NOTEWORTHY column for Thurs., Dec. 21, 2017
By CHARLES ANDREWS
I’VE GOT TO START LISTENING
To music more.
And to more music. The thrill of discovery will go on as long as my musical mind is open and I haven’t yet heard everything, and that ain’t gonna ever happen, hard as I try, long as I live.
I joke with my friend Ricky G that he’d better believe in reincarnation because if he listened to music 24/7, and he almost does, he would need quite a few more lifetimes just to hear everything he’s already got.
And that was true 20 years ago. Now his digital damage is approaching 200 TB of music, much of it rarities (outtakes, live, unreleased, isolated instrument tracks) from vaults he gets uncanny access to.
He’s probably got everything Bob Marley ever recorded, and that is saying something.
Bob flipped on a recorder every time he sat down on a bed and strummed and hummed.
And a big worldwide family kept every note. You’d be surprised at how much of it IS worth keeping.
A big Donovan fan, Rick called me excitedly a while back to announce proudly that he had just downloaded more than 600 hours of unreleased Donovan.
That boggles the mind, in so many ways. Ricky G should be famous but he keeps a low profile.
Ponder that. Yes, there’s so much out there, so much wonder and joy to experience, even
with what is available through normal channels.
And I’m not feeding my soul on it enough. It should be on at least as background all the
time, that I can tune in and out of, since I spend so much time at home.
Ricky G has always offered to make everything he’s got available to me.
In fact, every so often he begs me to take it. But he has a far different setup in his home than I could rig in mine so it’s a logistical problem. But I declare, I swear, right here in public: 2018 is the year I solve those problems, and color my world with more music.
I’m so old school I actually listen to terrestrial radio in the car.
Well, one really, but that’s enough. KCSN-FM, out of Cal State University Northridge, is now called 88.5, for their location on the left side of the dial.
They had to change the name a few weeks ago when they boldly increased their broadcast coverage tenfold by hooking their signal up with KSBR in Mission Viejo. Fortunately, wisely, the deal left the programming intact but added a huge swath of LA now able to listen.
Their signal used to fade before you got to Pedro.
It still has some fuzziness in some spots and that straight line between the upper west San Fernando Valley and the south bay means it doesn’t go too far east, but it’s a huge improvement.
Adult Album Alternative, is what their programming is considered, but I just call it good music.
It’s not cutting edge, it probably doesn’t appeal as much to musically informed youth.
But they play a lot of good local bands, they dig deep for little-heard but excellent songs when they play classic artists like Bowie or Dylan, and there are few missteps (but from what I’ve heard, the new U2 release could stand a lot less airplay) and they have turned me on to several artists I now cherish, that I might not have known otherwise.
Jason Isbell, Father John Misty, the Record Company, Ty Segall, Dawes, Jade Jackson, Lorde, White Buffalo, Tommy Emmanuel, St. Paul & Broken Bones. And especially Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
88.5 presented them in a private concert at the legendary Village Studio in LA recently and offered a signup lottery on their web site — they do this often — and I was picked.
They did a short interview on stage beforehand with Rateliff and bassist Joseph Pope III, and Rateliff spoke of his “hit” song “S.O.B. (Give Me a Drink)” and his reluctance at every turn to record it, despite the opinion otherwise of everyone around him.
“Proved to me I need to ignore my own instincts,” he quipped. They played a short set of some new songs mixed with old, and while nothing they do hits you on the head like “S.O.B.,” I liked everything I heard.
The best description of them is, they’re signed to Stax Records (Memphis home to Otis, Booker T, the Staples, Isaac Hayes, Ben Harper). ‘Nuff said.
RECOMMENDED: Tonight! Fartbarf, and four other bands I know nothing about. It will take you a minute to adjust to Fartbarf, but once you do, if you don’t love them, I need to take your pulse. 1720, downtown LA, 7 PM, $15
Friday: Fishbone. LA legends and probably still crazy. The Roxy, 9 PM, $20.
Saturday: Mike Watt, Meat Puppets, X. Great lineup! Worth the drive? The Observatory, Santa Ana, 8 PM, $29.50
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Meow Wolf, the next time you’re anywhere near Santa Fe, NM (but wouldn’t it be nice to have one in Santa Monica, hmm?), and Duane Betts & the Pistoleers, where and whenever you may be lucky enough to find them. I caught them at Rusty’s on the Pier last July and was stunned, they were so good. (Had half of Gov’t Mule on rhythm for that show, though, that didn’t hurt, but Betts alone is worth the ticket price.)
CORRECTION: I’ve tried unsuccessfully for a full week to get this corrected online but our website remains resistant, so I now owe it to author Deanne Stillman to point out my two egregious errors in my mention of her fascinating new book, “Blood Brothers: the Story of the Strange Friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill.” — “what she seems to love is her novel writing. Six so far.” should have read — “non-fiction writing. Five so far.” I plead insanity and the inability to count past five.
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find,
peace of mind is waiting there, and the time will come when you see, we’re all one and
life flows on within you and without you.” — The Beatles (for Chris)
A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends and enemies, wishing for us all a New Year filled with great music and free of pain, fear and Cheetos.
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else
in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org