Author Archives: Evan Toth

The Best of Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 29: Suzi Quatro

It’s not often we get to throw around the phrase “legend” or “trailblazer” without hyperbole, but that’s exactly what we’ve got on this week’s program. Suzi Quatro is credited as being the first instrument playing female to lead a successful rock and roll band which—when she came upon the male dominated music scene in the early 1970s—was no small feat.

Suzi has done it all: several top ten hits throughout the world, a starring role in Happy Days as Leather Tuscadero, and she recently saw the release of an excellent documentary about her life titled, Suzi Q (2019). When she’s not doing that, she’s hosting radio programs on the BBC, writing a book of poetry, or finding some other way to explore her wealth of talents and energy.

After 50 plus years of performing, she has not slowed down as evidenced by her brand new album, The Devil in Me which was written and recorded during the pandemic. In fact, Suzi contracted coronavirus and, because of travel restrictions, was forced to spend several months away from her husband, but, as Suzi often does, she made the most of the extra time on her hands.

The Devil in Me rocks just as hard as her earlier releases and Suzi describes it as “the best album in my career to date.” Helming this production is her son, Richard Tuckey, whose goal was to make sure Suzi’s hard-rocking clarity, power and wild-abandon remained audibly obvious and evident.

So, join Suzi and me as we discuss the last six decades of her career, the turbulent last 12 months, and try to uncover why and how—in many ways—Suzi is at the top of her game right now.

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 42: Rozzi

It’s unusual to discuss an album that doesn’t fully exist yet, but that’s what’s happening here with soul and R&B singer-songwriter, Rozzi who joins me this week to discuss her new song, “I Can’t Go to the Party” which encapsulates the age-old and awkward experience of navigating a social setting with an old paramour, and I won’t say more, just tune in to hear Rozzi explain how the scenario went down.

Discovered by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Rozzi’s voice is full of depth, yearning, and character. Of course, we talk about the song, but there’s an album brewing as well. So, consider the song an appetizer for the album that is still a work in progress.

You’ll hear Rozzi rattle off a list of some of her favorite musicians, and she’s got great taste! With heroes like that it would be hard to create a product that didn’t shoot for the stars. So, join me and meet Rozzi, and get ready to hear plenty more where this came from.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 41: Gary Kemp

Gary Kemp cut his teeth as a band member of the immensely popular 1980s new romantic, synth-pop band, Spandau Ballet. As their chief composer, his participation in the group was fundamental to its success; Kemp is responsible for writing a song that you’ve heard many times—in fact, BMI has awarded it one of the most played songs in American history with 5 million airplays and counting: the 1983 mega-super-hit, “True.”

Kemp released his first solo album Little Bruises in 1995, but now he’s come back again with his first new album in 25 years. It’s called INSOLO and demonstrates his formidable and refined composition chops coupled with his evocative voice. The album was crafted during the pandemic and features some special guests like Queen’s Roger Taylor.

Spandau Ballet is currently on hiatus, but that hasn’t slowed down Kemp. In addition to this new record and his stage and screen acting gigs, he also tackles guitar and vocal duties in Nick Mason’s, Saucerful of Secrets band which performs the early music of Pink Floyd. Kemp also co-hosts the popular music interview podcast The Rockonteurs with Guy Pratt.

Join us as we discuss his clear insights into how he’s approached writing the songs on this new album, the odds of a Spandau Ballet reunion, and to see if he knows my cousin Terry who has been a Spandau Ballet superfan since the early days!

Everything has its time and place, while it’s wonderful to enjoy a small indie band who created a landmark recording on the laptop in their bedroom, don’t discount the seasoned artist who enters the studio to create an expansive and polished masterwork. If you hope to enjoy an expertly executed, blockbuster production this year, Gary Kemp’s new album is the place to start listening.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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The Best of Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 26: A.J. Croce

Let’s start with the bad news, so we can get it out of the way. Musician A.J. Croce lost his father—famed singer-songwriter, Jim Croce—before he was two years old. As if that weren’t enough, A.J. went through a long period of blindness as a child, and in 2018 he lost his wife from a rare heart virus. Faced with those challenges, most of us might not be able to find the strength to carry on, let alone produce a rich catalog of music and maintain a busy performing schedule, but that’s exactly what Croce has done, and that’s the good news.

His brand new album, By Request on Compass Records, features Croce utilizing his impressive piano skills and vocal stylings on a number of familiar songs, but with his own reworkings and unique spin. The goal behind the album was to give listeners an experience as though they were attending a house party thrown by Croce and hearing him entertain the intimate gathering with well-known chestnuts and unexpected gems.

Join Croce and me on this episode of Radar as we discuss the new record, his very eclectic vinyl collection, and the importance of the healing power of music; how sometimes music is the only prescription that truly succeeds in mending our wounded souls.

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 40: Shannon McNally

The work of certain musical artists occasionally transcend the initial audience and genre they were intended for. Waylon Jennings, best known as a cornerstone of country music’s “outlaw movement,” produced a body of work during his lifetime that encapsulated a certain place and time in American musical history.

The music Jennings composed, and the recordings he made, are now being re-contextualized from a female perspective. Songwriter and performer, Shannon McNally, has long-since admired the music of Jennings and envisioned looking at his music through a female lens which she’s done on her latest release, The Waylon Sessions (Compass Records). In fact, as we discuss, Shannon’s interpretations might make a listener question why it took so long for someone to come up with this concept in the first place.

Join us as we talk about Jennings and the impact his music has had on her, seeing his body of work from another context, and the making of her new album. Not just anyone could pull off a project performing Waylon’s music. You’ve got to be a great musician, sure. But you’ve also got to be a bit of an outlaw, too.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 39: Eric Slick

Every so often there is a member of a well-known band who truly blooms after stepping into the spotlight on their own terms. Such is the case for Eric Slick who is also the drummer from that fabulous band from Philadelphia, Dr. Dog.

In 2020, Eric released his second solo recording, Wiseacre, via Bandcamp which, given the current state of the the rabid vinyl buying community, sold out pretty quickly. In conjunction with ORG Music, Mr. Slick has reissued the album on red and yellow vinyl, of course.

It’s always a little interesting when a drummer takes the reigns. A world of critical eyes are upon them: will they be able to make the move from the drum throne to center stage, will they have the chops, the guts, and the vision? A cursory listen to Slick’s Wiseacre not only confirms his ability to make such a move, it leaves mouths agape at the quality and craft that he’s brought to both his writing and performance.

He’s not just playing drums either, while Butch Walker produces, Eric plays almost all of the instruments you hear. If it ain’t him, he’s joined by his talented wife, Natalie Prass, and Steven Drozd who was on loan from The Flaming Lips.

Eric joins me to talk about the new album, and we do it in a location familiar to many rockstars: the van. But, this time, perhaps teeming with apt symbolism, Eric holds our discussion from the driver’s seat.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 38: Bass Race

Laura Benack and Steven Mertens are a duo that go by the name Bass Race. They may have created a 21st century fusion of music on their new release Tender Vittles, but something about them feels comfortably old fashioned. You can feel their familial connections to music and the arts, the respect they have for old-school Los Angeles, and the way they nurture their own relationship in a respectful and fruitful way.

As you’ll hear, their musical influences are rich and tasteful and pull inspiration from some of the best r&b, soul and funk music of the last 50 years: they love their Earth, Wind and Fire and Donny Hathaway records. They lean on analog recording techniques and instruments, but fuse them together with modern-day beats and technology to create something fresh, but pleasantly familiar. There’s something about a duo that’s a little forgotten and underappreciated in today’s day-and-age: Sonny and Cher, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Ashford and Simpson, or Marty and Eliane: they all work best when they work together; their teamwork makes the dream work.

Laura and Steven bring that same harmonious synergy to Tender Vittles making it more than just a geat record; perhaps the album serves as a love-letter or a representation of the relationship Laura and Steven have together, but it’s also a testament to all of the good things that a mighty duo can accomplish when they make a choice to set aside their own needs and focus on their partner.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 37: Kenny Loggins

It’s an understatement to say that Kenny Loggins has achieved massive success in the entertainment industry. He’s been on the Billboard Top Ten charts over 20 times and sold over 25 million records. Many of the songs he’s created have become an important part of the musical fabric of a certain time and place in American history. All that aside, Kenny Loggins has had one of the most successful runs in history creating pop songs for film; so much so, that he’s known in the industry as “The Soundtrack King.”

Mr. Loggins celebrates his soundtrack kingdom by releasing a special vinyl compilation for 2021’s Record Store Day. The album will be called At the Movies and—believe it, or not—collects, for the first time ever, Loggins’ greatest soundtrack hits on vinyl, including “Footloose,” “Playing With The Boys” (Top Gun), “Danger Zone” (Top Gun), and “Nobody’s Fool (Theme From Caddyshack)” plus, it includes a newly recorded version of “Playing With The Boys.”

Kenny and I discuss the new release and his need to purchase a turntable—so he can hear it! But we go further: this industry legend gives valuable insight into how film music is different in today’s climate, he shares some stories about the ones that got away, and also describes the critical music magic that happened right in his own car.

These days, it’s hard to imagine the pre-internet impact and significance these blockbuster movies and songs had. While the films were all-encompassing cultural events, the soundtracks belonged to Kenny.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 36: Gary Numan

Can you remember the first time you heard the song “Cars”? At that moment, it must have been obvious that Gary Numan looked at things a little bit differently than you or I do; that he was full of a wisdom and intellect that we mere Earthlings do not possess. The good news is that Gary Numan is still putting his unique insights to music.

Gary’s new album is titled Intruder and it is an exploration of the concept that the Earth is tired of us lowly humans kicking it around and has decided to fight back. At an earlier time, the thesis Gary posits might have garnered a few chortles and eye rolls, but in today’s climate, well, it feels as though we ought to sit down with Gary and hear him out; he might be onto something. Don’t say Gary Numan didn’t warn you.

Gary joins me all the way from England to talk about his newest release, but we don’t stop there. We also talk about how music production has changed since the late seventies, his feelings about the vinyl comeback, and how hard he’s worked to stay true to his musical voice.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 35: Gina Schock

If you’re hoping to be a rockstar, you’ve got to have drive, ambition, a sense of luck, faith and—perhaps, most importantly—you’ve got to have a great sense of humor. Gina Schock has all of those attributes, and more, and she needed those tools to hold down the backbeat for the most successful all-female band of all time, The Go-Go’s.

If you saw the recent Alison Ellwood directed documentary, The Go-Go’s, you’ll know that the band soared to the highest showbiz highs and sank to some pretty lousy lows. Witnessing the entire rock and roll rollercoaster from the drum throne was Gina Schock who joins me to talk about many things currently buzzing in the world of The Go-Go’s, but specifically the 20th anniversary and reissue of their 2001 reunion album, God Bless The Go-Go’s which will be released on May 14 (Eagle Records).

Gina and I discuss the making of that album, including Billie Joe Armstrong’s contributions. You’ll hear Gina rifle through her vinyl collection and pick out some of her favorites. We also chat about a book that she’s currently completing about her experiences in The Go-Go’s. Most significantly, we talk about the band’s nomination for this year’s roster of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If you want to be a rockstar drummer, you’ve got to be in tune with your heartbeat and keep the tempo tight and unwavering. If you walk away from our chat learning nothing else about Gina Schock, it’s that Gina doesn’t just have the beat, she’s got the heart.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 34: Frank Ene

“What are you about, man?” That’s the question Frank Ene asked himself when writing and recording the music for his latest EP, “No Longer.” As Frank explains, this was his opportunity to gaze into the mirror and paint a musical portrait of who he is, or who he was.

The music on “No Longer” is dark, and the ’90s kids in the room might hear some influences in the way of Enigma, or late-stage Duran Duran, and Frank is happy if that’s what you hear because he loves those sounds from the 1990s as well which he fuses into his own subterranean musical landscape.

But, Frank will not be typecast. Nope, in fact, the way he tells it, he’s already completed his next album and is working on the next one and neither of those records will sound like this one. So, while we hope you enjoy the music you hear from “No Longer,” don’t get used to it, you may not hear it again, at least not from Frank.

Or, maybe you will. That’s the fun thing about Ene: he seems to always be driving himself to the next destination, but if he’s so inclined and can find a good artistic reason for doing so, he might just turn that car around. Perhaps from the back seat you’ll see Frank’s eyes flash in the rearview and hear him ask, “What are you about, man?” Will you have an answer?

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 33: Pete Krebs

PHOTO: ANDREA BOHON | Pete Krebs is a musical chameleon. It was the 1990s when his career began in the band Hazel which was a very popular alternative rock and roll group on Sub Pop Records. In those days, Krebs even formed a friendship and musical partnership with indie rock hero and legend Elliott Smith. Yes, I’ve been trying to track down their split-single for many years, but that’s another story. He’s also been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Since then, Krebs has continued experimenting and expanding his musical palate. Catching one of his shows, or listening to one of his records, might find one encountering Western swing, jazz, country, or just straight up, no holds barred rock and roll. While some musicians work hard to stay in their lane, Krebs enjoys grabbing his guitar and exploring wherever his ears lead him.

Krebs’ latest album (with his band The Gossamer Wings) is titled All My Friends are Ghosts and one might say the record is a sort of an amalgam of the many styles and sounds that Krebs can make with his voice and some steel strings in his hand. It’s an excellent recording and deftly showcases his compositional skills.

Krebs isn’t through exploring yet. As you’ll hear in the following conversation, he is still searching out unique sounds to play on his stereo. When he’ll try to figure out how to make those sounds himself is anyone’s guess, but you can be sure he’s thinking about it.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar 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 32: Jon Klages

Some of us were just born to do the things we do; it’s in our blood, in our genes. Jon Klages is one of those folks whose lineage belies a musical connection.

His grandfather was a popular and successful producer during the latter half of the 20th century, Enoch Light. Light was known for his exciting and fun recordings on his own Command Records label. Often his productions were worthy of an audiophile’s discerning ear. Light was also known for the groundbreaking abstract and minimalist album art that graced the covers of many of his recordings: some the designs that artist Josef Albers created for Light are now on display at the Museum of Modern Art.

