Author Archives: Evan Toth

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 62: Marshall Crenshaw

Marshall Crenshaw bridged an important gap during the end of the twentieth century. His early hits glimpsed into the recent past; recognizing the work of the ’50s and ’60s masters but soldering it onto 1980s pop, thereby creating a sort of vintage-modern hybrid. Crenshaw also portrayed Buddy Holly in the 1987 film, La Bamba which added yet another layer to his aura back then: as if he were saying, “Hey, I’m going to nail this Buddy Holly cover right now, but stick around to hear my original music, too.”

And there was always plenty of fantastic original Crenshaw music to hear: “Someday, Someway,” “There She Goes Again,” and “Cynical Girl” and his co-written super-hit, “Til I Hear it From You” with the Gin Blossoms, a tune that was inescapable on rock radio during the 1990s (and beyond). He was also always writing and working. During the ’90s, Crenshaw forged a partnership with Razor & Tie Records, releasing several albums with the label.

Today, Crenshaw is revisiting those ’90s albums and reissuing them with fresh masterings and bonus tracks—many released on vinyl for the first time. In this episode, Crenshaw and I discuss his 1999 release, #447. Of course, we also talk about his major label days, the process of recording before digital became de rigueur, getting his act back on the road, and we also reminisce about the last time he and I spoke 10 years ago.

So, join us and remind yourself of how lucky we are to have Marshall Crenshaw in our midst. He might take an occasional glance in the rearview mirror, but his eyes are firmly planted on the road ahead.

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 61: Jacob Plasse

Jacob Plasse is the producer of—and a musician in—the critically acclaimed Cuban big band, Orquesta Akokán and he is my guest on this episode.

Jacob and the group found great success with their first self-titled, Grammy nominated album and they have returned with another electrifying set of tunes highlighting and elevating their love of Cuban music, specifically within the mambo genre. The new LP is titled, 16 Rayos.

Jacob tells us about the dedicated cast of characters involved in this project and he takes us on a deeper dive into what mambo really is. We also discuss how Plasse captured the authentic mambo sound that was so prevalent in pre-revolution Cuba and what it was like recording this album on location in the country’s famed and state-run, Egrem Studios.

It’s curious that in our day and age, a time when we have immediate access to so much culture, that most of us stay focused on the same old familiar performers and genres. When was the last time you really challenged yourself to listen to something out of your comfort zone, perhaps something in another language? Exercises like this are important for any music lover, so if you’re due for such a foray, then Orquesta Akokán might be just what the doctor ordered. And if that’s what your doctor ordered, then you’ve also got a pretty cool doctor.

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 60: Mixing Engineers Arthur Stoppe and Jim Gallagher

Sure, there’s Detroit’s Motown, Los Angeles’ famed music scene, and we know all about the great records that were recorded and produced in New York City. However, during a certain, special period of time in the 1970s, Philadelphia reigned supreme. Philadelphia International Records was founded in 1971 by songwriting and production team Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and their partner, Thom Bell. During their heyday, the label produced 170 gold and platinum records, many of which still remain radio mainstays.

Philadelphia International had its signature sound: slick and professional, full of angelic voices, lush strings and solid bass which was recorded at Philly’s famed Sigma Sound Studios. Two of the men who were behind the mixing board during many of these sessions were Arthur Stoppe and Jim Gallagher. They both join me for this episode to discuss two beautiful box sets recently released by United Soul and Philadelphia International Records. The first is The Sound of Philadelphia, Volume 1: Get on Board the Soul Train and the second is The Sound of Philadelphia Volume 2: Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Arthur and Jim let us in on some secrets related to these historic records, how they really feel about analog and digital recordings, and what was in the water in Philadelphia during the 1970s where all of this musical magic was allowed to happen. I don’t know if you’re hungry, but this episode might be served up best with your neighborhood’s finest cheesesteak; go ahead and order, just hit pause first. We’ll wait here.

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 59: Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman is an icon: he represents a certain time and place for a generation of moviegoers who existed just prior to the internet’s big bang, before wi-fi conquered civilization.

In the 1980s, one didn’t begin watching a film without assuming Feldman might pop up somewhere; he appeared in an astounding batch of pop culture blockbusters; many of which still roundly resonate today: Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985), Stand By Me (1986), The Lost Boys (1987), and many more. Feldman—with his entertainment pal, Corey Haim—was also one half of the eighties showbiz power-duo known as “The Two Coreys,” appearing in nine films together, including a popular reality television series.

While Corey has experienced the entertainment industry’s pinnacles, he’s also glimpsed its dark side. But through it all, Feldman has maintained a stiff upper lip and a positive outlook while putting his creative energies into a musical career which he kicked off in the early 1990s. Since then, he’s released albums such as Love Left, Former Child Actor, Angelic 2 the Core, and now a sprawling box set (Love Left 2.1) containing a remastered version of his first Love Left album, rarities, and also a brand-new follow up to that album titled, Love Left 2. Feldman and I explore his wide-ranging musical thumbprint, including the production influences and professional discipline he learned during his friendship with Michael Jackson.

We speak with Corey about his newest music and examine how it relates to his past, yet serves to presage the future. For, as you’ll learn, there are few people who understand the transition from the golden age of cinema to the entertainment machine that exists today as intimately as Corey does. Fortunately, he’s happy to share some war stories and explore what he believes is the future of the entertainment industry, but he also warns about the vampires that still lurk around Hollywood after midnight; they might not have fangs, but they sure are bloodsuckers.

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 58: Eric Valdivieso

We begin the new year by trying something a little different. This week, we focus our radar’s attention on food. And we talk about it with the “highest paid professional restaurant server on the planet.” Meet Eric Valdivieso, he’s a longtime food service industry insider who has a new book out called, “The Valdivieso Method” which explores the idea of applying the tools he learned in the service industry to other service oriented businesses.

You’ll hear Eric’s story of how he went through the restaurant ranks and learned his craft so well that he now mostly coaches servers and managers in the hospitality industry. But, it’s more than just food that Eric and I discuss; we explore how you can become your best self, how some of these skills can be used in any business that thrives on relationships, and – really – what business doesn’t? Of course, I don’t let Eric off the hook without giving us some great restaurant recommendations.

Above all, though, Eric’s program and experiences are mostly centered around taking care of others and enjoying the glow that comes from making someone feel special and cared for. It’s about not missing the many opportunities we’re all presented with each day to elevate someone else’s experience; how caring for others can become a habit. And nowadays, that’s a skill we could all use a little bit more of.

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 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 57: Jake Shimabukuro

Sometimes it’s the smallest instruments that make the biggest impact. If you’re of a certain age, you can remember tuning into this new thing called YouTube to watch a young man absolutely shred on a version of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” What made this musician stand out, however, was that he did it on ukulele.

Over the last two decades, Jake Shimabukuro has not only continued to become the preeminent ukelele player on Earth, but he’s also branched out to bring the instrument places it has never gone before. Most recently, this was evidenced on his newest album, Jake and Friends which features an extraordinarily impressive roster of friends that Jake has picked up along the way: Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Jack Johnson, MIchael McDonald, Jimmy Buffett, and Amy Grant and Vince Gill and many more.

Join Jake and me as we discuss how that little instrument can make a huge sound, especially when it is accompanied with the cast of luminaries that he’s assembled for this album. How could you resist making an album like this when you’ve got friends like that?

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 56: Maston

Any good collection has a great number of different niches and subcategories: music and record collecting is no different. Some of us focus on rare soundtracks or hard-to-find instrumental music from Europe and the US that was released in the 1960s and ’70s. One could scour record stores for years and spend a great deal of money trying to chase down these revered sounds, or you could just pick up some releases by Frank Maston and be done with it.

Frank Maston—who goes just by Maston—is an American musician, composer, and producer who pays homage to those sounds, but through his own lens. In fact, Maston has chosen to live abroad in search of authenticity and finding musicians to work with who share his own visions. What’s most interesting is that, while Maston is a musician and composer, he appears to be most at home producing and arranging his projects much the way that record producers like David Axelrod or Jack Nitzsche did. While Matson creates the pieces of the puzzle, his true art comes to light in putting it all together.

Recently, Maston teamed up with the Swiss sextet, L’éclair to produce an album titled Souvenir which has all of the deep, funky, melodic grooves of those rare records we crazy collectors are always chasing. If you’re listening to us at The Vinyl District, you’ll hear our conversation, but if you’re joining us on the radio at WFDU, 89.1 FM, you’ll be treated to the music taken directly from vinyl. On this episode, Maston joins me from his apartment in Paris, France to discuss the makings of the new album, leaving his home to set out in search of his musical destiny, and how he sets the stage to bring his musical concepts to life.

