Great interview with the aforementioned Kutiman from Sasha-Frere-Jones at the New Yorker revealing that he hadn’t even heard rock or funk until he worked (for a day) at a 7-11 in 2000. I love it.
If there was any doubt about whether the artists should be upset for him sampling there work, I talked to Mighty Lion, the dancehall singer on track #2 (who used to be a recording student of mine back in Miami - back when he was a mere cub) and he said he’s had thousands of views of his raw Youtube clip and his Myspace page. And judging by the comments he’s receiving, he’s getting lots of positive feedback from Kutiman’s fans. (Yeah Andre!)
As of now, the Thru-you page isn’t working, which is a shame because it really is the best way to interface with these songs, mostly because of the interactive credits that dont show up on the Youtube pages (and the awesome deconstructed Youtube interface). I guess he’s too successful for his own good.
Still recovering from a weekend of dirty sweaty fun at the ACL Fest. Lots of great bands. My one pearl of wisdom from the experience…All the “serious” songwriters are wearing black suits now. Did I mention it was 100 degrees?
Conner Oberst (but not his band)
Jakob Dylan (t-shirt under the coat, band in full suits)
Bob Schneider (and the Scabs) (OK, their songs are all about oral sex, but Bob is good.)
Okkervil River (rock stars of the future)
Jack White (with the Raconteurs) (not sure if it was black because his pale skin makes everything look black.)
The highlight for me was David Byrne looking very much like Christopher Walken in his white leisure suit leading his crazy band of singers and dancers in the old Heads song “Houses in Motion.” Above is a 1980 Head’s performance of that song.
I try not to be political in this blog, but you have to laugh how Republicans can’t find a musician willing to support their candidates. Not surprising, just funny. Add Chuck Berry to the list with John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and Abba who have refused the use of their music.
And of all the music/politics mixes lately, I am most happy for the prime-time choice of Big Head Todd's song “Blue Sky” for Hillary Clinton’s DNC address last week. As uptight as she can seem, at least someone on her staff who likes good music (and maybe is from Boulder?). With 26 million pairs of eyes on their TV’s that night, hopefully Todd can sell a few more CD’s…
Paul Shaffer not only ponied up $10k for JB’s Hammond B-3 (with Leslie, natch) but he also took home “a blue satin cape emboidered with Thy name is Godfather of Soul and rhinestone, sequence (Christie’s meant sequins, unless they have another way of spelling that too!-TT) and metallic embellishments.”
I’m always amazed when people tell me they don’t subscribe to any podcasts. This is an amazingly under-used source of entertainment and comedy that you can enjoy FOR FREE if you have a computer (that glowing thing you are looking at now.) All you need is iTunes (yes, for Windows or Mac) or some other podcatcher. I prefer using my iPod or iPod-like device for listening while driving or biking, but it’s not necessary. Just go to “podcasts” in iTunes and click “subscribe” when you find the right shows. You are officially the last person to hear about this.
Think about how much time you waste listening to the radio in your car. Do you really need to hear more Eric Clapton? Did I mention it’s all free?
So first of all, you need to hear WNYC’s “Radio Lab.” This is like NPR on shrooms: great, intelligent talk, woven together with amazing music and sound design to transcend the medium and possibly teach you something, definitely make you laugh. Their episode “Pop Music” will teach you why you can’t stop singing certain songs like “Crazy” or maybe “Buttered Popcorn” or whatever “ear worm” is infecting you at the moment. If you’ve ever read Oliver Sacks (“Awakenings”, “Musicophilia”) you will recognize a huge contribution from him. Other episodes on “Laughter” and “Deception” are standouts this season. This is brilliant, fascinating stuff.
Secondly, you need to listen to “You Look Nice Today”, an audio show beyond description, with no redeeming educational value, but fall-down funny. Just 3 guys talking, including Merlin Mann, a super-celebrity for 1 percent of the population, who I barely missed playing in bands in Tallahassee in the late 80’s. If you are smart and into laughing this is for you. If not, listen to your radio.
Finally, I think I am the last guy to find out about “Yacht Rock" a now-defunct web TV show that my friend Carl turned me on to recently. I watched all 11 five-minute episodes in a weekend and couldn’t believe how gunny it all was. Mocking the competition between 80’s smooth rock veterans like The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan, even Van Halen and Dr. Dre, "Yacht Rock" is extremely tongue in cheek, based on real trivia that guys who listened to FM rock can appreciate. You can check out all the episodes on Youtube, or you can download them (yes, free) from Channel101.com to take them on your iPod-like device. (If you download, you may have to edit off the .txt suffix for the file to play. Don’t ask.) The bad mustache on Hall and Oates is alone worth your five minutes.
