What inspired you to actually start “Dynamico”? How long ago were the songs written?
ME: I always think I’m on the verge of making a new record! Having
time to get something going without some monster interruption is the
hard part. Mainly, there was a pretty good gap in the studio schedule
in the summer of 2006 and I had a couple of weeks to listen to things
and actually start accomplishing something. And I probably did spend
way too much time in the 90s wondering if anybody on earth wanted to
hear anything out of me. At this stage of things I have to come to
terms with the fact that anything I do is pretty much a “vanity”
project, which for a long time made me feel sort of confused about the
whole thing. But then, I’ve gotten gratifyingly nice comments on
Dynamico, so I guess it was worth doing. I love making records, but an
important part of the equation for me is to have some version of “the
public” actually like them. I kind of think that if you make records
that absolutely nobody cares about, it’s worth considering what that
The oldest song on Dynamico is probably “Love Slaves to Paradise Lost”,
which I did in 1991 and immediately forgot about. When I came across
the tape I thought- “This is crazy! I like it!” The newest ones are
“Break Through” and “Why Is It so Hard”, which were done in the fall of
2006. Another thing which helped me go ahead and just make the damn
thing was to stop worrying about formalistic concerns like when things
were written, who’s playing on them, etc. I kept thinking I should
make an all-new band record but we’d start some tracks and for some
reason I kept liking versions I already had, even if they were sloppier
or whatever. And I figured that since nobody has heard the older songs,
why not use them if I still liked them?
Have you stayed in touch with your old band mates in Let’s Active?
Any reunion talk ever come up if you did?
ME: I occasionally see most of them, I guess. The only “reunion” I’d ever
consider would be the original Faye & Sara version, which isn’t going
to happen. It doesn’t really appeal to me except maybe for a situation
where somebody else organized everything and we did a one-off for some
Even though you helped put REM on the map, you worked with a ton of
well known artists. As a producer, do you have any favorites? Easiest
to work with? Most difficult?
ME: I’m no good at questions like this! I’d need a list of records in
front of me. I always enjoyed the Game Theory/Loud Family sessions
because I really liked a lot of the songs and they were pretty creative
sessions. I couldn’t say what the easiest and hardest sessions were-
in a way they’re all quite hard work, but the more I like the songs,
the more I enjoy the work, which makes it easy, sort of.
I’ve seen this asked in other interviews, but I’ll ask again. Is there any
chance of a Let’s Active box set coming out?
ME: I doubt it. There’s not that much material, really, and the IRS stuff
is owned by EMI, who aren’t going to bother with such small fry. The
Collector’s Choice reissues probably satisfy most people. I may post a
bunch of out takes and unused songs one of these days, which is
nowadays probably the most practical way to offer the oddities.
Longevity is hard to come by in this business, why do you think
you’ve been able to survive this long?
ME: The studio has been a “real job” that’s let me do something in music
all this time. In the 80s, club bands like Let’s Active could actually
sort of make a living, but now really big-time bands play the same
clubs we used to play as semi-nobodies. So the economics of all this
is pretty weak now. The touring we did last year was completely
subsidized by the studio. We make, you know, $60 these days. I mean,
it’s just pathetic. Meanwhile the club is taking $240 off the top!
This really happened on a recent show! Anyway, I think I’m a decent
recording engineer and people still want to make records, thank
What is the next album going to sound like? Will it take another twenty
years (I sure hope not) ?
ME: I really could start tomorrow if not for sessions I have to do. I
don’t know about the sound – probably more “of a piece” than Dynamico,
but I think people generally just sort of sound how they do, so it
probably doesn’t matter what I say about what it sounds like. My idea
is a fairly simple sound, uncluttered and clear. I’d love to make a
record that is non-fatiguing like a great old rock record from before
the last 20 years of too much compression and too much high end… Oh, and with good songs! Well, that’s the idea, anyway.