Category Archives: Faces

Tin Pan Alley, Crosswords & A Tribute

On the next edition of Life Elsewhere, author and journalism professor Ben Yagoda, will talk about his new book, The B-Side, The Death Of Tin Pan Alley And The Rebirth Of The Great American Song. The acclaimed cultural historian has written an entertaining, well-researched exploration of America’s songwriting history. The story has many twists and turns, but the reality of why and how the great American songbook almost vanished is not as straightforward as you may think. Make sure you listen in to catch samples of music you almost forgot about.

Alan Connor, London-based author and TV producer joins the program to talk about his new book, The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief. You’ll hear about the colorful characters who make up the interesting and often bizarre subculture of crossword constructors and competitive solvers. The A-list names of some of the more well-known among the puzzle solvers, may surprise you. Connor even explains how your character is revealed by the implement you use.

This week in the portion of the program where a listener takes over and selects The Hit That Never Was, we’ll play the first single released on the innovative Mute records in 1979, Fad Gadget with Back To Nature. The late Francis John “Frank” Tovey, was a British avant-garde electronic musician and vocalist. He was a proponent of both new wave and early industrial music, fusing together a unique blend of pop structured songs mixed with mechanised experimentation. As Fad Gadget, his music was characterised by the use of synthesizers in conjunction with sounds of found objects, including drills and electric razors. His bleak, sarcastic and darkly humorous lyrics were filled with biting social commentary toward subjects such as machinery, industrialisation, consumerism, human sexuality, mass media, religion, domestic violence and dehumanization while often being sung in a deadpan voice.

Sadly, as we were putting this edition of Life Elsewhere together, news came in that George Romansic, a man who played a significant part in how Life Elsewhere began, had succumbed to brain cancer. George was a pioneer of the alternative music scene in Seattle, playing drums with effortless verve in now cult favorites, The Beakers, 3 Swimmers and Danger Bunny, Noman B will pay tribute to his long-time friend.

Coincidences, coincidences…Norman saw George Romansic for the last time in April, 2014, in Seattle. George had just returned from a cancer treatment, when they met up; instead of bemoaning his disconcerting condition, he prefered to quizz Norman on which Killing Joke record was the best. Undoubtedly, George would be eager to read Norman B’s interview with Martin “Youth” Glover, legendary Killing Joke  bassist and producer… just published one day ago at the excellent Trebuchet Magazine.

Make sure you take notice of our new live broadcast time and place: 12 noon ET, every Sunday at WMNF The Source HD3. It’s easy to listen, click here in your browser. And, you can listen on your iPhone or iPad, get the new WMNF player here.

New Time. New Place.

New Time:  Sundays, 12 noon ET

New Place: WMNF The Source HD3

Interview with author Rebecca Scherm

Tribute to  Ian McLagan

Hit That Never Was features Lioness

New Time:  Sundays, 12 noon ET

New Place: WMNF The Source HD3

A Must-Read Book, A Hit That Never Was & A Tribute To Ian

Rebecca SchermNext on Life Elsewhere, Norman B interviews Rebecca Scherm, the author of Unbecoming: A Novel. In his introduction he says of her debut novel, “This is a book that forced me to read slowly, as I realized I was reaching the end, there were only a few pages to go, I deliberately slowed down, I wanted to savor every single line, every exquisitely constructed sentence”Scherm has written an unquestionably brilliant book, listen to her explain how she conjured up the complex anti-heroine Grace, from Garland, Tennessee. A place Rebecca did not know existed until after writing the book. This and other surprises including her unflinching use of a four-letter word and her finesse in describing erotic sex scenes without resulting to cliches about genitalia, make for a fascinating interview.

The Hit That Never Was selected for this edition of Life Elsewhere, cameCisero complete with a drawing of Cicero the listener’s dog. Patrick who sent the drawing wrote that he had heard Floating On Clouds by Lioness via one of our blog posts from a couple of years ago. Indicating to us to remind you to always check out our BACK. page, where we often post music that may never ever hit the mainstream. Lioness is considered to be one of the UK’s top Grime artists, this cut came out in 2012 and we agree with Patrick, it deserves to be this week’s Hit That Never Was.

