Mike Adams at His Honest Weight – Casino Drone (read/listen/watch/buy)

 

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Sweet Sweet Music talked to Mike Adams about Casino Drone, the favorite song of his 3 year old son, tension in a catchy tune, Glen Campbell and trying to remain super cool.

Casino Drone is a power/indie pop gem. GEM!

Diem Be seems to be everybody’s favorite track. Is that a surprise to you or did you know you had something special right from the start?

It’s a bit of a surprise. We actually recorded a version of that song for a split 7″ with our pals Sleeping Bag a few years before Casino Drone came out. I wasn’t really planning on including it on the album, since it’d already been released, in a way.

But, when I was trying to decide what songs to put on the record I was listening to the recordings a lot in my car, and my son (who was 3 at the time) would often request “Diem Be” by name. It was his favorite one.

That’s when I started to think that maybe that song had a little more to it than I initially realized. If a kid likes it, it has to be kind of good, right? 

Sounds like that track  grew up in the studio. Or doesn’t that make any sense?

No, you totally got me. That song started out with that opening riff, I was just playing it over and over again in my studio at home until the rest of it started to unlock for me. It felt like a real Frankenstein for a while in the demo stages until we started playing it live and got comfortable with the transitions. It came a long way before we got to Casino Drone.

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The Razorcake review says: “Diem Be” sounds like it might’ve been taken from a hardcore song. But that’s the feeling I have with more of the songs. The “it can explode now any minute”-feeling. That kind of tension, is that what you are looking for in a song?

I love tension in a catchy tune. It’s a comfortable and effective contrast for me. I grew up attending loads of hardcore shows in my hometown, so even though it’s mostly subconscious, it’s no surprise to me that that stuff leaks out once in a while.

I think Kurt (who wrote the review for Razorcake) and I come from a very similar background, so it’s cool that he recognizes that stuff in what I’m doing now.

Another side to that is that my entire life is about trying to remain super cool in the face of unspeakable tension and anxiety, ha! So, I’m happy that the music I’m making can effectively communicate that.   

There was a day when a review like the AllMusic one would be bring stardom. The music industry changed, didn’t it?

I suppose it has, though I’m admittedly fairly ignorant of the industry. I’ve been making music in my various bedrooms with no money since I was a teenager. I loved doing it then, and I love doing it now. I take a certain amount of pride in what I’ve been able to accomplish just from curiosity and amassing years of experience and making mistakes.

I’d love to be a big fat rich guy with no worries, chowing on a turkey leg with my foot propped up on a gout stool someday thanks to my record-breaking album sales, but I also tend to think of music as this really primitive human thing that’s going to go on existing whether there’s an industry or not.

I’m baffled and content just to exist in some strange space between those two extremes. 

 

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

“All Done Wrong” – Starflyer 59
“Like A Diamond” – Glass Ghost
“Tender When I Want To Be” – Mary Chapin Carpenter
“Wishing Now” – Glen Campbell
“Under Your Spell” – The Range of Light Wilderness
…this question is entirely too hard.

If you could tour the world with two other bands, which two would you chose?

Electric Light Orchestra, and Sound of Ceres

What will 2017 look like? How will you promote Casino Drone?

We’re doing some touring and playing a lot of shows around the midwest and the east coast of the USA this spring. I’d like to start recording again by the summer.

Although, we’ve yet to play abroad, so if anyone reading this wants to make that happen, I’m all ears!

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Mike Adams at His Honest Weight @ Daytrotter

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THE LOVED – The Loved (interview)

I also have this quote I picked up somewhere, sometime…I put it on a note that hangs on my wall: “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Both of these lines mean something, form a bit of the base of how my songwriting should work.

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Sweet Sweet Music talked to Lael Alderman about The Loved and their wonderful new EP.

 
Three cords and the truth – as you describe your music on FB – is often used to describe country music. Are you a country band that rocks or a rock band …. Or a pop band that ….?

Three cords & the truth… I know it is the old country adage but, for me, it comes from watching U2 take on All Along the Watchtower in Rattle & Hum. I must have snuck into the theater to watch that movie 3 times in the one week it was playing in my hometown. Twelve years old? Bono is really feeling it, breathing heavy straight into the microphone, and he vamps out: “All I got is this red guitar, three chords and truth / All I got is a red guitar, the rest is up to you.” Something in there hit me, something stuck with me. Keep it simple, keep it honest.

 

I also have this quote I picked up somewhere, sometime…I put it on a note that hangs on my wall: “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Both of these lines mean something, form a bit of the base of how my songwriting should work.

 

To answer your question, though…the Loved, we are a rock band. We do have the very slightest of brushes with country in some songs, though I don’t think anybody would ever mistake us for a country band. I love the song structure and melodies of old country music. They find their way into our tunes sometimes.

 

 

Mothers & Fathers is the biggest truth of them all. Is that the reason for the mantra-like outro?

