Twenty years later, producer John Leckie looks back on “Stone Roses”

Producer John Leckie may not be a household name, but thanks to his work behind the boards for a long list of diverse, well-respected acts (including Pink Floyd, Radiohead, all four Beatles, and Public Image Limited), his talents are well known to most rock fans — whether or not they’re aware of it. One of his past projects, the Stone Roses’ self-titled debut, celebrates its 20th birthday this year, and thanks to the good people at Sony Legacy, it’s getting scrubbed and primped for a deluxe reissue — one which Leckie is now out making the promotional rounds to support. Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker, an unabashed Stone Roses fan, naturally jumped at the opportunity to interview Mr. Leckie — and the transcript of their chat is now live at Bullz-Eye.

One of the first questions, naturally, is just how far the reissue’s sound has come from the original CD — and Leckie has an interesting response:

We would make the vinyl master that would then be a CD master, and then it would be copied again for overseas. By the time it’s pressed in America or Australia, it’s a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy.

In other words, if you own an original U.S. pressing of Stone Roses, the fidelity is even dodgier than you might have imagined. But is the new CD remaster the be-all, end-all version, or does Leckie recommend trendier audiophile measures, like listening to a new vinyl pressing? Leckie is vinyl-friendly, as you might imagine, but he’s surprisingly pragmatic, as it turns out:

It’s like, well, what are you playing it on? Most people listen to music on iPods or even little speakers on their laptop. Or in the car, with the windows open. Vinyl is an experience. You don’t do anything else. You just sit and listen to it.

To read more of David Medsker’s wide-ranging interview with John Leckie — including his thoughts on the punk bands of the ’70s, some of his favorite lesser-known projects, and his 20-years-removed perspective on Stone Roses, click on the above image or follow this link!

  

Colin Hay basks in the “American Sunshine”

If you remember Colin Hay, it’s probably for one of two things: his days as frontman for ’80s superstars Men At Work, or his multiple appearances on the soundtracks of Zach Braff’s “Garden State” and “Scrubs.” The reality, of course, is that Hay’s career is deeper than either of those things might suggest; since rising from the ashes of Men At Work in the ’80s, he’s released a series of solo recordings that, while not as commercially successful as he might have hoped, have earned him consistently solid reviews — and the ongoing devotion of a small but dependable following. Hay’s latest album, American Sunshine, is out this week — and Bullz-Eye’s Mike Farley (who also reviewed the album) sat down for a chat to discuss Hay’s outlook on the new material, his years as a solo artist, and the prospects for a Men At Work reunion.

You’ll notice Mr. Hay is smiling in the above photo, and for good reason — not only did Braff’s fanhood expose him to a new (and presumably rather lucrative) avenue of exposure for his music, it helped keep the audiences at his gigs from turning into the depressing “give us the hits” crowds many “heritage” artists have to deal with. As he tells it:

Maybe there are some people that want to hear Men at Work songs, and that’s cool. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for the last decade or so, the people that come to see me tend to not mind the Men at Work songs, but they tend to want to hear new things.

Also undoubtedly helping Hay’s mood — and inspiring the title of his latest album — is his longtime residency in southern California, which he recounts in the interview:

I came here (Los Angeles) in 1988, because they suggested that I meet the record company and say hello and hang out and stuff like that. So I came over here, and I ended up making the record here. And then things were pointing away from Australia at that particular time, so I just stayed. And I’m still here, really. I like it. I like Los Angeles.

To read the rest of Mike Farley’s interview with Colin Hay, click on the image above, or just follow this link!

  

The Trashcan Sinatras’ Paul Livingston gets “Into the Music”

Most other bands would long have since wilted in the face of the many different types of adversity faced by the Trashcan Sinatras, but — much to the joy of discerning pop fans all over the world — they’re still kicking. In fact, they’ve completed a new album, the soon-to-be-released In the Music, and are embarking on their first American tour in five years. To celebrate the occasion, guitarist Paul Livingston sat down for a chat with Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker, who just so happens to be a fan from way back. As you can imagine, the interview was a rather informal affair, touching on everything from the heartbreak of dealing with labels going out of business to tour preparations to what it was like to have Carly Simon appear on the new album. Sadly, it turns out the meeting wasn’t, well, a meeting at all:

After we recorded the backing tracks in New York, the producer, Andy Chase, was going to set up a studio at his house in Martha’s Vineyard. And he said, “Come on, Carly Simon lives here.” And we were floored, and thought, “That would be great if we could meet her.” And so he asked her to sing on a song, and we got her a lot of the songs we were working on. But the disappointing thing was, when we were in Martha’s Vineyard, she was in New York. So we didn’t meet her, which is kind of a bummer.

Also kind of a bummer? The label behind the Sinatras’ last album, Weightlifting, imploding before it had a chance to make the band any money. Mr. Livingston is pretty genteel about the whole affair, however, saying:

It was a kick in the teeth, but at that point, we didn’t get down about it. We just smiled and moved on. That sort of shit happens all the time. And it’s nothing personal, you know? You just gotta laugh and shake your head.

For more of the interview — including how the band is adjusting to Livingston’s Southern California move, rumors of their back catalog getting the reissue treatment, and who will buy whom a drink when Livingston and Medsker meet up in Chicago — follow this link!

  

Pete Yorn talks “Back & Fourth,” singing with Scarlett

The hype surrounding his music has died down considerably since he made his Sony debut in 2001 with musicforthemorningafter, but even as the choruses of “next big thing” have subsided, Pete Yorn has set about building a career out of one solidly crafted, well-reviewed album after another — and he’s looking to add two more to the catalog this year: the recently released solo set Back & Fourth, and an upcoming duets set with Scarlett Johansson, Break Up. Having just completed a string of dates opening for Coldplay, Yorn is ready to hit the road in support of Fourth, and was nice enough to set aside some time on a day off for a chat with Bullz-Eye’s Neil Carver. Their talk touched on the new albums (of course), his newfound love for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” what inspired him to work with Scarlett, and how his songwriting process has changed over the years:

“In the old days, I wouldn’t really write much on tour. I’d come home and everything would come to a grinding halt, and then I would start to get really restless and freaked out. That’s when I’d start writing the songs.”

To read more of what Pete Yorn had to say in his Bullz-Eye interview, follow this link!

  

A Chat with John Oates

It’s more than a little unfair that John Oates has spent so many years serving as the butt of jokes, but, c’mon, you know you chuckled at least a little when “The Simpsons” offered a scene where Lisa, feeling low after not making first chair in the school band, imagined herself as a member of Garfunkel, Messina, Oates, and Lisa. Fortunately, Mr. Oates has a sense of humor, one which he’s getting to show off in the new animated web series, “J Stache,” which reunites him with his long-lost mustache to fight the forces of evil. Yes, seriously. Bullz-Eye talked to Oates about his new online endeavor, his work with Daryl Hall, some of his other musical appearances (he co-wrote Icehouse’s “Electric Blue,” you know), and how bizarre it is to be talking about a bit of facial hair that he hasn’t sported in almost two decades.

* On “J Stache”: “I haven’t had a mustache for 20 years and people actually still talk about it! But I kind of understand it on the level that the mustache is back in vogue, you know. It’s back in style, and there is a lot of talk about it. My mustache took on this iconic kind of symbol of the era, of those decades in a way. Of course, I didn’t carry the ‘stache torch singlehandedly…”

* “Even though Daryl is outstanding as a singer, his trademark personality and his trademark voice have become the stamp of Hall & Oates, and I don’t think people recognize the contribution I made on the writing side, with the amount of songs I have written and contributed to.”

* On going indie: “We realized that we knew how to make records. We knew pretty much everything we needed to know, and we had everything in place. We had a vision that the future of the music business was changing, and that in order for us to continue to be creatively happy and do what we wanted to do, we really couldn’t just listen to the dictates of some businessman in an office in a traditional record company. It just wasn’t working.”

Is your interest piqued? If so, click right here or on the big ol’ graphic below:

  

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