Pony Boy plays The Virgil in Los Angeles this Sunday, 8/19.
“My first experience with vinyl started with a cardboard box labeled “Ancient Age Kentucky Bourbon Whisky.” Sadly, the whisky was no longer, but the box contained hundreds of 45s from my grandfather’s time in the Jukebox business in Montana during the 50s and 60s.”
“He had piles of these boxes with records from legends like Elvis, Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis, Dion, The Four Seasons, The Platters, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Duke Ellington, Jerry Lee Lewis, Maurice Williams, Ricky Nelson and Bobby Darin. It was quite the helping of early rock and roll and still the music that really does it for me (I could live a happy life writing songs almost exclusively to the classic doo-wop progression of I vi IV V).
But it wasn’t until I was gifted John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band that I really fell in love with the long play format and understood how listening to an entire record on vinyl could be such a transformative experience. My best friend and bandmate at the time had given me the record for my birthday accompanied with quite the set-up: “Imagine you’re John Lennon, you’ve left the Beatles, people are waiting to see what you have to say and…”
At that point, he let the needle drop onto the record and a death knell of a bell rang out several times before John Lennon’s heart searing “Mother” began, which has to be one of the most brutal songs ever recorded. There was something about that quiver of the needle on vinyl that made the recording so visceral, intimate and physical. Definitely a moment I will always remember.
Listening to Billie Holiday sing Strange Fruit on vinyl is also perhaps one of the most life changing experiences I’ve had. It made almost all other music I was listening to seem hollow and trite.
The poetry of the lyrics, gravity of subject and raw honesty of her performance are unparalleled to me. There was so much in one song and challenged what I thought music was capable of.
I revisit these two records often and throw away a lot material after hearing them as a result.”