I think you got it. The words in that outro seem to wrap around each other. Things do get mantra-like in there, for sure. I am a father now, and that experience has made me view my own father differently. And now I look at my kids, and that makes me think a bit differently on my own youth. In my mind, it all turned into this circle of mothers & fathers with their sons & daughters who will one day be mothers & fathers, too.

 

I always make a point to look into the audience when we are playing. I like to enjoy that part of playing. For years, I never did that for one reason or another. I think most performers would say the same. When we do this song, I look out into the crowd, look to see if we are connecting. On this song, more than any other, folks key in on it. The mantra of the chorus connects, the rhythm section is locked in, a momentum build. More than most of our songs, you can feel a moment happening during the show.

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

Making this last album was a great time. We recorded all the tracks live, in a single six or seven-hour session…vocals, drums, guitars, bass. A few little dustings of studio magic followed during the two-day mix session. We could all see each other in the tracking room, lock in visually, me in an isolation booth to sing and play guitar, Daven & Jake staring each other down in a larger room. It was hot in the summer with no air conditioning. We drank a bunch of iced coffee, my wife brought us dinner. We would say it even while we were tracking the album: “It feels like a bit of magic is happening here.” We weren’t booking weeks of time on end, having to slog it out. We came into the studio with our songs, intending to do three, walked out with five. A pretty great day!

 

All of us in the band are so close…Daven was the best man in my wedding & we played in a band when we were younger for six years; after that, Daven & Jake have played in a band called Oh, Darling for another four years or more; all of our wives are the best of friends. Even our producer/engineer, he played lead guitar in a band he & I had together for a couple years. Making music with your best friends is about as good as it can get.

 

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If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

I think Sun/Moon/Stars does the job of letting you know what we are about. It was one of the first songs we all worked on together, as well; the first song that let us know we were, perhaps, on to something unique & special as a band. That song will let you know I wear my heart on my sleeve. The melody & dynamics in the vocals of this song are right in our wheelhouse, and the music has some good twists & turns in it. It’s a sometimes-soft song that sometimes rocks you.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

Well, we have all been around playing music for a while. I put my first record out in 1998, and it went on to be the little album that could. Within six months of my friends’ label independently releasing it, I had a recording deal with Geffen Records & a publishing deal with Sony. That was a lot for a 23-year old to figure out. And those things just don’t happen anymore in the music industry. The music industry has changed a lot, and the end of the ‘90s was the greatest change in the shortest amount of time that I have seen. In classic style, my deal was done, over and dissolved before I was even able to record an album. The experience of it all, though, is something I will always have with me, and it gave me the absolute confidence to move forward with my music on my own terms with my own style.

 

I know Daven & Jake have been putting out records for as long as I have, and we have all had our brushes with the musical industrial complex. For each one of us, every not-so-good story is balanced by another handful of great opportunities. That being said, hindsight has a way of pointing out lessons learned and not making you too upset about any potentially missed chances. It’s why we write & play music now for the love of it; no concerns about finding a spot anywhere in the larger music industry.

 

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

Is this purely for getting the girl? Man, it has been a long time since making a mix tape for that! Let’s try this out:

 

  1. Ask – the Smiths
  2. Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake
  3. Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
  4. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley
  5. Don’t Disturb This Groove – the System

 

 

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Elliot Schneider never waited for the Afterlife— life is now!

And what a life he is and has been living.

This is the story so far.

 

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Buy here

 

 

 

At the end of the 70s, you were playing CBGB’swith your band Elliot Schneider and the Pitts. What was it like? 

I had just returned to rock and roll in 1978. Around 1969 I fell in love with the British acid folk music of The Incredible String Band and also Pentangle. Suddenly I was writing some very esoteric gentle songs that wandered into the wisp or meandered into the meadows of your pillow.

Then in 1978, I met a Swedish painter and ex-child star who heard me sing with my giant incognito rock and roll voice which I had been hiding from the world for a decade. She fell over.

Meanwhile, a writer in L.A. read a play of mine and asked me to move there and be her co-partner in some teleplays and screenplays. So Tobi, the Swedish painter, and I moved to L.A. But soon, to paraphrase J.D. Salinger, I was nauseated by the kind of prostitution this entailed.

And I began writing what began as almost accusatory rock against L.A. I recorded some very exciting rock and roll in L.A. with my first incarnation of Elliot Schneider and The Pitts.

Then I moved back to New York and formed the second incarnation. My band was just the third band in CBGB’s history to debut on a Saturday night.  It was thrilling. CBGB’s was my favorite stage in all of New York City.

 

What were your musical dreams at that time? 

 

 

Silly me—I wanted to make music on the level of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Anything less seemed to be settling. Why bother making music if you couldn’t reacquaint people with all their dreams and fears and lost loves? The Beatles were the Apollonian archetype; The Stones were the Dionysian model. I wanted to dabble in both.

 

You became a teacher. Your old students aren’t surprised when they find out you are recording, are they? 

 

I had a way of blowing up all my potential successes. In 1979 the head of A & R at Capitol Records heard the first three songs I recorded in L.A. and absolutely loved them. He asked me to send him a couple of more songs and if he dug them too I would’ve been signed to the same American label as The Beatles. My dream come true! Well, I had two more studio songs from L.A.

But the lead guitarist—a genius really—did something a little different than we did in rehearsal. So I refused to give the head of Capitol Records the songs. Never compromise, I thought. Smart thinking, Elliot.  Oddly enough those two songs were to appear in the Bonus Material on my 2012 album, “If Looks Could Kill, I’d Wear Mirror Sunglasses.” DJs loved them; hell, I love them. If I had given them to Capitol Records in 1979, they would’ve signed me. They wanted to—and I refused. Go figure. But even back in 1969, I was doing the same thing. In the summer of 1969 when men first set foot on the moon, I met Les Paul in Chicago.

I was visiting the daughter of his former drummer Tommy Rinaldo.  Mr. Paul was both warm and sardonic.  He invited me to travel back to New York with him, “Ten Years After” and Dusty Springfield. Strangely enough, I said, “thanks, but I can’t,” and so he gave me his card and invited me to his home in Mahwah, New Jersey. I played for him at his home in March of 1970 and he wanted to produce my song, “The First Day Of Summer.”

Alas, I took an LSD trip that lasted a month—my last acid trip—and wound up 3,000 miles away in La-La Land. Forty-seven years later I finally recorded that song. And it appears on my new CD, “Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basketcase.” And also in my folk period in 1973, the best A & R man at Elektra-Asylum Records loved my music and asked me to add bass and drums and come back. I said to my bandmates, “Fuck him. He doesn’t get it.”

And I refused to go back.  I sure showed him.  I did things like that more often than I have fingers and toes to count. So Finally in 1986 when I put out a rock and roll LP called, “Surreal Survivor” and I got very serious interest again, I gave up the holy grail of rock and roll and went to Graduate School in 1987. I studied history in great depth. And I became a History and Philosophy teacher.

From 1987 until I got breast cancer, the only time I performed was with a band of my students at high school rallies. If I hadn’t gotten cancer, none of my CDs would exist today.

 

What brought you back to making music? 

 

My mother died of breast cancer when I was only two. And suddenly in 2005, I discovered I had the same disease. They removed my left breast—and also the sentinel lymph node to biopsy. Then they discovered the sentinel lymph node was cancerous too. They operated again and took out all the lymph nodes under my left armpit. Thank Zeus the cancer had yet to spread there.

If I discovered my cancer a little later, it would’ve spread through the lymph system of my body and I probably would have died. To be safe they gave me an unusually strong treatment of chemotherapy. And they kept it up for twice as long as they do in Europe.

About six months in I got Chemo-brain. I couldn’t follow two words in a row nevertheless complex thought. So I retired from teaching. But before I retired the mother of one of my students—Carmen Castro—came to my house to get the lesson plans to deliver to the school.

She and I had been close friends for 16 years. I taught all three of her kids and she was close with my kids too. I picked up my guitar and I began writing songs. My synapses snapped back into shape as songs sprang from my soul. And Carmen and I fell magically in love after 16 years of Platonic friendship. We actually fell in love the first time I got off stage in decades and fell into her eyes as I stepped down.

 

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You released 4 albums so far. All received lots of praise. Excited? Surprised maybe?

 

Before I recorded the new songs, Carmen and I selected songs from my past and we put out an 18-song compilation from the previous millennium. I called it, “Surreal Survivor” although the 1986 LP only had 9 songs.

And one version of the record was left off for a wilder live version from the time. Then I recorded lots of new songs including, “If Looks Could Kill, I’d Wear Mirror Sunglasses” which became the title track.

That led to a tour of the UK where I also performed live on The BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool. Sort of like British Invasion in reverse. My third CD was “Better A Fool Than Aloof” which actually hit NUMBER ONE at WLFR 91.7 FM near Atlantic City. My latest album, “Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basketcase” reached NUMBER ONE at WLFR 91.7 FM and also at WMUH 91.7 FM in Allentown, Pennsylvania. And it hit #59 on the National Charts of Muzooka Radio Charts (Unweighted side.)

Then on February 16, 2018, I wrote, “I Second That Amendment Blues.”

This satirical yet passionate song sprang out of me two days after the terrifying murders of the children and teachers in Parkland, Florida. We launched it into the turbulent seas of human emotion as a life raft or a call to (loving) arms; this is for the children and their battle for the soul of America. With young people like this, I have hope for our planet. We must never despair, and we must never give up. Let me share the lyrics with you.

I want my own A-Bomb

I’ve got rights like you

I want my own A-Bomb

I want an ICBM too

 

So you pray but they still shoot

Let me pry away their guns

God helps those who help themselves

Your prayers are falling on dead ears

 

You say guns don’t kill but

People will

A mad man with a butter knife

Won’t cause that much strife

A submachine gun in his hand

And it is a savage land

 

I second that amendment blues

I second that amendment blues

How many children will we kill?

