Graham Parker has a surefire way of ensuring his longtime backing band The Rumour understands exactly how to execute the arrangements of his new songs: “You have to kick them a lot, very hard!” he says with a devilish laugh. He is, of course, joking (I think). Parker and The Rumour are quite in sync on Mystery Glue (Cadet Concept/UMe), as evidenced by the hard-edged wink/nudge narrative of “Pub Crawl,” the rollicking swing state of “Railroad Spikes,” and the silver-screen teardown on “My Life in Movieland,” which features Parker going to Tinseltown with (yes) a killer kazoo solo. Parker, 64, called from across the Pond to discuss his overall sonic goals for Mystery Glue, how and why his voice has improved over the years, and what he thinks of his earliest work. His passion for quality ain’t manufactured or just another sound.
“I want to hear what the band heard during playback in the studio. And I want to respect the sound that the engineers and producers tried so hard to capture.” It’s a mantra engineer Steve Hoffman follows whenever he remasters classic, iconic albums, and perhaps those words should be etched between the monitors perched above the mixing consoles in every mastering studio across the globe. One recent labor of reissued love is near and dear to Hoffman's audiophile heart – namely, The Audio Fidelity Collection limited-edition box set that houses four classic Deep Purple albums he remastered: In Rock (1970), Fireball (1971), Machine Head (1972), and Who Do We Think We Are (1973).
“Jeff has incredible studio I.Q. Ask anyone who makes music: he’s one of the great record producers, period.” So says Tom Petty, and? if anyone should know, it’s him, having worked with Jeff Lynne as a producer on sonic blockbusters like his own Full Moon Fever and the Traveling Wilburys’ Volume? 1.
The Dark Side of the Moon has long been considered to be the audiophile benchmark. It's been remastered and reissued a number of times over the years since it was initially released March 1, 1973 and proceeded to spend a record 741 weeks (that's 14.25 years!) on the album charts.
Editor's Note: Following Sound & Vision's initial print publication of this article, Neil Young took the post of PonoMusic CEO, replacing John Hamm. The company also named Rick Cohen, PonoMusic's general counsel, to be its COO, and accomplished producer Bruce Botnick to be its Head of Content Acquisition.
If there’s one thing we know about Neil Young, it’s that he’s deeply passionate about how his music gets heard. As an artist who’s long championed sound quality over final-mix compromise, Young has been on a lifelong quest to make sure listeners have the opportunity to hear his music the way he intended from both the studio and the stage, whether it be via high-grade 180-gram virgin vinyl or high-resolution stereo PCM on Blu-ray. “That’s all I do now—192/24,” he tells me. “Back when I started recording, we did everything we could so that our listeners could hear the music. The more we presented and the more you were able to hear, the happier you were. We lost touch with that.”
When asked how he'd like to see his own role defined in our ever-escalating high-definition home-entertainment world, Masi Oka, star of NBC's hit fantasy/sci-fi series Heroes, reaches for the stars. "I'd like to be known as a visionary Blu-ray Bluetooth," he smiles.
Dave Grohl is often acknowledged as being the nicest, coolest/cheeriest guy in rock & roll, and while I can indeed confirm Messr. Grohl is (to use a technical term) an absolute mensch amongst mensches, I also happen to think Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen could give Dave a run for his money. Collen is also passionate about sharing his creativity beyond the lighted stage, and he's the mastermind behind the self-titled debut of Delta Deep. “You could call it a punk/blues mixture,” Collen says of the album. “We just made music that made us feel great, and there are loads of people out there looking for that who appreciate that. There are a lot of people out there who dig real music.” Recently, Collen, 57, and I got together to dive on down into Delta Deep’s sonic origins, rediscovering the joys of vinyl, and the signal he gets when he’s in the right improv zone onstage. Pour some blues sugar on us, Phil.