Interviews

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Mike Mettler  |  Feb 02, 2023  |  1 comments

“It’s nice to talk analog. You’re speaking my language.” That’s Janis Ian, iconoclast singer/songwriter who’s made a lifetime-slash-career out of breaking barriers and forging new paths when it comes to making music that is equal parts folk, country, rock, and all points in between. And she’s very much speaking our language too, of course. Read on to see what Ian and AP editor Mike Mettler discussed when they got on the phone recently to delve into the making of Light, the importance of evaluating test pressings, and how she applies analog-oriented principles to catalog reissues regardless of the format. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jan 05, 2023  |  15 comments

David Crosby has the voice of an angel. Not only can you hear his distinctive vocal tone coming across pure and true all throughout his most recent studio album, For Free — one of AnalogPlanet’s Top New LP Releases of 2022, in fact — but you can hear his long-entrenched instinct for beautifully layered harmonies on David Crosby & The Lighthouse Band’s Live at the Capitol Theatre, currently available in a 1CD/1DVD package via BMG, but (hopefully) coming soon on vinyl. Croz got on the line with AP editor Mike Mettler to discuss the importance of overtones all throughout his recording career, why having Miles Davis cover one of his most heartfelt songs is a career highlight, and why his very first solo album — February 1971’s If I Could Only Remember My Name — remains an audiophile benchmark LP to this very day — and, of course, much, much more. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 29, 2022  |  4 comments

The longevity of Blondie is proof of the triumph of substance over image. The new-wave icons made quite a name for themselves when they emerged as the platinum-blonde darlings of the New York scene in the 1970s, unabashedly buttressed by the can’t-look-away visual iconography of lead vocalist/songwriter Debbie Harry — but they also had a special knack for transmogrifying the aesthetics of punk, the tenets of bubblegum pop, and their own deep-seated performance chops into something new. The first phase of Blondie’s career is now properly feted in Against the Odds 1974-1982, a massive 10LP/1EP/1 7-inch 45 Super Deluxe Collector’s Edition box set. Blondie drummer Clem Burke got on the line with AP editor Mike Mettler to discuss how the box set came together and why it acts as a “muse” for the band today, how the 7/4 shift in the back half of “Heart of Glass” gave an extra dimension to such an indelible No. 1 song, and how important producers Richard Gottehrer and Mike Chapman were in capturing the Blondie sound in the studio — and, of course, much, much more. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 19, 2022  |  3 comments

All I want for Christmas is . . . more vinyl. Just ask Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, who got his first real taste for wax during Christmas as a wee lad, when he received a literal cavalcade of 45s under the tree. In the spirit of the season, Smithereens vinyl fans can rejoice with the news that the four-man New Jersey-bred band’s October 2007 holiday-themed album Christmas With The Smithereens is out now in limited-edition 140g 1LP form, courtesy of Sunset Blvd. Records. Diken got on Zoom with AP editor Mike Mettler recently to discuss all those special 45s he got for Christmas back in 1962, the fine art of album sequencing, and why having Smithereens music on vinyl remains vitally important to the band’s legacy. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 02, 2022  |  0 comments

Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the pre-eminent teenage guitar phenom of the 1990s, is essentially all grown up now at age 45 — but he’s still a kid at heart, albeit with a lifetime of playing his signature blend of blues, rock, and soul well under his belt. What better way to bridge the gap between the gunslinging days of yore with the wizened experience level of the here and now than with Trouble Is… 25, a complete re-recording of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s platinum-selling sophomore album Trouble Is…, which was originally released in October 1997 on CD and cassette, but never on vinyl. Shepherd got on Zoom with AP editor Mike Mettler to discuss how his dad first introduced him to vinyl, what the re-recording process for Trouble Is… 25 entailed, how sitting on an amplifier at a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert was a “defining moment” in his life, and how mindful he is of sequencing his albums for vinyl playback — and, of course, much, much more. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 23, 2022  |  6 comments

Bryan Adams is a consummate and restless performer, so when the lockdown happened, he got right down to work in his home studio to keep himself busy. Not only did he come up with an album of all-new material — March 2022’s So Happy It Hurts, a 180g 1LP offering via BMG — but he also took a long, hard look at the four-plus decades of his recording career and decided to recut over a dozen of his favorite tracks under the umbrella of Classic. Initially, these classic Adams songs, with all the vocals sung anew and essentially all the instrumentation played by the man himself, were released digitally in two increments as Classic and Classic Pt. II, and they will soon enough be combined into a 180g 2LP set in January 2023. Adams got on Zoom with AP editor Mike Mettler to discuss why he not-so-secretly always wanted to be a drummer, why vinyl remains such an important touchstone to him to this day, and what songs of his might make the cut for the next installment of Classic — and, of course, much, much more. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 04, 2022  |  6 comments

