Brad and Barry discuss all things Lizzo and we have an added bonus with Brad's interview with the rising superstar back in May.
Melissa Vivian Jefferson, 31 years old and taking over the world.
And your Bonnaroo headliner it this year.
She's on a mission. She keeps making new fans, new friends.
It is remarkable how in less than a year you have people who do not know who Billie Eilish is, but know who Lizzo is. It's very strange.
Yeah, or maybe vice versa, I don't know.
I was watching the news this morning, they were like doing like the whole let's talk about the Grammys thing.
And they said, yeah I'm not familiar with this Billie Eilish.
But the guy who was, you know, maybe your age, knew everything about Lizzo.
Everything you could know about Lizzo had it all.
He's probably the same one when they announced the Bonnaroo lineup, his co-host, co-anchor asked if he was gonna go.
And he said, I've had a DNA test and I'm 100% too old.
Oh, that's pretty good.
It was good. I was like, that's funny. That's good.
Now, of course Lizzo, our headliner, she won three.
She got three last night at the, by the way, we're doing this on a Monday.
So, you know, Grammy's fresh in our mind, but she gets three Grammys last night.
Hardly eight and hardly the five or so that Billie Eilish got.
But, you know, it's still enormously impressive for someone. Yeah, it's impressive that an 18 year old wins, you know, a boatload of Grammys.
That's impressive. But Lizzo was living in her car.
Living in her car.
It's a tremendous story. No question about it.
And you and I went on and on a couple episodes ago when we announced, you know, the lineup.
I think people are gonna be blown away by this show as you have impressed to me.
Because you've seen it.
You're gonna throw your back out, Dan.
You're gonna throw your back out.
I'm already doing the yoga. That and the, yeah, the other, yeah, the mosh pit, the tool and the EDM stuff that I'm gonna have to go do.
Man, you are gonna be looking in shape come June 20th.
That or that Saturday morning I'm gonna be in traction.
Dead. By the way, that's Barry Courter. I'm Brad Steiner.
This is the What Podcast, a podcast for Bonnarooians by Bonnarooians.
If you're listening on Spotify, on your iTunes or any of your devices stores or watching this on YouTube, you can find it at the what.co or the whatpodcast.com.
I know we want to spend some time on Lizzo today because, you know, she has meant, at least to me, I think that she is the perfect zeitgeist of what this festival is supposed to be.
And that's what we sort of said in like the lineup behind the scenes show with the AC Entertainment guys.
But I, more than just that, more than she's just the zeitgeist of the festival, she's the zeitgeist of the entire culture right now.
And, you know, what I saw in her in October of 2017 is that she was filling a part of the community, especially the female community, that really wasn't being served by many people.
I think certainly female, but beyond that. It's just a great story.
Living in a car, you know, the body positive, she's just a happy person and she gives off that energy.
Let me be honest with you, we're going to play a clip for you here a little bit later on the show that's going to prove how much that is so real.
That is the realest thing you can imagine.
And it's come from a real place with her because, you know, when she when she was a kid, she grew up in Detroit and then she had moved to Houston, went to University of Houston, studied classical music and learned how to play the flute, became a flautist.
Yeah, that's a, which by the way sounds so delicious, a flautist.
Yeah, I know. It sounds like it should have powdered sugar on it or something.
But that's, I mean, you know, we all spend too much time on YouTube watching videos, but that's a great one of her going back to her school.
Oh, University of Houston?
Yeah, and talking to those students and I mean that's the kind of thing you see that and you get the sense of the energy that we're talking about and who she is and the realness.
I mean, she's had an unbelievable year. And to see where she's come from. It's fun to me to see those kind of things.
Here's what's nuts is like I know you have had young children and you now have another generation of young children in your life.
She was when she was 14, she had something called the something click the cornrow click.
That was the name of her band when she was 14.
And I always think of 14 year olds whenever they decide to do anything. I usually always say, good luck with that.
You'll do great.
You know, believe in them for a second because it's just so rare how it actually happens.
You know, if I had a kid that was 14 and in the cornrow click, I don't necessarily think that I would.
Yeah, I don't know if she's going anywhere.
Well, that's it.
This is why I'm not a father by that's right.
And I'm going to sound like a father. But all you can do is sort of be supportive.
I mean, I can remember both of mine saying, hey, I want a guitar.
And I've been through that enough to know don't spend a whole lot of money on a guitar.
The more you spend, the less time they're going to spend practicing.
That's a good point.
But you don't want to get one that's crap.
You know, if it doesn't play, they won't play it.
So probably so many parents out there have those stories of, yeah, I bought them an instrument.
They wanted to be in band. Well, that lasts about a week.
Or they lose it. You know, I forgot I left it on the bus or it's heavy or, you know, whatever.
So those stories for me when you hear from an artist who said I knew from the very beginning what I wanted to do.
And by golly, they've done it well, like Billie Eilish.
I mean, she and her brother have been doing that for six, seven years.
I guess I get it. It's just it's hard.
I don't know. Maybe it's not hard.
I mean, I walked around the house and I was a kid doing nothing but a radio show.
I want to be a preacher, too.
Yeah, that's that's we're not talking about.
But I thought that I was going to walk around the house just doing Dave Letterman jokes.
And I was walking around just doing standup comedy material.
