Adam King is a Portland based musician who runs the blog I shit music. Here is a link to the blog:
Q: What inspired you to start your blog?
A: I love and admire an enormously wide spectrum of music, and there’s nothing I love more than debating the universal relevance of an artist, album, or concert. I became so well known around my friends and peers for my constant and obscure musical conversations that people insisted I start a blog so there was a more organized collection of my rants. Plus, these days so many people become infatuated with hip trends and artists, that I felt that most music blogs out there operated under some degree of creating a bullshit image, or to blow smoke up someone’s metaphorical back-side. But you shouldn’t be afraid to be critical, or speak your mind, or tell one of your favorite bands that they just aren’t as good as they used to be. My goal and my hope is that I can serve as some sort of catalyst to push quality music further into its realm of infinitely untapped potential.
Q: What was the best concert you ever went to?
A: This is a fairly massive question for me to truly ponder as I have literally seen thousands of bands perform over the years. And of course there’s always the debate between one’s experience at a concert and the actual musical quality of the performance. But when it comes down to it I’ll have to go with the band I’ve seen 160 times – Phish. Specifically, their gig at Madison Square Garden on December 30, 1997. I was 17, I went by myself, and I had seats in the 4th row on the floor. The band was truly in peak stride at this point in their career, and the show featured breathtaking improvisational moments the likes of which I have rarely heard to this day. Most infamously of all on this night, the band played a nearly 2-hour long second set that went past the midnight curfew of MSG. Realizing they were already going to half to pay union-fines for the extension, they decided to play a 30-minute encore on top of the already marathon performance. I had to run to Grand Central Station to catch the last train to my brother’s house just outside of Manhattan, only to puke up psychedelic mushrooms once aboard and subsequently miss my stop while in my post-release haze. Phenomenal night all around.
Q: What was the worst concert you have ever attended ?
A: This one’s even harder to field, as again I’ve had plenty of horrible experiences at amazing concerts. Sure, accidentally smoking crack in a New Haven bathroom at age 16 while seeing a Doors cover-band definitely ranks up there in epically horrible nights, but the worst musical performance I’ve ever seen has to be Kanye West at Tennesee’s Bonnarroo Music Festival in 2008. After demanding that all the other bands playing at the festival’s 7 other stages stop during his performance, he pushed back his already insanely late set time and didn’t actually appear on the stage til 4:25 in the morning. Walking on stage to 50,000 heckles from the angered crowd, a mere “sorry about the delay, let’s party” would have kept the atmosphere fine. Instead he went into an elaborate, corn-ball performance involving a crashed space-ship and ridiculous costumes. It was an ultimate disaster, but nonetheless quite entertaining in its complete absurdity.
Q: What is your strangest backstage story?
A: This story may not have happened backstage, but it’s definitely the strangest band-encounter story I’ve got. This was after seeing the awesomely insane band Ween at the Palace Theater in Albany, New York sometime around 2007. Friends of the band were throwing an after-party at a bar just a few blocks from the venue. After way too many hours of drinking, my girlfriend at the time and I were approached by Dave, the bass player from Ween. Expressing our admiration for the performance, he then went on to say what an attractive couple he found us to be. He then brought his girlfriend over and they both expressed to us how great they both imagined we looked while engaged in the act of physical love. Dave then proposed that we retire to his hotel room next door, where upon he and his girlfriend wanted to watch us engage in private acts while they themselves did the same in a separate area of the room. Laughing off such a preposterous notion, we let him by us round after round of more drinks until the point where the previous offer was once again suggested for the 50th time. My dear friend overheard the discussion, and thankfully pulled me and my girlfriend out of the bar and into a cab – while the bass player hurled comments of anger and disappointment at us
as we ran away.
Q: What is the most common misconception about the Portland music scene?
A: Everybody gets so hung up on the highly visual proportion of “hipsters” there are in the town, that people neglect to mention how incredibly diverse it is. While PDX may be known as this NorthWest indie-rock Mecca, it’s also home to thriving musical scenes of metal, jam-rock, jazz, bluegrass, and even classical. On any given night in Portland, literally any night of the year, you have to make a decision between at least 2 different incredible bands playing on different sides of town. Whatever you are into, this town has an established community revolving around any said genre.
Q: What was the best band name ever?
A: Rage Against the Machine. No four words have ever conjured up such a complete vision of a band, while at the same time establishing a vocalized statement about the inner sentiments of a modern world’s generation. I always thought it was a bummer that the band stopped making new music during George W. Bush’s presidency. He was literally the living embodiment of the evil, corporate machine they were referring to and I would have loved to heard a formalized version of the massive rage everyone was feeling against him. It was almost like the band’s presence in the 90’s was a warning shot and a wake-up call for the oncoming machine’s uprising. They’re easily one of the most important bands of all time, and their name sums them up perfectly.
Q: What is your own musical background?
A: I’m a keyboard player, and always have been ever since I started taking piano lessons at age 5. I studied classical for years before branching into the jazz realm in my high-school
years. While in college at the University of Vermont, I formed a fairly successful rock band called Turkey Bouillon Mafia. We played for nearly 8 years and toured all of the East and Northeast playing clubs and festivals. I’ve played in about 10 or so other bands since then including national tours with Mice Parade, a continued successful Grateful Dead cover band known as Dead Sessions, and even a handful of 80’s cover bands. Since moving to Portland, I’ve started my own rock band known as Lesser Bangs, and continue a regular run of solo performances as well.
Q: If you could only listen to one album ( I’m old, I call it an album) for the rest of your life what what would it be?
A: While the Beastie Boys’ Hello Nasty comes in an extremely close second, I’d have to choose the first solo album from the Pavement front-man: Stephen Malkmus’ Stephen Malkmus. Pavement has always been one of my favorite bands, but I’ve come to like Malkmus’ solo work even better. His solo debut in 2001 has about 3 of my favorite songs of all time. And while his subsequent albums only got even better, this album hit me in a big transitive part of my live. I think we’ve all got that one security blanket album, and this is my go-to record when I need to be reassured that the world isn’t a horrible place.
Q: What indie rock song sums up your philosophy of life?
A: “Virginia Reel Around the Fountain” by The Halo Benders. There’s no doubt about it. The chorus of this tune is merely 8 repetitions of the line: “Don’t say no, just say you don’t know.” Written by one of my personal heroes, Doug Martsch for his side project, but further fleshed out in his main band Built to Spill, this song has gotten me through a lot of dark times in my life. While it was a literal inspiration for me when I was convincing a girl who lived 3000 miles away from me that we were in love, it’s come to even more represent an optimistic mantra I use to get through day-to-day life. You know – not giving up, not giving in, not saying no. Just say you don’t know and keep working on it – that’s basically how I roll.
Q: With all the music blogs out there why should I read yours?
A: There are plenty of informed bloggers out there who will tell you what music is the catchiest, the best and what you should be listening to, but I’m the only one who tells people why they should be listening. I may cloud my commentary in sarcasm and dry wit, but I honestly believe that music is one of the most powerful and beautiful forces in the universe. Love, hope, and music. If you read my blog, I’m going to tell you about music that will rightfully change your life and help shape you into your full potential of a human being. This whole world is collections of intertwined vibrations, and only if we can have a better understanding of what we’re listening to will we be able to start hearing all those hidden patterns cycling around us. Plus, I hopefully will make you laugh.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)