The Music To Eat blog has lied fallow the last few months. Taking a breather, as it were- its first lengthy one since starting seven years ago. It’s back with a new design, and, while not exactly a new direction, maybe a slightly different feel.
This is one of those blogs that’s too eclectic for it’s own good sometimes, and while I think the varied things I write about is a strength of the blog in some ways, it does limit readership. Most people who find Music To Eat (according to the statistics reports) are here because they are interested in specific subjects about well known musicians. The continually most popular post I’ve ever done, by far, is the one on Jackson Browne’s song “Linda Paloma.” It consistently is the most viewed page on the blog every day. Other “chart-toppers” are ones on Stephen Stills, Kate Bush, and Gordon Lightfoot. People want to read about who they know. And that’s fine, nothing wrong with that. I find it more interesting though to occasionally explore some less-trodden paths and sometimes write about lesser known music and musicians. Sometimes that might be a folk musician, sometimes rock, sometimes pop, sometimes jazz, sometimes prog…etc.
Music is one of the most enjoyable things about life for me and writing about, talking about, and finding new music occupies a lot of my time (perhaps too much!) So, if you came here looking for the story behind the stuffed giraffe on the cover of Stephen Stills’ first solo album, great- I’m glad you found the blog! If you came here to read about jazz guitarist John Abercrombie’s quiet and atmospheric Characters album or little-known album cover photographer Gene Brownell, that’s great too. Maybe you’re somebody I know and you read the blog just ’cause you know me. That’s cool too. I think I’d be writing most of this stuff even if no one was reading it, just because I like writing about music.
With this blog reboot, I thought it might be fun to interview myself. Yes, it’s come to that…I’m interviewing myself. Self-indulgent, yeah, but then blogs by their nature are a bit self indulgent I suppose. But they’re also just another method of communication, when it comes down to it.
I don’t know about you, but I always find interesting articles in Mojo music magazine and enjoy the “All Back to My Place” feature in the beginning of each issue, where they interview three musicians with the same set series of questions. I’m gonna model my self-interview (is this like taking a selfie verbally instead of photographically?) after those set questions.
What music are you currently grooving to?
I’m always listening to a lot, so this answer is longer than the average answer in Mojo (but I have more space than a partial page, too!). Lately I’ve been enjoying a new album called Ocean Av, by Emma Frank, an introspective singer-songwriter whose songs are framed in beautiful soothing, piano/bass/drums jazz arrangements. Also, Vessel of Love, (especially the song “Survive”) a cosmic tropical dream-pop reggae album by Hollie Cook, ex-Slits member and daughter of the Sex Pistols’ drummer Paul Cook.
Some more new stuff finding its way into my ears these days is the Nick Drake Covered CD included with the Feb. 2018 issue of Mojo, fuzzed guitarscape “A Song of Summer” by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, and “Airplane (Fly Me to Mexico)” by 60’s retro-ists The Yearning. Also, I’ve been delving further into the extensive back catalogs of Jess Roden and Anthony Phillips the last few months. Can’t forget this wacky song by avant-garde pop band The Lemon Kittens, featuring Danielle Dax, from 1981 called “P.V.S.” that I heard for the first time a couple of weeks ago and keep coming back to.
What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite album?
One of those almost impossible questions because it can change day by day, but of course there are a core few. One that’s always been a constant is Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays’ As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls. For me, it has everything: mystery, darkness, joy, warmth – and an endless supply of melodicism. Another that comes to mind is Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty, one of the first albums I really latched onto (probably around the age of 11 or 12). I played it so much I wore out my cassette tape of it. I return to it from time to time and it still does it.
What was the first record you bought and where did you buy it?
The first record I bought with my own money was probably the Beatles’ “Blue Album” 1967-1970. My parents had a Beatles compilation album called Oldies but Goldies whose front and back cover images always fascinated me as a little kid. By the time I was in middle school we were living north of New York City and my parents and I were down in the city for the day for some reason (probably to see the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center) and we went into Sam Goody’s record store. I think I saw the Blue Album on an end display rack and was sold by the front/back cover with the contrasting early and later Beatles in the exact same location and pose (another cover art sale.)
Which musician have you ever wanted to be?
I’ve never truly wanted to “be” anyone else – at least not permanently (maybe certain people at certain points in their lives), but I remember in the mid/early 90s getting so into the band Blue Mountain and telling a friend that I wanted to “be” Blue Mountain. So, not be a person, but be a band…or more accurately be the music. A strange thing to say perhaps, and I haven’t really thought in that way about other bands/musicians (I don’t want to be Blue Mountain anymore, but I still like their music.)
What do you sing in the shower?
I don’t sing in the shower, but I do sometimes sing in the car, usually when I’m by myself. Mostly, up- tempo and high energy kinds of things – Tom Petty is always good to sing along to because he had such a distinctive voice that’s fun to imitate and his songs were so dynamic. Let’s see, also maybe some Josh Rouse or the incredible but little known Chris Lee (“Bronx Science (Julie Ann)”, “Thom’s Bells”), too.
Saturday night record?
A good “get your motor running” song to be played loud is a track by the Church released on the Operetta EP called “Particles Matter” – basically a 30+ minute jam that builds and builds. Exploratory, improvisational, weaving, winding. I love the intense driving drum lock-in at the end. Oh, and can’t forget the epic Neil Young-ish guitar workout that starts around the 2:00 minute mark in Wilco’s “At Least That’s What You Said.”
Sunday morning record?
Though I don’t generally play specific music on specific days of the week, at one point in my life I played Santana’s “All the Love of the Universe” from the band’s adventurous, mostly (but not entirely) instrumental Caravanserai album, every Sunday morning for a few months. John Martyn or early Bruce Cockburn is always good for mellowing out to as well.
So, there you have it. Everybody would have interesting answers to those questions – that’s why they’re such good questions!
Stay tuned for more music and Les Nesman (sorry, old WKRP in Cincinnati joke there)!