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August 20, 2021 @ 9:48 am

Season 2: Episode 9: Jon Platt

Season 2: Episode 9

Jon Platt

 

Welcome to Episode 9, Season 2 of Song Chronicles. Our special guest is Jon Platt, the Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Publishing – a man Jay-Z proclaimed as the “the Obama of the music industry.”

 

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Jon took a quite unusual path to becoming one of the most powerful and influential (music) publishers of the past 25 years," according to Variety. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Oakland, Jon was a high school student in Denver when he took his first step into the music industry. While working in a sporting goods store, he befriended a local DJ named Thomas Edwards, who showed Jon the deejaying basics and he soon became a popular club DJ.

 

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Jon with Chuck D. photo by Desiree Navarro/Wire Image

 

Jon's next life-changing moment came when Jon was MC’ing a Public Enemy/Ice Cube concert. He got to talking with Public Enemy’s front-man, Chuck D, who told Jon not to settle for just being a DJ. “My music dream started the next day from that day,” Jon reveals in our conversation.

 

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with Jay-Z

 

Inspired by Chuck D's words, Jon began managing some songwriters and producers in Los Angeles. In 1995, he got a low-rung job in EMI’s A&R department and quickly struck gold by signing Marqueze Etheridge, co-writer of the TLC’s smash, “Waterfalls,” one of the year’s – and the decade’s – mega hits. He credits his “DJ instincts” for his talent for breaking records like “Waterfalls” as well as his role behind the making of the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys smash single, “Empire State of Mind.”

 

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Jon (on the right) with Sean Combs, Jay-Z, and Clarence Avant, one of Platt's mentor figures. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Image

 

At EMI Music Publishing, Jon signed Kanye West, Jay-Z, Diddy, Beyoncè, Drake, and Usher, while working his way up to being President of North America, Creative in 2011. He later moved Warner/Chappell, where he was appointed Chairman and CEO in 2015. Then in 2019, he took the same positions at Sony Music Publishing, the world's No. 1 global music publisher with a catalog of over three million songs.

 

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Highly respected inside and outside the music business, Jon has received such honors as SESAC’s Visionary Award, Morehouse College’s Candle Award in Music, Business and Entertainment, and Black Radio Exclusive Magazine’s Man of the Year, and has been a perennial presence on Billboard’s prestigious Power 100 list.

 

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with Pharrell Williams. Photo by Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

 

Jon’s most cherished honor, however, is the City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award - because the event raised more than $6 million for the hospital. He wholeheartedly believes in the importance of helping people because you can help. This belief is underscored in the story he shares about assisting in getting Kanye West onto Usher’s Confession tour along with his many philanthropic endeavors – such as starting the Big Jon Platt Scholarship Program in 2005 to help Denver high school students go to college.

 

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Jon with his wife, Angie, Usher, and Rita Ora

 

He’s extremely proud too for being able to assist songwriters during the pandemic. Jon, who has championed songwriters throughout his career, helped to have Sony’s COVID Global Relief Fund donate over $2 million to songwriters – and not just Sony Music Publishing songwriters -worldwide. We also discuss the Music Modernization Act, which he believes is a step in the right direction for songwriting compensation. It’s important, Jon says, “to do the right thing by songwriters.”

 

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Photo by Mary Beth Koeth

 

Please enjoy this very special conversation with Jon Platt as he offers his perceptive personal insights along with talking about his unique place in the music business, and his love for music and music-makers.

 

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July 23, 2021 @ 7:04 am

Season 2 Episode 8: Suzie Brown

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 8 of Song Chronicles. Our special guest this week is cardiologist and singer-songwriter Suzie Brown, whose work has been recognized by NewSong Music Competition, the Great American Songwriting Competition, and the International Acoustic Music Awards.

Suzie Brown

Born in Montreal and raised in Boston, Suzie seemed predestined to follow in her parents’ footsteps to become a doctor and didn’t consider being a musician to be a potential career choice. While pursuing medicine at Harvard Medical School and later at the University of Pennsylvania, she started performing purely for the love of it, joining an a cappella group in college, moonlighting in a production of Hair with other busy grad students, and fronting a cover band during residency.  She wrote her first song during her cardiology fellowship.

