With so many great rock, metal and blues collections this year, finding new music that stands out can be a daunting task. But fans of these genres just might discover that perfect blend on Sept. 6, 2019 with Stevie D.’s collaborative album Torn From The Pages, featuring Corey Glover and released by the Mighty Music label.
You might be thinking who is Stevie D. and why the top billing over Glover? After all, as Living Colour’s singer, Glover’s voice leads the evergreen rock anthem “Cult of Personality” and classic albums such as Vivid and Time’s Up. Granted Stevie D., whose real name is Steven DeAcutis, may not be as recognizable as Glover. But D.’s collaborations as a producer, writer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist with a wide range of talent from Glover and pop icon Cyndi Lauper to thrash legends Overkill and more, have probably made their way into most music fans album collections. After years behind the glass, Stevie D.’s long-overdue studio debut finally is being released.
A longstanding relationship brought Glover into the recording studio to sing on one track. The chemistry and camaraderie were undeniable and a full album was produced. The duo’s first video single, “Final Resting Place,” is a soulful blend of hard rock and blues which characterizes much of Torn. From the harder-edged rockers like “Your Time Has Run Out” and “Wake-Up Call” to the lovelorn bluesiness of “Strung Out” and the funky instrumental “Faceplant,” there are a variety of treats for listening enthusiasts.
An Interview with Stevie D.
Musicinterviewmagazine.com caught up with New Jersey native Stevie D. to discuss the producer’s decades-long resume and experiences as a behind-the-scenes wizard. This week, the interview begins in the present. As a follow-up next week, we will work our way back through D.’s experiences as a producer working with an ensemble cast of talent and the Garden State music scene during the late 1970s, when the musician’s career began.
Musicinterviewmagaine.com: Since you have 30-plus years in the music business, why was 2019 the year to release your debut studio album?
Stevie D.: It was a perfect storm of less-than-perfect events that led to the concept of Torn From The Pages. The record is very personal and sums up a difficult period, but it also represents hope and the continuing effort to live your life riotously. Having all these songs written in that period of time and getting Corey to preach the gospel dictated the timing.
Were these songs always intended to be for your album, as opposed to another artist you produce?
Yes, although Corey did use one of the tracks, “Alone Again,” for his last solo record. When we recorded the track, Corey said he hadn’t felt that way about a song since “Cult of Personality.”
Though there is a lot of variety between songs, several are rooted in blues-rock. Was that your main influence during writing?
I just went with my gut. I try not to overthink it, but sometimes it comes easy and other times you need to dig deep.
As one of the faster and heavier songs, “Your Time Has Run Out,” is a really strong album opener. Was it written with that track 1 position in mind?
It was not, but it was the first track Corey sang. After he just assaulted it, he kind of left me no choice but to open with it. A vocal delivery on the level of Corey Glover can take a good song and make it great. His vocal spirit and abilities upgraded every song on the record.
To your credit, there are lots of strong choruses laced throughout Torn. How mindful are you of that when writing?
Very, I always strive for a hook. I think the highest level of music art, in the music sense, is a well-crafted song. The great songwriters, I believe, are born with the gift. I do love a big melodic chorus.
Which song wound up staying closest to its original demo? What song changed most and how did it evolve?
“Strung Out” and “This Is The Time” actually ended up using the original guitars on the final and stayed pretty close their origin. The lead on “Strung Out” is a one-take effort from the first day I worked on the track. “Your Time Has Run Out” and “Wake Up Call” went through some major changes at one point, where I actually added the verse riff on “Your Time” and “Wake Up” had a major arrangement reconstruction well after most of the track was finished.
How was the approach or perception of recording different when handling your own music?
How does your experience behind the glass influence your creative and songwriting processes?
My job enables me to work with many talented musicians and songwriters so I get an inside look at their process. It has been an education. I have worked with musicians who I most likely would not have, had I not been behind the glass.
What are the differences when working with a band as opposed to a solo artist?
The challenges when working with a band is convincing multiple people that you understand their vision and can bring it to a higher level. Also, sometimes I find myself mediating or calming things down within the group.
When working with one artist, I usually execute 90% to 100% of the instrumentation, so it removes having to explain to another player what I am looking at from the equation and can even speed up the process. The advantage of working with a great band is you get that unique chemistry of different people’s abilities, which will create a one-of-a-kind end-result as opposed to the one-man-does-it-all scenario.
What are the challenges in sustaining a career that is out of the musical spotlight? What are some of the advantages?
My first love is performing and when you establish yourself as a mixer-producer and become in-demand, it takes time away from pursuing the artist side. In this business you need to give 110% at what it is you choose to pursue. It’s hard enough achieving success giving 110% at one thing, much less trying to conquer both sides of the coin.
Your resume is unique because it boasts a lot of live work as well as studio recordings. Do you have a preference as to where you do your work?
The studio all day. The studio for me is a creative process and the live thing is an exercise in correction. The big difference in working on a live album is that in the studio I find myself adding, whereas live I am subtracting. On a live album you sometimes have to deal with bleed and poor performances, whereas in the studio, recording can be endlessly perfected.
Check back with Music Interview Magazine next week for more with Stevie D. as we discuss how the producer started in the music industry and some of the heavy hitters he has worked with during a far-reaching career.