This week on The What Podcast - Brad Steiner and Barry Courter dive into Anderson .Paak's musical career and highlight his work as Bonnaroo 2018 approaches.
Hey, hey, hey, hey! How y'all feeling? Journey through the stories that define the artist's plane by the roof. Who are they? What are they? What will you see? The what? Which bands? This year? That matter? With Brad Steiner and Barry Courter. Don't I make it look easy? Don't I make it look good? Something we specialize in. Just don't drink all my liquor. Anderson Paak, more specifically Brandon Paak Anderson. Did you know that's not even his name, Anderson Paak? Brandon Paak Anderson, that's like if I called myself Steinbrater. Is it Paak or Park? Well, it was originally Park, that's right. I think it's actually Park in there. This is the what podcast, the what. Hyper focusing on the bands that matter. More precisely, which bands that matter this year. Which bands this year that matter, something like that. This that and the other, this that. I love we're starting with Anderson Paak. Really do you? I really do. That's a surprise to me. I didn't think that would be up your alley. Well, it wasn't to be honest, but I think this year for me, especially the lineup is about discovery and a little bit of trust. No. That we've gone, you and I, what almost 30 times each. Yeah, I guess. It's combined. Oh my God. Combined. And so there is a little bit of trust in the guys that put it together. And Anderson is not somebody that it was very familiar to me a couple of weeks ago. Now I like it quite a bit. Now you like it a lot. I'm just forward to seeing the live show. This is a podcast by Bonnaroovians for Bonnaroovians. We want to take a deep dive into the artists that are playing Bonnaroo. We want to do each and every week, go through a specific artist catalog, go through their bio, maybe introduce you to a new band. Maybe you could even introduce us to a new band and you could do that at thewhatpodcast.com. We hope to catch some of that magic that these artists will bring to the farm, bottle it and then expose it to you each week with a spotlight on the artists that will hopefully make 2018 special. And you talk about that trust that you have in the Bonnaroov people, whether or not the lineup is for you or not for you, there's something probably you're going to discover. And it's really odd to me that you just now discovered Anderson Paak, especially with all the two Grammy Awards last year. Yeah, well, to be honest, I've relied on maybe my kids or some other people and they're all gone. Oh, they're still with us though. Well, I mean, yes, they're out of the house. So yeah, I mean, there's so much music out there. I can't keep up with all of it and I don't pretend that I do. I have learned over the many years of going to Bonnaroo, you're there. You really don't have much else to do. You don't have anything else to do. You might as well go discover a new great act. Sure. And for those just joining us who don't know who we are, that's Barry Courter. He writes for the Times Street Press and has for since the inception of newspapers. From the beginning of newspapers, you were there. Pretty much. The first one rolled off with an ink press. I'm Brad Steiner. I do a radio show on a top 40 station in Chattanooga. But our passion, no matter if Barry's writing about a recipe or if I'm playing Beyonce, our passion is independent, alternative music. And nobody showcases it better than the foremost festival and that's Bonnaroo. So not only do we appreciate you, but we appreciate the Bonnaroo people for being so supportive in this. And because they're so supportive in this, they're giving us a pair of tickets to give away to a podcast listener. This our inaugural version of the What Podcast. Somebody that listens to this podcast is going to win Bonnaroo tickets. I'll tell you how to do that coming up a little bit later on the podcast. But Anderson Paak, to me, I love him so much because everything that he writes, everything that he performs, the way that he performs it, it all starts with that bio of his and that bio of his is not only inspiring, but it's heartbreaking. No question. And the other thing I love about him, that I'm learning to love about him is you can hear so many influences. Not just in the lyrics like you're talking about, his storyline is one thing. But every time I hear it, I hear, today I heard Curtis Mayfield, then I hear a little James Brown and then I hear a little Pharrell with the danceable part of it. And I think it's a good example, that's why I say I'm glad we started with this one. I think it's a good example of that sort of discovery, like I said, the kind of thing you might find at a Bonnaroo. You might think you knew what it was. You might have had a prejudice, which I did. First of all, the name sounds like an accountant firm. Not to pick on him, it's a great name. But it does. He's not at all what I thought the name. Well, the name, essentially Korean. He comes from a Korean mother who married a man who eventually tried to beat her to death. And he's still married with him, what, with Anderson watching and his sister, I think, right? This is a little bit of how Anderson describes his own biography. The family situation is, a lot of people go through torn families, but definitely I'm one of them. I had three generations of parents go to prison. So my mom, my step-pops, and my biological pops all sent to prison. By the time I was 17, both my parents were in prison. My biological pops were sent to prison when I was seven. So I grew up in church. I grew up with all sisters, two older sisters, one little sister. And my mom was a workaholic, so I was raised by the TV and just friends and my big sisters. And when he talks about his biological dad, he goes even further. He went from being there every day to him, I only see him a few times a week. And then to the day where he was like, where I saw him literally on top of my mom, really trying to take my mom's life. So it was like tough. That was the last time I seen him. Imagine how that influences someone's entire catalog that they will write, especially when you listen to the song, The Bird, which sounds to me like a guy trying to expel some of the demons. Yeah. You couple that with, I mean, you can just imagine a young person having that happen and then locking themselves alone in a room with their music. You can hear it. I mean, you hear it in what he does. I don't know what it is, but I guess the reason why I love him so much is because he follows a lot of the same threads that most of the artists that I like in my life, that they make lyrics that take you to a completely different life experience than my own. Whether it's depressing, whether it's jubilation, in his case, it's a life that I would never in a million years be able to relate to. But oh my God, when he does it, when he writes it, when he tells the story, he picks me up right by the neck and drops me into his life experience. Yeah. There's a lot of things I like about that song. Exactly what you just said, but then the line, I had to wake up to make it through. Yeah. You know, it could have gone a lot of ways in the environment that he was in. So he has that line I can relate to no matter what my life experience is. Yeah. And it drove him to go to music school. Couldn't make it because he couldn't afford it. Became a TA, played drums on his own. He meets his wife at music school, which is like an ITT for musicians. Goes on and has a child with this wife. They can't afford a life. They're basically homeless. They're squatting in foreclosed houses and eventually writes a song that gets Dr. Dre's ear. And Dr. Dre then invites him into the studio to lay down a few tracks. This is basically what Dre had to say in the words of Anderson Paak. Know anything about Compton or anything that was going on. I was like, I'll show up, you know. And I pulled up and it was I met the DOC and Dre, first two people I meet in the studio. And they start playing the tracks and they're like, yo, hold up, yo, that joint you got swayed. We've been playing that for like three weeks straight. And they played it again and then they brought Dre in there to hear it. And Dre ran it back like three times. After the third time he was ready to work. And that song is what got him into the studio. It's the song that changed his life and eventually became the multi Grammy nominated superman. Superstar of the Year is today. What I would have given for my mother to have given me the advice. You might go broke chasing every chick with a tongue piercing. If only I got that advice when I was 16. You'd be in a different place. All dad ever told me is don't keep your money in your mouth. When you listen to that song, whether it's for you or not for you, what Dre heard was really interesting. This is what Anderson Paak said that Dre said once he heard swayed. This was fascinating to me. He told me he liked the pain in my voice. The pain? Yeah. The pain in your voice. You got a story in your voice. When I hear it, it sounds like you. Only you. He's got a story to tell, that's for sure. Yeah, that is. You hear the pain and I like, you know, just because it's the way I listen to music, the musicality of it. You know, he's a drummer. And that's where he starts from. That's when he's writing songs. He talked about an interview that I heard as actually part of the Showtime Word is Bond documentary that he's part of is that he hears it. He hears the tone and where he fits in the pocket before he writes. For some reason lately, I've done a lot of interviews with songwriters and so the whole process fascinates me. So to hear his approach, they're all different. Nobody does it the same way and really no songs are the same way. But yeah, when you start with that pain and you start with that voice. It's a pretty good foundation. And then you add the musicality that he has. It's interesting that you said playing the drums in the documentary because also in that documentary he reveals that he originally thought he was going to be an emcee. He thought he was going to be like a hardcore rapper. Gangster. He's going to be a gangster emcee and then he in the next breath mentions that radio head's a big influence. Right, right. And the drums are a major part of it. And if you ever see him live, he goes, he's bouncing around the stage. He plays drums a little bit and then he plays, he gets out in the middle of the crowd and then crowd surfs. I saw him at Okeechobee and it was the highlight of my year. It was my favorite live show that I saw. And the song that sticks out live is The Season because he's doing exactly that. When he does The Season in Carry Me, not only is he adding the pain about talking about his mom trying to buy him the new sneakers, but he's doing it with musicality, jumping from one instrument to the next to the next. Yeah, you don't see a lot of guys that are drummers that are also rappers. I can't think of any. It was interesting to see video of him playing drums while