Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: Charlie Mars

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

CharlieMars

Schneider: I met Charlie Mars about 10 years ago when we did a tour together. We hardly spoke the entire tour, and then the day before it ended up, we had a chat and realized that we were both made from the same super-fucked-up bolt of cloth and have been good friends ever since. As a songwriter, Charlie continues to evolve, and his new record is a wonderful compliment to his last two incredible releases. I recently asked him a few questions for this post.

Where’d you come up with the idea for The Money?
Charlie Mars: The album title comes from the song “The Money,” which is about my search for some kind of happiness or serenity or whatever, and how that search has led me down some very wrong turns. As to the where … I came up with the idea in Jamaica after visiting a pot farm.

How often do you write songs? Do you have a daily routine?
I have a morning routine, which consists of coffee. I talk a walk outside. I play guitar and sing most every day. Sometimes I’m inspired to write. Sometimes I just dick around and play old stuff.

What do you think of the current state of the music business?
I think it’s hard, and if you write good songs, it’s less hard. If you write an incredible song, it’s even less hard than that. I don’t know much about the rest … or at least I can’t make rhyme or reason of it.

What’s your favorite place to play? Least favorite place to play?
My favorite place to stay is the Greenwich Hotel in NYC. Least favorite … I don’t really have a least favorite … Suckage is rampant.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened when you were performing?
An old man paid me to stop playing at a wedding once. That was embarrassing. He was right though. We weren’t really wedding music.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
I probably should. Read all the books that I buy. They get stacked up. Stop blaming other people for my stuff. I just made that one.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
My aunt (who can be a little out there) gave a cookbook to the entire family that had things like how to boil a hot-dog wiener. I liked that.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: Ron Padgett

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

RonPadgett

Schneider: I think that most people don’t give a shit about poetry for the same reason that outside of the hippie/stoner/sandwich-making community, nobody gives a shit about reggae music. ‘Cause most of it is pure crap. Then you have someone like Ron Padgett, who is at once deeply intelligent, scary, sad, wise and funny all in the same few sentences. He makes this stuff look effortless, the way all the greats do, but it’s not, otherwise everyone would be as good as he is. I recently asked him a few questions …

Your sense of humor comes through in most of your work. How important is it for your poems to have a punchline?
Ron Padgett: I hope my poems don’t have punchlines. Punchlines are for jokes.

How often do you write poetry? Do you have a set routine that you adhere to?
No schedule and no set routine, though I think it’s fine if someone else has them.

All of my favorite poets have translated other poets. How important do you feel that has been for you as a poet? Do you steal phrases from foreign poets because you know no one will be the wiser?
I like the challenge of translating. Also, translating is a way to read very closely. No, I don’t steal furtively. If I use someone else’s phrasing—and I don’t do that very often—it’s obvious. (Your placing those two questions back-to-back seems odd.)

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
Nary a one. I don’t pay much attention to the idea of a new year. To me January 1 is just the day after December 31.

Poem after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Bob Schneider: Christian Rex van Minnen

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge. Schneider will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

VanMinnen

Schneider: I like strange art, and I like people who have incredible technique. Christian Rex van Minnen (Instagram: @van_minnen) has both of those bases covered in spades. His work is at once scary, and beautiful, and laugh-out-loud funny—one of my favorite combos. I recently asked him a few questions about his work and his life.

You have a classical approach to your painting style. Did you study with a classically trained painter or go to a special school to learn this technique?
Christian Rex van Minnen: I learned the techniques of the old master’s, specifically, the Venetian Method, from books and a lot of trial and error.

How often do you paint? Do you have a daily routine?
I paint nine to five, Monday through Friday. I strive for balance in my life nowadays. It hasn’t always been that way. For many years, I worked a job, so my painting schedule was mostly evenings, late nights and weekends. It’s nice to have a normal schedule now, I get a lot more done.

I have a kid myself and often have parents and kids at my house. I always forget how strange and bizarre the art I have hanging is. Do you ever have get-togethers with other parents and wonder if they think you’re a weirdo because of your subject matter?
I have a lot of other artist’s work up, and a lot of it strange. Being that it’s Brooklyn, I think people are more acceptable of eccentric visions. I’m also so used to that “WTF is that?” reaction that it just doesn’t register anymore. I am curious how my son, who is 18 months old now, will react to my work once he gets older. One of his first words was “paintings,” which is awesome.

