Search Results for: "from the desk of the ladybug transistor"

From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: ¡Tesoro!

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Mark Dzula: Last summer, I found a $1 record by a popular Venezuelan harpist Juan Vicente Torrealba and his Torrealberos. The dollar bin holds optimism and hope; although it’s frequently stuffed with leftovers and garbage, treasure is just as often hidden in plain sight. Why treasure Los Torrealberos and this record, Concierto En La Llanura, in particular? I have to admit bias. It is impossible for me not to love the pluck of a harp playing popular music, especially after bazillion-plus viewings of A Night At The Opera and other Marx Brothers films. Apparently, Harpo had a terrible time with rhythm—not so for Torrealba. Los Torrealberos knock around a jaunty pulse in their small combo, as if each instrument dances around the others. Bouncing between the strumming and maracas, the harp on this record sings with a charming lilt, colored with the perfectly imbalanced sound of strings ringing out against each other, slightly out of tune.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Umbrellas

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Eric Farber: I don’t believe in umbrellas. I understand that some people think they are better off carrying one around “just in case” it rains. They should consider this: It is a universally agreed-upon fact that 80% of the total time people spend carrying around umbrellas, it’s not raining. Well, I definitely don’t believe in burdening myself by partnering with a function-less object for an entire day. That’s just foolish. Of all the things you could carry around, the umbrella makes for a particularly dull companion. I think that if you’re going to carry something around that you don’t need, it ought to be a real conversation starter. Like maybe a large piece of driftwood with a hand-carved pun about rainbow trout. That’s something that I’d be into bringing with me everywhere I go “just in case.” But the umbrella is a nuisance without benefits. (To be clear, we’re talking about those black, nylon, spring-loaded projectiles that retract into themselves to form an inconvenient, dripping package evocative of a shriveled-up wet poodle. Full-sized umbrellas that can double as a cane can, by contrast, be quite useful multi-taskers, and they therefore receive a mulligan from this critique on umbrellas.)

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Garden State Theatre Organ Society President Michael Cipolletti

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Gary Olson speaks with Garden State Theatre Organ Society president Michael Cipolletti
Growing up the son of a minister, I have certainly clocked up a lot of hours in church. My father’s church in Flatbush, Brooklyn, had a pipe organ so large that you could walk inside it. I remember being taken by its variety of tone. The dynamic leap of its bench-shaking bass to the delicate high of chiming bells. This fascinating instrument certainly made an impression on a very young me. Over the past year or so I have gone to see several films at the Loew’s Jersey Theatre: a beautiful 1930s-era movie palace that is undergoing renovation. Before most showings, the audience is treated to the sounds of its mighty Robert Morton Theater Organ. They often feature a silent movie in the monthly program with full organ accompaniment. The Loew’s organ restoration and installation was completed in 2007 by the Garden State Theatre Organ Society. Very special thanks to GSTOS president Michael Cipolletti, who was kind of enough to answer a few questions about their mission. Please visit the Loew’s Jersey Theatre to hear and see the finest example or their work.

Olson: First, can you tell me a bit about the Garden State Theatre Organ Society?
Cipolletti: First, I presume you have visited the GSTOS website. It gives you a good picture of what we do, but here is a synopsis. GSTOS was founded in 1973 because we were watching the last remaining movie palaces and their pipe organs become warehouses or become demolished and lost to history. You will note that cities like Jersey City began to realize they were losing their centers of entertainment, and some movements grew to save the last of these theatres. At one time, there were three significant (3,000-4,000 seat) theatres at Journal Square. Today, only Loew’s remains. The Stanley Theatre is nearby, but it has become a house of worship.
New York City was one of the worst cities for demolition. As you know, NYC is very progressive and is quick to demolish and build new things. Even Radio City Music Hall was but days from closing and being turned into something dreadful. Some of the organs were salvaged and were moved to the Midwest and the West Coast, where they were utilized in cultural centers. At least a few are still in existence, but New York has suffered great loss. There are probably only four left in NYC, and only Radio City’s organ is even playable.
So, GSTOS managed to hang onto a few of these instruments. We still lost some because corporate owners didn’t want to be bothered by some preservationists. We’re lucky to have four instruments that we own and maintain. We maintain several others in cooperation with their owners. For example, we maintain the Moller pipe organ in the Patriots Theatrer in the War Memorial in Trenton. It’s a state owned building, and we have a cooperative contract to maintain the instrument. In exchange, we have use privileges.
GSTOS is not-for-profit, a 501.c.3 charitable corporation. None of us receives a salary. We volunteer our time, our expertise, our gasoline to get to and from the locations. Our fund raising is mostly from people who are generous, as ticket sales do not cover the cost of productions or concerts. We are fortunate in that New Jersey has Stevens Institute and other technical colleges. We also have Bell (ATT Labs), and as a result, we have numerous engineers living in this state. These people have taken the 85-year-old pipe organs and refitted them with solid-state relays and computer controls. The pipe work is still played exactly the same from the exact same consoles, but the brains have been upgraded to reliable and compact up-to-date electronics.
In addition to preserving and presenting pipe organs, we have become a social organization whose members partake cultural and recreational activities together. It has truly become a family network.
An interesting note is that, once upon a time in 1932, there was a Wurlitzer in the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Yes, 65 stories above the ground. It was used to play between orchestra sets and to entertain people when they were in the lounge. With the advent of high-fidelity sound, the organ was no longer needed and was sold off and made a few stops before we aquired it and have it nearly completed in a reinstallation in Rahway, N.J.

Tell me a bit about the restoration of the Robert Morton organ at Loew’s Jersey Theatre. It sounds magnificent. It must be a thrill to play one of these in a space truly designed for it.
The organ was purchased in a warehouse. It had been dismantled and stored for years in anticipation of installing it in the Chicago area. When we transported it back to New Jersey, it had no blueprint or directions. In addition to rebuilding it, the parts had to be distinguished and puzzled together before beginning the reinstallation process. The electronics control little magnets at the bottom of each pipe. The magnet opens a valve that looks like a miniature fireplace bellow. That opens another valve that allows the air to blow into the pipe. Every one of these had to be rebuilt no matter its apparent condition, as we wouldn’t want to put it all together and find it to be defective. Every valve had to be wired to the “relay” that is controlled from the organ console. A blower (turbine type) in the basement sends air through 15-inch tubes to the chambers where it branches out into the “chests” that the pipes sit on. Swell shades that are like venetian blinds open and close to allow the sound from the chamber to enter the auditorium. The organ always plays at full volume, so the loudness is controlled by the swell-shade openings. It has to play at full volume because we cannot lower the pressure or the pipes will play flat. This is the basic principal of organ design whether it is classical or theatre. Yes, it is a thrill to have the power and musical capacity under one’s control.

What are the basic differences between a Robert Morton and a Wurlitzer organ? Do you have a preference?
It is akin to the differences between a Cadillac and a Lincoln. They’re both quality built instruments. They both produce sound. They are both built generally the same. The difference is in the pipe design that produces some distinguishing sound characteristics. Once you have heard either of the organs with some frequency, you will be able to tell one from the other. Again, it is like listening to different guitars, violins, drums, etc. There were many local builders back in the beginning of the last century but only about six manufacturers that became nationally recognized and desired for their tonal quality

How are theatre organs powered? I seem to remember my father telling me that you start them up like a car and that there was a diesel engine somewhere in the church basement.
It is possible that some organs may have been driven by a diesel engine. Perhaps in some pre-electric church, an engine was used to turn the rotors of the turbine. I have not heard of it. I believe that I can say accurately that no theatre organ was ever powered by a diesel engine. The electric motors range from three horsepower to 40 horsepower, and they turn a shaft that is connected to a turbine that is very similar to a jet engine. There are several tiers of blades that compress the air more and more until it is blown up the tube and sent to the chambers where the pipes are located. In the case of very large organs, there might be more than one blower, as one alone could not maintain sufficient air pressure to power the whole instrument.

