I've been working full time at Triple M since Sept. 2002, and in that time have met and interviewed a lot of rock and rollers, some famous, many up and coming.Â But one of my most anticipated (by me) was interviewing Trey Anastasio shortly after his first solo album was released. I had not done that many Studio M interviews at that time and was totally excited and nervous to meet and talk with him.
I knew Trey was a big Frank Zappa fan, so when he met me, held out his handÂ and said, " Hi, I'm Trey. Thanks for having me". I responded with: " This is a thrill for me only second to the time I made Frank Zappa laugh." I knew that would get his attention and I was right.
The start to the interview was delayed about 15 minutes, waiting for a client to show up for the Studio M, givingÂ Trey and me time to chat a bit. Of course he wanted to know all about my ZappaÂ encounter. When I told him that I had seen Zappa about 10 times, he was actually jealous and said so. It made me stop and think, that no matter how big a star you are and how many tens of thousands of people come to your shows, there is always someone who you admire who influences you.
Check out these candid shots of us:Â See.. we're talking!!Â ( am I a total dork or what? )
When the interview was over, he asks me to wait a second because he wanted to tell me something. ( Like I'd leave the room before he left).Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
So he comes to me with his CD " Rift"Â and tells me that he was excited that Frank Zappa had heard this album before he died. he was so cute in his admiration for Frank, and itÂ made me love Trey just a little Â bit moreÂ .Â
If you'd like to hear the Studio M, clickÂ here
When I think back on my almost 10 years at Triple M, so many thoughts and memories rush in, particularly some of the artists Â that I have met through Studio M. Getting up close and personal to people whose music I admire is a precious gift that I do not take for granted.
One of the things I like the most is meeting artists on their way up. The John Butler Trio came in shortly after their first album, and left me slacked jawed at how great they were. I remember North Mississippi Allstars coming in during the time we were playing their song âEyesâ. They were so stoned out they didn't even remember the lyrics!Â
Paolo Nutini stopped by Studio M two times. The first time, he was about 19 years old. He is sweet, soft spoken and talks in a very strong Scottish brogue. Half the time I didnât even understand what he was saying, but when he laughed I laughed. After we finished taping, we got to talking about his love of R & B and old school soul.Â I gave him a copy of James Hunterâs CD âPeople Gonna Talkâ, telling him that I thought he would like the album.Â The next year he comes back for another Studio M, and before we even started setting up, he told me how much he loved that James Hunter album. I had even forgotten I had given it to him, and was very impressed that he remembered.Â What a sweetie pie!Â Â Â Â Â Â
Compare that to Los Lonely Boys, whom I interviewed at least three times. Â Each time, they totally didn't remember being here and meeting me.
Warren Haynes made me choke up when he sang âSoulshineâ at my request. Dan Hick (and the Hot Licks) gave me a hard time even before we started and I LOVED it.
But my BIGGEST thrill was meeting Trey Anastasio. More on that tomorrow!
Earlier this week Nicole Atkins visited for a Live from Studio M session. She's another up and coming artist who has some interesting stories from the past. Atkins may not be a household name, but she has appeared on David Letterman's show and Conan O' Brien's shows as the musical guest. A lot of musicians will have a song featured in a commercial, but Atkins did a lot more when it came to this American Express commercial. It's about her.
Atkins was a great guest in Studio M because she not only played great music, but she had great stories too. She used to deliver singing telegrams and one job required her to dress as one of the Teletubbies. She wanted to get the part right so she watched the show and realized they don't sing they squeak. Atkins says she took the job seriously so she squeaked.
She also spent several years as a muralist, which is what she studied in school. She didn't paint the next Sistine Chapel. She did paint a lot of Italian restaurants and says she's really good at painting a grape vine on a wall. Atkins got to meet Stevie Nicks recently, and says the conversation was great. Although, it started rather awkward. She was so excited to meet Nicks that she said, "Hey man!" Atkins says she probably could have come up with a better opening statement, but ended up having a great conversation about singing.
Atkins has a rather unique sound. Imagine if Roy Orbison, Chris Isaak and filmmaker David Lynch created a musician. That's Atkins' sound. Here's a one song from her Studio M session:
August 14 and 15 2004 was both an exciting and sad day for Phish fans. That was to be the bands final farewell before they went on their separate ways. The band was as choked up as the tens of thousands of fans who walked for miles to get to Coventry VT. Keyboardist Page McConnell couldn't finish singing Wading in the Velvet Sea and needed the crowd to help sing the chorus.
I wasn't there and was not happy I missed it.Â
Fast forward a bit to November 2005. Trey's solo album Shine had come out and he was going on radio station visits to promote it. I think you may have some idea how excited I was to actually interview him!