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 55: Iain Taylor and the Cassette

Vinyl gets plenty of love in the 21st century even though streaming offers plenty of convenience and stability, while the venerable CD quietly sits waiting for someone to rediscover it. But what’s left for the cassette?

In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Iain Taylor who joins us all the way from Birmingham City University in the UK. Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries, and a researcher within the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. As an educator, Iain teaches primarily on the Music Industries degree, leading modules which explore the cultural and emotive value of music, and how this translates into the business models and intellectual property rights of the music industries.

Earlier this year, Dr. Taylor wrote an article at The Conversation website titled, “Audio cassettes: despite being ‘a bit rubbish,’ sales have doubled during the pandemic – here’s why.” In that article, he explores the origins of the cassette and even the fact that the medium was more – or less – disowned by its creator. However, for all of their awkwardness and their inferior sound quality, cassettes still hold a place in the hearts of those who collect physical media, if only as a way for human beings to connect with something tangible, something real.

So, join Dr. Taylor and me as we explore the cassette from points of view nostalgic, economic, and humanistic. Cassettes may bring back some warm memories of days gone by, but no one looks forward to respooling a tape that had been eaten by a player with a number 2 pencil.

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 55: Iain Taylor and the Cassette

Vinyl gets plenty of love in the 21st century even though streaming offers plenty of convenience and stability, while the venerable CD quietly sits waiting for someone to rediscover it. But what’s left for the cassette?

In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Iain Taylor who joins us all the way from Birmingham City University in the UK. Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries, and a researcher within the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. As an educator, Iain teaches primarily on the Music Industries degree, leading modules which explore the cultural and emotive value of music, and how this translates into the business models and intellectual property rights of the music industries.

Earlier this year, Dr. Taylor wrote an article at The Conversation website titled, “Audio cassettes: despite being ‘a bit rubbish,’ sales have doubled during the pandemic – here’s why.” In that article, he explores the origins of the cassette and even the fact that the medium was more – or less – disowned by its creator. However, for all of their awkwardness and their inferior sound quality, cassettes still hold a place in the hearts of those who collect physical media, if only as a way for human beings to connect with something tangible, something real.

So, join Dr. Taylor and me as we explore the cassette from points of view nostalgic, economic, and humanistic. Cassettes may bring back some warm memories of days gone by, but no one looks forward to respooling a tape that had been eaten by a player with a number 2 pencil.

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 54: The Show

As you know, this program typically finds me exploring the work of others, but for this episode, I hope you’ll allow me to turn the attention over to myself. The last few years have found me compiling a special project: it’s my new album, it’s called The Show and there is an interesting story attached to it that I think you’ll enjoy hearing.

Like many folks growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I became a big fan of Billy Joel. During Billy’s most successful years, his band consisted of a stable lineup of musicians; it was easy to recognize the skill and personality that they brought to his music. Liberty DeVitto had a fun, yet thundering presence on drums that always balanced out Billy’s more theatrical and balladic impulses. Richie Cannata brought blistering and irreplaceable saxophone parts to Billy’s work; you can probably hum along to all of his solos and arrangements. Russell Javors was always there, steadfastly holding down the rhythm guitar section.

When I discovered that Liberty, Richie, and Russell were still playing together as The Lords of 52nd St. and that they were living in the same tri-state area that I was, I reached out to see if they’d be interested in recording an album of my originals with me. Luckily for me, they were. Unfortunately, Billy’s stalwart bassist, Doug Stegmeyer—known as the Sergeant of the Billy Joel Band—passed away in 1995, but for this project, his role was filled by the extremely talented Malcolm Gold, who currently plays bass with the Lords. Also featured on the record is my beautiful wife, Laura Toth, who recorded a very special duet with me and whose voice, by the way, introduces each episode of this program.

So, we set to work recording in Richie’s Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, Long Island. After we completed the rough tracks, the pandemic bared down and stopped us all in our collective tracks.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 53: Colin Blunstone

It’s hard to look back at the British Invasion and not be amazed at the level of skill and talent that came across the pond to impact and influence the revolutionary pop music that was being made worldwide at the time.

