Eric Carmen

The Essential Eric Carmen

154 posts in this topic

Hi kids,

 

I thought I'd drop by to fill you in on a few recent events, and the progress on the new release.

 

Sony flew me to New York, about a month ago, and it was an extremely positive meeting. 

 

Talk about "Deja Vu"!!!

 

I found myself walking into the lobby of "Blackrock" (otherwise known as the CBS building, or "30 Rock", as they call it in the television series) and I flashed back to the first time I had set foot in that same building, with Cyrus Erie, forty-five years earlier, to meet with our first producers, Sandy Linzer and Mike Petrillo.

 

The circumstances were quite a bit different, this time. 

 

Instead of being treated like a bunch of "know-nothing" teenagers from Ohio (Sandy Linzer was an hour late to our first meeting, IN HIS OFFICE!!!) I was brought to a meeting room at Sony's Legacy Records, where I met with six men, all probably under the age of forty, who were six of the biggest fans of my music that I have ever met. We discussed different ideas, and aspects of the "Essential" project, which was Timothy Smith's initial idea (feel free to write him "love letters" of appreciation. He's a "prince" of a guy. His email is: timothy.smith@sonymusic.com) and I got to meet Bernie, Tommy Allen and a friend of mine who used to live in Cleveland, but now lives in Jersey, for dinner that evening.

 

The following day, I took a cab to a remastering studio to take part in the first remastering session for "The Essential", with an engineer named Mark Wilder. Mark is Sony's "go-to guy" when they want the absolute best. When my cab arrived, I realized that the studio was in the same building, same address, and same physical space that used to be The Record Plant, the studio where all four Raspberries albums were recorded! 

 

"Deja Vu, indeed"!

 

All of the old analogue masters had been carefully converted to digital, so Mark could work his magic on them.

 

The track we started with was "Get The Message," which I probably hadn't listened to in forty years. While I was initially a bit hesitant about GTM, because, in reality, it was a one take track, intended by the producers to be the "B" side of the single, and, in their own words, they wanted it to "suck," by the time Mark had finished, about an hour later, and I began to see what could be done when you have a genius engineer and today's technology, I was actually excited about the track.

 

We went on to remaster maybe eight or nine more of the tracks during that session, which covered everything from Cyrus Erie, to The Quick, to the Raspberries, to my solo stuff on Arista, to a live track recorded at The Bottom Line in New York in 1976, which Tim had located in England, and even a track from the Geffen album, and my demo of "Almost Paradise."

 

Well, I received two CD's, representing 28 of the 30 tracks yesterday, all remastered. I took them out to my car (equipped with a Bose Surround Sound system) and cranked up the volume.

 

It was a religious experience.

 

The difference between any previously "remastered" disc and what the original sounded like, I would estimate might be about 2% better. The difference between THIS REMASTERING and the original versions? Maybe 300% better.

 

You might remember me talking about how I was disappointed in the recorded version of "My Girl", (I had gone into the studio thinking it might be the first single) because I heard it like "Frankenstein," and Jimmy Ienner heard it like "Tinkerbell." Well, guess what? It's now everything I heard in my head. It's "Frankenstein" all right, and so is "Last Night." 

 

In my conversations with Mark Wilder, during the remastering, it became clear that everything I've learned about the "sonics" of recording over the years, and could convey to Mark (Do you think we could add some 100 cycles to the kick drum? That's the frequency that makes the kick drum punch you in the chest. And could we add a little bit at 40 cycles to the bass? That's the frequency that makes the whole bottom end of the record warm and deep and BIG! And how about a little bit at 22,000 cycles so the strings open up and I can hear the resin on the bows?) all paid off. Mark is clearly a genius, and pretty much every single song he touched became better. Not by a little bit, but by MILES!

 

It would be a mistake to think of this double CD release as "just another compilation." I can tell you, you have never heard most of these songs, until you've heard them on this package.

 

I read recently about a little 3" by 3" box called The International. Bob Lefsetz raved about it in one of his columns last week. Apparently, with a really good pair of headphones, you plug this box into your sound source and it somehow converts digital recordings, which are usually squashed sounding MP3's, into ANALOGUE!!!!!! It opens them up and gives them the depth and warmth of vinyl!

 

I guess Jimmy Iovine (former Raspberries engineer, Springsteen engineer, Stevie Nix producer, and founder of Interscope Records) decided he couldn't stand the sound quality of MP3's anymore, and decided to do something about it. Hence, The International.

 

Bob Lefsetz described the experience of listening to a really great record through this box, with great headphones as being "like eating watermelon, and ice cream, and having sex at the same time." If you Google "The International" it should take you to their website. They're not inexpensive ( I think they retail for $599 ) but Bob sure made it sound like they're worth every penny.

 

But, I digress.

 

There are still some possible changes that may occur to the track list, and Sony is talking about me possibly writing and recording a NEW TRACK, maybe even TWO, but all I can tell you is this double CD is going to BLOW YOU AWAY, COMPLETELY!!!!! Not that I'm excited about hearing these songs sound the way I intended them to sound, for the first time, or anything.