Back then we hadn't built our beautiful Studio M performance area, so I entered the room where he had justÂ arrived.
He turns to me, holds out his hand to shake and says " Hi, I'm Trey. Thanks for having me". I responded with " This is a thrill for me second only to the time I made Frank Zappa laugh." I knew he was as big a Zappa fan as I was, so I was hoping that would pique his attention. Well, it certainly did and we spent about 15 minutes just talking about all theÂ Zappa concerts I had seen. He told me how lucky I was to have seen so many shows.
That comment got me to thinking; no matter who you are as a performer, there is always someone you admire and look up to.Â He was a terrific interview subject, as you might imagine, with the conversation including stories aboutÂ his grandmother as well asÂ Krishnamurti! You can hear the Studio M here, as well as this Sunday at 9 AM and 5 PM.
I enjoyed talking with him SO much, I don't even care what I look like in these photos! It was GABBY'S HAPPY DAY!!!
AS the year and decade draw to a close, I continue my tale of some of my favorite experiences in Studio M.
Probably the best time I had ( next to Trey, of course) was when Dan Hicks andÂ The Hot Licks came in to Studio M. Â I have been a fan of this clever man and his swinging sound since his early albums, so I was way excited to meet him. He arrives, a tall man, over 6 feetÂ , and I look up at him from my 5 foot frame and tell him I was SO excited to meet him. His response?" You'll get over it".Â It continued from there. I ask my first question, and he says to the audience, " What Gabby was trying to say is...." You get the picture. He was a total hoot and a half and I guess I gave it back as much as he dished it because when the interview was over, he reached over with a HUGE grin on his face and thanked me.
I have been a fan of Warren Haynes since I saw him play with the Allman Brothers, and then later with the Dead. I was very pleased he agreed to come in for the Studio M, and we had a very nice chat about music in general and what it is about the electric guitar that moves people so. ( His response...it mimics the human voice!) Before we started I asked him if he was going to sing my all-time favorite song of his " Soul Shine". He said he needed to change the tuning for the song. I suggested he do it last and we'd stop recording just before so he could re-tune. Well, let me tell you, I was so moved by the song, I almost started crying right then and there.
We end this look with a Studio M I did with a band from New Jersey, De Sol. When I first heard their song Karma, I LOVED it. I met them at an industry function later than year and hit it off with the whole band! We've stayed in touch over the years, and they made a special trip to Madison to do the interview with me. Here's a clip from the session:
Gabby heartsÂ Albie from DeSol
Probably the best part of my job is getting a chance to meet and interview some of my favorite artists. Here is a short list of some of my favorite Studio M's.
We, of course, have to start with Trey Anastasio. PhishÂ had broken upÂ at the time and his solo album had just been released. Of course, I was SO excitedto meet him.Â What a gentleman. I waked into the room and he says " Hi, I'm Trey, thanks for having me". I told him this was the second biggest thrill in my life, next to making Frank ZappaÂ laugh. I knew Trey was a Zappa fan, and that led to a nice long pre-interview chat about Frank. Heaven!
WhenÂ Paolo Nutini came by the first time, he was still about 19 years old. He is a totally sweetie pie, but he spoke in such a strong Scottish brogue it was hard to understand him. It didn't help that he kept his head down and spoke very softly. Half the time I didn't even understand what he was saying, but the music was great, so it didn't matter.Â During the interview he talked about how much he likesÂ soul music and I turned him onto Brit blue-eyed soul singerÂ James Hunter. The next time Paolo came through, the first thing he said to me was " I really like that James Hunter album you gave me". I had even forgotten I had given it to him, so I was impressed with his memory and graciousness.
James Hunter was here about a year ago to open for Susan Tedeschi at the Barrymore. It was a Saturday and we invited both Susan and James to come in for a Studio M. Jonathan was interviewing Susan, and James was to come in after that. Except he showed up at the same time. I was very excited to meet him because I am totally in love with his music. I was quite nervous when he arrived, but after hanging in the green room for 45 minutes telling jokes and generally fooling around, the interview felt like chatting with an old friend.
Young Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam came in by himself. At first I was not too pleased because he only plays with a few other artists and why was he coming alone to play acoustic when he can rock out? Well, I learned what shredding sounds like on an acoustic guitar and I give majorÂ props to him, You may not know, because we edited it out, but, I accidentally called him Danny in the intro,Â and now that is a private joke between us. How cool is that!
More tomorrow.. including Warren Haynes who almost made me cry,Â Dan HicksÂ who tried to give me a hard time, and a band I have stayed in touch with over the years, De Sol.
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