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Alan Parsons is so much more than creator of Bulls theme song
Alan Parsons’ “Sirius” from his “Eye in the Sky” CD may be the theme song for the Chicago Bulls — but the singer-songwriter and budding actor has a lot more going on for himself. The 11-time Grammy nominee is an acclaimed progressive rock producer, music engineer and performer. Among his career-defining accomplishments was engineering the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be” albums, as well as Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.”
In a recent phone chat Parsons talked about his approach to music and his upcoming two show he’ll be doing at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles Saturday.
Q: What is happening that has you excited these days?
A: I seem to be doing a lot of live performing, which pays the rent, but also something I really enjoy. Frankly, it’s more rewarding in many ways than merely selling records — instant gratification. That’s what it’s all about.
Q: I also understand that you’re trying to get into a little bit of acting these days?
A: This is a new thing for me, actually. I come from a family of actors. My cousin was Oliver Reed, and my great-grandfather was a celebrated English actor and manager — a contemporary of Oscar Wilde. At the ripe old age of 65 thought, ‘Look, why don’t I see if I can a part in a movie.’
Q: What can your fans look forward to regarding your upcoming Arcada Theater shows?
A: It’s a hits show. Ever since I’ve played live I’ve played the hits from the “Alan Parsons Live Project.” We have a seven-piece band. A nice light show. A real rock music spectacle. We love doing it.
Q: As the man responsible for “Sirius” and having heard it as the theme song at so many Bulls games, you must be happy to be coming to our area?
A: At last! Someone who actually knows what the real title is of that song! [Laughs] In Chicago I know virtually everyone calls it the ‘Bulls Theme’ by Alan Parsons, but it’s nice to hear the real title.
Q: Speaking of your song, do you feel ‘Need You Now’ by Lady Antebellum is a rip-off of “Eye in the Sky”?
A: I’ve heard people say that. No comment on that from me.
Q: Do you find the music business today more challenging than it was when you started out?
A: I come from a background of making albums and we don’t live in an album world anymore. Everything is a single download. Record sales and CD sales are down significantly. Everybody’s going to Pandora and Spotify and iTunes and that’s the way people are getting music delivered now. The only thing I’m trying to achieve myself is to make the MP-3 format go away. There are better quality formats out there. In fact my new single,”Fragile,” which we are just now releasing — we are offering as a less-money download than the MP-3. We’re trying to set a trend with that.
So many people are hearing music on iPhones, iPads and smart phones and things like that. A lot of kids are literally using laptop loudspeakers and that really ruins the music experience, without good, old-fashioned high-fidelity.
Of course, vinyl is coming back as well. So that’s a bit of a hopeful sign. It’s got people listening to music through decent loudspeakers again.
Q: You are interesting as an artist, but also as someone who has a wealth of technical skills due to your background as a sound engineer. Your thoughts about that?
A: I’m one of a few engineer-artists out there. In fact one of those people is Steve Wilson who I made an album with last year [“The Raven that Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)”] – and we’re going to do another one.