The NRA is paying the bill

 

 

Swagger, like Ray Davies en Peter Wolf. Does that make sense?

 

I just can’t quit. I do like what you said about Ray Davies and Peter Wolf.

 

And swagger… the legendary DJ and author Spencer Leigh (who knew The Beatles and wrote many books about them) said on his BBC Radio Merseyside program after playing me the first time: “Excellent stuff—that guys got swagger.”

 

Cary Tennis (Salon.com’s renowned columnist for a 14-year span) wrote in SF Weekly: “It’s impossible to classify him, categorize him, deny, defy or crucify him. Everything about him invites skepticism; you know right off he’s either a total flake or a total genius.”

 

“Bay area rocker Elliot Schneider’s career reads like the lyrics of a rock ‘n’ roll song.” –Randy McMullen, San Jose Mercury News

 

“I love singing,” says the self-professed former hippie. “It’s like making love to the universe.” –Jim Harrington quoting Elliot Schneider, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News

 

What’s left, Elliot? Still ambitious? Still got something to prove? Or is it ‘just’ for the sake of the song? And the need to express yourself?

 

My mother died of breast cancer when I was two.  She was only twenty-seven. She got cancer when I was one.   My earliest memories are of life and death.  In response, I lived passionately every moment.  Instead of waiting until my sixties, I retired in my twenties and thirties when I was young enough to really enjoy it.  I had more adventures than could fit in twenty volumes and I lived without fear.  I drank with hoboes; I drank with a member of the Kennedy administration whose daughter was the Queen of Jordan. Linda McCartney and I spoke of the death of her mother and my own father.  I lived for love and traveled the planet, Peter Pan masquerading as Captain Hook but always being Elliot.  I’ve been blessed with love affairs that read like fantasy–I love my life.  I’ve played guitar with Les Paul and danced around knives in New York. Surfing on the present moment I’ve known a lot of ecstasy and even heartbreak.  Because I’ve always done what I want, I have no regrets.  Every day has been magical.

One day I gave up the Holy Grail of Rock ’n’ Roll and went through the Looking Glass. I became a history and philosophy teacher and became the father of two dazzling suns. Who needs reincarnation? We all live many lives in a single lifetime.

Since I always loved women (perhaps searching for the mother I never had), it seems only fitting that I, too, got breast cancer.  More than half a century ago, there was little they could do for my mother.  We live in a different world now. I beat cancer, and I retired from my retirement from Rock ’n’ Roll. I fell in love with Carmen Castro, the love of my life—and my keyboard player. I met her because I taught all three of her kids. We were friends for sixteen years before I fell into her eyes. And I am still falling.

Every day I try to feel ecstatic. The moment is immortal even if we are not.  I can live with the fact that I’m going to die. I’ve never waited for the Afterlife—I live now.  I’m still going to die and yet the world is still thrilling me.  If we spend our life fearing death, we never live at all.  My purpose in life has always been to really live before I die. There are stories I still want to tell. When death finds me, I’ll be kicking, gouging and scratching all the way.  If I could live forever, I would.  How could you be bored with the universe all around you?

 

So I ask you: Is there life after birth?

 

 

‘There’s only what you have the guts to try.’

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Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he studied English and music and trained as an opera singer. In 2018, he released his debut record, “First Thing Tomorrow,” a collection of 10 original, pop/rock songs.

Not your average introduction. This is not an average story.

Buy here or at Kool Kat

 

 

In ‘Talking to Myself’ you sing ‘the sun goes down, we are another day closer to dying’. You told me this song is about you talking yourself through this project. What was this project about, for you? And how important was it to finish?

A 48-year-old sports writer putting out a debut record requires some explanation, I know. But there’s only so much I can explain. On one level, this project was the culmination of a life immersed in music, from the piano lessons as a kid, which I quit after a couple of years like everyone; to my music studies at Vanderbilt, where I trained as an opera singer, but was always more drawn to the theory/composition classes; to my dabbling at guitar and piano as an adult, with an occasional sit-in gig with a friend’s band (my crazy day job precluded anything more serious) and lots of drunken hootenanny jams; and of course, to my years spent as an active, insatiable and analytical listener of music.

But on a deeper level – and this is where “Talking To Myself” comes in – it was about challenging myself to take on something I’ve always dreamed of doing (but maybe doubted that I could do well), and seeing it through. I always figured I would try this at some point, but when you get to a certain age, you wake up and realize “some point” needs to be right freaking now. There wasn’t one big event or epiphany, that got me to that point. It was more like a slow dawning. I certainly wish it had happened earlier in life, but I refuse to grant myself the cop-out of saying I missed my calling. As the lyric goes, “There are no callings in life / There’s only what you have the guts to try.” I didn’t have the guts – or the wherewithal — to try it at 18 or 28 or 38.

In the song, you hear the speaker talking to someone as if encouraging them to “follow through or it dies,” and hopefully it sounds sort of inspirational. But by the bridge (“Mirror mirror on the wall behind the bar / Who’s the loneliest by far”), you realize it’s just some guy talking to himself in a bar. In a way, that’s its own sort of cop-out: he spends two verses going all carpe diem on you, but by the end he’s resigned to saying he’ll get to it “someday.” It just seemed more rock-n-roll to do it that way, instead of the opposite. But I know what it meant to me.

