7 Questions with Liz Hill of Starling Glow

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by Ryan Meehan

Liz Anne Hill took about 15 years and a few busted romances to create the songs that make up her band Starling Glow’s self-titled debut album, a blend of modern pop musical styles that ranges from pop/rock to dance and indie.  A multi-instrumentalist, Hill grew up in Orange County surrounded by music—her mom played piano, her dad guitar and older sister piano, pipe organ and drums, while they all sang. “They told me early on, if I don’t pick up an instrument, they would kick me out of the family,” she laughs. “I was handed a bass at 10 years old and told, ‘It’s easy to play and you’re not very coordinated.” Growing up, Liz was a member of a variety of bands when she wasn’t horseback riding, the other passion in her life. “All I’ve known is being in rock groups, because I enjoy that collaborative thing,” she explains. “A lot of the bands that I grew up listening to were on small indie labels and played good music – I was into that. For me, playing in a band is all about building that energy and engaging people.” Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and musician Billy Mohler—one-time member of L.A. band The Calling, who has also played or worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Macy Gray, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson, AWOLNation and skateboard pro Tony Hawk—was hired to produce the record and immediately recognized the fellow Orange County native’s talent.  The record is being released through newly formed Indie Label Trailblaze Music Group, where Mohler is General Manger.  The album, despite some of its modern EDM touches, is rooted in the rock ‘n’ roll of her youth. “I know my father would’ve killed me if I didn’t have guitars on there,” she admits. “Being able to perform these songs, get them into people’s hands and, hopefully, have them enjoy them for as long as possible would just be more than I could ever wish for.”  Liz Hill and Starling Glow are primed and ready to share their music with you, and we are proud to have her as our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Pat Kilbane

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by Ryan Meehan

Best known for his three year run on Fox’s MadTV, Pat Kilbane made his mark on the show with outrageous physical comedy and uncanny celebrity impressions.  Among his more memorable characters were “Stan the Java Man”, the shady Spishak spokesman, and the floppy superhero “Rubberman”.  Kilbane’s impressions are too numerous to list, but notable his mimicry of Howard Stern and Lyle Lovett fooled some viewers into believing that the stars actually appeared on the show.  After MadTV Kilbane was signed to a two-year deal with Dreamworks, during which he appeared in the movies Evolution and Eurotrip, and on ABC’s hit show Spin City.  He later added to his eclectic menagerie of characters with appearances on My Name is Earl and in the films Day of the Dead, Semi-Pro, and Meet Dave.  Raised in Dayton, Ohio Kilbane earned his bachelor’s degree from Beloit College before beginning his career as a stand-up comedian.  He headlined clubs throughout the United States and was featured on Showtime’s Full Frontal Comedy as well as A&E’s Evening at the Improv and Comedy On the Road.  After moving to Los Angeles he appeared in over a dozen national commercials, made guest appearances on The Single Guy and Arli$$, and played the role of the Anti-Kramer in the Emmy nominated Seinfeld episode “The Bizzaro Jerry”.  Now a writer and producer of science-fiction, Kilbane recently penned The Brain Eater’s Bible, a zombie book published by St. Martin’s Press.   That’s why I’m currently wearing a helmet, but am still delighted to have Pat Kilbane as our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

Ragged Records Playlist Four:  The Dirtnap Edition

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by Ryan Meehan

The miracle of life is a wonderful thing.  The feeling of holding something living in your hands reminds us that indeed our existence is a very lucky one indeed.  But at some point everybody is going to count worms, even those who have made the music that we’ve grown up to love over the years.  With the exception of Tupac Shakur, we’re not going to be seeing any new releases from the artists who have handed in their dinner pail.  While ProTools may give you the opportunity to pick apart material compiled during an individual’s life and set it to a beat, it’s fair to say that when it comes to songwriting once you’ve bought it the world isn’t going to be blessed with what you have to give in that department from that point forward.  That’s why life is so precious, and why some of this is going to hurt a bit.  Before we get started, we need to set some ground rules for this piece.

  1.  First off, we’re going to toss out any artist who had a majority of their success before 1968.  It’s safe to say that anyone who was cashing huge checks before the RFK assassination is probably lucky to be alive.  I’m sad that Robert Johnson is dead too, but if he weren’t he’d be 103 years old and probably not the world’s most exciting touring musician.
  1.  None of the artists on this list are going to be obvious choices.  Anybody can make a playlist comprised of John Lennon songs, but that’s already been done millions of times.  Same thing goes for George Harrison, Frank Sinatra, and Robbin Crosby from Ratt.  Those guys are complete legends, and we all know enough about them that they don’t effectively need to be discussed in further detail.
  1.  I am not a fan of Jimi Hendrix.  Yes, the guy was a great guitar player.  Yes, I am aware that he performed a few blocks away from the store at the legendary Col Ballroom.  And no, I don’t own a single Jimi Hendrix album, CD, or MP3.  Let’s not make a huge issue of this.  Everybody has their own personal preferences, and one of mine is that I’m not big on the founding fro of the fretboard.
  1.  Iggy Azalea, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, and all of the members of Nickelback are all still alive.  While I’ve read all of your emails and I completely understand the sentiment, I can’t order out any more hits until I’m off probation.  There are plenty of people in Nevada who can make this happen, I suggest you contact them for further information as I can be of no immediate assistance.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to business and sharpen our shovels.   Welcome to the fourth installment of the Ragged Record Playlist series:  This is Ragged Records Playlist Four:  The Dirtnap Edition.    Continue reading

7 Questions with Matt Donaher

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by Ryan Meehan

Comedian Matt Donaher has performed stand-up on Conan, and Comedy Central recently named Matt one of 10 “Comics to Watch.” He was a character on the new Jonathan Katz series “Explosion Bus,” and after winning the 2012 Magner’s Comedy Festival he was invited to perform in the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in Scotland.  In 2011 Matt was one of the twenty comedians hand-picked by David Letterman’s Talent Coordinator to perform in the Johnny Carson Great American Comedy Festival in Norfolk, NE where he went on to be a top eight finalist. That same year Eugene Mirman invited him to perform at the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival in New York and was voted the Best Comedian in Boston by the Boston Phoenix.  Matt has performed in clubs, colleges, basements, battleships, festivals, theaters, high school gymnasiums, college cafeterias and raised money for all sorts of causes from breast cancer to nipple awareness.  We are pleased to have Matt Donaher as our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Jenna Scott

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by Ryan Meehan

For Jenna Scott, music started out as a deeply personal thing. After years of writing and studying, observing and documenting, you may say it was fate that took her passion for music to the next level when Jenna’s piano teacher stumbled upon a set of her unfinished lyrics. Enthusiastic about Jenna’s work, her teacher opened the door for Jenna to a world of musicians and producers who helped revolutionize the young quirky girl’s sound. Now as a twenty-something, Jenna has defined herself as an artist with true soul. Her sound has unfolded into a beautifully classy and a little bit sassy style inspired by the charming decadence of life and her own darling nature. Influenced by the greatness of Amy Winehouse, Elvis, Nancy Sinatra, and more contemporary artists like Tame Impala, Jenna creates uniquely soulful songs blended with a flare remnant of 60’s pop. Jenna’s messages come from her life experiences as well as her take on self-worth: there’s no one better to be than yourself. The colorful way Jenna experiences life is evident in her songwriting, youthful yet wise, playful yet powerful. I am delighted to have Jenna Scott as my guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading