Author Archives: Evan Toth

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 50: Ted Riederer of Never Records

Whenever the mailman delivers a package that looks like a record, there’s no doubt that I become excited.

Such was the case when I received something from Ted Riederer and Never Records. Except, something was off…while the package’s dimensions were correct, the weight was wrong, “This is light,” I thought. The packaging inside was that of a fully designed record sleeve, but—as I was to soon learn—there was no actual record inside, no disc. Intrigued, I began to uncover the story of Never Records and learn its motto which is: you are not listening. My astonishment at the empty sleeve was indicative of the fact that I wasn’t listening; but my attention had been captured and I was ready to open my ears.

Never Records is really an art project and describes itself as, “a combination recording studio and record shop, all operating in one building. The sole proprietor, interior decorator, and engineer is New York-based artist Ted Riederer.” Ted travels to different geographic locations (the UK, New York, New Orleans, Amman, Jordan and more), finds a space that would serve as a temporary and fictional record shop, connects with local performers, records them, and creates two lone lathe cuts of their work on vinyl—one for the artist and one for Ted’s archive. The genre of music doesn’t matter, it’s all part of encapsulating the sounds of the communities that he visits.

Join Ted and I as we get to the bottom of Never Records’ artistic vision and float some lofty dreams and theories. It’s an opportunity to observe how we currently consume music through a different lens. We also discuss his work with Arturo Vega and the art of operating a lathe. In fact, we may even cut this interview to vinyl!

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The Best of 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 49: David Duchovny

David Duchovny is one of those rare entertainment birds who has managed to craft a career in show business utilizing his many passions. Everyone is familiar with his portrayal of Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and his successful run with Californication, both of which afforded Duchovny Golden Globe awards. But there are other artistic outlets that he continues to explore.

An English major and graduate from Princeton University, it’s natural for Duchovny to express himself with a word processor. He’s written four books which have received strong reviews. His latest is titled, Truly Like Lightning: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). But he’s also a songwriter and musician. Music serves to fuse together the literary Duchovny with the on-screen actor. With music, he is able to both write and play a part, even if the part he’s playing is himself.

His newest album, Gestureland is his third record. Duchovny explains in our interview that it focuses on signs and signifiers of our modern culture, and the mysterious interest humans have by trying to find meaning in things that may not mean what we think they mean. Sounds like something Agent Mulder might focus on if he played in a band on his off nights from the FBI.

Join Mr. Duchovny and me as we talk about the creative process, his new record, the fabled Princeton eating halls, and much more. If you’re hoping that he’s as intensely conspiratorial as Fox Mulder, well, you might be a little let down, but the fact of the matter is that—like all of us—Duchovny is grappling with what the last few years of our lives mean. We may not be able to quite discern what that is yet, but like Agent Mulder, we all want to believe.

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 48: Van Dyke Parks

It’s not hyperbole to say that musician, songwriter, arranger and record producer Van Dyke Parks is a legendary or mythical creature in pop music folklore. Sure, you know how Brian Wilson recruited him to join his creative process on what was to be The Beach Boys’ penultimate masterpiece, Smile. But there’s so much more to his career: aside from his critically acclaimed solo albums, Parks has historically been involved in a number of notable musical projects, always searching to shed light on music and stories that are astutely sui generis.

During quarantine, Parks orchestrated four songs for Verónica Valerio, a singer, songwriter and harpist born in Veracruz, Mexico. The EP is titled, “Only in America, Solo En America.” While the lyrics are in Spanish, the mood and emotion of the project is evident no matter what language one speaks. Don’t forget to take a moment to study the album’s cover art: it was created by Klaus Voorman, The Beatles’ chum who created the ever-enduring album art for Revolver.

So, let VDP and me keep you company as we engage in a conversation that goes wherever it pleases. We discuss his connection with Valerio’s music and subject matter, calling Klaus Voorman on his cell phone, how this project compares to his work with Brian Wilson and so much more. You’ll find Van Dyke Parks affable, nimble-witted, and urbane; join me as I try to keep up!