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

Honestly, just making a real, actual piece of art for the first time in my life, then putting the thing out and having some people listen to it and like it is all the success I needed or wanted. I would have loved to have made back my expenses, but it seems as if that ship has sailed, from a standpoint of people paying for music. (It’s been interesting, by the way, to be involved in two industries – newspapers and music – where the economic model has collapsed due largely to the misguided belief from consumers that online content should be free.) I also would love it if someone saw this and thought, “If this over-the-hill chump-ass sports writer can make a record like this, I can pull off my dream project.” But that doesn’t seem to actually happen in real life, so I’m not counting on it.

Andy Bopp is producing. What’s the story?

I met Andy Bopp through my good friend, the Baltimore-based Americana legend Andrew Grimm, who fronts a band called June Star and is the best songwriter I know. Bopp and Grimm have been playing in each other’s bands for years. Having them both involved was perfect for me, since Bopp’s power pop genius and Grimm’s Americana chops were like the yin and yang of my musical sensibilities. Being in the studio with these two, plus J. Robbins, the legendary D.C. hardcore guitarist/singer/songwriter (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, et al.) who also co-produced and mixed it, was an incredible experience for me.

I never set out to make a power pop record. They were just songs that I thought were pretty good, but I wasn’t hearing a defined, distinctive sound like that. But circumstances led to Bopp becoming the primary producer, and he was like a mad scientist in the studio. We triple-tracked most of the vocals, and Bopp added touches like the “It’s Getting Better,” one-note guitar lick in “City You Left Behind” and some classic-pop percussion. It totally indulged that side of my sensibilities, and I was completely on board. I was thrilled with how it came out. But when we were finished, I was kind of like: Welp, I think we made a power pop record.

You are a writer. Have you always been writing songs?

No, not at all. I went through periods when I dabbled at it, but I never stuck with it. I just resigned myself to the notion I was good at telling other people’s stories in the newspaper but terrible at telling my own in song. Then, maybe four years ago, I built myself a music “lounge” in my basement and started to apply myself to songwriting. I think it’s essential to carve out both the mental and the physical space for yourself to be able to tap into the creative side, and until then I had neither. I still found it incredibly hard to write a good song, but nothing had ever felt more rewarding to me, including writing a book.

Are people, who know you from work, surprised when they hear your music?

Yes and no. I didn’t tell many people about the project – just enough to where there was pressure on me to see it through. But nobody at the newspaper knew until a few days before the record was coming out. My bosses could not have reacted any better. My sports editor was one of the first people to buy it on the day it came out – and then his wife did, too.

At the same time, in my professional circles, my musical ability has always been viewed a cool novelty, and I was well-known, or perhaps infamous, for assaulting hotel-lobby pianos at any major sporting event until security was inevitably called to shut me down. These episodes have led to some epic stories, such as the time Tommy Lasorda sang along with me to Louis Prima songs, and when Dusty Baker tipped me a $50 after Game 6 of the 2002 World Series.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

You’re an evil person, Patrick, for limiting this to five songs. But with that said, and keeping in mind the stated mission of securing a second date, I’ll line it up like this:

Waterloo Sunset, The Kinks

Fruits of My Labor, Lucinda Williams

Things, Paul Westerberg

Take It With Me, Tom Waits

My One and Only Love, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

 

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How will you promote First Thing Tomorrow?

I’ve always been terrible at self-promotion, and that’s doubly so when it comes to my music. So basically, there will be zero promotion. I don’t have the time or even the desire to play out. We talked about doing one record release show, but two months later we still haven’t gotten that off the ground. I’ve sent the record around to some radio stations, blogs, and what-have-you, and WTMD in Baltimore (my favorite station) played “Talking To Myself” for about a month, which was just about the coolest thing ever for me.

But I already have a possible second record maybe 60-70 percent written, and my only goal here is to convince myself — through positive feedback, encouragement of friends and maybe a few more download sales – to do it again. Otherwise, you’ll see me back at that bar, talking to myself.

Chris Catalyst – Life Is Often Brilliant

Chris Catalyst talks about his new record Life Is Often Brilliant.

Read and find out what he has to say about ‘fame and fortune’, recording drums, managers, guitar techs, Bowie and The Tubes.

But if you haven’t heard the record yet, you better do some listening first because it is just great.

Especially if you like Elvis Costello, XTC, Oasis … you will be in for a treat.

 

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What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

 

Finishing it. I loved every second of making it, but it was a long, laborious task, which got a little lonely at times due to it being a solo pursuit (along with my intrepid producer pal Andy Hawkins).

Recording the drums was pretty special, though – I’d always wanted to play drums on a record, and it was a great way to get out of my comfort zone, which (as we all know) is where the fun stuff happens.

