By Jillian Dawson
On October 11th, the Art of Ensemble will perform a live re-imagined performance of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The Ensemble features Steven Page, former founder and lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies, alongside Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), Andy Maize (Skydiggers) and Craig Northey (The Odds). In honor of the upcoming performance, Marc Golde will be conducting a workshop October 4th at Rock Garden Studio exploring the techniques and technology behind the iconic album. Read on for an interview with Golde about his passion for Beatles and their influence on sound.
First of all, are you a fan of the Beatles? (And this album in particular?)
I've been an obsessed Beatles fan since I was a little boy. When I was 7 or 8 my older brother and my sister in-law moved back to my home town. I was looking forward to spending more time with them but what excited me the most was that they were going to store their stuff at our house and she had a record collection. The collection included original pressings of the whole Beatles catalog. That's where my education started. It was like jumping down the rabbit hole. I couldn't get enough of those records. "Sgt. Pepper" got to me probably because I was a child. It's animated and colorful. I felt it was the audio equivalent to what Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory or The Wizard of Oz looked.
What prompted this workshop?
The PAC organization does many community based events besides the shows they host. I got involved a few years back, doing panel discussions and Q&A presentations. Whenever there's a recording studio related project, I get a call. This year, they're hosting Art of Time Ensemble Performs 'Sgt. Pepper.' The group includes Steven Page, the singer for Barenaked Ladies. Holly Rutter from the PAC asked if I had any ideas. I said, "You're in luck! I just happen to be a self-proclaimed Sgt. Pepper expert."
Speaking as somewhat of an expert on recording, what background do you have to run a workshop such as this?
I've been recording since the old days of analog tape. The restriction of not having computers was a great way to learn the art. I spent decades studying the Beatles recordings. They influence everything I do in the studio and have inspired me every step of the way. By learning the past, I can steer the future better informed. I'm such a Beatles recording geek that even when I'm talking about it to Beatles fans, they get the deer in the headlights look on their face.
Coming from someone who doesn’t know anything about recording, how do you learn about the techniques of recording this particular album? Is this something you had to research and does some of it come from what you pick up with an experienced ear?
Both. I'm lucky that I started recording when I did. From a very early age, I knew what I was listening to. With some of the mysterious sounds on 'Sgt. Pepper,' I was hit and miss. There's a few things I thought I knew but learned were wrong when I did the research.
Without giving away too much from your workshop, are these techniques still in use today? Do you find they influence the way you record in your studio?
Many of the old techniques are simulated with computers today. Some are still in use. The Beatles and the people around them in the studio invented so much of what is normal today. You can't be a recording engineer without being influenced by the Beatles, even if you don't know it.
What can people expect at the workshop?
Vinyl! We're going to listen to the record, starting and stopping so I can show examples of interesting things. And there's many interesting things on that record. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions and participate. There really is NO stupid question about this subject.
What are you most looking forward to for the PAC performance? What is unique about it/why should people attend?
Anytime 'Sgt. Pepper' is performed in it's entirety, it's a spectacle. It doesn't matter if a group is doing an exact tribute or someone is putting a spin on it. This will be a great show!
For more information on the recording event at Rock Garden Studio, visit:
For more information on the Art of Ensemble performance at the PAC, visit: