Brick Wahl is a jazz blogger who wrote the column “Brick’s Picks” for LA Weekly, here is a link to his website:
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: Written since I was a little kid. Never really wanted to be a writer, it’s just something I know how to do. I don’t particularly enjoy it. I would much rather have been a linguist. I love language, am obsessed with language. Writing is just another way of using it.
Q: What made you interested in writing about jazz music?
A: Money. And perks. The LA Weekly asked me if I would write about jazz. I’d never done it before. My wife talked me into accepting. I was scared shitless, talk about a learning curve. But I never did get to like being a jazz critic and was very relieved when I finally walked–seven years later–though it proved a very unpopular decision with my readers and local jazz fans. I still get yelled at about that.
Q: . What distinguishes a really good jazz musician from a mediocre one?
A: Same as with writers, chops. Though you don’t have that many mediocre jazz musicians because the skill set required is so advanced that you can’t play jazz if you are a mediocre musician. Not real jazz. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of writing. Most writers never go beyond mediocre.
Q: Who is the most overrated jazz musician in history?
A: I have no idea. I’m not big on smooth jazz or fusion, though.
Q:. You used to play the drums, what was your oddest one stage experience?
A: A naked bass player throwing himself into the kit as I played, maybe. Actually he was wearing a condom so he wasn’t completely naked. And shoes, which he had to because there was broken glass all over the stage. But those were his only articles of apparel. That was one. I remember that one because I wrote about it. But there were so many. I played in punk bands in the old days and it was anarchy and weirdness every night. Once things got sane and orderly I lost interest. Drumming itself was a blast. Loved the drums. Beat the hell out of them.
Q: Why do you think your column was more successful than other jazz columns?
A: Because I had no idea how to be a jazz critic so just wrote about music from a fan’s point of view, I suppose. Technically, I wrote in an implied second person, and I work mainly in verbs and avoid adjectives and a lot of metaphors, all of which connects with the reader more directly.
Q: What kind of day jobs have you had and how do they influence your writing?
A: All kinds of office jobs mostly. Kept me in contact with people which is a great way to study language, as well as pick up material. I always preferred my day jobs to writing, tho’. Writing is generally kind of a drag tho’ I force myself to do it daily. I try to write an essay a day.
Q: What do you like about Los Angeles?
A: I am completely in love with the big crazy city. My favorite thing to do is drive aimlessly on the freeways on a warm summer’s night with the windows open and music blaring. Freeways at nite are empty and perfect.
Q: What would you change about it?
A: Make it more affordable.
Q: if Jon Mayer fought John Mayer who do you think would win and why?
A: No idea, though Jon Mayer is one mean little Irishman.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)