ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO
Real Animal
(Manhattan)

 

Singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo has a number of acclaimed albums to his credit and one of his best yet, his 10th album, Real Animal was released in early 2008. To his credit, Escovedo has put together a stellar band to assist his post-modern rock vision including ace producer Tony Visconti, who streamlines Escovedo’s sound to make it sound like a natural extension of his ‘60s and ‘70 productions with Bowie and T. Rex. Escovedo and Visconti enlist a number of top players here including guitarist Chuck Prophet (who also co-penned the tracks), guitarist David Pulkingham and many more including Visconti on backing vocals. Commenting on working with Escovedo, Tony Visconti adds, 'It was one of the most enjoyable albums I've had the privilege to produce in many years. We recorded the album live, the same way I set up T. Rex and Bowie's bands in the 70s.’ Regarding the guitarists on the album Visconti further adds, ‘Chuck is a solid rocker, a groove master. David Pulkingham is an amazing, versatile soloist. He is a consummate jazz musician who plays rock better than most guitars who specialize in the genre. He blew my mind daily in the studio.’ It’s just that good and with Real Animal Escovedo has penned a number of high energy rockers making it a perfect fit for Visconti’s thrilling and legendary approach to shiny, metallic sounding studio rock.

Tony Visconti speaks to Robert Silverstein of MWE3.COM

RS: Hi Tony. Congratulations on your production of Alejandro’s new CD.

TV: It was one of the most enjoyable albums I've had the privilege to produce in many years. After listening to the demos for the album for many weeks I finally had the chance to see Alejandro and his band live at a club in Chicago. I was floored by how tight they were and how great a live performer Alejandro was that night. He was singing punk songs in the sound check and I told him afterwards that we have to get that spirit and sound in the studio—the truth is out! I hadn't yet met Chuck Prophet, Alejandro's co-writer who would join us at a rehearsal in Austin and in St. Claire studios in Lexington, KY.

RS: The guitar sound on Real Animal has a vintage but modern edge.

TV: I realized early on that I was blessed with too many great string players. Chuck is a solid rocker, a groove master. David Pulkingham is an amazing, versatile soloist. He is a consummate jazz musician who plays rock better than most guitarists who specialize in the genre. He also plays a particular busy Brazilian style on nylon strung guitar. He blew my mind daily in the studio.

RS: How did you get that great studio sound on the Real Animal CD?

TV: We recorded the album live, the same way I set up T. Rex and Bowie's bands in the 70s. Everyone was in the same room with Alejandro sitting in the middle singing live. I encouraged him to "perform" because I intended to use any live vocals that he couldn't better with overdubs. I'd say we used about 60% of Alejandro's vocals. But in many cases there was no need to redo Chuck and David's parts, the same with bassist Josh Gravelin. Their live playing was on the money every time. Of course we overdubbed and reinforced some parts, but it is essentially a live album. The two string players, Susan Voelz & Brian Standefer also played live every take and much of what they played live was kept. We spent some time adding more string parts and revising some of their self-written parts. I couldn't help writing new stuff for them based on the style of writing I'd developed with my T.Rex strings. This was a very 70’s album in the sense that it was classic writing. The songs were crying out for this method of recording. Of course, none of these great performances couldn't be possible without the excellent beats provided by drummer Hector Munoz. Hector told me that as a teenager he played my T. Rex records loud and played drums along with them, learning the nuances of Glam Rock drumming. He also attracted quite a fan base who would stand outside his house when he was rehearsing. It was so great to make a modern album with classic esthetics. Editing was minimal because nothing beats great musicians who can really play their instruments. If anyone made a mistake it would take far less time to ask them to play it again instead of editing it around in Pro Tools.
www.bluenotelabelgroup.com - www.AlejandroEscovedo.com - www.TonyVisconti.com

 

 
   
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