Results for Los Angeles

interviews

Penelope Spheeris

Wayne's World Penelope Spheeris is best known for directing Wayne's World, the 1992 movie about two suburban headbangers producing a cable public access show in the basement. With an iconic soundtrack and some well cast cameos (Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper), the movie has endured. Jim and Greg talk with Penelope about Wayne's World's enduring appeal 25 years after it was released, the true story behind the famous "Bohemian Rhapsody" headbanging scene, and more. Plus, they'll discuss her life, from growing up in a travelling carnival to her directorial debut with the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization about the Los Angeles punk scene in the early 1980s

Go to episode 609

Jon Brion

Jon Brion Jim and Greg revisit one of their favorite interviews in the history of the show: a 2006 conversation with multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and film composer Jon Brion. Brion has produced for artists like Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Spoon, and Kanye West and worked as a session player for Macy Gray and others. He's collaborated with filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson, Michel Gondry, and Charlie Kaufman, providing the score for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Punch-Drunk Love, Synechdoche, New York, I ♥ Huckabees, and more.

But Jon Brion is also an accomplished solo artist with one solo album, Meaningless, to his name. Brion has grown a devoted following for his decades-long residency at the Los Angeles club Largo. At his shows, Brion improvises spectacular sets of originals and covers as he shows off his virtuosity on every instrument. He demonstrates his skills through performances of some of his compositions in front of a small audience. He also demonstrates to Jim and Greg the difference between the art of songwriting (as exemplified by Gershwin and Kurt Cobain) and what he calls "performance pieces."

Go to episode 574

Jon Brion

Jon Brion visits the show this week to perform and talk with Jim and Greg. Brion is mostly known for his production work with artists like Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple and Kanye West. Brion is also responsible for the innovative soundtracks to Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist was in town to perform at Chicago's Intonation Music Festival, and he stopped by to meet with our hosts, as well as a live studio audience.

What listeners may not know is that Jon Brion is also an accomplished solo artist, albeit not a prolific one. He holds a residency at Los Angeles club Largo, where he performs a cabaret-style act. Recently, however, a severe case of tendinitis has prevented Brion from playing live much. Lucky for Jim, Greg, and the audience, he was able to play both the piano and the "taro patch" during the interview. You can hear Brion perform "Knock Yourself Out" from I Heart Huckabees and the theme to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the show.

One of the ideas our guest discusses with Jim and Greg is the art of the song. He finds songs to be“astonishing”and distinguishes them from“performance pieces.”Brion's example is the music of Led Zeppelin. He loves Zeppelin, but asks the listener to compare their melodies to that of someone like George Gershwin. Brion adds that one rocker who did manage to write wonderfully constructed songs that will stand the test of time is Kurt Cobain. Listen to how he plays Nirvana's "Lithium" followed by an old Cole Porter standard.

Go to episode 32

Glyn Johns

soundman One day in February 1969, engineer and producer Glyn Johns disembarked a flight from Los Angeles to London. He went straight to a studio to work with the Beatles on what would eventually become Let It Be. That was followed by an all-night session with the Rolling Stones for Let It Bleed. And after that, he rejoined the Beatles and jutted on over to Royal Albert Hall to record Jimi Hendrix live. Just“a day in the life,”eh? Those legendary recordings are just beginning of Johns tremendous list of credits which includes Led Zeppelin, the Faces, the Kinks, The Who, the Eagles and more recently Band of Horses and Ryan Adams. He relays this life spent recording in a new book called Sound Man. And he is as candid in his conversation with Jim and Greg, as he is in print. The aforementioned Let It Be? Johns remarks that Phil Spector“puked”all over it. Of Eric Clapton, Johns admits he initially refused to bring him into a session with Pete Townshend due to his drug-addled personality. And he talks about parting ways with the Eagles after they wanted to go in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction—something Johns says the band wouldn't know if they fell over it.

For more behind-the-booth conversations, check out Jim and Greg's interviews in the Footnotes section with Stephen Street, Butch Vig, Bob Ezrin, Tony Visconti, Mark Howard, Giorgio Moroder, Joe Boyd and of course, Brian Eno.

