Manufacturing the Oceania vinyl – Interview with Stan Getz

Article written by guest writer Craig W. Stevens
 

The release of The Smashing Pumpkins new album, Oceania, has received the attention of the media press from Howard Stern to NPR to Rolling Stone. There are several ways to listen to the album. The Smashing Pumpkins official store has CD, vinyl and high-fidelity audio files available for purchase. People have expressed concern regarding perceived distortion and issues with the vinyl pressing of the album. I was curious about these perceived issues and contacted Stan Getz, whose company, A&R Record & Tape Mfg. Co., manufactured the vinyl.

I explained to Getz what some of the perceived “issues” were and asked if he had any interest in commenting on the situation. His response was both shocked and heart felt. His passion for the music and craft is evident as Getz stated, “This is one of the greatest releases I have had the honor to work on to date.” Getz communicated he felt the gravity of the situation in regards to pressing the first Smashing Pumpkins album in five years.

As far as the mastering, Getz stated he was “only responsible for the vinyl mastering” and that “The GREAT ‘Bob Ludwig’, one of my heroes, did the audio mastering before it came to me.” To see some of the mastering specifics in regards to vinyl records, check out an excellent article by Scott Dorsey on Recording Magazine’s website.

Getz explains some of the technical details, “Outer tracks great, and as we go further into the inner diameter, [there are] questions. Just for discussions sake, if there is 4″ on the outer diameter to “Cut” the audio, the closer to the center of the disc it becomes less and less space to place the audio. So 4″ to place audio in the OD becomes maybe around 1/3″ in the ID for the same audio??.” Getz said, “It becomes a matter of the quality of the playback cartridge.”

 

Getz explains how a proper setup will provide the best results, “A good playback cartridge, properly set up, would reproduce this satisfactorily. It is not that the audio is compromised in any way; it gets down to quality of equipment it is reproduced on.” About the Oceania album, Getz stated, “I can truly say I have worked with the best in this biz on this release.” Getz only had praise to offer the Smashing Pumpkins team, “Billy is an incredible person, and his immediate/personal team is off the wall great!”

This is not the first Smashing Pumpkins release by Getz and A&R. The Volume 1 – Songs for a Sailor, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope box set was pressed at A&R and assembled in Austin, TX. According to Getz, he worked so hard on the release that he, “spent evenings and weekends to make the deadline pressing it, and the plant broke down over a weekend, to boot, while hustling to make the deadline.” Getz said, “I cut the keeper masters for ‘Teargarden’ 7″ well after 12 am on a late Saturday, early Sunday, and slept at the plant that eve[ning]. I set aside time to tackle it, and it was hours for a 7″ set of masters less than 4 minutes a side. The master was 1/2″ 30 ips reel to reel.”

Other vinyl which A&R pressed for the Smashing Pumpkins includes the 2010 limited edition 7” Record Store Day releases. 250 copies of Astral Planes/A Stitch in Time were released at Amoeba Music in Los Angeles, CA. (where The Smashing Pumpkins played for Record Store Day 2010), and 250 copies of Widow Wake My Mind/Song for a Son were released at Vintage Vinyl in Evanston, IL (Billy Corgan has been known to shop there). Getz spoke about those limited releases, “We pressed 2 – 250 limited edition no label 7″ on clear red” and “The Pumpkin camp had sleeves printed and we assembled them into poly bags and shipped to them.” After seeing copies of the two vinyls show up on Ebay the next day, Getz said he was “so disappointed, but the art guy (who I know, and got me involved) posed this to me: ‘It immediately became a collector’s item.’ ”

Getz mentioned he has spoken with Billy Corgan about another project A&R worked on, the Gish and Siamese Dream reissues. Getz also “cut the master lacquers for the recent picture disc.” Volume II: The Solstice Bare. The song Cottonwood Symphony was on that release and Getz relayed a story he was told, “ ‘Cottonwood’ was mixed down to an old school Studer 1/4″ reel to reel at 15 ips, that was used as the master recorder for ‘Magical Mystery Tour’”. After finding out that information, Getz said, “Believe what you want, but when I was told that, the hair stood up on the back of my neck.”

A&R has also pressed vinyl for other bands, notably The Flaming Lips. Getz said he works closely with Wayne [Coyne] and Michael [Ivins] and has “spent 3am nights cutting with Michael more than once.”

Getz’s dedication and hard work are apparent. He displays patience with the ever aging pressing equipment. Today’s pressing equipment is old and has known issues. The “last album manufacturing machines ever made are said to be those built and supplied by Alpha Toolex to Melodiya (USSR) in the mid 80s. Most machines in use today were made in the 60s and 70s.” Archer Record Pressing in Detroit, MI explains on a video at their website that “anything can go wrong” and “they all have.”

