Pete Townshend On Creativity, 'The Age Of Anxiety' And The Who's New Record
Pete Townshend: Not only is he the major creative force behind The Who, but he's also released several of his own solo records, prompted the first-known use of the term "rock opera" (for 1969's 'Tommy') and he's even credited with being the first person to smash a guitar on stage. But one thing Townshend had never done until now is write a novel. Earlier this month, he published "The Age of Anxiety". There are plans to turn it into an "opera art installation," which he says will be his last major solo work. He is also releasing a new album with The Who, called 'WHO', which is out Dec. 6. In this session, you'll hear some of the new music from that album. We'll talk about his debut novel, his realization two years ago that his famed rock opera 'Tommy' was actually about him, and his stance on all of the court cases concerning artist copyright issues.
How Psychedelics Influenced Noah Gundersen's Latest Album, 'Lover'
It's not every day at World Cafe that we start our session with a disclaimer, but here's one: Today's conversation with Noah Gundersen includes some talk about psychedelic drugs and their influence on Gundersen's latest album, 'Lover'. Disclaimer out of the way, psychedelic drugs are just the jumping-off point for a conversation about the songs on Gundersen's rich, exquisitely crafted album. 'Lover' addresses a transformative year in Gundersen's life, one that included the end of a romantic relationship and the realization that Gundersen's parents, who raised him in a conservative, right-wing home in rural Washington, are now what he calls "truly progressive."
Jessy Wilson Finds A Rock Vibe With Patrick Carney
It took some convincing, but Jessy Wilson's new album was produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys; little did he know that was her plan all along. When Wilson's former band, the Americana act Muddy Magnolias, broke up, she reached out to Carney to explore rock 'n' roll sounds on her next record. The result is her debut solo album, 'Phase'. In this session, Wilson discusses working with Carney, her extensive musical background and why she wouldn't want to make music anywhere but Nashville. But first, we begin with a performance of "Oh, Baby!"
The Infectious Joy Of Mwenso & The Shakes
There are charismatic people, and then there's Michael Mwenso. The leader of Mwenso & the Shakes is full of energy, charm and most importantly, joy. That joy is ever-present when he's telling stories about growing up in Ghana and Nigeria and spending four years trying to impress James Brown. You'll also find that joy on his debut album, 'Emergence [The Process of Coming Into Being]', which blends jazz, R&B and spoken word in a live album that feels like a Broadway show. These songs are anthemic — an explosion of ideas and sounds wrapped around familiar instrumentation. Michael will tell the remarkable story of moving to England as a kid, finding music after his mom was deported and how he was taken under the wing of James Brown as a teen. First though, we get started with a live performance from the stage of World Cafe Live.
Edward Norton Shares His Vision For The Music Of 'Motherless Brooklyn'
Motherless Brooklyn' is a new film about a private detective trying to solve a murder in 1950s New York. It's based on a novel by Jonathan Lethem and features an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe and Edward Norton, who adapted the novel for the big screen. 'Motherless Brooklyn' is film noir with a twist. Norton plays a private detective named Lionel, but not like the kind made famous by Humphrey Bogart or Jack Nicholson. Norton's character has Tourette's syndrome, which means he can't always control what he says out loud. "I really liked the idea of a detective who, at every moment that the smooth-talking tough guy would do a certain thing, this guy does the opposite," Norton says. Music is a big part of 'Motherless Brooklyn', and the film's soundtrack sets the mood with several elements. There's an original score, some classic jazz from Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, as well as a song from Thom Yorke of Radiohead, the band that came to mind when Norton first read the novel in the late 90s. "I had this intuition, this feeling when I was reading this character of Lionel, with his sensitivity but then this incredible jangley dissonance of his Tourettic mind. That was the era of Radiohead [releasing] OK Computer ... I remember having this thought [about] the way Thom Yorke's voice had that longing in it but the music had this wonderful electronic dissonance and fracture. I thought to myself 'That's a great modernist rendition of the way this guy's mind works in 'Motherless Brooklyn'." But Thom Yorke wasn't the only one who helped Norton with the film's music. Norton tapped American virtuoso trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis to help curate the classic jazz songs in 'Motherless Brooklyn' and composer Daniel Pemberton for the original score.