Munson’s Juggernaut Interview
Posted: 10 January 2017 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey, I just listened to Munson’s Juggernaut interview over lunch.  Early on, I couldn’t resist scribbling some notes, because there were some wonderful insights, nuggets of TS branch history, and some wonderful hints at what is to come.  So, some skeletal highlights:

—Munson loves to be at the center of others’ experiences of joy, and presiding over those moments.  His greatest thrill as an artist is to reveal joy (and to sometimes help with working through grief).  Hearing him talk about this, his purpose, was just wonderful.  And then one imagines him at the center of it at, for example, at the holiday show, and it makes so much sense. 

—He sees revealing one’s vulnerability on stage as embracing empathy.  This is the key to being human.  Here, to me, he’s channeling Matt and what he has experienced with him.  That, to me, is the essence of Matt’s writing, his very self.

—History of Lulu and the TS breakup:
  -Matt wasn’t a fan of Dan’s songs and simply couldn’t stand behind Dan’s songs.
  -Matt was going through his own experience of writer’s block.  He’d never experienced it before.  Makes me wonder if Dan started writing to fill the void Matt was leaving.  Had never considered that angle. 
  -The band labored intensely over Lulu and were really disappointed with the public reception of it.  John described it as “Baroque,” possibly even “mannered.”  And then described being caught in the wave of Nirvana and grunge.  He said they felt “tragically out of step, irrelevant.”  He then goes on to say some far too kind things about grunge (perhaps because of the cross-pollination with the Replacements?)  My response will always be:  grunge is punk without the convictions, with a complete absence of political awareness.  Its performers dressed like garbage men because they were hawking garbage. 
  -Semisonic (you know where I stand here, but I think I’m being fair here; listen for yourselves, though)
  -Semisonic’s purpose was to write every song as a single, to write hits, to make relatable music.  It was a direct response to Trip Shakespeare’s rigor and the consequential way the public ignored it.  They thought of TS as insular and wanted to make music that the public didn’t need to work at to penetrate.  Trip Shakespeare demanded too much and there was frustration that the public didn’t get it. So, Semisonic was meant to demand nothing.  Its surface is its essence. 
  -John said some were very happy that the band was coming to the audience, rather than the other way around.  But, he also acknowledges that some saw it as a betrayal.  He then goes on to defend what he calls the “compromise” that is at the heart of Semisonic.  He said that they couldn’t pretend that the market doesn’t exist, unless you’re making art solely for its own sake. 
  -John says he has no regrets about the fact that SS did/does make that compromise toward the business side of the ledger.  He sees this as the opposite of the Replacements, who repeatedly did not compromise and shot themselves in the foot, commercially.  It’s interesting to consider how TS was the opposite of the Replacements, musically, but were bedfellows with the Replacements insofar as they did not compromise and never consciously moved toward the broader musical market.
  —Looking forward
  —SS is a “going concern.”  The bright side of the canceled shows is that John, Dan, and Jake sat down and hammered around ideas about shows, what more they could do together.
    —TNS John spoke with great fondness about continuing to work within that project, but didn’t hint at new recordings.
    —TTH:  he thinks the time between the 2nd and 3rd records will be much shorter than between 1 and 2.  Matt is “cranking out tunes.”  He is “artistically on fire” in a way John has not seen in 20 years.  Hearing him say that had me bouncing around in my chair.  This is really, really good news.  I wish I could make the Aster shows.  I have a feeling that there is going to be a lot to talk about.

Sorry this is so scattered.  I wasn’t planning on writing about the podcast, but it was so full of great stuff that I couldn’t resist.

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Posted: 10 January 2017 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It was a very interesting and full of information interview (as long as you can get through the opening commentary)...but the host clearly LOVES Black Beauty…the most exciting thing is that Matt’s songwriting is ascending to new heights!

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Posted: 10 January 2017 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yep.  Matt’s on fire.  Music to my ears.

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Posted: 10 January 2017 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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On this I must insist. When the band gets a compliment on Sioux City Swinger, they need to STOP saying “Dan’s ALL OVER THIS.”
It’s not that they shouldn’t credit Dan, but that phrasing drives me crazy.
TTH, if you’re listening; Take the freakin’ compliment, point out the songwriting, the arrangement. Then you could say: WE invited Dan to sing the backup vocals. And man, those brotherly Wilson harmonies make the song.

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First Trip Shakespearience: June 13, 1987 “River Days” Kaukauna, WI. I was 16.

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Posted: 11 January 2017 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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jane - 10 January 2017 06:17 PM

On this I must insist. When the band gets a compliment on Sioux City Swinger, they need to STOP saying “Dan’s ALL OVER THIS.”
It’s not that they shouldn’t credit Dan, but that phrasing drives me crazy.
TTH, if you’re listening; Take the freakin’ compliment, point out the songwriting, the arrangement. Then you could say: WE invited Dan to sing the backup vocals. And man, those brotherly Wilson harmonies make the song.

Agreed.  They have to get beyond the mindset that Dan is doing them a favor or is the magic potion that will bring them to greater audiences.

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