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Marc Maron On His Upcoming 'WTF' Record Store Day Release, Dollar-Bin Diving, And Why Mandy Moore "Really F***in' Shines"

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Marc Maron On His Upcoming 'WTF' Record Store Day Release, Dollar-Bin Diving, And Why Mandy Moore "Really F***in' Shines"

The comedian and podcaster opens up about compiling live performances from 'WTF' for Record Store Day, the lost art of personalized music recommendations, and interviewing Mandy Moore about her tumultuous marriage to Ryan Adams

GRAMMYs/Mar 8, 2019 - 10:29 pm

When I call up Marc Maron, he’s doing an extremely on-brand Marc Maron thing: watching the Michael Cohen testimony. "I'm watching it on MSNBC. It's exciting sh*t," he says.

Fortunately, the comedian/actor/podcaster/opinion-haver is willing to break away from the televised testimony to chat about his forthcoming WTF compilation album, In The Garage: Live Music from WTF with Marc Maron - Vol.1, dropping on Record Store Day (April 13). Featuring a collection of live recordings from artists like college-radio great J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., pub-rock figurehead Nick Lowe, folk performer Aimee Mann, and plenty more, In The Garage is compiled by Boston vinyl outpost Newbury Comics and features Maron’s own first-ever recorded performance (he pops up with Dave Alvin of roots-rock outfit The Blasters).

Maron, who has been recording his WTF podcast since 2009 and hosted more people of note than you could imagine, including Thom Yorke, Iggy Pop, Fiona Apple, Nick CaveLucinda Williams, John Cale, and even former President Barack Obama, spoke to the Recording Academy about his latest venture from his home in Los Angeles. Chatting over the phone, he detailed how his In The Garage project came to be, which record stores he loves to visit around the country, and why one of his most recent guests, singer/actress Mandy Moore, "really f*ckin’ shines."

Congrats on the upcoming compilation album. I do have a lot of questions about it, but first, I’m curious: As someone who’s perhaps best known for his interviews, how is it being on the other side of this?

It's an easier head space. Outside of knowing what I know, I don't have to wrap my brain around getting anything out of you. I can talk about whatever. Getting ready to talk to somebody for at least an hour about who knows what is gonna happen is different than me preparing to talk to you for fifteen minutes.

Makes sense. So, how did the decision to release a collection of songs recorded on WTF come about?

Over time my producer Brendan McDonald and myself, we knew we were amassing a pretty good catalog of live performances. Over the 1,000 episodes there's been over 20 live performances in the garage, and we actually wondered if there was anything we could do with it, would it be fun to release it streaming or as a podcast or maybe a special thing, or maybe as a record?

We never really did it, we never took the time because you have to be approved for things, and it just seemed like it wasn't that necessary. But we always kind of felt like it was something that would be a nice thing for the fans, and then through Midroll, which is the company that does our merchandising and worked with forever with advertisers, I had a conversation about what they could do for records because they represent other talent.

That sort of began the conversation, and when Newbury Comics stepped in, I like them, I like their catalog of reissues, I like their store, I spent a lot of time in Boston in the '80s. It's an important place. Also, as a label, they could do all that legwork that Brendan and I really weren't able to do with any ease or time. The charity seemed great, so it just seemed like a perfect way to do this.



Yeah, it’s nice that this release is timed with Record Store Day, and of course you mentioned Newbury Comics… What's your overall history like when it comes to hanging out in record stores? Do you have any other favorites around the country?

Record stores? Yeah, I go to record stores. There's a few that I really like in different cities. Sometimes when I'm on the road I don't go because it's hard, unless I mail my records back to me, I can't drag a stock of records on the plane, you know? It just becomes a hassle. I have done it, and I think I was a little more frenetic in my buying a couple years ago.

Here in L.A. I deal with Gimme Gimme Records, with Dan over there, and Permanent Records, I deal with Lance. Those are my primary places. Sometimes I'll go to Amoeba if I have to sell CDs and I can get a credit there, but it's not my first go-to place. There's a great place outside of Denver called Black and Red that I make a point to go to.

Where else do I go? When I'm in Bloomington I'll go over to Landlocked Records. Then there's another place, oh boy, what's that place down in Nashville? I'll have to go look at my T-shirts, I'll go over there, damn. My brain's no good.

Yeah, Landlocked in Bloomington is great. The thing is, all these records stores have the same kind of new releases or reissues, but it's really about the stacks, you know? And Landlocked out of Bloomington just has hundreds of $2 to $6 dollar records underneath the bins. So depending on what you're looking for…

[Remembering] Grimey's. Grimey's is Nashville.

The thing is, as I get older and I get more records, my patience for the bins starts to wear out.

I got to have a lot of time on my hands [to go dollar bin-digging]. And I got to be, sort of, surrendered to it. But the good thing about the bins is there's a certain level of collectors’ records and a few things that everyone's there looking for. Otherwise, in the bins you can find stuff that might have just been personally something from your life, or someone that you never heard before that no one gives a sh*t about. I find an AC/DC record and it's like $4, I'm like, how come someone doesn't want this? I'm the luckiest guy in the world to find a clean copy of Powerage, you know?

Yeah, it's like a treasure hunt. If you have the time and patience.

Yeah, I've got these record stores, they know me, so they'll get a bunch of sh*t that I might like. I'm constantly getting new types of things, I still try to get a lot of music I know nothing about, artists I know nothing about. I get turned on to these things by these dudes. Dan over at Gimme – he's got a certain way to curate the store, and Lance has a certain way he curates the store, so I get all kinds of stuff. In the last week I bought like a dozen records, and I didn't know anything about any of them, to be honest with you. They're new to me, but they're old records.

It's nice, in an age where recommendations have been boiled down to algorithms, to have an actual person personally recommend music.

Yeah, you're right. It tricks you, because when you grow up in America, you grow up listening to a certain type of radio, or you hang out with certain types of people. So just by virtue of that, your script is gonna be narrow, even if you're looking at something no one's ever heard before, it's still within the periphery of this file that you are living.

So, you get older and you realize that there's not only in America, where there are all these smaller presses, smaller releases, other artists working, there's thousands and thousands of vinyls being pressed multiple times. And then on top of that, you have an international market, like Lance over at Permanent is very into different types of psychedelia.

I just got a reissue of a record by a guy I've never heard of, and it's one of the most beautiful records. The reissue was called, it's a guy name Denny Lile, it's a reissue called Hear The Bang. And then Dan said he can find me an original copy, so I got the original copy of Hear The Bang on Bridges Records.

So, for this record, I saw that it's going to be the first time that you yourself are presented as a musician on a recording, am I getting that right?

It is, pretty much. This is really the first one where you can definitely hear me doing it on vinyl for sure. So when Newbury Comics stepped in it took a little of the [curation] job of it, which always held us back, which is getting songs released, remastering a little bit, because I'm no engineer. I record on a single track, I'm in Garage Band, I use an SM mic for the vocals, which is the same I use for talking. I put no effects on anything. I use another mic that I pick in front of the guitar, and then I just sit there across from these artists and ride the fare, and just kind of watch the levels. And that's how it goes with all of them, which does create a sort of continuity to it all and it's a very eclectic group of artists, the continuity is the garage, and my limited ability as an engineer.

Well, speaking of recording from your garage, I was just going over the list of people that you've had on the show over the years. Now, I know you just had a rather frank conversation with Mandy Moore about her relationship with Ryan Adams… And two years ago, you had Ryan on the show. I guess I’m curious, from an interviewer's perspective, how you navigate that space. When you've had this up-close-and-personal time with two opposing parties, how do you reconcile that in your mind? How do you think about the interview with Ryan now that you’ve had this conversation with Mandy?

