Stan Getz: The Presser

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Walking into the A&R Records plant on Riverfront Boulevard is like stepping into some alternate universe in which time has folded in on itself. Anyone younger than 30 would likely have to consult Google to decipher the "Brother CX90 typewriter" and "Rolodex" on the office assistant's desk. But the music magazines are current, as are the mementos from contemporary musicians strewn throughout.

Stan Getz, the owner of this time warp, is the mustachioed manifestation of that blend of old and new. Now 55, he drummed for long-forgotten 1970s and '80s bands such as Soul Witness, but he can rattle off the names of contemporary bands and niche subgenres with ease (Nunslaughter, anyone?). It's a time-continuum versatility that has spurred his company's adaptability, as music has jumped from vinyl to cassettes to CDs and, recently and narrowly, back to vinyl again.

Getz has worked there since 1983, through an era during which select groups of musicians -- purveyors of hip-hop and electronic dance music, mostly -- kept his vinyl machinery from the scrap yard. Now a new generation of musicians is embracing the analog warmth of the trusty old 33-RPM disc, and Getz has churned out increasingly creative (or strange, or gimmicky) concepts for records.

"There's a big lock-groove thing going on," Getz says, "so we have a lot of bands coming in wanting a lock at the end of the record, and weird-colored vinyl."

Among them: the Flaming Lips, whose Record Store Day release The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends relied on Getz's touch -- as well as that of band members, friends, acquaintances and volunteers, who all took turns pouring colored pellets into the stamper.

Word of mouth has led even bigger-name bands to Getz's shop, including A Perfect Circle and Smashing Pumpkins. But not everyone's a good fit for A&R. For certain technically challenging concepts, Getz says he's happy to refer acts to another company. For instance: An extremely limited version of Heady Fwends, with its center filled with collaborators' blood, ended up going to United Record Pressing, the same plant that handled Jack White's liquid-filled "Sixteen Saltines" single.

So, in fact, went a piece of Getz: While his figurative blood (and sweat and tears) has been in A&R for nearly 30 years, he was among the literal blood donors for the Lips' record.

See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

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