After helping to produce legendary albums for The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons teamed up with his manager, Eric Woolfson, in the mid-’70s to create the Alan Parsons Project, which will be featured in Parsons’ Greatest Hits Tour at the Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill on June 6. We asked Parsons a few questions to help you reacquaint with the musician before he takes the stage.
What can fans expect from your upcoming show? “It’s a hits show. It’s dominated by the music of the Alan Parsons Project. We’ll probably play one new song, which is our new single. It’s called ‘Do You Live at All?’”
You’ve worked with a lot of very big names, like The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Is there one experience or project that really stands out in your mind? “The first Alan Parsons Project album—The Tales of History and Imagination. Just to have my name on the front cover of an album for the first time, and to be in complete control of it for the first time, it was quite a moment for me. But of course there were great moments from my beginnings. How many people can say that they worked on The Beatles’ Abbey Road and can say they worked with Pink Floyd on Dark Side of the Moon?”
Your song “Sirius” plays all the time at sporting events. Do you have residuals flowing in like crazy from that? “No, because when you play a record at a sports stadium, it just becomes part of the blanket agreement between the venues and the copyright collection agencies.”
Is there one thing in particular you really like about going on tour and performing live for an audience? “The immediacy. I like the sense of, ‘This has got to be right. We can’t change it.’ When you’re recording in the studio, you just keep repeating stuff until it’s right. The live performance aspect is just much more immediate, much more risky. What drives the show is a certain nervousness—‘Is anything going to go wrong?’ It’s been said before, ‘If you don’t have stage fright, there’s something wrong with you.’”
What’s next for you? “In the long-term, retirement is the answer. But, I’ve still got a couple of years to go I think—playing live. We’ve been doing single releases periodically because that seems to be the way of the world right now. I’m still enjoying producing. I’m hoping I’ll do more work with Jake Shimabukuro—he’s a virtuoso of the ukulele. He got millions of hits on his website playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the ukulele. You think that a ukulele player wouldn’t really have much to offer in the rock ’n’ roll market, but he is extraordinary.”