A new podcast continuing the history as told by the music makers themselves, chronicling the life we love to live, behind the songs we live to love.
Season 2: Episode 4: Bob Ezrin
Season 2: Episode 4
Episode 4 of Song Chronicles Season 2 presents the first of our two-part interview with the renowned producer Bob Ezrin.
Since the 1970s, Bob has been the producer of some of the biggest albums in rock history. Here are some of the albums he did during his first decade as a producer: KISS’s record Destroyer, Lou Reed’s Berlin, Peter Gabriel’s solo debut, Pink Floyd’s landmark record The Wall, and seven hit albums with Alice Cooper.
Bob with Alice Cooper circa 1975
A Toronto native, Bob launched his career at the age of 19 when he got a job with Jack Richardson, a top Canadian producer. In this episode, he reveals the funny circumstances involved with his first producer’s gig: Alice Cooper’s breakout record Love It To Death.
The important mentorship he received from Jack was a reason behind Bob starting the Nimbus School of Recording & Media, a school he co-founded with Jack’s son, Garth.
During our conversation, Bob touches on what he sees his job is as a producer, and why he feels it is vital “to keep the passion and wonder of youth for as long as you can.”
Bob in the studio with Phish's Page McConnell
Bob has produced albums for Deep Purple, Rod Stewart, Jane’s Addiction, The Deftones, The Catherine Wheel, Hanoi Rocks, The Jayhawks, Phish and more.
Bob and Deep Purple's Roger Glover
He also has made soundtrack albums, produced classical acts like 2CELLOS and the Canadian Tenors, and made opera superstar Andrea Bocelli’s first #1 album, Si.
Bob at work on Andrea Bocelli's album
In the 1990s, Bob helped start the computer software company 7th Level and the internet radio provider Enigma Digital. He co-produced the star-filled 2009 benefit The Clearwater Concert, which celebrated Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday and, more recently, was involved in the stage version of Berlin.
The stage adaptation of Lou Reed's Berlin
You will also hear some fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about the making of The Wall, including the studio technology that Bob introduced to Pink Floyd.
Bob welcomes Alice Cooper, Desmond Child and Louise to his studio. Photo by Kyler Clark
And this is just half of our entertaining interview with Bob Ezrin! You’ll hear more from him in the next edition of Song Chronicles.
But for now, enjoy the first of our two episodes with the one and only Bob Ezrin.
Season 2: Episode 3. Jeff Trott
Season 2: Episode 3
“When you make a record, it's like a snapshot of your life at that time.” Jeff Trott, the guest on this episode of Song Chronicles, certainly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to making records. The songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist has appeared on hundreds of albums since he started out playing guitar with the San Francisco-based alt-rock band Wire Train in the mid-80s.
Wire Train (Left to Right)
Jeff Trott, Kevin Hunter, Anders Rundblad, Brian MacLeod
Jeff is best known for his long-running work with Sheryl Crow, a collaboration that has earned him a Grammy and BMI’s Songwriter of the Year honors. They first met, in a true case of serendipity, in the early ‘90s. Starting with her second album, he has served as a co-writer, accompanist and producer for Crow straight through her latest full-length, Threads.
Jeff with Sheryl Crow's band, circa 1997
Jeff talks about his songwriting process with Crow – including how her contributions to his early version of “If It Makes You Happy” turned the tune into the Grammy-winning smash hit – as well as why he finds collaborating such as fascinating, mysterious thing to do.
Jeff performing with Sheryl Crow
Now Nashville-based after living most of his life on the west coast, Jeff possesses a lengthy and impressive resume featuring well-known acts that cut across the rock, country, blues, folk, and pop genres. Jeff was awarded Songwriter of the Year by BMI in 1998. Along with hits with Sheryl Crow, such as "If It Makes You Happy”, "Everyday is a Winding Road” ,“A Change”, "My Favorite Mistake” and “Soak Up The Sun”, he's written songs with Counting Crows, G. Love, Clare Dunn, O.A.R., Robert Randolph, and more. He's toured with Tears For Fears, Pete Droge and World Party and recorded with the likes of Aimee Mann, Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Wade Bowen and Rob Thomas, to name a few.
During his days with World Party. Photo by Chris Whitten
As a producer, Jeff’s credits include working with Aaron Lee Tasjan, Fastball, Leighton Meester, Max Gomez, Martha Wainwright, and Pete Yorn. Probably his most prominent production work, outside of the Sheryl Crow albums, was doing Hootie and the Blowfish’s widely-acclaimed recent reunion record, Imperfect Circle. It’s a job he got rather unexpectedly, with a casual get-together with the band to talk songwriting leading to them asking Jeff to produce their album.
Assistant engineer Sean Badum, engineer Buckley Miller and Jeff during the Hootie & The Blowfish recording sessions
Jeff’s production work extends to film and TV too. He did the soundtrack for the Abigail Breslin film Janie Jones and co-produced a couple of Stevie Nicks tracks for the Practical Magic soundtrack. He even got a Daytime Emmy nomination for co-writing and co-producing with Crow the theme song for the Katie Couric talk show.
Despite his seemingly constant stream of work, Jeff did take the time out some years back to do a solo album, Dig Up The Astroturf, which he released on his own label. But even he used this project as a learning experience to discover all the things you need to know about making an album.
Photo by Kim Stringfellow
With his wealth and range of musical experiences, Jeff has accumulated all types of illuminating thoughts on what it takes to be a good collaborator, the tricky line you walk producing a band, and what has kept him enthusiastic about making music.
Photo by Steven Weinberg
Please enjoy listening to songwriter/musician/producer Jeff Trott on episode three of the second season of Song Chronicles.
Season 2: Episode 2. Robin Danar
Season 2: Episode 2
“I work in the shadows.”
For over forty years, Robin has operated behind the scenes making performers sound great whether he is manning the board in the studio or handling the front-of-house sound in venues large and small around the world.
The New York City native started hanging out with college DJs in Albany when he was a university student and soon found himself friends with musicians who were going places, writing their own songs. He went to NYC and introduced himself at CBGB, offering to sub for their front of house mixers and after getting the opportunity to fill-in doing freelance for them, hit it off with owner Hilly Kristal, becoming their full-time staff sound man in the late '70s. He got to mix for some iconic bands during their early days.
Robin working at CBGB
Robin also took a janitor job at RPM studios – a job that served as a way into learning engineering in a recording studio from mentors like engineer Jim Boyer (Billy Joel, Steve Winwood) and legendary producer Phil Ramone.
Some years later, the word on the street got out that he was known for his skills at getting a whole band, and particularly vocals, to sound great — so you could hear all the emotion and lyrics. He went on tour to mix sound for the likes of Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega, Cyndi Lauper, The Church, The Blue Nile, The B-52's, and more.
Robin's four-decade-plus career experience gave him a unique perspective where he is knowledgable in every stop along the way of an artist's career. Sometimes called to develop bands A&R wanted to sign, he also produced albums — even one of his own as artist-producer; he'd help performers focus their live performance; he understood how to tune a room, get the audience to enjoy a great mix no matter where they were seated or standing, the ins and outs of how to run a venue, the daily attitudes and devotion of a crew, how to keep performers feeling comfortable and at their best; and most of all, he's been the guy who knows what to do to make sure the artists and the audience can have fun at every gig.
At work at a show for The Church
“My goal is to make the performer be heard the way that they deserve to be heard so they can succeed.”
When he moved to Los Angeles, Robin collaborated with Nic Harcourt and the prominent NPR station KCRW, serving as a producer on the station’s “Sessions” series and "A Sounds Eclectic Evening" fundraisers, where six bands would perform on a revolving stage.
2008's Altered States, a unique producer-as-artist album featuring vocalists like Lisa Loeb, Rachael Yamagata, Pete Yorn, and the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan.
At McCabe's with assistant John Calacci
Robin also mixes for shows he's passionate about, such as the revered McCabe’s Guitar Shop. For many years, he has been involved with the Wild Honey Foundation’s benefit concerts, where an all-star lineup of performers put on once-in-a-lifetime memorable tributes to a specific album by much loved bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Band, Big Star, and more. These shows raise money for autism research. Before COVID-19 venue lockdown, these shows were a yearly highlight for the Los Angeles community.
With singer Skylar Gudasz for a Wild Honey concert (Photo by Steve Appleford)
Since its opening in 2015, Robin has served as production manager at L.A.’s acclaimed Teragram Ballroom. After the pandemic hit, he started working with NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) and its Save Our Stages initiative, helping to compile a “bible” of production-focused protocol to help venues reopen safely and keep business flourishing.
Jeff DelBello, Ken Blecher, and Robin at the Teragram Ballroom
Throughout his interview, his hard-earned advice from his experiences within a diverse range of jobs he's ex
Season 2: Episode 1. Linda Edell Howard
Season 2: Episode 1
Linda Edell Howard
Song Chronicles launches its second season with a truly unique music insider conversation with Linda Edell Howard.
Linda during her high school cheerleading days
Linda is an attorney in Nashville who has been an advocate for songwriters and artists over the last 30 years. Her expertise, and the focus of our interview, is in the often-complicated areas of copyrights, publishing, and royalties.
In her first-ever podcast interview, she generously gives listeners an enlightening music business primer that any aspiring, or even experienced songwriter, would learn from. Linda discusses the significance of sync, blanket, and mechanical licenses, sources for royalties, and how song credits work — and the ways all of these can bring the songwriter, a "small business owner", as she calls them, money. We talk about how performing rights organizations differ from publishing companies, and how both differ from SoundExchange.
Linda Edell Howard with Charlie Daniels
One of Howard's specialties is in the field of legacy copyrights, especially termination rights. Her mantra “forever doesn’t mean forever” takes us further to her explanation of how songwriters can use the not-well-known termination laws to recapture the rights to their songs. In her world, people and their circumstances are always changing, and so is the value of a copyright. What does this mean for a music business attorney? Changing circumstances open doors to renegotiation, because as is the case with so many deals songwriters make starting out, no one knew the actual value of their catalog at that time they signed their publishing away. There is a window of time, Howard tells us, where those copyrights can revert back to the songwriter.
Linda with Desmond Child
You’ll discover the importance of the numbers 56 and 35 for copyrights, and what black box money and gray box money are — and how they can be windfalls for songwriters. Throughout our conversation, she shares some great insights and valuable tips.
Linda with her husband, Doug Howard
Linda currently is a partner at the Nashville law firm Adams and Reese, where she leads its Entertainment and New Media team. She was one of the seven attorneys featured in Billboard’s Women in Music 2016 and among Nashville Business Journal’s 2019 Women in Music City Award honorees. Linda takes deep pride in how her work, as she puts it, “actually changes people’s lives.”
Billboard's Women in Music 2016
(Linda third from the right)
As a teenager growing up in New Jersey, Linda aspired to be a rock photographer, hanging out at clubs along the Jersey Shore. She shifted her career goal from album cover design to law after realizing she could help musicians more as an attorney.
Kelly Putty (Ordinary Hero Foundation), Hillary Scott (Lady A) with Linda
After she graduating law school, Linda would spend her Sunday nights doing “contract clinics” for musicians at the Asbury Park’s legendary Stone Pony club, charging only a pizza slice and a beer. Her law career has included working for the Elvis Presley and George Gershwin estates and at PolyGram Music Publishing Group. More recently, her clients have included Fats Domino, Don Everly, Lady A, Desmond Child, Charlie Daniels, and Gretchen Wilson.
Linda and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Dickey Lee
We are delighted to present our first episode of Season 2,
an enlightening conversation with Linda Edell Howard.
Episode 12. The McBroom Sisters
The McBroom Sisters
"Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?"
After spending years working on other people’s projects, the McBroom Sisters have just released their own album – and done so on their own terms.
In this episode, we talk with Durga and Lorelei McBroom. These incredible sisters are on the shortlist when some band needs a powerhouse guest vocalist, and they each boast star-studded resumes that any musician would envy.
Durga and Lorelei on stage with Steve Hackett
Lorelei has done major tours with Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart, along with working with a diverse range of musicians, including Nile Rodgers, Mark Collie, Chris Isaak and (with her sister) Steve Hackett from Genesis. Her songs have been recorded by Sister Sledge and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey, and, for the past decade, Lorelei has been a featured vocalist for the acclaimed Australian Pink Floyd Show.
Lorelei singing with Rod Stewart
Durga also has sung with Pink Floyd – both in the studio and on tour. Her techno rock duo Blue Pearl, with Killing Joke bassist Youth, scored a hit with “Naked In The Rain” and she collaborated with Billy Idol on his Cyberpunk album. Durga has performed with numerous Pink Floyd tribute groups, and now fronts the tribute band Pink Floyd Legacy.
Durga performing in the Pink Floyd Show UK
In our conversation, the McBroom Sisters talk about how their busy careers resulted in their debut album taking seven years to finish and how the pandemic factored into completing it. The album’s title, Black Floyd, reflects their extensive connection with Pink Floyd’s music and also pays homage to the many black musicians who influenced rock ‘n roll.
Besides putting their own stamp on several classic Floyd tunes, the sisters also showcase their own original material on Black Floyd, which includes co-writes with long-time Pink Floyd collaborators Jon Carin and Guy Pratt as well as Motörhead’s late frontman Lemmy Kilmister.
Louise with Lorelei and Durga
Our host and producer Louise is also one of the album’s guest performers, singing with them on “Wish You Were Here.” Durga and Lorelei candidly discuss being black women in the rock world, the image of women in society, and how they have used their sexuality in empowering ways.
Please enjoy this insightful conversation with Durga and Lorelei McBroom on episode 12 of Song Chronicles.
Episode 11. Gloria Estefan - Part 2
Song Chronicles proudly presents its eleventh episode, the second of a two-part conversation with Gloria Estefan.
Gloria Estefan has lived a phenomenal life since arriving in America with her family from Cuba when she was two years old. As a teenager, she joined the Miami Sound Machine, where she also met her future husband Emilio. The group slowly built a following over the course of a decade, first finding success in Latin America before hitting it big internationally with “Conga” in 1985.
Whether with the Miami Sound Machine or solo, Gloria has been a regular on the charts, racking up hits with “Can’t Stay Away From You,” “The Rhythm is Going to Get You” and “Anything For You” in the ‘80s; "Coming Out Of The Dark," "Mi Tierra," and "Oye” in the ‘90s, and “Wrapped/Hoy,” “Out of Nowhere,” and “Hotel Nacional” in the 21st century. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, ranking her among the top-selling artists around the globe. And that success continues with her recently released album, Brazil305, which debuted in the top 10 on Billboard’s Tropical Albums chart.
The many prestigious accolades that Gloria has received almost match the number of her hit songs. She was the first Cuban-American to receive the Kennedy Center Honors and the first female singer to be awarded Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. Gloria and Emilio were the first couple and first Cuban-Americans to receive the Gershwin Prize as well as the first couple to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A cultural trailblazer and role model, Gloria also has been honored for her humanitarian and philanthropic work by organizations like MusiCares, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National Music Foundation, and Billboard.
Gloria and Emilio receive the Medal of Freedom from President Obama
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America
Talking from her home in Miami Beach, Gloria shared some of her experiences during the pandemic. There were some things that she enjoyed — like doing interviews from home and being able to do her own hair and make-up (she also revealed that she’s known as the “eyebrow queen”) — and things that she disliked (such as not being able to easily get together with the rest of family, especially her 8-year-old grandson).
Gloria with her daughter Emily and niece Lili
She has kept busy during the pandemic not only working on the release of her new album, but also developing a Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk: The Estefans that she is doing with her daughter Emily and niece Lili. One thing that she loves about doing this show is that it allows her to spend more time with her daughter.
Gloria performing with Emily
Emily Estefan is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter and Gloria talked about trying to coax her to release more of her music and not be so caught up in making recordings sound perfect. Her advice to her daughter — as well as any musician — is that making music is about “the free expression of emotion, a thought (and) an idea.”
We also had a candid discussion about the highly sexualized ways that young female performers are often presented nowadays. While believing that everyone should express themselves as they want to, she cautions to think twice about doing a lot of “booty shaking” because it can come back to haunt you. Gloria, who revealed that she always tries to “elevate” with her music, said that there’s “no need to do something outside of your comfort zone…(and) it would be a shame if you did it to get attention.”
Gloria performing in 1991
ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images
One thing that has kept Gloria balanced — during the pandemic as well as before — is something that happened to her 30 years ago. In 1990, Gloria was very badly injured in a tour bus accident. She was nearly paralyzed and