Backbeat: Tony Visconti Talks Bowie, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy @ McIntosh/Varvatos 'Vinyl Listening' Party
Backbeat: Tony Visconti Talks Bowie, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy @ McIntosh/Varvatos 'Vinyl Listening' Party
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Black is the New Black: (From left:) Clothing designer and uber rock fan John Varvatos; legendary Grammy Award-winning producer (and author!), Tony Visconti; Global VP of Sales and Marketing for McIntosh, Linda Passaro. (Photo: Johnny Nunez/McIntosh)

Monday night, in the library of the posh private club, the Soho House in New York, fashion designer John Varvatos and high-end stereo outfitter McIntosh held their second 'Vinyl Listening Experience,' an event series centered around a particular musical guest and a high end hi-fi system (the turntable spinning this night, a McIntosh MT10, retails for $9,500). This time around, legendary producer Tony Visconti was on hand to meet, greet, spin vinyl, and share the stories behind some of the most iconic rock and roll ever put to tape.

Speaking to the assembly -- which included Atlantic Records CEO and Chairman Craig Kallman; Nigel Talley, Warner Bros. A&R; James Mormile, A&R Interscope/Universal Music; Julie Pacino, Poverty Row Entertainment (Producer, "Billy Bates" and Al Pacino's daughter) and Joe D'Ambrosio, Joe D'Ambrosio Management (Tony Visconti's manager): - Varvartos said the partnership had come about when his boutique, occupying the former CBGB's, began selling vintage stereo equipment, inevitably leading them into McIntosh's orbit. That, coupled with a long-established obsession with McIntosh gear, finally culminated in the 'Curation of Music' -- which, for all of the glamour and panache attached, managed to pull off that rarest of feats for something so put-upon: being genuinely interesting.

Taking the mic, Visconti introduced the first song, David Bowie's "Heroes," describing seeing Russian soldiers' peering at him through the control room window with giant binoculars across the German-Russian border. However, shortly after the song had begun, a series of toe-curling skips came from the speakers, the Thin White Duke singing "and I..." over and over again.

Earlier, McIntosh's Global VP of Sales of Marketing Linda Passaro said that Visconti had "driven eight hours to get his old vinyl from his house to play it for us today" -- "from my ex-wife's house," Visconti had interjected. It probably wasn't the best idea, as the next song he attempted to play, "Sound and Vision," was similarly marred. From there on out, the engineer quickly pulled out the unopened 180-gram on hand in order to avoid any more breaks in the event's momentum.

From there, Visconti played: T-Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" (whom he met at 'Middle Earth Night' in London's UFO Club), Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" and "Fashion" (whom he lived with at the time of recording), Thin Lizzy's "Waiting for an Alibi" and "Rosalie/Cowgirl's Song" ("whatever stories you heard about Thin Lizzy, they were worse… he had done so much at that point in the night, there was nowhere for the cocaine to go, it was exiting [Phil Lynott's] nose") and ending with a re-do of "Heroes" that Visconti, as he had on the original recording, provided background vocals for. With that, and a short Q&A wherein Visconti praised Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, and Adele -- and disparaged the major labels for not taking enough risks with new bands -- the second in a promising series of events was concluded.

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Grip & Grin: Linda Passaro, Global VP of Sales and Marketing for McIntosh; Joe D'Ambrosio, Joe D'Ambrosio Management; James Mormile, A&R Interscope; and Tony Visconti. (Photo: Johnny Nunez/McIntosh)
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The Guest of Honor: (From left:) The McIntosh MT10, which retails for $9,500, was no match for Tony Visconti's vinyl left at his ex-wife's house. (Photo: Johnny Nunez/McIntosh)
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On Bended Knee: Legendary producer Tony Visconti. (Photo: Johnny Nunez/McIntosh)
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Enthralled: Crowd at the "Vinyl Listening Experience" held at New York City's Soho House, a private club in the Meat Packing district. (Photo: Johnny Nunez/McIntosh)
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Fashion, Rock: (From left:) John Varvatos (left), whose store in the former CBGB's now sells audio equipment and Tony Visconti. (Photo: Johnny Nunez/McIntosh)