After Alvin Lee's guitar playing at Woodstock catapulted Ten Years After to international fame, the band took a more commercial direction and started playing stadium tours. Come 1974, Alvin felt limited within the confines of this band and embarked on a solo career.
By the time this interview was recorded with Mary Travers in 1975, he was supporting his second solo studio album, Pump Iron! The chat starts off with predictable questions about why he left Ten Years After, what it's like to be playing "solo," and how the new album was recorded. Some of the best parts, however, are when the two world-class performers' conversation becomes more metaphysical as they talk about venue acoustics, the music business, and the labeling of genres.
00:18 - Touring as Alvin Lee vs. touring with Ten Years After01:41 - Writing process with the new band vs. with Ten Years After02:43 - Why he got out of Ten Years After03:20 - New directions on the new album04:15 - Creating music live vs. creating in the studio06:56 - Re-creating the live experience in the studio ("Burnt Fungus," "Truckin' Down the Other Way")08:19 - Inviting friends to the recording barn 09:01 - The acoustics of performance venues10:16 - The economics behind concert promotion / some favorite venues11:44 - Anglicized rock (Ten Years After) better suited for playing arenas12:28 - Exploring subtlety with the new band 13:21 - Influences: traditional blues, early rock and roll15:13 - Seeing Elvis Presley in Las Vegas15:52 - The beauty of a Little Richard record16:34 - The ideal producer17:38 - "What the audience wants" / the origin of one-hit wonders 18:30 - Jazz musicians have the right idea / the original shoe gazers / self-indulgence20:36 - Forays into his roots / any music with a beat / release vs. escape22:01 - Classical music22:22 - The direction of contemporary music / the silliness of pigeonholed genres25:00 - Interlude25:48 - Recording Pump Iron! / a hobby without a deadline, a job with one26:34 - Always dissatisfied with albums he's made 27:52 - Mary's desire to make a compilation album 28:27 - Fast food in Japan
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