In all the years of my public life as a performer, a radio and television host, music supervisor for motion pictures and television or even as a journalist for print and web, not once had anyone asked me to share my basic philosophies about music and culture. Sure, I get a good jab in once and a while, like my quotes in Barry Mazor's "Meeting Jimmie Rodgers" or in the odd print article like Josh Alan's profile of me for the Dallas Observer. But ultimately, there's some kind of editor or agenda at play that somehow muddles the point I hoped to make. (Most notably the "Rubin v. Jimmy Sturr" non-controversy of several years ago.)
What a gift it is then to be allowed a platform, outside of this little blog here, to let folks in on some of the concepts that I have been working with, struggling with and trying to make sense of for the entirety of my professional life. They are the ideas that have defined me and, by extension, all the things I create.
Writer Sarah Hagerman of the Steam Powered Preservation Society web site sat down with me last month, asked some really great questions and let the cassette recorder roll. (Yes, a glorious Radio Shack cassette machine!) In essence, she has provided me with a handy FAQ for me and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
If you are even mildly curious about what motivates my work, then read this two part interview and know quite a bit about me. Probably more than you'd like, I reckon.
Part One: A wide ranging talk including growing up Jewish in small town Oklahoma, the real purpose of music in culture and how the legacy of the Bad Livers was so misunderstood.
Part Two: The power of nomenclature, language and how it effects music and culture, why Bluegrass Nashville is a closed shop (for Jews at least,) my travels across Europe with Rroma musicians and the story of Fat Man & Little Boy.