 

Tim Smith told me Sony isn't planning on marketing this record to 50 and 60 year olds ( no offense ). He heard my first solo album when his older brother brought it home and played the daylights out of it. He fell in love with it. He was seven years old, at the time. He wants to bring my music to a whole new generation of fans. 20 and 30 year-olds, who have probably never heard of me. How fun!!!

 

Well, I think I've brought you up to date. I've written a few sentences for the liner notes about each song. Another of Tim's goals for this package is to show people who only know me as a "balladeer", that before Arista Records, I was a rocker, and I didn't stop rocking after "All By Myself." Mark Wilder did a BRILLIANT job on "It Hurts Too Much" and "Tonight you're Mine." And the "live' version of "That's Rock 'n Roll" recorded at the Bottom Line, in 1976, TOTALLY RAWKS!!!!!!

 

A certain "iconic" record executive once told me "Once you go 'pop', you can never go back." I beg to differ, and this record will prove just how wrong he was, once and for all.

 

Peace and love,

 

Eric

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That's great news, Eric,and I know you're excited about getting more life out of your excellent portfolio!

Good luck....and hope to see you around Beachwood and Chagrin Falls!

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Well after reading your post Eric, I am FIRED UP to buy/listen to this CD. 

And Sony better come through with their "requirement" for 2 new songs!!..  :-)    

 

Your music is great.  It transcends time, fads etc.  The next generation, if given a chance to hear it, will love it like we do.  High-five to Sony for pushing your music and therefore contributing to making the world at least a

 little better place.

 

Great post, thanks much, hope all is well,

 

James

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Eric,

 

I'm so excited about the release of the new CDs.  Everything you posted is just what I wanted to hear and you'll always be a rocker, baby!

 

xo

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Eric <3 Excellent, informative post, can only imagine how excited you must be! So am I! As well as your faithful fans from the Raspberries era AND the new fans that have yet to discover you. I know your musical genius is too great not to expand to a younger following, but please remember we have loved you 1st! Sony is right on the $$$ WOW....

Love ya dreamboat <3 now & forever!

Gina from Pa.

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Great news Eric!

 

I think a listening party or live event would certainly be a great way to celebrate the release! :)

 

Glad to read that you got to meet up with Bernie while you were there - He is one of the best!

 

Tim

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Hi Eric! I've been wishing and praying for something like this and am absolutely THRILLED for you! It sounds the advent of this new technology will finally present your music in all of it's infinite glory!!! Congratulations and have fun and relish your new adventure! Wishing you perfect success!

:)--Love, Dar

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Eric, there was never any doubt that I was going to buy this;  my 2 percent anticipation level just got amped up to total distortion!!  Loved the irony of the entire process- glad you are thrilled with the result!  Can't wait :)   

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Eric:  This is great news, and thank you very much for the detailed description of the process and the songs.

 

I am really looking forward to this cd!!

 

And from a selfish point, I sure hope those 1-2 new songs make an appearance......could be that you are starting over again!!!!

 

Thanks very much and good luck with the project.

 

-Art

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Can't wait to close my eyes in a dark room with my best headphones at the perfect volume and experience every note in my brain. I say "brain" because with great headphones, it's like your ears are not involved. You don't hear the music "over there". The best music of my life, in all of its glory and meaning, is on the way. This is more than exciting. Thanks to Eric and all those involved.

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Eric,

 

An EXTRAORDINARY post about what sounds like will be an EXTRAORDINARY CD! Can't wait to get my hands on it!

 

Bernie

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WOW!  This sounds like an amazingly FUN, creative and gratifying experience for you, Eric.  I am just more than thrilled for you and excited for us as we get to enjoy the "refreshment" of your great music.  I am sure it will be a treat especially for you, if you are able to record some new material with all the newest technology and top notch support...Again...a wonderful acknowledgement of past work...so overdue and so deserved.  WAY TO GO ERIC!  Can't WAIT for the release!    :eye:

 

Jean

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Eric...If your this excited about your project, its gotta be good.  Sounds like top notch people working with you instead of just themselves.

Eagerly awaiting its release...V

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Update:

 

I really hated the two tracks by The Quick. We were only going to use one, but I hate them both, so....Tim found a "live" version of "Starting Over" from the Bottom Line 1976 show, and that will replace The Quick (Thank God)!

 

A MUCH better song, and a MUCH better choice.

 

e

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Update:

 

I really hated the two tracks by The Quick. We were only going to use one, but I hate them both, so....Tim found a "live" version of "Starting Over" from the Bottom Line 1976 show, and that will replace The Quick (Thank God)!

 

A MUCH better song, and a MUCH better choice.

 

e

 

I didn't think I could be more excited about this release...I was wrong!  Excellent choice!!

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Eric, sometimes imperfection is just perfect. I think many us us would love to hear a "bad" version of rare early song by you. I have several nasty Beatles songs that were bad takes and I love them. Johns  laugh, the opening off chords of Hard days Night and others are treasures. If not using it on the new release maybe Bernie could drop that one on us loyal folks here at EC.com?

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Aren't those songs going to be released on the other CD Eric Carmen: The Early Years later this year anyhow?

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