Karl Anderson: We are in time of a great music revolution

Dimitris Antonopoulos spoke to Karl Anderson, the founder of the American Global Recording Artists and of course the man who runs  the CD - Tribute to Sky Saxon, featuring Iggy Pop , Electric Prunes, The Damned, etc.

This tribute includes the last interview given by Sky Saxon, a few days before leaving us. Can you imagine to whom he gave it, huh? To Dimitris Antonopoulos!

Karl told us many interesting things about music in general, Internet, Sky Saxon collection, his Record Company and many others issues.

DA: Your label story so far.

KA: I started Global Recording Artists about 4 years ago as I wanted to help older artists release new material. It is really tragic that so many vintage artists do not have record contracts or at least have an outlet for their new music.

It seems the industry is only focused on the vintage material and classic unreleased performances. I think that is really a shame that these creative giants are not allowed to create anymore. So I try to give the artists a home to create and release new material. I look at GRA as a family and the artists and I are all in it together.

DA: Some future plans - ideas?

KA: Currently I have too many projects on the horizon. I am just putting the finishing touches on a new CD by Patrick Campbell-Lyons from the original Nirvana called the 13 Dalis. It is an amazing recording and is truly one of the best things he has ever done in his lifetime.

I am also wrapping up two new CD’s for John York from the Byrds. One is a CD called West Coast Revelation that John did with the Legendary Kim Fowley. Kim wrote lyrics with the original Byrds so this is really brings it all back to the Byrds easy rider period. There are some truly amazing recordings on it. John has also finished up his new solo CD called fanfare for two. John feels it is the best thing he has ever done and I am inclined to agree with him. If you are fan of the later Byrds country flavored material these cds contain a goldmine of new material for you.

There are so many projects happening at global a new cd for Tom Constanten from the Grateful Dead, An anthology for Duncan Faure (Rabbitt, Bay City Rollers) A new album from Jerry Miller of Moby Grape. New CD’s for quicksilver Messenger Service, Bill Mumy and an amazing one for Sal Valentino from the Beau Brummels are all on the immediate horizon for Global Recording Artists
 
DA: Tell me about your wonderful tribute album in memory of Sky Saxon, about the artists & some details about it?

SkySaxon KA: I met and became very close to sky the last few years of his life. I found Sky an amazing, Wonderful, Loving Human being. He really believed in peace and was true believer in making the world a better place to live.  If you knew him closely you could not help but get his beliefs under you skin…

We working on a very large project at the time of Sky’s passing. We had embarked on releasing all of his material from 1970 forward. We had planned on reissues of rare items and releasing a ton of new material that never saw the light of day. It is still my hope to finish that dream that we started as I know it was truly important to Sky.

This idea for the tribute CD stemmed out of the giant memorial concert we had for sky shortly after his passing in LA. It was an amazing tribute and had the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Electric Prunes, Nels Kline from Wilco, Billy Corgan from the Smashing pumpkins and the Seeds mega band for the event. It was the ultimate tribute to Sky’s life.

Out of the concert stemmed the idea of doing the ultimate tribute to sky and his life. We really wanted a way to keep his music alive and get the word out to others about Sky. We also wanted to find a way to raise the money to get Sky’s final resting place for him. He wanted his ashes spread in Hawaii with Father Yod and some to be placed in LA for people to have a place to visit him.

It was in these begging’s that Sky Saxon tribute was conceived. I really wanted to make it the greatest tribute to Sky ever and I really pulled out all of the stops to get as many people on board as possible.  Just to name a few

Iggy Pop
Electric Prunes
Strawberry Alarm Clock
Patrick Campbell-Lyons from Nirvana
Peter Daltrey from Kaleidoscope
Davy Jones from the Monkees
Arthur Brown (Crazy world Of)
The Damned
The Germs
Kim Fowley
Bill Mumy (lost in space)
Kevin Cadogan (Third Eye Blind)
The Tubes
Nik Turner (Hawkwind)
John York (The Byrds)
Chocolate Watchband with Darryl Hooper on Keys
Etc

SkySaxonThere are so many great people on board it is going be an awesome tribute to Sky. It will cover music from Sky’s entire career 1959 to the present. There will be lots of Seeds tunes but I wanted this to be so much more than just Seeds tribute. It is a tribute to the life and music of Sky Sunlight Saxon and will even include Sky’s last recorded single the Message that was supposed to be released for the tour that never happened.

DA: Your favorite 5 albums of all time.

KA: That is a tough one. I love so many different styles of music it is tough to pick a few. But I will pick my 5 favorite psyche albums here.

1 Inner Mystique_ Chocolate Watchband
2 Black Flower- Nirvana
3 Future- The Seeds
4 Triangle-Beau Brummels
5 Forever Changes-Love


DA: Your best gig ever as a music fan.

KA: Once again this is really tough one. How does one choose their all time favorite concert? There are so many different concerts I have been too that were great for one reason or the other. I do a lot video directing and find myself at so many great events.

I think the one of the best would have to be the memorial we did for Chet Helms in Golden Gate Park. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time. I have seen tighter performances, bigger shows and bigger names but this was just very special day and everyone had a great time. It was just like the Summer of Love had returned to Golden Gate Park for the day. Chet was the founder of the Family Dog and set up the original concerts in the 60s’. He helped organize the summer of Love, Ran the Avalon Ballroom and discovered Janis Joplin and managed Big Brother and holding company to name a few things he accomplished. Chet was a man of his word and really believed in the ideals for the 1960’s until the very end and he was a close friend of mine so this concert was near and dear to my heart.

ChetHelmsWhen Chet passed we decided to do a massive celebration in Golden Gate Park for him. He was so tied to the concerts in the park n the 60’s it seemed the fitting tribute. We had Jefferson Starship, It’s a Beautiful Day, Country Joe, The Charltans and canned heat to name a few. It was just like the 60’s everyone just pitched in for free to make this happen. It ended up being a huge success and about 60,000 people showed up for the event.

This marked the beginning of Free Shows in Golden Gate Park and since then we had a massive 40th anniversary of the summer love and a 40th anniversary of Woodstock called West Fest there. Those we even more successful the summer of love event had about 150.000 people in attendance. But there is something very special about the first one we did for Chet. It is available on DVD and CD here if anyone wants to see the Chet Fest or the Summer of Love. Woodstock coming soon

DA: Your point of view about the music industry nowadays with the internet etc.

KA: We are in one of the most rapidly changing times in the music industry. There are no standards anymore. All of the tried and true methods of sales and promotion are changing. We are seeing the end of the music store. Especially in the US Record Stores and closing in droves and people are not out buying music. Magazines and newspapers are folding.

On the other hand people are able to get more music online than ever. Amazon and downloads sites like I-Tunes are changing the whole game. In many ways I can reach more people now than ever. There are more ways to get music out and available to people. So we are in time of a great music revolution.

We just have to embrace the change and find the best way to market and sell the music. The internet is by far my biggest marketing tool. I still use a physical distributor but I have a feeling that will eventually disappear too. The real challenge now is getting your message out to the people. There is so much information everyone is overloaded and the real key is getting your music and what you are doing to stand out from the millions of other trying to do the same thing.

It is a wild ride and I am just planning hanging on and ride with the changes and hopefully come out on top at the other side.


FD: Vynil,CD or mp3?

I think once again the medium will ultimately be dictated by the market. Personally I loved my vinyl lps. There was a magic to holding the big cover and watching the disc spinning. It was almost hypnotic.

But times changed and along came CD and lots of reissues with bonus tracks. A lot of music that would have never been available again suddenly became viable and many artists ended up having a surge in popularity. I have thousands of cds and really love those too.

The MP3’s came and it started to change again. I have an mp3 player and carry many tunes around with me on it. It is very convenient and I carry thousands of albums with me in my hand. But I honestly feel a good piece of Vinyl sounds the best and they still hold a special place in my heart for me.

But the reality is that only 1% of sales are vinyl now. 14% are paid downloads and 85% are CD sales. So CD’s are the main push for me and all of my artists are available for digital downloads too. I have been looking for a good vinyl specialist who would like press my titles on vinyl so they could be available. I really want someone who knows that market and how to sell them. So am looking for a good partner on it so I can be available in all formats.

FD: Have you ever been to Greece?

DR: It seems I spend too much time in the studio producing music and now on marketing and trying to sell it. I wish I could say I have been to Greece but I have not had the chance to yet. I do want to make it there I have heard so many great things from people who have been there and the people I have dealt with in Greece for magazines and promotions have been really supportive of my vision of getting new material out for these artists.

I know that Sky loved it there and told me many times it was his favorite country. I am sure I will be there in the future and plan on coming by and saying hi when I am there… Thanks for you interest and support of what I do at Global Recording Artists - www.gragroup.com.

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