I was like, oh, if one day I could just do this on the radio, I'm going to feel OK.
But that actually is a real story for for somebody like Lizzo.
You know, she goes to college.
She her dad dies and she's got to sort of like figure it all out.
And at 21, she's living in her car.
She moves to Minneapolis and then she gets in with like a trio of women,
one of which is now still like one of her backup dancers.
I think the other one is is her DJ.
I can remember the story correctly.
And then she gets the eye of Prince and Prince finds her and gets her to to collaborate on a song with some other.
I don't actually have to figure out and ask her if she actually met Prince.
I can't remember exactly if she had met Prince before.
I'll have to ask her. In fact, I should have done that before this.
But but then, you know, she goes through struggle after struggle and she's on the road with Harmar Superstar.
Now, if you don't know her, I in fact, I think the Harmar has been to Bonnaroo a few times.
But Harmar is a really weird, weird band.
I think it's great. I think he's terrific, but it's mostly up and down the Minnesota circuit.
And she was just his backup singer for a very long time.
And then she gets signed by Atlantic Records.
She puts out an album on Virgin, but then she gets signed to Atlantic Records.
And here's the crazy part.
And I don't know if I'm supposed to say this, so please don't go too crazy with it.
But she was signed for an amount of money that is it's it's not an amount of money.
I mean, when it comes down to this, when you hear the amount of money that most people are signed at, you know what?
I probably shouldn't say the number, but it's not an amount of money.
And that's what's so crazy about it.
I think that even the label started to get nervous and not know what to do a little bit because it just wasn't.
I mean, she peaked with her first album with Atlantic on Coconut Oil at like forty four on the R&B chart.
I don't see nobody else.
Excuse me while I feel myself.
Excuse me while I feel myself.
And then something just happened.
She goes on the RuPaul Drag Show and the audience connects with her and she connects with that with that part of the country and that lifestyle.
And then it all starts moving.
She records because I love you.
She puts out juice and I find her in October.
I find her October of twenty seventeen.
And this is for you guys watching.
I hope you can enjoy this.
But this is her sending me a video.
I played juice for the first time in the country.
And this is the video she sends me shortly thereafter.
Listen to this. Hi, Brad.
Thank you so much for playing juice.
You know how lit that is.
That's so special.
You're going to be one of the first people ever when this song is all over the world.
You can say that you were the first mother f**ker that played my song.
So thank you so much.
That means the world to me.
Thank you for helping me make all my dreams come true.
That was October of twenty seventeen or twenty eighteen.
And she's like that spirit has not changed to today.
But what do you let me ask you, what do you think did change?
You said she was couldn't find her groove, couldn't find whatever.
And that's always the thing with artists because they got somebody in their ear so often telling them you should do this.
You know, whatever the hot thing is, go this route, go that route for somebody of any age.
To find it and say this is what I'm going to do and then have it work.
I mean, what do you think changed?
Was it just the RuPaul show?
She found, you know, she felt that energy coming back.
Was she just mature enough all of a sudden to do what she wanted to do?
What do you think it is?
I think it's a little bit of that.
I mean, I've done enough of these interviews.
It always takes somebody.
You know, there's how many of we artists and I'm thinking for some reason of committee.
And you know, they'll struggle for years and then they find something.
Rodney Dangerfield is the classic example.
You know, he was well into his what 40s, 50s before he hit artists.
The ones that come out and know early on who and what they are is pretty amazing.
But do you but you've done this long enough to know that it also has mostly to do with luck and timing.
And you know, she's been in she was living in Minneapolis.
I've often wondered the rarity are the bands and artists that come out of, you know,
Podunk wherever versus if you're playing in and around a Minneapolis, a New York, a Detroit, you know what good looks like.
Yeah. You know what I mean?
You also you also have a North Star in Minneapolis that just in case just in case Prince might happen to catch wind of who you are.
Yeah. You better not be screwing around.
It better be good. You better be good.
You better up your game. And and that's part of what I'm saying, too.
It's like Nashville. Nashville puts the same pressure on you, right?
That pressure is there in Austin.
You know, it's not there, say in Louisville.
No. And I want to I don't remember who said it, but one of the interviews I did recently,
a guy was talking about moving to Nashville from some small town and and, you know, goes drives in with all the confidence in the world
and then realizes, you know, he's waiting tables and realizes I'm not even the best guitar player at this restaurant on this staff, you know, much less.
But you see that level, you see it in, you know, in sports where kids got to go play against the best in the country before they know they're good or not type of thing.
So I don't know. I think that they see it.
They rise to that level. But somebody like Lizzo, who is so unusual and so different, I mean, I guess RuPaul makes as much sense to be a role model as anybody I can think of.
It's interesting. I mean, she would she would point to Missy Elliott being her biggest role model because Missy was doing it in a time where not many really powerful, strong black women were able to exist.
But I'm glad that you asked that question, because when she came to town, luckily, after she played or I played juice, she came and played a free show in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
And I was the only person that she came and did this for. She canceled all of the shows, all the promos, all the free shows that she was going to do for this radio tour, mainly because by February, you know, some things happened.
Coachella hit, you know, the Met Gala hit and she just exploded. And somewhere around March and April, I could start to feel like the label saying, we don't know if we can make this show happen.
