There has been a lot of discussion on the Minestrone internet mailing list about the re-mastering of 10cc albums. Eric commented at length on this subject and addressed specific enquiries from the Minestrone members. Following this rather serious topic are a few lighthearted questions!! Thanks to Eric for all his input.

Eric Stewart ought to remaster all the 10cc material. There has to be a market for it! There are some independent companies (like One Way) would take on such a project but Eric has to want to do it.
Yes, I think It would be a good idea to re-mix the back catalogue, or maybe just the successful albums, but permission and a request to do this must come from UK Records (1st 2 LP's, if they don't put Jonathan away for good ! ) and PolyGlot ( now Universal Pictures ) before one could get involved with it. I would love to do it. With the advances in technology available now, it would be a very interesting project, and as you say, many companies like One Way would love to take it on, but again, they need permission from the copyright owners, the record companies who released them originally.

The fact that someone like Eric cannot stop a bad series of re-releases from happening is terrible. I wish more artists would stand up and say "This is a fraud and a bad one at that."
Unfortunately, the artist does not have the right to veto or block a 'version' that he does not like, it's all in the hands of the record company and the media are really not interested in printing opinions on the subject by the artists involved.

What is the record company using to create these remasters? Would Eric charge them too much? I just don't know how this works in the music biz.
When record companies they say they are digitally re-mastering an album, they can do no more than 'enhance' the original 'stereo master' that they own. They can process the tracks through some complex 're-flavouring' modules, and transfer the analogue masters through some pretty expensive analogue/digital converters in order to press CDs, but to claim this is re-mastering is bullshit. However, in the case of 50's and some early 60's recordings, it does help them tremendously to clean them up a little before transferring them to CD pressing masters, but anyway, the original 10CC masters I mixed are very clean, and don't really need 'sweetening".
The only way any track can be really be re-mastered, in my opinion, is to go back to the Original 8, 16, 24 Track Multitrack Master and re-mix the whole track again, but most record companies don't own those multitracks, and as you say, don't wish to pay the original mix engineer to do the job properly. They do not have to ask the artist to take part in the re-master process, and can in fact ask the cleaning lady to do the job if they wish! These legal points have been changed of course with modern artistes' contracts, but in the 70's and 80's these valuable contract clauses were not even thought of !

I am just waiting for a more Bit and more KHz CD standard and hope that Eric will be asked to remaster all that 10cc ever made.
Yes, I would like to re-master all of them !!!!! I would love to re-mix our tracks, because things are progressing nicely on the technological front with 24bit / 96KHz recording and mastering, but the equipment at home won't be playing at anything better than 16bit , 44KHz until the public are persuaded to buy the next generation of players, and there we have yet another 'minefield' because most hardware companies cannot agree on an 'across the board' format, DVD, super CD etc etc.
I would have to go back to the original multitrack masters to re-mix the songs, and yes, the sound will be different from in the 70's because the equipment is theoretically better, certainly on the test bench, but in practice I have found that the discrepancies built into the earlier gear does have a sound that is sometimes more attractive to the human ear. Things like Valve Microphones and Compressors are nice to use, but there are ways around all of this in the Hi-Tech studios available to us now.

I have now copied all of the important 'multitrack masters' to digital tape because the 2" analogue multitrack masters were in fact deteriorating and slowly shedding their oxide coating. I had to take them to the 3M's factory in Berkshire and 'slow cook' them in special 'ovens' for 3 days, then transfer all the tracks to 24 track Sony Digital machines over 3 more days. It was great fun listening to them all again and a good opportunity to put instruments on their own tracks at last. In the earlier 8 or 16 track recordings we would sometimes have 4 or 5 different instruments or vocal bits happening on one single track throughout a song. This made it very difficult for me to mix. Transferring to digital will help me with any future re-mixes of these difficult tracks, along with the 'Automated Mixdown' facilities which I used to dream of in the 70's!

One thing I would definitely do when re-mixing for CD masters is to mix the digital multitrack down to half inch analogue tape and use this as the 'stereo master' for the CD pressing 'master'. It adds a nice warmth to the album that is missing if we stay in the digital zone throughout the re-mastering process. We didn't 'random fly' anything into the tracks as I was mixing them, a la Jeff Lynne, and sometimes I even recorded the echo with the instrument or vocal directly onto the multitrack master so the sound I liked already was there recorded on tape permanently. I have kept all the 10cc 'Voice' and 'Harp' Loops in their individual boxes for each note, but it's very easy to 'sample' them now and play them on a keyboard.

Just imagine a few of the epic tracks like 'One night in Paris' or 'Feel The Benefit' in surround sound, with all those lovely Del Newman string arrangements in the Intro and Outro swimming around your head, WOW.!!! We can already, as I said earlier, re-mix everything digitally after sampling the analogue tracks at 24bit , 96KHz, but until the manufacturers get their act together regarding the format for the future, the public won't be able to play stuff at anything better than 16bit , 44KHz for the time being.

What exactly is the real master? The Deceptive bends Japanese CD released sounded very different than any other release I know.... Does anyone have a clue if Eric or any band member was involved in the MFSL Original Soundtrack?
What constitutes the 'Real Master', is the final mix of the album like 'Sheet Music', mixed onto virgin tape, and compiled in its running order on 2 x 15" reels. This is the one I would take to the cutting room at the factory to make the metal 'Pressing Master'. They used to ask me to do this in the 70's because some of our tracks were quite 'full frequency' sonically, and our Hot Legs track 'Neanderthal Man' at the end of the 60's blew their cutter head to pieces!!! I find that the Japanese do master their albums quite brightly, but I don't know why, maybe it's because a lot of traditional Japanese music is quite percussive and mid-range sound wise ! I was not involved in the MFSL "Re-Masters" in any way.

Would Eric consider releasing Frooty Rooties on CD through his own website or the fan club?
I would love to but, again, permission is needed from the record company who will want sales potential if they are to go to the trouble. What is needed here is a smaller company who would take this album on a lease deal.

A lovely dream! ....A new CD with demos and other lost songs from the 10cc archives.... A video compilation!.....Ö A re-mastered Run Away! What's Ericís hourly rate???!!! .....Dreaming about when Eric has finished his album!! Unfortunately we had a regime, or method of working, back then where we re-used our multitrack tapes for economic reasons which meant that a lot of different versions of the various songs, like the first and 'Latin' version of INIL were erased and recorded over !!!!! And, to save space in the library of tapes at Strawberry North, we would compile all the multitrack masters for each album onto as few 2" reels as we could, and 'bin' most of the rest of the tapes with all the out-takes and false starts etc.
Yes, a great video compilation, re-edited, enhanced and 're-magicked' by Kev or Lol - or both! Sounds good!Somebody once said that if you have to ask the price you can't afford it!! Run Away could be re-mastered, maybe we could arrange a compilation service for everybody??!...their own personal favourite 10cc songs!! Yes, Eric is also dreaming of finishing his album and it is next on his priority list!!

Any oldies on your new album or any collaborations?
I will probably throw in the original version of Take this Woman that I recorded a number of years ago and maybe a re-working of the original Macca/Eric version of Don't Break the Promises but all the other tracks are brand new and penned solely by me.

Would you consider selling a CD of the outakes /demos of the album through your website?

The following questions are just a few of many asked by Roger Spruce!

How good is your French?
Well, Roger mon brave, my French is passable, orally and written; at least no one in France has attacked me yet!!

Now that you have reached 56 have you developed an opinion on how much red wine is good for your health? How much red wine is detrimental to your health?
Now that I have reached 56 (only just for God's sake!) I can claim that good red wine is good for my constitution because people often remark that I don't look a day over 55 !!!

Do you prefer left hand drive or right hand drive?
I prefer to drive on the left (UK) because I have great difficulty getting my sword out of its scabbard to do battle if cars are passing me on the left as they do in France.

Have you achieved happiness?
Yes, many times! And hope to continue to do so into the dim and distant future....

Further reading: the Official Eric Stewart Website

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