As I work toward bringing together the reissue of Roger C. Reale’s Radioactive and its unreleased followup LP, I’m reminded of this CD I compiled way back in 2001. There are similarities – both Connecticut acts recorded at Trod Nossel studios, both had catalogs mired in hard feelings and missed opportunities. As a third party, my job in both cases was to acknowledge the issues that kept the music locked away, but to find a way to transcend those issues and get the music out there.
I first heard The Wildweed’s hit No Good To Cry via The Reducers. We were recording what would become their Shinola LP at Trod Nossel. Not aware of all the studio history, the band mentioned that one of the song’s they were recording took its rhythmic inspiration from The Wildweeds track, recorded in the very same room. I investigated and soon after started collecting all of The Wildweeds original 45s I could find. Later on I realized the 45s would compile into a great LP, unaware that there was a treasure trove of unreleased material that would eventually fill out the compilation CD.
In 2001 I pitched the idea of a Wildweeds compilation to Michael Shelley, who was starting up a record label with Dean Brownrout, of Big Deal Records fame. In the case of The Wildweeds, the timing was right to license the music for release, but thirty year old grudges kept us from getting access to images, interviews and cooperation of the band members. Persistence, patience and a genuine desire to present the music in its best possible light paid off. Michael and I set up a sit-down reunion with the band and they shared plenty of laughs and many, many stories. Along with their terrific music, the package we put together presented their story, pictures and memories with the honesty and integrity The Wildweeds deserved.
Unfortunately the Confidential Wildweeds CD is now out of print. I’ve made overtures to put out another issue of The Wildweeds tracks but as with all things, patience, persistence and maybe a little luck will win out.
I love producing music and music programs but this was a fascinating break from the recent normal – producing an interview with New York artist Sara VanDerBeek discussing her work and show at The Guggenheim Museum. Working with the folks at The Cooper Union was a blast, looking forward to more projects.
What a treat to get to know Don and his music over the last few months. The latest episode of Live at Fi features 5 songs from a fiery set recorded at The HiFi Bar last August. And I mean fiery, like up from a slow burn to a blaze and back down to a slow burn. I recall listening to the show live and grooving like crazy to the sound, then realized and remembered that it was all being recorded (uh, by me). Sometimes you get lucky.
All the songs are great but I have a special love for Solitaire, starting about 22:14 into the podcast. Now that’s how you sell a song.
Don’s also got a new album out called What It Is and you you should own it. Get the lossless version for fullest fidelity!
Episode two of The Live at Fi podcast has gone live and it’s a nice to see (hear, really) the show evolving and coming into itself. This episode is essentially a document of a very interesting live experiment. Ira Robbins, one of the prime movers behind Trouser Press magazine drew up a list of favorite songs from the past few decades, handed that list over to Tom Shad (NYC musician and scenester par excellence) who hand picked singers and a band to perform the songs live at The HiFi Bar. Kind of mix tape come to life and a terrific selection of songs and singers.
I love nights like this – it’s an opportunity to hear some familiar songs performed by a crew of artists that may be unfamiliar. In other words, a great way to discover a slew of talented performers in one night, the equivalent of months of club hopping.
For the podcast we picked seven favorite performances from the evening, then Mike Stuto recorded an interview with Ira Robbins and Tom Shad in the back room at HiFi to talk about how the night came together. Interestingly, Ira wasn’t able to attend the live show, which really just ends up making his perspective even more unique.
Recording these shows is always a little daunting. I never know exactly what’s coming up next, and honestly there’s not much I can do to control the recording once the show begins.
Colin Poellot did a fine job on the live mix, and any vocals and keyboards on the recording come from the live mix, augmented by a battery microphones placed by me to capture the live sound of the stage and the room without trickery. If you weren’t there, you’ll hopefully get that “You Are There” sensation.