Hey guys! Last time we busted out a “Dear SmartassRadio” we explained how to stay fit and healthy. It was a huge success and the letters have been pouring in ever since. This time we decided it would be more fun to answer some of the sexier letters we’ve gotten in recent months. Check ‘em out after the jump.
The self-proclaimed ring leader of Bigelf was kind enough to take some time away from wearing kick ass top hats and channeling the stoned love child of John Lord and Keith Emerson to talk with me at the Philly stop on the Progressive Nation 2009 tour. If you don’t know who Bigelf are, you need to. Right now. Cheat The Gallows made my wacky year end list and will probably make it again, unless Mastodon puts out another album before December. These dudes put on a heavy fucking show for everyone and reminded all the Wold of Warcraft T-shirt wearing Dream Theater fans what progressive meant in 1975. Mike Portnoy probably relayed probably the best description of them in my interview with him: “They’re about 25 years in the past and 5 years in the future.” And they’re really really cool guys.
Below is my 30-something minute chat with Damon, a few pics from the show and by week’s end I’ll have a transcription for those of you who are deaf or who lack the proper equipment/plugins/moral constitution to listen to me act like a fanboy retard for a half hour. Enjoy!
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mike Portnoy at the Progressive Nation 2009 tour stop in Philly. I really don’t think I need to say much else. I wanted to come up with some clever drum-related way of calling him a legend, but I don’t think I need to. If they haven’t already hit your town go see this tour. It features Scale the Summit (who I unfortunately missed), Bigelf (who will be featured on the site tomorrow), Zappa Plays Zappa, and of course Dream Theater. I have to say, it was my first DT show and I was really satisfied with the experience.
Below is the audio interview and a few pics from the experience, below THAT will be a transcription when I have a few free hours.
In this podcast, James and I take it upon ourselves to tear good ole EVH a new one. We also handle the news that Radiohead insisted “another album will kill us.” Yeah. We’re going for another new gimmick beginning this week. Half hour shows! Like TV!!!
At one point in the podcast I reference and we announce a song contributed to a porno by Mr. Brown Sound. We don’t have any sort of way to do this legally, so here’s a YouTube video of it:
Since we’ve been so insanely inconsistent – we’re gonna bang out (hehe BANG) out two new interviews and another podcast before the end of the week.
Hello all: In our efforts to provide an ever-better site for you, the crew here at SAR INC has decided to make another web-page revamp. However, this time the site change isn’t cosmetic, it’s content based. If you are a long time follower you probably remember our first content change. Initially the site was just metal music interviews, but in an effort to broaden our horizons we started writing about anything we wanted with no real continuity (aside from authorship) between posts.
Well, after punching the numbers, DJ suggested that we may have made too big of a jump. Apparently moving from very specific to infinitely undefined didn’t help us establish the regular foundation of readers we’ve been looking for.
It makes sense if you give it even a half-second of thought. When I do my rounds of the internet I make my stops in very categorized ways. E-mail, social networking site, indie-music blog, celebrity gossip news, fake-news, entertainment site….etc.
So how do you categorize SmartassRadio?
Well, it’s a frankenstein monster of things DJ and I find hilarious and/or noteworthy. Which would be fine, if DJ and I were an established brand of humor. But alas, outside of our group of friends, we are not.
So, in order to make the site more directed, legitimate and (hopefully) visited, we’ve decided to say that from now on: we’re a vegetable-porn music-based website.
It’s not a tremendous change really…I’d say we’re already 75% music-based, but from now on you won’t be seeing any more posts like, “What Angelina Jolie Would Be Thinking If She Drove By Me While I Was Running One Of My Intermittent Three Mile Runs”
(I mean let’s be honest, if Angelina Jolie drove by me while I was running one of my intermittent three mile runs she would probably just think, “Wow that guy looks terrific, I’d like to give him a massage” and then she’d just start thinking of something else.)
Of course, this doesn’t mean we’ll be abandoning humor (if that’s what you want to call this). We’re just saying, “HEY, all these posts are about music.” Connections. Full circle.
So, that’s the announcement as announced by me. Why am I announcing it? Why don’t I just make the change without informing the readers explicitly?