I don't know, it's not that tricky for me. When I interviewed Ryan I didn't know a lot about him. I knew he was a very respected dude in his world and he had a big fan base and I like a couple of his records, but we didn't ... Very rarely, especially with somebody who's done a lot of work, I'll talk about people's lives. I didn't get into his relationship. [The interview] was really about his journey as a musician and then he talked about music.

Yeah, you don't necessarily ask about personal stuff.

I didn't know. How would I know anything? That was years ago. But he was a tormented guy, he had a lot of problems, and it's not necessarily surprising that there were more problems. But in retrospect, nothing came out in that interview two years ago, and I'm not even sure I was clear about his relationship with Mandy Moore or whether it was in the forefront of my head. Then when I talked to Mandy, that was a couple weeks before the New York Times thing came out, and I didn't know it was coming out. And having known, doing a little research at that time before any of this stuff was revealed, it was one of those things like, "Oh yeah, she had been married to that dude." I knew it must have been a troubled relationship because he's a troubled guy, so the framing of it, and I'm not trying to minimize or trivialize what happened.

Oh no, of course not. I get that it all kind of exists in its own context.

He's obviously beyond troubled, he did abusive stuff. So that said, in talking to Mandy a few weeks before all that stuff was revealed, there was a certain innocence to my approach to her, because I didn't know anything. So it came up, and we talked kind of thoroughly about mostly abuse and the dynamics and co-dependency. In the interview I was like, "Are you sure that you want, is it cool, or can you think of anything that you might have said that you don't want out there about him?" And she's like, "No, this is gonna be a big New York Times piece, so I think it's fine."

So I didn't know any of that until after, and I certainly didn't know anything when I talked to Ryan, but the fact that that Mandy Moore interview exists as a WTF interview, where it comes out after all this stuff's being revealed and she's sort of in the spotlight, about to be, in relation to him, is that that interview, because I didn't know anything about that happening, still functions as a cool, sort of, career personal interview where the pacing and depth of it had a natural thing, it wasn't all open in relation to this thing, which was good.

Oh yeah. News outlets are just going to pluck out the most viral quote. And she was obviously on your show to promote... not that. 

Yes, of course, but the point is I didn't know anything about it. And the news dropped, and we had already set up that episode, and it just so happened my producer was on vacation, so there's no way for even me to get in and go, this came out before the New York Times thing. It dropped while he was away and it was already in the queue.

Yet, I'm happy about that because yeah, the Internet's gonna do what it's gonna do, but I offered Mandy the respect for that full interview there that contextualizes her career, that relationship, where she's at now. 

Well, that's why I like your natural cadence as an interviewer. You're interested in the whole person. 

I'll tell you honestly, Mandy Moore, I didn't know her music that well, it's not the albums I would hear when I was younger, but it wasn't my thing, and I've watched a bit of 'This Is Us', but she was a pretty, you know, she's a real star, in the way that there's certain people that I talk to that come walking down my driveway and I'm like, "Oh my god, this is a magic person." She's one of those people. I didn't even say nothing to her, but when I saw her get out of the car, I'm like, "Okay. Look at this special person."

She’s always seemed remarkably composed.

She shines, man. She fckin' shines. Some people are real fckin' stars, you know? A lot of times they're just people, but some people, you're like, oh man. You just got it coming out of you, I don't know what it is, but it's magic.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

RELATED: How Rosalia Is Reinventing What It Means To Be A Global Pop Star

"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

2019 Music Festival Preview: Noise Pop, Coachella, Ultra & More

Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Taylor Swift

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/VMN19/Getty Images

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Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium

GRAMMYs/Sep 18, 2019 - 02:38 am

Taylor Swift  will be spreading the love in support of her hit album Lover.in 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.

The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1

"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!" 

Lover was released Aug. 23 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her sold-out tour for her previous album, 2017's Reputation, was the highest grossing U.S. tour ever, breaking her own record.

Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17.