Author Topic: The Rolling Stone Interview  (Read 1512 times)

TheRed1

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The Rolling Stone Interview
« on: November 11, 2015, 09:07:47 PM »

Just ran across an excellent interview with Avery Fisher in the Sept. 23, 1976 Rolling Stone.  It must be a fairly recent addition to the digital universe since it came up as a result to a Google search for: "Philharmonic Radio Company" - a search I've done many times before.  Had to install the Google Play Newsstand app to access it - which I sort of hated doing - but the article is well worth the effort.  Confirms a few things I've suspected but never known for sure.  Highly recommend reading for any committed Fisher fan . . .

https://google.com/newsstand/s/posts/CAIiEDkkvFuAjbTEZpo-6IoG98QqGQgEKhAIACoHCAow8N7vCjDTp7YCMKSclgM/A+Conversation+with+Avery+Fisher?install=true

Pat L

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Re: The Rolling Stone Interview
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 09:24:11 PM »
Wonderful and informative, thank you.

Pat L

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Re: The Rolling Stone Interview
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 09:43:18 AM »
One of the interesting take-aways from this article is Mr. Fishers insight into how he outperformed his other high end equipment competitors. He specifically mentions Bell & Howell and Ampex. His take on it was that his team was more concerned with quality than those two manufacturers. He went on to say that they were too focused on profit. He describes how every single Fisher product was fully tested before being sold, not just a random sampling of the products. I can personally verify this by my own observation. Every single original Fisher console I've found has had factory inspection tags all over it.

I have a slight difference of opinion with him on both Bell & Howell and Ampex. I have one of each in my collection and I find there quality to be second to none. I do believe though that these makers simply had their products priced too high to achieve any mainstream market penetration. They entered the market for consoles relatively unknown compared to the other manufacturers (in this line of products). They did not offer full lines, only expensive high end units. The units did not have a large distribution network or any amount of mainstream advertising. Hence their very limited success (market failure) with truly excellent products.

TheRed1

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Re: The Rolling Stone Interview
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 10:48:43 AM »
I have a slight difference of opinion with him on both Bell & Howell and Ampex. I have one of each in my collection and I find there quality to be second to none. I do believe though that these makers simply had their products priced too high to achieve any mainstream market penetration. They entered the market for consoles relatively unknown compared to the other manufacturers (in this line of products). They did not offer full lines, only expensive high end units. The units did not have a large distribution network or any amount of mainstream advertising. Hence their very limited success (market failure) with truly excellent products.
Good point, Pat.  I would think Bell & Howell and Ampex consoles were more or less bespoke offerings made to very high standards, indeed.  However, Mr. Fisher also mentions RCA's Berkshire line to which his observation may be more applicable.  His inclusion of Ampex, in particular, is puzzling since they used Fisher components in some of their early consoles.  Fisher also offered Ampex R2Rs in his own high-end consoles.  Perhaps the comment was aimed more at RCA than the other examples.

Note that the author of this interview is the notoriously critical music critic, Dave Marsh.  I was only vaguely familiar with his work but have been brushing up since discovering this article.  In my opinion, this is easily the best interview of Avery Fisher out of the dozen or so I have come across.  It is, at times, critical of some of Mr. Fisher's statements but seems to me a fairly balanced and insightful appraisal overall.  Mr. Marsh and Mr. Fisher - despite the generational gap separating them - apparently understood and respected one another.

Harbourmaster

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Re: The Rolling Stone Interview
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2015, 07:03:03 PM »
Really good interview, thanks for the link!!

And as a musician and an audio enthusiast I must take issue with this quote from Mr Fisher: "The explosion has taken place in this apartment. I have a 20-year-old son who has his own set in his room, so I know exactly what kids are listening to. And I am very pleased to see that happen, because the children who are listening to Jethro Tull and somebody else this year will be listening to Beethoven next year. They are developing musical taste and that taste will mature it has to as they get older. When they're 35 or 40 they're not going to be listening to Jethro Tull anymore; they'll be listening to something a little more . . . durable, shall we say.


I find myself listening to Bach and Beethoven just about as often as I do Jethro Tull and I count myself as a Die-Hard Tull fan!
FWIW I had no trouble reading the story in my browser (Chrome)
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!

TheRed1

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Re: The Rolling Stone Interview
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2015, 07:58:52 PM »
Ken, I smiled when I read that part thinking - as did you - Mr. Fisher missed the mark on that one.  Reflecting further, I think it's fascinating to consider to whom this prediction was made: Dave Marsh.  If we were to expand our definition of "classical" to include Jethro Tull and Little Feat, then Mr. Marsh, as a member of the nominations board at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, might be thought of as a keeper of the new classical rock and roll canon.  However, I doubt Mr. Fisher would have seen in that way.

I also found that section especially amusing since I have had the great pleasure of meeting that 20-year-old son who is now getting set to turn 60.  I have no idea what his current taste in music is but I would be surprised, given his upbringing, if it didn't include plenty of "classical" classical music as well as what is now known as classic rock.  I could be wrong, though - thinking back to my visit to his Park Avenue residence, I don't remember hearing ANY music playing at any time during my stay.  Not even when this generation's 20-something-year-old Fisher stopped by.