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

Honestly? These days I just write, and record, and have faith that it’s going to turn out okay. I’ve never written a song that I’m not proud of in some way, and I feel if I continue to apply the same quality control and meticulous standards that I’ve always done, then it will prove to be good. Or, at least, good enough.

The special bit came later when a small but perfectly formed bunch of people shelled out to buy it, and seemed to enjoy it.

Actually, I tell a lie, there was a point when we were mixing the song ‘Far’. We were looking at the second verse, and producer Andy and I came across a bunch of sampled drum loops (which was how I’d always imagined the album having a load of). We distorted the shit out of it and cut all the vocals up in that section… that was a real ‘that was the sound in my head’ moment.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

I’ve never been a part of any music industry… luckily. The closest I’ve got is being a guitar tech for a couple of name bands, and seeing the schmoozing and bollocks first hand is equal parts boring and sickening.

A band I know recently sacked their sound guy because the manager told them to.

I couldn’t work in a world like that. I’ve been lucky to never had to sign a contract, never owed anyone a penny, but still managed to be self-sufficient, due to a combination of hard work and good fortune.

Not to mention that small but perfectly formed bunch of people I mentioned earlier.

 

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She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

This would change day to day but today it would be:

Kids In America – Kim Wilde

Electricity – Spiritualized

White Punks On Dope – The Tubes

Boys Keep Swinging – David Bowie

I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times – Beach Boys

I always like finishing with a ballad.

 

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

Success is defined and measured very differently by different people – and it seems my definition is at odds with a lot of my peers. I am not interested fame or fortune. So as long as I can get to bend my creative elbow, write some songs and enjoy myself with a bunch of my goodest friends, then that’ll do for me.

 

Richard Turgeon – In Between The Spaces (interview)

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PowerPopNews.com writes about ‘In Between The Spaces’:

“THERE ISN’T A BAD SONG ON IN BETWEEN THE SPACES… DON’T BE SURPRISED IF IT ENDS UP ON THIS SITE’S BEST POWER POP ALBUMS LIST BY YEAR’S END.”

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Richard Turgeon about his new album, a power pop rock gem.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

 

I think just deciding to set a goal and make a full-length record again after a long absence from music, and actually promoting it instead of just letting it exist for a few friends and family. I love writing, recording, and audio production, so I found great joy in having a dedicated space nearby and not running a live band. I’m lucky in that I can write, record and produce myself, play almost all the parts, and even mix and master. It affords an enormous amount of creative freedom. It’s the first time I consistently did this cycle of writing and recording for about a year-and-a-half, and that continues today. Honestly if I could write and record my music all day, I would. I’ve written books and screenplays, and I’ve been a professional full-time writer for close to two decades, but I’m feeling very creatively fertile these days with my music. And it’s never felt better or more rewarding and fulfilling than it has in making this record.

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

This whole album project began with the first song, “Bigfoot’s an Alien,” bubbling up after years spent working on a novel. I felt very out of practice and rusty on drums, guitars, and vocals (my main things), but I knew when I wrote this song, it was solid (this is rarely the case). Fortunately, I had enough experience to choose a local producer and studio that would be right for me—my friend Scott Llamas in San Rafael, CA. He basically took this song that was bottled up inside and, production-wise, turned it into the heaviest, most rocking song I’d put out to date. I was very grateful to have his guidance and experience on bringing that song to life. The result motivated me to put out an entire record building on where I was at musically, which was almost as if I’d never stopped. So I somehow progressed without doing anything haha.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

Things are so different with promotion than it was when I was in my 20s, that I found more reward in that as well. The record continues to be very well received and I’ve loved connecting with all the DJs, bloggers (like yourself), and new fans so quickly. There’s no way I could grow a fanbase at this pace without the internet and social media. Even creating my website was much easier with the tools available today.

 

All that said, a part of me would like to get on a label, mostly to get my songs in movies and TV soundtracks, and basically just push the songs on the radio and any other channels to get more ears and increase my fanbase. In the old days, that meant regional touring and building fans with a live show, but I’m too old, busy (did I mention I have a full-time job and two young kids?), and solo-artist minded for that today. I’m fumbling my way through trying to make a dent with my music in today’s world with my particular approach to doing things (putting out recordings only, no live band, at least for now.) I guess a direct answer to the question is: The music industry hasn’t historically brought me jack-squat—I’ve always done everything myself: booking, promotion, and then eventually recording. I’ve actually been more rewarded by the indie press, bloggers, and DJs like you, who give indie artists like me a forum. So if the “indie” music industry counts, that has brought a lot to me over the years, even before the internet, and probably more so today than ever.

 

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

I would have to qualify that the tape is just my favorite songs to authentically share, not designed to impress her in any other way. I would also ask her to listen to both sides, since I couldn’t fit it all on one side (hence eight songs). I don’t think a girl has to like her guy’s music for it to work out, but it helps to have some common ground there (…he said as he types this next to his wife in bed.) Fortunately, my wife loves some of these songs, too. Or at least tolerates me playing them way too many times in her presence.