Suzie Brown performing

Over time, Suzie became a staple of the Philadelphia music scene, where she released her first three albums. Now living in Nashville with her husband Scot Sax, she is a part-time Vanderbilt cardiologist and a full-time mom.

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Suzie and her husband Scot Sax

 

This full plate of responsibilities caring for others means Suzie has to fiercely defend her own creative time. Her sixth record, Under the Surface, was made by stealing away the hours of 6-10pm each evening with her producer Billy Harvey who lives down the street in Nashville. Making music during the COVID-19 pandemic was the one thing she could do for herself that allowed her to process the heartbreak she felt caring for her patients.

Suzie Brown in the Studio

In this conversation recorded in March 2021, Suzie shares her insights for tapping into inspiration amidst an impossibly busy schedule, wrestling with perfectionism, and how going to med school prepared her for adjusting to the "new normal" of living in a pandemic.

Enjoy this conversation with Suzie Brown about living a full and fulfilling life.

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June 4, 2021 @ 9:00 am

Season 2 Episode 7: Aaron Lee Tasjan

Welcome to Episode 7 of Season 2 of Song Chronicles. Our featured special guest is Aaron Lee Tasjan. We spoke back in February, right after the release of his fantastic new album Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!

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Aaron's newest album

 

Aaron has led a fascinating life. He's lived in many different corners of the country, and has worked with the New York Dolls, Lucinda Williams, Jack White, and Tony Visconti. In this conversation, Aaron shares insights he learned from the artists he's connected with along the way.

While living in Ohio at age 16, a song of Aaron’s caught the attention of Peter Yarrow, who invited Tasjan onstage to perform with Peter, Paul and Mary. He learned from Yarrow how far songs can go from their intended meaning based on the projection of the listener.

After earning a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, Aaron dropped out after only one semester to get on with the business of making music. "Learning, that's a two-way street — you have to be open to it," he says.

At the age of 19, he moved to New York City to start living his dream and had to figure out how to become part of the city's network of working musicians. Eventually, he got encouragement from and got to work with some of his Mount Rushmore musical heroes. We talk about the lessons he learned about creative passion and work ethic during that time and how he found community within the NYC music scene.

Aaron met singer-songwriter Justin Tranter and together they formed the glam rock band Semi-Precious Weapons. Tony Visconti produced their debut album. We talk about what makes rock & roll work — Aaron’s take is that rock & roll is slightly embarrassing — and how the band’s manager BP Fallon created rock & roll moments for them, such as connecting them to Kate Moss for a hang that got them on the cover of the Daily Mail.

After Aaron left Semi-Precious Weapons, he spent three years as lead guitarist for the New York Dolls.

Aaron playing with the New York Dolls

Aaron playing with the New York Dolls

 

Since 2013, Aaron has lived in Nashville, writing songs and recording genre-defying solo work. In this time, he has released five solo albums: In The Blazes (2015), Silver Tears (2016), Karma For Cheap (2018), Karma For Cheap: Reincarnated (2019), and Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! (2021). His songwriting can be heard on recordings by Pat Green, Yola, BP Fallon, and JD McPherson. We discuss the good and bad parts of the professional music culture in Nashville.

BP Fallon and Aaron Lee Tasjan

BP Fallon and Aaron Lee Tasjan

 

Aaron's fashion sense is all his own. He makes some of his own clothes, such as the sweater seen on the cover of Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! We talk about what songwriting has to do with sewing and other ways he finds creative inspiration in non-musical activities.

Aaron in his custom sweater

Aaron in the sweater he made

 

Enjoy this conversation with Aaron about everything that goes in to a creative life.

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April 16, 2021 @ 1:28 am

Season 2: Episode 6: Nicole Atkins

Season 2: Episode 6

Nicole Atkins

 

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Photo by Barbara FG

 

Episode 6 of Song Chronicles’ second season features a freewheeling conversation with Nicole Atkins, a singer-songwriter NPR Music hailed as “one of those people who is so inventive in everything she does.”

 

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Last April, Nicole released her fifth full-length, Italian Ice, an album she described as to "an acid trip through my record collection." It certainly serves up an exquisite blend of soul, country, rock, blues, and classic pop that showcases her powerful, dramatic voice.

