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Harvey Kubernik  |  Dec 31, 2011  |  0 comments
Harvey Kubernik Interviews Brian Wilson Part 3

Q: You presented the SMiLEtracks to the Beach Boys when they returned from the tour. I seem to recall, with the exception of Dennis, there seemed to be some real hesitancy from band mates to really get involved singing to these instrumentals. Mike Love did not like the stuff presented.

A: No he didn’t.

Q And some other band members weren’t super thrilled, either.

Q: And some didn’t like Van Dyke Parks’ lyrics.

A: Right.

Roger Hahn  |  Dec 31, 2011  |  0 comments

Editor’s note: When contemporary roots rockers My Morning Jacket stopped by New Orleans’ Preservation Hall for an unplugged midnight show that served as a prelude to MMJ’s spring tour with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band as opening act, Rolling Stone made due note of the event in its May 27th issue with feature coverage.

Preservation Hall

The MMJ gig is one of many changes happening at the world-renowned French Quarter home to New Orleans jazz, all part of an historic attempt to forge a new identity as the Hall approaches its 50th anniversary and looks forward to a new life in the 21st century.Our Man in New Orleans, Roger Hahn, has the full story.

Roger Hahn  |  Dec 31, 2011  |  0 comments

Growing up, the younger Jaffe never intended to become the caretaker of the Preservation Hall legacy. In fact, he never thought he would be a professional musician. Coming of age in the musty rooms, dank carriageway, and inner courtyard of Preservation Hall—the French Quarter’s living shrine to traditional New Orleans jazz—Jaffe assumed music would play a secondary role in his life.

Harvey Kubernik  |  Dec 31, 2011  |  0 comments
In director David Leaf's 2004 Grammy nominated film, “Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the story of SMiLE,” songwriter Jimmy Webb pointed to the tune “Surf’s Up” as evidence that Brian Wilson instinctively knew that the miraculous musical moment that was “SMiLE” was rapidly coming to an end.
Harvey Kubernik  |  Dec 31, 2011  |  1 comments
Harvey Kubernik Interviews Brian Wilson Part 2

Q: During Pet Sounds and then SMiLE, the recording studio became an instrument.

A: Yes. It became an environment to record music. It’s a place to make music. Right?

Q: How about working with engineers like Chuck Britz at Western, Stan Ross and Larry Levine and Doc Siegel at Gold Star. Then, Bruce Botnick at Sunset Sound, along with several engineers at Columbia, including Ralph Balantin and a session for “Vege-Tables” with Armin Steiner at his studio.

A: The best trip is that they know music. They are good at music and engineering, too.

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.

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, 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.