Tag Archive | Producer

Video Clip of The Week: “She Does” By Influenced

Earlier this week, I  attended a party at The Cutting Room and ran into my friend Billy Amendola, who I got to know during my 13 years spent writing for Modern Drummer magazine. Billy is not only a fantastic writer and editor, but he’s also quite an accomplished working drummer, having racked up a couple of dance hits during the 70s with the band Mantus, as well as playing drums on many of Debbie Gibson’s hits. Billy told me about a project he just completed called Influenced, featuring a song he wrote with a couple of his industry friends called “She Does.” He turned me on to the video, and I was instantly blown away by how much this track sounds like The Beatles.

Actually, The Beatles comparison is not at all surprising, when you consider that they recruited producer Mark Hudson for lead vocals. I remember having a ridiculous crush on Mark Hudson when I was probably 13, and he and his two brothers, Brett and Bill (father of actress Kate Hudson) had a summer replacement television series, The Hudson Brothers comedy variety hour. I even owned a couple of the Hudson Brothers excellent albums, which I absolutely adored because all of their songs sounded so much like The Beatles.

In his career, Mark has worked with huge hit makers including Ringo Starr, and I know Billy is also a huge Beatles fan, so, again, the similarity is no surprise. What’s also a standout on this track is how guitarist Vinnie Zummo (formerly with Joe Jackson) completely channels George Harrison’s Elmore James-influenced slide guitar.

The track was produced by Billy’s son, Matty, who I used to fondly refer to as “Matty’s Fro,” owing to his impressive Afro hairstyle! Matty has gone on to become quite adept producer and multi-instrumentalist in his own right, and it’s fantastic to hear father and son working together on such a solid track. Please enjoy!

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RIP Studio Legend Andy Johns

Andy Johns

Andy Johns, who famously produced or engineered ground breaking albums by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull and The Rolling Stones, to name but a few, has passed away on April 7th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, although Johns had recently been hospitalized with liver ailments.

Andy Johns was part of an amazing musical legacy that included his older brother, producer Glyn Johns, who famously worked with The Who (among a laundry list of legends). His sons Ethan and Will Johns are working musicians and his nephew, Evan Johns (son of Glyn) is also a producer.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Andy Johns when I was hired to write a bio for an indie band whose record he had produced. The band’s management and publicist were completely clueless about how to effectively spin this band and it was my idea to add John’s input to the bio. He was fun to talk to and definitely knew his shit.

Sadly, the group’s handlers disagreed with the artistic slant I put on the bio, another writer was brought in and I was paid a kill fee for my efforts. Hilariously, when I eventually received a finished copy of the band’s album, along with the new bio, I did notice that direct quotes pulled from my interview with Johns were integrated into the new piece, with no credit to me. What a bunch of dicks. Andy Johns was 61 years old. RIP, Andy.

RIP Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone

Phil Ramone
Image Source

Fourteen time Grammy winning record producer Phil Ramone passed away in New York today, March 30th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been disclosed. Ramone was 72 years old (though I have seen two sources cite his age as 79, not sure where that is coming from as his year of birth is given as 1941). A brief list of artists Ramone worked with includes Burt Bacharach, Bono, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder. CNN has more information and celebrity remembrances in a nice obit at This Link. RIP, Phil!

Remembering Harry Nilsson on his Birthday

Harry Nilsson Grave Stone

The late, great singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson was born on this day, June 15th, in 1941. I recently watched the unbelievably well-made documentary, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? which is now available on DVD via Netflix.

I’m a huge fan of Nilsson’s music, as he reached the height of his popularity in the sixties and seventies, when I was growing up, so I thought I knew a lot about the guy. But Who is Harry Nilsson? gave me quite a schooling on the details of Nilsson’s life and career that I couldn’t have imagined.

This insightful documentary goes way back to his childhood, his family life, his early career writing songs for others that grew into his own recording career as a solo artist, his film soundtrack projects, personal friendships with other songwriters and musicians (Nilsson was a favorite artist of all four Beatles and he maintained close friendships with John Lennon and Ringo Starr until his death) and a wildly in-depth overview of his recording process via interviews with those he worked closely with (the interviews with producer Richard Perry alone are worth the time it takes to watch the film).

Of course, it’s not like you don’t know how the story is going to end. A well-covered topic in Who Is Harry Nilsson? is the artist’s ridiculously indulgent and debauched Rock Star Lifestyle, which lead directly to his early death at age 52 – a tragic waste of an extraordinary and irreplaceable talent.

I was entirely captivated, entertained and profoundly moved by the life story of Harry Nilsson, who was extremely respected for his talent and considered by his peers to be the greatest American singer of his generation. There is no doubt that his influence is vast and deeply felt even today. Harry Nilsson died on January 15th, 1994 from heart failure brought on by a lifetime of alcoholism and hard drug abuse. If he were still alive, he would be celebrating his Birthday today. Happy Birthday, Harry, we still miss you.