 

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Unable to do her normal touring for her new album, Nicole got creative and hosted an online record release event. She also started presenting a weekly livestream variety show, We’re All In This Together. During the summer, Nicole switched to doing a live streaming series, Live From the Steel Porch, initially based out of Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge (near her hometown of Neptune City, New Jersey) and later from The Dive Motel in East Nashville, her current home.

 

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Nicole performing at the Langosta Lounge

 

In December, Nicole released the holiday single “Every Single Christmas,” which she co-wrote with JD McPherson. (She quite accurately described her version as “Cyndi Lauper and Brenda Lee, the spirit of the NY Dolls and The Ramones' 'Palisades Park,' all rolled up into a National Lampoon’s Christmas movie"). Endlessly creative, she has already put out via Bandcamp this year covers of Brenda Lee’s “Break It To Me Gently” and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust," as well as a duet with her friend Marissa Nadler on The Fleetwoods’ gem “Mr. Blue.”

 

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The pandemic also gave her the opportunity to spend a lot of time with another of creative loves: painting. In fact, this interview took place while she was creating a mural at the Ivy Manor Studios in Sheffield, Alabama in the legendary Muscle Shoals area.

 

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Nicole points out a detail of the mural she was painting at Ivy Manor Studios

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Portraits of the Swampers that Nicole painted

 

Muscle Shoals has been a favorite destination for Nicole of late. It’s the location for her label, Single Lock Records, which was founded by The Alabama Shakes’ Ben Tanner and the acclaimed singer-songwriter John Paul White. She also recorded Italian Ice at the renowned Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Featuring contributions from Swampers David Hood and Spooner Oldham, Spoon’s Britt Daniels, the album has garnered much acclaim. Consequence of Sound raved that Italian Ice is “the best thing she’s done so far,” and Elvis Costello stated it proves “once more that you can respect the ‘then’ and still be about the ‘now’.”

 

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Nicole outside and inside the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

 

Music has been a major part of Nicole’s life since childhood. She began learning piano when she was nine, taught herself guitar at 13, and was playing in bands by seventh grade. While she went to University of North Carolina at Charlotte to study art, Nicole admits she concentrated more on music. During her time in Charlotte, she played in the popular local band Nitehawk and the alt-country group Los Parasols. She then spent several years bouncing between Charlotte and New York City, sometimes playing in groups and sometimes solo.

 

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Nicole performing on Late Night With David Letterman Show in 2007

 

Attracting major label interest, Nicole and her band The Sea signed with Columbia in 2006, with their debut, Neptune City, appearing in 2007. Nicole had a new band, dubbed The Black Sea, when she started doing her second album; however, problems with Columbia made her leave the label without the album being released. The record (entitled Mondo Amore) eventually came out on Razor & Tie Records in 2011.

 

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Nicole singing at La Zona Rosa at 2010's SXSW. Photo by Kirk Stauffer

 

While preparing to make album three, Nicole suffered the bad luck of having Hurricane Sandy flood her family’s home. Neptune City producer Tore Johansson invited her to record her album at his studio in Sweden. There she cobbled together songs from fragments she had on her iPhone, which resulted in 2014’s Slow Phaser, her self-described “prog-disco” album.

 

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Photo by Brett Winter Lemon

 

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In concert at Red Rocks Photo By Rett Rogers

 

Teaming up with Single Lock Records, Nicole recorded her fourth album in Fort Worth, Texas with the production trio Niles City Sound (the team behind Leon Bridges’ breakout debut). The stylish Goodnight Rhonda Lee exudes a retro vibe that attracted comparisons to Dusty Springfield, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline, and it’s a sound that evolved into something even more timeless on Italian Ice.

 

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Photo by Barbara FG

 

Please enjoy our conversation with the multi-talented, thoroughly delightful Nicole Atkins.

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March 19, 2021 @ 1:05 am

Season 2. Episode 5: Bob Ezrin - Part 2

Season 2: Episode 5

Bob Ezrin

Part 2

 

 

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                         This episode features the second half of our conversation with Bob Ezrin.