That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere. 2. YOUR GUITAR IS NOT REALLY A GUITARYour guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one. 3. PRACTICE IN FRONT OF A BUSH Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread. 4. WALK WITH THE DEVIL Old delta blues players referred to amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts demons and devils. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub. 5. IF YOU’RE GUILTY OF THINKING, YOU’RE OUT If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing. 6. NEVER POINT YOUR GUITAR AT ANYONE Your instrument has more power than lightning. Just hit a big chord, then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field. 7. ALWAYS CARRY YOUR CHURCH KEY You must carry your key and use it when called upon. That’s your part of the bargain. Like One String Sam. He was a Detroit street musician in the fifties who played a homemade instrument. His song “I Need A Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another church key holder is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty making you want to look up her dress to see how he’s doing it. 8. DON’T WIPE THE SWEAT OFF YOUR INSTRUMENT You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music. 9. KEEP YOUR GUITAR IN A DARK PLACE When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure to put a saucer of water in with it.
10. YOU GOTTA HAVE A HOOD FOR YOUR ENGINE Wear a hat when you play and keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a wet paper towel around it to make it grow.
I remember a teacher in my recording program putting on “Don’t Look Back” from Boston and showing us how the meters didn’t move much from full volume, even when the song sounded quieter. Producer/singer/songwriter Tom Sholtz was an MIT engineer who worshiped at the altar of Lost Dynamics. Today everybody compresses the life out of their tracks and they all sound the same. Remember how “Smells Like Teen Spirit” kicked you in the ass when the chorus kicked in? This is a great article about why even the good bands released today sound 1 dimensional
It’s been a while. I’ve missed you. You lost weight.
One of my new years resolutions is too write here more. And write more here.
Went to a memorial for Jacques Milhomme from Rose’s last night. Jacques was run over on his bike last week in Hollywood, FL. If you were at Rose’s on the Beach in the 90’s, Jacques was almost always working the door and the stage. Booked me when I was first trying to play guitar out live. Rob Nelson and I played their stage a couple times in the earliest spermatozoic days of the Bomb. Always a standup guy who loved good music and hated bad music, loudly.
Great night last night at Tobacco Road watching a once in a lifetime reunion of Raw B. Jae with the guitar of Demetrius Brown back on lead guitar. D is a mind bending talent who left to form Manchild after a couple of years of Raw B drama. Great to hear them all play and sing together. D and Robbie sound like the beautiful wounded veterans they are. It was some magic music in 1992 and now. Lots of old friends and great stories. Jacques would have loved it last night.
The Dharma Bomb starts new CD, says goodbye to drummer Ari
The Dharma Bomb started laying down tracks for our fourth (!) CD yesterday, by saying goodbye to our drummer of the last 10 years, Ari Schantz. Ari’s been with us for nearly 10 years now, but he’s moving to North Carolina. Now begins the daunting task of recording a full CD, but it all begins with the drum beat, so we laid down a handfull of tracks before Ari hits the road this weekend. The tracks were great, and I can honestly say the Bomb will never be the same band after he leaves. Collectively taller, sure, maybe even better, but never the same.
Good luck Ari.
Just got back from a weekend in LA.
Is it synchronicity that the two airports where I have been the most have the abbreviations MIA and LAX? Just seeing those letters on my tickets always makes me feel like a slacker.
How different would my life be if I had lived in Buffalo (BUF)?
I turned 40 this weekend. My best friend Jamin gave me vinyl. Records. Gave me a CD also, I guess to cover his ass in case my turntable no longer turned, but the records caught me by surprise. Stevie Wonder, Sufjan Stevens, Jolie Holland; stuff that would’ve been great on CD anyway, but there I was, just like it was 1985, unwrapping this large square package. I’m still increasing my appreciation by the hour.
At first I was bummed since I cant rip them to my Todd-pod, but every morning and night I’ve been listening to them in a way I wouldnt do with CDs or mp3’s. Sitting on the floor, unfolding the covers, feeling the raised cardboard bumps of the fish and bubbles on Stevie’s “Original Musiquarium,” Sufjan’s loco rant on the back of “Michigan.” Reading lyrics and band members instruments like it was important, like it mattered. I know most of that is being old and crusty, but music has become just a collection in my pod, a collective library to tap into music in general, not to savor the tastes of individual ALBUMS and ARTISTS.
What a concept.
I got some bourbon too, which is cool in its own way.