Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Blarg No. 63: On Songwriting

Have I ever mentioned that it’s really hard to keep a weekly show going? I know I complain a lot, and I’m sorry for that, but not really, but I am. Also, I never go back and re-read these, because, well, I write them, and then I send them, and any sort of re-visitation seems as though it would only be inviting unnecessary self-criticism, because once they’re out there, what is there really for me to do?

Where was I? Ah, yes, complaining.

It is difficult, though, keeping a weekly show on the rails. Especially when you’re doing everything yourself, and I’m not even doing everything myself—Janell takes care of the weekly graphics, but I do take care of the booking, the recording, the editing, the post-production, the social media marketing (as inept as I am at it), and when you combine that with other regular recording obligations, work, life… It quickly becomes not only overwhelming, but all consuming.

Anybody out there want to book a well-received, if little known, arts and culture podcast? That would just be freaking awesome.

All of the above brings us to this week’s show. Our first clip show! Let’s call it a theme show, though, because I hate the whole clip show concept.

Talking to musicians—songwriters in particular—is one of my favorite things to do, and Limited Engagement has afforded me the opportunity to take to some amazing talented practitioners of the art. This show features thoughts, experiences, and wisdom on the subject of writing songs from from Tindal, Robyn Hitchcock, The Haymarket Squares, Jon Rauhouse, Betsy Ganz of The SunPunchers, Scotty Spenner, and Lou Barlow. Hear the full conversations on Limited Engagement, iTunes, and a plethora of podcast dispensaries.

Listen to LE 63 – On Songwriting

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 62: Dan Hull

Down the Collector’s Rabbitt Hole

I’m not merely an obsessive music collector, I’m a nerdy, obsessive music collector. Actually, full disclosure, I’m a nerdy, obsessive compulsive music collector. Every item among my thousands of CD’s and hundreds of records is meticulously organized—first by genre, then by artist, release type (album, ep, single, compilation…), and within these artists and release types, everything is chronological. I will purchase and then keep several copies of an album, because there is a slight difference in the track list, or one version contains a bonus that another lacks. Everything is catalogued, too. Originally, before the prevalence of cataloging apps, everything was organized in a spreadsheet. This morning, I stopped short of squealing with delight over being able to scan the bar code of a Japanese import 7″ Bruce Springsteen single (“I’m Goin’ Down” b/w “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart”) and have it pop up with cover photo, release notes, pricing details, and the social security number of the individual who manned the pressing machine at the plant (a little exaggeration, but you see what I’m getting at).

One thing I used to be, and find that I am not any longer, is a music snob. If I thought anything was too commercial, too mainstream, too middle of the road, it was open to derision. Then, I hit my thirties, and I found that it didn’t matter anymore. Good music is good music, and the above philosophy led to conflicts in my enjoyment of stuff I loved as a kid: Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and the News, John Mellencamp—at best qualifying something as a guilty pleasure—which is ridiculous. In the years since I have allowed myself to enjoy what I enjoy proudly and openly, and not judge a person (too) harshly when they like music I can’t stand, I’ve found that I enjoy music even more. You know what? “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is a great fucking song.

This topic was my conversational introduction to this week’s guest, someone I’ve seen around at events for years, but never really had a conversation with. Now that we’ve talked music, though, we might be best friends.

Dan Hull is the founder of The Storyline, a cornerstone of the Arizona storytelling community and a platform for live storytelling events hosted and produced by Hull. The most recent incarnation, The Storyline Slam, is a monthly competitive storytelling event which takes place at The Newton. To learn more, and even throw your name in the electronic hat for the next event, visit The Storyline website.

Best,
Jared

Listen to LE 62 – Dan Hull

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The Blarg 61: PHX Zine Fest

Up in the Air

On the road again—well, technically, in the air, I suppose. Nothing fun this time, off to Anaheim—a work thing at the Disneyland conference. Never has the happiest place on earth been a less apropos slogan. I haven’t been to Disneyland since 1987 or ’88. It was one of the last things I did with my dad, and I don’t recall being terribly happy then either. We went on Star Tours—that was cool.

I’m a much better flyer than I used to be, but I still hate doing it. I don’t know that I’ve really talked about it much here, so I apologize for any retread. The thing is, I don’t think people belong in airplanes. It’s just not natural being up there in a big metal tube. I understand that there are very scientific principles, sound mathematics, and fancy physics keeping me airborne, but I don’t trust it for a second. People belong on the ground.

Naturally, this conflicts with my love of science fiction and desire to be aboard the Enterprise (TOS or TNG only, thank you very much), or to shoot down TIE fighters in the Millennium Falcon, but what are you gonna do? How likely is any of that anyway? I’m thinking not so much.

I think this week’s show is pretty cool. As you may or may not know, we set up shop (read: a couple of mic stands, mics, and my handy ZOOM H4N) at this year’s PHX Zine Fest and made ourselves available to anyone who wanted to records their experience there—either as a vendor or an attendee. We got some really cool stories, and they are pieced together here for your listening pleasure.

To listen to the show and find links to projects for all of the guests, head here: LE 61 – PHX Zine Fest

Best,
Jared

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