Monday, July 28, 2014

The Dark Stuff Podcast 113: Dereck Higgins (Part One)

For episode #113, I have part one of an interview with Omaha music legend, Dereck Higgins. Higgins has been making music and playing in bands in the Omaha area since the 1970s. Two of his bands from the 1980s - Digital Sex and RAF - are considered by many to be the foundation of the modern Omaha indie music scene. Most people know about Bright Eyes, The Faint and Cursive. But the Omaha music scene did not start there, obviously; it began decades earlier, and Higgins was right there in the middle of it.

Dereck Higgins is still playing in bands and performing today. He also makes music as a solo artist and releases it through his website:

Dereck has also achieved some notoriety from his popular Youtube channel: His videos are among the most popular in the "Vinyl Community" - an online group of record collectors and enthusiasts who show the world their collections and offer insights into the artists. Over the years, Higgins' videos have gone beyond the normal "VC" subject matter, and often times venture into politics and social commentary. They are a lot like diary entries that he shares with the world at large.

Since Dereck and I both live in Omaha, I had him come down to the bunker (aka my basement) for the interview. We spoke for over an hour; and because I wanted to include some snippets of music along with the interview, I have decided to make this into a two part episode.

In part one, Dereck discusses his earliest days as a child fascinated with music, his meeting famous jazz musicians like John Coltrane (who used to stop by his childhood home both to "jam" and to "score"), and his early difficulties being a black rock musician in an overwhelmingly white music scene.

Part Two will be the next episode - #114.

This episode contains snippets of two Digital Sex songs - "Dervish Dance" and "When Feelings Change." Both are ©Digital Sex.

The music embedded under my voice in the intro and outro of the podcast is "Passing Apparition" from Dereck's album Sonospheres (©2013 Dereck Higgins).

Thanks for listening. Enjoy.
©2014 The Dark Stuff Podcast

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Record Collecting Makes a Comeback!!

The newest addition to my music room (aka the basement)
Over the last few months, my bug for record collecting has returned. Technically, it never really left. But, about a decade or so ago, I was really broke and sold a large portion of my collection to raise money. Since that time, I pretty much stopping buying vinyl.

Once I started doing my radio show, I started getting loads of promotional CDs. I barely needed to buy anything. In fact, I'd say that about 95% of the growth in my collection has been from free music sent to me for the radio. A few months ago, I finally gave up on getting my old turntable fixed. It was a classic, but when the motor died, I knew it would be more expensive to fix it than to replace it. A buddy of mine who fixes up old turntables and re-sells them, sold me a Sony table he had. I added a Shure cartridge, and have been using it ever since. In fact, it seems to have re-ignited my love for vinyl.

Over the last few months, I have added enough to my record collection that I needed to invest another storage option. I bought the above piece from Ikea. It's not sold as "record storage" - they sell it as shelving - but that's what it is perfect for. Now I have to fill it!!

Most of the stuff I have been getting is used. I hit up Half Price Books once or twice a week. I also try and stop by some other used record shops when I can. As far as brand new stuff goes, I usually only get it direct from artists at their concerts. There are exceptions. I recently grabbed the new 3 LP re-issue of Led Zeppelin's debut album. It is amazing. Well worth the cost. I also snagged 180g vinyl re-issues of The Kinks' 'Give the People What They Want' and KISS' 'Psycho Circus.' I grabbed the 'Psycho Circus' specifically for the lenticular cover. It was so cool I made a video of it:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Conor Oberst Rape Accuser Admits She Lied; Issues Apology

The woman who accused rock star Conor Oberst of rape has admitted she lied and issued a public apology. Here is the text of her statement:
"The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false. I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness. I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused."
Oberst has claimed that he lost a lucrative recording contract because of these allegations and was suing the woman for libel. Thankfully, this has now been resolved.