singing, performing, not really rapping but more hip hop. It's a different approach. The What Podcast, starring Barry Courter from the Chattanooga Times Free Press and myself, Brad Steiner from WDOD Hits 96 in Chattanooga. It's a deep dive into the artists that are playing Bonnaroo, The What Podcast, which bands that matter this year? You see what we did there? What, which, that, this? It's funny. It's clever. It's available online anytime at thewhatpodcast.com. Hopefully you learned something. Hopefully you like it. If you do, comment. And when you comment, it could mean tickets to Bonnaroo for you. If you're listening to this podcast now, just check out thewhatpodcast.com and you could scroll down to the bottom of the page there right before you see our names. Click when and put your name, your email address, maybe some feedback, maybe something you like, something you don't like. And it could mean tickets for you to Bonnaroo with camping passes, by the way. That's a big deal. It is a big deal. Especially with all the camping upgrades and changes they're making this year to Bonnaroo. It's a different experience than when I camped in general admission 15 years ago. Which was what, a tarp and a couple of bungee cords? It was the Wild West, man. It was the Wild West out there. There was absolutely no way to explain it. It wasn't just madness. It was a tad scary at times for somebody who had never been to a music festival before. I'm glad you said madness because I was thinking Mad Max. If you saw Mad Max, it was worse. Yes, some of the vehicles actually look like those. Mad Max was a day in the park, right? Oh my God. I love it. It was rough. I think that's one of the things we'll get into later on in the series is a little bit more how that has changed. But every year they've made additions, they've made changes, they've made the camping experience better, I think, for most people. But I think you and I have agreed, we've talked about this over and over and over, the camping experience is what makes Bonnaroo. It's what makes it different. It makes it what it is. And I like how you said through the series, yes, we're going to probably do this every week, every week spotlight a different band and artists that's playing Bonnaroo all the way up to the festival. And throughout the weeks, not only do we want to tell you about Bonnaroo and tell you the do's, the don'ts, the good, the bad, the ugly, but we also want to hear what you have to say and anything that you want to give us feedback on at the whatpodcast.com. It is an experience unlike any other. It is something that not only you live with with all of your fellow Bonnaroovians, but you live with with the artists as well. They bring a different show to the stage each and every time because they know it matters to you. That's right. And I think I think we I think part of the reason we want to do this and can do this is because we've sort of gone through that transformation with it as it's grown. That's right. As fans, we probably have complained over the years as much as anybody else. And probably complain more than we've complimented, to be honest with you. Correct. About, you know, accommodations or the lineup or whatever. And I think last year we had an epiphany that we really enjoy that weekend. Yeah. It's it's more than the lineup. It's more than the camping. It's the it's a yearly get to do it again kind of thing with like minded people. And that is such a huge part of it is that you're there because you want to be there and you like music. Yeah. And it's not going to be just any Anderson Pax show that you get. You're going to get the best Anderson Pax show of the year. Because of that, because he knows that people have been camping for three days or however, depending on when he performs. And so they they give a little more. I've done dozens of interviews over the years. And that always comes up, not just from me, but from other reporters that are in maybe the conference call or whatever is is what makes Bonnaroo different. It's just everyone knows it. Everyone feels it. You know, going back to the police when they were there. You remember the expectation was how's it going to be different? It wasn't because Sting wouldn't do it. He wouldn't do anything. But the expectation was that they're going to jam or they're going to do something. And you just get more. Right. Anderson Pax, the focus of this week's The What podcast right up my alley as a kid who does nothing but listen to 60s soul and his favorite band is the Alabama Shakes and still likes independent alternative music. It pretty much blends everything that I love into one sound. I think it's a perfect example of what what you're talking about. That song has some OJs in it. Little backstabber, but it's brand new. And you and I don't always agree on music. I like 60s soul like you do. But some of the new stuff that you might listen to, I think I commented to you once before, why don't I just listen to the original stuff? I listen to Otis or Marvin or whatever. And this is what's different about Anderson for me is that sounds totally fresh just because I hear a little OJs in there. I don't feel like it's a total ripoff that I have to go hear the OJs. I like that it's new. And he's been doing this for a while. When you look at Malibu, you think that this was something that just just popped out of nowhere like, oh my God, look what I just discovered. But no, he had an album that was doing some of the similar things just a few years before called Venice. So the point is from Malibu, it was insanely personal. He wrote a lot about his personal struggles, his life with his parents, his life with his sisters and the struggles that his life took on from age of seven to 30. Well Venice was a little bit different to me. Venice sounds a lot like a 25 year old who is being 25, if you know what that means. A 25 year old good looking dude being 25. It was a little less personal. It was a little bit more, dare I say, drinking and drugs. But it's amazing that the core of him, the core sound of him still remains in that old school R&B, but with that Pharrell kick to it. You hear that youth, the pain from the youth, you hear the church, you hear all that. You hear him locked in the room listening to 60s soul. That song Anderson Pack recorded and released in 2014. La You from his album Venice, which was his first album, his second album, then was Malibu. He will have a new third album coming up this year. You'll probably be hearing new music come Bonnaroo. Yeah. Yeah, come Bonnaroo Weekend. I was just looking, he is Saturday night, head of Cascade, Bon Iver and Eminem. As you know, Saturday night, that's when everybody comes, it's packed, it's crazy. I have to imagine if I'm starting to put on my Bonnaroo scheduling hat for a second, knowing is Bonnaroo the way that we know it. I mean, I've been to 13 Bonnaroo's, you've been to practically all of them. Knowing Bonnaroo the way that we know him, I can't imagine Bonnaroo putting Anderson Pack for his first time ever at Bonnaroo on the what stage, can you? Especially when you have Bon Iver doing two sets that night. Right, right, yeah, which we're going to get into one of our shows, we're trying to guess what he's going to do for two shows. It's the same day. Bon Iver do. Pretty crazy and then yeah, that's going to be the fun. That's a great day Saturday. That's a big day. What else is on Saturday? Ava Staples, who I'm so excited about. A focus of another podcast coming up in the upcoming weeks. Niles Rodgers and Sheik, which will be the fun one. That's one of those. Well, fun for your age people. That's the legacy act for Barry. I always go back to the Lionel Richie thing, just stunned me when that was announced and it's still everybody, a lot of people's favorite. They figure out really strange things to pop in the lineup that always seem to work. That always seems to work. That's exactly right. Sylvan Esso is that day, old Crowe Madison. So maybe, so maybe are we thinking maybe could Anderson Pack be like your Saturday night after Eminem? Oh yeah, could be. On which? Could be. Do you think that they would put Anderson Pack late night after? Like they did with Kanye the year that was such a disaster. But it was a late after show. Right, but you know they're going to put Cascade on the new EDM stage. That's going to be the headliner for the EDM. You got to imagine that. But there could be, I can't find another artist that you just named that would go on after Eminem on which. No, that's a good thought. That's the R. Kelly slot from a few years ago. That would be a good show, wouldn't it? That would be a phenomenal late night show. I saw him in the middle of the afternoon at Okeechobee. It was great, but it ain't one o'clock in the morning. After Eminem, everybody, yeah that would be cool. I don't know, that's what we get to speculate in the coming weeks, don't we? Is how the schedule's going to line up. Anderson Pack, the focus of this week's The What Podcast. Yes Lord! Yes Lord! Yeah. By the way, do you know why he puts the dots right before Pack and Anderson Pack? I do not. All right, well. Because they slept on me for so long, so now they got to pay attention to everything now. Every little detail they got to pay attention to because he got slept on for so long. Not getting slept on anymore, a headliner at his first ever Bonnaroo. That is a big, big deal. You know, I was thinking, funny you ask about the dot, I thought last year we should have had like a category that, or a contest. Is this act a one person act? Or a group? Is that a person's name or not? I couldn't tell. Because you can't tell half the time. Anderson Pack, this week's focus on The What Podcast. As we go through the weeks that get closer to Bonnaroo 2018, we're going to try and focus on some of your favorites. If you want to shoot us a suggestion, thewhatpodcast.com, also a place you can register for tickets for Bonnaroo 2018. Maybe focus on Bon Iver's two sets. Maybe Mavis Staples. Maybe we'll do a Sylvan Esso week, a Moon Taxi week. Maybe we'll do some themes. Give us your suggestion down to whatpodcast.com. Yeah, I'd like some questions too, because there'll be people like us that are veterans and maybe some new people that want to know how to do this. Everyone I think has a perception of what they think Bonnaroo is, and if you've never been, your perception is probably wrong. That's Barry Courter. I'm Brad Steiner. Thank you to our web developer Lord Taco, the lord of tweeting and communicating online. Graphic genius Nick Turner. Who else? Do we need to thank anyone else? Nicky T's the man. All right. Thank you for listening this week to The What Podcast. See you next week. Hey, hey, hey, hey. How y'all feeling? Journey through the stories that define the artist playing Bonnaroo. Who are they? What are they? What are they? What are they? What are they? What are they? What are they? What are they? What will you see? The what? Which bands? This year, that matters. Yay. With Brad Steiner and Barry Courter.