Record Time is a recurring feature written by Flip Rushmore's Alex Smith. Comment with your favorite memories of American Idiot at the bottom of the story, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Spotify.
Ten years is typically plenty of time for an artist's pop-culture moment to come and go. The Beatles put out albums for seven years before breaking up. Nirvana only made it two and a half years from Nevermind to Kurt Cobain's death. We got one album, total, from Lauryn Hill.
Those fortunate enough to make a longer run usually coast by on less-than-essential work by the time they finish their first decade in the spotlight. Only truly special artists are able to bridge the gap and use new ideas to command the attention of two different generations. Any artist that makes two albums at least a decade apart that are both...
...is part of a very short list. You’ve got names like Bob Dylan (1965's Highway 61 Revisited to 1975's Blood on the Tracks), Kanye West (2003’s College Dropout and 2013’s Yeezus), and the Rolling Stones (1966's Aftermath to 1976's Some Girls). There are a handful of others out there, fringe or otherwise, but it’s an exclusive club. And there are zero American rock bands. Well... one, actually.
Record Time is a recurring feature written by Flip Rushmore's Alex Smith. This week, he interviewed fellow Flip Rushmore member Adam Szczepaniak. Comment with your favorite memories of OK Computer at the bottom of the story, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Spotify.
Alex: People our age were late to OK Computer, because we were only, you know, in kindergarten when it came out. But what was your full introduction to it?
Adam: It was on an episode of 'Cash Cab.' It was a question like, “What Radiohead album, you know, rocketed into the charts in 1997?” And the answer was OK Computer. And a few years went by, but I always had in the back of my head, "I should probably listen to that album." And I think what really kick-started it was a class that I took freshman year in college, History of Rock and Roll, and it specifically focused on 1970 to the present. There was a day where my teacher played "Paranoid Android." And he went through and analyzed it through the lens of his background, which was classical music. It was so fascinating to me. So that sparked me to get the album and actually listen to the whole thing.
Record Time is a recurring feature written by Flip Rushmore's Alex Smith. Comment with your favorite memories of Get Rich or Die Tryin' at the bottom of the story, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Spotify.
On a weekday afternoon in a suburban Minneapolis dining room, a pair of elementary school kids tried to determine what 50 Cent was saying.
“Go … Charlie?”
We pressed the “back” button on the stereo over and over until we reached our conclusion. My friend’s older sister agreed. It was, “Go Charlie / it’s your birthday.” ...
Curtis Jackson’s word in question, of course, was “shawty.” In our defense, he’s never won an award for clearest pronunciation. But, yeah, the word was foreign, just like almost all of the themes of “In da Club”: million-dollar contracts, ecstasy use, bringing 20 firearms into a place of business, etc. Nevertheless, it became a staple in my young life. Had any rapper made a pop record like 50? The production was killer. He delivered us to the choruses quickly. And those hooks were extremely hooky. “21 Questions.” “Wanksta.” “If I Can’t.” “P.I.M.P.” “Many Men (Wish Death Upon Me).” Virtually every other song on the record had a straightforward appeal to it. It didn’t trend as hardcore as Dr. Dre’s 1999 or Eminem’s first three albums. It was ear candy.
Record Time is a recurring feature written by Flip Rushmore's Alex Smith. Comment with your favorite memories of Begin to Hope at the bottom of the story, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Spotify.
My first "serious" relationship began when I was 16. And some of my favorite memories from that time were long drives soundtracked by the stereo in her hand-me-down Ford Taurus. Her older sister had moved out east, but had thankfully left behind a CD case with dozens of pop and alternative albums that I’d never heard before. At the time, I was in the midst of an exhilarating Wikipedia-and-Limewire crash course in rock history. I was the oldest in my family, so the Internet served as the cool sibling who told you how good Kid A was (or, at the very least, gave you their copy of Enema of the State).
Record Time is a recurring feature written by Flip Rushmore's Alex Smith. Comment with your favorite memories of Hot Fuss at the bottom of the story, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Spotify.
In music, the early bird does not usually get the worm.
A scene takes time to manifest itself in the public consciousness, and the bands making the best music, in, say, 2001, are not the bands who are leading the charge in, say, 2004. That’s a lifetime for a certain “sound,” and The Killers' Hot Fuss is the natural grandchild or great-grandchild—with an extra touch of flamboyance from three time zones away—of The Strokes’ Is This It. The first demo of “Mr. Brightside” might as well have been a B-side from Room on Fire.
Foo Fighters 25th Anniversary: How First Avenue and Minnesota helped define Dave Grohl's new band in 1995
Twenty five years ago, Pat Smear was missing. The rest of the original Foo Fighters—William Goldsmith, Nate Mendel, and, of course, Dave Grohl—were backstage at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Without their punk-legend guitarist, they waited in a variety of styles: Grohl nervously bounced in place. Mendel sat with his bass, eyes closed. Goldsmith took off his clothes.
