Before Kinky Friedman became a best-selling author of mystery novels, or ran for the Governor of Texas as an Independent in 2006 (coming in fourth out of six candidates), he recorded some of the funniest country music ever committed to tape. His best known songs include “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore”, “Ride ‘Em Jewboy”, and “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed”, which aren’t exactly hymns to political correctness, but they probably will make you laugh, and might even make you think.
This interview was done by phone on 11/26/12, and was for a preview article for Friedman’s shows on 12/8/12 at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, California, and on 12/9/12 at Zoey’s Cafe in Ventura California. (Larry Pullen photo)
Multi-instrumentalist/singer/composer Michael Andrews recently released the wonderful album Spilling A Rainbow, which was inspired by him becoming a first-time father and features lush sounds, creative arrangements, and thoughtful lyrics. As examples, “The Dentist” recounts how he first heard that his wife was pregnant, “Music For Cell Division” is based on his wife’s ultrasound, and “Waiting For You To Wake” anticipates the day’s Daddy shift.
Andrews is best known for his work on movie soundtracks, most famously that for Donnie Darko which included a cover of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World” that became the Christmas Number One single in Britain in 2003. He has also contributed to the soundtracks for movies including Bridesmaids, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and Paris, je t’aime, and the television show Freaks and Geeks. Andrews has also released albums with The Greyboy Allstars, and has produced albums for Inara George and Metric.
The following interview was conducted by email, with answers received on 11/21/12. (Laura Heffington photo)
Review of several music documentaries at the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival: Under African Skies, Family Band: The Cowsills Story, Music Man Murray, Rhino Resurrected, Tales From the Tavern, Cure For Pain: The Mark Sandman Story, plus an appreciation of the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange
Murray Gershenz, aka Music Man Murray, is passionate about music, and has spent over 70 years collecting, buying, and selling records. But the time has come to sell his collection, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands. The catch – he wants his collection to stay intact. It sounds like he’d settle for half a million dollars, a bargain for a collection valued in the millions.
Murray’s story is captured in the documentary film Music Man Murray, which premieres at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival. This film was produced and directed by Richard Parks, with music by his father Van Dyke Parks, who has had his hand in many notable music releases over the last five decades. Richard and Van Dyke responded to the following questions by email on January 20 and 21, 2012.
The legendary Van Dyke Parks is in the middle of his new vinyl singles project, which will encompass six records with gorgeous sleeve art from some of today’s most notable artists. These are available by subscription from bananastan.com, and as Parks puts it, “Downloads from iTunes insures aid to those stuck in the digital ditch.”
These singles represent the next chapter in an amazing career in music for Parks, who wrote the lyrics for the lost-Beach Boys-masterpiece Smile which is finally scheduled for release later this year. Parks also played keyboards on many albums and songs including The Byrds’ Fifth Dimension album, Tim Buckley’s self-titled debut album, and the should-have-been-a-hit “Magic Hollow” by The Beau Brummels. His production credits include the first albums by Ry Cooder and Randy Newman, both with Lenny Waronker, and he has also done arrangements for U2, Laurie Anderson, Joanna Newsom, and the song “Bare Necessities” from the Disney movie The Jungle Book. His solo albums include Song Cycle from 1968, and the Caribbean-tinged Discover America from 1972.
The following interview was conducted by email, with answers received on 7/27/11.
Review of 1/23/10 Sings Like Hell performance of Steve Young with Van Dyke Parks and David Jackson
Steve Young is a singer and songwriter whose best known song is “Seven Bridges Road,” which was covered by and became a Top 40 hit for The Eagles. He also wrote “Lonesome, On’ry And Mean”, which became a trademark song for Waylon Jennings, and “Montgomery in the Rain”, which was covered by Hank Williams, Jr.
This interview was conducted by phone on 1/5/10, and formed the basis of a preview article for the Steve Young with Van Dyke Parks and David Jackson show on 1/23/10 at the Lobero Theatre.
Review of performance on 4/13/09 by Dan Wheetman, Van Dyke Parks, and David Jackson at UC Santa Barbara
Songwriters and musicians answer the question: What advice would you give to an aspiring songwriter/musician? Responses from:
Sir George Martin
Rickie Lee Jones
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt
Abdul “Duke” Fakir
David “Honeyboy” Edwards
Country Joe McDonald
Van Dyke Parks
James Jackson Toth
Will Cullen Hart