Archive for the ‘Give Me Five.’ Category


I won’t need to say “I told you so.”

September 7, 2012

You can check out my chat with Edgar here, but the good man was also kind enough to indulge me by answering the 5 questions I’ve thrown out to a handful of artists already (and plan to throw out to more than a few more in the coming months … keep checking back).

Give Me Five.
Five Burning Questions with Edgar ‘Summertyme’ Jones

What’s your favorite Beatles song and why?
Probably “Strawberry Fields Forever” as it’s so lateral and off the wall on paper, but such a smooth pop song to the ears.

Who are three songwriters—living or dead—that you wish you could sit down and write a song with?
Hmm. Harold Arlen, Cole Porter and Jacques Brel. Someone who could help me out with ornamentation and beauty and lyrics. Lyrics especially with the latter two.

If you had to pick one song that you’ve written that you really think sums you up as a songwriter, what would that be?
I think that one’s yet to appear, but of the old probably “Do Doh Dontcha Doh” or “Oh Man That’s Some Shit.” Songs where I’ve essentially taken the aura of the past, but found an angle that wasn’t fully explored back then. It’s all about contributing to the lineage, man. Also, I guess, who else was gonna write them?

What’s the one song that you wish you could’ve written?
Brian Wilson’s  “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” (from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, 1966). Imagine how many millions of folk have listened to it and thought, “Yeah, that was wrote just for me.” Yep, I’d like some of that action.

Is there anything you’re listening to these days that you’re particularly digging?
Teddy Randazzo
‘s soul productions with Little Anthony, the Royalettes, etc. But the lushness of those has also made me revisit Charles Stepney‘s fine productions again—especially the Dells’ “Make Sure You Have Someone Who Loves You” and the Rotary Connection’s beautifully spooky “Didn’t Want To Have To Do It.” And Charly have done an excellent Brel 2-CD comp and I got myself a copy of the Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris stageplay soundtrack for those vital translations.


That’s all you need to know.

October 28, 2011

I have a hard time when people dismiss Hall & Oates. Yes, even people that I love. You can’t deny the fact Daryl & John crafted some of the finest pop songs of all time, and if cheesy videos and synthesizer-crazy ’80s production do their damndest to work against past glories, well … similar criticisms have been lobbed toward the Smiths and the Style Council and I’m still not having it.

Sure, I still find the video for “Jingle Bell Rock” so horribly ridiculous that it’s actually the best bet to get me a little angry during the holiday season, but if you don’t find yourself finding something to enjoy in the likes of “You Make My Dreams,” “Out of Touch,” “Rich Girl” or “Private Eyes,” well, brother, I don’t know what else I can say to you.

Many of those songs were in my head before I even became a music obsessive. Sitting in the carseat in the back of a blue Chevrolet station wagon (with vinyl seats that hurt like hell when you got in the car on sunny days) as my mother drove around Denver, Hall & Oates songs flooded out of the radio. I couldn’t appreciate lyrics, hooks or changes at that point — I just new that what I heard sounded nice. So whenever I hear those songs again, it’s sense-driven memory and I love it. It’s part of the reason I implored the guys in my freshman-year dorm at Marquette to see them in Milwaukee when they came through town in the fall of 2001. None of them ended up going with me, but I still went. At one point I turned around to look at the audience and realized that I was the youngest person there by a country mile. Me and 2,000 carbon copies of my mother. But it was a great show.

And I have to give Daryl credit for still burning creatively and giving people reason to pay attention to him. I’m not going to suppose that his latest album Laughing Down Crying will have the same commercial impact as a Big Bam Boom or H2O, but if you’re not tuning into “Live From Daryl’s House” to get a taste of some cool new bands, you still get to see him jam with some absolute legends.

After talking to me for an article I wrote for my day job, Daryl was nice enough to take an extra 2 minutes and indulge me for this blog’s series, “Give Me Five.”

Give Me Five.
Five Burning Questions with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates

What’s your favorite Beatles song and why?
Favorite Beatles song—I don’t know. I think “I Am the Walrus” maybe? I just think that it’s the most unique song they ever put on a record.

Who are three songwriters—living or dead—that you wish you could sit down and write a song with?
Uh, Marvin Gaye. I’ll just pick dead people. Let’s see. David Ruffin. Yeah, that’d work. I had my chance, but maybe that one hits a little too close to home. Maybe I won’t just pick dead people. I don’t know, it’s hard because I’ve written songs with so many people. I’ve sort of written songs with everybody I ever wanted to. I don’t know, maybe Smokey [Robinson]. It’d be interesting to write with Smokey. Interesting to write with [Bob] Dylan, although I did that too.

If you had to pick one song that you’ve written that you really think sums you up as a songwriter, what would that be?
I don’t know if I could pick one. But I don’t know, I’d go back in the day with sort of the early ones, like “Sara Smile” or “One on One.” I think those songs are beautiful.

What’s one song that you wish you could’ve written?
“What’s Going On.”

Is there anything you’re listening to these days that you’re particularly digging?
Well I’m digging all the bands that are on “Live at Daryl’s House.” There’s so much music right now, I can’t even pick one. I’m very, very into new bands. I think there’s so many people out there right now that are doing interesting things in spite of the way that—actually I think it’s encouraged by the way that the music business has gone. I think it spurs creativity and I think if you want to see who I like, just watch my show. I definitely like the way the music industry is now, because it’s back down to the artist. It’s not being run by the behemoth of the record companies.

Hall & Oates – One on One (From H2O, 1982)

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (From What’s Going On, 1971)


Had to cool me down to take another round.

April 15, 2011


I don’t remember the first time I heard “You Shook Me All Night Long.” I can’t even estimate the number of times I’ve heard it in my lifetime (let alone the times I heard it blaring from barroom speakers during my college years in Milwaukee). But I do remember the first time in high school that my old friend Brian recited the lyrics to me as if he was cluing me into some really great secret about how subversive the lyrics were. “C’mon Paul. ‘She told me to come, but I was already there.’ How great is that?” I also remember the laughter that eminated from him—half hysterical, half sinister—as he recited titles to me from the Back in Black album. “‘Givin’ the Dog a Bone!’ ‘Let Me Put My Love Into You!’ HAHAHAHA!”

More than a decade after Brian harrassed me into buying Back in Black at a time when I wanted to do no more than spend my days discussing the merits of the Kinks and Kula Shaker, I got the opportunity through my day job to spend time having a chat with the finely weathered voice of AC/DC for the past 31 years. The meat of our conversation will go into a magazine article later this year, but when one has the opportunity to have a chat with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, well, one must think of his music blog!

This will be the inductory piece for a new series on this blog called “Give Me Five,” in which I ask musicians for five minutes of their time and pose five questions that tap into their own musical appreciation. I’ve already done two such questionnaires as addendums to my interviews with Murry Hammond of the Old 97’s and Craig Reid of the Proclaimers. There will be more interviews on this site in the future, but if I can’t get a full interview for the site, I’ll always be gunning for another addition to the “Give Me Five” series.

AC/DC last year completed their tour for the Black Ice album, and Johnson is currently talking up his induction to the literary world with Rockers and Rollers: A Full Throttle Memoir. Johnson himself admits it’s simply a few scribbles he wrote down while waiting to add vocals to Black Ice. The book is an an appreciation of automobiles and a collection of tales told as if he was telling you stories down the pub, but it’s his little asides that really make it worthwhile. Example: “You see, I don’t understand Saabs. They’re a bit like U2: you know they’re good but you just don’t get it.”

The morning after a night out with Ron White, he’s kind enough to let us in on what he wishes he could’ve written and the surprising crew with whom he’d like to collaborate. And no, Jim Breuer is not included.

Give Me Five.
Five burning questions with Brian Johnson of AC/DC

What’s your favorite Beatles song and why?

Ah, oh that’s a toughie. That is a toughie. But I’m gonna have to say, oh, “In My Life.” I think that one. (Sings) “There are places I remember …” I don’t know why. I just love it when I hear it.

Who are three songwriters—living or dead—that you wish you could sit down and write a song with?
Oh, um, gosh darn it. Cole Porter. Unbelievable. Richard Rodgers. Brilliant. And Lennon and McCartney—I’m gonna put the two of them down, ‘cos I can never make me mind up about them, they’re brilliant. And I’m sure there’s lots of others, I just can’t think of them all.

If you had to pick one song that you’ve written that you think really sums you up as a songwriter, what would that be?
Oh, one that I’ve written? I still think, and for sentimental reasons ‘cos it was the first song I wrote with AC/DC was “Shook Me All Night Long.” And you can tell the car influence in it immediately, which is just the way it came out. It was the first song I wrote with the boys and I still enjoy the song today, you know? It’s timeless. Timeless song, there.

What’s the one song you wish you could’ve written?
“Low Rider” by War.
Have you ever covered that? That’d be interesting.
No, you know, there’s very few bands to copy War. I mean, you’ve gotta remember these guys were black guys and Hispanic guys in L.A. gettin’ together and just makin’ a sound like, God dammit! It’s just brilliant stuff.

Is there anything you’re listening to right now that you’re really digging?
Oh, I just mix everything up. At the minute, I’m just filling me head with Frankie Miller, and it’s an old album, but I just dug it up again and it’s just been in me car for the last month and I just rock on to it, you know?

A big thank you to Brian for letting me technically ask six and making us all ponder what a Porter/Johnson or Rodgers/Johnson tune might sound like. Methinks it would’ve given a nice charge to “The King & I” … or at least “Oklahoma!” No matter what Hammerstein’s objections may have been.

AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long (Buy it here.)

War – Low Rider (Buy it here.)