Whether you know Darlene Love from her smash hit, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on the Phil Spector holiday album, or from her profile in the film, "20 Feet From Stardom," this Rock & Roll Hall of Famer is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to her own work, Darlene Love has sang backup with Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Sonny & Cher, and so many more. In this edition of "Music Is My Life," from Berklee Online, she details her struggles with Phil Spector, and her journey to freedom.
Belly, Breeders, and Muses, oh my! Tanya Donelly takes us through her musical journey, beginning with her step-sister Kristin Hersh in Throwing Muses, through her partnership with Kim Deal in the Breeders to the formation and wild success of Belly to the current reunion that band is enjoying, and the confusion caused by the Canadian rapper who calls himself Belly.
You may know Ben Vaughn as a producer of artists such as Los Straightjackets, Charlie Feathers, Ween, or the one-off collaboration between Big Star’s Alex Chilton and Suicide’s Alan Vega, which he talks about in the episode of Berklee Online’s Music Is My Life podcast. Ben Vaughn got his start as the leader of a group called the Ben Vaughn Combo in the 1980s, and got a lot of attention from mainstream press, and inspired favorable cover versions of his tunes by the likes of Marshall Crenshaw, the Plimsouls, Man or Astroman, and more. His big break in the music industry came when he moved out to LA and quickly got a job as a composer for the show “Third Rock from the Sun,” which he composed the theme for. Success on that show led to a gig in the same role on “That 70s Show,” and numerous other shows. He has now comfortably resumed a solo career, and he also hosts a radio show on WXPN in Philly.
Andrew Joslyn ditched classical music, joined a band called Handful of Luvin' and made his mark helping Seattle area musicians score their music. His big break came when he scored some of the biggest hits by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Andrew discusses the hard lessons he learned in making sure he earned proper royalties, and the arrangements he did for Kesha. He also talks about his brother, comedian Chris Kattan, and the Case File podcast he composes for.
Emerging in the late 1960s as an enthusiast of blues and folk music, Taj Mahal has spent his career bending genres to his own signature style. His work includes moving explorations in jazz, funk, reggae, country, rock ‘n’ roll, and more. He has worked with everybody from Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones to Bob Marley and the Wailers. His songs have been covered by Eric Clapton, the Black Keys, the Blues Brothers, Natalie Cole, and more.
Marlon Williams is a 27-year-old singer from New Zealand whose latest album, Make Way for Love, came out earlier this year. He’s well known in his home country for his work with a band called The Unfaithful Ways, and his Secret History of Country Music Songwriting series with Delaney Davidson. In America, you might know his song, “Dark Child,” written by his friend Tim Moore. It’s a positively chilling song, and it was used quite effectively on the end of the first episode of the Netflix series Wild Wild Country. He’s also well known in his country for his romance with singer Aldous Harding, a singer who he’s no longer dating, but who he nevertheless invited to sing on a song he wrote about their breakup. But it all began for Marlon Williams when he joined the choir at about age 10.
Gary Lucas is a guitarist, songwriter, and former copywriter for CBS Records. (He's responsible for calling The Clash "the only band that matters.") He has played on more than 30 recordings, but he is best known for playing with Captain Beefheart in the 1980s, and Jeff Buckley in the 1990s.
Not only is Trevor Horn one of the singers and songwriters behind the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," but he is also known for his work with Yes, and the iconic records he produced, including work by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, ABC, Seal, Belle & Sebastian, John Legend, and way too many others to mention. Trevor Horn is also a student! We spoke as he was just wrapping up in Berklee Online’s R&B Bass course.
If the name Michael Melchiondo does not ring a bell, it’s because he is known professionally by his stage name of Dean Ween, one half of the band Ween, who for nearly 30 years—along with Gene Ween (whose real name is Aaron Freeman)—have been releasing into the world a very unique style of music. Deaner (as he is also known) is currently touring with the Dean Ween Group—which features all of the touring members of Ween, minus Gener—and the Dean Ween Group have an album called Rock2, coming out in March.
The full lineup of Ween has also recently announced their first show of the summer at Red Rocks in Colorado on June 5th.
Melchiondo and Freeman met in 1984, adopting the Ween surname in their early teenage years, but for Melchiondo, his love for music began with his father.
The War on Drugs are up for the Best Rock Album Grammy for their 2017 effort, A Deeper Understanding. In this edition of the Music Is My Life podcast Charlie Hall, the drummer for The War on Drugs sizes up the Grammy competition—Mastodon, Nothing More, Metallica, and Queens of the Stone Age—and says of the other artists in the category, "It's a very different vibe. I'm glad we're recognized as a rock band, to be honest."
"Much respect, especially to John Theodore," Hall says, singling out the Queens drummer.
Hall also discusses the value of working in the service industry, how having an encouraging teacher meant so much to him, and the evolving ethos of The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile, in addition to his side unique men's choir project, the Silver Ages (see below), which also features members of Dr. Dog, mewithoutyou, Teen Men, The Spinto Band, Windsor For The Derby, Nightlands, and other Philly bands.
Mike Henderson (also known as ENDO) is a DJ who has pioneered harmonic mixing, developed the DJ-friendly apps AGNT and MIDI Monsters, worked in tour management for other DJs such as Dubfire and Felix Da Housecat, and developed Berklee Online's first DJ course, Learn to DJ with Traktor. On this edition of Music Is My Life, he discusses his beginnings as a drummer, his 22-hour days, and why he won't even drink coffee before a DJ set.