Interview_LookPark-ForBlog

CHRIS COLLINGWOOD: An EXCLUSIVE interview with the LOOK PARK/FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE frontman!

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LOOK POP:

An EXCLUSIVE interview with CHRIS COLLINGWOOD

When an artist attempts to alter their musical direction in even the slightest way, the final results are scrutinized by critics and hardcore fans alike. One of the few bands that were able to expand their artistic vision without losing their fan base was The Beatles. Since then, very few artists have been able to mature and grow without being lambasted on the internet by fans who felt betrayed by their beloved musical idols. Remember when Bob Dylan went electric in late 1965? One man yelled “Judas!” and the world spun off its axis. By the way, Dylan’s career recovered quite nicely, thank you! Even The Stranglers, one of the UK’s most popular Punk bands, was skewered once they became a bona-fide Pop/Rock outfit by the middle of the ‘80s. It would seem that their fan base wanted them to remain the scruffy, crabby crew they grew to loathe a decade before. So, what is an artist to do? Stay the same and lose fans because they don’t alter the formula, or alter the formula and lose fans because they didn’t stay the same? Chris Collingwood, he of Fountains Of Wayne (“Stacy’s Mom”) fame, has decided to do both – but with his new project, Look Park, he’s not in any danger of losing fans. At all.

Although it has been five years since Fountains Of Wayne released their last album, 2011’s SKY FULL OF HOLES, Collingwood has been working hard on mixing up his proven songwriting ‘formula’ and approaching the songs in new and more intimate ways. FOW bandmate Adam Schesinger has been busy with various projects, including the fab new Monkees album, but Chris has surprisingly kept a very low profile. One of the few times we’ve heard from him since 2011 was when he covered The Dream Academy’s “Life In A Northern Town” for the excellent ‘80s ‘tribute’ album HERE COMES THE REIGN AGAIN released in 2014. All the while, he has been working on new material and finally went into the studio with producer Mitchell Froom and recorded the most excellent LOOK PARK album. This ‘debut’ album is a collection of well-crafted songs that retain the melodic charm of FOW but takes Chris in new and exciting directions. One of producer Froom’s earliest claims to fame was his work with Crowded House, and Look Park travels a similar musical path as those albums from the Kiwi band led by Neil Finn. The album is filled with great melodic hooks, yes, but the album is warm and intimate. These are songs you fall in love with, and like true love, the album only gets better with time. The production is lush yet intimate and Collingwood approaches each track with a tenderness that was not as apparent as on his work with FOW. “Stars Of New York,” “Breezy,” “Minor Is The Lonely Key,” “You Can Come Round If You Want To,” and “Crash That Piano” are absolutely lovely without being maudlin or too mellow (not that either of those are bad things). Surprisingly, there is very little electric guitar on the album – acoustic guitar, piano and mellotron create an atmosphere that is inviting and melancholic. In essence, LOOK PARK is a beautiful piece of work. It is Pop and it is powerful – it’s just not Power Pop. Don’t fear, FOW fans, Chris has delivered the goods and they are glorious.

Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to chat to Chris Collingwood about the making of the LOOK PARK album and much more…

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Alliance Entertainment Holding Corporation acquires ANconnect retail music business

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In a transaction closed on July 8, 2016, Alliance Entertainment Holding Corporation (“AEC”) has acquired from ANconnect, LLC (“ANC”) the ANC retail music assets and business, which includes vendor managed inventory accounts of Walmart and Best Buy.

AEC, the largest wholesale distributor of physical home entertainment audio, video and software in the United States and best-in-class distribution solutions, provides a high level of service in various disciplines including: mass merchant retail and wholesale distribution, consumer direct services, vendor managed inventory systems and independent music store fulfillment.

The transaction brings an expanded assortment of products to ANC customers, which includes product lines of CD, Vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray and electronic products from AEC’s current 480,000 in stock SKU base.

Many ANC employees will join the AEC team as part of the transition. In addition, physical product merchandising services for stores will continue to be provided by Anderson Merchandisers through a long term merchandising service contract, signed as part of the closing.

Following a short transitional period, distribution will operate from AEC’s Shepherdsville, KY 660,000 sq. ft. warehouse to realize expected synergies.

“ANC sells and merchandises some of the finest retailers in the United States, through brick and mortar and direct to customer websites” said Jeff Walker, CEO of AEC. “This transaction provides AEC with additional growth opportunity to continue servicing these retailers with a wide variety of product offerings and at the same time keep the high level of merchandising service Anderson provides, resulting in a winning solution for our new customers.”

Charlie Anderson, Chairman of both ANC and Anderson Merchandisers, said, “In a rapidly consolidating industry, this transaction for ANC results in the best possible outcome for our associates, as well as our customers. At Anderson Merchandisers, our close association with time sensitive entertainment product has presented the company with a unique growth opportunity for broad based brand representation in a dynamic industry.”

Alliance Entertainment Holding Corporation

AEC is the largest wholesale distributor of physical home entertainment audio and video software in the United States, selling to mass merchant retail brick and mortar stores, internet retailers, independent store owners and vendor managed services.

