Tom Waits pens touching letter to beloved, eccentric music producer, Hal Willner

Last week, we lost famed music impresario, Hal Willner, likely to COVID-19. Willner was a beloved figure throughout the music community, and in the wake of his death, there have been many touching tributes and people have been resurfacing all sorts of obscure wonders that demonstrate Willner's tremendous range and his talent for putting together unique and inspiring productions.

Yesterday, American Songwriter posted this letter that Tom Waits wrote in tribute to Willner. Read the rest

An interview with legendary bass player Carol Kaye

On Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me, Michael Shelly interviews the legendary bass player, Carol Kaye. Unless you're a hardcore music nerd, you may not know who Carol Kaye is. You need to fix that.

Carol Kaye is the bassist on thousands of 20th century recordings, from The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds to Nancy Sinatra's These Boots are Made for Walkin', to Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman. Oh, and she also played on the Mothers of Invention's Freak Out! and the Batman theme song. The list goes on and on and on.

Get this woman into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, stat!

PKM: When producers, like Brian Wilson with “Good Vibrations,” would do a single song in parts over many sessions was that frustrating or fun for you?

Carol Kaye: You know Brian was a nice young kid. We worked for a lot of those young guys back then and Brian had something special about him, and he grew with every date. You saw his talent getting better and better and better. He’d only do one song for a three-hour date and that does get boring after a while, but he would come in and he’d give you this handwritten, kind of funny sheet music with stems on the wrong side of the notes and sharps and flats everywhere. He would sit down at the piano and play the song, to kind of give us a feel for it, and then he’d go in the booth and take charge from there.

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Celebrating Captain Beefheart's birthday with a look at his masterpiece, Trout Mask Replica

Today is the birthday (1941) of the late Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, one of then most fascinating, confounding, and creative artists and musicians of the 20th century. Let's celebrate by taking a look at his 1969 record, Trout Mask Replica, widely regarded as a masterpiece of modern sound art.

And here's a bonus track. Imagine seeing this ad on late night television in 1970.

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Things I Miss: Modem handshake sounds

I loved trying to connect by voice. Never worked tho. Read the rest