The Dark Stuff Podcast 112: Ringo Deathstarr

For episode 112, I bring you my interview with Austin, Texas band Ringo Deathstarr. Ringo Deathstarr's music is a loud mixture of shoegaze, Noise pop, indie rock, and psychedelic rock. 

The interview was conducted in the band's dressing room at The Waiting Room in Omaha. RD was playing in town as the opener for Peter Murphy. I spoke to guitarist/singer Elliott Frazier, bassist/singer Alex Gehring, and drummer Daniel Coborn. The trio discusses how the band was formed, the legal consequences of the band's name, and the making of the current album, God's Dream. As with many other episodes of the Dark Stuff, the band Swervedriver enters the discussion. Turns out, Adam Franklin of Swervedriver plays on a song on the current Ringo Deathstarr album! 

In between segments of the interview, I put in some snippets of music from Ringo Deathstarr. It's just a tease. You need to pick up the records ASAP. 

The band's website: Find the band on twitter: @RingoDeathstarr 

Thanks for listening. Enjoy.
 ©2014 The Dark Stuff Podcast

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Next Podcast Interview: Dereck Higgins

I am about an hour away from my interview with Dereck Higgins. Dereck is something of a local legend here in Omaha. He has been playing in bands since the 1970s, including being a part of two early and seminal bands to the Omaha music scene: Digital Sex and R.A.F.

Dereck's music cannot be put into any type of genre or category, as it is all over the place and covers many different genres. I met Dereck a few weeks ago at a Peter Murphy concert, and he graciously agreed to be interviewed for the podcast.

The finished show should be posted in 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, check out some of Dereck's music on his bandcamp page

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Just Announced: Jenny Lewis @ Slowdown August 4!

Jenny Lewis is returning to Omaha on August 4 for a show at Slowdown. Tickets on sale on July 3. Jenny's newest album, The Voyager, will be out on July 29.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Dark Stuff Podcast 111: MAHA Music Festival

For episode 111, I interviewed Bill Sweet from the MAHA Music Festival. MAHA is an annual music festival that takes place in Omaha, Nebraska. This will be the festival's sixth year; and it has grown in both quality and stature with each year. The date is August 16, 2014. 

This year's line-up includes: Death Cab For Cutie, The Head and The Heart, Local Natives, The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo), Doomtree, Radkey, The Envy Corps, Icky Blossoms, Domestica, Twinsmith, Matt Whipkey, and M34N STR33T

MAHA is a unique festival in that it is a non-profit operation. The festival is run entirely by volunteers, and is supported with donations from local sponsors. In addition to the two music stages, there are also tents that feature local artists, poets, and comedians. 

Bill and I talk about the origins of the festival, its goals for the future, and how much actual work goes into pulling off one of these things. For more information on the festival and getting tickets, go to 

 Thanks for listening. Enjoy.

 ©2014 The Dark Stuff Podcast

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Stream the show here:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Dandy Warhols Are Coming To Town!

Believe it or not, I have never seen The Dandy Warhols live. Can't wait til September.

Dumb and Dumber: Bruce Dickinson Says Something Really Stupid

Look, I actually like Iron Maiden. I do. I have at least a dozen albums, and listen to the band quite often. But that doesn't mean I won't criticize them when a member says something ridiculously dumb. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson said the following:
"The closest the 'art establishment' ever came to embracing metal was punk. The reason they embraced punk was because it was rubbish and the reason they embraced rubbish was because they could control it. They could say: 'Oh yeah, we're punk so we can sneer at everybody. We can't play our fucking instruments, but that means we can make out that this whole thing is some enormous performance art.'"
I mean...what a dumb ass. Er, sorry, dumb arse. The art establishment "controls" punk. WTF? Look, all commentary about music is opinion, but this comment is just dumb. Sorry, Bruce, you don't have any idea what you are talking about. It's like I said in a comment on Facebook, it's like criticizing classical music for having too few guitar solos.

I'll heed your advice on dungeons & dragons in song lyrics, but as for your take on music other than metal...I'll pass.