Episode 80: Mitch Easter (of Let's Active / Record Producer)

Published: Aug 10 2021

Our guest today is a native of Winston-Salem, NC. He is one Mitch Easter, legendary front man of the acclaimed Let's Active and record producer at the Drive-In and Fidelitorium Recordings. For our listeners who might be unfamiliar with Mitch’s musical career to date … Easter formed Let's Active in 1981 and that same year, produced R.E.M.'s debut single "Radio Free Europe," which was issued on Johnny Hibbert’s label Hibtone Records in Atlanta. Incidentally, Radio Free Europe is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2021 and a reissue of an exact replica of Hibbert’s 7” mix is now available as of July 23rd, shortly before the time of this interview.

Easter went on to produce for R.E.M. their Chronic Town EP in 1982, their first full-length Murmur in 1983, and shortly afterwards, Reckoning. Murmur’s success also drew more attention to Easter, as did the release of Let's Active’s debut EP Afoot, which launched the cult hit "Every Word Means No." Mitch has produced the likes of Pavement, Wilco, Suzanne Vega, Dinosaur, Jr., The Baseball Project, Chris Stamey, The dBs, Alejandro Escovedo, A Fragile Tomorrow – the list goes on and on. He is also part of an ensemble that over the past few years has paid homage to Big Star’s Third record. And I would be remiss if I did not mention that he was also inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2019.

Our conversation today will center on British singer/songwriter Stephen Duffy and his second solo offering from 1995 titled “Duffy” where Mitch both produced and contributed electric guitar. Some may know Stephen Duffy as a founding member, vocalist and bassist of Duran Duran and later the front man for the folk rock outfit The Lilac Time.

This record is an auditory delight. If you are unfamiliar with it, please go out and get your own copy. Enjoy the conversation!