One of the major bands to break out of the UK was The Zombies who hit it big in 1964 with, “She’s Not There” and continued to have hits throughout the 1960s. The wonderfully romantic and singular voice of the band was that of Colin Blunstone who is my guest this week.

The career of the Zombies took a curious turn at the end of the decade, the band broke up soon after releasing their final album, Odessey and Oracle, but fate had other plans for the group. Their song, “Time of the Season” became a hit of epic proportions and Odessey and Oracle slowly grew into what is now seen as one of the cornerstone achievements in rock and roll history.

Following the break-up of the group, Blunstone set out to discover what the next move for his career was and began to release solo albums beginning with 1971’s, One Year which celebrates its 50th anniversary and is being re-released this year featuring 14 previously unreleased recordings and nine unrecorded compositions with never-before-seen photos and new liner notes penned by Blunstone. Of course, the project will include a new vinyl pressing mastered by Joe Lizzi and cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.

Blunstone continues to record and tour with the Zombies, but this anniversary is an important opportunity to take a peek into his solo career and pay special attention to his luxuriously exquisite vocals and unique artistic directions. Keep an eye out for Blunstone to visit the states soon and perform his inaugural solo album. During this interview, Colin’s computer—and my own—were both running low on battery power. Do we make it through the whole chat? You’ll have to listen to find out, but just remember, even rock stars need to charge their devices.

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 52: Rockaway Records

PHOTOS: MATTHEW BELTER | As a music lover, sometimes it’s hard for us to differentiate between being fans of music vs. being collectors. What part of our listening is really about enjoying the sounds of our favorite artist and what part of it is merely fulfilling a nostalgic desire?

Since 1979, brothers Wayne and Gary Johnson have owned Rockaway Records in Los Angeles, California. Over the last 40 plus years, a mind-boggling treasure trove of music and memorabilia have passed through their hands and their shop still stands strong today. Now, bear in mind, Wayne and Gary don’t just sell your regular, run-of-the-mill items: they deal in the high end, investment-grade vinyl and collectibles market.

Wayne Johnson was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about some of the more eye-popping items that he currently has available for sale; many of which will probably be sold by the time you listen to this chat. But, Wayne and I go deeper down the collecting rabbit hole and get into some of the more philosophical and existential elements of what defines a music fan, a collector, and an investor.

The Vinyl District page associated with this episode will also feature several photographs of the goodies at Rockaway Records taken by a member of our TVD Los Angeles team, Matthew Belter. It’s great to hear Wayne and I discuss what he’s got for sale but, as is usually the case, Matthew’s pictures are worth thousands of words.

Sure, we talk about the Beatles items that are currently worth a fortune, but we also discuss items that people perceive as having value that aren’t very valuable at all. We explore some big-ticket items that might surprise you, and also look at artists who aren’t quite as collectible as they used to be.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 51: Remembering Andrew Gold

Andrew Gold was a sort of Zelig figure in popular music during his career. If you fell in love with his music in any place, you’d probably be surprised to see him pop up somewhere else.

Gold was a talented singer-songwriter with his own string of excellent and underrated solo albums and a Top 10 hit “Lonely Boy,” but there was much more. He was also Linda Ronstadt’s arranger and a multi-instrumentalist on several of her albums and he toured with the Eagles and James Taylor. His song, “Thank You For Being a Friend” was re-recorded for use in the mega-hit TV series, The Golden Girls. He also performed the theme song to the 1990s TV hit, Mad About You.

In 1996, Gold saw what he felt was a deficit in the Halloween music world and released an album celebrating the spookiest of all holidays: Halloween Howls. At the time, the album didn’t take off just the way that Andrew had hoped, however the internet had other plans. Slowly, over time, a track from the album gained attention. A remix of the song “Spooky Scary Skeletons” became a bonafide, dance-hit smash and was impossible to miss on social media last year.

Sadly, Gold passed away in 2011. However, his widow, Leslie Kogan, continues to make sure his wide and varied catalog finds appreciative ears. She helped to unearth a strong live performance by Andrew from 1978 which was released in 2015 as The Late Show, and Kogan also delved through Gold’s archives to create last year’s compilation, Something New (both albums on Omnivore Recordings).

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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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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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