#TBT time! Having met up with Tom Morello at last week’s May Day rally, this Throwback Thursday post is in honor of “The Nightwatchman.” This interview was originally published in the July 2011 AFM Local 47 Overture.
UNION TOWN EP:
Tom Morello – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
Carl Restivo – bass, backing vocals
Eric Gardner – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Chris Joyner – piano, keyboards, backing vocals
Ed Roth – organ
Tom Morello is as well known for his heavy guitar riffs with Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club and his solo acoustic act The Nightwatchman as he is for fervent political activism. Co-founder of the political group Axis of Justice, whose declared purpose is “to bring together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice together,” Morello has championed causes ranging from immigration reform and ending war to abolishing torture and the death penalty. Inspired by the labor struggles in Wisconsin, his “Union Town” EP aims to invigorate listeners to stand up, get active and fight for the rights of workers, with 100% of proceeds from record sales going directly toward this cause. This interview by Linda A. Rapka. Continue reading →
On the heals of two new Emmy nominations for his music for “House of Cards,” Jeff Beal talks about composing for the hit Los Angeles-scored series
Beautifully underscoring the dramatic intrigue of Netflix series “House of Cards,” Jeff Beal’s darkly atmospheric score just garnered two more Emmy nominations. This marks the composer’s third Emmy nod for the show, and 13th altogether.
To date, Beal has won three times, including for the 2007 TNT miniseries “Nightmares & Dreamscapes” and USA Network’s detective series “Monk” in 2003, which were also scored here with our wonderful Los Angeles musicians.
Recorded at his home studio, music for “House of Cards” features more than a dozen of L.A.’s premiere string musicians. Beal spoke with Linda A. Rapka from his home studio about composing for the hit series.
Congratulations on your recent Emmy nominations for “House of Cards”! For both seasons, you’ve recorded in your home studio with Los Angeles musicians.
“They’re fantastic. I have a room in my studio where I do a lot of live recording. With the tight schedules and turnaround times these days being what they are, I love being able to call on the best players in the world and have them available at the drop of a hat. It’s a luxury to work with them. They know the kind of stuff I write, and over the years we have developed a shorthand with each other. It’s nice not having to over-explain to musicians your approach to making music; here a lot of that is sort of a given.”
Read the full interview at listen-la.com
Big Jay McNeely made some of the biggest waves on the 1940s R&B scene with his screaming tenor sax and still reigns supreme
His mighty tenor sax squawking and bleating with wild abandon, Cecil “Big Jay” McNeely blew up a torrid R&B tornado from every conceivable position — on his knees, on his back, being wheeled down the street on an auto mechanic’s “creeper” like a modern-day pied piper. As one of the titans who made tenor sax the solo instrument of choice during rock’s primordial era in the late 1940s, McNeely could peel the paper right off the walls with his sheets of squealing, honking horn riffs.
Big Jay had been retired from full-time music for 20 years, but in 1983 he returned to performing and hasn’t looked back. He is still tearing it up at venues around the world and knows how to delight and entertain an audience of any size, from small clubs to stadium crowds. He speaks here with Linda A. Rapka about his incredible musical career.
You became known as “the king of the honkers” as much for your skill on your instrument as for your flamboyant stage presence.
“I first started playing in Clarksville, Tennessee, a small little country town down south. People didn’t respond to our music. After intermission I was trying to figure out what I could do, so I got on my knees and laid on the floor. The crowd went wild. After that I said lemme try this again. I laid down anywhere I could get the suit clean the next day. When I got to L.A. a couple sax players started copying my act.” Continue reading →
Clausen reflects on 25 years making music for TV’s favorite dysfunctional cartoon family
When “The Simpsons” first aired in 1989, no one expected it to become the longest-running situation comedy ever on TV — especially not composer Alf Clausen, who almost didn’t take the job. Clausen, who this year celebrates 25 years with the show, was initially more interested in composing for dramas and repeatedly turned down requests from Fox producers and show creator Matt Groening to compose for the show. After much cajoling, he signed on with “The Simpsons,” starting off with “Treehouse of Horror,” the third episode of season two, in 1990. He’s been with the yellow-skinned dysfunctional family ever since, and to date has scored 534 of the 550 episodes, receiving two Emmy awards and 21 additional nominations for his work on the show along the way. Clausen speaks here with Linda A. Rapka about spending the past quarter century with “The Simpsons.”
Your “Simpsons” music was just performed the TV Academy’s Score! concert. What was it like to hear it live?
“I thought it was great, it was so inspirational. I know the crowd really enjoyed it too. The orchestra played it beautifully.”
I love that you chose “Stonecutters Song” from “Homer the Great” – a personal favorite of mine. Whose idea was it to change the lyric from “Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star” to “Kim Kardashian”?
“And ‘Oscar’ to ‘Emmy.’ That was producer Mark Watters’ doing. It was really funny.” Continue reading →