July 29, 2010

July 29th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : Bjork

Growing up I had very few female roll models beyond my Mom and Laura from Little House and the Prairie. (don't ask about that one, its a long story that includes me actually wearing a bonnet, and often).

I was 17 when the Sugarcubes released Life's Too Good and the more I learned about the group, the more intrigued I became with Bjork. She was clearly her own person (ok, maybe more like an alien to me at the time), a version of punk that was much more colorful and sparkly than the handful doom and gloom alterna kids I went to high school with. As a young women who was feeling the confusing push and pull of her late teens and who I really was at my core, Bjork's timing in my life couldn't have been any better. She symbolized the very important point that you could be any mix of things you wanted to be...sexy yet childlike, look like a page from comic book, make your voice soar and grow, be in a band ....many things that weren't exactly fed to me in a daily capacity living in the suburbs of NJ. I saw The Sugarcubes play a few times towards the last few years of high school and have continues to follow her career ever since. Like many teenage obsessions, my passion for collecting all and anything Bjork has settled down, but I have remain a dedicated fan who still tries to keep up with all that she does. I even traveled to Iceland for the Sugarcubes reunion show a few years ago, my second trip to Iceland, a place I too have fallen in love with thanks to my introduction to it from that band.

When Alex (my DJ partner on air) asked if he could take off tonight to see Interpol, it timed perfectly with the release of the Dirty Projectors collaboration with Bjork. I then realized we had yet to do a show about her so I thought, the time is now. I own so many of her early projects - pre Sugarcubes, so many rare remixes and B-sides, that I have been able to put together what I think even the biggest Bjork fan would be impressed by. I didn't realize just how much I knew about her influences and various musical projects until I started to lay out the set list. I think out of 34 songs, 20 of them feature her in one way or another and only one of those songs are straight off her solo albums. The rest are rarities! It's nice to know all this useless information about Bjork that I have compiled since my youth will pay off into one darn fine radio show.

 Tonight from 7PM to 9PM I will be offering 2 hours of all things Bjork...tracing her career from age 11 until now. I even dug up and song by her not so little boy, something I think few people in the states have heard! KUKL, Tappi Tikarrass, Bless, Megas....so much great material! I will be podcasting it so fear not, if you can't tune in at 97.3 in Richmond or stream the show live at www.wrir.org, you will be able to hear it eventually.

July 22, 2010

Cause & Effect : July 22nd : Isis

Tonight's set from 7pm to 9pm is extra special because all of the song's were picked by Aaron Turner of Isis / Hydra Head plus he took the time to add little footnotes about most of the songs. If you ever wondered who the bands were that influenced Isis and what a mix tape by the band telling that story would sound like, tonight is the show for you. You can only hear it on WRIR, 97.3 FM in Richmond, VA or you can stream us live at www.wrir.org.

I am extra pleased to announce that Cave In have stepped up to the plate and donated a live track taken from their set with Isis last month in Montreal that was recorded off the soundboard. Considering the bond between Isis and Cave In as both bands and friends, I could ask for a more special bonus gift to our radio set.

And if Isis and Cave In aren't enough of a reason to tune in, you will also hear music by Hendrix, Godflesh, Slint, Neil Young, Slayer, Neurosis, and Rorschach to name a few.

Ohhhh, and one final note. Aaron gave me so much music to pick from that there is in fact a third hour of music that I will turn into a podcast for you listening pleasure.

On a personal note.....

I just finished reading the new Patti Smith book Just Kids and she writes something along the lines that when you are young, you can't quite grasp when special MOMENTS are in the making. By moments she means something you will look back on in 20, 40, 60 years and think "WOW....that was history in the making right there!" I am starting to look back through my past and have similar revelations. I have met, worked with, and befriended so many talented, wonderful people over the years. I couldn't have guessed who of those people would eventually register on the rock and roll time line as important but as time continues to push forward, more of these kinds of "moments" are surfacing from my past.

My memory is relatively poor, so I don't always have perfect recollection of how some of these people entered my life. With Isis, there were three forces working together around the same time. I liked their music and I was also a fan of the label Hydra Head that Aaron Turner from Isis was / still is part owner of. We had / have many mutual friends and at the center of that nucleus was / is the band Cave In. I was also working for a distribution company for over a decade that would eventually pick up Hyrdra Head so my friendship with the band was pretty much just a matter of time.

I can't begin to guess how many times I have seen Cave In play but they often shared a bill with Isis. The members of CI assured me Aaron and I probably would hit it off because we are both serious record collectors with eclectic tastes. I met all the Isis members somewhere around the late '90s and it seemed like every other month we were crossing paths. My friendship with Aaron grew from that point on. They were constantly in NYC for work or to play or I was in Boston doing the same so it was easy to connect without making much of an effort. I recall one of our earliest exchanges being about Bjork and promising to make him a mixed tape of my rarest material so he could bring it on tour. (I did in fact make such a collection) At the time he was one of my few people I knew who liked as many totally opposite genres as I did. I mean.it isn't every day you can talk about Black Metal, ambient electronic music, and classic Rock in the same breath. We have never lived in the same city but we have remained on and off again pen pals and would pick up wherever we left off  in person whenever Isis toured. Obviously every friendship is different from the next but Aaron and I have almost never spoken on the phone. Our mailed packages of music back and forth and yearly face time (with the occasional email sprinkled in) have been the blueprints for our friendship all along. The lovely thing about technology is without actually speaking to him I can keep up with him via what the label continues to release as well as his blog which is where I am able to see and hear the art he is producing.

What's maddening about someone like Turner is you don't just have an incredibly smart individual who is interesting as hell and well rounded... he has multiple talents. His label is a brand name, his band has grown to practically be a household name in the world of heavy music, and on top of all that, he is a remarkable artist who has designed a good bulk of the Hydra Head catalog. As far as friends go, he remains someone who is still a creative inspiration for me and his endless productivity is a constant source of awe.

Before we were ever formally introduced, Aaron was one of the few people who stayed behind to watch my old band (Dahlia Seed) play the final slot of a hardcore fest in MA back in the early to mid '90s. As you can imagine being the very last band of a multi- day fest isn't exactly the hot spot (more like the kiss of death) and by that point, the crowd had dwindled to just a handful of people . . . many of whom looked like watching one more band was about the last thing they wanted to do. Aaron not only watched us play that evening but even purchased a shirt which I am pretty certain was one of the only things we sold on that epic waste of a 6 hour drive to be there. There are a lot of reasons for me to be fond of Aaron, but his early support of me during one of our band's crappiest shows ever earns him a special place in my heart, ha!

During the middle of this decade I put Aaron to work on a collaboration piece for my solo record. (Ringfinger / Decimal) I sent him one of my songs and he in turn kindly added layers to it with both his guitar and voice. It's called "Waving Goodbye" and for me, is the ultimate celebration of the friendship we have built over the last 10 plus years. Some people have photos to cherish friends by, I am fortunate enough to have a record to show for it.

I should probably talk all about the technical mumbo jumbo in regards to Isis. There is plenty to be said about their gear, how they structure their songs, the meticulously crafted lyrics and art , how their songwriting has progressed over time, but ultimately I feel more like a big sister who is amazed and proud of all that Isis has accomplished. That probably isn't the coolest way to talk about such a gifted group of artists but my head is filled with memories of ridiculous hang outs at various venues up and down the East Coast, late night slumber parties when they crashed at my apartment (and no, not the dirty kind, more like folding merch and cursing cat hair), and the morning after group trek for coffee and breakfast. Somewhere over this period of time, they stopped being a band to me and started being a group of people I really looked forward to spending time with and catching up with.

Now that the band has officially retired, I am saddened because I know this will limit my chances of crossing paths with them in person but I suppose if there was a respectable parting gift, the band's catalog isn't such a bad thing to have them leave behind.

July 20, 2010

Charles Manson

And rolling in at the number one spot of things I never thought would happen in my lifetime : share a record label with Charles Manson.



Life is full of surprises.

July 16, 2010

Old Ticket Stubs

Just found these ticket stubs floating around in one of my closets at home. 

Notice how the L'amour ticket actually says James Addiction rather than Jane's Addiction. Ooops. I remember this show well. It was my first experience with the terror of realizing that someone in the pit had a knife and with the frenzy of people pushing, shoving, and doing there own versions of dancing, that there was no way of telling who it was with the knife to avoid them. I opted rather quickly to stand on the outer edges of the crowd and skip the whole trying to rock out thing. Demolition Boy opened up but I don't remember a damn thing about them. 

Here is the JA set list from that night:

Up The Beach
Idiots Rule
Had A Dad
Ted, Just Admit It...
Standing In The Shower... Thinking
Thank You Boys
Pigs In Zen
Summertime Rolls
Ocean Size
Mountain Song
Trip Away
Jane Says

This Nirvana / Melvins show wasn't really a fond memory. I has spent the years leading up to it seeing both bands play at tiny venues where I was just a few feet away from them on stage. This was the first time I was seeing both bands in a bigger, less personal space and it was definitely the first (big) hint that Nirvana was about to become superstars.

Here is the set list from that night:  

Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam 
Drain You 
Smells Like Teen Spirit 
Floyd The Barber 
About A Girl 
Rape Me 
Been A Son 
Negative Creep
Endless, Nameless 
Come on Death /Vendetagainst

July 7, 2010

Why Music?

When people ask me how or why I stay within the music industry when I have openly confessed it to be the most abusive relationship of my life, I can answer this question with ease. It is who I am to my core. I am dedicated to the things and people who breathe life and inspiration into me and music will always be at the top of the list. I am a painfully determined person who doesn’t quit easily and when the one thing in the world happens to often be a cruel little bitch, the flipside of this (record reference wink wink) is the Mount Everest like joy music gives me.

Music makes sense to me in ways that very few other people or things do. I started learning my way around the business side of music around the same time I began seriously collecting records and this is also around the same time I began playing music as well. From age 16 there was home, family, school, friends, work, and music and when I moved away from home at age 18, music overlapped and intertwined with every part of my life. 

I worked full-time at a small indie record store. My friends were all music obsessed and either played in bands or played some role in the indie music world. My first live-in boyfriend taught me how to play guitar (as well as my other roommate) and our private time together was usually spent writing songs, seeing bands play live, or listening / buying records. It might sound painfully limited and dull to most people but to a music fanatic like me, there was no other life to live or path to pick. I have many other passions and interests but none own me and thrill me the way music continues to. It isn’t any longer a job or even an industry to me, it is, to put it simply, my way of life.

So while the business side of music seems to be in an eternal downward spiral and more and more people ask why in the world anyone would risk attaching themselves to such a turbulent partner, just think of the people like me. Stupid? Maybe. Crazy? I have been called worse. Wealthy? Not even close. But when your life’s work is a passion that ignites your every breath , I would take that deep level of personal satisfaction over just about anything else in the world.

July 2, 2010

David Pajo Wants Your Skull

Read about his Misfits tribute vinyl only release here. There is also a link from that site to buy the record too!

July 1, 2010

Why Doesn't Anyone Just Want to Play the Guitar?

iPhone goes guitar with a little help...