Legendary eleven-time Grammy Award nominee, revered classic progressive rock producer, music engineer, songwriter, performer and icon on the music scene, Alan Parsons embarked on the 2015 Alan Parsons Live Project tour earlier this year.
With a number of concerts around the globe and his new book, Parsons has been extremely busy, yet, he graciously took the time to speak to California Rock News about his recent and upcoming ventures.
About his new book:
Alan Parsons: The book has been out for 6 months now. It’s called Art and Science Of Sound Recording and is based upon a DVD set released a few years ago. It’s a very comprehensive, educational, and hopefully entertaining book about all aspects of sound recording. It’s got stories from my past and is full of stories in the industry. It’s ten hours of stuff – a lot of television to watch – so the book actually makes it a little bit more accessible. There is a reference guide you can use – the book and the DVD sort of compliment each other.
While many artists today do solo tours to support their books, Parsons actually didn’t have any arrangements for “full signings”. Instead, he organized recording/teaching sessions in Chicago and other cities including Mexico City. The session included about 20 participants and there are also plans in the works to do one in Abbey Road in London sometime this fall.
His new single:
AP: It’s called “Do You Live At All?” It’s also available as limited edition vinyl, on 7 inch and the downloads as well. All our catalog is available on vinyl because we re-released everything and the vinyl is back again! There is a box set of all the albums and a CD box set which also contains an unreleased album from the late 70s. It’s called “The Sicilian Defense.”
Hearing music the way it’s meant to be heard:
Parsons explained an upsurge in vinyl sales was due in part to people getting tired of poor quality. Too many people listen to the music on iPhones and laptops, and according to Parson’s if they really want to be entertained, there has to be a good system to listen to the music.
AP: The consumers finally have woken up to the fact that MP3 doesn’t really sound very good. I’m kind of on a mission to get people to download high quality music. A lot of artists will give you an option of downloading a high-resolution file. On my website, I’m offering a high-resolution file for less money then MP3 systems. I’m trying to get people to do it. A lot of people say “It takes too long to download high quality. I want it now and I want it in two minutes, not ten minutes.”
We are in a big slump in terms of recorded music sales. The consumer unfortunately is the culprit – the consumer always wants things for free. Any piece of music you want is on YouTube and no one is bothered about the quality. You can just look it up and everybody does that, and no one makes any money except for advertisers and the streaming services. I joined countless organizations condemning those streaming services that don’t pay the copyright holder adequately. It has to change one day; otherwise, there won’t be any recorded music and nobody will bother anymore. The good thing about music is that people will always pay to see a band play live.
Performing live dates this year:
AP: We are touring, but we are not really on tour. Really, we have been doing a lot of shows, but they are fairly spread out. We just got back from two shows on the East Coast, Peekskill, New York, and Atlantic City, and we are doing two shows in California – Los Angeles and Harrah’s Resort in Valley Center.
Two years ago Alan Parsons Live Project were a six-piece band and now they are an eight-piece.
AP: You know we’ve grown as a band. We are much stronger now. We’ve got two fine guitar players, three fine singers.
His lead guitar player, Alastair Greene, also has his own band too, which is very in demand. According to Parsons they need to synchronize their calendars now to make sure Greene is available.
About working with other artists:
AP: I have been working with an Israeli artist Aviv Geffen. He is huge in Israel. When we were doing a show in Tel Aviv, we spent a week at the studio and did some tracks and we’ll be doing more for an album, hopefully around July. And, as you may know, recently I’ve done albums with Steven Wilson. His album “The Raven That Refused To Sing” did really well. I engineered and co-produced that. And possibly one of my biggest recent works is an album with Jake Shimabukuro. He is a virtuoso of the ukulele — he is the most incredible talent. When you hear him play – he makes the ukulele ROCK! You should definitely check him out!
I’ve been doing some work with a couple of local artists, too. But the rest of the year, I will probably think about writing some songs.
Parsons has also recently entered the acting arena, securing agents for TV and theatrical productions (Prestige Talent Agency) as well as commercials and voice-over (Coast To Coast Talent). He has been taking acting lessons and already got a job doing some narration. His great grandfather was the celebrated actor/manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. His mother was an actress, professional folk singer and harpist. His father, Denys Parsons, was an accomplished pianist and flautist, as well as the author of many books. The late film actor Oliver Reed was his cousin. His uncle, David Tree was also a film and stage actor.
Alan Parsons will make a rare appearance in Los Angeles with a “greatest hits show” this Thursday, June 11 at Club Nokia.
Alan Parsons Art & Science of Sound Recording: http://www.artandscienceofsound.com