It's interesting to compare today to yesterday. V V Brown is a UK artist, not yet well know in the US but huge in the UK. Hockey is still a fairly unknown group from Portland, yet were picked up and signed in the UK and are just now experiencing touring the US. It makes me wonder just how record companies choose people, it's always been a mystery to me. Not to compare artists too much, but V V seemed really pro, but has not yet experienced being on a show like Jimmy Fallon, as Hockey has. What gives?
The bass player brought an electric guitar to play, and a 6" orange tiny battery amplifier. It sounded like...a 6" orange tiny battery amplifier. They seemed freaked out when I told them around 15-20 people would be in the room to watch them. The singer was wandering around the building, we tried a few times to find him. Finally, the room filled with winners, we had 2 minutes to go on the air, and he wandered in with a very worn guitar with classical strings. Oh, and a HARMONICA. My first thought, screaming in my head? "Oh God, a HARMONICA." My first glimpse of the retainer-resembling headgear made me sigh a heavy sigh.
Don't get me wrong, they can be a beautiful thing. It used to be awesome when G Love came by for an in-studio, or some of the blues greats over the years. Some people shouldn't really play harmonica. (Loves her, but Alanis?) It's like the wah pedal for guitar, it matters not if the notes fit the song, or are in key, people start screaming when they see the wah...or the harmonica. Done correctly, there's nothing more haunting and beautiful than the bends and growls of a well-played harmonica. Done incorrectly, for example if someone were to mix a harmonica with headphones on, it can feel like your ears are bleeding. There is no amount of EQ in the world than can pitch correct a live harmonica. Enough said.
Oh, but another difference between yesterday and today, was this fantastic and very generous lunch provided by On the Border. It takes a lot of food to feed DJ's, listeners, and starving musicians. This sponsor went above and beyond, providing tons of awesome food for tacos, with amazing grilled chicken and steak, beans, rice, toppings, pico de gallo (YES!) huge bag o' chips, and even plates and nice plastic silverware! We were really excited about that. I was so excited, I thought they were providing again today and skipped lunch. Moxie Java had yummy coffee and cookies, I just kept thinking about that salsa...
The singer during the interview, asked me to move the amplifier in front of him. I said no, we'd have to entirely move the mic and stand and re-situate everything. I was cranky, I guess. He missed the sound check entirely. We compromised by changing the direction of of the "high quality" 6" amp cranked to ten, to face him. I guess I was cranky that he came in late, but mostly cranky about that salsa.
Hockey is based now in Portland, having left Spokane after losses of jobs, girlfriends, and bikes. Many groups coming through lately have sick, they arrived with a nice new box of Throat Coat tea, as many singers do. They say "yeah" a lot, and sound a little like Dylan. They're playing all those big festivals Boise only dreams of-Coachella, Lollapalooze, etc., and their CD is called "Mind Chaos."