Ringo Starr: Vinyl vs CDs, The Beatles, and Producing His New Album

January 5, 2010

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr sits down for a chat

As mentioned previously, my LP33.tv colleagues and I got to meet and interview Ringo Starr last month.  And, as promised, here is the complete interview:


LP33.tv is also offering the chance to win a pair of drumsticks autographed by Ringo Starr.  You can enter to win here: http://www.lp33.tv/ringostarrgiveaway

My Afternoon With Ringo Starr

December 2, 2009
Grammy Museum, Los Angeles
For LP33.tv

Ringo Starr Laughing

Soon, we were all laughing

I definitely feel blessed every day; some days more than others. Yesterday was one of the more-blessed days.  In fact, spending the afternoon with Ringo Starr goes down as one of the highlights of my life so far.

We met Starr at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles for an interview as part of a larger campaign LP33.tv is doing to support the release of his new album, Y Not.  As soon as the video interview piece is edited, I’ll post it here.

I wasn’t nervous to meet Starr at all. . . until he arrived.  I’ve spent time with some of the biggest musicians in the world.  I’ve been to recording sessions in their home studios and have had dinner with them in their second homes, but it doesn’t get bigger than The Beatles, period.  And while I have seen Paul McCartney perform live on several occasions, I’d yet to meet one of The Beatles.  That fact didn’t really hit me until Ringo walked through the door.

Ringo Starr

Starr sitting down with LP33.tv

He’s exceptionally charming, clever, and funny.  He has that dry, intelligent sense of humor that could cause you to miss the joke if you’re not paying close attention.  That’s my kind of humor.  In fact, the most challenging part of the video shoot was to not-laugh out loud while we were recording.  At one point, Starr said something so funny that we couldn’t hold it in any longer, and we all burst into laughter.

Ringo Starr

An animated conversation

We talked about his forthcoming album, new collaborations, The Beatles Rock Band, and something he wishes he’d never said. That’s all I can tell you about what happened. . . for now.  The rest will be revealed by LP33.tv soon.

That said, I can tell you what didn’t happen.  I didn’t tell Starr that The Beatles is the only band I listened to during my adolescence that didn’t give my parents a headache.  I didn’t tell Starr that, instead of those cheesy baby tunes albums most parents play for their kids, my aunt and uncle solely played The Beatles for my three cousins when they were growing up.  I didn’t mention that, due to this early Beatles immersion, my little cousin named her first dog (a large German Shepherd) Ringo.  I didn’t challenge him to a game of The Beatles Rock Band although I would have liked to.

Although our time together was brief, a lot more happened than didn’t happen. You can watch a little teaser from LP33.tv here.

One eskimO – What Do They Have In Common With The Strokes?

September 24, 2009
LP33.tv Studios

One eskimO at LP33.tv

One eskimO at LP33.tv

Last night I posted a review of One eskimO’s live performance at The Hotel Cafe.  I thought they were great and really wanted to share some video with you so you could see for yourself.  Instead, I adhered to The Hotel Cafe’s no-filming policy and simply sat back happily and enjoyed the music.  You can read the review and see a few pictures here.

Luckily, the guys who make up One eskimO – Kristian Leontiou, Pete Rinaldi, Adam Falukner and Jamie Sefton – came to LP33.tv today for an interview and acoustic performance.

Here’s some video of One eskimO playing “Amazing”.  Keep in mind, this is B-roll, shot by me (amateur), while staying out of the way of the real crew and dodging equipment.  Once the final LP33.tv cut of this video is done, I’ll post it here as well.

“Amazing” Live Acoustic Take 1:

“Amazing” Live Acoustic Take 2:

Kristian and Pete tell LP33.tv about One eskimO

Kristian and Pete tell LP33.tv about One eskimO

After One eskimO amazed the LP33.tv staff and crew with their performance, we moved outside for an interview.  Pete and Kristian talked about their animated movie, touring, writing songs, and some plans for the future.  When the interview video piece is edited, I’ll post it here as well. As soon as the interview was over each of the guys made a point of going around to everybody they worked with on the LP33.tv team and thanking them.

It's all about the sound

It's all about the sound

I spoke with Kristian and Pete for a bit after the interview, specifically about how good their sound was during the Hotel Cafe show last night.  They told me they found their current sound guy approximately 6 months ago.  They laughed as Pete explained, “You know, usually people will come up to you and say, ‘I love your music.  I love your band.’ They’re always talking about the band. But after we play a live show everybody comes up and says, ‘Man! The sound was amazing!’ and everybody’s talking about our sound guy. He’s really become the 5th member of the band.  We love him.”

Then, they began joking(ish) that they’re a challenging band to tour manage.  They did show up on time, were extremely professional and sincere. . . “You seem like you’d be easy enough to work with,” I offered.

“Yes, it looks that way,” Kristian began, “but we have a tendency to just wander off, without our phones, and not tell anybody where we’re going.  Our tour manager is always hoping we turn up before we need to be somewhere. And we do. . . every time.”

I was immediately reminded of when The Strokes first toured the U.S. before Is This It was released.  They played a show at The Troubadour which I attended.  After the show, I was sitting upstairs, having a drink and talking to a pretty good-looking guy for a while.  The Strokes were runnin’ around, doin’ their thing, “relaxing” after the show.  Suddenly, the entire band came over and dog-piled us.  It turns out the guy I was talking to went to prep school with the band and was one of their closest friends.