Well, that’s the SAR difference. We put ourselves on the same level as our delicious readers. Does Billboard make these kind of personal announcements? No, Billboard.com is written by a robot. Would Pitchfork be this gracious? No, they would just make fun of you for not realizing that they are just called Pitchfork now instead of Pitchfork Media. Would some snobby-blog be this up-front? No, they’d just post some shitty mp3s, provide some tour dates, give a lousy review of a lousy album and call it a day.
So, that’s it. You might be seeing some more reoccurring segments now (I’m planning one called “Rewinding with Roy”) and of course the podcast and interviews will be going strong!
As always dear reader, comment if you have any suggestions, because our real goal is to become a pleasant stop on your internet hit parade. And to continue rocking, but that has never been a problem.
After a brief hiatus, we’re back and better than ever. Here’s a strong podcast from James and me. I interviewed Cherie Lily (see below), Tayisha Busay, Andrew Strasser and Bad Brilliance at Santos Party House. Then, we covered the news in about two minutes, you get to hear some music from Tomorrow’s Outlook and we wrap it up by talking about the worst lyrics ever. Feel free to add your own to the comments.
Here’s our dimly lit and awful sounding interview with the bright and beautiful sounding Cherie Lily:
This week we interviewed Vetiver an American folk band led by singer-songwriter Andy Cabic. Vetiver is a great band for the outdoors and I’ve been listening to their latest release “Tight Knit” over and over this summer. For more information on the band (tour dates and all that) check out here and here.
Also, here’s a couple free downloads, courtesy of Sub Pop Records:
Who are your favorite musicians? Is the music you listen to similar to the music you write?
It’s hard to pick favorites, and I listen to a lot of different artists, all the time. Skeeter Davis, Slapp Happy, Michael Hurley, Fleetwood Mac, Erasmo Carlos…it’s an endless litany, my favorite music.
I’m not sure I hear obvious similarities, but perhaps there are allusions in the details, in the feeling, between the music I write and artists I admire.
Last year you recorded some covers of older folks artists (Townes Van Zandt, Michael Hurley…etc) How did you begin to admire these artists? What sort of influence have they had on you?
The way I came to know each songs we recorded on “thing of the past” is different. Some I stumbled across myself in record stores, others were passed onto me through friends. Each has made it’s own unique impact on me lyrically, melodically, in sound and feeling, both just listening to them a lot, and by learning them and recording them with my friends.
How is it different playing and composing a song on your own and playing with a full band?
Writing on my own feels private and obscure. Sharing and reworking the songs with others often lends clarity and insight, providing an opportunity for new perspectives, and adding greater emotional resonance to the songs.
What made you choose the title “Tight Knit” for your latest album?
I chose the title because I thought it fit the album and the artwork, and the pocket my band had been playing in up to and during the recording of the album.
There are lots of names that people have used to describe your music and the music of other artists you’ve work with (Psych Folk, Freak Folk, Naturalismo just to name a few). Do you like the idea that you are part of a certain movement of music or do feel limited by the categorizing?
I don’t care one way or the other. I like that people listen to my music. Categorizing things by nature limits them, tries to define perception, and I don’t find that necessarily useful, though others might.
How did your music relationship with Devendra Banhart begin?
In San Francisco years ago, on a foggy night, at his apartment, sharing songs and wine.
Where do you write your songs? Do you purposely sit down to write or do the ideas build up in your head?
Yes, all of the above. There’s no one way to go about these things. at some point sitting down to write is required and I find being in comfortable, familiar surroundings helps.
Do you have any reoccurring dreams or a particularly interesting dream to share?
I don’t often remember my dreams, so no.
What should a great song do?
It should make you want to listen to it again.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I’m not sure. I’d have to think about that. Maybe Thailand. Or Patagonia. Some place with a combination of natural beauty and remoteness.
What was the last delicious thing you ate?
Collard greens from Sandra Dee’s in Sacramento.
I love the last song (“At Forest Edge”) on your latest album; what was the inspiration behind those lyrics?
The lyrics are inspired by the melody. I expanded from one line or image to peek inside a mythic vignette about disorientation and desire.
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one?
I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts or not, probably because I haven’t ever seen one.