I know most artists listen to music when they work. Is that the case with you? Who are you listening to now when you paint?
I love music, maybe even more so than visual arts. I go through a lot of phases. The past couple of weeks, my favorite artists have been Shabazz Palaces, Chassol, Slayer, Antwon, Bruce Springsteen, James Blake, Arthur Russell’s World Of Echo. I also listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books. It all depends on the mood I’m trying to cultivate.

When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist? If you could be something else, what would you do?
I always was an artist. I chose it as a profession in about 2005-2006. I think that in my wildest dreams I would have loved to be a musician or singer or something like that. It’d be wonderful just to get it all out there all at once, all immediate.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
Striving for balance and perspective. To be less of an asshole.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
Warm wool socks, always a pure joy.

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Bob Schneider: Austin Limits

BobSchneider

Fourteen years removed from his major-label debut, Bob Schneider is still struggling to be heard. Does he care? You be the judge.

He claims it doesn’t bother him, but you can tell the Jack Johnson thing eats at him a little. Just a month after Johnson’s debut ambled its way into the waterlogged psyches of frat dudes everywhere, Bob Schneider’s Lonelyland was also released on Universal. Almost a decade and a half later, Johnson remains a top seller on the Universal roster. And Schneider, well …

“He got a hit and went on a trajectory that’s crazy, selling millions of records and playing stadiums—and I didn’t,” says Schneider from the back of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that’s home when he’s on the road. “For the past 10 years, I’ve been playing the same clubs and haven’t been able to break out of it … 85 percent of the gigs I play are in Texas. But it’s cool. I can do anything I want, and I make enough money to live comfortably. If I had the success of Jack Johnson, I’d have to do a lot of shit like this interview—which I never do anymore.”

It’s about an hour before a well-attended show at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. The performance will be loose, good-natured and ultimately a bit bizarre when the so-called “Philly All-Stars”—basically a guy, his wife and assorted friends—take the stage to serenade Schneider during an encore. “They showed up at (a Philly show) maybe eight or nine years ago,” he says. “They were dancing, and I pulled them onstage. They’ve been to every show since.”

So, here’s the deal: Schneider wasn’t raised on the Oahu’s North Shore; he’s never surfed Pipeline; and film school in Santa Barbara was never an option. Born in Ypsilanti, Mich., he was raised mostly in Germany, where his dad, an opera singer, struggled to eke out a career. He studied art for a while at the University of Texas at El Paso before settling in Austin, where he fronted punk-spiked groove outfit Joe Rockhea, and the sorta-similar mid-’90s band Ugly Americans.

There are similarities between Schneider and Johnson. The two share a rubbery, granular vocal delivery, rugged good looks, an ear for melodies that stick (for better or worse) and an acclivity for absurd song titles (Schneider: “Jingy,” “Capn Kirk,” “Penelope Cruz”; Johnson: “Bubble Toes,” “Banana Pancakes,” “Washing Dishes”). Both have kids. Schneider has a nine-year-old son from his first marriage, and he’s newly engaged. He once dated Sandra Bullock (prior to her disastrous run-in with Jesse James).

That relationship loosely coincided with the official launch of his solo career. At the Austin release party for Lonelyland, the men’s room was buzzing over numerous “Sandy sightings.” (I should know—I was there.) A clear-eyed Schneider, to his credit, refused to be consumed by the hype. Sober since 1995, he’d partied enough for two lifetimes by then. “It’s weird,” he recalls of that time. “It really doesn’t feel that much different now than it did then. It’s kind of like Groundhog Day. I’m still writing songs; I’m still putting out records; I’m still playing the same clubs and with a lot of the same guys—I’ve played with (bassist) Bruce (Hughes) for 20 years.”

Seven more proper solo albums have followed the promising Lonelyland. A good number are wildly inconsistent, and two (2011’s A Perfect Day and 2013’s Burden Of Proof) are pretty close to great. Most encouraging, for him and for us, is that Schneider, now 49, has made some of the most honest and sophisticated music of his career over the past few years. And his habit of larding his releases with throwaway tracks and goofball hokum has mostly gone by the wayside.

All that could change with his next project. For now, the plan is to release a series of EPs throughout 2015, with the first one coming this month. All will be limited editions, with cover art created by Schneider, who’s come a long way as painter in recent years.

“The thing that works best for me is to keep things really eclectic,” he says. “I just did a show in Austin where I played 12 hours, but with no bullshit. The set list was, like, 200 songs. It would’ve gone on for like six days if I’d played all of them. But then there would’ve been a couple days of some pretty mediocre tunes.”

The only album Schneider played in full: 2001’s Lonelyland.

