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"Locomotive/Brilliant Corn" | Miles Okazaki

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 7:48pm

Miles Okazaki is the first artist to record all of Thelonious Monk's music on a solo instrument. In this concert he will be presenting selections from his 2018 album "WORK," a five-hour performance of the complete compositions of Thelonious Monk for solo guitar, praised by critic Nate Chinen as “an act of immersive scholarship and exhaustive scope. . . a singular achievement,” and selected by the New York Times as one of the best albums of 2018, a “monumental statement of devotion.”

Check out the Pulp interview with Miles Okazaki. 

Okazaki has released four albums of original compositions over the last 12 years; he has taught guitar and rhythmic theory at the University of Michigan for five years.

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Becoming American | "Muslim Cool: Race Religion and Hip Hop in the United States" with Dr. Su'ad Abdul Khabeer

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 2:56pm

Su'ad Abdul Khabeer is a scholar-artist-activist who uses anthropology and performance to explore the intersections of race and popular culture.  

Su'ad is currently an associate professor of American Culture and Arab and Muslim American Studies at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Princeton University and is a graduate from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and completed the Islamic Studies diploma program of the Institute at Abu Nour University (Damascus).

Her latest work, Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States (NYU Press 2016), is an ethnography on Islam and hip hop that examines how intersecting ideas of Muslimness and Blackness challenge and reproduce the meanings of race in the US. 

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for March 2019: Martin Bandyke interviews Thomas Brothers, author of Help: The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration.

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 3:32pm

The Beatles and Duke Ellington’s Orchestra stand as the two greatest examples of collaboration in music history. Ellington’s forte was not melody―his key partners were not lyricists but his fellow musicians. His strength was in arranging, in elevating the role of a featured soloist, in selecting titles: in packaging compositions. He was also very good at taking credit when the credit wasn’t solely his, as in the case of Mood Indigo, though he was ultimately responsible for the orchestration of what Duke University musicologist Thomas Brothers calls "one of his finest achievements." If Ellington was often reluctant to publicly acknowledge how essential collaboration was to the Ellington sound, the relationship between Lennon and McCartney was fluid from the start. Lennon and McCartney "wrote for each other as primary audience." Lennon’s preference for simpler music meant that it begged for enhancement and McCartney was only too happy to oblige, and while McCartney expanded the Beatles’ musical range, Lennon did "the same thing with lyrics."

Through his fascinating examination of these two musical legends, Brothers delivers a portrait of the creative process at work, demonstrating that the cooperative method at the foundation of these two artist-groups was the primary reason for their unmatched musical success. While clarifying the historical record of who wrote what, with whom, and how, Brothers brings the past to life with a lifetime of musical knowledge that reverberates through every page, and analyses of songs from Lennon and McCartney’s Strawberry Fields Forever to Billy Strayhorn’s Chelsea Bridge.

Help! describes in rich detail the music and mastery of two cultural leaders whose popularity has never dimmed, and the process of collaboration that allowed them to achieve an artistic vision greater than the sum of their parts.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for February 2019: Martin Bandyke interviews Chris Stamey, author of A Spy in the House of Loud: New York Songs and Stories.

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 2:20pm

Popular music was in a creative upheaval in the late 1970s. As the singer-songwriter and producer Chris Stamey remembers, “The old guard had become bloated, cartoonish, and widely co-opted by a search for maximum corporate profits, and we wanted none of it.” In A Spy in the House of Loud, he takes us back to the auteur explosion happening in New York clubs such as the Bowery’s CBGB as Television, Talking Heads, R.E.M., and other innovative bands were rewriting the rules. Just twenty-two years old and newly arrived from North Carolina, Stamey immersed himself in the action, playing a year with Alex Chilton before forming the dB’s and recording the albums Stands for deciBels and Repercussion, which still have an enthusiastic following.

A Spy in the House of Loud vividly captures the energy that drove the music scene as arena rock gave way to punk and other new streams of electric music. Stamey tells engrossing backstories about creating in the recording studio, describing both the inspiration and the harmonic decisions behind many of his compositions, as well as providing insights into other people’s music and the process of songwriting. Photos, mixer-channel and track assignment notes, and other inside-the-studio materials illustrate the stories. Revealing another side of the CBGB era, which has been stereotyped as punk rock, safety pins, and provocation, A Spy in the House of Loud portrays a southern artist’s coming-of-age in New York’s frontier abandon as he searches for new ways to break the rules and make some noise.

Martin’s interview with Chris Stamey was recorded on August 29, 2018.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for November 2018: Martin Bandyke interviews Jorma Kaukonen, author of Been So Long: My Life and Music.

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 1:47pm

 

From the man who made a name for himself as a founding member and lead guitarist of Jefferson Airplane comes a memoir that offers a rare glimpse into the heart and soul of a musical genius―and a vivid journey through the psychedelic era in America.

“Music is the reward for being alive,” writes Jorma Kaukonen in this candid and emotional account of his life and work. “It stirs memory in a singular way that is unmatched.” In a career that has already spanned a half century―one that has earned him induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors―Jorma is best known for his legendary bands Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna. But before he won worldwide recognition he was just a young man with a passion and a dream.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for October 2018: Martin Bandyke interviews Wayne Kramer, author of The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities.