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 47: Real Gone Music’s Gordon Anderson

Much of the music we listen to today comes from different generations. It may be an old favorite like Led Zeppelin, or it might be a group that was under the radar for many years before finally having their hey day long after they’d ceased to exist as a group, like Big Star. Behind the contemporary music scenes, there is a full-blown industry involved in keeping popular records in print and releasing albums that deserve a second chance.

Meet Gordon Anderson who has spent much of his life doing both things. He was the founder of the ubiquitous Collector’s Choice label in the 1990s which—long before streaming—was the easiest and most sonically pleasing way to track down classics from the ’50s and ’60s. After leaving Collector’s Choice, Anderson and his business partner Gabby Castellana have created Real Gone Music, which is, as they describe it, “a reissue label dedicated to serving both the collector community and the casual music fan with a robust release schedule combining big-name artists with esoteric cult favorites.”

With nearly ten releases per month, Real Gone Music probably has something in their catalog that will appeal to everyone, in fact, it’s this populist, all-encompassing acceptance that gives the label its unique spin: if enough people want it, Real Gone Music will try to find a way to serve it up.

Anderson and I take a deep dive into the world of running a record label, the business of music reissues, and the vinyl comeback. We also question what’s going on with our old buddy the CD, and learn about the origins of Real Gone’s celebrated Black Jazz label reissues. It seems difficult to comprehend, but if it weren’t for guys like Gordon Anderson keeping vintage music catalogs alive, you might not even know that some of your favorite music ever existed.

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 46: Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter embodies the best of what a popular singer should be: he’s a suave and stylish songbird with the heart of a poet, painting the lyrics he’s reciting onto his canvas while letting his soul lead the way. With six albums under his belt, he’s had the opportunity to do a little bit of everything, and do it well: from traditional interpretations from the Great American Songbook to more contemporary fare. If that weren’t enough, he’s also a talented songwriter.

Like all of us, Mr. Porter is ready to get the needle back in the groove that his career was in prior to the pandemic which included five Grammy nominations and two wins. In fact, Gregory won two Grammys in the same category, in the same year for two different albums. Has anyone ever done that before?

Porter is back on the road. Our New York City area listeners have one treasured opportunity to catch him in our region at the beautiful New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, September 21st before he jets off to the UK and Europe in November.

So, join us as we discuss his latest work, our mutual affinity for Nat “King” Cole, whether, or not, he’s a vinyl disciple, and hear some secrets about his creative process. You’ll find him incredibly intelligent, insightful, and passionate about his work, and hopefully you’ll walk away feeling lucky that we have a vocalist as skilled as Porter is in our modern midst. I know I do.

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 45: Suzanne Vega

For some folks, New York City is a place they’ve only seen in movies or read about in books; a mysterious, mystical place full of danger and excitement where fame or fortune—or failure—might be lurking around any corner. For those of us familiar with the Big Apple, we know that description is mostly true. No one, however, has characterized New York City in a song quite like Suzanne Vega. Vega began her career as part of the neo-folk scene that was taking hold in Manhattan in the early 1980s, but she broke through to the big time with her songs “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner,” the latter of which was famously remixed to become a global phenomenon.

Vega has, of course, continued writing and performing; crafting a catalog of music that is poetic, clever and adventurous. Location is of paramount importance to Vega and the thread of her body of work always ends up somewhere in New York City. This leads us to Suzanne’s latest project and release, An Evening of New York Songs and Stories which was the encapsulation of a run of shows Suzanne performed at New York City’s famed Cafe Carlyle. Like many projects in the last year or two, the release and tour to support it was hampered by the pandemic, but Vega is ready to get back out on the road to share this song-cycle focused on New York, New York.

Suzanne was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss not only her latest record, but also her career from its humble folk beginnings to finding herself on the international top singles charts. Certainly, we discuss New York City and how events like 9/11 and the recent pandemic have shaped her both personally and as an artist.

Suzanne has a string of shows approaching as well. Our New Jersey listeners can see her at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on September 11th. Our Long Island listeners can see Suzanne at the Sufffolk Theatre in Riverhead, NY on September 12th. Before embarking on a European tour, Suzanne will also return to New Jersey to perform at the The Vogel in Red Bank on October 14th and at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ on October 16th before performing in New York City’s City Winery on November 26th and 27th.