Go figure.

—Hobart Rowland

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From The Desk Of Butch Walker: Finding A Cure For Pancreatic Cancer

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

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Walker: I know we’re ending this on a bit of a downer, but it needs to be done. It’s easy to roll through life, turning the other way if something tragic happening doesn’t affect you directly. But when it does, that is when the wake-up call usually hits. This is the case with cancer. It’s been in my periphery for years and years, and taken lives of many loved ones and relatives. My wife lost both of her parents to cancer not too long ago. Cancer has been getting worse and worse in the amount of diagnosed cases per year, and treatments for certain forms, like pancreatic, are not doing much good because it is too late and far too aggressive by the time someone finds out they have it. I lost my father more than a year ago. He was my best friend and biggest fan I have ever had. There had come a time when he sat me down to talk to me, with a quiver in his voice and tears in his eyes, about his declining health and that the outlook from doctors didn’t seem good. It was a combination of pulmonary fibrosis of the lungs, congestive heart failure and severe rhumatoid arthritis that was crippling my father and forcing him to breathe with an oxygen tube in his nose 24/7 for the rest of his days. He was such a hard-working man who couldn’t take these things lying down, so he stubbornly defied the doctors for five years later than they actually gave him to live. This, combined with some powerful, but questionable, drugs to help him deal might have been the thing that led to his end. He got pneumonia (again) and had to go into the hospital. I knew it wasn’t good. I flew home, and basically what the doctors found was aggressive pancreatic cancer and said he might have a day to live. If you’ve ever loved a parent or loved one and heard those words, then you know what it does to you. He passed with all of his family by his side, as peaceful as he could. I am starting The www.AutumnLeavesProject.org and plan to really raise some money, awareness and try to make a difference, through music and entertainment. I am so excited about this, and I am totally married to helping find a cure for this disease. It won’t be easy. I mean, it killed Steve Jobs, so it can kill anyone. More importantly, it killed my best friend. My dad.

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From The Desk Of Butch Walker: Cartersville, Ga.

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

Cartersville

Walker: This took a long time for me to admit, because I spent the last half of my first 18 years of life trying to get the fuck out of there. It was this quiet (boring), religious (also boring), mining town about 40 minutes north of Atlanta. My family moved there when I was about five, and I started grade school there. My dad got transferred for his job with AT&T (then called Southern Bell) to be closer to headquarters and also closer to his aging mother in Rome, Ga. There, I would learn to ride a bike, shoot guns, roller skate, take girls on dates to the roller-skating rink, form my first love for guitar, rock ‘n’ roll, and my first band behind our house in my parents arts-and-crafts store building. I would go to the high school football games with my elementary school buddies. We would eat at the 4 Way Diner or Ross’s Diner (both still there and consistently greasy and good) everyday at lunch time. I would get my very first job, working at the local music store called Strings And Things. I would skip school and drive to Atlanta to make out with my keyboard player in my band (she was three years older than me). And then, I would leave Cartersville. For good. the day after I graduated high school. I went straight to L.A., then moved to ATL for another 16 years. Then back to L.A. Then Nashville. All while going back, periodically for family gatherings and holidays to see the kind folks of my hometown. Days would go on, and my career would shift and change over the years, but it would settle into a pretty nice career as a touring artist and songwriter over the last half of my life. I remember my mom and dad always asking me, “Why won’t you ever play a show here in Cartersville?” I would always say, “Why the hell would I wanna do that? And who would wanna come see it?” Well, as a promise to my late father, I did a show in his honor, this past Thanksgiving. It was at the beautiful old Grand Theatre on the downtown square. I saw my first movies at that theatre when I was a wee lad, and over the years, it got restored to a beautiful playhouse theatre like it was back in the day. The show was special and emotional, and I am so glad that I finally got my head out of my ass and did it. Basically, it was like playing for all of my neighbors I grew up with and reminded me that, especially with the life of my father now taken, that it is precious. Never be too cool for your hometown. Or your parents. Ever. Because you’re not.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Butch Walker: “Boyhood”

