comments

(This Interview originally appeared in Volume 1, issues 5/6 of The Tracking Angle, published in the winter of 1995/96)

Ever hear an LP copy of Maurice Jarré's soundtrack to "Dr. Zhivago"? It was released by MGM during the label's "Sounds Great In Stereo" era. They'd put that statement on the record jacket whether or not what was inside was really recorded in stereo. "It would sound great if it had been recorded in stereo, but unfortunately, it wasn't, " is what MGM meant to put on the cover, I'm sure, but they probably didn't have room.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2005  |  0 comments

M.F.: I remember when we were working on "Tron" we were in London in the Royal Albert Hall, we had about 108 pieces waiting, and the guy's sitting up at the organ waiting, while a fight broke out between Wendy Carlos and her associate on one side, and a guy named John Mosley who we'd hired to supervise the recording sessions. And there was a copy of the score being pulled back and forth till it just about ripped in half, so that was a swell time.

S.M.:All about how it was gonna be done?

M.F.:How it was gonna be miked, and.....

S.M.:Yeah, you see that's not the time to have the discussion.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  0 comments

The door to the Velvel Records reception area opened a good dozen times while I awaited Ray Davies' arrival. There was a constant stream of FedEx and UPS delivery men, visitors, and Velvel workers. Each time it opened it could have been for Davies, but I knew it wasn't, though the door opened toward where I was seated, blocking my view of the entrant.

With a click of the knob and a rush of air, the door opened one particular time and I knew immediately it was Raymond Douglas Davies' entrance. I would have bet a hundred bucks and I would have collected. What told me? The panache with which the door flew open? The “vibe?” I don't know. I just knew it was Ray, and it was.

John Nork  |  Sep 30, 2004  |  0 comments

TA: You probably don't remember this, Chris, but when I interviewed you and Roger in 1977, way back when you were in Miami, I asked you guys why you didn't call yourselves The Byrds when you were in McGuinn, Clark and Hillman, and you said that you promised you wouldn't unless David were there, and I said, "What did he do? Threaten to write more 'Mind Gardens'?" and everyone got a good yuk out of that.

CH: (laughs).

TA: What about "Hey Joe?"

CH: Well, that's okay. I think that David did it really good, but I don't remember. I think that I don't take it as seriously because the Lees, kind of this Byrds-clone, put it out.

John Nork  |  Sep 30, 2004  |  0 comments

John Nork: Let me start back in the past, Chris - how did you get into music?

Chris Hillman: Okay, that's a good question. You know, you'd think I'd get that question all the time, but I never do. I grew up in a home where my parents were not musicians but they had wonderful tastes and there was always music on the record player. Their tastes ran from big-band music, which was their era, and Duke Ellington and Count Basie was what I fact, one day when I was in my early teens I found an old 78 album of Josh White and I asked my father, "Where did you get this?" And he said, "Oh, I just picked it up at one point." And what's really interesting is that my older sister steered me into music - she went to college in the '50s and she came back from her first year or two in the early '50s, you know, with The Weavers and Pete Seeger and stuff, and I started to listen to that. I bought rock-and-roll records in 1956 and 1957, junior high school. You know, 1957: the year of rock and roll. So, I bought all that, and then, like a lot of people my age, I drifted into folk music. I didn't really get into The Kingston Trio or The Brothers Four; I lasted maybe a week with that, but I really liked the more traditional stuff. I gotta hand it to my older sister. She sort of steered me in that direction and I took it from there. Of course, I wanted to get a guitar and I got an inexpensive guitar and started banging out chords out of a chord book. I didn't take any lessons or anything.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 31, 2004  |  0 comments
Musicians have fans. Baseball players have fans. But mastering engineers? It would seem unlikely that a guy or gal who transfers tapes to CD or vinyl would garner a substantial public "following" ( a few groupie audiophiles notwithstanding), but over the past decade Steve Hoffman has managed to do just that.
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 31, 2004  |  0 comments

M.F.:Here and there. Okay. Now what's happening with these Everest 35MM tape classical LP titles. Are they selling?

S.H.:Yeah. We would like to do some more. It's so expensive

M.F.:What 35 millimeter plyaback chain are you using to play those back?

S.H.:We're using a local collector in Los Angeles who has a pretty good sounding set up.

M.F.:It's a Westrex?

S.H.: It's been modified a little bit, but it's still very hard on the film.