Journalism In Musical Clothing

Ira Glass

Wow, this is so delightful and crazily creative it hurts. Ira Glass and the team at This American Life (recently photographed in great style by Meredith Heuer) produced a musical based on a true story, in which a high school student falls in love with a girl. Typical musical so far? Well, then there’s the twist that interested TAL: the girl is actually an undercover cop, who convinces the boy (an A student) to sell her marijuana. He gets arrested and goes to jail.

21 Chump Street: The Musical

Possibly the Greatest Twelve Minutes in Radio: Ray Manzarek Explains the Origins of “Light My Fire”

OK, that might be a bit hyperbolic.
20061020_fa_04.mp3But listening to Manzarek sit at the piano and describe how “Light My Fire” is a little bit Sonny & Cher, a little bit John Coltrane, and a whole lot of Morrison/Manzarek is pure pleasure. From Terry Gross’ 2006 Fresh Air interview.

Keith Moon, D. H. Lawrence, and Saul Bellow, Kindred Spirits

James_Wood_on_Keith_Moon.mp3Finger drumming lessons from literary critic James Wood are just are part of this great interview by Blake Eskin for The New Yorker’s podcast series. I had no idea that finger drumming was even something anyone did, but see for yourself; he’s quite decent.

The rest of the interview covers the great Who drummer Keith Moon, and his wild drumming style. Wood says Moon’s style marries a loose spontaneity with a sneaky finesse and polish, much like writers Lawrence and Bellow. Pete Townsend on his bandmate:

Keith Moon’s drumming is like someone falling down the stairs.



Guru, Rest in Peace

Jazz Thing by Gang Starr

The best part of the completely delightful “Jazz Thing” are Guru’s vocals, reportedly adapted from a poem about the history of jazz by Lolis Eric Elie. The song originally appeared on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, and may well have been the best thing about the movie. Guru continued to dapple in hip hop/jazz fusions, most successfully on Jazzmatazz Volume 1. He died last month, but leaves behind an impressive musical legacy.

Scott Joplin’s rags, Bessie Smith’s blues
St. Louis blues, they were all the news
Ringin smooth.. in all the listeners ears
Fulfillin the needs, and plantin the seeds
of a jazz thing