White Denim, The Cult of “Peg,” and My Musical Continuum

OK, wow, my extreme, deep, immediate love for this video of the band White Denim playing a cover of the Steely Dan song “Peg” puts me right at the center of a Venn diagram that I previously wouldn’t… Read More

Finding My Personal Best in My Best-Of Mixes

Surprise! 2015 is the bonus-track year! As I’ve documented before elsewhere, I started making year-end mixes back in 2004 as a way to avoid spending a ton of money on Christmas presents and to share some of my… Read More

What Bono Taught Me About Mesmerizing an Audience

I’ve never considered myself the biggest fan of the band U2. I mean, I’ve always liked them well enough—the big hits never fail to get my blood pumping when I hear them on the radio—but I think I’ve… Read More

Amy Winehouse and the Wholeness of Song

This is probably the dumbest thing in the world to admit out loud, but—I actually thought the recent Amy Winehouse documentary Amy was going to be about the music. After weeks of trying to get myself to the… Read More

Mark Knopfler’s TRACKER and Art in Present Time

As a bookwormy kid, I was, of course, very comfortable and conversant with the past. With the exception of The Baby-Sitters Club series, which released new books periodically that I would greedily read in one sitting once I… Read More

Pet Theories Recording Diary–Day 2

Well, it’s definitely not an important large-scale creative endeavor if there’s not one major oh shit moment! After tracking vocals all morning and into the early afternoon on Sunday, my band Pet Theories and our audio engineer Kevin… Read More

Pet Theories Recording Diary–Day 1

With one full day of recording behind us, we’re elated, and exhausted. As I said close to the end of today’s session, I don’t know how bands who hate each other get through this process in one piece…. Read More

Pet Theories Recording Diary—Day 0

When I tell people that my dad was a musician, it’s often hard for me to explain what it was, exactly, that he did. The first assumption is usually that he played in a rock band. That he… Read More

The Heart and Voice of Mark Eitzel

mark eitzel smiling bjorn giesenbauer

“His chest was like Christ’s. That’s probably who he was. I could have followed anybody off that train. It would have been the same.” –Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son I’m a relative latecomer to the music of Mark Eitzel… Read More

The No-Excuses Guide to Home Recording

Stop kidding yourself if you think it takes much more than this to record a song and post it online: My band, Pet Theories, took about three hours on the evening of Memorial Day to record a drum… Read More

Musical Chakras

When I was going through my yearlong training to become a clairvoyant reader, one of the fun games I started playing for my own amusement was, any time I was at a concert, to look at which chakra… Read More

The Worst Drummer I Have Ever Seen

A little over a week ago I went to see a jazz pianist’s trio in concert for the first time. I’m not a particularly huge fan of his, but find his playing and sense of interpretation interesting. He… Read More