I imagine playing these large church and theatre organs is becoming a lost art. Is there some enthusiasm from younger players? Do you see the torch being passed to a new generation of organists?
Yes, you see how kids are so proficient on computers, much more than their parents and older folks? Well, we’ve found that sitting a youngster at an organ console is inspiring like the computer. These young people are fast, innovative and dynamic. They’ll likely never replace some of the great musicians, but they are introducing a new perspective of theatre-organ music. Some of them are absolutely excellent. Three universities, with cooperation of the American Theatre Organ Society, have started to introduce theatre-organ-playing curriculums in their music schools. To be a good theatre organist, one has to arrange the song on paper or in his head. Then he needs to register the organ and change the registrations as a conductor would bring in different instruments in an orchestra. Lastly, he has to play the music: melody, accompaniment and percussions. It takes a multi-talented musician, and it takes a lot to be good.

How much maintenance is involved? It must be an art unto itself. Is there often trouble finding parts for an 80-year-old organ?
These are mostly 85 years old. Like an old car, they do need attention. Because theatre organs have powerful tremolos (compared to classical organs), they vibrate themselves out of tune more frequently and require retouching fairly often to keep them in good tune. Dust and dirt can get picked up in the turbine’s intake and cause a cypher, which is something that prevents the valve from closing after the key is released. The pipe will keep on playing. That’s why maintenance is an ongoing process.

It’s hard to imagine now as we’ve become so accustomed to new technology, but when these large console organs were introduced, was there much protest from working musicians feeling threatened that the organs might replace the orchestra?
Yes, the theatre organ was first known as the “unit orchestra.” It meant one person playing the whole orchestra. Musicians did feel threatened because an orchestra could be replaced. The value of the unit orchestra was that only one person had to learn the score to a silent film. Often the film would arrive an a Friday afternoon and was to be premiered on a Friday evening. The orchestra got to see the score only a short time before the film was screened. Playing together was difficult. One person at the console could do it better.

Is there still any rivalry between orchestra musicians and organists?
There may have been rivalry in the past, but there isn’t any today. Most times orchestras welcome organists because we’re all in a struggle for survival and attendance. By joining forces, an orchestra can be enhanced and make a program more varied and interesting. Widor wrote the most famous Toccata for orchestra and organ, and most people would kill to be able to play it.

I live not far from the old Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, which is due for renovation soon. I hear the organ was dismantled in 1974. Do you have any idea where it may have wound up?
It is said that $70 million is needed to bring Loew’s Kings back to “like new” condition. I thought the funding was in place, but as the economy continues to falter, I am concerned that the project may be delayed or worse. It will take a lot of ticket sales to recoup $70 million. Originally, Robert Morton Company built five identical organs for theatres that were known as the Wonder Theatres. Loew’s Kings was one. The Paradise (Bronx), 175th St. Palace (now known as Rev. Ikes United Palace), the Valencia and, of course Loew’s Jersey were the five theatres. The Kings organ was dismantled and moved into storage at the Carnegie Hall cinema. There, the pipework disappeared without a trace. The console was salvaged and ended up near Chicago but controls different pipework. The Kings folks are trying to negotiate to have the console brought back to the theatre. When the organs fell into disuse, many of them became scrap metal. The wood was used to build who knows what. I also believe there are a few still stuck in converted buildings. There are people who have tried to track their trail because each organ did have an opus number. As each year passes, it becomes more vague.