“C’mon, let’s go back to the hotel and have another party,” Albert exclaimed.

“Bring her!” Fabrizio said, pointing at me.

All the guys introduced themselves and then Albert inquired, “Hey – do you have a car here?” I told him I did and he asked if we could take my car back to the hotel and if he could drive it.  “I love driving and I’ve been stuck on a tour bus for months.”

So, I walk out of The Troubadour with my friend Brigitte, the pretty good-looking guy, and 3 of The Strokes.  As we make our way down Santa Monica boulevard to my car, we pass by the alley where the band’s tour bus was parked.  From deep in the alley I hear their poor tour manager yell, “HEY! Wait! Where are you guys going??? The bus is over here!!!”

“It’s cool!” Albert replied as he pointed at me, “We’re going with her!”

“Yeah, don’t worry about us.  We know where we’re going!” Fabrizio added.

“WHERE are you going?” the tour manager pleaded for information.

“See you later” all the guys replied in unison.

As we walked away I heard the tour manager’s voice in the distance, “Wait! Where’s Julian. . .?”

When Kristian told me that they too wander off, I immediately recalled that moment with The Strokes.  I didn’t share that story with Kristian, but he must have sensed what was going through my head because he quickly added, “I mean. . . we don’t get into any kind of trouble or anything. . . we just disappear. . .”

And with that, the band disappeared.

But if they make their way to your town, be sure to check them out (and tell them how good the sound is).

Here are some pictures from the shoot today:





interview pete

Band of Skulls: Death by Diamonds and Pearls

The El Rey, Los Angeles
September 1, 2009

This one’s gonna be quick because I’m in a hurry…

Death by Diamonds and Pearls

Death by Diamonds and Pearls

I love Band of Skulls. I first met them during an acoustic performance and interview session at LP33.tv in July. They’ve actually been together for several years, morphing and evolving from one band into another until they arrived as Band of Skulls.  Their name can be deceiving which is part of the “joke” they say.  All 3 musicians contribute to the writing process which sometimes leaves Russell singing lyrics Emma wrote, from a woman’s perspective.  Similarly, Emma may find herself singing about things written from a man’s perspective.  The moral of the story – listen to the lyrics and take notice of who’s singing them.  Russell and Emma switch off the lead on vocals, often at interesting lyrical moments.

The second time I saw Band of Skulls was at The Hotel Cafe.  After witnessing an acoustic set at LP33.tv, and knowing that shows at The Hotel Cafe are often acoustic, I just assumed the band would be playing “unplugged”.  Wrong. Thankfully, I was very, very wrong. Band of Skulls rocked a full electric show and played Hotel Cafe as if they were playing a much larger venue. I liked them when I first met them, but I fell in love with them at The Hotel Cafe.

Then, last night they played The El Rey, opening up for The Duke Spirit.  The show was great and it was extremely well-attended for an “opening act”.  The place was packed and the venue seemed to relax on their “no standing outside the taped lines” policy, so people were everywhere. They played a very short set (perhaps 25 minutes), but it was solid as usual. When they finished and the curtain closed the crowd tried to demand an encore and kept cheering for several minutes, until they were certain the band wasn’t going to appear again.  The last time I saw this happen for an opener was when Joseph Arthur opened for David Gray eight or so years ago.

Here’s some video from last night’s show:

Meiko and Frank Black?!

Not together of course.

Meiko performing at LP33.tv

Meiko performing at LP33.tv

Tuesday kicked off with an interview and live acoustic performance from Meiko at LP33.tv. After exchanging information about some of the restaurants we frequent in LA, Meiko, one of my favorite musicians from The Hotel Cafe family, chatted with LP33.tv about overcoming stage fright, her musical inspirations and writing process, and getting ready to record her next album.  She then performed “Boys with Girlfriends” and her rendition of “Super Freak.”  After Meiko sang “Boys With Girlfriends,” one member of the LP33.tv  team was overheard saying, “that gave me chills!” A little close to home, eh?

Black Francis performing at The Mint LA

Black Francis performing at The Mint LA

Later that night, I headed to The Mint to see Black Francis (aka Frank Black) perform. That was cool for several reasons.  For one, he’s Frank Black.  It was a nice surprise (for me anyway) to hear him chat between songs.  I’ve seen The Pixies and Frank Black perform previously and I don’t remember him being quite so chatty… or perhaps I wasn’t paying close enough attention before. Anyway, he talked between songs and he was funny, which is important because otherwise I would have wished he didn’t talk between songs.  (Remember when Flaming Lips played Coachella and rambled on about politics through 3/4 of their set?! All I can recall is that Wayne Coyne came out in that bubble, played 2-3 songs and then talked for an hour.  Such a disappointment.  And yet, I’m still going to see them at The Greek Monday night).

Frank Black... on and off stage (one of the look-a-likes)

Frank Black... on and off stage (one of the look-a-likes)

Anyway, back to Black Francis.  He played a nice mix of  some old Pixies favorites along with his solo stuff.  It’s a good thing I was sober-ish or it could have been a very confusing show – there were at least 3 Frank Black look-a-likes in the audience.

Meiko performing “Boys With Girlfriends” at LP33.tv. Just a teaser, the Meiko feature is being edited: