In addition to my Wednesday playlist, I just wanted to talk a little more about one of my favorite things. Just recently I was complimented on my expansive taste and music collection, and asked how I find out about new music and artists. While I would love to say that I am at the clubs and festivals every night, I can’t. At least not yet… or not until some company wants to pay me to do that. Is anyone listening?
For me, it’s all about listening… to the radio… to my friends… to strangers… and reading. While I so wish it was financially easier to get mags like Q and Mojo (or at least a normal priced subscription!), I find a lot of new artists through Rolling Stone. The funny thing about the British magazines is that they seem to be months, if not years ahead of us. Just like fashion and other trends, they seem to start over there and only later, slowly head to our shores. Ironically and a case in point is the brilliant American band Kings of Leon, who had massive success in Europe before folks here even knew who they were… Yeah, okay, I knew them before they “hit.” So how does that happen?
KCRW, the brilliant station out of Santa Monica, CA. Listen live if you are here or stream them on the internet. They are always introducing me to new things. And volunteer during their pledge drives. The folks who sit next to you love music, too… and always have some new band to open your ears to!
The Sound, 100.3. Not a lot of new stuff, but they definitely go deep. My friend Rob literally had to pull the car over the other night when Guest DJ Jill Hennessy played The Waterboys’ “The Whole of the Moon.”
Go to Amoeba and other record stores, grab a few titles and go to their listening stations. Plus, they often have great live bands playing in the store!
Read. Like I said, Rolling Stone is still vital and offers up great reviews and a lot of articles on bands you have never heard of.
Go out to live venues. Yeah, tickets are not cheap and Ticket Master and Live Nation scare the crap out of me… but support artists on the road… You never know what warm up act will send you to the moon.
And listen, listen, listen… share music with friends and family and listen some more. Music is so amazing and so important, so fight like hell to keep it in our schools and share it with your kids. It is the glue that can hold so much together.
This week’s theme seems to be, “What’s Old Is New.”
New Rides of the Purple Sage – Yeah, it is essentially a continuation of the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty, but since I love that album, I am enamored with this.
Graham Nash – Songs for Beginners and the 1st Nash and Crosby with David Crosby
I have been listening to CSN and CSN&Y for as long as I can remember… and all their solo stuff, too… and even once played harmonica with Graham, a life highlight… but at this point in time, his solo stuff is grabbing me hard and not letting go. Stunning, smart and beautiful.
Stanley Clarke – Everything! After seeing him at the Canyon Club the other night, I pulled out and tracked down as much as I could get my hands on. The man is beyond mythical and his young band… Ruslan Sirota (Keyboards), Stephen Bruner (Bass) and Ronald Bruner, Jr. (Drums) must be watched and followed!
Fela and Femi Kuti – While I find that I enjoy the son more… he is obviously more modern and a bit more approachable perhaps, I love Fela, and one must not and cannot ignore the literal father of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti. He was to Africa and the world what Bob Marley was to Jamaica… Musician, outspoken activist and so much more. I so want to see the Broadway show! Knitting Factory Records is re-releasing many of Fela’s recordings, so track those down for sure. And listen to Femi’s Africa Shrine or Shoki Shoki or Day By Day to get a taste of what seeing him this summer at the Hollywood Bowl will be like.
Peace… and special prayers out to an old friend, Andrew Koenig. I hope you are safe and happy wherever you are! Thanks again for literally dragging me off the stage at Second City, Santa Monica. I will never forget that!