I imagine there are more than a few “lost” organs out there stuck in old converted theatre or other spaces. Are there any legends you can share?
Most of them are about the organists, not the organs.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Mavis Staples’ Vocal Performance In “The Weight” From “The Last Waltz”

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Julia Rydholm: Her performance lifts the song from a mere collaborative jamboree-style tribute to An Important Message. Whenever Ms. Staples sings, she sounds at once totally heartfelt, out of breath, full of life, outraged, world weary and world wise. This musical moment is no exception. I know she’s lip-synching in The Last Waltz (it’s one of the pre-filmed segments), but heck, her staged fire is still convincing. And her hand claps at the end of the song really get to me. Such a subtle and spontaneous addition that suddenly boost this performance from a mere hats-off to a significant, caught-up-in-the-feeling moment. I never get tired of this performance.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Bosselman Travel Center, Big Springs, Nebraska

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Kyle Forester: Those of you who were reading the Ladybug Transistor website blog pretty carefully back in 2007 know that we once almost ran out of gas while going across North Dakota on I-90. Well, that almost happened to me again recently, until we got to this truck stop. What a relief. There were a few things about this place. For some reason, super unleaded was 10 cents cheaper than regular unleaded. I think it was the first time I’ve ever gotten “fancy gas.” Then I walked in, and Genesis’ “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” was playing inside, pretty loud, especially in the men’s room.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: The Old Croton Aqueduct

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Mark Dzula: The Old Croton Aqueduct did its job too well. It began to supply New York City with clean water in 1842, and the population surged. In about 40 years, a newer, bigger aqueduct had to be engineered. Currently, the old aqueduct’s underground tunnels lie defunct, but one can follow them aboveground on the Old Croton Trail, a good, long walk from Westchester to the Bronx. Walking 26 miles with friends is a pleasure. You can talk all day long, and you can walk quietly side by side as you observe the world around you. When do you get to spend such an uninterrupted stretch of time with anyone, especially in New York City? Inevitably, you will be different by the time you return home.

On the way, old ventilation towers of stone act as mile markers. When I walked the trail with friends, a cool breeze seeped out of a weir chamber in Sleepy Hollow, as if from the eerie John Bellairs novels I read as a kid. Luckily, the day we walked together was one of the few beautiful spring days we had this year (Mother’s Day, coincidentally). The trail’s sunny ramble resembled the idyllic short in Pineapple Express where the heroes gambol in the woods before they have to return home and face their lives.

Everyone has to return to some semblance of reality, and the city didn’t hesitate to welcome us back. Broken bottles and crumbling housing foiled the laughter and exuberant banda music that wafted from a backyard barbecue as the trail shifted into Yonkers. As we descended that Sunday evening, Yonkers was a ghost town. Most of the buildings and businesses seemed abandoned; splintered cutouts of animals lurched in the weeds of a vacant lot, a burlesque zoo.

We parted the trail as it grew dark to return to Manhattan and to the Indian Road Café in Inwood, our favorite ending after a daylong walk. Surely the journey outweighs the destination, but it helps when the destination promises something delicious. Already at dinner, we discussed possibilities for our next walk. The aqueduct tended the trail.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Bullwhips

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Eric Farber: I recently had the pleasure of cracking an authentic single-tailed leather bullwhip. A friend of mine is a bona fide whip and rope performer; he is an expert at lasso tricks and can confidently break a piece of hard spaghetti pasta—held tightly by the nervous lips of a volunteer from the audience—into neat, one-inch segments, just by a few precision cracks of his whip. During a performance that I happened to catch at a resort in Mexico not too long ago, he explained to the audience that the sound of a bullwhip does not come from the leather hitting itself or from the whip making contact with another object (as I had always assumed). Rather, the whip-master imparts just the right amount of energy through his gesture, that the leather end moves so fast as to actually break the sound barrier, causing a mini sonic boom. This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. With the flick of his wrist, the whip-master makes a piece of leather travel to speeds that we have only been able to achieve through mechanical technology in the past 60 years or so. That idea of having control over the force of a sonic boom—and using that force to break stuff—really appealed to me. I had to try it for myself. I was fortunate enough to meet up with my friend in Playa del Carmen a few days later for some drinks, where I convinced him to show me the ropes. As soon as I picked up the whip, I knew that I was going to crack it on the first try; it seemed just like playing the drums. And bam! As the sound was emitted, I felt a buzz travel back through the shaft of the whip toward my clutching fist. This offered a new perspective on the power of making music. I think I’m going to start playing the drums with bullwhips from now on.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Darren Hanlon And The Movies

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Gary Olson speaks with Darren Hanlon about Australian cinema, spaghetti-Westerns and Eli Wallach.

