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A Few Minutes with Marshall Crenshaw

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Pop music fans are certainly very familiar with Marshall Crenshaw. Beginning with the release of his classic, self-titled LP in 1982 (featuring enduring gems such as “Someday Someway” and “Cynical Girl,” among many) and continuing through the series of excellent EP’s he’s released in recent years, the Michigan-born singer/songwriter/guitarist has never failed to engage with his straightforward, guitar-based music that has been informed as much by soul, classic pop and country as it has by rock.

Crenshaw’s latest venture involves working with Intervention Records to re-release a deluxe vinyl-only version of his 1983 album, Field Day. He has also partnered with PledgeMusic to bring fans a special pre-sale of the release, making available signed copies of the record, test pressings, art proofs and other unique merchandise related to the album (Field Day socks!) that’s never been available before.

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The expanded edition double album – due for release this fall – will include the original 10-track album as well as a five-song 12” 45RPM remix EP, originally released in the UK only in 1984. (The EP featured three John Luongo remixes of the original Steve Lillywhite-produced tracks from Field Day, an “extended mix” of “For Her Love,” and a live version of Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister.”) The newly minted double album will be pressed on 180g vinyl, with 100% analog mastering from the original master tapes. It will also feature a gatefold sleeve with all-new cover art conceived by Crenshaw, reportedly based upon the original “Whenever You’re On My Mind” picture sleeve artwork.

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Also, set for release in late November is Thank You, Rock Fans!!, a previously unreleased 13-song live performance from 1982, recently discovered sitting in the Warner Brothers vaults. Sourced from the original analog master tapes and mixed by the dBs’ Chris Stamey, each copy of the 180g LP will be individually numbered and available in limited quantities. Thank You, Rock Fans!! Is being released by Run Out Groove Records, a new vinyl-only label that presses limited edition titles made by music fans for music fans. Pre-orders are happening now via their website.

With all the impending activity, we thought we’d shoot off a few quick questions to Crenshaw, who is currently touring with Los Straitjackets:

GM: You've always chosen some interesting and cool covers to record over the course of your career, ranging from tunes by likes of the Left Banke, the Carpenters, and ABBA to the Everly Brothers and James McMurtry. Going back to your debut, how did you come to record Arthur Alexander's "Soldier of Love?"

MC: I heard the Beatles doing it first and flipped over their version. When I was with Beatlemania, friends of mine had the Beatles' BBC recordings on bootlegs; that's how I [first] heard the tune. I didn't hear Arthur Alexander's record until after my first album was out already, with my version of "Soldier Of Love" on it. I think Arthur wins, definitely.

GM: You've gone the major label, indie and self-released route with your music. What do you find are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each, and which vehicle do you prefer to release your music?

MC: At this point I just look at the big picture: I decided, when I was about 26, that I wanted to make records; over the years I just did that in the best way that was available to me at the time. Getting a major-label contract was a goal, and a big hurdle to cross. After I did that it was an established fact that I was a recording artist, and I just went on from there.

GM: You have an upcoming reissue scheduled of your 1983 album Field Day. Of all your albums, why did you choose to re-release Field Day? Does that particular record hold a special meaning for you?

MC: It actually wasn't my idea to do it; I didn't hear about it until it was already in progress. I love that…Intervention Records decided to put their energy and effort behind that album. Field Day is possibly my favorite record of mine, mostly for the "high on life" kind of vibe that it has. Many thanks to Shane Buettner of Intervention; his mastering job here will floor you!

GM: An underrated aspect of your music is your guitar playing. Who are some of the guitarists that you especially admire?

MC: Earlier today, for the first time, I heard some recordings by Jimmy Shirley, one of the pioneering users of electric guitar. He got a beautiful sound [and] played great stuff. There's just no end to it, I could sit here and list 500 guitar players that have moved me, from Joe Bennett to Mary Osborne, Manuel Galban, Jody Williams, Ron Asheton [and] on and on. Anyway, thanks for saying something nice about my playing; it's the basis of whatever I've tried to do, to give myself a platform to try and play guitar.

For more information on Marshall Crenshaw and his upcoming projects, visit: