With the release of All Saved Freak Band’s reissue of Brain Washed on vinyl LP, a new arm of Old Bear Records was launched. This new endeavor brings to life under-discovered vintage gems from music past as well as more current music that has yet to see a release on vinyl. Old Bear is now reissuing! Chris Hoisington is the curator of such magic, which matches his passion for the back story to music that has influenced most of us creating and recording today. Who influenced the bands we are influenced by? Only Chris Hoisington would not only think that but literally ask it. For the benefit of creatives worldwide, a growing library of pallet-expanding sounds pressed by Old Bear Records arrives. We can all taste these as dishes on the table for us songwriters, music aficionados, and open-minded consumers.
To create great music–or anything good–there is a rhythm that includes how you recharge. Imagine if enjoying food or finding old, obscure records actually are part of your work. As a prolific producer, Chris has been taking time off the road and spending time with his wife and toddler girl. We can’t forget that we are human beings in need of inspiration. Inspiration is about breathing in. What are we breathing in as artists to create better music? Authenticity sometimes requires the kind of rest that allows panning for the gold. Old Bear, as a reissuing label, has been seeking valuable, must-hear records to share with the world.
All Saved Freak Band’s Influence is Wide
All Saved Freak Band is a group from the 1960s and 1970s who’s album Brainwashed is in high demand, getting upwards to $400 for the original 1972 release. Phil Keaggy, after hearing All Saved Freak Band, decided he wanted to go into Christian music. As a forerunner of Christian Rock music, All Saved Freak Band never seemed to get the recognition they deserve. From Daniel Amos to Larry Norman, All Saved Freak Band is a name such people would give credit to as a significant influence. Interestingly, beyond CCM (Contemporary Christian Music), All Saved Freak Band’s wake is felt and celebrated.
Chris explains that groups like All Saved Freak Band garnered respect and appreciation from music lovers and to those that are interested in unearthing great music. One anecdote Chris shared tells how important they are. Dan Auerbach, vocalist and guitarist from the Black Keys, reached out to Joe Markko, encouraging him to re-release the band’s music. Mentioning how Glenn Schwartz, ASFB’s guitarist, inspired the way he plays guitar Dan said, “You guys were the forerunners of an entire genre and nobody knows about it.” Glenn would later record three ASFB tracks with Dan and Joe Walsh in Nashville.
There is a method to choosing the right record release to reissue.
What exactly is Chris Hoisington targeting for Old Bear reissues? There seems to be a loose, but an undoubtedly purposeful list of criteria. The majority of records will be older, vintage reissues, but some records from the past ten years will see their first vinyl pressing. While Chris Hoisington thought it would be nice to fill a niche as a Christian reissue label, quickly that turned to include broader music offering value to music lovers beyond that scope. Even though a group like All Saved Freak Band is faith-based, their musicality and talent pour to music creators and fans of all stripes. Chris called on a bunch of music magazines which confirmed his conclusion. MOJO Magazine as well as several others, for instance, all wished to do a story on the band.
Sometimes the groups and recordings chosen might be “rough around the edges,” says Chris. Chris wants the rough and gruff that inspires other stuff to make it on the list. Who influences the ones that influence you? “When you hear someone you respect say, ‘I love this band’ you’re gonna go listen to that band,” Chris remarks. “Smashing Pumpkins mentioned New Order from the 80s…and that inspired me to get into New Order…then finding out who they (New Order) liked…It is like musician-musicians music,” says Chris. Not all releases will be as accessible as All Saved Freak Band, sounding perhaps a little less polished or perfect. How do you find the beginning “ethos” of an idea? Look for the innovators and ground-breakers.
“People wouldn’t know who Brothers McClurg is, for instance…but I want to find my music from somebody not telling me to check this out or the radio playing it. I want to dig to find my influences…the things not everybody is listening to. I want to wave the flag for that.” I would love to look through Chris’ record collection someday, wouldn’t you? “A lot of it (Chris’s record collection) is 80s synth music or music from the 70s.”
There is something more going on with our culture’s hunger for vintage music.
Vintage vinyl and throwback are becoming such a big deal once again. Why? “It’s about getting closer to the source,” says Chris. MP3 and iTunes are great because it’s convenient, but there’s nothing like holding a vinyl in your hand with the artwork and kind of having that experience again.” This trend, as Chris states, is also seen in comic books. What can be easily viewed and purchased online is still very popular in its printed form. Perhaps, it is the best way to consume a comic. The same is true when experiencing music in the LP format. There just might be a need to physically have a connection to something older and genuine.
When it comes to music or any creative expression today, the medium is part of the experience. Yes, it is convenient to download music. Thanks to Steve Jobs, we can hold thousands of songs in our pocket. But, maybe the feeling and smell of a book sometimes are better than swiping on a screen. Or, it just might enrich us to carefully pull a disc from its sleeve and place side A on the turntable. It slows us down just enough to savor what would otherwise passively exist as background. Doesn’t music at times deserve to be consumed slowly? Like food, there are things to be discovered if we are patient, openminded, and adventurous.
What’s next to be reissued?
Why does Target reissue a vintage 1985 Michael Jackson T-shirt in their stores? We are bridging experiences of multiple generations this way. Maybe, the innovation that moves us to the future has to be informed and grounded in what has come before. Turntables are flying out the door at Bestbuy, so it makes sense for Old Bear to take music–from the obscure to modern–and curate for savvy listeners today. The time capsule effect enriches us. Look for the next reissues on Old Bear, such as the band Twin Sister’s 1990s Star Wars concept album.