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.
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.”
Turning Japanese? Do you really think so? Then head over to ACM@UCO tonight for Boris!
Boris — whose repertoire includes everything from heavy metal to pop to art punk — may hail from Tokyo, but its roaring sound is rarely lost in translation. The Japanese trio has been churning out solid tunes for nearly 20 years, at first through their own label (the hilariously named Fangs Anal Satan) and more recently on stoner-metal label Southern Lord.
The band made its first big splash stateside with the release of 2005’s critically acclaimed “Pink” and carried that momentum forward with four studio albums from 2006 to 2008 and an eruption of new material in 2011 that made its way onto three full records: “New Album,” “Heavy Rocks” and “Attention Please.”
Boris has steadily toured the U.S. for well over a decade — including a major gig supporting Nine Inch Nails in 2008 — and it’s right in the midst of its latest run of dates, which included an appearance at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin on Sunday.
The band makes a stop tonight at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan, the site of the former Green Door. Through an interpreter, drummer Atsuo took the time to talk about being workaholics, mixtapes and Boris’ label as a Japanese heavy-metal act.
OKS: You guys have been playing together for almost 20 years now. How have you evolved and improved the most over that time?
Atsuo: We've just been learning who we are and how big we are in terms of what our capacity is. Who you are and who you think you are. We've learned a lot, but at the end, we just realize who we are.
OKS: You released three studio albums this year. What led you guys to wanting to cram that much new music into a single year rather than spreading it out?
Atsuo: We are just being total workaholics. After tours, we always just want to get back to the studio and start recording. We had a tour before this big American tour, and we've already made 20 songs between them. It's just how we roll.
OKS: What about each of these albums are you most proud of? What do you think you did best on each one?
Atsuo: There was an unreleased album, in our minds, that was meant for 2009. That album led to the two albums — "Attention Please" and "Heavy Rocks" — and "New Album" was a sort of combination of those two. We wanted the audience to hear between the lines or albums or songs the different arrangements. If the audience can enjoy the difference and decide what they like better and ask questions about that to themselves, that was our goal.
Music doesn't have answers. The industry has always been trying to give answers, like we are trying to do this or trying to do that. Listening to bootlegs and mixtapes or different sources of the same song, the definition of the song expands between the takes. Everybody should open their mind to realize that sometimes there is no answer and the searching itself is the fun thing, not knowing the answer. That's what we were trying to express through those albums.
OKS: You are probably best known for your heavier, metal stuff, but you play a lot of different of styles of music. What keeps you from committing to any one genre and what makes you want to explore those different sounds?
Atsuo: To us, the genre, the word itself, it's whatever. We don't care. It's just a word. Every time we come to America, we are described as a Japanese heavy-metal band, and we're like, “We don't care.” It's whatever they want to call us. Putting someone into a genre is the easiest thing you can do.
OKS: How are the crowds in Japan and the U.S. different?
Atuso: We strongly feel that American culture is nothing like what we have in Japan. There are not that much support systems to do touring there, and the venues are just completely different. It's a club where you go listen to the music, but no one hangs out or drinks or socialize in the club at all. That difference is making touring in America much better.
OKS: What sort of plans do you have for the near future in terms of new music?
Atuso: We're confused with how the industry is taking us. These days, people think music is free. Maybe that has to change or there's no more physical records or anything like that. We'll just have to see.
Check out photos from last night's Flaming Lips-hosted and Plastic Ono Band-assisted New Year's Eve Freakout #5.
Best Freakout yet?
With Plastic Ono Band, Phantogram, a proclamation from the mayor, Beatles covers, and the Flaming Lips' usual giant laser hand-firing, space bubble surfing, psychedelic face-melting antics, it's hard to argue against it.
A few highlights:
-Phantogram played an excellently trippy, dark-toned set.
-A very cool 15-ish-minute intro video for Plastic Ono Band that featured a ton of old home footage of Yoko with John Lennon, and shortly, but beautifully, captured her life dedicated to art and activism for peace.
-The NYE countdown when Lips manager and ACM@UCO CEO Scott Booker presented Yoko the official proclamation, on behalf of the mayor. Read it here.
-A full-on, everybody-hugging-and-holding-hands rendition of John Lennon's "Merry Christmas (War is Over)."
-A monstrous 15-minute Lips cover of The Beatles' "She's So Heavy" that included a hypnotic, dissonant Nels Cline guitar solo.
-Seeing Sean Lennon snag my friend Tate's camera to shoot video of Wayne addressing the crowd before the set. Lennon basically just asked him about the camera, then asked if he could try it out. When he did, Tate just sorta shrugged and looked at me, like "What am I gonna do? He's Sean Lennon."
-Always-ecstatic Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tweeted the set list about two hours before they even took the stage. The new song "Drug Chart" unfortunately got scratched.
Check out the rest of my photos and my friend Nathan Poppe's below.