 

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Few producers have had careers as Bob Ezrin has had. The award-winning producer has worked with some of rock’s biggest acts (Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Green Day, Kiss, Rod Stewart, Jane’s Addiction, and U2).

 

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Bob worked with Jane's Addiction on 2003's Strays album. Photo by Neil Zlowzower

 

In the first part of our interview, Bob talked about producing The Wall, one of the greatest concept albums in rock history. In fact, he is well known for his work on concept albums, helming such projects as Kiss’s Music From “The Elder,” Lou Reed’s Berlin, Kansas’ In the Spirit of Things, Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile, and Alice Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare & Welcome 2 My Nightmare.

 

 

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 Bob in the studio with Kiss in 1976

 

According to Bob, his love for injecting a sense of theatricality into albums comes from his childhood, and his amusing explanation involves a historic record player, Sir Thomas More, and Spike Jones (the comical 1950s bandleader, not Spike Jonze the filmmaker).

 

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Bob flanked by 2Cellos. Photo by The Canadian Press/Michelle Siu 

 

Producing all those adventurous albums exemplify Bob’s values in record-making, among which that it’s important to see, as well as hear, the music when creating a record. A record is simply another form of theater. His work impressively has covered a broad range of genres: Americana (Jayhawks), New Wave (Berlin), Country (Johnny Reid), Celtic (Natalie McMasters), Classical (2Cellos), Folk (Murray McLauchlan), Jam Bands (Phish), Pop (Air Supply), and Soundtracks (Heavy Metal 2000).

 

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Bob at work with the band Hanggai

 

The scope of his massively successful work includes recording acts from all over the world, such as Finland (Hanoi Rocks), France (Téléphone), Italy (Andrea Bocelli), Uganda (Geoffrey Oryema), Spain (Héroes del Silencio) and Mongolia (Hanggai).  He also takes on music projects with iconic musician-actors like Tim Curry, Kristen Chenoweth, Jared Leto (30 Seconds To Mars), and Johnny Depp (Hollywood Vampires).

 

 

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Paul McCartney stopping by a Hollywood Vampires' recording session. Johnny Depp on the far left with Bob, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry on the right side

 

Bob is also familiar with mixing for live recording projects such as Taylor Swift’s Speak Now World Tour Live, The Alice Cooper Show, and Roger Daltrey’s A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who.

 

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Donovan (far left) visits with Glen Buxton, Alice Cooper, and Bob, circa 1972

 

Bob’s latest collaboration with Alice Cooper, Detroit Stories, came out shortly after our conversation took place. This project represents a truly special aspect of Bob’s career – his long-running relationships with performers. He’s done over a dozen Alice Cooper albums, going back to 1971’s Love It To Death. His partnership with Kiss spans from 1976’s Destroyer to 2012’s Destroyer Resurrected. It also shows up in his work with Peter Gabriel (Gabriel’s 1977 solo debut and 2010’s Scratch My Back) and Pink Floyd (1979’s The Wall and 1994’s The Division Bells).

 

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The guys behind Detroit Stories Courtesy Detroit Free Press

 

Notable too is Bob’s lengthy work associations with two revered rock guitarists: Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter. He met each guitarist on two of his earliest production jobs: Hunter was in the Mitch Ryder-fronted band Detroit while Wagner played in the short-lived group Ursa Major. Over the years, Bob tapped Dick and Steve for other many projects, most prominently were the times the two played guitar together in Alice Cooper’s and Lou Reed’s bands. Not surprisingly, Bob also produced solo albums for each guitarist.

 

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Bob with Steve Hunter

 

In recent years, Bob has helmed two rather unique projects: working for the first time with a veteran group that hasn’t done a studio album in many years. In 2008, he produced Bauhaus’s Go Away White, their first studio album in 25 years. Then, in 2013, Bob did Now What!?!, the album Deep Purple made after an eight-year hiatus. Both projects were well received, and Bob went on to produce Deep Purple’s next two albums.

 

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Bob produced Deep Purple's Now What?!

 

With his wealth of studio experience, Bob has developed some guiding principles regarding the producer’s role. One involves challenging the musicians to create something they are capable of creating, and he talks about how this “setting the bar” approach played a central role in his collaboration with Peter Gabriel on the former Genesis frontman’s first solo album.