About ANconnect, LLC

ANconnect, LLC is a member of the Anderson Companies, and has led entertainment category success across North America. Anderson Merchandisers, LLC is an independent operating unit within Anderson Companies, and is a leading diversified retail services company across North America. Anderson Merchandisers will continue to perform in-store marketing and merchandising services for Alliance Entertainment

 

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MICHAEL SCHENKER: An EXCLUSIVE Interview!

 
ATTACK OF  THE MAD AXEMAN:
 
An EXCLUSIVE interview 
with 
MICHAEL SCHENKER
    There’s a reason why German guitarist Michael Schenker is considered a music  legend. He carved out a successful career as a hard rock pioneer with German  rockers Scorpions (1969-’73 and  ’78-’79) and British heavy rock band UFO  (1973-’78) as well as his own projects The  Michael Schenker Group and McAuley-Schenker Group throughout the ‘80s and beyond. His manic playing, songwriting skills  and knack for creating extremely memorable riffs has earned him legions of  devoted fans all over the world. And let’s face it – Michael Schenker is the  only guitarist that has ever made the Gibson Flying V guitar look cool. Many  have tried but only Schenker has succeeded. And now, with his latest project Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock, he  is proving once again that he still has plenty of fire, skill and energy. Even  though he has been a professional musician for nearly fifty years, he has never  lost his mojo.
    Schenker’s first claim to fame was joining his  older brother Rudolph’s band Scorpions in 1969. He and vocalist Klaus Meine joined the band at the same  time, although at fifteen, Michael was the youngest member of Scorpions by a  handful of years. He also just happened to be a unique guitarist and gifted  songwriter. He honed his skills with Scorpions for four years before leaving  the band and joining British rockers UFO. With UFO, Schenker became an
international sensation, steering the band away from their early Space Rock  leanings towards an edgy Hard Rock sound. UFO became a force to be reckoned  with, but by the end of 1978, he left the band. And to think he was barely into  his twenties at this point. Schenker rejoined Scorpions right after leaving UFO,  but soon realized he wanted to focus on his own thing. So he left – again – the  following year. The Michael Schenker Group was his next project, although he  moved away from the commercial sounds of his previous bands and embraced his  experimental side. For the next thirty years, he focused on various other  projects including a brief reunion with UFO, the McCauley-Schenker Group and  other endeavors. By 2008, he was ready to embrace his illustrious Hard Rock past and formed Temple Of Rock. The band has had several line-up changes over  the years but the most recent – and best – features Schenker joined by former  Scorpions members Herman “ze German” Rarebell (drums) and Francis Bucholz  (bass) plus guitarist/keyboardist Wayne  Findlay and powerhouse vocalist Doogie  White (Tank/La Paz/Rainbow/etc.). While on tour for their excellent 2015  sophomore studio album, Spirit On A Mission, the band was  approached about recording their live show using a new technology called 3D  Listening. The results can now be heard with the release of On A  Mission: Live In Madrid. On this release, you can practically ‘feel’  the atmosphere of the venue even on the normal stereo mix of this recording.  There’s even a version of the release that, with the correct audio equipment,  will make it seem as if you are there in the audience enjoying Michael and the  boys giving it their all on stage. The material during this scorching  performance spans Schenker’s entire career including Scorpions, UFO and, of  course, Temple Of Rock.
   Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to chat  with Michael Schenker as he prepared to embark on a series Michael Schenker Fest  shows, which feature appearances from three original vocalists he has worked  with over the years – Gary Barden, Robin McAuley and Graham Bonnet

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THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: A virtual round-table discussion about the VINYL EXPERIENCE

     The resurgence of vinyl’s popularity has brought an excitement back to the music industry. The love and passion from vinyl collectors has never waned; however, there is a new generation that is fascinated and energized by the format. The amount of record stores that closed their doors in the ‘90s and ‘00s is staggering, yet there are more new record stores opening up and operating today than just a handful of years ago. Music fans are now bonding over their vinyl purchases again, and some bands are releasing albums and singles strictly on vinyl (and we have Record Store Day to thank for much of that).  So, where does it go from here?  Instead of waxing poetic and offering one man’s opinion, I decided to invite a few other folks to offer their thoughts on vinyl-related subjects. A special thanks to those that took the time to get involved in this virtual roundtable!

Guest panelists:

  • HENRY PRIESTMAN (singer-songwriter/Yachts, The Christians, solo)
  • THOM ZIMNY (filmmaker/Wings For Wheels, The Promise, etc.)
  • KURT REIL (singer, songwriter, producer/The Gripweeds)
  • ZEEK WEEKLING (aka BOB BURGER: singer, songwriter/The Weeklings)
  • BILL KOPP (music journalist/Musocscribe, numerous liner notes)
  • LANNIE FLOWERS (singer-songwriter/The Pengwins, solo)
  • MICHAEL SIMMONS (singer, songwriter, producer/Sparklejets UK, The Yorktown Lads, etc.)
  • DAVE RAYBURN (singer-songwriter/podcast host)
  • PETER JACHIMIAK (Senior Lecturer in Media & Cultural Studies at the School of Media, University of South Wales)
  • GARY FITCH (vinyl enthusiast)
  • TIMOTHY BISHOP (podcast host)

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