Today I tread on new earth. I had studiously avoided musician interviews because … well, isn’t that what the “real DJ’s” at WUSB are for? They do it all the time and often musician-to-musician magic happens. I made an exception this time because: 1) I had attended a Todd Snider concert at CPI's in Hampton Bays, LI in the late 90’s and have stayed a fan; 2) Da Capo Press had him in their catalog under “soon to be completed novel”; I requested a copy; 3) Read his very special stories of “life on the road."
I did some quick math on time zones. Yes, my interview segment usually begins at 1:30PM Eastern; but Todd is in Nashville. So … will this guy be in any shape (ESPECIALLY after reading his book!) for an interview at 12:30PM his time? Well, long story short, I had to “fill” for many minutes while they rousted this rascal from his slumbers. Good thing I had plenty of fine music to play – Todd Snider tunes of course!
He was great fun and told some of his stories from his recently released novel: “I Never Met A Story I Didn’t Like … Mostly True Tall Tales.” He was totally honest about his preference for addiction over “recovering” and likewise about the stereotypes of backstage women - “groupies”. He has met some real characters on the road and has cast a very wide net that keeps him linked to many of them.
Todd set off, as a very young man, focused on being a music biz “lifer” – he loves the travel, the hotels, the venues and most importantly, the stage time, the applause. He loves an audience that knows his stuff; the ones that share or at least understand his progressive politics and lifestyle.
As a WUSB Spring Radiothon gift to the station, Todd is sending us an autographed copy of his book. First 50-buck donation at WUSB.fm wins the book!
Hubris … a cultural tick? A byproduct of empire? The USA’s version is both in my opinion. Hubris is dangerous, as we learned with our slide into permanent war since invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. Hubris kills. But has there ever been an empire that acted any different? Comes with the territory (no pun intended).
“Everything is Broken” yesterday delved into hubris and then switched to a life saved by going against the cultural grain. Brad Willis, a.k.a. Bhava Ram was an international war correspondent for NBC News. He pushed thru a broken back for 7 long years; he was addicted to just about anything that could stop the pain. He was also diagnosed with Stage IV cancer (courtesy of the First Gulf War depleted uranium bombs). He told us his story and his climb out of the pit of despair and self-pity. He turned to Yoga and ancient healing arts like Aruveda. Now he teaches others how to heal themselves. He described his “Type A” personality and career arc; he resolved to work harder than anyone else. He soared high; he fell hard, broken. Check out his most recent book “Warrior Pose … a War Correspondent’s Memoir … How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life", at his website.
Friend, writer, and occasional collaborator/partner-in-crime, one J. David Gray once wrote: "None of us is anywhere close to where we imagined we'd be by now." Since David is a native of the USA Northeast and lives in California wine country; and I a native of Pasadena living in New York … well, I guess we both know a thing or two about that little rumination. And we are both smart enough to keep an entire continent between us ... most of the time.
We picked this clueless bloke to accompany David's poem "A Man In Full" for our book "Synergy" - still makes sense, don't you agree?
Jim Lynch's Blog: