Author Archives: Evan Toth

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 6: Cousin Brucie

The word “icon” is thrown around alot these days, but some folks just qualify as goshdarn icons with no tired cliches attached. When it comes to radio icons, if you had to pick a few big ones, Cousin Brucie Morrow would be right there near the top of Modulation Mountain. He’s been there, done that: seen it all, even introduced The Beatles at Shea Stadium with Ed Sullivan. His voice was hard to miss on the radio in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s until he moved to satellite radio in 2005.

But there was something that was always calling Cousin Brucie back to the radio radio. In this case, it was John A. Catsimatidis who literally called Brucie during his shows every Saturday night. After Catsimatidis purchased WABC in 2019, he knew he wanted to hear great music on his station and there was only one person who he saw fit to bring it back to a New York City audience via the airwaves: Cousin Bruce. Brucie returns to the station where his career began in 1961 with a new show on Saturday night at 6pm where he goes head-to-head on the airwaves in the same time slot as yours truly.

But, we’re not rivals. In fact, Brucie called me his “Cousin” which is really all I could have hoped to hear from this radio legend. He’s warm, he’s engaging. He’s one of those guys that you expect won’t have enough time for you and then makes you feel as if you’re the only one in the world. He’s had practice connecting with people and it shows. In this interview, we discuss his storied career, calming down a nervous John Lennon, his time on satellite, and how there’s no place like home on the radio airwaves beaming from an antenna and blanketing New York City.

Pull up a chair, cousin. We’re all family here.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 5: Paul Collins, Part 2

Paul Collins was in what he calls, “the greatest band that never was.” As an integral member of California’s first power-pop trio, The Nerves, Collins was an early architect of a sound that wasn’t quite punk or new wave, it was power pop, but it was more: it was 24 carat rock and roll. Their music was so tight, well crafted and full of youthful energy and spunk that Blondie chose to cover The Nerves’ song, “Hanging on the Telephone” on their massively successful Parallel Lines album; in fact, it was the lead-off track. Today, Parallel Lines has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million copies; anyone who ever put a needle down on side one of that record had to hear a Nerves song first.

TVD’s Radar returns with part 2 of our interview with rock and roll hero, Paul Collins who joins us to talk about his new book, I Don’t Fit In: My Wild Ride Through the Punk and Power Pop Trenches with The Nerves and The Beat.

The last time we visited with him, we discussed the exhausting quality of being ahead of your time, the benefits of having Eddie Money on your side, and receiving mixed signals from Blondie. This time around, we’ll get into what power pop is—and isn’t—that old place MySpace, being a rock and roll dad, and how you’re never fully dressed without a smile.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 5: Paul Collins, Part 1

Paul Collins was in what he calls, “the greatest band that never was.” As an integral member of California’s first power-pop trio, The Nerves, Collins was an early architect of a sound that wasn’t quite punk or new wave, it was power pop, but it was more: it was 24 carat rock and roll. Their music was so tight, well crafted and full of youthful energy and spunk that Blondie chose to cover The Nerves song, “Hanging on the Telephone” on their massively successful Parallel Lines album; in fact, it was the lead-off track. Today, Parallel Lines has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million copies; anyone who ever put a needle down on side one of that record had to hear a Nerves song first.

Today, music historians view The Nerves as a major rock and roll influence on modern music, but the band had challenges pushing through to the mainstream during their own time. Post-Nerves, Paul Collins wasted no time scrounging up the gumption for his second attack on worldwide success by creating another extremely influential rock band, The Beat (aka Paul Collins Beat). This time, Collins stepped from behind the drumset, wrote a barrel full of infectiously pure rock and roll and—with the help of Eddie Money, a record deal from CBS and management from Bill Graham—set out to take over the world.

Well, his career didn’t quite go the way he planned. In fact, most things didn’t and that’s what makes Mr. Collins’ new book I Don’t Fit In such a hypnotic read. It’s a rock and roll showbusiness story full of backstage realities, near misses, one-way plane tickets, addresses written on napkins, and smiles in the spotlight. But it’s also a tale of commitment and one man’s dogged pursuit of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Paul Collins and I discuss all of these things, and boy did we discuss: in-fact, we discussed so much that this will be a Radar two-parter, the first coming to you at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend holiday, and the conclusion will find you when we see you again on the other side, in September.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 4: Liberty DeVitto

Liberty DeVitto is known in the music industry as the “songwriter’s drummer,” his resume deftly proclaims his rockstar cred: he’s performed on 13 platinum albums which have sold over 150 million copies and recorded and arranged the drum parts for 22 of Billy Joel’s 23 top-40 hits. 6 of those recordings went on to win Grammys.

However, Liberty’s new book, Liberty: Life, Billy and the Pursuit of Happiness makes clear that while his years with Billy Joel were outstanding, the other elements of the story of his life and ascension to the highest drum throne in the land are just as captivating. In fact, it’s possible to get so caught up in the early parts of Liberty’s autobiography that one forgets that a career in rock and roll superstardom is on its way.

Here, Liberty and I discuss vinyl, Billy Joel, The Beatles, why Ringo is so great, recording with Paul McCartney, growing up on Long Island, and the rock and roll wisdom that Liberty has learned along the way. Please welcome one of the most successful rock and roll drummers of all time and one of my musical heroes, Liberty DeVitto.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 3: A Girl Called Eddy

She’s a woman of mystery: she goes by the moniker A Girl Called Eddy, but doesn’t mind if you call her Erin Moran; her last album came out in 2004, but then appears with a new project that is so fully realized and produced that you feel as though she hasn’t missed a beat; she’s from New Jersey, but the word on the street is that she’s living somewhere in England. The cover of her latest release—Been Around—features Moran, sunglasses on and coat collar popped, seemingly in a fast vehicle whisking her away to somewhere intriguing. Or, maybe she’s just trying to get by like the rest of us.

Been Around is an excellent album—with a great-sounding white vinyl release, as well. If you’re on the hunt for a sophisticated blending of theatrical composition coupled with hooks and earworms that will haunt you for days, then consider this interview your ticket to the show.

Join us as we chat with Erin Moran from her West Village safe house to discuss the production of her new album, her many musical influences and how—even if you become a sophisticated global jetsetter—when you’re from New Jersey, you’re always from New Jersey.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth,
Episode 2: Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins’ new album, Italian Ice is assured—it’s a portrait of an artist who is becoming an expert at finding her vision and rallying the troops around her to help bring it to fruition. But there is also a tenderness, a vulnerability, a maternal instinct to care for those around her and keep the keel even. This isn’t Nicole’s first visit to The Vinyl District, she has appeared on—not one—but two episodes of TVD’s In-Store with… record shopping segments.

Italian Ice was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and comes on with the thickest pop grooves you’d ever want to experience. On side two the signal fades and the dial mysteriously drifts into distant stations you may not normally tune in: oldies, retro radio, swing, seasick ballads, and psychedelic torch songs. Stop controlling everything, let Nicole be the captain on this voyage.

Nicole isn’t wasting her time during pandemic days, she’s gathered much of her band in her parent’s NJ home so they can quarantine together and produce a weekly program for Amazon Music called Live From the Steel Porch. It’s a musical variety show with special guests that’s just right for these times.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth,
Episode 1: Val Emmich

Welcome to the first episode of TVD Radar!

If you haven’t already, meet Val Emmich, he’s a New Jersey renaissance man: author, actor, and musician. He’s a real Jersey boy and a fellow alum of Rutgers University. You’ve probably seen him and not realized it. He’s been on 30 Rock—as Liz Lemon’s younger love interest—and had a major role in HBO’s Vinyl.

If you’re into curling up with a good book, you’ll want to check out his delightful novel, The Reminders which was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2017. In fact, his writing abilities are so admired that when the creators of the Broadway smash Dear Evan Hansen were looking for an author to write the young-adult version of their show, they chose Val. Of course, it debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

But, wait. What we’re here to discuss is Val’s excellent musical career. After building a loyal fanbase in the early 2000s, Emmich was signed to Epic Records’ Red Ink imprint who released his Slow Down Kid album. Val hasn’t slowed down and has independently released an impressive catalog of music during the last two decades. His latest release, Acting the Optimist is a tightly knit, efficient 10 track album; it’s loud, clever, focused, and continues to unfurl itself after several spins.

Originally recorded as a Zoom chat, join Evan and Val as they discuss the album’s emotional creation, life during pandemic times, songwriting, and more. You’ll hear that discussion and the entire record in this episode.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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Needle Drop: Emitt Rhodes, Rainbow Ends

Remembering Emitt Rhodes with a look back from our archives.
Ed.

Nearly half a century has passed since fans have had a chance to hear new music from Emitt Rhodes, but Rainbow Ends has made it worth the wait.

Backed by a crack group of in-demand musicians, Emitt returns to lay down new compositions and sings with a surprisingly spry and smooth voice. Chris Price turns in a solid production job—he stays out of the performer’s way and helps to provide thick drums and meaty guitar parts. Price explains his take on the project in a press release saying, “I view this as a continuation album, meaning it isn’t meant to be recreating the sound from his first record, but instead what he might have sounded like after his third album, Farewell To Paradise, if he kept making music in the mid-to-late ’70s.” In that vein, both Price and Rhodes succeed in doing so both sonically and compositionally.

As with Rhodes’ other albums, there isn’t a bad song in the bunch. This reviewer surveyed the clear vinyl release from Omnivore—the pressing was flat and quiet. There are hints of Zevon, Steely Dan, moments of coziness and measured professionalism, but mostly what we’ve got here is unique, prime, Emitt Rhodes—he’s pulled some true gems out of his bag of tricks which, as usual, feature lyrics of desperation and yearning paired with infectiously dreamy chord progressions that refuse to allow the listener the luxury of knowing which way is up—he remains a deft composer. These compositions invite the listener to play them and then play them again.

Read More »

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

Well, nothing lasts forever. Here is the final episode of Garden State Sound. After two years, and 88 episodes, the time has come to bring our travels through New Jersey music to an end. For now, at least.

My new shift at WFDU, 89.1 FM (6am-9am) will take up most of my radio time, and I don’t know that I’ll have the extra gusto to produce this weekly program. It feels like the right time to shut it down.

We go out with a rollicking trip through some of my favorite music and guests from the last two years: Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Uncle Floyd, Donald Fagen, The Rascals, Soul Attack, D.L. Byron, Bob Crewe, Val Emmich, Titus Andronicus, Spin Doctors, Nathalie Pires, and others.

To The Vinyl District, WFDU, all guests of the show, and to our supporters we say: Thank You. I hope you’ll follow me on this lifelong journey of music. Thank you for listening!

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

There is a little bit of everything on this most recent episode of Garden State Sound. Tune in for the usual gang of Garden Staters, and—as always—a few surprises!

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

This week, we continue—and conclude—our tribute and memorial for Rudy Van Gelder with some fine, clean sides—all vinyl. Included in this episode are: Milt Jackson, Ron Carter, Bob James, Wayne Shorter, Grover Washington, Jr., Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Paul Desmond, Modern Jazz Quartet, and more!

While this may mark the end of our two-part series, there is no doubt that RVG’s influence will always be heard in any thorough examination of music from the Garden State.

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

People abuse hyperbole in this business of media: he/she was a legend, this was groundbreaking, that was the first of its kind. Usually, it’s a bit much, but in this case, Rudy Van Gelder has earned his kudos. Mr. Van Gelder passed away last week at the age of 91. During his time on Earth, Mr. Van Gelder ran two studios (in Hackensack and in Englewood Cliffs) and recorded the majority of the greatest jazz albums ever (no hyperbole).

While not a producer, he was a skilled and thoughtful engineer whose job it was to figure out how to get the sound that the musician and producer wanted to hear on tape. He pioneered the use of tape and brought in the Neumann microphone—both of which have since become gold standards of recording.

There’s much to say about Mr. Van Gelder’s impact on jazz music, recording, and otherwise, but in this case we’ll let the music do the talking. I pulled some of my favorite Van Gelder recordings and cleaned the grooves just for this show. Listen and enjoy.

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

No one has as many fingerprints on as many classic jazz recordings as Rudy Van Gelder who died last week at the age of 91. Not a producer or arranger, but a fantastically talented engineer who recorded some of the greatest jazz albums of all time in his studios in both Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs.

Mr. Van Gelder also served as a mastering engineer for albums not recorded in his studio and made mobile recordings of some of the greatest live jazz performances ever captured on tape (Mr. Van Gelder also heralded the use of tape in recording before much of the sound community embraced it). He was a hero of jazz music, but also a titan of the New Jersey music scene. With his talents, Mr. Van Gelder could have set up shop anywhere, but he chose to stay in New Jersey for his entire career.

This week, we revisit a broadcast commemorating his 90th birthday. Next week, you’ll hear a brand new show memorializing his recordings and further discussing his life.

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

Here we offer you another hot summer dive into the NJ bag of goodies. This week we explore some original music from Alyssa Sequoia, a new track from Val Emmich’s newest release Whatever’s Chasing You, some local reggae from Hoboken HiFi, and a very well-done tribute to Les Paul and Mary Ford.

Also, Lesley Gore gets “Paranoid” and Dizzy Gillespie bops and blows his horn with “Stuff” Smith. We also delve into some local rock and roll from Wormburner and Schizo Fun Addict. Good gracious, folks, there’s a little something here for everyone. Join us and let’s listen to what New Jersey sounds like.

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

This week, a relaxing funky, jazzy show before we bust open the rock and roll and discuss Sugarfest which happened on 8/12-13 in Jersey City. Also, The Roches, George Benson, Frank Sinatra, Antonio Carlos Jobim, a great Sarah Vaughan track from the Frasier soundtrack (of all things), Tal Farlow, Stuyvesant, The Brixton Riot, and a few more odds and ends.

I also come through on my promise to purchase—and play for you—a few tracks from a sealed copy of D.L. Byron’s 1980 power-pop masterpiece, This Day and Age. Click the link and let’s get busy.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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