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Mike Mettler Posted: Mar 24, 2016 0 comments
Consummate singer/songwriter JD Souther pours a lot of history into every line he writes and records. “I can’t consciously put my finger on it, but I can remember probably every piece of music I’ve ever heard,” he admits. “But it’s just at certain times, not all at once. I’m sure bits of it come out in everything I write.” Souther, who's co-written songs and worked extensively with the likes of the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, also has an uncanny knack for making a melody all his own, and he has a critical ear for just how good the finished product has to sound. And now, thanks to Omnivore Records, we get to revisit Souther’s own recorded canon with the triple-threat CD reissuing of his first three heretofore hard-to-find solo albums: John David Souther (1972), Black Rose (1976), and Home by Dawn (1984). Souther, 70, and I got on the line to discuss the improved sonics of this reissue series, writing with Glenn Frey, sharing golden-ear minutiae with Ronstadt, and his passion for high resolution and great stereo gear. Some people call it music and some people call it gold, but nobody knows how to hone a mix quite like JD does.
Mike Mettler Posted: Mar 16, 2016 1 comments
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As iconic as it remains a full half-century later, when Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back was being shot by director D.A. Pennebaker during the Bard’s whirlwind acoustic 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 trying to figure out who he was.”
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Mike Mettler Posted: Mar 11, 2016 0 comments
Sir George Martin passed away at the age of 90 in Wiltshire, England on March 8, 2016. Best known for his indelible, enduring, and daringly innovative studio work with The Beatles from 1962–70, Martin also produced a wide swath of artists including Peter Sellers, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Shirley Bassey, Ella Fitzgerald, The Bee Gees, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, America, Jeff Beck, and Cheap Trick. (The list could indeed go on and on and on...) Perhaps ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne (and onetime latter-day Beatles producer himself) said it best: “His productions were brilliant. He created his own sound.” I reached out to a number of musicians and producers to get their impressions of Sir George’s legacy from behind the board, as a trusted collaborator, and as someone who forever changed the way we listen to pop and rock music.
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Mike Mettler Posted: 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 Posted: Feb 18, 2016 1 comments
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How do you improve upon perfection? That is the central question at the very core of the 1+ collection—emphasis very much on the plus—the latest must-have Deluxe Edition to emerge from The Beatles’ empiric vaults. Fifty Beatles classics—all of The Fab Four’s 27 #1 hits, plus 23 additional cuts that include alternate versions of some of those aforementioned moptop chart-toppers—are presented here on two Blu-ray Discs in filmed form, all accompanied by stunning 5.1 mixes done by Giles Martin with Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios. (The CD is a stereo remaster of the original 1 disc released in 2000, which has sold 31 million copies internationally to date.)
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Mike Mettler Posted: Feb 10, 2016 1 comments
He’s a man who’s been everywhere and done it with everyone, and lived to tell the tales. He’s Dave Stewart, the production wizard best known for his indelible partnership with Annie Lennox in the uber-popular ’80s electronic duo Eurythmics. His new memoir, Sweet Dreams Are Made of This – A Life in Music (New American Library), was released on February 9, and it chronicles his wonderful life, and especially the fine sonic fruit born of collaborations with artists including Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Joss Stone, and Stevie Nicks — the list could go on and on. One of the keys to Stewart’s success behind the board is how he’s able to tap into, as he puts it early in the book, “experience and experiment,” two important touchstones for him as a creative person. “I suppose it’s not being afraid to dive into the most wild and interesting situations, just to see what’s going to happen,” he admits. Stewart, 63, and I got on the horn to discuss how to capture great vocal performances, his benchmark albums for great sound, and his futuristic view of streaming. Who am I to disagree...
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Mike Mettler Posted: Feb 03, 2016 4 comments
The concept of being a true global artist didn’t really exist until the rise of Yanni, the visionary Greek keyboardist/composer who’s played his own unique brand of instrumental music for over 5 million concertgoers worldwide (and counting). Sometimes, you’ll find him and his top-tier “United Nations” orchestra playing for audiences gathered at international landmark locations like the Acropolis in Greece, The Forbidden City of China, the Taj Mahal in India, and The Great Pyramids of Egypt — the latter event having recently been shot in 4K and coming soon to Blu-ray and DVD, after a spring airing on PBS. Yanni’s broad sonic palette covers many musical styles — something that’s no accident, given his voracious consumption of music as a child. “I grew up in Greece, so I was exposed to everything,” he explains. “Any kind of music you can imagine, any kind of rhythm you can imagine: World music, and all classical music too — I loved Bach, for example. I also liked Led Zeppelin, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and Deep Purple. You wouldn’t believe the kind of bands I used to listen to.” During a recent sitdown in a Sony Music conference room in New York, Yanni, 61 , and I discussed the melodic multicultural wash of his new album Sensuous Chill (Portrait/Sony Masterworks), the shift from analog to digital, his overall recording goals, and his passion for pushing the boundaries of surround sound.
Mike Mettler Posted: Jan 11, 2016 0 comments
Also see “RIP: David Bowie”

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“Five years—that’s all we’ve got.” That ominous prognostication, put forth by David Bowie ostensibly about an Earth heading toward imminent destruction in the opening track to 1972’s incendiary game-changer The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars, also serves as a fitting epigraph for both the core title and scope of this massive box set, the first in what will likely prove to be a series that will go well beyond merely making the grade.
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Mike Mettler Posted: Jan 06, 2016 4 comments
"We're the young generation, and we've got something to say." With that provocative, catchy invocation in the perpetually shimmery hit "(Theme From) The Monkees," four lads who were also "too busy singing to put anybody else down" captured the minds and hearts of millions of viewers and listeners when The Monkees TV show debuted in September 1966. And the synergistic connection between TV and music hasn't been the same since.

As an early golden anniversary celebration of sorts, the show and the band will be major topics during the kickoff of the "Peter Noone in Conversation With Micky Dolenz" series that commences with a three-appearance block beginning tomorrow, January 7, at The Space at Westbury in Westbury, New York. Before heading east to sit down to jaw with Noone, Dolenz, 70, and I got on the phone to discuss The Monkees' ongoing impact, what he listens to at home, and the song he wrote whose name could not be said in England.

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Mike Mettler Posted: Dec 23, 2015 0 comments
Restless creativity, thy name is Todd Rundgren. The always adventurous singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer found time in 2015 to not only release two albums of new music — the electro-melodic Global (Esoteric Antenna) and the even-more EDM-driven Runddans (Smalltown Supersound) — as well as embark on a few legs of a solo tour, but he also managed to write some material for and play on Ringo Starr's Postcards From Paradise (UMe) and be a part of the current touring incarnation of Ringo's All-Starr Band to boot. During a tour break, I called Rundgren, 67, at his Hawaiian homestead to discuss the differences between audience and artist expectations, the merits and demerits of vinyl, and his Beatles listening preferences. He saw the light, alright.

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