 

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 Peter Gabriel doing the recording of his first solo album. Photo by Larry Fast

 

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Bob producing the legendary Canadian band Lighthouse in 2017

 

Outside of the recording studio, Bob has been involved in many significant multi-media endeavors. Early in the 1990s, he co-founded 7th Level, a pioneering computer software company that put out educational and entertainment CD-ROMs, including many highly successful Monty Python titles. At the end of the 90s, Bob co-founded the innovative internet radio provider Enigma Digital; Clear Channel later purchased the company and Bob served as vice-chairman of Clear Channel Interactive.

 

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Bob being honored with a star for Canada's Walk of Fame. Photo by Michelle Siu/The Canadian Press

 

A Toronto native, Bob is a member of both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame along with having a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Deeply believing in the importance of community service, Bob started the charity organization Music Rising with U2's The Edge and he also is a board member of the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, two non-profits whose work involves providing children the opportunity to make music.

 

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Bob with his Music Rising co-founder The Edge

 

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Louise Goffin with Bob at a MusiCares tribute to Carole King

 

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Please enjoy Part Two of our illuminating conversation with the amazing Bob Ezrin.

 

 

 

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February 25, 2021 @ 5:52 pm

Season 2: Episode 4: Bob Ezrin

Season 2: Episode 4

Bob Ezrin

 

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Episode 4 of Song Chronicles Season 2 presents the first of our two-part interview with the renowned producer Bob Ezrin.

Since the 1970s, Bob has been the producer of some of the biggest albums in rock history. Here are some of  the albums he did during his first decade as a producer: KISS’s record Destroyer, Lou Reed’s Berlin, Peter Gabriel’s solo debut, Pink Floyd’s landmark record The Wall, and seven hit albums with Alice Cooper. 

 

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Bob with Alice Cooper circa 1975

 

 

A Toronto native, Bob launched his career at the age of 19 when he got a job with Jack Richardson, a top Canadian producer. In this episode, he reveals the funny circumstances involved with his first producer’s gig: Alice Cooper’s breakout record Love It To Death.

The important mentorship he received from Jack was a reason behind Bob starting the Nimbus School of Recording & Media, a school he co-founded with Jack’s son, Garth.

During our conversation, Bob touches on what he sees his job is as a producer, and why he feels it is vital “to keep the passion and wonder of youth for as long as you can.”

 

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Bob in the studio with Phish's Page McConnell

 

Bob has produced albums for Deep Purple, Rod Stewart, Jane’s Addiction, The Deftones, The Catherine Wheel, Hanoi Rocks, The Jayhawks, Phish and more. 

 

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Bob and Deep Purple's Roger Glover 

 

He also has made soundtrack albums, produced classical acts like 2CELLOS and the Canadian Tenors, and made opera superstar Andrea Bocelli’s first #1 album, Si.

 

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Bob at work on Andrea Bocelli's album

 

In the 1990s, Bob helped start the computer software company 7th Level and the internet radio provider Enigma Digital. He co-produced the star-filled 2009 benefit The Clearwater Concert, which celebrated Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday and, more recently, was involved in the stage version of Berlin.

 

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The stage adaptation of Lou Reed's Berlin

 

 

 

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You will also hear some fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about the making of The Wall, including the studio technology that Bob introduced to Pink Floyd.

 

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Bob welcomes Alice Cooper, Desmond Child and Louise to his studio. Photo by Kyler Clark

 

And this is just half of our entertaining interview with Bob Ezrin! You’ll hear more from him in the next edition of Song Chronicles.

But for now, enjoy the first of our two episodes with the one and only Bob Ezrin.  

 

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February 4, 2021 @ 11:29 pm

Season 2: Episode 3. Jeff Trott

Season 2: Episode 3

Jeff Trott

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“When you make a record, it's like a snapshot of your life at that time.” Jeff Trott, the guest on this episode of Song Chronicles, certainly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to making records. The songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist has appeared on hundreds of albums since he started out playing guitar with the San Francisco-based alt-rock band Wire Train in the mid-80s.