I would like to thank Stan Getz and A&R Record and Tape Mfg. Co. for their assistance and time while looking into the vinyl release of Oceania. Their time and attention to detail has provided yet another quality Smashing Pumpkins vinyl for our collecting and listening enjoyment!

For more details and discussion, click here.

The Tower of Oceania

Article researched and written by Derek Miller, Geo Folkers & Arthur van Pelt

Now, with the official release of the Oceania album today (though many of you have received it already a few days ago, lucky you!), it is time to reveal some information about the tower that dominates the front artwork of this latest Smashing Pumpkins album.

It is named: the CARY AVENUE TOWER

The Cary Avenue Tower is located in Highland Park, Illinois (US). It was built in 1931, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 30, 1983.

The Cary Avenue Tower, with an address of 883 Sheridan Road, is near the water pumping station along the lake front north of Rosewood Beach. Therefore, the tower is also known under the local name Rosewood Tower. It overlooks Lake Michigan from a little hill on the shore. The impressive, Art Deco brick and stone, tower has limestone coursing around the door and vent openings. It is topped by a stainless steel ornamental spire. Its original use was as a ventilation stack, but it is no longer in use for that function.

So now you know…

SP Record Club, OCEANIA Album & Tour News

Article written by Arthur van Pelt

The hardcore fans, and also the average fans, will not have missed it: Smashing Pumpkins recently started the Smashing Pumpkins Record Club. Go to SmashingPumpkins.com to find out more. And don’t forget to search for the somewhat “hidden” download for another song, Geek U.S.A. – Suicide Kiss No Vox demo!

Next to that, Billy Corgan just announced a few hours ago on Twitter that the new album is ready. “Oceania is done… I am so proud of this record, and this band”. In the meantime, the band also figured out a rather extensive US and EU tour to try out the new songs of Oceania. The tour is called “The Other Side Of The Kaleidyscope”, and the new songs will be mixed with some Greatest Hits from the past. These are the dates, as published on the tourpage of the website of the band.

USA tour October 2011

2011/10/05 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles
2011/10/07 Fox Theatre, Oakland
2011/10/08 Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
2011/10/10 Ogden Theatre, Denver
2011/10/13 The Riverside Theater, Milwaukee
2011/10/14 Riviera Theater, Chicago
2011/10/15 The Fillmore, Detroit
2011/10/17 9:30 Club, Washington
2011/10/18 Terminal 5, New York
2011/10/19 Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence
2011/10/21 Orpheum Theatre, Boston
2011/10/22 Tower Theater, Upper Darby

Europe tour November & December 2011

2011/11/02 Annexet, Stockholm
2011/11/04 Spektrum, Oslo
2011/11/05 The Grey Hall (Freetown Christiania), Copenhagen
2011/11/07 Vorst Nationaal, Vorst (Bruxelles)
2011/11/08 Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
2011/11/09 Zenith, Paris
2011/11/11 Apollo, Manchester
2011/11/13 O2 Academy, Glasgow
2011/11/14 O2 Academy, Newcastle
2011/11/15 Brixton Academy, London
2011/11/16 Brixton Academy, London
2011/11/18 O2 Academy, Sheffield
2011/11/19 O2 Academy, Birmingham
2011/11/21 Pier 2, Bremen
2011/11/23 Tempodrom, Berlin
2011/11/24 Palladium, Koln
2011/11/25 Stadhalle, Offenbach
2011/11/27 Zenith, Munich
2011/11/28 Mediolanum Forum, Assago
2011/11/29 PalaFabris, Padua
2011/12/01 Gasometer, Vienna
2011/12/02 Komplex, Zurich
2011/12/03 den Atelier, Luxembourg-City
2011/12/06 Sala Razzmatazz, Barcelona
2011/12/07 La Riviera, Madrid
2011/12/08 Campo Pequeno, Lisbon

Billy Corgan’s videomessage: Hot News!

Article written by Debby Rosin

Finally, an official announcement of the super unreal happy news that William Patrick Corgan promised us. And it appears that most fans are impressed with the news. First of all, there is the next Teargarden song – ‘Owata’. This song has been played live several times already, in different styles, so who knows how the studio version will turn out! We’ll see next week.

In a few months, we will see the release of Oceania, an album which will be part of the 44-song Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project – taking a new direction, which William hinted at back in December. And before the end of the year, we will see reissues of the albums Gish, Siamese Dream, and Pisces Iscariot, digitally remastered with extra songs from the Smashing Pumpkins vault, some known and some perhaps unknown.

Then in 2012, we will see the reissue of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Aeroplane Flies High, and Adore, with Machina/The Machines of God and Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music released as one package for the first time commercially, in 2013. And last but not least, a tour is planned for the latter part of the year, no dates have been announced, but it is likely that North America and Europe will get some live shows. It looks like it’s all happening now for the Smashing Pumpkins! Check out the complete videomessage of Billy Corgan on Facebook.