John Vanderslice? How had I not heard of him until I accidentally caught the last 2 songs of his set at Block Party? No matter how much time I spend searching for music there will always be that one really obvious person that I’m missing. In addition to being a fabulous musician, John Vanderslice is also an endlessly fascinating human worthy of a lettered list:
a) He founded the Tiny Telephone recording studio in San Francisco which is still 100% analog, meaning that they are old-timey and use tape instead of computers to record music. Death Cab and Spoon have recorded there. Obviously Vanderslice records his albums there without any aid from digital recording techniques and listening to his albums makes this fact absolutely amazing. It’s impossible to tell that everything you hear is done completely analog, even on headphones.
b) He agrees to do things like cashier at Sonic Boom for a day and play on the Fremont Bridge accompanied by the drawbridge bells. He also once ordered a pizza from the stage during a show and then collected money from the audience to tip the delivery guy.
c) He is a seriously good photographer and has hundreds of pictures taken on tours up on his website. I’m not going to lie: I’ve spent like 4 hours the past two days looking at all of these and I’m amazed at how he gets such good shots using a film camera. I love that he puts up shots that other people would have thrown away (like an end-of-roll shot where half the frame is black).
d) he was quoted as saying “Music: it’s just like drugs, you know? Just because you lower the price of crack to $3.50 a hit doesn’t mean you’ll make less crack. You might just make more crackheads.” in reference to the commercialism of music in a PopMatters interview. In the same interview he also said, “I go to someone’s site, and I see they have a 100 MP3s and I love them forever. But then I go to bands’ sites, and they have one song up and it’s in Real Audio and I’m thinking, what’s your home address because I’m going to stab you in the lungs. Just come out for your mail because I’m going to shank you.” I want that engraved on my headstone.
This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for about 3 months now and I’m not really sure why. Anyway, my anger at being unable to go to his show with Bishop Allen in Seattle on October 17th because I’m not 21 made me think it was maybe time to dig it back up again. If you are 21 and living in the Seattle area and you don’t go to this concert you need to rethink your validity as a hipster/music snob/human because I guarantee you it will be one of the best shows of the year. Bishop Allen are amazing live and are themselves one of the best shows I’ve seen this year and John Vanderslice is obviously awesome, so you better be there. If you are woefully underage like me you can experience a little bit of the glory over at NPR where they are streaming a recording of the JV/BA show in Washington D.C. Or you can go to La Blogotheque and watch a video of John Vanderslice wandering around Capitol hill during Block Party while singing songs and confusing the general public.