ACM@UCO is really working hard to put young musicians into the Oklahoma City scene. The school has just secured two residencies of sorts for its bands at Nonna’s Purple Bar and The Blue Note.
Nonna’s, 124 E Sheridan, will feature two ACM@UCO bands from 7-10 p.m. every Thursday. The Blue Note, 2408 N. Robinson, will host student bands from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the first Thursday of every month.
This week (Jan. 27), Nonna’s will feature Elspeth Brown and the jazz/pop of Wunderjazz.
Support these musicians, Oklahoma City. If we’re lucky, they’ll stick around, and the scene will grow. And more musicians means more music, which means nothing but good things. Not that you shouldn’t be supporting other bands, ‘cause you should. But if Oklahoma City is a good place to be for young musicians, it’s a good place to be for music listeners like you and me.
The Flaming Lips’ muchtweeted-about six-hour song now has a name! Drumroll, please! ... It’s called ... “I Found a Star on the Ground.”
And more awesomely, you can purchase a little real estate in it. For the low, low price of $100, the band will cryptically announce your name while they record this song, which they are doing, presumably right now. Head over to the band’s site to lighten your wallet’s load for a pair of good causes; the OK Humane Society and ACM@UCO.
I don’t, because I’m 23. But somebody at ACM@UCO clearly does, as the school recently announced that Eddie Trunk will be teaching a master’s class on Oct. 5. Trunk hosts “That Metal Show,” which is currently in its eighth season since 2008. Regulars on the show include members of Anthrax, Pantera, Anvil, Black Sabbath and plenty of other bands that are likely to headline next year’s Rocklahoma festival.
English musician Simon Raymonde, most famous for playing bass for the Cocteau Twins in the ’80s and ’90s, will teach Sept. 27. His production work would ultimately prove influential on shoegaze music, so you probably owe Mr. Raymonde a serious debt of gratitude if you’ve ever enjoyed The Jesus and Mary Chain, Beach House or chillwave.
Previously ACM@UCO masters class instructors include Jackson Browne, Roger Daltry, Livia Tortella (Warner Bros. Records president), Joe Bonamassa and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips. At this point, they’re just showing off.
On Tuesday night, Syracuse indie-pop mini-orchestra Ra Ra Riot (or “the not-so-dancey Passion Pit,” as my old boss once so aptly described it) stopped by the big city to play “Shadowcasting” for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
We’re less than a month away from the band’s Nov. 2 appearance at ACM@UCO, and I couldn’t be more excited. Its first record, “The Rhumb Line,” was somehow tender, vulnerable and catchy all at the same time, and one of my favorites from 2008. Watch:
Worry not, for OKSee was there taking notes for you.
The quick hits: ACM@UCO head honcho Scott Booker tossed open-ended questions Folds’ way for about an hour, which he spent detailing his start and several of the early business decisions he made. About 500+ sat in rapt attention, cheering and occasionally even gently heckling the two men on stage. Wayne Coyne sat front row, which Folds acknowledged during the interview.
Booker ended his bit, opening the floor to questions from the audience. The line formed long quickly, and OKSee took off for the Ra Ra Riot show a few questions in. However, it was more than enough time to hear some great, enlightening banter from Booker and Folds, particularly the nature and function of the artist within the modern music business. Also, he made a buncha funnies.
I’ve gone through my notes and assembled a highlight reel of sound bites that are below. Enjoy.
On growing up singing in the South, where the stereotype that musically minded boys were all homosexuals:
“My father said I had a terrible voice.”
On breaking his hand while defending his roommate from bullies at the University of Miami, and subsequently flunking a test and losing his music scholarship:
“I threw my drums in the lake.”
On his experience working on a music publishing deal in Nashville:
“I enjoyed it, sort of. I didn’t get any royalty money for three or four years because of the bad contract. ... Ben Folds Five happened because I got so scared of the Nashville thing.”
On the transfer from working on a Nashville hit-making assembly line to his own solo project:
“Suddenly I realized all the things that were getting me rejected were suddenly valued. ... Then I heard Liz Phair’s ‘Exile in Guyville’ ... and that set me off. I knew about The Replacements, but I didn’t really know about indie stuff.”
On the piano he lugged around during those earlier BF5 years:
“I borrowed a lot of money to pay for that first piano. It was in constant danger of getting repossessed.”
On the business end:
“We got a business manager who explained we needed to borrow money to pay taxes.”
On 550 Music’s (a division of Sony Music Entertainment) promotion of the single “Brick”:
“They treated ‘Brick’ like ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’: Release two rockers, then a power ballad. And it worked.”
On signing to a major label:
“It was a relief. It meant I didn’t have to move my piano anymore.”
On working as a producer:
“I like being the producer when I’m brining to life something that wouldn’t be music otherwise. The Nick Hornby collaboration, for instance.”
On certain of his works being considered “novelty” or a joke:
“My biggest frustration is the words ‘novelty song.’ I don’t know what that means.”
On Elliott Smith, with whom he toured (and whom Booker briefly managed):
“He’s such a great songwriter technically. He was trying to write Beatles songs, and people heard him for what he was, which was desperate.”
Odds and ends:
“I was writing waltzes about Howard Cosell and stuff.”
“We got a tour manager who’d worked for Slayer.”
“We spent money on a producer; we liked his name, Stiff Johnson.”
“After ‘Brick,’ I started pulling favors. Like, ‘OK, I want to make a spoken-word record with William Shatner.’”
“Rivers [Cuomo, of Weezer] was off on an island somewhere, laying in the sun. I think that’s where he got the song.”
“[‘Weird Al’ Yankovic] is the most not-weird man I’ve ever met.”