The Second Disc

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Posts Tagged ‘Interviews

“I Just Wanna Ask a Question”: Harry Weinger on the “What’s Going On” Box Set

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For most music producers, there’s a kind of strangeness to working on multiple reissues of the same classic album over time. Not so for Harry Weinger, vice-president of A&R at Universal Music Enterprises and, as one of UMe’s resident Motown gurus, the producer of several deluxe editions of Marvin Gaye’s classic LPs, including What’s Going On. “You learn between anniversaries,” Weinger said. “And luckily, I was there for both of them.”

When What’s Going On became one of Universal’s first in a then-new series of Deluxe Editions – now iconic for their double-sized digipacks with silver slipcases, boasting an extra disc or more of bonus musical material – it set a precedent for how all deluxe reissues should work. That set, released in 2001, contained roughly three versions of the album – the original, beloved mix as finalized under Gaye’s watch in West Hollywood’s Sound Factory; an unreleased alternate mix commissioned in Detroit without Gaye and a triumphant 1972 live show at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Gaye’s first live performance since the death of duet partner Tammi Terrell – not to mention three rare single versions and a demo of a track that would end up on Gaye’s next album, Let’s Get It On.

With that kind of bonus content, many fans’ eyebrows were raised when a 40th anniversary package was announced for release in May (now scheduled for June 7), boasting 11 unreleased bonus tracks among a raft of other session material that’s seen release on other packages. But Weinger had indeed learned a lot about Gaye’s sublime, densely-packed musical statement since overseeing its reissue a decade ago. And this time, he sought to capture a fuller picture of Gaye’s frame of mind in which the album came to be.

As the release of the new set approaches, Weinger took the time to provide a lengthy and enlightening commentary on his journey through the What’s Going On era and some of the special facets that set this package apart from previous ones. What follows is the first of two segments of Harry’s discussion with me. It was anything but a traditional Q&A session; one question posed to the producer can easily split off into several discussions covering more questions you might not have realized you had. It is presented in chronological order, with minimal editing for clarity.

Join us after the jump to hear Harry Weinger’s thoughts on the album, its production and the challenges of another reissue of What’s Going On – as only he can answer them.

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 19, 2011 at 18:53

The Second Disc Interview #4: Talking Soundtracks with MV Gerhard of La La Land Records

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The wide berth of reissues, box sets and compilations across major and independent labels the world over, means some releases can fall through the cracks at times. At The Second Disc, it was always an early mission to make sure the labels handling catalogue soundtrack reissues did not suffer this fate. Intrada, Film Score Monthly, Kritzerland, Varese Sarabande – all are essentials for the catalogue music fan with a taste for soundtracks, and their work is hard to ignore.

La La Land Records, however, may have been one of the brightest spots in the soundtrack world this past year. The Burbank label, in business since 2002, scored an impressive amount of blockbuster film soundtrack releases in the past year. Releases included scores to blockbusters like Caddyshack, Independence Day, The Poseidon Adventure, Home Alone and Batman as well as hit television titles like Days of Our Lives, the remake of Battlestar Galactica, Dead Like MeHuman Target and others. And the new year is shaping up to be another successful one, with two box sets on their way – a first for the label – one devoted to the Medal of Honor game series and the other devoted to The X-Files.

MV Gerhard, the president and co-owner of the label, shows no signs of slowdown. And despite this, he was able to take time out of his very busy schedule to correspond with The Second Disc via e-mail on what it’s like being part of a soundtrack reissue label, the high points of his work and what’s to come. Our deepest thanks to MV for answering The Second Disc’s burning questions, and may all of La La Land’s future efforts be met with continued success!

Read on after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 3, 2011 at 11:30

The Second Disc Interview #3: What’s Happening “Now” with Steve Stanley!

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The music may be then, but the place to be is undoubtedly Now.

By that, of course, I mean Now Sounds. Launched in 2007 by Steve Stanley, the producer of over 50 titles for the Rev-Ola label, Now Sounds celebrates the rich and varied melodies created between 1964 and 1972, though the label isn’t limited to that period. A labor of love for its founder, Now Sounds has established itself as the go-to label for fans of this golden era of both songwriting and record production.

We’ve seen a career anthology from the Wondermints, and reissues from familiar artists like Dion, The Association, Gary Lewis, and The Cowsills. Now Sounds has also unearthed gems from the likes of Tina Mason, the Tuneful Trolley and Jamme, produced by “Papa” John Phillips. This week, the label releases its expanded edition of Paul Williams’ sunshine pop classic Someday Man. The 1970 album, with a title track familiar to many Monkees fans, is one of the gold standards of pop songwriting and polished production, with both duties performed by Williams and Roger Nichols. Stanley’s much-anticipated reissue doubles the length of the original LP, and continues the label’s fruitful relationship with Williams and Nichols. (Fine complements to Someday Man are the similarly-expanded edition for Williams’ early band The Holy Mackerel, and the return of Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends with the group’s Full Circle set.)

The Second Disc couldn’t be more pleased to talk shop with Steve Stanley of Now Sounds! Dig the photo of Steve with legendary musical wunderkind Emitt Rhodes, and after the jump, join us where Steve candidly offers his thoughts on the rewards and challenges of releasing catalogue music in today’s fractured music business. He also gives some scoops about what’s next for Now Sounds. And after you’re done reading and find yourself waiting for your copy of Someday Man to arrive? Remember to tune in every Monday to from 6 pm to 8 pm PST to hear Steve’s radio program, The Now Sounds. You’ll be thanking me later! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 26, 2010 at 12:31

Posted in Features, Interviews, News, Reissues

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