Happy Birthday, Bernard Butler

Bernard Butler

Musician, producer, and former acclaimed guitarist for Suede, Bernard Butler was born on this day, May 1st in 1970. I never had the chance to interview Bernard (though I did interview his replacement in Suede) but I did meet him after a show in Seattle around the time his first solo album, People Move On was released and he was extremely nice, and very skinny! Happy Birthday, Bernard!

Must See Film: The Other F Word

The Other F Word Movie Poster

Three Words: Punk Rock Dads. Without going into any detail at all, just the idea that anyone would make a documentary film about Punk Rock Dads is so golden. I mean, seriously: taking the ultimate anti-authoritarian pop-culture figure and putting him in the position of being the iron-fisted authority in a child’s life is both wildly fascinating and unbelievably hilarious. So, convincing me to check out the new film, The Other F Word, (the “F” standing for Fatherhood) directed by Andrea Blaugrund Nevins was a total no-brainer. Because, Punk Rock Dads! The LA and Orange Country Punk Rock scene of the late 70s / early 80s was HUGE for me when I was a teenager and into my early 20s. Being aware that a number of the “kids” I grew up with in Southern California would be featured musicians in the film, I knew this would be an enjoyable viewing experience, but honestly, I had no idea what I was in for. As riveting as any scripted drama, unbelievably funny and deeply – often unexpectedly – emotionally gut wrenching, The Other F Word is one of the best movies of 2011 and is way up there on my top 10 list of best music documentaries I’ve seen. I just loved this movie so much and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blaugrund Nevins interviewed about two dozen Punk Dads for the film, and she got a really good mix, but the ones that get the most screen time are Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg (whom I’d call the “star” of the film), Art Alexakis (Everclear), Fat Mike (NOFX), Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Ron Reyes (Black Flag), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Pro-Skating legend Tony Hawk, Drummer Josh Freese and Tony Brandenburg (The Adolescents). All of these guys are clearly just in love with being Dads and are entirely devoted to their children, who range in age from infants to grown teenagers. The guys come off as being really cool people in addition to being great Dads, and a lot of candid and funny moments got captured on film.

Lars Fredrickson and Son
Lars Fredriksen and his Son

I loved the part where Lars Fredriksen (who has a tattooed forehead and sports a cheetah print buzzcut) jokes in one scene that the quickest way to clear a playground of kids and their moms is to “have the punk rock dad show up with the camera crew.” There’s also a very “punk rock” scene in which Josh Freese and his son play catch with a dirty diaper, and any scene that Fat Mike is in steals the show! It is not surprising that many of the Dads reveal that they are determined to be “the dad [they] never had.”

Fat Mike and Daughter
Fat Mike and His Daughter

In addition to the many scenes of these guys interacting with their children and relating hilarious anecdotes about their personal experiences with parenthood, the film spends an entire section discussing what it’s like to be a working musician whose band’s financial success is the basis of how they put food on the table. With the possible exception of Flea, Josh Freese or Mark from Blink 182, who probably never have to work a day job again if they don’t want to, none of these guys are in millionaire Rock Star bands, but rather are working-class musicians who must tour up to 300 or more days per year to support their families. It’s surprising how many of the guys featured in the film admit that they never got into music to make money, but now, 20 years into it they’ve managed to earn a steady and viable income playing punk rock music. Like the story of the Golden Handcuffs, the downside to “realizing the dream” while making a living in a changing musical environment is that it requires them to be away from their kids for such a major part of the year that they miss out on first days of school, ball games and birthdays. Many wonder aloud in this film if it is worth it. One, ultimately, decides that it is not.

You may still be able to find The Other F Word showing at a theater near you (visit This Link for theater engagements), but if you’ve already missed out on seeing it on the big screen, the film will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 31st, and is well worth owning. Executive Produced by Morgan Spurlock and Jeremy Chilnick, The Other F Word will appeal to music fans – and fans of these featured bands in particular – cool parents and anyone who loves a good documentary film.

The Worley Gig Gives The Other F Word Five Out of Five Stars!! Watch the Trailer Below!

Metal Guitarist/Producer James Murphy Suffers Brain Tumor Relapse


James Murphy Has Brain Tumor Relapse; Donations Welcome

James Murphy, former guitarist of both Death and Testament, as well as founding member of the death metal band Disincarnate, has had a relapse of the brain tumor that sidelined him back in 2001. Murphy stated that the tumor had returned but that it was a non malignant and that it was being treated pharmacologically. Unfortunately, those medications have serious side effects that have left him unable to work. The option for different medications is available, but at a cost of over $1000 a month, and he needs a minimum of 6 months of medication for treatment to be effective. With his medical expenses extremely high and James not being able to work due to the side effects of the current medications, the metal community is being asked to come together and help one of their brothers and donate to help him beat this once and for all.

To donate funds to help offset James’ medical bills please visit PayPal at this secure link. Thank You!

Read more about James previous surgery and ongoing treatment after the jump. Continue reading