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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Robert Lamm Songs gives new birth to great classics

The weather’s getting warmer.  Schools and colleges across the country are holding graduation ceremonies, and schools are also now in prom season.  That means lots and lots of people are making plans for road trips and weekend get togethers.  And what goes better with road trips and parties than some fun music?  Enter Chicago vocalist Robert Lamm and producer John Van Eps.  The pair have teamed up for an album of remixes of classic songs from both Lamm and Chicago titled, “Robert Lamm Songs:  The JVE ReMixes.

“Robert Lamm Songs:  The JVE ReMixes” hits stores June 1st.  The album takes a collection of songs from Chicago and from Lamm himself and completely re-invents them.  It’s highlighted by the remixes of Chicago’s ’25 or 6 to 4′ and Lamm’s own hit, ‘You’re My Sunshine Everyday.’  Van Eps’ remix of ’25 or 6 to 4′ is a great samba style remake that makes for a great dance moment at any party or prom.  The additional remix that closes the album is just as fun.  The first remix is dubbed the “dance” mix, and the second the “latin” mix.  But both are great dance mixes.  Van Eps’ take on Lamm’s ‘You’re My Sunshine Everyday’ is just as impressive.  It’s one of those songs that is great both for parties and road trips.

When asked about the collection of remixes, Van Eps said of it, “It’s supposed to be quirky and fun.”  He added that he was at least a little concerned about response to this collection, saying, “My fear is that the Chicago website is going to be rife with complaints about what I’ve done!”  But the reality of this compilation is that neither Van Eps nor Lamm himself have anything about which to be concerned.    Every song throughout this release has its own identity.  Even the remix of Chicago’s ‘Beginnings’, which opens the album, gets a great rebirth of sort on this compilation.  Lamm himself put it best in saying of these songs, “They are more than remixes:  They arenewcompositions based on my songs, using ‘stems’ from various recordings.”  The songs really are new songs all the way around.  It could even be argued that this set of songs is more original pieces set against a backdrop of songs from Chicago and Lamm that were sliced, diced and re-assembled specifically to fit each new creation than Chicago songs that have simply been re-imagined.

Considering how interesting a listen this collection of songs is, one can’t help but wonder why exactly the remaining members of Chicago passed on having any direct connection to the project.  Regardless, it definitely turned out to be one of those pieces that stands out because of its originality and creativity.  Not only has it re-introduced some classic songs to older audiences, but it has also successfully found a way to introduce these classics to a whole new generation of audiences.  Audiences can buy the album online at, and if they can’t find it in stores.  It will also be available via iTunes, and all other digital outlets.

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