The word finally came in: Smear was sitting at the hotel watching Matlock. He arrived shortly thereafter, and the band tore through a 65-minute set to earn their star on the wall.
pure SHIFTER back at 7th St Entry: A conversation about songwriting, “heads-up moments," and dark secrets of the Kitty Cat Klub
Flip Rushmore and pure SHIFTER are playing Minneapolis’ legendary 7th St Entry with Denim Matriarch and VIAL on Friday, January 17. Find tickets here. Alex got both members of pure SHIFTER (John Genz and Doug Deitchler) on the phone to discuss the show and whatever the hell else.
As a member of Beasthead, Doug has "crossed paths" with various members of Flip Rushmore and Denim Matriarch in the past. Friday will serve as a chance to reconnect, as well as a chance to show off the difference between pure SHIFTER and Beasthead.
Alex: When you start a new project, there’s always a reason. So what was pure SHIFTER gonna allow you to express differently?
Doug: You want to take that one, John?
John: This music is pretty much all my stuff, and Doug came on to help me reign in some of my … how do I put this … Doug helps to organize the music and put it together. He’s an arranger, in a way.
Doug: We’ve actually had a little bit of confusion with this recently. Just with The Current and City Pages. I’m from Beasthead. And John and I brought Mitch Miller from Beasthead on the drums, so it sorta seemed like because there were two members (that it was a Beasthead project) … but the actual genesis of this was, this is John’s music. We just made songs out of it. And I don’t think I’ve picked your brain about this, John, but are the songs we’re playing right now, were they written in the past few years on acoustic instruments? This is sort of a rewrite of all those songs with different genres and newer tastes involved? I stepped in last spring to reform his songs and give them some new life. Making a live band and a show out of it.
You’re taking John’s original arrangements and reworking them. But are you sitting down together and doing that? Or is Doug just going into the lab and coming back with something?
Doug: When we got together last spring, John had all of this done. Pretty much all written.
John: A lot of was done, but sort of in imperfect form. The beats would be sort of made and laid out, and the songs would exist, but sort of, like, they’d just be a couple loops, maybe a chorus. Very little fully-formed stuff. Or it would go on for 10 minutes and nothing would change. Doug would be the guy who would say, “Let’s think about the average attention span here.”
Doug: He played me a lot of these nine-minute “blob ideas,” and I was like, “I can hear the 15 percent that’s usable here. Let’s carve out some songs. Early on, we ran into some things, like, you’re gonna have to rewrite this. Or rewrite lyrics. Figure out a different synth. And sort of against my instincts, any rewriting that comes up, I’ve purposely been uninvolved. Just to keep the core of it in the same stylistic vein … It’s interesting doing that with songs that I technically didn’t write, but did everything else for.
Denim Matriarch kicks off new decade with 7th St Entry gig: A conversation about line dancing, Mario Kart, and that curious Chad Smith connection
Flip Rushmore and Denim Matriarch are playing Minneapolis’ legendary 7th St Entry with VIAL and pure SHIFTER on Friday, January 17. Find tickets here. Alex caught up with the entire Denim gang for a phone chat. They were in a car. “Not driving. Just sitting.” Totally normal.
Early in the conversation, Alex realized that it would be next to impossible to accurately attribute each quote to a member—three of them sound exactly alike when they speak. So some of the responses will just be labeled with “No ID.”
Alex: A couple days ago, I spoke with Kate from VIAL. She said Friday is their first time playing the Entry. Any advice for new artists at 7th St?
Nathan: Just rock your socks off. Seize the moment. Try to find a good spot on the street to load in there.
No ID: Oh, that’s actually real advice. It can be kinda hard to load in there.
What is the sweet spot?
Will: It’s the garage now.
Nathan: I guess now you have to load in through the garage. Never mind.
No ID (continuing advice): Definitely get a good meal in ya at the Depot.
No ID: Buy drinks in the Depot because it’s 50 percent off.
Nathan: Yeah, take that 50 percent discount and you’ll be playing like you’ve never played.
VIAL ready for 7th St Entry debut: A conversation about method acting, political internships, and how to mark an important Nirvana anniversary
Flip Rushmore and VIAL are playing Minneapolis’ legendary 7th St Entry with Denim Matriarch and Pure Shifter on Friday, January 17. Find tickets here. Alex got on the phone with VIAL bassist Kate Kanfield to discuss the gig and—apparently—everything else.
Alex: You guys have way too many Kates in your band. Did you purposely seek each other out?
Kate: Absolutely no planning or anything. It just happened that way. Taylor knew myself and KT, and we thought, “Oh my god, that’s funny.” Then we were on Tinder and we were looking for a drummer, and we matched with Katie. We thought, “Oh, that’s perfect. Three Katies or Kates or KTs. That’s just hilarious.”
So there was a little bit of fate. You saw the name, and it made sense.
Yeah. “We need to message them just because their name is Katie.” It worked out perfectly.
How did you guys all start playing music with each other?
I’ve known Taylor since we were both in high school. Five or six years now. We played together in a program back then and did some stuff together. Taylor messaged me earlier this year and said, “I want to get a band together.” Taylor also knew KT through a program called She Rock She Rock. Taylor connected us, and then we found Katie on Tinder!
Is that how bands are being formed now? On Tinder?
We haven’t found another band yet who’s used Tinder, but we highly recommend it.