So, it’s no surprise that Klages felt the tug to finally fuse his own musical proclivities with those of his familial forebearers. But Klages’ background is a bit different from that of his grandfather, Klages is a guitarist by trade and performed with The Individuals, the Richard Lloyd Band, and was also a part of the Hoboken, NJ music scene in the early 1980s.

His new album, Fabulous Twilight (Danbury Fair Recordings), is an eclectic effort that features all the best of what Jon has explored in his past: twangy guitars, clever and slick production, and, of course, lots of fun. Join Jon and I as we discuss his new album and the myriad influences that brought it to life.

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 31: Tracy Bonham

Tracy Bonham can do it all. You might remember her from the late ’90s when she released The Burdens of Being Upright abum and screamed right into the faces of the alternative rock world. Or, maybe you learned about her through her terrific albums and career that followed over the course of the last twenty years, but now, she’s back and she wants to teach you a lesson!

No, like a real lesson. Tracy takes a studious approach to music and wants to share her musical training with kids who have an interest in learning about it. Her newest project, Young Maestros, Vol. 1 has the goal of instilling into students some solid musical theory without pandering to them or talking down to them (kids hate when you do that!).

Join Tracy and me as we talk about her career and Young Maestros; you might even walk away learning some music theory; maybe even a little math. Did I just use math in an attempt to hook someone into listening to a show? Don’t worry, you’ll love it! Don’t forget to take notes, there might be a quiz at the end.

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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Ryan Martin,
The TVD Interview
and Vinyl Giveaway

Ryan Martin has a new album out on High Moon Records titled, Wandercease, but is he really ready to cease his wandering or is he just exploring the idea of settling down?

With producer Kenny Siegal, Martin’s new album was crafted into a large scale work that defies being tied down into one specific genre. He’s also enlisted a very talented group of musicians to help him bring his latest batch of songs to life. Of note is the very talented Mikaela Davis who continues to build an excellent solo career of her own.

Mixed by Paul Kolderie and mastered by the great Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, the vinyl version of this album sounds great. So great, in fact, that we want you to hear it! 

We find you packing up your apartment; it sounds like you haven’t ceased wandering yet.

Well, very accurate to the record in that way. No, I haven’t ceased wandering. I’ve always moved around and I’ll probably continue moving. I have my eye on Europe. So, that might be in the foreseeable future in the next few years. And yeah, man you know, I’m born with a wanderlust. It’s a real thing.

I’m always interested in titles of things, of books and movies and albums. Even though you have this wanderlust happening, do you feel like you should cease wandering? Where did the title come from for you?

Yeah. I mean, I do feel like at some point I would like to. For me, Wandercease is the point where you’ve finally found home and I suppose I haven’t found that yet. I have a daughter and that’s the closest thing that I found to home and a greater sense of home in my life so far, but as far as like where I’m supposed to be living, the east coast is great, but I think I’m going to travel around Europe for a while. I’m going to try that out. I haven’t been struck by the feeling like, ah, you know, like this is where I’m supposed to be yet in my life.

And you’re in New York City at this time, but where are you from originally?

I’m from Los Gatos, California which is the South Bay area in between Santa Cruz and San Jose. That’s where I grew up, spent my life until I was 18.

Well, east coast, west coast and Europe—you can’t do better than that. You’re getting the full picture!

That’s right! Yep. Spent some time in Kansas City, too. A little time in Texas. I just can’t help it.

This album is a big production and I’m tempted to say it’s like a ’70s production, but I don’t want to say that because it’s more contemporary than that, but there are a lot of other elements: the female vocals, a lot of little musical phrases that really push the tunes along. What are some of your thoughts about the production and assembling this record? Tell me about working with Kenny Siegel and the overall production of the album.

Yeah, it is a big production. I always tell myself that I’m going to avoid it after the first record that I made back in 2010, but it always ends up being a production. So, I guess that’s just where my tastes lead me. I mean, as far as the vision for the record, I really worked hand-in-hand with Kenny Siegel on that. The previous records I made, I think I was more in the driver’s seat as far as the vision and down to the instrumentation and the genres, the sounds, the styles, and with this one I kind of let guide it and I kind of relinquished some of my more, you know, I let him make some decisions with me.

There’s a lot of inspiration that I get from music from the ’60s and the ’70s, but at the same time, it was kind of about just assembling the musicians, being inspired in the moment, and letting people make choices that inspired them, and so whether that be someone playing a Mellotron for most of the songs or making it a bigger production—even more than I would’ve thought—certain songs like “Wandercease,” they tended to be bigger productions than I had envisioned and that was kind of like Kenny’s guiding hand. In the end, man, I try to make sonically interesting and dense music. There’s always more that I hear and Kenny actually kind of seems to be on that page, too. So, having to check myself and limiting myself is usually a struggle as I’m making records.

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