Ringo Starr

SAM EVIAN: STAY HYDRATED
June 27, 2016 12:23 pm

You guys. I’m pretty sure this is the best response to an email interview anyone has ever gotten. After failing to secure time to interview Sam Evian in person, I sent him a list of questions through email, and got an MP3 with a SOUNDTRACK in response. I don’t think anyone has ever spent so much time giggling alone in a cubicle as I did when that showed up in my inbox. What follows is a transcript of that file, which you can listen to as you read.

Oh, and for the formal stuff: Sam Evian is the “luxury brand” of Brooklyn musician, engineer, and producer Sam Owens. You may be familiar with his work in Celestial Shore. Last Monday saw his new outfit perform in the penthouse suite of The Standard, East Village. It’s a great place to hang out if you want to feel like an urchin. Regardless, the band sounded great and the view off the private deck is pretty unbelievable. For a list of upcoming shows at the penthouse, click here. Ok, on with the interview!

It says in your artist bio that you wrote the 10 songs on your upcoming album Premium ten days prior to your first show, though the ideas had been in your head for a long time. What was it like to finally bring your ideas into the world?

It was really fun.

As an engineer and producer, do you ever feel like you stress too much over the production of your own music?

While there’s certainly vortexes and traps that people fall into when they’re recording themselves, and I’m certainly no stranger to those, the process on this record was relaxed. It was kind of stress-free, and the mixes were the most difficult part. I kind of just locked myself in the basement, well, in the studio that I work at, and mixed until it was done (for six days). At the end of it, I felt like I kind of emerged as a new person. I learned a lot about myself and my process. So yeah, it’s kind of a “full circle” thing.

I love your song “Sleep Easy,” partially because it reminds me a bit of Porcelain Raft (one of my favorite musicians). Are you also a fan?

I wish I could say, honestly, I knew who Porcelain Raft was but I don’t. And I guess that’s kind of one of the reasons way I wanted to respond to you in this way. I think if you’re going to sit down and answer questions over email, I may have Googled Porcelain Raft and decided whether I liked it or not and then responded, having done that. And I think that’s a little dishonest. So I’ll be sure to check it out.

You mentioned in your interview with Impose that “Bottled water is weird and totally irresponsible (kinda like playing music)…” Do you really feel like playing music is irresponsible?

[Laughs] Yes. Actually, I should say playing music is not irresponsible, totally. Directing your life towards only trying to play music can be extremely irresponsible.

You already have 71 Instagram followers [now 190] and your only entry is a video of you pouring water on your face. What’s your secret?

Hydration.

There are so many great music venues in New York. Do you have a favorite?

Yeah, my favorite venue of all-time in New York is The Bowery Ballroom because it’s a beautiful room and there’s a sound guy named Kenny who mixes all analog and the sound is just really phenomenal. And the staff are really great too, so that’s my favorite all-around venue.

But I’ve lived in New York for close to five years, maybe six, and there used to be a venue called Big Snow Buffalo Lodge in Bushwick and I spent a lot of time there learning how to play guitar, And learning how to play shows, and hanging out with really wonderful musicians. And it doesn’t exist anymore, but I still think about it a lot.

I guess that ties in with your next question of “Are there any venues with sentimental value for me”, and that certainly is one of them. But I also like the venues out in Bushwick like The Silent Barn and Shea Stadium. I have a fondness for them as well.

Did you grow up in New York?

No, I grew up in North Carolina.

What’s your favorite place in the city for pizza?

Well, I really like Best Pizza…because it’s the best.

Is it true that your mother is Italian? Have you spent much time in Italy?

I’ve never been to Italy, but someday I’d like to go to Italy with my mother. Her side of the family, they’re called the Trupianos, and they’re very Italian.

What do you think of the Italian pop music they have there?

I know of this wonderful artist named Luxardo, and I really recommend them.

What’s with all the Ringo Starr on your Twitter page?

Ringo’s Twitter is really amazing, and I think if you read through it, you really start to get a sense for how he is as a person. Like, it’s definitely him posting on Twitter. And I suppose ultimately, my greater plan is to be able to hang out with him someday and record with him playing the drums. Because he’s still out there, and he’s literally the best drummer of all time. Yeah, definitely Ringo.

Did you ever see The Point, that animated film Ringo did in ’71?

Yeah, the Nilsson film with the record. My favorite song is “Me And My Arrow” on that record. Yeah, Ringo narrated it. I think that may have been the beginning of his career in narration. I grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine, which he also narrated. Ringo’s been in my life.

What can your fans look forward to in the near future?

More visual and auditory stimulation.

The Dumbest Beatles Songs Ever
May 27, 2016 1:56 pm

While creating a catalog that’s stood the test of time and is universally adored by basically everyone, it’s amusing to see just how many stupid songs The Beatles were able to get away with. I love all of them, even the ones I say are terrible, but wow, there are simply alarmingly high levels of goofiness on a lot of their songs, especially in their later, more critically adored work.

All while bands of that era delved into psychedelic strangeness, obviously, but it would usually lead to more heaviness. For The Beatles, they always found the childlike wonderment in it, and could turn such a minimal idea into a song with so much room for interpretation. It’s a great testament to their dedication to production and their natural gifts as songwriters, because they seriously turned some of the dumbest ideas into timeless songs that would have been a completely forgotten about one-off novelty hit in less capable hands.

Bless these very dumb geniuses.

Mean Mr. Mustard

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x36m24b_mean-mr-mustard_shortfilms

Unsurprisingly, quite a few Abbey Road songs made this list. It’s incredible how detestable Mean Mr. Mustard the person is after just hearing about him within the confines of a 1 minute song. This guy comes off like a possible Roald Dahl character. My heart goes out to his sister Pam, who John Lennon then says looks like a man in the very next song like a real putzface. Who’s he to make that sort of comment about such a doting sister taking her dirtbag brother to see the Queen all the time? For shame.

Rocky Raccoon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sif7Br-K1mI

This is basically a Bob Dylan parody. It’s not as good as Weird Al’s, but it was fine for the time. And there are a lot of really spot-on Dylan elements here: a bare boned acoustic guitar, intimate, non layered, vocals and more stupid harmonica than you could ever ask for.

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-CMOMYdIlI

John was feeling a little lazy during the recording process of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. That’s not often talked about because the best moments from the album were heavily John related, but it happened. My favorite example of this has to be the fact that basically every word from Mr. Kite was taken off a vintage circus poster. On one hand, it speaks to Lennon’s genius as a songwriter that he can eke a psychedelic pop gem out of such an arbitrary piece of inspiration. On the other, my heart truly goes out to Paul for having to hear what must have been the most half baked and aloof pitch for a song ever.

I Am The Walrus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM5VF5U1DBE

Anything off Magical Mystery Tour should just be accepted as silly for the sake of silly. A lot of weirdness happens on that album. But ‘I Am The Walrus’ is a special case, considering how its meaninglessly weird lyrics were inspired by the desire to spite a high school teacher who wrote to John Lennon to tell him that he taught a class that analyzed Beatles songs.

Part of me hopes that Lennon spent the rest of his life jabbing this teacher throughout the years. Like, every month or so, this working class teacher would get a letter in the mail from John Lennon, the most famous person in the world, and it would be is a booger smeared on a blank sheet of paper with the message ‘analyze this, dickhole’ written at the bottom. I’m being too mean to John Lennon right now. I’m sorry, Ghost Lennon. Let’s make fun of Ringo.

Octopus’s Garden

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArkKbQG1_Mw

I’m limiting this list to one Ringo song because I am a merciful human being. The thing is, most of these dumb Beatles songs are able to toe the line pretty well. The lyrical content might lean towards being a goofy kids song, but the production choices are usually stellar enough for it to be a compelling listen. With Ringo at the helm, they go full Wiggles with the corniness. The guitar tuning is so so cheesy. I hate it. There’s even that stupid little guitar plucking finale that’s usually reserved for fucking hee-haw. Ugh. The worst.

And Your Bird Can Sing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IHtYGzzbfg

The way ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ is used here makes it seem as though John thinks it’s an already well known idiom or he’s trying to turn it into one. My mom does this all the time. Whenever I’m looking for something that winds up being in a place right in front of my face, she gleefully chants “water at the beach”. Because, you know, when you go to the beach, finding water is pretty easy. Hyuck hyuck. Well, that’s basically how I feel every time I hear this song. Just a failed attempt at trying to create a cool expression.

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c93n53XSf2A

The cheeriest ditty you’ll ever hear about a out of control murderer. Maxwell kills a lot of people. It’s this cute, charming little character quirk of his. The most disturbing/my favorite part of this song is the little chuckle Paul McCartney has when saying the word ‘writing’ in the second verse about Maxwell’s teacher reprimanding him. Because he knows that Maxwell’s about to murder again. For Maxwell is Paul’s creation and Maxwell will do whatever is asked of him. Also, it seems as though both Paul and John have strained relationships with educators. Who knows what that’s about.

Helter Skelter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFJ8GqUyu4

Oh, and speaking of mass murderers… Look at all these connections I’m making! I mean, you’ve gotta get at least a few dumb points for inspiring one of the most psychotic minds of the last 50 years. Especially since the song is literally just Paul discussing what happens when he rides a roller coaster. Which says everything about the 8 year old boy essence of most Beatles songs. Their most hard rocking song ever is about a fun day at Six Flags.

BONUS

Piggies

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KGizYSCa-c

I’m just going to add ‘Piggies’ here at the end because watching this animated video of pigs shitting for 2 minutes and then a choir of pig shits singing at the end is mandatory viewing for everybody.

WHAT CAN YOUTHS GAIN FROM THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY?
April 7, 2016 2:50 pm

Whenever The Beatles are brought on to a new music platform, everyone makes a big deal out of it. Ads are plastered all over subway platforms, and the faces of the Fab Four take over the borders of every website you visit for a while. When they were first put on iTunes, they even released a Rock Band game made specifically for their easily masterable songs and made the creepiest commercial possible to promote it.

The problem is that while Spotify or iTunes will never really get their money’s worth for having the Beatles catalogue, the library will always have an enormous hole without their universally adored albums. I mean, how can you call yourself the leading source for music consumption without REVOLVER?!?! So no matter how much the royalties are, it’ll be worth having their discography for that reason alone.

Their anthologies, however, is a different story.

Only superfans really care about the anthologies, and most, if not all, of them already have those collections in physical and digital format already. It would be pretty careless of them not to at this point.

From what I’ve read, the main point of having the Beatles on all these new music outlets is to make sure younger generations know about this band. It’s a respectable objective that’ll probably wind up being obtained no matter where their songs are made available. The last time I checked, Delia’s was still selling Abbey Road shirts, so that has to mean something, right? That can’t just be because Tidal now has ‘Come Together’ at the ready.

To me, the main problem with how The Beatles are digested by a younger generation is how they’re sold to them as this infallible music collective. A lot of this has to do with them never having a sloppy comeback after their initial run, or their biggest supporters relegating their less developed early work as a sign of the times they were a part of, instead of stand-alone work that simply wasn’t up to snub.

This is where the anthologies can be key to getting rid of all that unnecessary luster. When you look at each one at first glance, it’s a daunting task. All three anthologies have over 50 songs on them apiece. But it’s not really meant to be listened through like an actual album. The listener can pick and choose at his or her leisure because there’s absolutely no structure to any of these recordings whatsoever.  

What I think should be truly appealing to people is that most of these songs are unmastered rehearsals and very loose. You can hear banter being exchanged by each member before most tracks and stripped down piano/acoustic guitar versions of songs that were made into highly produced psychedelic treats. The recording quality on most of these tracks  is reminiscent of the covers you see on YouTube by the barrelfull these days. But instead of a random teen from Wisconsin singing his lo-fi version of “Yesterday,” it’s actually Paul McCartney.

Despite there being absolutely no marketing machine behind the anthologies, it might be beneficial in a backwards way to have a readily available version of Beatles songs, completely stripped down, sans pretension, and more aligned with the minimalist style that’s popular today could be beneficial to the younger listener. Whether they know it or not, Beatles fans have created a wall that’s impenetrable for any dissenter. If you don’t like their work, you’re immediately dismissed. Perhaps being given work that’s less fixated upon could put less pressure on a new listener to immediately fall in love with what he or she is listening to. And being given a more humanized version of such a deified rock band could potentially help newer fans get into them.