 

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 Wire Train (Left to Right)

Jeff Trott, Kevin Hunter, Anders Rundblad, Brian MacLeod 

 

Jeff is best known for his long-running work with Sheryl Crow, a collaboration that has earned him a Grammy and BMI’s Songwriter of the Year honors. They first met, in a true case of serendipity, in the early ‘90s. Starting with her second album, he has served as a co-writer, accompanist and producer for Crow straight through her latest full-length, Threads.

 

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Jeff with Sheryl Crow's band, circa 1997

 

Jeff talks about his songwriting process with Crow – including how her contributions to his early version of “If It Makes You Happy” turned the tune into the Grammy-winning smash hit – as well as why he finds collaborating such as fascinating, mysterious thing to do.

 

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Jeff performing with Sheryl Crow

 

Now Nashville-based after living most of his life on the west coast, Jeff possesses a lengthy and impressive resume featuring well-known acts that cut across the rock, country, blues, folk, and pop genres. Jeff was awarded Songwriter of the Year by BMI in 1998. Along with hits with Sheryl Crow, such as "If It Makes You Happy”, "Everyday is a Winding Road” ,“A Change”, "My Favorite Mistake” and “Soak Up The Sun”, he's written songs with Counting Crows, G. Love, Clare Dunn, O.A.R., Robert Randolph, and more. He's toured with Tears For Fears, Pete Droge and World Party and recorded with the likes of Aimee Mann, Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Wade Bowen and Rob Thomas, to name a few. 

 

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During his days with World Party. Photo by Chris Whitten

 

As a producer, Jeff’s credits include working with Aaron Lee Tasjan, Fastball, Leighton Meester, Max Gomez, Martha Wainwright, and Pete Yorn. Probably his most prominent production work, outside of the Sheryl Crow albums, was doing Hootie and the Blowfish’s widely-acclaimed recent reunion record, Imperfect Circle. It’s a job he got rather unexpectedly, with a casual get-together with the band to talk songwriting leading to them asking Jeff to produce their album.

 

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Assistant engineer Sean Badum, engineer Buckley Miller and Jeff during the Hootie & The Blowfish recording sessions

 

Jeff’s production work extends to film and TV too. He did the soundtrack for the Abigail Breslin film Janie Jones and co-produced a couple of Stevie Nicks tracks for the Practical Magic soundtrack. He even got a Daytime Emmy nomination for co-writing and co-producing with Crow the theme song for the Katie Couric talk show.

 

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Despite his seemingly constant stream of work, Jeff did take the time out some years back to do a solo album, Dig Up The Astroturf, which he released on his own label. But even he used this project as a learning experience to discover all the things you need to know about making an album.

 

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Photo by Kim Stringfellow

 

With his wealth and range of musical experiences, Jeff has accumulated all types of illuminating thoughts on what it takes to be a good collaborator, the tricky line you walk producing a band, and what has kept him enthusiastic about making music.

 

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Photo by Steven Weinberg

Please enjoy listening to songwriter/musician/producer Jeff Trott on episode three of the second season of Song Chronicles.

 

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January 29, 2021 @ 8:06 am

Season 2: Episode 2. Robin Danar

Season 2: Episode 2

Robin Danar

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“I work in the shadows.”

 

For over forty years, Robin has operated behind the scenes making performers sound great whether he is manning the board in the studio or handling the front-of-house sound in venues large and small around the world.

The New York City native started hanging out with college DJs in Albany when he was a university student and soon found himself friends with musicians who were going places, writing their own songs. He went to NYC and introduced himself at CBGB, offering to sub for their front of house mixers and after getting the opportunity to fill-in doing freelance for them, hit it off with owner Hilly Kristal, becoming their full-time staff sound man in the late '70s. He got to mix for some iconic bands during their early days. 

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Robin working at CBGB

Robin also took a janitor job at RPM studios – a job that served as a way into learning engineering in a recording studio from mentors like engineer Jim Boyer (Billy Joel, Steve Winwood) and legendary producer Phil Ramone.

 

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Some years later, the word on the street got out that he was known for his skills at getting a whole band, and particularly vocals, to sound great  — so you could hear all the emotion and lyrics. He went on tour to mix sound for the likes of Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega, Cyndi Lauper, The Church, The Blue Nile, The B-52's, and more.  

