Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dwight Twilley teamed with Phil Seymour in the Dwight Twilley Band, hitting gold with their very first single, 1975’s “I’m On Fire” – lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as “The best debut single by an American rock band ever.” But, a combination of dumb label decisions and bad luck prevented the band’s career from properly taking off.
That didn’t stop Twilley – he’s into his fifth decade of making melodic rock n’ roll – and he’s just released a brand new record called Soundtrack. Inspired by a movie that’s currently in production about his life, Twilley turned inward to write 12 new songs about his long journey and ups & downs in the music business. Icon Fetch talks with the “father of power pop” about his band’s experience playing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the personal nature of these new songs, and the passing of longtime friend and guitarist Bill Pitcock,IV.
You’d never think a young singer/songwriter could make such a classic-sounding album. Ben Wilkins hails from Canada and has just released his self-titled debut album, a combination of his melodic piano work and soaring tenor, augmented by strings, horns and lush background vocals – all adding up to a record that sounds like it could’ve come out in 1973. Wilkins has a knack for writing hook-laden songs that integrate vibrant pop with soulful R&B with a sprinkling of jazz. Icon Fetch talks to the up and coming talent about the circumstances that led to having literally unlimited recording time in a top-notch studio, where his influences come from, and the making of the clever video for his song “Through To You.”
Nils Lofgren has been a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E. Street Band since 1984. He’s also played in Neil Young’s band, all the while maintaining a successful solo career. Old School, Lofgren’s first full-length album of his tunes in five years, features guest appearances by Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Lou Gramm of Foreigner, and Sam Moore of Sam & Dave. Icon Fetch talks to the multi-instrumentalist about recording his latest effort at home, his love of dogs, and the passing of his dear friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons. He also touches on his online guitar classes
We continue our follow up conversation with Mark Linett & Alan Boyd, co-producers of the SMiLE Sessions box set. They answer more of the questions that you submitted to Icon Fetch, including why there was no sessionography for disc one of the set, why they included Carl Wilson’s vocal on “Surf’s Up,” if they used all the pieces recorded for “Heroes and Villains,” and what’s next in the Beach Boys’ reissue program.
Click here for bonus material available to registered users of Icon Fetch only. In it, Linett talks about a Mobile Fidelity hybrid SACD of the stereo version of Pet Sounds.
With over 10,000 sessions to her credit, Carol Kaye is one of the most-recorded musicians in the history of popular music Part of the famous Wrecking Crew, a group of session musicians that backed everyone from Simon & Garfunkel to the Righteous Brothers and the Monkees. But, Kaye is probably best-known as bassist and guitarist on many of the Beach Boys best-loved songs and albums. She was a part of the infamous SMiLE Sessions, and shares her insight into that project, what qualities made up a session run by Brian Wilson, and whether or not she wore a fireman’s hat during the “Fire” session. She also reminisces about the problems that arose during the tracking for “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by the Righteous Brothers.
The Beach Boys’ SMiLE Sessions box is out now. Co-producers Mark Linett and Alan Boyd return to Icon Fetch to answer some of the questions you have – including what happened to the background vocals on “Barnyard,” what, if any, songs Brian Wilson nixed from the album, why there isn’t a stereo mix of “Good Vibrations,” and how they assembled “Heroes and Villains part two.” Listen to part one of the interview:
Part two will be posted in a week.
We have bonus material for registered users of Icon Fetch – a little “sneak peek” at part two of the interview, where they talk about why there wasn’t a sessionography for disc one and why they decided to leave Carl’s vocal in “Surf’s Up.” Click here for the bonus content.
Concord Music Group has just released Singular Genius – the Complete ABC Singles collection by Ray Charles, a monumental five-disc box set featuring every A and B side released during his peak years of 1960-1972, and all in their original, mono single mix. Thirty of these tracks have never been released on CD. Icon Fetch talks with John Burk, the Chief Creative Officer at Concord, who spearheaded the project, about tracking down the rare single masters, assembling the lavish box, and working with Charles on his final studio album, Genius Love Company. He also discusses the philosophy of his company, quickly becoming the coolest record label on the planet.
Jon Anderson fronted progressive rock legends Yes for almost 40 years before stepping away due to health issues near the end of last decade. He’s just released a brand new solo effort called Survival and Other Stories, which deals in part with some of the struggles that he’s had to overcome recently. Anderson talks with Icon Fetch’s Justine Bevan about collaborating with different songwriters, having his wife as producer of the new record, and his spiritual outlook on life.
The V-Roys hailed from Knoxville, Tennessee, with a sound that blended gritty rock n’ roll with bar room country and a keen melodic sense. The band put out two albums on Steve Earle’s E-Squared label in the 1990s before breaking up near the end of the decade. Since then, the members have gone their separate ways, yet their legend has continued to grow. They were named “Best Knoxville Band Ever” in a 2009 poll conducted by Metro Pulse magazine. Since both of their discs are currently out of print, to satisfy demand, they’ve released Sooner or Later, compiling the best tracks from their two albums, plus extra unreleased material. Icon Fetch talks with singer/guitarist Scott Miller about the new best of, plans for a New Year’s Eve reunion of the original members, and about playing Farm Aid with Neil Young. Miller also touches on his new solo material.
Domenic Priore was the first person to release an entire book devoted to the SMiLE project when he compiled Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! in 1995. He followed that up in 2007 with Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece. Now, he’s penned one of the essays in the new SMiLE Sessions box set. Icon Fetch talks to the author, DJ and music historian about SMiLE’s place in rock history and its effect on future generations.