 

In no particular order…

 

  • The Police – “So Lonely”
  • The Eagles – “Take It Easy”
  • Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
  • Weezer – “Island in the Sun’
  • Pavement – “Stereo”
  • Juliana Hatfield – “My Sister”
  • The Replacements – “Alex Chilton”
  • The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”

 

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

 

It already is in my view. I put up my website hoping some friends and definitely family would take a listen and tell me they liked it, which they’ve been doing most of my adult life, god bless ‘em. But it went beyond that when I started connecting with people I’d never met before, including the indie rock and power pop community (see the “Buzz” tab on my website for my wall of fame tribute to everyone who’s helped get the word out so far). Friends and family helped me make a goofy music video we’re all really proud of. New folks continue to reach out for interviews and airplay. I’m very grateful for what’s happening with the record, since it’s gone beyond my expectations. If I could share it with the whole world, I would. I’m not one of those shy, insecure bedroom auteurs that wants to be obscure. I write rock songs but at their core, they’re pop. It’s what I like, and I always want more listeners and to connect with more people.

 

To that end, the best thing anyone can do for an indie artist like me is to visit my website (richardturgeon.com), like my social media pages, and share the sh*t out of my songs and video, and tell their friends to do the same. Refer me to friends in the music business. Reach out for interviews and spin the songs on your shows.

 

I think the next levels of success for an indie artist like me—if it’s what they want—is to get on a decent label and start making some money for the effort. I don’t think my time and art should be free, but I’ll probably continue giving away music until I get to that next level. Sorry if all that sounds crass, but it’s an honest answer to the question.

 

To your readers: thank you for supporting indie music (particularly mine)! And thank you for listening to the record, and the interview, Patrick!
Learn more about and listen to Rich’s new LP, In Between the Spaces, at his website, Richardturgeon.com

Sweet Sweet Music’s Most Popular Q&A’s

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Just for fun. And we had a lot of fun this year. Great answers. GREAT ANSWERS!

Thank you all. See you in 2017.

So for re-reading purposes … “our” 5 most popular  Q&A’s of 2016.

 

5. The Loved

I also have this quote I picked up somewhere, sometime…I put it on a note that hangs on my wall: “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Both of these lines mean something, form a bit of the base of how my songwriting should work.

Re-read here

4. Terry Malts

We’ve always had a deeper affinity for UK music than for American music. There’s a romance and charisma to it that Americans can’t naturally reproduce. It’s got style.

Re-read here

3. Ed Ryan

My favorite lyric writers in any genre tend to go deep and a little dark. Like most songwriters there’s a fair amount of romantic relationship stuff but I like to go beyond just boy/girl stuff as much as I can. Davies, Townshend and Hiatt are such great storytellers while staying emotionally true…they are my gold standard.

Re-read here

2. The Top Boost

We are massively influenced by 1960’s pop music. It naturally comes out that way while composing. What we went for was just what we thought sounded right. To build each song properly we put together a sound collage filled with our favorite instruments.

Re-read here

1. Nick Piunti

The song is actually about a relationship that ran its course, but using the analogy of a “one hit wonder” band that couldn’t follow it up. The relationship couldn’t survive past the infatuation, love at first site stage. Actually a true story of sorts.

Re-read here

TERRY MALTS – LOST AT THE PARTY (interview)

We’ve always had a deeper affinity for UK music than for American music. There’s a romance and charisma to it that Americans can’t naturally reproduce. It’s got style.

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Corey Cunningham of Terry Malts about Lost At The Party.

Lost At The Party has been described as Californian Power Pop but, at the same time, it sounds like Liverpool in the mid 80s. Does that make sense?

Definitely. The “California Power Pop” is a pretty lazy tag. I think it comes from rock writers who don’t have very deep record collections. We’ve always had a deeper affinity for UK music than for American music. There’s a romance and charisma to it that Americans can’t naturally reproduce. It’s got style.

How did the album come together? Why the new approach?

Within a week of finishing the basic recording of our second album I had moved to Los Angeles and started a new life. Our bassist/singer Phil moved down for about 9 months at one point, too. The ensuring two years of touring, writing, and demoing brought out that desire for change. As much as we put our hearts into the second record, it seemed like we were treading water.

Also our old band, Magic Bullets, was the kind of group that would really usr the studio as an instrument by implementing overdubbing and production techniques. I’ve really missed layering guitars in particular since we had been making music as Terry Malts. I was hoping we could reconcile the sound of the two bands by finding a sonic midway point between them.

Once we had the songs together, I approached Monte Vallier who had mixed the last two albums and also recorded the final Magic Bullets EP. I’ve been a fan of his ability to manipulate sounds for a long time. He has an incredible ear for tones and a sweet nature. If you listen to his work, particularly with the band Weekend, you can really notice the detail he adds to a recording. He has a lot of unconventional techniques and I’d describe him as the closest thing to George Martin that this generation has.