And she canceled everything that's not paid because they felt it moving. They felt it blowing up.
And luckily, she held her word. They they came to Chattanooga, did a free show. She was sick as a dog.
She did two songs for free in front of 350 people. And before it, I'm sorry, after the show, I asked her somewhat of that question.
Do you want to hear the interview? Because it might be a tad graphic.
Again, that's her. It is just so. So, yeah, be aware. Yeah.
But here you go. This is Lizzo. If you're driving the kids to school, better hit the pause. I'll edit it.
I want to make sure it's a it's friendly-ish. Get tough conversation.
You'll see why. This is me and Lizzo in Chattanooga back in May. Hi Lizzo. Hi. Hi. I couldn't be more proud of you.
It's quite amazing what you've been through the last few months. Oh, and yes. And shall you run the Jules pin? Damn right.
That's right. Run it. You know what you know what that is? But your guess. That is LP. OK.
Well, I just like Killer Mike. I did too. I did too. Because we like Bernie.
So the last few months, this is surprising to you.
Well, no, it's just exciting. And I think that my whole life, you know, I've been creating music and I've been performing shows.
So I've always felt really successful. I think that's my definition of success.
But as my music started to help people and help, you know, change how people felt and made it more positive,
one of my goals was for my music to finally reach as many people as possible. So that's what I'm feeling more.
I'm overwhelmed with pride. And I'm just so proud of the fact that people are they want to be happier.
They want to love themselves. That's the only reason why my music is catching on.
That's the only reason why truth hurts is on the charts right now, because everyone wants to be 100 percent that bitch.
You know what I mean? Am I 100 percent that bitch? Can I be that? Of course you are.
So I find this to be so inspiring because I don't. And I said this earlier. It's part Beyonce, part Oprah.
I mean, you're testifying on stage and you're teaching life lessons.
That's got to come from an enormous place of strength and security from you.
I wonder if you ever get insecure, if you ever get worried, if you ever get fearful.
Well, I mean, I'm actually learning on site. So, yes, thank you.
Believe it or not, what I'm saying on stage isn't to people, but it's with people. It's conversational.
I'm learning new things every night on stage about myself and about how to manage my life better.
Like on this tour, I actually had a really rough start coming straight from Coachella.
And I had been beating myself up because of Coachella and technical difficulties.
And then I was sick immediately. And I was just like, oh, my God, this sucks.
Like, I'm not I'm not going to be good enough. I'm not going to sing good enough. I feel bad.
I wish I could be 100. So I actually was at a pretty low point.
And I would have conversations with the crowds in the first few shows and just try to figure out what the f*** was going on.
And like, how can I build myself back up from this low point that I was at?
And when as I was talking to them, I realized that that is a part of it. That's a part of self-love.
That's a part of self-care. It's why we do so much self-care, because when we're beating ourselves up
and when it's actually not all sunshine and roses, we have this foundation that we've laid down to help pick us back up a little easier.
So I found myself able to bounce back from my low point on this tour way quicker.
So other than other than doing therapy on stage with an audience, where do you where do you go for inspiration?
Where do you go in low moments? Who do you turn to? Because, I mean, I just watched 300 people turn to you.
Last night in Nashville, I saw a thousand people turn to you. Who do you turn to?
Real therapy. My therapist. I'm just kidding.
Shout out to Gail. My girl Gail.
Who Gail King.
Well, you know, I have a really amazing group of people around me that my best friends also tour with me.
And they were my best friends before we toured.
And then a lot of the people who tour with me have become my best friends from the dancers to my glam team.
So we're all on the same path. We all want to be more positive minded, self loving, happier people.
So when you have a group of people like that around you, there's no way any of that can darkness can exist.
They're going to get rid of that so quick. And sometimes, you know, I think it's just communicating, learning how to open up your mouth and just say how you feel,
which has been really hard for me my whole life.
And I don't know. I think it's because and I said this last night, like, you know, I was taught to be very strong and hold back my emotions to make sure everyone else is comfortable when I was little.
And it's a part of being a black woman, too. Like, we're so strong. We take so much on. And it's this inherent thing.
It's this very innate thing. But then it's also this socially taught thing from young age.
So I was the baby in the family, but I was always the rock and I would hold things down.
And but the older I get, the more I realize I was repressed and I didn't get to express myself. I didn't get to cry.
I didn't. But if I didn't get to cry, that means I didn't get to really fully love and I didn't get to really fully laugh and really fully be angry.
I didn't allow myself the spectrum of emotions. Yeah. You can't be just safe all the time.
And I think that my friends around me allow me to go to those extremes without turning their backs on me.
And they embrace that because they know that I'm late to the party. I'm late to the emotions party.
But you're there anyway. That's all that matters. You're at the party. That's all that matters.
And that goes into every song that you write. There is a distinct message every time that you seem to not just speak, but sing.
There's a common thread through it all. Well, thank you. And it's my voice. That's what it is.
And I'm on this journey to find my voice. And I'm on this journey to love myself.
And so I think that that's just if you don't love yourself, who will? Who the hell going to love you? Can I get an amen?
I'm just kidding. That sounds insane. What does RuPaul say? You're asking me.
OK, wait, if you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen? That's it, right?
Don't put that first part in there where I butchered RuPaul. I'm trying to get back on the show.
But exactly. And that's that was the first half of my messaging.
On the coconut oil tours, I would always be like, you need to love yourself and fill yourself up with yourself so that you can be better to the people around you.
And that's what I was trying to learn. But we're taking it a step further now where it's like you need to be complete with yourself and be your own soulmate and stop searching for something outside of yourself and stand still in yourself.
So that you can attract all of that love that is purposed for you.
Everything that you deserve, all that good that's floating around that's waiting for you is attracted to you once you're just in love with yourself.
You might have just now come to the party, but you're billowing through the party.
I mean, you're running through it with like a chair almost and swinging it because I mean, I don't know when you got there, but boy, you're there and it's exuded from you.
And I think that's I think that's the magnetic part of you. And that's the reason why we love you so much.
Well, I mean, it took my whole life to get to the Met Gala, but I went and I shut that down.
So the funniest video I've ever seen is walking through the airport with that jacket on.
That was great. What was the rental cost that extra day?
No, that's my coat. My name. They gave it to it. It's yours.
It's a big mistake. This is Lizzo Met Gala 2019. You carry it with you everywhere you go now.
It's literally inside my. It's like a pond.
I was going to I was going to ask to wear it, but you still can't.
My juice is delicious. Blame it on my juice.
You know, you was playing the song first. My juice.
I appreciate it so much. I love you so much. And I said this on stage.
You're the best part of the industry. You're the best.
You represent everything. It's great with humanity. We need so many more of you.
So I love you to death. That's the goal.
The goal is to just represent me and so that other people can believe in the me in themselves so that they can do this too.
I love you. Thank you so much. No glory. Let's go.
Boy, I really, really wanted to wear that jacket.
I'd like to see you in that. Would you?
That would not be something I'd want the wife of yours to walk in on.
No, that's funny. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, we talked about this similar sort of thing in the last episode with the AC guys is how labels and management, how they know, how are they able to predict six months out a year out?
Obviously, with her, I mean, you can you can almost see the energy around her. But still, well, look, this is what the manager said to me when she came to town.
She said, we think that we're going to be doing. No, no. She said, we know we're going to be doing arenas by the end of this tour.
Man, that is I sort of laughed at it. You know, I'm saying I mean, I love I love you, Liz.
Oh, but I did not see that coming. They just felt it. They knew it.
I think that they built it on the data thing that we were talking about last week with the with the AC guys.
You know, they were seeing how quickly the shows were selling out, what the return on when they came back to a city was and how they could find almost the exact same.
Group and we're seeing the audience expand in a way that look, she comes to that week that she came to Chattanooga.
And then I interviewed her shortly thereafter. I went to see her in Atlanta just a couple of days later.
Barry is the tabernacle. And if you've ever been in the tabernacle, if you're upstairs, you basically see down onto the crowd.
I have never in I don't know, twenty five years of going to shows. I have never heard a louder crowd in my life.
Yeah, you came back that next day and we're talking about what?
Three hundred white people twerking or whatever the number was.
It was a couple of. Yeah. And Chattanooga. Yeah, it was about three hundred fifty.
But let me know that Tabernacle is a thousand tabernacle. Yeah.
So and first of all, I got to make fun of you and then I'll ask you.
I'll give you the credit. But we should say that this is the first of what?
Many of Brad's BFF. Oh, yeah. Stories that we're probably going to, you know. Yeah.
I got I'm in a tough spot this year. I'm in a tough spot.
It's fine. And it's my job to, you know, level me out.
You know, you can't bring your brain down.
You're a real Corleone. You know that somebody's got to do it.
But I mean, to me, this is sort of interesting.
Obviously, with hindsight, she's a star. She's a superstar.
But no one was playing her before you did.
And, you know, I've teased you about you discovered her.
She was probably going to be discovered. She was going to do just fine.
She was going to do fine. Yeah. But what was it?
I mean, for you know, this is sort of inside baseball, but that's what we're here for.
This podcast. What was it?
I mean, you probably get the same as I do. A hundred CDs or pitches or whatever.
What was it about that? Well, why then and why not?
You know, six months later, six months earlier, whatever.
Well, radio is funny in that most radio stations can't take many chances.
They can't go out on limbs and just play whatever they they find on a blog and enjoy.
I've been a really lucky situation.
I was able to basically craft a radio station however I wanted it,
mainly because, you know, we were in a really interesting pocket of the industry
and that we weren't owned by a large corporation and local control was basically just me.
So if I found something that I really, really liked,
I could throw it on and just have fun with it and see what happened.
I mean, it's happened with a couple of other artists.
But like I said that day on stage is we took a lot of chances at the radio station,
a lot of chances on artists playing a lot of, you know, just nonsense that Brad just happened to like.
Now I'm having to work into a confines of a top 40 format,
which means, you know, 95 percent of this is going to be already dictated to me by what the chart position and, you know,
you know, where most streams are coming from and sales are coming from.
But there are a few that we've hit.
There's a few that we got lucky on.
And when we started playing Lizzo, you could just start seeing her pop up in the Spotify locals or the Shazam locals.
You could start finding her popping up on the sales charts where I'll never forget the first week we played her.
I mean, you get one to 200 on the sales chart, right?
Or the stream chart, one to 200 out of nowhere.
Lizzo juice was like 112.