Robin's four-decade-plus career experience gave him a unique perspective where he is knowledgable in every stop along the way of an artist's career. Sometimes called to develop bands A&R wanted to sign, he also produced albums — even one of his own as artist-producer; he'd help performers focus their live performance; he understood how to tune a room, get the audience to enjoy a great mix no matter where they were seated or standing, the ins and outs of how to run a venue, the daily attitudes and devotion of a crew, how to keep performers feeling comfortable and at their best; and most of all, he's been the guy who knows what to do to make sure the artists and the audience can have fun at every gig.

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At work at a show for The Church

 

“My goal is to make the performer be heard the way that they deserve to be heard so they can succeed.”

 

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When he moved to Los Angeles, Robin collaborated with Nic Harcourt and the prominent NPR station KCRW, serving as a producer on the station’s “Sessions” series and "A Sounds Eclectic Evening" fundraisers, where six bands would perform on a revolving stage.

 

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2008's Altered States, a unique producer-as-artist album featuring vocalists like Lisa Loeb, Rachael Yamagata, Pete Yorn, and the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan.

 

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At McCabe's with assistant John Calacci 

 

Robin also mixes for shows he's passionate about, such as the revered McCabe’s Guitar Shop. For many years, he has been involved with the Wild Honey Foundation’s benefit concerts, where an all-star lineup of performers put on once-in-a-lifetime memorable tributes to a specific album by much loved bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Band, Big Star, and more. These shows raise money for autism research. Before COVID-19 venue lockdown, these shows were a yearly highlight for the Los Angeles community.

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With singer Skylar Gudasz for a Wild Honey concert (Photo by Steve Appleford)

 

Since its opening in 2015, Robin has served as production manager at L.A.’s acclaimed Teragram Ballroom. After the pandemic hit, he started working with NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) and its Save Our Stages initiative, helping to compile a “bible” of production-focused protocol to help venues reopen safely and keep business flourishing. 

 

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Jeff DelBello, Ken Blecher, and Robin at the Teragram Ballroom

 

Throughout his interview, his hard-earned advice from his experiences within a diverse range of jobs he's excelled at throughout his career is invaluable for those working — or wanting to work — in the music business. Whether it's the value of keeping an open mind for opportunities, the importance of making the artist comfortable for a show or during recording settings, or his thoughts on making and marketing music in the 2020s, Robin shares insights and a work ethic that helps to navigate the changing landscape of music and performance. 

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Please enjoy an entertaining, informative conversation with Robin Danar on the second episode of season two of Song Chronicles.

 

To support Robin Danar's medical expenses, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/robin-danar-cancer-treatment-fund

And for more information on the Wild Honey Foundation, visit https://www.facebook.com/WildHoneyEagleRock

And for Save Our Stages, go to https://www.saveourstages.com

 

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January 22, 2021 @ 8:45 am

Season 2: Episode 1. Linda Edell Howard

Season 2: Episode 1

Linda Edell Howard

Song Chronicles launches its second season with a truly unique music insider conversation with Linda Edell Howard.

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Linda during her high school cheerleading days

 

 Linda is an attorney in Nashville who has been an advocate for songwriters and artists over the last 30 years. Her expertise, and the focus of our interview, is in the often-complicated areas of copyrights, publishing, and royalties.

 

In her first-ever podcast interview, she generously gives listeners an enlightening music business primer that any aspiring, or even experienced songwriter, would learn from. Linda discusses the significance of sync, blanket, and mechanical licenses, sources for royalties, and how song credits work — and the ways all of these can bring the songwriter, a "small business owner", as she calls them, money. We talk about how performing rights organizations differ from publishing companies, and how both differ from SoundExchange.

 

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    Linda Edell Howard with Charlie Daniels

 

     One of Howard's specialties is in the field of legacy copyrights, especially termination rights. Her mantra “forever doesn’t mean forever” takes us further to her explanation of how songwriters can use the not-well-known termination laws to recapture the rights to their songs. In her world, people and their circumstances are always changing, and so is the value of a copyright. What does this mean for a music business attorney? Changing circumstances open doors to renegotiation, because as is the case with so many deals songwriters make starting out, no one knew the actual value of their catalog at that time they signed their publishing away. There is a window of time, Howard tells us, where those copyrights can revert back to the songwriter.