Go to episode 528
specials

Rock Clubs in the 21st Century

Just like the small independent band or the mom and pop record store, independently owned rock clubs are also finding it hard to navigate their way through the ever-changing, increasingly corporate music industry. Cities often don‘t have the friendliest live music regulations, especially after tragedies like 1993’s E2 stampede and The Station fire. But, with album sales down, bands are more and more dependent on live music revenues. Jim and Greg have been writing about this issue in Chicago for years, but wanted to get a national perspective. They invited the following guests to share their insights: Sean Agnew of R5 Productions in Philadelphia, Mitchell Franks of Spaceland, Echo and Echoplex in Los Angeles and Jake Szufnarowski of Rocks Off Concert Promotions in New York City.

Rock clubs have an important place in the music industry, but they are just as important to the music fan as well. To illustrate this, Jim and Greg both reveal two of their most significant experiences at an independently owned music venue. Jim discusses seeing Hüsker Dü perform their album Zen Arcade in its entirety. It was at Maxwell's on New Year's Eve, and Jim was a college student. As he explained during The Feelies' interview, Maxwell's was pivotal to him learning about music, and this Hüsker Dü performance, complete with wrestling, was one of his most memorable. Jim plays "What's Going On?" from Hüsker Dü's live album The Living End.

Greg discusses seeing house music fixture Ron Hardy DJ at Chicago's Muzic Box. Hardy was not as internationally known as his peers, but Greg remembers how the DJ was able to bring together so many different types of music fans. The democracy of the dance floor is one of the reasons music clubs are so integral to the community. Greg plays a famous track from Hardy's set list, "Love Can't Turn Around."

Go to episode 140

Record Store Day 2009

The official Record Store Day is April 18, but for Jim, Greg and other hardcore music fans, every day is Record Store Day. To honor the independent record store industry, Jim and Greg speak with Matt Jencik, head buyer at Reckless Records in Chicago, Marc Weinstein, co-founder of Amoeba Music in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and John Kunz, owner and president of Waterloo Records in Austin. These veterans of mom and pop record shops discuss the challenges they face in the wake of the digital music revolution, including exclusivity deals that artists like Prince and AC/DC have made with big box retailers. They also stress the value local retailers have in our communities.

Jim and Greg both have personal relationships with record stores as well as professional ones. During the next segment they recall two indie shops that were important to them and play songs they discovered subsequently. Jim plays "You're So Cool," by The Cyclones, a band he discovered at Pier Platters in Hoboken, NJ. Greg plays, "Temptation" by New Order, a band he fell in love with at Wax Trax in Chicago.

Go to episode 177
reviews
JunkJunk available on iTunes

M83 Junk

French electronic band M83 began as a bedroom project in 2001, but its recordings have become increasingly elaborate and lush. Now based in Los Angeles, the band reached a commercial and critical peak with its 2011 album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and has returned with its seventh album, Junk. While previous records were unified concept albums, Junk is frustratingly all over the map, according to Jim. In interviews, leader Anthony Gonzalez claims to have been inspired by 1970s and '80s sitcoms like Who's the Boss? and Punky Brewster. The result, Jim says, is a few brilliant dance-pop moments, but also plenty of dreck, earning it a Try It. Greg misses the emotional connection that M83 built on Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. He finds Junk in contrast to be cheesy and intentionally slight, with often chintzy-sounding orchestration. But Greg hears just enough worthwhile tracks to salvage Junk as a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 540
WarpaintWarpaint available on iTunes

Warpaint Warpaint

Los Angeles space pop quartet Warpaint is back with a self-titled sophomore record. Formed in 2004, Warpaint spent years refining its sound and lineup before dropping its debut LP, The Fool, in 2010. By that time, founding members Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Emily Kokal had brought onboard gifted Aussie drummer Stella Mozgawa. Jim enjoyed The Fool and had high-hopes for the follow-up—but when he saw super-producers Flood and Nigel Godrich behind the board on this album, he prepared for bombast. What he found instead was subtle music that rewards close listening. It's a strong soundtrack for household chores and Valentine's Day alike, and Jim would definitely Buy It. Greg is impressed with how this band has evolved, with Mozgawa's drums perfecting the give-and-take between all four instruments. Although this record has fewer rock hooks than their debut, he salutes Warpaint for infusing ambient music with unexpected harmonies and“shimmy.”You might have to dig deep to find the groove, says Greg, but if you invest the time, Warpaint is a surefire Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 426
Write About Love (Bonus Track Version)Write About Love available on iTunes