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The Best of Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 23: Howie Klein

It’s not always about money and it’s not always about fame; sometimes an artist has a desire to just share the music that they can’t help but create, but every so often the industry gatekeepers also have more of an interest in art and creativity than just dollars and cents.

Meet Howie Klein, a writer, concert promoter, disc jockey, music producer, record label founder, record label executive, progressive political activist, and adjunct professor of music. He’s about as music industry as you’d like to get: he was general manager of Sire Records and was the president of Reprise/Warner Bros. Records. He was responsible for signing Lou Reed to the Reprise label and was an early industry champion of Wilco. Currently, he helms DownWithTyranny!, a popular political blog.

Through it all, he didn’t care about the money. He cared about the music, the people, the message. You know what he didn’t care about? He wasn’t entranced by those gaudy baubles that hypnotize most of the folks who reach the top of any industry. No way, no how. Howie plays by Howie’s rules.’

I would jump to discuss any number of fascinating subjects with Howie, but this conversation is focused on the reissues and re-releases of a record label that he founded with Chris Knab and Butch Bridges, 415 Records. The reissue campaign is led by another record label, Liberation Hall. The goal of the label was simple: to release independent music focused on local punk and new wave bands from the fertile San Francisco music community.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 44: Willie Nile

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when troubadours would travail the twilight streets of New York City with a guitar strapped to their back and scribbled lyrics written in coffee shops crammed into the pockets of their Levis. These minstrels would then perform those tunes to audiences who went out specifically to see something new, to learn about new voices and musical directions. Willie Nile can tell you more about it, he was there.

Discovered by Clive Davis in the late 1970s, in many ways, Nile was the last of that generation of New York City poet/ songwriters to get a shot at the big time. Willie brings that timeless poet’s sensibility to his recent run of albums. His newest project, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a record focused on the impact and experience of our recent pandemic times.

Willie is a lot of fun to talk to—he’s a bit of divining rod to the sea of emotions that exist just below the surface of the city. He’ll tell you all about the new album, but his conversation is full of rich context and wisdom that only someone who’s howled songs into the night sky over Manhattan during the wee hours would truly understand.

It feels a little bit as though the Earth has stood still for the last year or so. During times like these, when it seems we’re often at a loss for words, we’re lucky to have guys like Willie around to fastidiously fill in our collective blanks with rock and roll music sealed with the magic of a poet’s touch.

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 43: Elroy Finn

PHOTO: JIMMY METHERELL | Elroy is the son of Crowded House’s Neil Finn and, just like much of his musical family, he is a unique artist all his own.

While he is currently playing drums in dad’s band, Elroy also has a brand new album out and it is simply titled, Elroy on Grand Phony Records. Written, produced, recorded, and mixed by Elroy himself, the album is a moody and mellow slice of modern day psychedelia.

Elroy joins me all the way from New Zealand to discuss the writing and production of his new album, his musical family and its influences, and what’s coming up next!

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 42: Robby Takac

Robby Takac can tell you some stories! A founding member of the Goo Goo Dolls in the 1980s, he was there in those rough and tumble, hard rock early days and evolved with the band to produce some of the most heard alternative rock numbers of the 1990s. In fact, the band’s song “Iris” was ranked #1 on Billboard’s “Top 100 Pop Songs 1992–2012” chart.

While Robby and longtime Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik work on a new album, it seemed it was the right time for them to dive into the archives and compile and produce an anthology of rare cuts and seldom heard live performances—the album is called Rarities and it provides some very revealing glimpses into songs that we’ve all heard many, many times.

Robby joins me to discuss the tracks on this new compilation, but we also talk about those heady Goo Goo Dolls days when it seemed the Dolls’ music was inescapable whenever you spun a radio dial. We discuss the good and bad elements of the algorithms that keep their fingers on our collective pulses and we track the path of one of the most successful rock and roll bands of the late 20th century.

While I’ve been fortunate to have John Rzeznik on the program, it’s now Robby’s turn to dish and give us a glimpse inside the modern day machinations of the Goo Goo Dolls.

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 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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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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