Olson: So we’re in the land of of all of the great spaghetti-Westerns. A lot of those Leone pictures were shot in Almería, Spain, just down south of here. Would you consider a visit to Eli Wallach‘s (Hanlon’s favorite actor) old stomping grounds?
Hanlon: Oh man, I’d love to. Can’t believe this is where it all went down. He was nearly killed a couple of times making The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, you know?
Really? Well I guess “safety officer” was a job yet to be invented back then. What happened?
The scene where he cuts his handcuffs on the train track. That was a real train. And no stunt doubles. Leone asked him to raise his head so the camera could see him better. If he had’ve, he would’ve been decapitated by the train step. And then there’s him being hand tied on a galloping horse. That was all real.
Gee. Eli still loves working. Do you reckon it’s been the key to his longevity?
That, and I’m guessing they grey coloured shake he always seems to be drinking when I visit him. Maybe it’s liquid life-force. He says the key to his long life is happiness. He has a framed personalised letter from Tennesse Williams that says something like, “Eli has the ability to piss everyone off, as he’s found the key to eternal happy.”
That’s sweet. He was a real Brooklyn boy and attended Erasmus Hall High School, which is near my place. Some other noted Erasmus alumni are Neil Diamond, Bobby Fischer, Marky Ramone, Mickey Spillane, Barbra Streisand and Mae West.
Wow. Is that why you’re such an overachiever? Is there a plaque there anywhere saying the Gary Olson Auditorium?
I actually attended Midwood, which is where Woody Allen went to high school, but it’s amazing to think of the variety of ghosts roaming the halls of Erasmus.
Yeah, they might all get together at night in the gymnasium and have parties, like in The Shining. Could you imagine Marky Ramone playing chess with Bobby Fischer?
Or Barbra Streisand dueting with Neil Diamond.
They’re not dead yet.
Either is Marky Ramone for that matter. We’re getting ahead of ourselves. I really love the video you made for “I Wish That I Was Beautiful For You.” It’s such a wonderful tribute to Ditmas Park and Marlborough Road. Eli is truly a man of the stage, and his performance is so expressive, even though the majority of the clip has no dialogue. We’re you nervous in your scene together?
Yeah, so nervous. And I can’t watch it now. Plus I look ill from being awake the whole night before with anxiety. He kept saying just pretend we’re having a conversation, and I said that’s what I’m trying to do! He was very complimentary.
I think it’s sweet. The Australian film industry seems to have gotten a slow start. There was not much commercially available in the USA until the ’70s with Picnic At Hanging Rock, etc. Why did it take so long to peak? Were you getting a lot of imports down there?
It was strong in the beginning. We’re even credited with having the world’s first feature: Ned Kelly. Not the Heath Ledger version. They’ve only salvaged a few minutes of it. More bits pop up now and again. I think someone found another canister from it at a dump a few years back. So yeah, the scene had a lull for a few years. But the ’70s were actually very productive. That’s when the whole Ozploitation thing was going on. And other films must have been shown somewhere in the U.S., as I know Tarantino was inspired by all of that stuff when he saw it. He loved Man From Hong Kong—Australian kung fu! They even fight on Ayers Rock.
Is it named after Kevin Ayers?
Very good mate.
But seriously, that film’s a bit racist right?
Well…
Moving on. Do you have a Hanging Rock theory of your own?
You mean what happened to the girls? Hmm. It could have been a clever tourism ploy. Good way of getting people to visit your geographical site: Stage a gothic mystery! The few times I’ve been there there’s always someone calling out “Miranda!”
I just read Errol Flynn is from Tasmania?!
Yes, I always think of him when I drive past Hobart Hospital where he was born.
In your opinion what’s the most essential Australian film and the most underrated?
I always say Wake In Fright. And that’s made by a Canadian. In 1971. I don’t think anyone has captured the outback condition before or since. The feeling of being imprisoned by open space. In fact I think it was called Outback in the U.S. or U.K. Australians hated it when it came out—too close to the bone for most. It’s challenging and pretty disturbing and looks so beautiful. And then the director went on to make First Blood and Weekend At Bernie’s!
Really?! You are a frequent houseguest of mine. My landlord refers to you as Russell Crowe. I imagine this happens a lot. Have you ever taken advantage of the resemblance?
Just recently on the U.S. tour, we were at a food co-op somewhere in Montana, and the lady serving us was going on about it, so I said I was his brother. She was like, “Really?” And I said, “Yeah, we don’t see him much. He lives in L.A. and N.Y. a lot. But he tries to come home for Christmas.”
Oh no
Shelley Short, my bandmate who I was traveling with, said the woman went mental when I walked out and and got her colleagues to go out to take a look at Russell Crowe’s brother.
I’m working on a screenplay for Cocktail 2: Down Under and would like to cast you in the Tom Cruise roll. What are your conditions for accepting?
That would be great. And we’d set it in the outback. A cocktail bar that only sells beer. Yeah! This is great. We send the Tom Cruise character to the land of Wake In Fright and see how long he survives with all his tiny umbrellas and fancy shaker tricks.
We’ve been on tour now for a week and are often sharing hotel rooms. Would you consider doing a new Odd Couple series with me?
Yeah, of course. Ernie And Bert The Movie. That means you’re the uptight one, I guess.
And you’re messy and wear a lot of stripey T-shirts. You are off to Krakow tomorrow. Are you planning to brush up on your Polish cinema?
I’m hoping Mr. Polanski will be there to greet me at the airport.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: The Bass Playing Of The Clientele’s James Hornsey

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Julia Rydholm: It’s difficult to get away with melodic bass lines and not sound like you are a frustrated lead guitarist. James Hornsey of the Clientele completely gets away with this and then some. Hornsey authors elegant, labyrinthine parts that articulately wander through range, scale and phrasings without ever losing a tether to a gentle, yet substantial, rhythmic texture. His lines simultaneously lift and anchor the songs, weaving within the melodies while conversing with the drums, creating their own counter melodies and, ultimately, sewing seamlessly into the dreamy texture that defines the sound of the Clientele.

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From The Desk Of The Ladybug Transistor: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ “Southern Accents” MTV Documentary

The Ladybug Transistor formed in Brooklyn in 1995, and frontman Gary Olson has been the band’s sole constant member. Clutching Stems (Merge) is the group’s seventh album and the first to be made following the 2007 asthma-related death of drummer San Fadyl. Since, the band’s lineup has solidified behind Olson, featuring Kyle Forester, Julia Rydholm, Mark Dzula, Eric Farber and Michael O’Neill. The Ladybug Transistor will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Olson.

Kyle Forester: I’m really fascinated by people who punch walls in anger. A friend of mine who’s a drummer and a schoolteacher couldn’t play for months because he did that over frustration in school. Well, Tom Petty did that during the making of Southern Accents. He talks about it in this MTV special from 1986, now available on Vimeo. Also, the Heartbreakers do a Beatles-style impromtu roof-jam thing, but in St. Petersburg, Fla. Most of it takes place in Gainseville, where the Ladybug Transistor had a memorable stop on the Florida leg (five shows; it was great!) of our tour with Starlight Mints. I think Southern Accents is Petty’s Further Adventures Of Charles Westover, but I probably just think that because of “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”

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