John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

American Music with a Yiddish Accent

Monday, January 25, 2010

Can you think of a classic American pop song that – intentionally or not – has a bit of a Yiddish accent?

Comments [5]

Hey, Lord Satan, Supper’s Ready

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Annick Giroux’s book, “Hellbent For Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook,” does not have a recipe for Angel’s Food Cake.  Are you surprised?  Annick asked members of lots of her favorite headbanging, ear-pinning metal bands to contribute recipes, and the results will surprise you.  


The New Culture wars: The Individual vs The “Hive”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today’s “Soundcheck Smackdown” tackles perhaps the most challenging question facing the arts in the digital age:  how much does the artist “own” their art?  We’ve talked a fair amount over the years about copyright, file-sharing, pirated music… it’s clear that the rise of digital music media has caused a huge downturn in the recording industry and that the music world is still trying to figure out a way for musicians to create their art, contribute it to society, and still be able to make something from it.

Comments [2]

The Anti-Desert Island Discs

Friday, January 15, 2010

The whole Desert Island idea – if you were stranded on a deserted island, what records/books/etc would you want with you – has become so commonplace on radio and in magazines that it was just a matter of time before some wiseass came up with the opposite approach.  And so Alan Bennett, writing in the usually reasonable London Guardian newspaper, has proposed the Anti-Desert-Island Discs project, where instead of five or 10 albums you must have, you list eight (eight?) albums you would definitely NOT want on the island with you. 

Comments [1]

Why We Sing, or Don’t

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On today's episode of Soundcheck, host John Schaefer ponders the social relevance of singing together as an activity -- something that used to be hugely popular. He wants to know: Do ...


The Solo Frontman

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rock history is littered with forgotten records by singers who fronted successful rock bands and then struck out on their own.


Rockin’ the Great White Way

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So Green Day’s American Idiot is coming to Broadway. And people are acting all surprised.

Comments [1]

Is it Culture? Let the Bureaucrats Decide…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Concert presenters of every stripe have been grousing for years about the difficulties of getting performance visas for foreign artists. In fact, John Schaefer has pretty much given up the fight.

Comments [1]

Music and Medicine: A Toxic Mix?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Over the years, I’ve heard from lots of artists, writers, architects and the like, saying they like to listen to music while they work.  Why shouldn’t doctors do that too?  I feel I work better with music going (Jamie T’s “Kings and Queens” is playing as I write this), and it seems like lots of people feel the same way.

Comments [3]

Flying the Unfriendly Skies

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Traveling with a double bass in pre-9/11 days was possible, but it wasn’t fun.  Usually you’d have to buy a seat for your instrument.


Commercial Music vs. Music in Commercials

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

These days, getting a song placed on a commercial, or a TV series, has proven to be a career-making move for a wide variety of artists, from the long-dead (Nick Drake) to the rapidly emerging (the Ting Tings).

Comments [1]

Holiday Music and Noise – Which is Which?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The relentless parade of familiar holiday tunes pouring out of store speakers is an easy target for Grinchy types like me. I don’t like shopping to begin with, and I also find it hard to ignore background music, so a store that accompanies my feeble attempts at being an “educated consumer” with Santa and Rudolph and Frosty is not a store I’m gonna want to spend a lot of time in.


The New Christmas Contenders

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Soundcheck's John Schaefer wants to know: What’s the must-have or the must-to-avoid of this year’s holiday releases?


Pop Culture as Historical Artifact

Monday, December 21, 2009

Joshua Clover’s book, 1989 – Bob Dylan didn’t have this to sing about, is making my brain hurt. And I mean that in a good way.


The Best Classical Music of the Decade

Thursday, December 17, 2009

For me, in classical music, this was the decade of Osvaldo Golijov.  The Argentine-born composer started the decade on a high note, with an extraordinarily colorful, multi-cultural se...


'Niche' Music Breaks Through

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I wrote in yesterday’s blog that I thought this was a great decade for music.  That includes some of the so-called “niche” markets too.  It was a good decade for jazz – although nobody seemed to notice.  And it was a boom time for “world music.

The great voices we were introduced to in the 90s continued to amaze in the new decade:  Cesaria Evora of Cape Verde, Youssou N’Dour of Senegal, Asha Bhosle of India.

Comments [1]

A Great Decade for Music

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We have another two weeks before this decade, the first of the 21st century, officially ends. I sort of liked Time magazine’s recent name for it: “The Decade From Hell.”  I suspect al...

Comments [2]

New Pop for a New Century?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Soundcheck's John Schaefer wants to know what you thought was the biggest story in pop music during the '00s.


Pop Culture as Historical Artifact

Friday, December 11, 2009

What was, for you, the signature song of the period of 1989 and the two years after?  Was it just a catchy pop tune or did it perhaps reflect the times?


Rap Meets Rock. Again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do you have a favorite collaboration between the rock and rap genres?  Do you think the two genres play nicely together?