Ask Mitch Easter: How'd You Come Up With That Strange Beat On Let's Active's 'Leader of Men'?

Mitch Easter of Let's Active

There are those who dream of fame and fortune and wind up with a real expensive hobby, then there are the likes of Mitch Easter, whose strange, yet wonderful five-decade career in music defies logic, reason, and, best of all, categorization.

It was Easter who, in 1981, turned his parents' garage into the aptly-named Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and, in doing so, provided the necessary spark to ignite a nascent Deep South indie rock scene that didn't quite know it existed yet, but whose waves are still being felt today.

Don't believe us? Then ponder this "what if'":

What if R.E.M. had not crossed paths with Mitch Easter at that precise moment in both of their histories?

R.E.M. had been lucky, and savvy, enough to land the IRS Records deal before Easter entered the picture, but a legendarily horrible experience with the label's first-choice for producer (Stephen Hague) had the band in a literal death spiral.

Meanwhile, Easter's college dream of opening his own studio had become a reality and, with it, the responsibility of drumming up business for his new venture.

Those who might wonder how an otherwise unproven commodity like Easter could "luck into" working with a "signed" band like R.E.M. without the requisite industry dues-paying need only catch the opening clip above of Easter in action with his own band (Let's Active) as they hurriedly assemble a functional line-up in time for their first tour.

The added bonus of the clip is that we get to watch him from the perspective of the drummer as Easter explains exactly how he got the drum part to the song ("Leader of Men") in the studio.

Without further context, you almost start to believe that you've been jettisoned back in time to the year 1984 and into the body of someone auditioning for Let's Active!

Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium - The Live Room
2017: The live room at Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium
While time will tell whether we landed the gig or not, coming across such gems on YouTube all these years later sheds real insight into precisely what makes people want to work with Mitch Easter.

Of course, for many these days, working with Mitch's stuff is almost as cool, thanks to Easter's innovative Fidelitorium, which enables bands and producers to bring their projects into an analog setting and have access to Easter's wide array of "weird gear".

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

1 comment:

  1. The emotional impact and drama that Mitch packs in to his own music is too often overlooked. Sweeping chord changes and goose-bump inducing harmonies are all over his songs like Flags For Everything and right into his more current record on Sudden Crown Drop. His music deserves more ears.