 

 

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        Linda with Desmond Child

 

  You’ll discover the importance of the numbers 56 and 35 for copyrights, and what black box money and gray box money are — and how they can be windfalls for songwriters. Throughout our conversation, she shares some great insights and valuable tips.

    

 

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         Linda with her husband, Doug Howard

     Linda currently is a partner at the Nashville law firm Adams and Reese, where she leads its Entertainment and New Media team. She was one of the seven attorneys featured in Billboard’s Women in Music 2016 and among Nashville Business Journal’s 2019 Women in Music City Award honorees. Linda takes deep pride in how her work, as she puts it, “actually changes people’s lives.”

 

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Billboard's Women in Music 2016

(Linda third from the right)

 

     As a teenager growing up in New Jersey, Linda aspired to be a rock photographer, hanging out at clubs along the Jersey Shore. She shifted her career goal from album cover design to law after realizing she could help musicians more as an attorney.

 

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          Kelly Putty (Ordinary Hero Foundation), Hillary Scott (Lady A) with Linda

 

      After she graduating law school, Linda would spend her Sunday nights doing “contract clinics” for musicians at the Asbury Park’s legendary Stone Pony club, charging only a pizza slice and a beer. Her law career has included working for the Elvis Presley and George Gershwin estates and at PolyGram Music Publishing Group. More recently, her clients have included Fats Domino, Don Everly, Lady A, Desmond Child, Charlie Daniels, and Gretchen Wilson.

 

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         Linda and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Dickey Lee

 

We are delighted to present our first episode of Season 2, 

an enlightening conversation with Linda Edell Howard.

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October 9, 2020 @ 12:43 pm

Episode 12. The McBroom Sisters

Episode 12

The McBroom Sisters

 

"Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?"

 

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After spending years working on other people’s projects, the McBroom Sisters have just released their own album – and done so on their own terms.

 

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In this episode, we talk with Durga and Lorelei McBroom. These incredible sisters are on the shortlist when some band needs a powerhouse guest vocalist, and they each boast star-studded resumes that any musician would envy.

 

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                          Durga and Lorelei on stage with Steve Hackett

 

     Lorelei has done major tours with Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart, along with working with a diverse range of musicians, including Nile Rodgers, Mark Collie, Chris Isaak and (with her sister) Steve Hackett from Genesis. Her songs have been recorded by Sister Sledge and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey, and, for the past decade, Lorelei has been a featured vocalist for the acclaimed Australian Pink Floyd Show.

 

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Lorelei singing with Rod Stewart

 

    Durga also has sung with Pink Floyd – both in the studio and on tour. Her techno rock duo Blue Pearl, with Killing Joke bassist Youth, scored a hit with “Naked In The Rain” and she collaborated with Billy Idol on his Cyberpunk album. Durga has performed with numerous Pink Floyd tribute groups, and now fronts the tribute band Pink Floyd Legacy.

 

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Durga performing in the Pink Floyd Show UK

 

   In our conversation, the McBroom Sisters talk about how their busy careers resulted in their debut album taking seven years to finish and how the pandemic factored into completing it. The album’s title, Black Floyd, reflects their extensive connection with Pink Floyd’s music and also pays homage to the many black musicians who influenced rock ‘n roll.

 

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   Besides putting their own stamp on several classic Floyd tunes, the sisters also showcase their own original material on Black Floyd, which includes co-writes with long-time Pink Floyd collaborators Jon Carin and Guy Pratt as well as Motörhead’s late frontman Lemmy Kilmister.

 

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Louise with Lorelei and Durga

 

Our host and producer Louise is also one of the album’s guest performers, singing with them on “Wish You Were Here.”  Durga and Lorelei candidly discuss being black women in the rock world, the image of women in society, and how they have used their sexuality in empowering ways.

 

 

 

Please enjoy this insightful conversation with Durga and Lorelei McBroom on episode 12 of Song Chronicles.

 

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