Streams

John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Lil' Wayne vs. The World

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lil Wayne

It’s one thing for Lil Wayne to proclaim himself the world’s best rapper. That sort of bragging, whether serious or in jest, has long been a part of hip-hop. It’s quite another thing for anyone else to agree. I mean, hip-hop ...

Read More

Comment

Daydream Nationalists

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lee Ranaldo and Kim Gordon of Sonic YouthIt is possible in a world of blogs, MySpace pages, and instant music or video delivery to be wildly popular in a very small circle. You can have a ...

Read More

Comment

The Days of Wine and (Guns 'n') Roses

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wine SculptureI’m more of a beer guy than a wine aficionado. I’m not so sure my feelings about an India Pale Ale will be altered by the music I’m hearing, but on the other hand, I can’t dismiss the idea either. Adrian North’s ...

Read More

Comment

A Great Tenor Looks to the Future

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Placido DomingoWhat do you ask someone who’s so famous that he has his own Muppet? Placido Domingo is one of the greatest tenors of our time, and as a conductor and arts administrator he has been a tireless champion of the world of ...

Read More

Comments [4]

Movie Stars Who Slum in Pop Music

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I loved the original Star Trek. But all the juvenile hero-worship in the world couldn’t save Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from the guffaws that followed when they each released albums of “covers” (a charitable term, in this case) of popular songs in the late 60s. Universal derision hasn’t stopped ...

Read More

Comment

The Price of Being Green

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

This week's Soundcheck Smackdown is a curious one, at least to me - because I can see how both sides of the argument could be correct. Maybe you believe in climate change, maybe you don't. (Watch out for the edge of our flat planet, though.) But it is certainly possible ...

Read More

Comment

Not If You Were the Last Whiffenpoof on Earth...

Monday, June 02, 2008

I went to a college, Fordham, that didn’t have an a cappella group, at least not as far as I know. This was on the border of the South Bronx in the late 70s, and it wasn’t the sort of place you’d expect to find an a cappella group, unless ...

Read More

Comment

Zeroes and Villains

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How did Blender do it? How did they start compiling a list of music’s creepiest, most repulsive, often genuinely criminal people – and stop at just 25? I don’t know what it is about the music biz, but it has long been a magnet for shady characters. I suppose ...

Read More

Comments [1]

Tribute Bands: Even better than the real thing?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I’ve never understood the whole tribute band thing. I also never understood the people who reenact Civil War battles, so maybe this is a blind spot of some sort… But to do someone else’s songs night after night, aping the sound of the original band, and sometimes even trying to ...

Read More

Comments [1]

John on the In-Store Experience

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Record stores are great. If you already know what you like and what you’re looking for. Otherwise, buying music online has a huge advantage. Old-timers talk about walking into their local record shop and being intrigued by an album cover and asking the guy behind the counter to play a ...

Read More

Comment

History in the Making

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Usually you don’t realize you’re witnessing history until time has past and events have become historic. (There are obvious exceptions.) Suze Rotolo couldn’t have known she was witnessing history when her boyfriend, a young folksinger named Bob Dylan, got a good review in the New York Times. And she certainly ...

Read More

Comment

Film Composers: Raiders of the Lost Art?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Harrison Ford as Indiana JonesFilm scores and classical music. The question is, can the former also be considered the latter. Sort of depends on your definition of “classical music,” doesn’t it? Fully notated music for an orchestra requires the composer ...

Read More

Comment

The Search for Rebel Girls

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cat PowerWhere are the women in rock? I happen to know they’re still out there – I share an office with one, as you may have learned in our posting last Wednesday – but Women Who Rock just don’t seem to be as visible as ...

Read More

Comment

Toying With Musical Skill

Friday, May 16, 2008

rock_band_image.jpgWhen the Soundcheck crew went to play the videogame Rock Band, I was struck by how truly sucky I was when, as a lifelong guitarist, I picked the Rock Band guitar controller. I quickly realized, there is no correlation between playing Rock Band ...

Read More

Comment

Buy John Some Peanuts and Crackerjack

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You know the song “Heart And Soul”? Sure you do – it’s the one every beginning pianist sits down and bangs out on the keyboard at school assemblies and the like. Or maybe you don’t… what everyone knows is the chorus of “Heart And Soul.” But there are verses, verses ...

Read More

Comments [2]

It's Easy Being John

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Well, I certainly don’t want to get in trouble here, but I also don’t want to get anyone else in trouble either, so I’m going to leave my all-purpose assistant, Caryn Havlik, out of this. Let me just say that even with all the music that comes into my office ...

Read More

Comment

Call the Young Dudes?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

gustavo-dudamel.jpgThe LA Philharmonic replaces its 40-something conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, with a 27-year old phenom named Gustavo Dudamel. The Chicago Symphony then replaces its 65-year old leader, Daniel Barenboim, with the 66-year old Riccardo Muti, a veteran, universally-respected conductor. So, which one would YOU rather ...

Read More

Comment

A "Wild Combination" of Genres

Monday, May 12, 2008

arthur_russell.jpgIn 1983, just a year after starting the “New Sounds” series here at WNYC, I started playing a couple of LPs by a composer named Arthur Russell. “Tower of Meaning” was a favorite – a series of majestic, slowly-unfolding, moody instrumentals by a guy ...

Read More

Comment

Who's Afraid of Clear Channel

Friday, May 09, 2008

Yeah, yeah, Clear Channel is bad; live, local radio is good. The huge media conglomerate owns and operates a gazillion radio stations and makes them all sound alike. They are a behemoth that crushes the smaller, more interesting stations in each market. But you know what, that wouldn’t happen IF ...

Read More

Comment

John Schaefer, Radio Host ... and Guitarist

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I first picked up the guitar when I was 12. Unfortunately, I picked it up left-handed. Unable to figure out how to follow the guitar lessons on public tv (we couldn’t afford real lessons), I had to let the instrument go. But I always wanted to play, and when I ...

Read More

Comment