For his first salsa album in almost 10 years, Marc Anthony walked into a recording studio and dumped out all the ideas in his head. "I really need to upload this," he told himself, "or I'll go mad."
That frantic studio enthusiasm dominates his latest album, "3.0," particularly on the opening party jam "Vivir Mi Vida," but even on up-and-down ballads such as "Espera" and "La Copa Rota." Expect him to also bring all of that energy to his show at Nassau Coliseum Sunday.
We decided to give him a break from Jennifer Lopez questions -- they divorced more than two years ago -- and spent a 15-minute phone interview with the native New Yorker discussing music, movies and hobbies.
I read that you build scale models of tanks and planes. How did you get into that? Do you still do it?
I do. There was store in my neighborhood called Morris Toy Land, a little hole in the wall. World-famous Morris, 90 years old, owned this toy store since the beginning of time. I used to collect die-cast cars. I have a massive collection of miniatures. My job is my voice. What I do is invisible. I can't see what I do. I love building things and making things.
For "3.0," you and producer Sergio George cut three songs a day with the band. I've read that you waited until you felt stuffed with songs before recording. True?
This album was born from the inside out. I decided to record when I absolutely couldn't even breathe anymore. . . . I said, "I need to get into the studio." . . . We'd start the song live and have no idea what it was going to be. It's like a stream-of-consciousness thing. Each arrangement, had I figured it out the next day, would have been a totally different song.
Did you do that deliberately -- wait so long to put out an album of original material so you'd be pent-up with songs that have to come out?
No, I traditionally don't put out albums except for every three or four years. I've always had that low part of the process. It wasn't on purpose.
You've said of George: "He's my Quincy." How is he like Quincy Jones?
It's the weirdest thing to say, but he's me. When you step into the studio, his ideas become my ideas, my ideas become his ideas, without even talking. It's so rare. All these producers who just cut tracks and sell tracks -- I think it's been the demise of the whole industry. The producers became bigger stars than the stars themselves. I believe in box sets. I believe in a body of work. Phil Ramone and Billy Joel. It was their sound.
WHO Marc Anthony
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Sunday, Nassau Coliseum
INFO $35-$150; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
ANTHONY CHOOSES HIS MOVIE ROLES CAREFULLY
Marc Anthony's movie career began not long after his singing career -- he was in "Carlito's Way," "Hackers," "Big Night" and "Bringing Out the Dead" before co-starring as Det. Nick Renata in TNT's "Hawthorne."
He'd like to do more -- he has been offered hundreds of roles, but "the thing is time," he says. "To sit on location for three months is quite a proposition, if you know what I mean. That's been the only limitation, which is why I've chosen parts with maximum impact for a short amount of commitment."
Anthony's most memorable role may have been the world-weary father in 2004's "Man on Fire," co-starring Denzel Washington. "The first scene I did with Denzel, you can probably see the paper that I had in my hand shaking. But that lasted five minutes, because Denzel really put me under his wing," he says. "There was one scene, the most integral one, at the end. He hands me a bullet. He was off-camera, I was on-camera, and when he went to give me the bullet, it was a picture of my son that he snuck in his hand. I immediately started crying. I missed my son. He pushed me, and after, he grabbed me in his arms and said, 'I'm so sorry I snuck that up on you, but I want you to be great.' "