Quips fly backstage as victors savor the moment

Paul Epworth, who won producer and song of the year honors, was effusive about his most high-profile recent project, Adele: “She’s amazing, brave and funny, and she’s got a total gift, which makes my job very easy. She could sing the phone book. When we met, we talked about Dr. John, Tom Waits, Etta James, and found a middle ground between us. She has a gift for bringing out things in producers.”

Justin Vernon, who took home best new artist honors for his band/alter-ego Bon Iver, was diplomatic about his win, having previously declined to perform at the kudocast: “At some point I got really nervous, maybe it was because I didn’t think I deserved to be here,” he said. “This is the biggest night in music, but it’s a very small Staples Center…its hard to feel like it’s containing the whole thing.”

Speaking of the night’s reunion with his fellow Beach Boys bandmates, Brian Wilson observed: “It was kind of a different experience. Just being onstage together gives us a chance to express ourselves vocally and instrumentally.” Bandmate Al Jardine then discussed the new album the group is in the process of recording, saying: “These recording sessions we’re doing now are on par with ‘Pet Sounds.’ They have that same sort of alacrity and quality of songwriting.”

Bonnie Raitt spoke of her primary influence, Etta James, to whom she performed a tribute on the kudocast: “She was vital and raunchy and tender, and had a well of emotion that came across in her voice. She and Aretha had larger impacts on my career than any female singers, or any singers at all, really.”

Fledgling duo Civil Wars won for country duo/group performance and best folk album, pointing up a distinction that baffled them as well. “We hadn’t necessarily (thought of ourselves as country) either,” said the five-months pregnant Joy Williams, who described herself as a “human bakery.” “We’re not really sure who we are and where we fit, and I think that’s a little flattering,” continued bandmate John Paul White. “We just sort of made music and decided to roll the dice and see what happened.”

Derek Trucks, who won for blues album with his Tedeschi Trucks Band, also took part in an earlier tribute to the Allman Brothers Band, of which he is a part: “It’s pretty strange being 32 years old and getting a part of a lifetime achievement award,” he said.

Jazz bass legend Stanley Clarke was asked of Grammy’s recent category cuts, which sparked strong complaints on the part of Latin jazz musicians: “I think it’s an oversight on the Academy’s side. Latin music is one of the landmarks of this music, and they really should have their own category.”

Trey Parker, who won a statuette for musical theater album for “The Book of Mormon,” noted: “There are a lot of Mormons for whom this is sort of their ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ When asked to rate the comparative difficulty of writing comedy versus writing songs, he demurred, “Writing comedy songs is hard.”

Sam Okell, who won an historical album kudo for his remaster engineering work on Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection – Deluxe Edition),” shared: “I asked (McCartney), ‘When was the last time you listened to the album?’ and he said, ‘I’ve never listened to the album.’ ”

Ryan Tedder, OneRepublic frontman and Adele collaborator, recalled how he counterintuitively went for a less mainstream sound for the singer. “I’m more accustomed to doing stuff that’s going to work on radio, that’s what I’m known for,” he said. “But with Adele I didn’t give a damn. I was obsessed with the rawness of what she had. … None of this stuff was supposed to be on the radio. Like Adele said, ‘Rolling in the Deep’ isn’t a pop record.”

Related: Adele’s ’21’ wins album of the year at Grammys

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