The S&V Interview

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Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 11, 2018  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with Graham Alexander, President, Victor Corporation of America

Graham Alexander is a talented musician but he’s also an entrepreneur, historian, and music-label exec who has undertaken the enormous (and laudable) task of resurrecting Victor Records, the iconic brand that dates back to the earliest days of recorded music. We’re talking the label that recorded the likes of Sergei Rachaninoff and forged an exclusive recording deal with the legendary opera singer Enrico Caruso. More than that, Alexander has created a delightful live-performance space called The Vault in the small town of Berlin, NJ, about 20 miles from Center City Philadelphia and even closer to the site of the original Victor Talking Machine Co. in Camden. The venue is unique in that it’s home to the official Victor Records archive as well as an assortment of historical artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the earliest days of recorded music. We sat down with Alexander to learn more about his multi-faceted operation.

Mike Mettler  |  Feb 13, 2020  |  0 comments
Mike Mettler sits down with Dave Clark, the innovative drummer and savvy businessman who helmed The Dave Clark Five, the one band that most consistently gave The Beatles a run for their money on the pop charts during the heyday of The British Invasion in the 1960s.
Bob Ankosko  |  May 16, 2017  |  0 comments
You may not have heard of Bruno Putzeys but if you’re an audiophile and have purchased a high-performance power amplifier in the recent past, you might know his work. Putzey’s ground-breaking NCore Class D amplifier module, created under the aegis of Netherlands-based Hypex Electronics, is used in amplifiers from ATI, Marantz, Jeff Rowland, and Bel Canto, to name a few. That Morris Kessler, founder of ATI and long-time champion of Class AB amplification, chose NCore for his new AT527NC and AT524NC amplifiers, is telling. Both models received Sound & Vision’s Top Pick designation, earning five stars in the Performance category, suggesting designs that are a far cry from Class D devices of just a few years ago. We tracked down Putzeys, now CTO at Kii Audio, to learn more about the new Class D and the apparent revolution he has started.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 21, 2016  |  1 comments
Charlie Daniels is an American treasure. Still going strong on the cusp of his 80th birthday, the man best known for fiddle-driven story songs like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “In America,” and “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” has just released a long-gestating passion project, Night Hawk (CDC Records), which covers all different shades of the authentic cowboy lifestyle. “It was a long time in the making,” Daniels recounts. “Night Hawk is an album I’d always intended to make for many, many years, so I had been collecting songs for it for a long time. I wanted it to be an album with songs about the working cowboy, because that culture still exists.” I got on the line with Daniels, 79, to discuss the changes in recording technology over the years, the art of storytelling, and the many ways his band transforms other people’s material into Charlie Daniels Band (CDB) songs. With Night Hawk, the Long Haired Country Boy finally comes full circle.
Mike Mettler  |  Jun 22, 2016  |  0 comments
To say it’s been a banner year for Chicago might be a bit of an understatement. Not only is the band in the midst of its (yes) 49th consecutive year on the road, but it’s also celebrating a well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which took place back on April 8 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. “Rather than limping into our 50th year, we are sprinting uphill,” observes Chicago co-founding member and trumpeter Lee Loughnane (pronounced “Lock-nane”). Not only that, Rhino has just released Quadio, a collection of the band’s first eight studio albums plus their first greatest hits compilation in 192/24 DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 mixes on nine Blu-ray discs. Recently, Loughnane, 69, called me to discuss quad and surround, the challenges of mastering digitally, and the unique way the band recorded its most recent studio album, 2014’s Chicago XXXVI – “Now.” In many ways, it feels like it’s only the beginning.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 22, 2017  |  0 comments
Chilly Gonzales (seated) and Jarvis Cocker. Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon.

Let us now give praise to the power of the almighty song cycle that comprises Room 29, a decidedly thrilling 16-track treatise jointly concocted by vocalist/lyricist Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp fame) and composer/pianist Chilly Gonzales (Feist, Peaches, Daft Punk) in and around a baby grand piano located in the same-numbered room on the second floor of the famed Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Gonzales called in from his room across the Pond to discuss the sonics of Room 29, his and Cocker’s “reverse” song-cycle writing process, and how (yes) Gilligan’s Island fits into the middle of it all.

Krissy Rushing  |  Nov 14, 2008  |  0 comments

Shannon McGinnis is one of the few people who has found that his hobby/avocation is also his vocation. In 1997, he started his Custom Electronics Design and Installation company as a one-person operation; it has grown to include three additional installers at present. Home Technology Systems, Inc., currently provides Wichita, Kansas, and the surrounding areas with a single-source solution for all custom home and small business electronics needs and desires, including home theater, systems integration, lighting control, structured cabling, multiroom audio, and security.

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Photo: Joseph Guay

The five men in the fine Atlanta-bred alt-rock collective known as Collective Soul had a very specific mixing rule for Collective Soul – Live: “There are no overdubs here,” confirms Collective Soul frontman, vocalist/guitarist Ed Roland. To further delve into the sheer liveness of Live, Roland and I got on the line to discuss the balance of dynamics in the band’s live mixes, why their biggest hit “Shine” comes across so well in a live setting, and which classic live albums they referred to as inspirations.

