By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
By Chaz Kangas
By Allison Babka
That's a novel thing. Singles? On vinyl?
Yup. Although, in a way, in North America, the fans are back to it being a singles market with downloading. They're like, "Fuck your shitty album. I'm going to get that one song I like." I remember shopping for singles with my dad when I was a kid, flipping through a bin of 45s. Now kids just make the singles themselves. They don't have to buy the album, so they don't. The record industry's like, "We're losing money!" Well, stop putting out shitty records.
What did you like listening to growing up?
What my parents had: James Brown, Sly Stone, the Band, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, George Benson. My mom hated the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.
Well, my mom's not white. She said, "Hey, this rips off the Isley Brothers and Otis Redding, and maybe nobody gets paid...they rip off Little Richard." I didn't listen to rock music until I was in high school. Kids were like, "Check out this Led Zeppelin!" I was like, "What the hell was that?" I remember the first time I listened to a Beatles record. I was eighteen. "Wow, this is pretty cool! Why didn't you tell me this before? Sgt. Pepper's is pretty rad!"
Do you have any DJ idols?
When I was young, I really looked up to local drum 'n' bass guys, jungle DJs, because they play so fast. The combinations of the shit was just ridiculous. Then I got more into house music. Toronto's halfway between New York and Chicago and two hours away from Detroit, so you can imagine what came through. [Legendary Chicago producer] Green Velvet comes through not as much anymore.
Green Velvet played here in December.
He's opening for us in London. My wife just corrected me she's like, "You shouldn't say 'opening!'" [Laughs] The club has us as the headliner. It's hilarious. I used to write messages to Green Velvet on MySpace, and he never wrote back. Not like about music so much, more like, personal: "You're amazing." Now I'm going to play with him, and I'm like, "Yeah, I'm that guy. I'm that guy that writes to you. I see that you've read my messages!"
You can't hide from me now, Green Velvet! So, describe what people can expect on this gig.
We play pretty hard. I don't know how else to describe it. We try to ease the people into it, so it's not too much of a shock. We want it to be a good party and exciting. We really take pride in our mixing and try to do the most interesting things we can in that sense. We try at least in one point in every night to really challenge the audience and say, "Are you going to come this far with us for a second?" [Laughs] We have to take that chance. Annie Zaleski 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 13. Dante's, 3221 Olive Boulevard. $20 to $25. 314- 652-2369.
Big Muddy Memories
Here's a weird fact: In the summer of 1969, in a field outside Edwardsville, Illinois, Bob Dylan emerged from a self-imposed exile to perform three songs with the Band. It was his first live performance in nearly three years. That's right, in Edwardsville. The next month, Janis Joplin appeared at the same outdoor venue. That same summer, Joni Mitchell, too. In Edwardsville.
The concert series was called the Mississippi River Festival, and a new book, Images of America: The Mississippi River Festival, has just been published to commemorate its eleven-year run from 1969-1980.
Originally created to showcase the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra during its off-season, the MRF took place in a natural amphitheater a mile from the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. It's best-remembered not for the classical music, however, but for the depth of rock, pop and jazz talent that performed beneath the big circus tent that housed the stage.
The list is staggering: Among many others who appeared were the Flying Burrito Brothers (with Gram Parsons) in 1970, the Grateful Dead (twice, in 1970 and 1980) and the Who, who were so loud in 1971 that you could hear the concert two miles away in downtown Edwardsville. Ike and Tina Turner, Richard Pryor, Muddy Waters, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, Yes, Emmylou Harris, McCoy Tyner, the Faces they all gigged at the MRF.
SIU Edwardsville archivist and special-collections librarian Stephen Kerber compiled the book with SIUE lecturer and archivist Amanda Bahr-Evola. Explains Kerber, who arrived at the university after the MRF had shuttered: "It doesn't seem like something that could happen in what was then a rural area outside of the city limits of a huge American city. It didn't seem possible."
Many might need proof that it did happen. On summer nights, the weed blew heavy and hard at the MRF, and though alcohol was prohibited, many a pint was smuggled past security. Kerber minimizes the drug intake during the festival "[It] was very much confined, in my view, and going through the records, to very certain kinds of entertainment" but he wasn't there. Many in attendance (including a couple of RFT staffers) recall a drug cornucopia. Even former SLSO conductor Leonard Slatkin looks hopped up on something stronger than the polyester in his impressively trippy shirt.