A&R Records' Stan Getz on What Makes Vinyl Unique and Handling Hydraulic Leaks
Stan Getz presses vinyl at A&R Record and Tape Manufacturing Co.. Not just your garden variety black licorice, either. They press colorful, almost-tasty-enough-to-eat records for The Flaming Lips, Polyphonic Spree, Fair To Midland, Toadies and a bazillion more. Lately, you might have heard of some local music folks showing up at his place to pitch in and help press vinyl, just to say they did it once. Getz was handed the opportunity to go to work for A&R in 1983,and has been there ever since.
You make wax for a living. Awesome gig, or is it? The fun side is a happy customer that has gone through the process of doing a vinyl release. The packaging schemes, the crazy great ideas for making their release unusual. Stuff like wonderful bare-bones black and white art to elaborate gate-fold jackets, ingenious box sets, and unusual black and color pressings. These past five years or so I have come to know some incredible, truly behind-the-scenes folks that make it all work. It's like finding family members I never knew existed ... like we were always friends, even after meeting them for the first time.
Okay, but it's also a straight-up factory job. Is that part a back-breaker? Yes, since we are manufacturing. It is totally an awesome gig though. My associates and I all wear multiple hats here. Being diversified and multi-tasking is really important to the company's survival. The dirty side of it all can be a number of scenarios! Hydraulic leak, a pipe breaking and flooding the area, constant maintenance and dealing with machine failures, troubleshooting electrical issues, and so on. But when it's fixed, there's a feeling of accomplishment.
Is this gig your main source of income? This is what I have done all my life. My father and mother started a recording studio/pressing plant when I was a child, and I grew up in this business. I played in bar bands from my teens on, did studio work for years and some paid session work, and worked in the pressing plant as well.
Tell us about the other functions A&R handles. Record pressing, of course ... packaging and drop shipping if needed. I also do quite a bit of audio mastering, and have been doing more and more disc mastering for some major labels, large independents and other pressing plants as well.
Was music and a record collection a profound part of Stan the kid's life? My dad played out. One morning there was a set of drums set up in the living room. From there, my brothers and I and neighborhood kids did the basement band stuff for years. I remember when finishing a song, we could hear the TV set blaring in the living room to overpower our noise. I think we drove my mother crazy!
How about some local music artists you've pressed up on vinyl? A question I should pass, because I know there is absolutely no way I can avoid missing somebody. We have pressed jobs from a garage recording to absolute state of the art on local bands. So many. The thing that totally takes me back is the folks of "rock star status" I have come to know are the absolute best, down to earth folks. Tim DeLaughter, the guys from Fair to Midland, the guys from Messer, on and on. The folks behind the scenes are every bit as committed, and the most professional I have and will ever meet. Pure talent and professionalism. I am humbled to know the real deal.
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