And I'm not giving her me a lot of airplay.
It's it's, you know, some overnight and a couple of night tracks.
I mean, I maybe played her 10 times, 15 times that first week.
And even there you could see it pop up. Somebody streamed it.
Somebody bought it in Chattanooga.
So then played it a little bit more the next week.
And it went to like 80 from like 120 to 80.
And then by the third week, it was in the top 30 of Chattanooga, no matter if it was streamed, no matter if it was sold.
And then the Shazam, you can you can narrow down exactly into your market.
Who's Shazam and what?
And from the moment we played it, Lizzo was like one of the top 10 Shazam songs of the entire city.
And that's what these guys are looking at on a very small level, right?
When they try to find out what's a hit, what's working and what's not, they use markets like Chattanooga and they use markets around the country that they can, you know, test some things out just to see if they can build a story.
And then that story, they can sell to other markets and bigger cities and hopefully then it becomes a groundswell.
We just got lucky. It was going to hit.
Now, what happens with Juice is that Juice is such a fun song and such a great song.
But, you know, Netflix comes around and they've got this movie that is, you know, it's a chick flick.
And it is about female empowerment and it's about, you know, girls sort of taking over their life and reowning their life.
And, you know, Truth Hurts finds its place in that movie.
Now, Truth Hurts is a song that's four years old, you know, but they put it in this Netflix movie and all hell breaks loose.
And I'll never forget the call from the label.
They called up and they said, hey, we're going to switch singles because what's happening with Truth Hurts is, I mean, we can't deny it.
We have to go on this right now.
So we're going to abandon a single that was top 25 that was moving.
And they go to Truth Hurts all because they saw the data.
They started seeing how it was reacting and they could not hold it back.
And within 12 weeks, it was a number one single.
See, it's interesting how all this dovetails to what our conversations for the last two episodes.
I mean, those guys like you, it's their job.
Your job every day was to find these kinds of, well, you could have easily just done the market thing, you know, taking what the data said.
But you had that leeway to do that that five percent and same with Steve and Brian.
But it comes with being clued in and on top of things.
You know, there's there is a lot of luck.
Like, you know, when they if they're talking about booking somebody like that a year and a half ago or having on the radio or radar that that they have to be pretty good at what they're doing because they couldn't have predicted three Grammys.
You know, nobody can predict that they couldn't have predicted the movie, you know, for a four year old song.
That's what I mean. It's that combination of luck, timing.
But as you kept pointing out last week, taking advantage of the moment.
Look, look, they get exactly that's what they said.
But again, you know, I don't think any one of us are under any sort of notion that anybody watched that show when she came to Bonnaroo in whatever year that was, looked at that and said, you know what?
She's going to be headlining this festival in a couple of years.
I don't know if anybody said that. And, you know, I know it's their job to, you know, say certain things and promote certain things.
But I really want to know the truth when I ask them, do you like everything you book?
I mean, do you like everything like I know it's the best interest of the festival, but there are got to be some bands you're like, oh, this sucks.
I think they admitted that there were some that don't fall into their, you know, their bailiwick.
It's probably not what they listen to.
Wow. Put the right that one down, kids.
I have really do need to do this quiz.
Is that something I need to get checked out at the doctor?
They're they're they're Lane.
I'll take my bailiwick to ye olde town store.
Here's later today.
I got to keep telling you that.
Hang on a second.
I'm getting a text message from Bailey Wick.
My friend, his name is.
It would be a good name.
What you say, boy?
You're trying to play court like a game, boy.
Hit my phone, boy.
Is your homeboy?
Are you a long boy?
Come give me a don't boy.
Got a boy with degrees, a boy in the streets, a boy on his knees.
He a man in the sheets.
It's all Greek to me.
Got this boy speaking Spanish.
Baby, I don't need you.
I just want to freak you.
I heard you were free too.
What's two plus two?
Make a girl go crazy.
Make a girl go crazy.
Make a girl go crazy.
I like big boys, itty bitty boys, Mississippi boys and the city boys.
I like the pretty boys with the bowtie.
Get your nails did.
Let it blow dry.
I like a big beard.
I like a clean face.
I don't discriminate.
Come and get a taste from the playboys to the gay boys.
Go and slay boys.
You my playboys.
We've heard from some folks that EDM is probably not everybody on that staff's favorite thing.
There are some of them that are...
Probably why they hire somebody else to do it.
And why they probably never even walked by that tent.
But they were smart enough to see that was going to be a big demand and it's done very,
very well for them.
That's just one example.
There's no way they can like everything.
And even you and I have...
As we talked about last week, they've earned that trust where I might walk by a show and
say it's not for me, but I can see where it's good.
At least where it's honest and well done type of thing.
I don't get the feeling...
I don't know that I've ever gotten the feeling from seeing a show there that somebody bought
their way on that lineup.
You know what I mean?
They don't belong, but a favor was owed or a check was written.
I never have gotten that feeling.
Well, I mean you also haven't seen every artist that's ever played.
You know, look, I got to take them at their word when they say they haven't done a favor
to put somebody on the lineup.
I can't imagine them having to do that in the last few years.
I mean, I don't necessarily see them telling me exactly the truth 10 years ago.
I mean, they may not even know.
They might not even know what favors were called in by a live nation or somebody like
That's what I was going to say.
