Alan Parsons Live Project rocks Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Nov. 14
From a press release:
Legendary audio engineer, record producer, songwriter, and musician Alan Parsons will bring his band The Alan Parsons Live Project to the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets, which are $35, $45, and $59.50, plus applicable fees, are on sale now and can be purchased at sandseventcenter.com, the Event Center box office (77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem), ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Alan Parsons was born into a family with an impressive history in entertainment. His great-grandfather was the celebrated actor/manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. His mother was an actress, professional folk singer, and harpist, and his father, Denys Parsons, was an accomplished pianist and flautist as well as the author of many books. The late Oliver Reed, film actor, was a cousin. His uncle, David Tree, was also a film and stage actor.
Parsons had dabbled with live performance in his late teens as a folk/blues acoustic player and as a lead guitarist with a blues band called The Earth in the late ’60s in his hometown of London. (Their only album, “Elemental,” later surfaced and was released by Record Collector Magazine in 2016.) But as soon as he landed a job at the famous Abbey Road Studios at the age of 19, it became clear that the world of sound recording was to dominate his career.
“Abbey Road” – he was fortunate enough to work as assistant engineer on the last two albums by The Beatles and, after he qualified as a full-fledged recording engineer, he went on to work with Paul McCartney and The Hollies, among many others. But it was his contribution as engineer on Pink Floyd’s classic “The Dark Side of the Moon” that really got him world attention. That soon led to striking successes as a producer – notably with Pilot’s “Magic,” John Miles’ “Highfly” and “Music,” and Steve Harley’s “(Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile.” He also produced the hugely successful “Year of the Cat” album with Al Stewart and two albums with American prog rock band Ambrosia.
In 1975, he met Eric Woolfson, who not only became his manager, but joined forces with Parsons as a songwriting and performing partner for what became known as The Alan Parsons Project. The APP’s debut album, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, paved the way for a signing to Clive Davis’ newly launched Arista label and a string of hit albums, namely “I Robot” (1977), “Pyramid” (1978), “The Turn of a Friendly Card” (1980), “Eye in the Sky” (1982), “Ammonia Avenue” (1984), “Vulture Culture” (1985), “Stereotomy” (1986) and “Gaudi” (1987). A brief venture into musical theatre resulted in “Freudiana” in 1990. The show ran for over a year in the historic Theater An Der Wien in Vienna. Woolfson and Parsons then went separate ways. Woolfson devoted his career to the musical theatre while Parsons felt the need to bring his music to the live concert stage and continue to record ambitious symphonic rock music.
With his long-standing previous APP collaborators – guitarist Ian Bairnson, drummer Stuart Elliott, and orchestral arranger Andrew Powell – Parsons dropped the “Project” identity for Alan Parsons’ “Try Anything Once” in 1994. The partnership continued for “On Air” in 1996 and “The Time Machine” in 1999. During this time, the first incarnation of “The Alan Parsons Live Project” toured to sell-out audiences throughout the globe. Following Parsons’ relocation to California in 1999 with his American girlfriend, Lisa, and a divorce from Smokey, his first wife, a brand new Live Project band was formed in 2003. That same year, Lisa and Parsons were married. Another band reshuffle happened in 2010.
The album “A Valid Path,” Parsons’ foray into electronica, was released in 2004 and featured Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, The Crystal Method, Shpongle, Uberzone, P.J. Olsson and Parsons’ son, Jeremy. 2008 saw the reissue of all the Alan Parsons Project albums in expanded form, containing never-before-heard bonus material and a two-CD compilation called “The Essential Collection.” One of the most familiar Project tracks is “Sirius,” perhaps best known as the Chicago Bulls theme. It was also used as the walk-on music for the New Orleans Saints at their triumphant Super Bowl game in 2010 and at the 2012 European Cup soccer matches. “Sirius” has also been featured at countless other sporting events, in commercials, and in the movies “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Beerfest.”
In 2010, Parsons felt the need to share his extensive knowledge and expertise with the rest of the music industry. With the help of fellow Brit Julian Colbeck, he wrote and produced a comprehensive instructional video series about recording called “Art & Science of Sound Recording” (ASSR). It features contributions from a myriad of celebrity artists, engineers, and producers and is narrated by Billy Bob Thornton. There is also a companion book. “All Our Yesterdays,” a song written especially for the series, features some of Los Angeles’ finest musicians and a rare performance by Parsons on lead vocals. Parsons has been supporting ASSR with a series of lectures and Master Class Training Sessions (MCTS) all over the world. Attendees witness Parsons at work in the studio and participate actively in the making of a possible future hit.
Since the beginning of 2012, as well as performing live shows, Parsons has kept busy in the studio doing vocals for German electronica outfit Lichtmond and with Yes stars Billy Sherwood and Chris Squire as The Prog Collective. Other collaborations have been with Mexican superstar Aleks Syntek and celebrated Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen. Parsons produced an album called “Grand Ukulele” with Jake Shimabukoro, the virtuoso ukulele player whose YouTube video of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” received over 10 million hits. The album contains a number of orchestral arrangements by Winger frontman Kip Winger. A collaboration with Steven Wilson as engineer and associate producer resulted in major success, including a Top 5 album in Germany with “The Raven That Refused to Sing” in 2013.
A CD box set of all the Alan Parsons Projects was released in March 2014 and included a controversial, never previously released CD from 1979 entitled “The Sicilian Defence.” Parsons has received a large number of awards, including 11 Grammy nominations, the Les Paul Award in 1995, and the Diva Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in Munich, Germany in June of 2012. He is in demand as a public speaker and was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Audio Engineering Society Convention in Los Angeles and the opening speaker at the TEDx Conejo conference in California in April of 2012.
In the summer of 2016, Parsons released a video on Blu-ray and DVD, and audio in both stereo and 5.1 surround, of a major concert event in Medellin Columbia featuring a 70-piece symphony orchestra. Both “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” and “Eye in the Sky” have been re-released on vinyl at 45 rpm. Both albums have been released in anniversary box sets, including vinyl, original, and bonus CDs and include 5.1 surround mixes on Blu-ray.
Parsons has been leading the way regarding technology, blending tech with art for his craft as a recording engineer and producer/performer. Compiling years of expertise into his book (and DVD set) “Art & Science of Sound Recording,” he has created a work unlike anything else available in the marketplace.
2018 brought a special opportunity to the public in March. Parsons led an intensive master class weekend workshop, along with Grammy Award-winning arranger (and one of his band members) Tom Brooks, at Hybrid Studios in Santa Ana, California, which includes a full symphony orchestra. Session greats Vinnie Colaiuta, Nathan East, and Jeff Kollman also participated. The track, an orchestral classic, was given the prog rock treatment and will actually appear on Parsons’ next album. He is not only in the middle of recording that album, he’s doing it on his brand new all-analogue Neve 5088 console at his new state-of-the-art recording studio.
Believing in giving back to his community, Parsons donated all proceeds from his Chumash Casino concert to benefit first responders and local organizations serving Thomas flood victims and first responders. But his generosity doesn’t stop there. He helped to spearhead the One 805 Kick Ash Bash benefit event that further supports first responders and Montecito fire and flood victims. Raising over $2 million, the celebrity appearance list included Dennis Miller (emcee), Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Seymour, Michael Keaton, David Foster, Don Johnson, and musical performances by Parsons, Katie Perry, Wilson Philips, David Crosby, Steve Vai, Katharine McPhee, Richard Marx, The Sisterhood Band, Glen Phillips, Steve Vai, Dishwalla, among others.
Exercising his family genes in acting (cousin to noted actor Oliver Reed), Parsons will be immortalized as a cartoon-ized version of himself in the “Yacht Rocky” episode of the long-running mega-hit animated TV series “Family Guy.” It will be aired sometime in 2019.
Parsons’ longtime hobby has been performing magic, and he regularly attends the legendary Magic Castle in Hollywood, where he is a magician member.
Parsons has two sons, Jeremy and Daniel, from his first marriage, both living in the U.K. He now lives on an organic avocado ranch in Santa Barbara, California with his wife Lisa and her two daughters, Tabitha and Brittni, dogs, cats, chickens and an 18-hand Clydesdale called Dante.