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Episode #12

Herb Alpert

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Transcript

(Photo by Gerry Wersh)

Alec talks with Herb Alpert, legendary trumpeter and co-founder of A&M Records, the independent record label Alpert eventually sold to Polygram. In 1966, Alpert’s band, The Tijuana Brass sold over 13 million records, outselling The Beatles.

Alpert talks about the thrill of signing musicians like The Carpenters, Cat Stevens and The Police but also reveals what it was like to lose -- and slowly regain -- his trumpet voice over a period of nearly 8 years.  The struggle was so intense it made him question everything: “I just want[ed] to find out who I am and why I’m here.  Everybody is looking for the same thing: a life of purpose and meaning.”

Herb Alpert with Black Totems

Herb Alpert with some of his Black Totem sculptures.  (Photo by Graham Howe)

READ | Interview Transcript

Hosted by:

Alec Baldwin

Produced by:

Emily Botein and Kathie Russo

Comments [28]

Len from Allentown, PA

Late to the party, after hearing Alec on Howard Stern (enjoyed interview w/ Howard). -
Herb Albert seems like a cool dude, great interview, I got chills when talking about "The Carpenters" and the song-snippet "Close To You" plays.
Brought back good memories, my dad and I had a common bond growing up that we both enjoyed Herb Albert & Tijuana Brass.

Jul. 27 2013 03:00 PM
Dan Bernard from NH

I really thoroughly enjoyed this interview. Thanks for the inside look at an interesting and successful life. Thanks, Herb, for your honesty and openness plus your contributions to the world of creativity.

Dec. 09 2012 12:22 PM
rob gold from Oak Park,CA

Though known for his musical genius and his artistry on canvas or in stone, most people do not know that this man is one of the most philanthropic people in the country. Very quietly,he and his wife through his foundation give away millions to schools,students,needy folks. I had the honor and pleasure of working at A&M Records and it was a thrill to see him walk across the lot,headed to the studio carrying his trumpet. God bless Herb Alpert!

Aug. 14 2012 03:11 PM
Sean Duffy from Formerly Massapequa, now Reston, VA

Hi Al, loved HA growing up, older brother(s) introduced us youngsters to Simon & Garfunkle, CSNY, Moody Blues, the Who--and Herb Alpert!! Have 2 trumpet-playing kids now so I slip in a CD now and then, and they like it! Found out about "HTT" while listening to "Jonathan" with my ailing father, still living in Massapequa--great show too. As for future interviewee's--how about me? A hard-working school teacher currently creating a world-class conservation program for kids--gardening, planting trees, raising native butterflies and fish, similar projects...not famous yet, but maybe "Here's The Thing" can change that!! Looking forward, Sean Duffy, BHS '76 :) (Please edit.)

Jul. 07 2012 02:00 AM
JGNYC from NYC

A terrific interview. The cadence between the two of you is as natural as you'll ever hear. I guess musicians really do have all the answers, don't they...

May. 22 2012 09:46 PM
Michael Waxman from Philadelphia

What a fine, fine interview, Alec. Your best yet. I too would like you to interview the likes of David Bowie and David Byrne. Always looking forward to see who you interview next.

Apr. 16 2012 02:34 PM
Ed Clancy from New Orleans

Great interview, but how could you not even mention "The Lonely Bull" much less play an excerpt? Did I miss it?
Ed Clancy

Apr. 10 2012 12:57 PM
Helen Barbara from Winnipeg, Canada

Fantastic! I adore Alec -- his voice, intelligence, wit and then there is his looks!! The Alpert interview was great. I loved Herb Alpert's music
Went to his concert years ago. Had unique seats behind the orchestra so never realized Herb Alpert was movie star material. Despite the seats the
music was great and so were the band's rear end views.

Apr. 08 2012 05:20 PM
Dianne T from Muskegon MI 49441

I've been enjoying these interviews Mr. Baldwin is a wonderful interviewer. I would love to hear more and since he asked for suggestions here are mine:
Robert Krulwich (science guy and so articulate), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Ani Defranco (musician for the ages), King Peggy (secretary turned King), Scott Speck (author, conductor of small symphony in Michigan and Joffery Ballett),Maya Rudolph (comedian, actress, Viola Davis (actress). Now there's a dinner party that I would never want to leave.

Apr. 06 2012 09:04 AM

great interview - would love to hear you talk to other musicians. how about:
david byrne

david bowie - seems like he would have a lot of interesting thpings to say about "the biz'", selling himself as stock, etc.
doesn't he live in nyc? he was an actor too... what's he doing now?

how about some artists too?

Apr. 05 2012 08:14 PM
Garry Whitehead from Brunei

Fabulous interview, best so far, it benefited from extra length, and herb is clearly a talented but humble guy. Great to catch up on the lives of some of these people while they are still with us. I like the style and approach but especially the interviews that hark back to the 60's 70's, such and influential time and beginning to seem like an age away.

Apr. 04 2012 11:47 PM
David Luria from Charlottesville, VA

Great interview. Two guys having a beer. Rock on.

Apr. 02 2012 07:51 PM
Kay from Liechtenstein

I am moved to write but all I can say is I agree with everyone else's well-chosen words of praise. The interview with Herb Alpert was luminous. The rapport Alec established led to a great appreciation of Herb's many dimensions. I am inspired to listen to his music again. I have enjoyed all the interviews and find Alec's voice a joy to hear piped directly into my ears, but this one in particular was unforgettable.

Apr. 02 2012 08:45 AM
dave c from ca

i waited for 42 years to meet this man. i did have to settle for seeing him in concert last year at the mantalvo center. i was walking by the stage before the concert and i was close enough to reach out and touch his horn. i should have but my wife said not to. i was no more than 40 feet away from him the whole concert. i was thrilled! i sound like a kid at 55. we love you herb alpert. my ears have never one time been disappointed. thank you for the years of wonderful music and more yet to come.

Apr. 01 2012 11:37 PM
Bob Finholm

Great work, Alec! Excellent interview with another class act, Mr. Herb Alpert.

Mar. 30 2012 07:43 PM
Chelsea Holup from Occidental, CA

Brillant interview with insightful personal history. Thank you for continuing should wonderful platforms for artist to share.

Mar. 30 2012 06:26 PM
Bernardo Medina from Right Coast Of USA

I really enjoyed the Herb Alpert interview. Mr.Alpert is a National Treasure and Renaissance Man, a Musical Icon who wears many hats: trumpeter, arranger, singer, band-leader, producer, philanthropist, sculptor, painter, record-label owner, talent scout, recording engineer, photographer, etc. His wife Ms. Lani Hall Alpert is also an incredibly talented artist in her own right, and a very gifted writer. God gave Ms. Lani Hall a very beautiful and unique vocal "instrument" and she is quite comfortable and convincing in either English,Spanish, or Portuguese idioms. In fact, both Mr. Alpert and Ms. Hall have a very large cult-like following in all of Latin and South America. Festivals, contests, and birthday anniversaries are celebrated by local musicians covering their repertoire. One sure sign of success, is when an artist can captivate and have fans of every age group. Ms. Lani Hall and Mr. Herb Alpert are the "Gift That Keeps On Giving"...

Mar. 30 2012 05:08 PM

Great interview and thanks for letting us sit in on a wonderful conversation. More of the same please.

Mar. 30 2012 12:01 PM
YarnGuy from Windsor Terrace

I enjoyed this interview, but felt Alec could have asked some more probing questions -- it would have been interesting to delve into the relationships Alpert had with some of the people whose career he shepherded while running A & M. Namely Cat Stevens and Karen Carpenter. We get an appraisal of their work, but then, when the interview could go deeper, it skims across the surface. How does Alpert feel about the turn Stevens's career took when he converted to Islam? How did he feel about Carpenter's illness and eventual demise? I realize the interview is about Alpert, but this seemed like a missed opportunity to me. But again, enjoyed, for the most part. Keep up the good work.

Mar. 28 2012 10:12 PM
Dan Miles from Phoenix

As the host of a music podcast myself I must confess to being a bit envious of this terrific "get". Herb Alpert was literally my first musical hero. I discovered his music in 1968 at the age of five in my parents' record collection. His lifelong reputation throughout the industry as a nice guy who truly puts art ahead of business is rare and sorely missed in today's musical climate. I was surprised when he and Jerry Moss decided to sell A&M but given the decline of the industry in retrospect it appears to have been a very shrewd move. I learned a lot of things about him during this interview that I didn't know before (like the fact that he had pursued acting lessons to try to capitalize on his movie star looks). His name has come up in my interviews with Carol Kaye and Lee Sklar (search for The Friends of Dan Music Podcast if interested) and will undoubtedly continue to as his influence has been so widespread. I appreciated the musical clips that were used to enhance the interview throughout and the more generous running time. You must've read my comment on the Chris Rock episode and taken my advice :) You're welcome!!!!! heh heh . Great show, keep them coming!

Mar. 28 2012 02:31 PM
Ted R from Columbus, Ohio

A well chosen interview by Alec. Listening to Mr. Alpert's story was extremely entertaining, amusing and interesting. I had no idea that he was that accomplished as an artist or businessman. His life has been quite successful and unspoiled.

Mar. 27 2012 06:41 PM
Molly O C Rowan from Minneapolis, MN

I didn't know Herb Alpert painted. Here's the thing: Whipped Cream & Other Delights has always been my favorite album to paint to.

Mar. 27 2012 03:46 PM
Mike Shirley

I have liked all of the shows. Alec really has a great knack for getting his guests to open up.

Mar. 27 2012 01:08 PM
sherry tucker david from McKinney, Texas

Really enjoyed this interview. I've enjoyed Herb Alpert's music for many years. Today I enjoyed getting to know him as a person-- & what an interesting and genuinely nice one he seems to be!

Mar. 27 2012 09:42 AM
Kim from Montreal

Funsy, Alec - thanks for the window into Herb Alpert. There's nothing like listening to great musician life stories. Herb's quiet mantra of "I'd like to try that" was endearing. Your interview kept on giving as I am now pouring over his paintings (wow) and sculptures (will take the bottom 4' of anything) ;)

Mar. 27 2012 08:17 AM
barent

pah parah pa pa pa, parah pa, para pah pah pah - as that great horn[trumpet] riffed in HA&TTB doing "mexican shuffle". chewing gum anyone ?

Mar. 27 2012 12:51 AM
Nancy

What a wonderful show! It's hard to believe that Alec is the only person behind this great podcast. Who's doing the work--helping Alec get this out to us?! And will it be aired on WNYC one of these days?

Mar. 26 2012 09:20 PM
Dan Berggren from Ballston Spa, NY

Loved the show with Herb Alpert - the interview really pulled me in because of how Baldwin got Alpert to open up. How come the show has no credits? Thanks and keep 'em coming.
Dan

Mar. 26 2012 09:19 PM

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