Interview with Ha Ha Tonka [Podcast]

Ha Ha Tonka is a rock band from Missouri with a sound influenced by life in the Ozarks. We recently had guitarist and vocalist Brian Roberts on the phone for an interview, because we wanted to find out his thoughts on Bloodshot Records, the value of buying music, and getting through a personal run-in with cancer and the American healthcare system.

Here’s a transcript of our interview, along with the Soundcloud link below for your listening pleasure.

438958-largeWho: Brian Roberts; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
When: Thursday July 16th, 2015
How: via phone

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

K:  So Brian, how do you like being part of Bloodshot Records and that family over there?

B: Well I’m glad you used the word family. That’s basically what it is. I mean really we’ve been with Bloodshot since we started doing this professionally, since 2007. So yeah, we love all those guys. They’re the smartest people in the industry and just a great label to be a part of. We’ve been really fortunate to grow our band with them as our main supporters.

K: Are there any other bands on their client list that you’re following pretty closely?

B: Yeah, the Banditos are really having a great year. They’ve had such great acts in the past, like you know some of our favorite records, and I think can speak collectively for the band too. Ryan AdamsHeartbreaker came out on Bloodshot, and I wore that album out listening to it so many times. Justin Townes Earle was on the label recently and put out a couple great records. Of course the Old 97’s earlier on. They’ve had so many good acts, I could just talk about them all day. Bobby Bare, Jr. There’s some phenomenal acts on Bloodshot.

K: Cool. Well you’re in good company. You know the music business is an interesting thing, it’s always changing. I was wondering what your thoughts are on some of the recent trends in the music business, including the infinite access to music that people have.

B: Well you know I don’t…obviously it would be great if people still bought records the way they did in the 90’s or anytime prior to that. I don’t hold out any hope that that will come back. So I am thankful that we are a touring band, and the touring side of things hasn’t changed. We generate most of our income from the touring side of what we do. When it comes to the debate over streaming services or digital downloads, or any of the Napster or post-Napster stuff that’s gone on, really that’s just technology. And I don’t know if the music industry was ready for the onslaught like some of the other digital industries were, whether that be gaming or movies or the film industry. I don’t know. I don’t really know how to talk about it in a way that doesn’t make me sound like an asshole. I love that people can go online and check out a band—check out our band—and not have to pay for it right away. But the problem I think comes into the fact that people then never pay for your music. Or rarely do. Or there’s probably a whole generation that doesn’t think that music costs anything. And I think Bloodshot’s tried to educate people, Nan Warshaw has spoke on it several times about how not buying a record from a band like the Banditos or the 97’s 25 years or 20 years ago would have meant they got less money for next time they want to make a record. Less tour support. They get less of everything.

K: Yeah I agree with some of the things you pointed out, especially I believe that maybe the next generation of music consumers doesn’t even expect to pay for music.

B: Right, what does that mean?

Continue reading Interview with Ha Ha Tonka [Podcast]

Interview with Amy Ray

One of my favorite Murfie podcasts is the Amy Ray podcast. Not only did I have a great chat with her in the basement of The Frequency, surrounded by walls that are covered in thousands of band stickers, paintings, and initials, but I stuck around for her show—and it was rockin’! We even got her song “Glow” on video!

Here’s a transcript of that podcast from May 2012. Read on!

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. I’m pleased to say that I got to meet Amy Ray when she came to town. You probably know her as part of the Indigo Girls, the award-winning folk-rock duo from Georgia. Now, she has a solo career to go alongside that, and a rockin’ new album called Lung of Love. Here’s a clip from the chat that we had before her show at The Frequency.

[MUSIC: “Glow” by Amy Ray]

Kayla: So I’m talking to Amy Ray right now, at The Frequency in downtown Madison. Welcome to Madison, first of all.

Amy: Thanks, I always love bein’ in Madison—always, always.

Kayla: Awesome. So you’re here debuting your new CD—you’re on tour for that. And for the past ten years, about, you’ve been going solo; so what’s that like after two decades with the Indigo Girls?

