The Alan Parsons Project soared to the top of the charts with its song “Eye in the Sky.”
Alan Parsons and The Alan Parsons Project will perform that song and other hits Saturday, May 10, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. There will be two shows – at 7 and 9:30 p.m. – and tickets are available at www.oshows.com.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk with Parsons about his career.
Eric Schelkopf: You’ve worked on so many albums and projects over the years. Do you have any favorite albums or projects that you’ve done?
Alan Parsons: I think Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” sticks in my mind as being a piece of quality work. The title song was great, and there were some great performances. I feel good about that. And the first album by The Alan Parsons Project, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” was a pretty high point for me.
Schelkopf: Was that just because it was your first album?
Parsons: It was a new venture at the time. It’s like a first born child. I felt really positive at the time that we created something really worthwhile.
Schelkopf: Chicago has a special place in its heart for “Sirius,” the instrumental piece which precedes “Eye in the Sky,” [as it] has been used during player introductions at Chicago Bulls games. Do you think that is a good fit?
Parsons: I think it is a great fit, but I certainly didn’t record it with any kind of sports theme in mind. And it’s not just used by the Bulls, it has been used by countless others, including football teams.
Schelkopf: Is there something about the song that is good for sports teams to use?
Parsons: I suppose so. I think it is just the way it is laid out. I think it works great. But ask me if I got rich off it, and the answer would be “no.” Most of these things fall under the blanket arrangement between venues and BMI.
Schelkopf: Of course, “Eye in the Sky” was a hit song. Did you think it would be a hit song when you wrote it?
Parsons: That’s a funny story. It’s largely a Eric Woolfson song, and when he first played it, we sort of toiled over it, trying to find the right feel for it.
And I was ready to give up on it. And then suddenly we found the right formula for it.
Schelkopf: What wasn’t working? What changed?
Parsons: We were trying different rhythmic feels, different tempos. We just couldn’t find one that I was happy with.
Schelkopf: But then it came together.
Parsons: Yes. And Eric and the band never allowed me to forget that I was ready to drop it.
Schelkopf: How did you put together your current band?
Parsons: The latest incarnation kind of started around 2000, when I moved to Santa Barbara, Calif. We formed an American band, mostly from New York. But it’s evolved over the years. A lot of the guys are from the West Coast now.
Schelkopf: I noticed that P.J. Olsson is in your band.
Parsons: We actually wrote a song together called “Fragile” that we put out as a single. It just got released. We’ve been kind of promoting that on the road.
Schelkopf: Is that a thrill for you, to collaborate with different people?
Parsons: I’ve always felt better having songwriting partners. I find it difficult to write a song top to bottom without some kind of input from others.
Schelkopf: You’ve been in the music industry for a long time. What do think of the state of the music industry these days?
Parsons: I think a lot of people, particularly in my age group, perhaps don’t spend a lot of time listening to music. My life seems to be dominated by other things, like television and email.
The modern way of life is very different than how it used to be. People don’t go and buy their shiny new 12-inch vinyl album and turn the lights down and put it on and play it from start to finish. I miss that, and I think that probably a lot of other people do, too. There is some good music out there, but when I watched the Grammys the other day, I didn’t know who half the people were.
There’s so many names I just don’t even know. And that’s because I’m not listening to music at home.
And if I listen to music in my car, I’m probably going to listen to classical music or a classic rock station.
That’s the way it is.