It's not just always been the two guys.
So yeah, we have no idea.
So as far as the Grammys as a whole, what'd you think?
Would you think of the winners as it relates to the Bonnaroo lineup?
I thought it looked good for Bonnaroo.
I also felt like, and I don't know how you are, I mean it's your job with radio, but
there are years when I look at the list and say, I don't know any of these people.
Never heard of.
That didn't happen this year.
I felt like I knew...
Did you attribute that to strength?
Or do you, when you say that you know them, is that saying that they were good?
That's a good question.
The grumpy old man cynic in me says, yeah, they don't make music like they did when I
was kind of wah, wah.
That's a good question.
I don't really know because I just thought of that this morning when I was reading back
over the list.
I was like, I know.
Of the five or six nominees, there were maybe one or two that I really was not familiar
with their music.
I try because it's my job to sort of stay up with it.
See, that is one difference between say me, generically, and the AC guys.
They have to listen to everything.
I just want to listen to everything.
I don't really need to.
I can very easily do this job and not listen to most anything.
I can really zombie my way through this and get a pretty healthy lifestyle.
But no, I just choose to.
These guys have to.
That's what we were talking about last week.
At what point do you just like, I am so done.
Well, the other thing is, you pick on me because I have memory lapses or whatever where I can't
remember somebody or think.
One of my fears as a music writer is you'll ask me, hey, do you like X, whatever.
You're asking me about a Chinese dish and I'm thinking it's a musician or vice versa.
I don't ever want to be the, oh yeah, I like that a lot.
Then come to find out it's a made up name.
My favorite new band is Pad Ke Mao.
What do you think about them?
I love them, man.
Love that first album.
Sweet and Sour Chicken.
I've done it and I've seen people do it.
The inclination is, yeah, I've heard of them.
Then you come to find out it's all made up.
That is such a weird thing that your natural inclination would ever, because you're in
the world that you're in and I guess I fall prey to this too, is to immediately say, of
course I know who they are.
Of course I love them.
Heard of them.
Then I listen to them and I'm like, God, that's terrible.
Why did I say I like this?
At least they exist.
That's what I'm talking about.
So but as far as Bonnaroo people, that's what the question was.
I sort of took this in, at least in the industry wide, I think that the natural consensus was
it was a very weak year and that's why it was able for certain people to do as well
as they were.
I mean, that's a great point.
Maybe those years where I hadn't heard of a lot of people is because it was a huge field,
whereas this one maybe it's just a few people.
That's a good point.
I kept watching last night thinking Grammy night when we talked about last night.
I kept watching.
I love her.
I'm a huge her fan and she was my album of the year vote, my Grammy vote for two years
But I was still remarking, I kept watching.
How in the world has she not played the farm yet?
How is her not played the biggest music festival on the planet?
Every time I keep, I have thought about the same thing that Steve said maybe 20 times
since we've been in Knoxville.
When he was talking about them approaching someone, going back and forth with someone
and just not working out.
And then at the end of that sentence, he slips up and he says, and we'll probably have her
Yeah, maybe it'll work.
I have been racking my brain to figure out who that would be.
I mean, if I'm just spit balling and guessing, I say to myself, Lady Gaga, because it's off
cycle for her.
It wouldn't make sense necessarily, but they would really try to get her on.
Would it be a Taylor Swift?
That doesn't really make sense.
Then I can go to the rock side and try and find like a, by the way, Bonnie Raitt was
great last night.
Tonya Tucker was great last night.
Brandy Carlisle was great last night.
I go on that side of it and see if there's somebody on there that they're trying to talk
I just, something has been really bugging me about that sentence.
I want to say this and then we can come back to that, but it's so funny.
One of the best lines I ever heard was after Steven Tyler, because you texted last night
and said, this Aerosmith Run DMC thing is terrible.
That was one of the worst things I've ever watched.
Somebody made a comment when he first started judging on the talent show that he looks like
a Dennis first ex-wife.
I just think that's the best line.
You've been using that for years, haven't you?
It was unwatchable.
When you say, when you look down the line, you're like, oh, these young people, they
don't make music like I had in my day.
You know what, young people, kids, if parents have ever said that to you, put on the video
of Aerosmith and Run DMC from the 2020 Grammys and walk out of the room.
They will never say another word to you about the garbage that you listened to.
That was un-listenable last night.
There's a lot of truth to that.
There's a lot of things that just shouldn't be redone.
That was probably one of them.
It just felt like such a force.
Especially, I don't know how they do it without Jam Master Jay.
That just seemed wrong.
Then you had the big win for Vampire Weekend.
You've had Billie Eilish and the Bonnaroo vet that she is at this point.
When you start looking at the people who win, maybe that's exactly what they're looking
Maybe they see a Billie Eilish for 2021.
Maybe they see a her for 2021.
Maybe they start taking this crop.
Maybe Yola, who's a best new artist, and we'll spend an episode later on in the season talking
Maybe they take a Yola and this year she's on what they would call a cafe stage or a
Friday early slot.
She turns into something that could get any bigger.
That's the beauty of this whole thing.
We didn't really ask them that question specifically, did we?
Do they look at things like Grammys?
Are they sitting there with a notepad writing down names?
Does it matter?
Does it work against an artist?
Now your fee bumps up substantially because you have that behind you.
I don't know.
I just keep thinking about the timing of it all.
That's the part that I can't wrap my head around.
It's hard for you to foresee that far in the future.
You're 16 months away and you're just like, how are you going to predict the cycle?
This is what my point was to you last week when we did the recap to the behind the scenes
That's the part that freaks me out.
You're confused by it.
It freaks me out that this whole thing, this whole machine might be ran without my input
whatsoever as a consumer.
That scares me.
It makes me think that some of the things, and it goes back to the Grammy controversy
of when she came out and said that the whole thing's rigged.
There's some irregularities that I can even tell you that are weird when it comes to nominating
people and there is a huge political thing when it comes to nominating people.
And even voting in and of itself is strange when you get your ballot.
Do you know that you can only vote for a certain amount of categories?
You can't vote for all of them.
You only get like 10 that you can actually vote in.
Is that, you think, because they don't think anybody has the capacity to be well versed
in more than 10?
I think they want to control the mechanism.
And the other thing too is not everybody that's a Grammy voter gets access to the entire ballot.
So if you are a classical composer and you have enough credits and you can get your endorse
and you're in the Grammy voting thing and then you go to put your vote in, you may not
be able to do Best New Artist.
You may not be able to vote for Record of the Year, Album of the Year because it's outside
of your sphere of-
Yeah, that's what I'm saying.
It makes some sense.
Yeah, what does, maybe they do, we know a few people, but what does a hip hop fan know
about classical music, Best New, you know, Chykovsky remake?
That makes sense and vice versa.
But it does cause a lot of problems.
I mean, it causes a lot of problems and it just makes the whole system feel strange.
And maybe that's part of why I'm struggling and we kept asking Brian and Steve so much
about process and how much they know and can plan is I guess the cynic in me is my whole
life I just thought the Grammys were rigged.
It's all I've ever heard that the label buys it, you know, it's preordained.
This is the political problem we have in this country.
You know, they're all terrible, they're all corrupt.
So might as well just not trust any of them.
Yeah, because you know, as a music fan, I would hear an album that I love that got no
awards, no nominations and then you know something that sold a lot of records that was terrible
You know, it is weird that we do awards the way that we do awards on the music side of
it because when you look at the film and the television side of it, when you look at the
visual arts, they really pare down the award shows almost to the letter.
You've got the sag that is primarily an acting, an Actors Guild thing.
You've got the Oscars, which is for basically ratings and show.
You've got a Golden Globes, you got a TV, you got a daytime Emmy, you got a nighttime
Emmy, you've got, they break it down into sub genres, but yet we don't do that with music.
Like give me the Grammy equivalent for something that, or not even the Grammy equivalent, give
me the Emmy equivalent in music.
Well, there have been those controversies.
Who was it, Metallica that won, what was it they won when they, or Jethro Tull won best
heavy metal band.
Because they weren't going to give it to whoever else, somebody was trying to control it.
And that's, I guess it's those kinds of things that have always made me feel like, yeah,
I mean, they didn't even have a urban or rap award for years.
That was a big controversy.
So, but the other side of it, sorry to interrupt, is if it's not popular, why give it an award?
I could sort of see that argument.
I mean, if something sells 20 million records, are you going to keep it out of at least being
Those are the questions that-
But this is why I, and you give me such hell about this, but this is why I said to you
in front of Ashley, in front of Ashley Caps, I said, Ashley, I think that you saved music.
Because I think that what Bonnaroo did-
I give you hell because that was your opening salvo in the bourbon tent.
That was, hi, I'm Brad.
I like to start big.
I like to start big.
I like to leave an impression.
No, I think that it created an entire genre of music and allowed artists to exist in a
space that didn't require major commercial radio play, major album sales, and major tours.
They could survive on just a festival circuit.
That is amazing.
And Bonnaroo created the ability to have a festival circuit.
You know, it's not a Coachella and Lollapalooza.
Give me a place where festivals existed.
Bonnaroo was the ability to-
Right, live music did not exist outside really of the giant arenas or the tiny rooms.
The 10,000s, the 12,000s, the 3,000s were going nowhere.
It was all hip hop.
It was all studio stuff.
You know, the bands that actually were getting out and performing live were struggling.
They were living in vans going up and down their circuit.
I totally agree that Bonnaroo-
In my own, I've said this many, many times.
I was stuck in that rut.
I mean, I was tired of going to our arena and seeing the same show, whether it was a
hair band or a country band.
It was the same show.
That second or third year coming back from Bonnaroo and realizing, man, I just saw 20
bands that I, you know, 15 of them I would not have seen or heard of before because they
don't sell records.
They don't appear on any of our local radio stations for whatever reason.
It just completely re-energized and not just me, obviously.
A lot of people, the discovery thing became new again.
You know what I mean?
Bonnaroo for me became, I don't know however many bands on this lineup and that's the best
That's what I'm excited about.
But now we live in a culture that if I don't know all of them, then the lineup must suck.
Well, sort of.
That's why you and I started this podcast because it's not just us.
You hear it on Reddit and the other people who've reached out to us.
That's what they love.
Now it's become cool to discover a band.
You know, not just have your favorite and not just be that kid on your block whose favorite
band is somebody nobody else has heard of.
Now it's guess what I just discovered and share it.
