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Throwback Thursday, IX

March 25, 2010


While researching this book, I pore over as many relevant articles as I can.
Every Thursday, I’ll highlight one of the good ones.

Special treat this week: A Throwback Thursday with an actual news peg.

Back in 2008, I was putting together a review for jerseybeat.com and mentioned to the editor that I was planning to write a book about the Elephant 6. He mentioned to me then that his friend had written a book about psychedelic music and had focused a big piece of it on the collective, and that that I should check it out. I filed it away and have been meaning to get a hold of it for some time, but I had never gotten around to it.

Flash forward to this week, when I’ve set up an interview with eminent music critic Jim DeRogatis. In prepping for our conversation, I come across the fact that he has written a book about psychedelic music. Turns out he’s the friend the Jersey Beat editor was talking about a year and a half ago. Small around.

By the time I put this all together, I had only two days until the interview, not enough time to track down this book. So I e-mailed the editor and asked him to scan for me the relevant passage, assuring him I would buy the book at some point (and I do intend to). As it turns out, he had just gotten back from SXSW, where he shared a room with DeRogatis for five days.

Anyway, the pages he sent me were excellent, and the interview (which I just finished) went really well. I often look back at the unpaid freelance gigs I took on as a vain attempt to move up in the music journalism world, and I usually feel like I was wasting my time. But, every once in a while, they pay off in small ways.

In honor of the interview, I’m posting today an episode from DeRogatis’s weekly podcast on Chicago Public Radio, Sound Opinions. This episode (available for iTunes here and as a raw mp3 here) is from March of 2007 and focuses on the Elephant 6, featuring an interview with Robert Schneider. The podcast starts up talking about royalty costs for radio stations but turns to the Elephant 6 for the duration at the 15:47 mark.

I’m posting this not only because it’s so apposite, though. First, it’s fairly informative in a feature-y kind of way. It’s clearly meant for a general audience, but the interview with Schneider is, as conversations with him tend to be, illuminating. The other thing is that this shows something that the print stories I’ve shared with don’t: what it’s like to actually talk to one of these guys. Schneider in particular is a pretty fun person to talk to, and while his exuberance and pep are unavoidable even in print, hearing him talk is an experience unto itself. It’s as good a glimpse into what I’m doing here as I can offer.

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