Belle & Sebastian Write About Love

For their latest release Write About Love, Scots Belle & Sebastian have yet again traded rainy Glasgow for sunny Los Angeles. On their last release, The Life Pursuit, this sun translated into a more upbeat dance record. But, now they have returned to their orchestral folk roots, and Greg wishes they had continued moving forward with their sound, rather than backwards. He appreciates singer Stuart Murdoch's vocals and witty lyrics, but this feels like a retreat. Greg gives Write About Love a Burn It rating. Jim thinks Greg hasn't been this wrong in a long time. He agrees that The Life Pursuit was a welcome change of pace, but really loves this album as well. It is toned down, but not precious and more full of edge. Simply put, Write About Love puts Jim in a great mood and he gives the record a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 257
dijs

Jim

“I'm the Toughest Girl Alive”Candye Kane

It has become a sad cliché at this point that 2016 has been a terrible year for losses in the music world. This week, Jim pays tribute to Candye Kane – an artist less famous than Prince or Bowie, but every bit as exceptional. She came out of the Los Angeles punk scene, but wore many hats throughout her life: feminist, porn star, bisexual, fat activist – and big, bold, and brash blues singer. Over dozens of albums, she showcased her power, raunchiness, humor and an unforgettable voice. Kane died on May 6 from pancreatic cancer at age 54. In her honor, Jim nominates her 2000 anthem "I'm the Toughest Girl Alive" for the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 550

Greg

“Little Sister”Elvis Presley

Buddy Harman, one of music's great drummers, died this week at the age of 79. Greg explains that Harman was to Nashville what Benny Benjamin was to Detroit or what Hal Blaine was to Los Angeles. He helped define that sound and played on over 18,000 albums. Drumming wasn't even a major part of country music prior to Harman's residency. Just consider what "Pretty Woman" would be without that drum beat. In honor of Harman's passing, Greg chooses to add Elvis Presley's "Little Sister" to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. In addition to proving that Presley still had the chops after his stint in the military, the song showcases Harman's terrific drumming.

Go to episode 144
rock doctors

Brendan

Even the healthiest music listener depends on recommendations from family and friends. But for more severe cases, Sound Opinions recommends people make an appointment with the Rock Doctors. When Brendan from Los Angeles contacted Sound Opinions H.Q. and described his symptoms, we immediately took him in to see the doctors and get a diagnosis. Brendan suffers from an ailment common among people of his generation: 90s-itis. Brendan loves music but hasn't moved forward since 1995. That was the high point of his music listening, and you can still find Weezer's Blue Album and Nirvana's Nevermind in his CD player. He loves the balance of noisy rock and melody in those albums. And, since he can no longer turn on an alt-rock radio station to hear a similar sound, he asks the Rock Doctors, "What sounds like '90s alternative in 2008?"

Greg's answer to this question is The Secret Machines. The group harkens back to that hard, but melodic sound. The group uses elements from that era like strong guitars and drums, and adds space rock. A fan of Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, and even The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, should love "Ten Silver Drops" by The Secret Machines.

Jim's prescription for 90s-itis is Wolf Parade. The Canadian indie rockers have a lot of energy and aggression that Brendan should appreciate. There's a nod to classic rock, but the band is not living in the past. He gives Brendan a dose of "At Mount Zoomer" by Wolf Parade and invites him back for a follow-up appointment in a week.

When Brendan returns he reports that he is slowly recovering. He enjoyed both prescriptions, but thinks he needs to give them more time. Brendan found both records slightly more mellow than he expected, but liked that they weren‘t“screaming.”Brendan now has two albums in his collection that were recorded in the 21st century, and that’s all the Doctors could ask for.

Go to episode 152
news

Music News

Live Nation/Ticketmaster's practice of reselling, or scalping, its own tickets on the website TicketsNow drew a lot of negative attention from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the New Jersey Attorney General. The company agreed to stop linking and limit advertising for TicketsNow as part of a 2009 settlement, but now they‘ve quietly begun resuming linking. They are trying to be more transparent, but it looks like the secondary ticket market isn’t going away anytime soon.

In an effort to take matters into its own hands, the jam band String Cheese Incident is taking a novel approach to spare its fans from paying Ticketmaster's loathed service charges. Fans and friends recently brought $20,000 in cash to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and purchased tickets to the String Cheese show. They then brought the almost 400 tickets by hand to the group's headquarters in Colorado where they went on sale again, sans extra fees. Robin Hood would certainly approve.

One of the great all-time bass players, Donald“Duck”Dunn, died this week at age 70. Along with high school friend Steve Cropper, Dunn was part of one of rock's best rhythm sections. As a member of Booker T. and the MGs, he played alongside legendary Stax acts like Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. He later worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to Eddie Floyd. To remember Dunn's trademark concision and swing, Jim and Greg play "Knock on Wood" by Eddie Floyd.