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

Boyhood

Walker: This movie hit me right in the gut. As a parent of a seven-year-old boy, this was the coolest-yet-frightening movie to see about growing pains. Richard Linklater won my heart, way back when he did Dazed And Confused. Hell, I loved it so much that I somehow convinced my pal Matthew to put back on the “Wooderson” get-up from the film, and be in a music video of mine called “Synthesizers.” In his films, Linklater isn’t trying to throw a ton of visual stimulation or gratuitous action and violence into your face with them. He really just seems like a regular guy, who is drawing from his regular life experiences—that just so happen to relate to almost everyone. I mean, Dazed was not only the musical soundtrack to my youth when it came out, but I was that kid. I was the kid trying to fit in with the older cooler guys, while my older, protective sisters watched from afar to make sure I dint get too fucked up along the way. Boyhood is the same, but a tantric approach to film making. It’s the “slow and low” pot roast being cooked, if you will. Most directors, actors or even movie-goers wouldn’t have the patience to hear about a movie being made … that is going to take 12 fucking years to make. But Richard did it. And Ethan Hawke did it. And Patricia Arquette did it. The kids were pretty good, too, considering I don’t think they really wanted to be in it for some of the years that pass by in the film. Still, to see this kid start at my son’s age, learning to ride a bicycle, to finally walking out the door to go to college … it’ll leave a pain in your chest that you will never understand until you have one of your own. Thanks, Richard, for having the heart and patience to make this amazing film.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Butch Walker: My ’62 Gibson Hummingbird Acoustic Guitar

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

Guitar

Walker: This guitar has been with me through the thickest and the thin. It’s the only guitar I ended up with when a wildfire destroyed our home and recording studio, and everything in them, many years ago. I had probably close to 40 vintage guitars, drum kits, microphones and all of my master recordings of everything I have ever done. All gone. But my wife and son were with me in NYC for an acoustic show I was playing when we got the news from back in California. So the only guitar that survived was the one I had with me. My ’62 Gibson Hummingbird. I bought this guitar way back in the day, when I could barely afford it, and my buddy John Dannert in Spartanburg, S.C., had a music store there and a venue we would play all the time. He sold me this Hummingbird for 900 bucks, which was a deal. It didn’t even have a correct pick guard or tuners on it, but I didn’t care. It looked and played and sounded incredible. I wrote almost everything I have ever written on that guitar, toured the world several times with it, dropped it, broke it a hundred times, and glued it back together. It will not die. This is the Brokeback Mountain of acoustic guitars, and it will not quit me.

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From The Desk Of Butch Walker: My iPhone

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

iphone

Walker: I may come off as a hopeless romantic curmudgeon for “all things older and classic,” but I would be lying if I told you I didn’t love my iPhone. As far as any creation, it’s kinda killing everything out there, and Steve Jobs left our minds completely blown when he invented it. I mean, mine can actually open my garage doors, turn on my pool heater and lights from across town, play my music anywhere, file my lyrics, tune my guitars, take photos that rival the quality of my Canon and help me find my keys with the built-in flashlight. Oh, you know what is super weird?? It does emails and makes phone calls. So the next time you complain about your damn smart-phone, just remember, while you were getting high in college, Steve Jobs was making it possible for you to post a picture of your favorite weed strain on your goddamn IG account. From an airplane. Or a boat. Or a coffee shop with wifi. Fuck you. Steve Jobs lost the battle to cancer, but he won the war on technology.

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From The Desk Of Butch Walker: My Gun Collection

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on him.

Guns

Walker: OK, this is a touchy one for people. I may be one of the few “left wing” gun lovers out there. I’m not to be lumped into the lot of folks that sit around saying, “They’re trying to take away our guns!” No, buddy, the guns they wanna pull from your cold, dead hands are fucking AR15s or .50 calibers, etc. And to be honest, they can have those. I mean, do you really need one of those sitting on the porch of your home? I’d say those are a little overkill for home protection, and you clearly only want those to impress your friends. I collect mostly vintage revolvers, semi-auto pistols and shotguns. I don’t use them to hunt like I did with my dad growing up. I am more about using them for sport shooting, target, clays and self-protection. My dad and I grew up shooting, and he left me a great little collection of pieces, including the first gun he ever gave me that was his father’s (a double barrel, over/under Savage 22/.410 shotgun). I have some Beretta 12 and 20 gauge shotguns (Perennia SV10s), some Smith & Wesson pistols (.357 magnums and .45 Colt long, and a few old .380s, 9MM and 1911 semi-autos. To me, they are works of art. I agree that they’re dangerous. Obviously. But it’s more about the person with it. A car, motorcycle, knife or TIG welder can all kill you or someone next to you if you are an idiot with them. Just like firearms. But I will always strongly believe that the mind of a person is by far the most dangerous potential killer of all, and that is why being educated on the subject as well as how to use them safely will always be important. This includes having a giant safe to keep them in, locked away from kids or idiot cousins.

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