Up Parnassus with Thud, Eros, The Good Rats, etc.
Esquire Magazine, January 1969
Extended article about the significance of contemporary rock lyrics, including a two-page photo spread on Tom Wilson’s musician roster.
“Shudder at the power and importance of Tom Wilson, the tall man in the white jacket in the middle of the picture. As an independent producer he controls fourteen rock groups, owns three production companies and a management company with an annual budget of a half million dollars.”
A&R Man at Work—A Record Producer is a Psychoanalyst with Rhythm
by Ann Geracimos
The New York Times Magazine, September 29, 1968
A lengthy cover story about the economics of record production, with particular focus on Wilson’s business model, music philosophy, achievements, and lifestyle. (16MB pdf for browser or download)
Wilson: “You know why I went independent? Because I got tired of making money for a millionaire who didn’t even bother to send me a Christmas card. I discovered if you are honest, you get a lot further. A guy’s not going to respect you if you don’t fight for what you think you are worth.”
“Tom plays at being a spade,” a sympathetic observer commented. “Actually he’s more white, and some of the Negroes in the business don’t like him.” Wilson plays both “roles” well, but there is no doubt about the one he prefers. … “If there’s a race war,” says Wilson, “I might join. It depends where I am at the time.”
Tom Wilson speech on the Producer’s role, music industry synergy, and the “non-listener” (ca. late 1960s)
“Too many judgments concerning talent are being based on considerations that have nothing to do with music. Many times an artist is signed because of his so-called track record rather than because of what he’s into right now. Again, someone gets one of those gimmick ideas. I know of one record company that was so anxious to cover an instrumental gap in its catalog, that the album notes described clarinetist Sol Yaged as ‘a Jewish Benny Goodman’.”
Frank Zappa in Hit Parader magazine, 1967
Frank was hired by Wilson in 1966 to create in-studio arrangements for Eric Burdon & The Animals.
Zappa: “I get to the studio at 11 o’clock. I’m the only one there. Then Tom Wilson comes in. He asks, ‘Where are the Animals?’ I say, ‘Gee, I don’t know, Tom’.”
Bob Dylan, the Wanderer
The New Yorker, October 16, 1964
Lengthy profile about the young Bob Dylan, which includes an account of a 1964 recording session helmed by Wilson. Wilson is quoted and his studio technique is observed.
The engineer muttered again that he might get a better take if Dylan ran through the number once more. “Forget it,” Wilson said. “You don’t think in terms of orthodox recording techniques when you’re dealing with Dylan. You have to learn to be as free on this side of the glass as he is out there.”
The Harvard Crimson: Coverage of Wilson’s involvement with the local jazz scene, 1953-58
••• Jazz Club Forms; To Meet Tonight (April 9, 1953)
••• Jazz Society Holds First Meeting; Plans Forum-Concert for Tuesday (April 10, 1953)
••• Student-Owned Recording Company Announces Releasing of First Disc (November 2, 1955)
••• ‘Experimental’ Jazz at the Adams House Music Society (March 9, 1955)
••• Cambridge Cools Cats Who Thrive On Dixieland, Modern Jazz, Jive (September 18, 1958)