And that's a huge difference that did not exist 20 years ago.
I'm not going to lie.
Bonnaroo's broken my heart in January before.
You know, when that first year when I was so into Frank Ocean and Channel Orange, not
booking Frank broke my heart, not getting Lana Del Rey early sort of broke my heart,
not getting, you know, when my favorite singer songwriter on the planet, James Vincent Moro,
not getting him the year that I wanted him, but getting him the year after.
I mean, but it brings me back every time when just like you said, we go to a show like Davey
or we go to the Warren Treaty and we're pulled right back in.
We find all of these artists that then we're stuck with, stuck with that we're in love
with for the, you know, the rest of life.
Yeah, I really, really wanted Billie Eilish this year up there.
You know, ever since you mentioned her to us, I who then I went and I'm obsessed with
watching the YouTube videos with her and her interviews and the hot ones episode she did.
I just like her.
So I would have not had that opportunity, would not have discovered that.
And to be able to see her live in a place like Bonnevue is what keeps me coming back.
And the commercial world had to catch up to what the festival circuit was doing.
I mean, now you've, it's a given.
You're going to find a Vampire Weekend that's on the Grammys now.
You're going to find the national.
Hey Ma was nominated for record of the year.
Bon Iver has been nominated now two records in a row for album of the year.
Does that happen without a festival circuit that he can exist on?
Because look, even alternative radio ain't playing much Bon Iver.
You know, and the stations that are playing Bon Iver, you know, you're looking at like
really, really, really niche radio stations.
But because the festival circuit, they're opening up you to so many places and so many
artists that you can, you know, then see again in the next festival that you travel to and
then the next one and then Bonnaroo two years later.
I don't know where we heard it, but most people now discover new music via YouTube.
I saw that somewhere.
Is that the stat?
Is that, is that where it has happened?
That's not me, but most people know, but I think it's part of that sort of works hand
in hand is they're not relying on it.
Forgive me for saying it.
Are you to tell them what to listen to?
To me, that is a huge leap that Bonnaroo and then festivals that came after it have created.
The idea of I'm more interested in discovering new music than showing how cool I am because
me and 20 other people.
I know that's what you say, but that's not what Steve and Brian would explain their mission
is to be.
They are not looking to be a music curator for you.
I think that they want to serve you the things that would make the your experience the best
I don't know if I would, I don't know if I would have asked them that question, I think
they would have pushed back on to me because they're not scared of doing that by the way.
I know, but they would have pushed back and said, no, no, no, no, no, no.
We're not trying to get you to discover anything.
We're not going to take advantage of your, we're not going to assume your intelligence
We're going to.
That was the point I was asking when I asked what the mission was.
If you remember the first answer was to sell tickets.
I don't discount that at all.
No money, no mission.
If they don't sell tickets, they don't get to do next year's lineup.
They don't get to curate that kind of thing.
Going back to the point that this is what they do all day, I almost could see it where
it's difficult for them to say, I'm going to introduce you to this person because they've
already listened to it.
You know what I mean?
It would be hard for them to look down a list and say, nobody knows this one, this one,
And to your point, and I think you're a hundred percent right.
If they just loaded it up with these are the bands we think you should be listening to
versus these are the bands you have indicated you think you want.
That is completely different.
I agree with that.
That's what I was going.
That's just my line of work.
Whenever a new restaurant opens and the person says, we're going to educate the public about
I'm going to die.
Go ahead and give me your check.
They're a ball bat and I'll beat you on the head and we'll both be happy.
It ain't going to work.
That doesn't work for anybody.
This is a, this has been a phenomenal chat.
We've got some Patreons that we want to thank.
They're going to go through the screen there.
And again, there's a lot of them and we appreciate every one of you.
Want to give a shout out to all you guys.
Jason Hazelbaker, Chloe Howell, Lucy Young, Phil Hanley, Dan Sweeney, Dustin Gehrig, Chelsea
Davis, Ella, Frank Swanson, Linda Dole, David Grimes, Liesl Condor, Bill, Ryan Matthewson,
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McNamara, Evan Brown, Aaron Carlson, Timothy Proctor, Catherine Riccio, Gordon Silver,
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Herndon, Brooke Tussie, David Talano, David Henson, Skyler, Sean McCain, Phil Nye, Justin
Nigro, Andrew T. McBride, and Mary T. Thank you guys so much and we cannot wait to see
you on the farm.
And we appreciate you just for listening on the whatpodcast.com or any of your audio devices.
We need to thank the Moxie.
Yeah, you can thank the Moxie, sure.
Thank the Moxie for letting us do this here.
Yeah, as long as they don't run my credit card, I'm fine.
Yeah, the world headquarters.
Thank you very much to the Patreons.
And not just for signing up, but for engaging.
I mean, some of the dialogue we've had back and forth.
It's a lot of fun.
One of the great perks of being a Patron is that you get a specialized chat room where
we basically just make jokes about Barry.
It's very exciting.
As if they couldn't do that elsewhere.
I know, but now we get to laugh amongst each other.
Now it's official or something.
Plus all kinds of other things.
It's going to, I guess, adjust the Patreon level here soon.
So get in while you can in the next few days.
Other than that, we appreciate you.
It's Barry Courter and Brad Steiner.
We'll see you next week.