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 12:49pm

The Hard Stuff is the first memoir by Wayne Kramer, legendary guitarist and cofounder of quintessential Detroit proto-punk legends the MC5.

In January 1969, before the world heard a note of their music, the MC5 was on the cover of Rolling Stone. The missing link between free jazz and punk rock, they were raw, primal, and, when things were clicking, absolutely unstoppable.

The MC5 was a reflection of the times: exciting, sexy, violent, chaotic, and out of control, all but assuring their time in the spotlight would be short-lived. They toured the country, played with music legends, and had a rabid following, their music acting as the soundtrack to the blue collar youth movement springing up across the nation. Kramer wanted to redefine what a rock 'n' roll group was capable of, and there was power in reaching for that, but it was also a recipe for disaster, both personally and professionally. The band recorded three major label albums but, by 1972, it was all over.

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An Afternoon with Ninja Brian

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 12:39am

Join musician, comedian, and theoretical physicist Brian Wecht for an informal interview followed by a meet & greet / signing.

After spending many years as an academic working on string theory and particle physics, including a year as a postdoc at U-M, Brian left a faculty job at Queen Mary University of London to become a full-time musician and YouTuber. Brian’s comedy bands Ninja Sex Party (song topics: unicorns, dinosaurs, sex), and Starbomb (song topics: video games, nerd culture, farting), and the associated gaming channel Game Grumps (song topics: none), have garnered an audience of millions, toured around the world, and been counted among the Top Ten Sex Artists in Australia by Spotify.

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Author Event: Dessa

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 12:38am

A rapper, singer, essayist and proud member of the Doomtree hip-hop crew, Dessa discusses her new memoir, My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love in an interview with Detroit based storyteller Patricia Wheeler.

In her literary debut, Dessa gives a candid account of her life in the van as a hard-touring musician, her determination to beat long odds to make a name for herself, and her struggle to fall out of love with someone in her band. Raw and intimate, Dessa demonstrates just how far the mind can travel while the body is on the six-hour ride to the next show. 

Dessa has performed around the world at opera houses, rock clubs, and sometimes standing on barroom tables. Her imaginative writing and ferocious stage presence have been praised by NPR, Forbes, Billboard, the Chicago Tribune, and the LA Times.  As a musician, she’s landed on the Billboard Top 200 as a solo artist; a member of the Doomtree collective; and as a contributor to The Hamilton Mixtape. She’s been published by the New York Times Magazine, NPR, the Star TribuneMinnesota Monthly, literary journals across the country, and has written two short collections of poetry and essays. She splits her time between Manhattan, Minneapolis, and a tour van cruising at six miles per hour above the posted limit. 

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for September 2018: Martin Bandyke interviews Robert Hilburn, author of Paul Simon: The Life.

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 10:47am

For more than fifty years, Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most beloved artists in American pop music history. Songs like “The Sound of Silence,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and “Graceland” have moved beyond the sales charts and into our cultural consciousness. But Simon is a deeply private person who has resisted speaking to us outside of his music. He has said he will not write an autobiography or memoir, and he has refused to talk to previous biographers.

Finally, Simon has opened up—for more than one hundred hours of interviews—to Robert Hilburn, whose biography of Johnny Cash was named by Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times as one of her ten favorite books of 2013. The result is a landmark book that will take its place as the defining biography of one of America’s greatest artists.

Over the past three years, Hilburn has conducted in-depth interviews with scores of Paul Simon’s friends, family, colleagues, and others—including ex-wives Carrie Fisher and Peggy Harper, who spoke for the first time—and even penetrated the inner circle of Simon’s long-reclusive muse, Kathy Chitty. The result is a deeply human account of the challenges and sacrifices of a life in music at the highest level. In the process, Hilburn documents Simon’s search for artistry and his constant struggle to protect that artistry against distractions—fame, marriage, divorce, drugs, record company interference, rejection, and insecurity—that have derailed so many great pop figures.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for August 2018: Martin Bandyke interviews Robert Gordon, author of Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown.

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 11:38am

From the publisher of Memphis Rent Party - "The fabled city of Memphis has been essential to American music--home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, a soul music capital. We know the greatest hits, but celebrated author Robert Gordon takes us to the people and places history has yet to record. A Memphis native, he whiles away time in a crumbling duplex with blues legend Furry Lewis, stays up late with barrelhouse piano player Mose Vinson, and sips homemade whiskey at Junior Kimbrough's churning house parties. A passionate listener, he hears modern times deep in the grooves of old records by Lead Belly and Robert Johnson.

The interconnected profiles and stories in Memphis Rent Party convey more than a region. Like mint seeping into bourbon, Gordon gets into the wider world. He beholds the beauty of mistakes with producer Jim Dickinson (Replacements, Rolling Stones), charts the stars with Alex Chilton (Box Tops, Big Star), and mulls the tragedy of Jeff Buckley's fatal swim. Gordon's Memphis inspires Cat Power, attracts Townes Van Zandt, and finds James Carr always singing at the dark end of the street.

A rent party is when friends come together to hear music, dance, and help a pal through hard times; it's a celebration in the face of looming tragedy, an optimism when the wolf is at the door. Robert Gordon finds mystery in the mundane, inspiration in the bleakness, and revels in the individualism that connects these diverse encounters."