Go to episode 338

Music News

Greg begins this week's news segment by complimenting Jim's use of the word“Blitzkrieg”in reference to The Strokes' quick tour of North America. Our first news story deals with the top 20 grossing concerts of 2005. The saggy-butted Rolling Stones led the list with a gross total of $162 million, followed by Jim's favorite band, U2. Two "artists", Celine Dion and Barry Manilow, didn't even have to tour to make the list—they simply took residency in one of Las Vegas's gaudy venues and raked in the cash.

A favorite of Sound Opinions, Courtney Love, returned to the headlines recently in a New York Post story detailing her financial woes, and more importantly, contemplating the sale of the Nirvana catalogue. Jim believes this would be a disaster, akin to Michael Jackson bringing the Beatles to Nike.

A sad story rounds out our news segment: the death of legendary Chicago singer Lou Rawls. The velvety-voiced singer died of cancer in Los Angeles. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, he referred to the the cold Chicago wind as the“Hawk,”and introduced the monologue to music, leading the way for hip-hop as an art-form. He was neighbors with another Chicago legend, Sam Cooke, and traded lines with him in the soul classic "Bring it on Home". Lou's final public appearance was a stirring rendition of God Bless America during the World Series.

Go to episode 6

Music News

745%. That's the increase in vinyl sales on Amazon. While vinyl sales still account for only 2% of the music industry, that's a number other retailers cannot ignore. Even Whole Foods! Want an LP with your tapenade? In Los Angeles, the food store is getting in on the vinyl action.

Last week, Jim and Greg spoke with Steve Jordan about who might win Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize. This week the winner was announced: Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Certainly this experimental rock group won't be walking away with a Grammy anytime soon. But, it seems that even this award might be too commercial or mainstream for the famously leftist group. Godspeed didn't show up to accept its award, and check out its response.

News broke that the N.F.L. has been secretly waging a $1.5 million war against rapper M.I.A. because of her un-ladylike conduct at last year's Superbowl halftime show. Well, compared to the violence and misogyny of the N.F.L., not to mention Madonna's underage dancers, M.I.A. says flipping the bird is nothing. Here's her response.

Go to episode 409

Music News

The electronic dance music trend shows no sign of slowing down, even as two of its biggest promoters, Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami, face criminal charges for bribery and embezzlement. For 13 years Rotella mounted the hugely successful Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles. Last year it was moved to Las Vegas after a 15-year-old girl died of an ecstasy overdose. But despite all this controversy, almost 75,000 tickets have already been sold for June's festival. And as Jim and Greg point out, EDM crowds are one of the few still able to fill arenas around the country.

Go to episode 332

Music News

Closing out a pair of antitrust suits in play for nearly a decade, a federal judge granted Live Nation's motion for summary judgment in cases pertaining to the Los Angeles and Denver markets. Beginning in 2002, class action suits were filed against Clear Channel, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, alleging that their promotion policies were monopolistic. Jim, Greg and many independent promoters would agree, but the judge found the plaintiff's expert testimony flawed. So for now it will continue to be big business as usual for Live Nation.

Mad Men fans have mixed feelings about Don Draper's marriage to young Megan. But, no one will deny that her birthday performance of "Zou Bisou Bisou" during the Season 5 opener was a standout scene. And now the song has been released as a digital single on iTunes, and soon as a limited edition vinyl on AMC's website. Jim would also point listeners to Sophia Loren's version produced by George Martin. But of course, the breakout musical star from the series may prove to be John Slattery.

Go to episode 331

Music News

One of the biggest and most shocking news stories this week was the death of Michael Jackson. The pop legend died at the age of 50 in Los Angeles. There was no indication that he was ill. In fact, Greg spoke to the Jackson camp only a few days ago about the singer's big comeback tour. But, nothing about Jackson's life or music was expected. His 1982 album Thriller is the biggest selling of all time. But, for Jim and Greg it's Off the Wall that was really a masterpiece melding of soul, disco and pop. It's hard to talk about Jackson without mentioning his personal scandals. He was acquitted of molestation charges in 2005, but his legacy will forever be linked to those accusations. And unfortunately, as Jim and Greg explain, some may remember the eccentricities more than the music.

Go to episode 187

Music News

Capitol Hill continues to hear from the rock world this week as they conduct hearings on the Performance Rights Act. One of those testifying before our nation's lawmakers is Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan. Corgan is one of many artists who support a bill that would insure that musicians are paid for radio broadcast performances just as songwriters already are. As Jim and Greg explain, for a long time radio was able to respond to pleas for additional royalties by saying that radio airtime is like an advertisement for musicians. But, now that the landscape of radio has changed, they can no longer make this claim. Fewer and fewer artists are able to use radio as a publicity tool. What was Congress‘ response to this problem? Work it out and learn to play nice, because you can’t afford for us not to intervene.

In other royalty-related news, a verdict came down last week in a case that could have dramatically changed the way artists are paid for their music. Two Detroit producers who had a hand in Eminem's 1999 album The Slim Shady LP sued Universal Music over payments on ringtones and digital downloads. The producers claim they were shortchanged, but according to a Los Angeles jury, the label can continue doing business as usual. This was lucky news to the music industry, according to our hosts. In today's dying music business, digital revenue is looked at as a saving grace.

Go to episode 172

Music News

In the news this week is Radiohead's decision to independently release its first studio album since 2003 as a pay-what-you-wish download. The announcement has sparked interest among fans and industry analysts alike, and Jim and Greg are eager to see how this experiment works out. When Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood were on the show last year, they discussed their hope to step outside the traditional record industry model, but they didn't seem to know how or when they would do it. And how Radiohead succeeds with releasing their album this way will be telling for other labels and bands who are looking for an alternative to the overpriced plastic disc.

Another story getting headlines is the Phil Spector murder trial. Four years ago the legendary producer was charged with murdering actress Lana Clarkson, and last week the jury announced it was deadlocked. It will be months before a new trial is launched in Los Angeles, but with so much negative attention focused on Spector, Jim and Greg wanted to take this opportunity to discuss his legacy as a producer. He's had a history of violence, but, as Greg explains, he also completely reinvented music production. Using heavy orchestrations, layers of sound, and booming echoes of instrumentation, Spector created the "Wall of Sound" effect for groups like The Ronettes, The Beach Boys and The Beatles. Jim and Greg end the conversation with a great example of this sound-"River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner.

Go to episode 97

Music News

PFSloan P.F. Sloan, singer and songwriter responsible for the classic 1960s protest anthem "Eve of Destruction," died November 15th at his home in Los Angeles. He was 70 years old. Sloan grew up in New York and moved to Hollywood as a teen. At 13, he sold his first song and soon became one of the many prominent West Coast writers of the 1960s. Sloan wrote for such musical giants as The Turtles, Herman's Hermits, Fifth Dimension, The Searchers, and Johnny Rivers, whose hit, "Secret Agent Man," was penned by Sloan.

The world of music lost another figure as former Motörhead drummer Phil“Philthy Animal”Taylor died November 11th at age 61. Taylor was known for executing double-bass drum tracks with“superhuman speed,”and in so doing he helped set the template for the thrash metal sound. Taylor joined Motörhead shortly after it was formed in 1975, replacing the original drummer. He played with the band from 1975 to 1984, then again for five years beginning in 1987. He drummed on such hits as "Overkill" and "Ace of Spades."

Go to episode 521

Music News

After a two-year battle, a web royalty agreement has been reached that won't put webcasters out of business. In 2007 the copyright royalty board ruled that webcasters needed to pay a fee of 0.08 cents each time a listener streamed wa song which would increase annually to 0.19 cents in 2015. That would've bankrupted many web music services like Pandora Radio. Now, large webcasters must pay 25 percent of total revenue.

Michael Jackson's death is still making big news this week. Friends and family hosted a memorial tribute to the late“King of Pop”on Tuesday. And Jackson's music continued to dominate the charts. In fact sales went up 90% with 800,000 albums sold. As Jim and Greg explain, this will go down as the last great week of physical album sales. And the good news continues for music retailers– a CD and DVD of both the memorial show and his tour rehearsals will be released this year.

A few weeks ago Jim and Greg talked about Trent Reznor's involvement with heart patient Eric De La Cruz. Reznor asked Nine Inch Nails fans to donate money toward a heart transplant in exchange for VIP access, special tickets and more. Unfortunately De La Cruz died last week before a transplant could take place.

In other Nine Inch Nails news, final tour dates have been announced for Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. As Reznor explained to Jim and Greg during their recent interview, this will be the last go-around for Nine Inch Nails, but certainly not the last of his music.

Go to episode 189