I brought notes for every song and we sent him tracks by other artists (some of which you can find on our Party Platters mix on Spotify

From there we recorded the basic tracks and started overdubbing different guitar tones, keyboards, and sound effects. Over the course of the next few months Monte mixed the tracks. Once we had a final mix he bounced the mixes down to a cassette tape, played the tape back through a boombox, and mic’d the boombox with a close mic and a room mic in his kitchen. It gives the recording a really dense, warm feel.

How will you promote Lost At The Party?

Is touring the most important part? Or is Facebook as important?


The first thing we did was create a 1-800 number for people to call and hear a little skit promoting the album that I created with our friend Sean O’Shea. It makes fun of these corny American commercials advertising compilation CDs that were really popular in the 90s.

Since then we’ve been touring in patches. It seems to make the most sense because it’s hard for everyone to get time off from their day jobs. We’ll be touring the US early next year and Europe over the summer.

I think touring is way more important than Facebook. In fact, Facebook is more of an obstacle these days because of their algorithm that only allows your posts to pop up in certain fan’s feeds if you’re “trending”. The only way around their algorithm is by paying them to leave a sponsored post in people’s feeds. 

This was something I had serious hang-ups with and avoided for as long as we could. Unfortunately, this is the reality of being in a band now. You’re forced to participate in the marketing of your art, which feels completely wrong and puts you in a compromising position that you have to live with.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

The Necessaries – “More Real”, 
Durutti Column – “Bordeaux Sequence”, 
Virginia Astley – “Some Small Hope”, 
Amina Claudine Myers – “Going Home”, 
The Mamas & The Papas – “Snow Queen Of Texas”

If you could pick two bands (any) to tour the world with. Who?



I would definitely put Henry’s Dress on there. Even though they’re no longer a band, I would say they have been the most influential on us. We played our first show after seeing their reunion show.

And I think I can speak for the others when I say touring with Neil Young would also be a dream come true. It’s been such a strange and horrible year for American politics and I’ve found myself drifting back to the two artists that seem to have brought me the most comfort in my life over the years: Neil Young and The Smiths. 

What about The Netherlands?



We loved The Netherlands! Most of our shows on the last European tour were there and we played big festivals and little village bars. It was pretty special and the people were so engaged and caring. It’s the complete opposite of playing in America where nobody cares unless you’re already incredibly successful. Hopefully we’ll be back soon so we can hang out with our friends Bas and Marco.

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PASSPORT: Ronald Welgemoed (Liquid Breakfast)

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Look out for the single which will be released early 2016.
Check the Still Unbeatable Records website for updates.

If you would like to find out how they sound, please check

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the new single?

The recording sessions for the Liquid Breakfast single were special because it’s no ordinary band, so it was no ordinary recording process. Usually you rehearse the songs and then go into the studio and record them. But we come from different countries and most of us never met each other in real life before. Malte Buhr, who wrote the songs, and I have had online contact for some years, we met through MySpace and made contact again through Facebook and started making music online. He is a fan of my band Rotjoch  and at a certain moment he asked me if I would make a Rotjoch style version of one of his songs and later on I did that with some more of his songs. At a certain moment he suggested to record some of these songs and release them. So we planned a recording date and got together. He asked  bassplayer Luc Bulles from London to join and I asked Rotjoch’s drummer William van Veenendaal. The special recording circumstances in which we had to meet for the first time, do  a short rehearsal and then start recording was great fun. But for me the biggest fun was finally meeting Malte in real life after knowing each other for many years through online contact only.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

I think that must be “Bad Boy” because it’s a kind of statement what Rotjoch stands for. Being honest, tell the people what you think even though some may not like that.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

Of course it means opportunities as well as problems. For instance the promotion, in the old days you could go to the radio stations at certain hours and talk directly to the dj’s and ask them to play your records. Not only the big companies but also the small independent labels and bands who released their own records could do that. And the dj’s could  decide themselves if they would play your songs  or not. Nowadays it’s not that easy to meet them and besides  most dj’s don’t decide themselves what they play anymore. But on the other hand you can promote your music by the internet all over the world, you have all kind of websites to support DIY artists.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?


I really couldn’t say. I see a lot of good musicians but you need a good team of musicians to make a band. But they don’t necessarily need to be the best musicians.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

That’s very difficult, you could say that there should only be romantic songs on it but I think it would be better to put some songs on it that say something about me. But if you ask me tomorrow I might put some other songs on the tape..

  • Have You Ever Loved Somebody – The Searchers
  • Omaha – Moby Grape
  • Fadeaway – BoDeans
  • Empty Lives – Graham Parker & The Rumour
  • American Jesus – Bad Religion

What’s up for the next couple of months?

Apart from doing a lot of gigs I’m waiting for the release of the Liquid Breakfast single and try to make some promotion for it in The Netherlands. Then there’s going to be the release of the Rotjoch EP Nobody Knows, so I’ll be quite busy doing the promotion for that one. I will be doing some recording sessions with Rotjoch for a CD we want to release. And if there’s some time left I’ll be playing at  jam sessions.