John Fry, Ardent Studios Founder / Star Producer, Dies at 69

fryJohn Fry, the founder of Ardent Studios and a producer for Big Star, has died, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. He was 69 years old.

Born on New Year’s Eve, 1944, Fry first conceived of Ardent as a kid in his grandmother’s sewing room. Between 1959 to 1965, he released singles on behalf of his tiny label until opening Ardent’s first commercial studio on National Street in 1966.

Over 48 years, artists ranging from ZZ Top, R.E.M., and Led Zeppelin to James Taylor, the White Stripes, and Three 6 Mafia recorded dozens of gold and platinum records there. In addition to operating a contemporary Christian and a Stax-affiliated rock/pop version of the Ardent label, Fry also recorded and mixed the first three Big Star albums, 1971’s #1 Record, 1974’s Radio City, and 1978’s Third. Last month he was inducted alongside Big Star into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

“There was no other studio in Memphis that remotely approximated the longevity and importance of Ardent and what it’s meant to the city over the last 40-plus years,” the president of the Memphis Grammy chapter, Jon Hornyak, told the Appeal, “John Fry was, without doubt, one of the most significant figures in Memphis music.”

In addition to his work with Ardent, Fry helped create a curriculum for the Music Industry program at the University of Memphis.

Fry passed away at Methodist East hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife Betty.

(article by Molly Beauchemin)

Spellbound : Siouxsie and the Banshees : 18 Remasters : Out in Jan : Too Loud?

Siouxsie-and-the-Banshees-SpellboundSiouxsie and the Banshees will release a new best-of set called Spellbound: The Collection next month.

The Banshees penned a new deal with their old label, Universal Music, as many legacy acts are doing these days. Also a trend, the band members made the final selections. Most of the tracks included were remastered in the past year by Kevin Metcalfe. The release date Jan. 12 (UK).

We are anticipating this release but it’s a lip-biter. Will these remasters be a regrettable result of the Loudness Wars? Or will it be a tasty all-analog remaster like they did recently with Green Day. We certainly have no issue with digital mastering but the loudness war is ridiculous. We like music to sound natural first, loud second and always in that order. Nobody enjoys aggressive compression. It like smelling gasoline and slamming your head with a brick.

So we wait…, hoping and praying that this release does not become another casualty of the loudness wars.


1. “Hong Kong Garden”
2. “Mirage”
3. “Placebo Effect”
4. “Happy House”
5. “Desert Kisses”
6. “Spellbound”
7. “Into The Light”
8. “Cascade”
9. “Tattoo”
10. “We Hunger”
11. “Cities In Dust”
12. “Lands End”
13. “Shooting Sun”
14. “Peek-A-Boo”
15. “Turn To Stone”
16. “Kiss Them For Me”
17. “Drifter”
18. “Not Forgotten”

(article by Alex Velocity)