Ian McLagan & Norman B

Finally in the program, we respond to the flood of requests to hear Norman B’s tribute to his old art school friend, Ian McLagan. In April of 2014, Norman hosted a spectacular musical-charity event in Seattle. The all-star line up included Heart, Graham Nash, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, Country Joe McDonald and the man who played keyboard with Small FacesFaces and recorded and toured with The Rolling Stones…the one and only, Ian McLagan. The two silver-haired Englishmen, delighted to see each other, agreed to record a long, intimate conversation, recounting the early music scene in London, circa 1960’s. And, Mac promised to share stories of the ups and downs of the bands he has been associated with. Many hours of revealing interviews were recorded using Skype, with Mac at his home in Austin Texas and Norman at his studio in Tampa, Florida. Because the interview was so long, we had to edit the recordings down with the intention of airing in separate editions of Life Elsewhere. We had just broadcast part one, when news came in that Ian McLagan had accidentally fallen, banged his head and suffered a fatal stroke. Norman B was reluctant to immediately broadcast his complete interview with Ian, saying  I didn’t want to capitalize on an old friend’s death”.  After a little persuading from friends and associates, Norman agreed to broadcast selections from the unaired interview and put together a heart-felt tribute to Mac. Since that salute aired we have been inundated with requests to hear it again. In this edition of Life Elsewhere we proudly re-play the moving eulogy to, as Norman says, “One of the loveliest fellas you could ever wish to meet”.

Life Elsewhere airs Sundays at 12 noon

The Source WMNF HD3

Tribute To Ian McLagan – Listen Again

Ian McLagan & Norman B

Ian McLagan & Norman B

In the latest edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B payed tribute to Ian McLagan. A truly lovely man who tragically died from a massive stroke last Wednesday, December 3. Just over a week prior, Norman B aired on Life Elsewhere part one of his in-depth conversations with Ian, recorded earlier this year. The chats with Mac came about because the two silver-haired, ex-art students had met up at a charity event and began reminiscing about their days growing up in the early 60’s in the same area of London and attending the same college. “Let’s get this down on tape, so people can learn about what it was like in those days.” Said Ian. The result were almost three hours of spirited conversation, with Mac talking candidly about his early life, becoming a pop-star, drugs, life on the road with The Rolling Stones, and the sad death of his wife. To date, less than one hour of Norman B’s exclusive interview with Ian McLagan has been aired. In this edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman gives a moving tribute to his old art school friend and airs previously unaired selections from his poignant conversations with Mac. The full (almost) three hours of conversations with the legendary keyboard-played will be made available through this site, please check back often for details.

Listen to Life Elsewhere Podcasts here

Also in this edition of Life Elsewhere, a distinguished panel of “gifting” experts offer their suggestions for our Annual Christmas Gift Special. We asked each of them to choose three books and one non-book gift, and explain their choices. You’ll hear smart, entertaining and fascinating ideas from Peter James, best-selling author of the Roy Grace detective-thriller series; Robert Newman, esteemed creative director and influential design consultant; David UlinLos Angeles Times book critic and author of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, and Mark Haskell-Smith, author of five novels and the forthcoming Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World.

And now a gift for you: The one-of-a-kind Life Elsewhere Holiday Gift Mix.Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 9.12.26 AM Our own Norman B has searched through his vast collection and created a blend of music you’re not likely to hear anywhere else. From rare Jamaican dub plates to obscure independent artists and the occasional found sound. If you revel in real eclectic mixes that’ll prompt your friends to ask, “Where on earth did you find this stuff?”, this is the one for you. To get your copy, we ask only that you make a donation of any amount to Life ElsewhereSimply click on the “Make A Donation”button to the right of this page. In return, we’ll send you a special code to unlock and download the Life Elsewhere Holiday Gift Mix. But don’t delay, the Gift Mix will only be available for a limited time. Thank you for supporting Life Elsewhere.

Ian McLagan – Rest In Peace

Ian McLagan 1945 - 2014

Ian McLagan 1945 – 2014

Words cannot express how we felt on hearing the news that the truly wonderful Ian “Mac” McLagan had died from a stroke at the young age of 69. The details are still coming in and our first reaction was, “This cannot be true”. It was just over a week ago that part one of Norman B’s up close and in depth conversations with Ian were aired on Life Elsewhere. The chats Ian and Norman had earlier this year came about because the two silver-haired ex-art students met up at a charity event and began reminiscing about their days growing up in the early 60’s in the same area of London and attending the same college. “Let’s get this down on tape, so people can learn about what it was like in those days.” Said Ian. The result was well over two hours of spirited conversation, with Mac talking candidly about his early life, becoming a pop-star, drugs and life on the road with The Rolling Stones. So far, less than one hour of Norman B’s interview with Ian McLagan has been aired to date. Out of respect to Mac and his family, we will wait for a more appropriate time to air the full interview, so as to not gratuitously capitalize on his untimely death. Rest in peace Mac.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »