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Stew Interview on eMusic.com

Just as we’re celebrating the end of the Broadway run for the fantastic Passing Strange, eMusic.com has posted an in-depth Q&A with the show’s main man, Stew. Read on for an excerpt about how the decision was made to record the cast album live and click here to read the whole interview:

Wasn’t Passing Strange‘s original cast recording supposed to be a studio deal? How did it end up as a live album?

I originally wanted to make a cast album like I’d make a Negro Problem record, with lots of double-tracking, weird keyboards and studio shenanigans. Welcome Black was the first record we made where most of us were on marijuana. Heidi wasn’t high, but I did a lot of vocals and mixing stoned, which I’d never done before, and that was really freeing. For Passing Strange, I wanted to build this communal environment in the studio, with all these people basically freaking out, and see what would happen.

But that was not financially feasible because of Actors’ Equity. It would have cost us a crazy amount of money, astronomical amounts. I believe the word is “prohibitive.” The bartender at the theater stopped me on the sidewalk one day and said, “I love the promo recordings you made in the studio, but nothing sounds better than you guys live.” This guy hears the music every night, so I thought, “Oh, yeah, the live thing!” One guy saying that was enough. So we just set up, invited some folks down for the performance, and the great Frank Filipetti recorded it. I could tell it was going to be a good show two songs in, and that was a great feeling.

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