John Van Eps talks Robert Lamm Remixes

Good morning, everyone.  While I work on today’s brand new edition of Phil’s Picks, I’ve got a treat for you.  I’ve got another interview to share with you.  This morning, I’m happy to share an interview with John van Eps, who worked with Chicago’s Robert Lamm on the new release, Robert Lamm Songs:  The JVE ReMixes.  And don’t forget next week, we’ve got lots more new and upcoming dvd releases.  Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend.  And if you know a veteran out there, say Thank You to him or her.  If you are a veteran, Thank you for your service, and thank you to you and your family for your sacrifices!

RR: I want to jump right into this new compilation.  Who originally came up with the idea for this project?  What was the reaction when it was proposed?
JVE: About 5 years ago I did a remix of 25 to 6 to 4  just for fun ( its the last track on the cd)  and Robert liked it and suggested I do a few for The Bossa project we were working on.  When that was done Robert suggested we continue with Chicago tunes.


RR:  This is a really interesting collection of songs.  The issues with a Chicago connection aside, how do you feel about the finished product?  Has there been any discussion about making another compilation, maybe centered solely on Robert Lamm works alone?

JVE:  always dislike everything I have done when I finish with it, I have such a blast doing the work all I hear when its over is all the things I could have done better


RR:  In assembling these new creations, were there any that you enjoyed more than the others?  Not to say that you didn’t enjoy making some songs, but did others.  But are there any that would be considered favorites to make?                           

JVE:  The Latin version of 25 to 6 to 4 was my fav  I put the whole song in a different key so the the horn parts would fit with  the salsa/latin moo


RR:  If it’s too personal, you don’t have to answer, but I was curious about the rumors circling around why this was called Robert Lamm songs, instead of having the Chicago name on it.  My understanding is that it was meant to originally be another Chicago release.  Was the resistance from a member/mermbers of Chicago or another party?  Can you expand any on all the talk concerning that?                          

JVE:  Robert will have to answer that, but for Me Robert is very adventuresome, and experimental  and this concept really spoke to him.

RR:  The songs on this album are a great representation both of Chicago and of Robert Lamm.  How did you come to the final list of songs to re-imagine?
JVE:  I actually did many more songs, but Robert picked his fans’


RR:  It’s noted that John had concerns about response from fans and critics on the Chicago website.  Have there been any early reactions on the band’s website to the project?  If so, what has been the general reaction?  Has it been welcomed, or jeered?
JVE:  Not sure I am afraid to go to the web site


RR:  This collection of songs has been four years in the making.  So what held up its release?  What kept it from seeing the light of day for so long?
JVE:  We have both been very busy so this was done almost completely by email, that can add some serious delay, and misunderstandings  with next steps.


RR:  This question is for both of you.  There are a lot of producers out there today that do remixes.  Are there any producers and or remix albums that really stand out as being especially impressive to you?  And for Robert, what bands really stand out to you as really great bands?  Are there any that make you stand up and say, “WOW!”? 

 JVE:  I am a big pogo fan (the guy who does all the strange disney remixes on u tube )


RR: Robert, Chicago has been one of the most respected names in rock music ever since its early days.  Chicago, like so many other “classic” rock acts, have kept rolling strong, while so many other bands have come and gone over the decades.  What do you think it is about Chicago and other “classic” rock acts that have kept them going while so many “newer” bands have released say a few albums and disappeared?


RR:  Just one more question before I go.  With this album finished and set for release, what’s next for both of you?  What are the odds of fans ever hearing a new Chicago album?  And what about you, John?  What’s next for you?  What artists are you already planning on working with or already working with?
JVE: am keeping my day job doing master recreations for various publishers as well as starting work with a French Artist  “Chardeau ”


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