Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Ep. #288: DIANA

DIANA is an electronically inclined pop band from Toronto whose primary members are Kieran Adams, Carmen Elle, and Joseph Shabason. After their 2013 album Perpetual Surrender earned them accolades from the likes of the New York Times, the Guardian, and NPR, DIANA toured a lot and then got back to work on new songs. The result is an excellent, emotionally raw yet playfully fun and infectious record called Familiar Touch, which is out now via Culvert Music. DIANA are gearing up to tour with a giant version of their band and are playing select Canadian and American cities in November and December. They were just in Guelph to play a show so we met up at CFRU for a conversation about studios with carpeting and linoleum, parquet and Parkay and margarine, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, nothing but margarine, a culture of butter in Newfoundland, hardcore butter people, Counting Cows, swimming lessons at a dairy farm, Nutella and honey, peanut butter and butter, Triumphant Schmeer, sweets, throwing out our lunches, ruining my parenthood, all-day cans of soda pop, five Pepsi’s a day, DIANA Googles Stuff On-Air, Caledon and Toronto and St. John’s and Cambridge, union stories, coffee vs. cola, Carmen growing up with all of the things in the Annex in Toronto, sushi, Trinity St. Paul’s Church, Gowan, the ROM and Raffi, decanning, children’s musicians and entertainers, Fred Penner’s indie-rock festival circuit, Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, a four year-old and AC/DC, band merch for kids, Joseph growing up in Caledon with past guest Mike Deane, punk and emo bands like Sinclair, the Irish Centre in Brampton, small town bring downs, Bluetip in a basement, the Pete Best of southern Ontario post-hardcore, Who’s Emma in Kensington Market, when Carmen drove me around St. John’s, Kieran and Joseph end up going to the University of Toronto for music at the same time, percussion profs, living in St. John’s, fact-checking the DIANA bio, Carmen tells it like it is, synthesizer patron-saint and producer Roger Leavens, Kieran and Joseph singing, tweaking together, lyric editing for singing, Carmen’s passion, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, Carmen’s a great vocal interpreter, what’s eating Kieran, a keyword, the song “Confession,” synthesized pop and comparisons to 1980s sounds, touring in President-elect Donald Trump’s America, the great political divide, smugness and hatred, Make America Great Again is now a hate crime, no surprising but life-altering, red and blue states, sadness, white folks should recognize their role in this new reality, Culvert Music in Toronto, the web is worldwide, the song “Cry,” and then it was like butter baby.

Related links: dianatheband.com culvertmusic.com vishkhanna.com

diana

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Ep. #222: Peter Guralnick

Peter Guralnick is a music writer of the highest order who splits his time living between Tennessee and Massachusetts. Over the past 40 years, he has written definitive books about American music, including Dream Boogie, a biography of Sam Cooke, and Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, his monumental twin biographies about the rise and unmaking of Elvis Presley. His latest book is a riveting and exhaustively researched portrait of the founder of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee—the man who discovered Presley and other icons like Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis among many others. The book is called Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, it’s out now via Little, Brown and Company, and here, Peter and I discuss me geeking out in a major way, his time spent in Boston, Nashville, and Memphis, writing what he wants, Sam Phillips’ influence and independent spirit, finding Elvis, the R-E-A-L and our individuality, a man on an extraordinary mission, “Tell the damn truth,” the myth of objectivity, fact checking and getting to the core of someone you might not know, becoming friends with Sam Phillips, treating subjects with dignity, Charlie Rich, the truth is the truth, getting lost in spontaneity, personal observation, narrative slapback, Sam’s love for radio, that time Phillips called up Fidel Castro and became friends with Hank Williams’ widow, Audrey, Sam’s heroic last days, the astonishing breadth of his knowledge and dedication to research in any field, Phillips’ desire to foster racial equality and give impoverished artists of any background a chance to express themselves, standing up for the downtrodden, the new Yep Roc Sun Records compilation and a mouse in my house, Phillips’ guiding role for independent American record labels, distributors, and artists, his business acumen, the financial pain of having a hit single, looking for someone exactly like Elvis, why Sam had to sell the Elvis Presley contract to RCA for $35,000, working with Sam on his life story and winning his trust, how Sam didn’t really want to write a memoir, an interesting e-book version of this story, going back to working on a collection of short stories, Alice Munro, Dawn Powell, Fanny and Alexander, the song “Mr. Highway Man” by Howlin’ Wolf and the Wolf’s sway over Sam Phillips, and then we gotta let you go.        

Related links: peterguralnick.com sunrecords.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #116: Matt Andersen

Matt Andersen has earned a reputation for being one of the most powerful live soul and rock performers of his generation. The New Brunswick native has released seven albums and toured the world over, quietly gaining an army of loyal fans who gravitate to his rumbling voice, accomplished guitar playing, and vivid lyricism. Though he’s impressed audiences on his own, his latest album is boldly produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin and features fully-fleshed out arrangements that his touring band, the Mellotones, have been bringing to life over the past few months at headlining shows and opening tour dates for Buddy Guy and Los Lobos. This latest batch of songs also features songwriting collaborations with Joel Plaskett, David Myles, Tom Wilson, Dave Gunning, and Keith Mullins among others. Andersen’s new album is called Weightless, it’s out now via True North Records, and brings Andersen to music festivals across Canada in the coming weeks, including Guelph’s Hillside Festival on July 25. Here, Matt and I talk about Ottawa, acronyms, working with Steve Berlin, Phantom Power, writing songs with Joel Plaskett and why collaborating is important, Matt’s old band Flat Top, solo is good, with and without the Mellotones and how fans have been reacting to Matt having a band, Perth-Andover New Brunswick and a Maritimes musical upbringing, soulful rock versus pop music, Creedence Clearwater Revival might be better than New Kids on the Block, Matt Andersen Blues Award Explosion, Gary the cat has to go outside, your girlfriend will take your dog with her, Matt’s self-consciousness about being called ‘Canada’s greatest guitar player,’ Stubby Fingers, playing music while others make noise, serious music/fun guy, “City of Dreams” and Detroit, not getting the simplified folk revival and how it relates to new country, the double-edged sword of being championed by Canadian folk music festivals, CBC, and Canadian music fans, backlash, writing universal songs, updates on new songs, touring in a pickup truck, Fords and Hyundais, his busy touring schedule, Elvis Presley is dead, the song “Weightless,” and then we drift away.

Related links: stubbyfingers.ca hillsidefestival.ca vishkhanna.com

mattandersen

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