Amy: Well actually, I still do both, so it’s like, I started going solo around 2000 and just interspersing it with Indigo Girls stuff. And so, I mean, at first, it was kind of crazy because we Indigos were playing kind of big places and then when I started doing solo, I started just doing small clubs like The Frequency—which I’m still doing. So, it was kind of at first like I adjusted, and just learned how to— We drive ourselves, you know, fix my own amp, fix my guitars, you know, whatever needs to be done. And so, for me it’s like kind of, extremely DIY [laughs], is what it is, and Indigo Girls are extremely the other way. So, it’s like this great sort of thing that I just go back and forth between, and it gives me perspective on both things.

Kayla: Awesome. So, is it different putting out music nowadays, compared to the earlier days when you got started?

Amy: Yeah, ‘cause when we started, it was still, like, ’85. I mean, we started in ’80, but we were putting out music starting in ’85, and we were just out of high school. And we were doing cassettes—like how you made your friend mix tapes, we would make our little cassettes of our songs, and we did like a little vinyl single, and a little vinyl EP, and LP. Yeah, and college radio was a really big deal then, so that’s what you wanted: you wanted to get on college radio—and you still do, but now it’s harder. And um, you just had like a network—like in each city, you sort of had this network: you had the record store, the indie art paper, the college radio station, and the venue, and you tried to get all those things to kind of stick together. And that’s still what you should do, but like the difference now is that we have so many great tools—Facebook and Twitter and all these things—and ways to record music, and ways to get music out there, and everything’s cheaper. It’s either like, a really great thing, or it can be a really bad thing, but I think personally I like to look at it as a really great thing, cause I think it’s like tools that we can use to sort of get music out there, and cross-pollinate more, and share with our friends, and have music take its place as more of a community thing.

Continue reading Interview with Amy Ray

This Week in Music History (May 1st-May 7th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie downnn!

MI00014412665/1- On this day in 1967, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. The couple honeymooned in Palm Springs soon after. They were divorced less than five years later…talk about Heartbreak Hotel.

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5/2- A shopper at a Zales jewelry store was stopped by security guards on this date 1n 1988. The guards were concerned that the shopper was wearing a wig and false mustache. They confronted the disguised man due to the suspicious circumstances, and turns out, it was just Michael Jackson!

49768-large5/3- Bing Crosby was born on this day way back in 1903. His baritone voice is known by many, along with his rendition of the song “White Christmas“.

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5/4- The first ever Grammy Awards ceremony was held on this day in 1959. Some winners that night included Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

4999-large5/5- On this day in 1973, Led Zeppelin packed Tampa Bay Stadium for a concert, with a jaw-dropping attendance count of 56,800 people.

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5/6- American country star Tammy Wynette passed away on this day in 1998. The 1970s country music charts were frequently topped with her tunes.

19560-large5/7- Bill Kreutzmann was born on this day in 1946. Kreutzmann was drummer in a very beloved American rock band, the Grateful Dead.

Oh, you wanna own any of these albums, or hear ‘em in lossless format? Well whaddya know…we just so happen to have them for sale! Right now these titles start at just $1!

“Champagne with Shirley”

8412 Shirley and Me

Holy cow! Our Murfie Staffer, Tynan, got to meet Shirley Manson the other day! Shirley is lead singer of the band Garbage and a genuine rock icon.

Tynan wrote about this experience and included a great recap of their conversation in an article for xojane.com. You can check it out here:

CHAMPAGNE WITH SHIRLEY MANSON:
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE GARBAGE FRONTWOMAN AND ROCK GOD

Nice, right?!

Hair metal!

We’ve spoken before about how I hold 80’s pop culture near and dear to my heart. I have a real soft spot for everything from John Hughes films to off-the-shoulder tops to HAIR METAL (!!! *shred guitar solo* !!!). There’s just something about the gaudy getup and glam-tastic rock sound that ever appeal to me. A particular aspect that never fails to amuse (and perhaps, delight) is the long shaggy or backcombed hairstyles that hair metal bands (I just wonder how that term came about?) loved to sport.

So many hair metal bands (Poison, Twisted Sister, Cinderella, Europe, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe…just to name a few), so much hair. Mirror, mirror on the wall: who has the most beautiful hair of all?