Jim Kerr, lead singer of Simple Minds, is one of us. As a kid growing up in Glasgow, Scotland in the early 1970s, collecting vinyl was of paramount importance, and he got himself a day job just so he could buy records and go see concerts. (Sound familiar?) Read on to find out all the things he said, he said about how important buying vinyl was (and still is) to both him and his Simple Minds songwriting partner, guitarist Charlie Burchill, why it was crucial to shape their new LP Direction of the Heart specifically as a two-sided record, and how important an influence David Bowie albums remain as part of his creative life to this day, and more. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Sep 21, 2022  |  16 comments

Let’s face it — January 1977’s Animals has always been considered to be somewhat of a dark horse in the Pink Floyd recorded canon. Yet here in Year 45 of Animals, the album is finally getting a rightly deserved re-evaluation, thanks to the just released Animals 2018 Remix. To learn more about the process of getting from there to here, AnalogPlanet spoke exclusively to Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason about what elements of the original album stand out more on the remix, which Pink Floyd albums sound better in mono on vinyl, and why the band was compelled to make new music in 2022. Read on to find out why that Animals 2018 Remix is breaking away from the pack . . .

Mike Mettler  |  Sep 08, 2022  |  11 comments

British guitar iconoclast Steve Hackett, a key member of Genesis during their 1970s heyday, has since forged a formidable solo career after he left that progressive-leaning group 45 years ago. In Part I of this interview series, Hackett tells AnalogPlanet exclusively about the aural differences between his new 4LP/2CD release Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out & More and Genesis’ original October 1977 Seconds Out 2LP set, which guitar solo of his he considers to be the most well-known Genesis guitar moment, and the challenges Genesis faced in the 1970s when they pushed the boundaries of just how much music could fit on one side of an LP. Read on to find out why the vinyl path is clear. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 25, 2022  |  15 comments

Freedom is 73 minutes of prime 21st century Journey, whether it’s the affecting balladry that made the band a household name or the more adventurous, progressive-leaning epics that hearken back to the band’s early/mid-’70s roots. Founding guitarist Neal Schon speaks exclusively to AnalogPlanet about the challenges of sequencing Freedom for double vinyl, how listening to jazz and blues records growing up influenced his playing and arranging skills, and what vintage deep cut he’d like to pull out of the vaults to play during Journey’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations. Don’t stop readin’ . . .

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 11, 2022  |  10 comments

Mike Campbell, the consummate sideman, is now fully embracing his role as the frontman and bandleader of The Dirty Knobs, the long-running sideproject of his that has become his primary creative focus since the unfortunate passing of his lifelong friend and Heartbreakers/Mudcrutch bandmate Tom Petty in 2017. Here, Campbell tells Analog Planet exclusively why he prefers vinyl for his Dirty Knobs releases, how a somewhat inadvertent recurring mono listening situation in his youth ultimately informed his ongoing stereo proclivities, and which Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers song he feels will stand the test of time. Read on, into the great wide open. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 04, 2022  |  3 comments

ZZ Top’s RAW – That Little Ol’ Band From Texas’ Original Soundtrack is a 180g 1LP release born and bred from an intimate performance that took place for the band’s June 2019 documentary. ZZ Top guitarist/vocalist Billy F Gibbons exclusively tells Analog Planet how RAW came to pass, why physical proximity can lead to better performances, and what records are never too far from his vintage Thorens turntable. Read on for the full ZZ story. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jul 20, 2022  |  7 comments

“I’m a bit of a restless soul, and I’m interested in trying new ways and new approaches to things,” says pianist/vocalist Bruce Hornsby, quantifying the artistic scope of the even-dozen tracks that comprise his current, and quite vibrant, May 2022 studio release, ’Flicted (Zappo Productions/Thirty Tigers). ’Flicted is now available on 180g 1LP vinyl pressed by IRP in Bordentown, New Jersey, with lacquers cut by Chris Muth. Recently, Bruce Hornsby and Mike Mettler got on Zoom together to discuss why ’Flicted is perfectly suited for vinyl, why Hornsby was so meticulous about the album’s sequencing, and how he and his longtime engineer Wayne Pooley figure out what sounds work best for him in the studio.

Mike Mettler  |  May 16, 2022  |  7 comments
Graham Nash In Performance. (Photo: Ralf Louis)

“I’ve been a harmony singer most of my life. I know what to do, and where to be.”

That’s Graham Nash, 80 years young, not only defining his artistic M.O. as a tenor vocalist, but also speaking to his inherent instincts for knowing what the right tones are for the music he’s making, and, frankly, where he stands on life and society in general.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 14, 2022  |  20 comments
Larry Jaffee, Making Vinyl co-founder has written "Record Store Day" the authorized history of Record Store Day, better known as RSD. The book's subtitle is "The Most improbable Comeback of the 21st Century".

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