Ever heard of the iTunes Celebrity Playlist Podcast? Celebrities (Steve Martin, Whoopee Goldberg, Ringo Starr, Clint Eastwood, etc.) would come on and talk about music. I really like the musicians who would come on and talk about the music which influenced them as musicians. Mic Fleetwood talking about drummers, Slash talking about guitarists, etc. It was pretty good and I’m not sure why they stopped.
Before our last show, one of the bands I play with was invited to a local radio show to guest DJ. I’m not sure where the communications breakdown was, but I thought it was going to be like the iTCPP. Instead, it was like a normal radio show with occasional talking by us the band. It was kinda fun, but I don’t know that I’d do it again if the format stays the same.
Remember: This is a ska/reggae radio show, so pretty much everything will be from that family of genres. If this were open to all music, it would be much harder to choose and much, much longer.
If you’re interested, you can listen to the whole just-shy-of-two hours of the show here: http://www.spreaker.com/user/rudys2tone
I wanted to take a little time and put down here the songs I would have shared there, if it was the format I thought it was.
So we start with The Skatalites‘ “Swing Easy” which you can hear on the podcast. I’m a trombone player, so of course I’d turn to a band formed by a trombone. This is from their 1998 album “Ball of Fire,” although those tunes are just new arrangements and recordings of old stuff. So while Don Drummond doesn’t actually appear on that record (since he died in 1969), it’s still his stuff. So there’s that.
I have always loved the sounds of Less Than Jake‘s horn section. I love their riffs. I love the way they mix and master them. It’s great. For a good example, check out “The Science of Selling Yourself Short.”
I don’t play the drums, but Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham makes me wish I did. But since I’m talking about ska music, I’ll mention something else I love about John Bonham and how it relates to ska.
On some recordings, because of how they recorded the drum set and where they placed the mics, you can hear the kick and high-hat pedals squeaking when he plays. You can tell there is a real live person playing the drums (for a great non-ska song about that, check out The Limousine’s “The Internet Killed the Video Star“). Another recording where you can tell there are real live people playing the music is Streetlight Manifesto‘s “Somewhere in the Between.” Right in the middle, there’s a horn feature and you can hear the clicking of the keys of the bari sax. Have a listen:
And speaking of people who are real, let’s mention the people who are not. One thing I cannot abide is fakeness. I was a teenager once and I did things because I thought I would then be accepted by my peers. Truth be told, chances are whoever you are trying to impress aren’t really paying attention to you. They are trying to impress you because they are also insecure, but really they’re focused on themselves. I understand there’s a huge section of peoples’ live which devoted to finding out who they are, but don’t force it. When I was a teen, there was a certain image which non-conformists had. It used to be punks and now its hipsters. Ironically, to be recognized as a non-con, you have to conform to what other non-cons looked like. You’re still a conformist, just now you think you’re something you’re not. Otherwise you’re lost, to take a phrase from the last song (although here it means something completely different), somewhere in the between. You see, I grew up listening to real music by real bands. I feel like there are a lot of performers out there (and their – in my opinion – brainless fans) who don’t quite fall into the ‘real music’ category.
One song which highlights this is Five Iron Frenzy‘s “Marty” of their collection of b-sides, “The Cheeses of Nazareth.”
Next, let me quickly highlight some great tunes with some great grooves. Since ska and reggae are dancing genres, the groove is key.
Here’s The Aggrolites‘ “Let’s Pack Our Bags”
Dispatch‘s “Con Man”
Matishahu‘s “We Will Walk”
There are a handful of local bands which have also shaped me. One of them (who is still around)(most of the others have broken up) is Two and a Half White Guys. I wanted to share their song “Stompin,” but couldn’t find a good copy of it. So here’s my second favorite song of theirs, “Arrested.”
And that transitions nicely into a plug for my other band. If you keep listening to that podcast episode above, you’ll hear our song “Super Motorcycle Ninja Gunfight.” But since that’s a bit anti-climactic, I’ll share another great song about frustrated love (at least it reminds me of a time in my life when I was frustrated by my girlfriend at the time), 311‘s “Waiting”
Let me know what music has influenced you as a musician. Or in any way, really.