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 27, 2018  |  0 comments
Crack The Sky guitarist/producer Rick Witkowski and vocalist/songwriter John Palumbo got on the line with us to discuss the collaborative symbiosis of their in-tandem sonic Crack attack on two concurrent new releases, Living in Reverse and Crackology, how important The Beatles remain in their respective creative DNA, and how embracing the past sets them up for a bright future.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 17, 2014  |  First Published: Apr 15, 2014  |  0 comments
The bottom end has never been quite the same since Jack Bruce picked up his first bass over 6 decades ago. The vaunted Cream bassist wrote the book on the art of the low-end hook, as his syncopated approach to playing bass helped shift pop music’s bottom-end emphasis away from just laying down root notes and fifths, in turn opening the door to a more adventurous yet melodically inclined style that laid the foundation for the rock explosion of the ’60s. Turns in both Manfred Mann and John Mayall’s bands set the table for Bruce to connect with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker and forge Cream, wherein the super Scotsman set the heavy-blues power-trio standard with epic runs and full-band interplay in songs like “I Feel Free,” “Spoonful,” “Politician,” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 25, 2015  |  0 comments
As iconic as it remains a full half-century later, when Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (apostrophe very deliberately missing) was being shot by director D.A. Pennebaker during the Bard’s whirlwind tour of England in May 1965, there were literally no rules to follow. “It’s the idea of the home movie, the kind of movie that was always made by one person,” says Pennebaker, still as sharp as ever at age 90. “I had gotten the notion in my head not to make a pure music film. I decided to make it about him, right at the time he was he was trying to figure out who he was.” Here in Part I of our exclusive interview, D.A. and I discuss how he gained Dylan’s trust, the way he predicted the selfie culture, and why he had to get on his back to shoot certain live performances.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 27, 2015  |  0 comments
When it came to the final edit of D.A. Pennebaker's groundbreaking 1967 documentary Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back, everything was destined to fit exactly how it fit. "It wanted to happen," says Pennebaker. "When you think about films, some of them want to happen, and some of them aren’t too sure." Dont Look Back is as sure as it gets, as the 90-year-old director and I discussed in Part I of our extensive interview. Here in Part II, Pennebaker shares his thoughts on surround sound when it comes to film soundtracks, that missing apostrophe, and the origin of the film’s legendary opening cue-card sequence.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 24, 2016  |  0 comments
Three Dog Night is a band that brings together the best of many worlds. They have one of those storied catalogs that just won’t quit, so you might be forgiven for forgetting how many of their songs you automatically know. A sampling of TDN’s 21 Top 40 hits includes the No. 1 singles “Joy to the World,” “Black and White,” and “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” along with other instant-sing-along favorites like “One,” “Liar,” and “An Old Fashioned Love Song.” (See? Toldja you knew ’em all.) I called TDN vocalist Danny Hutton while he was sitting outside his Laurel Canyon home enjoying a short touring break to discuss Three Dog Night’s unique approach to making albums, why singing harmony comes naturally to him, and his view of the band’s enduring legacy. No doubt it will all be joy to you and me.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Leave it to Dave Edmunds to always want to take things a little bit left of center. “I’ve never liked listening to albums, and I’ve never liked making them,” admits the Welsh-born guitarist and producer known for his modern rockabilly sensibilities (see Rockpile’s Seconds of Pleasure and solo hits like “Slipping Away” and “Girls Talk”). “I’m a singles guy; always have been.” That said, Edmunds agrees he found the right album-length formula for the 15 songs he compiled for 2013’s …Again (RPM), but he decided to shift gears for the just-released all-instrumental On Guitar… Dave Edmunds: Rags & Classics (RPM). “The album tracks are pretty similar to the originals, but you’re shocked when a guitar comes in instead of a vocal,” he explains. I called Edmunds, 71, across the Pond to Wales to discuss the one-man-band approach to Rags & Classics, delve further into his stark view on loving singles vs. LPs, and find out what he thinks the two best-sounding songs of the rock era are. Subtle as a flying mallet, indeed.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 23, 2014  |  0 comments
“I don’t know why these songs all came out so long. I think we’re going to have to blame Steven Wilson,” laughs Dave Kilminster. The ace guitarist is discussing the impetus behind the extended track lengths on his self-described “prog-tastic” solo record, …and THE TRUTH will set you free… (Killer Guitar Records). Kilminster is known for his six-string pyrotechnics and prowess as an instructor, but you may also recognize him as being the featured lead guitarist in former Pink Floyd bassist/vocalist Roger Waters’ touring band for the past decade. For THE TRUTH, Kilminster believes getting a live feel is key: “It’s so cool to really get into the mood of a track,” he says. “There’s no sampling, there’s no Auto-Tune — just a couple of guys recording together in a room, the way it’s supposed to be.” Here, Kilminster, 53, and I discuss vintage sounds, live quad, and what it’s like to contend with immense pillows of wind while soloing atop a massive wall. That’ll keep you going through the show.

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