As the frontman of the Tony Glaser Band, Glaser’s goal is simply to “get the music to the people.”
Having performed across the globe in places as far-reaching as Iraq and Tokyo, the San Francisco musician creates songs with sunny, positive lyrics and funky bass notes. Describing his musical style, Glaser says, “I write from a bass player’s perspective often, so the songs start with a beat — I like to get people moving at my shows and get them energized — then I try to talk about things that I find interesting, but in a way that’s accessible and not too preachy.” His charismatic melodies carry a joyful reminder to enjoy life in the moment — the ideal soundtrack for nights when one is in need of some optimistic affirmation. The artist gave SF Weekly an exclusive breakdown of the inspiration and songwriting process for each track on his Tony Glaser EP, as well as some general life advice on how to “have fun and not be lame.”
Check out below to hear each song for yourself.
“Round the Corner”
Glaser: “Whatever you are, just own it. The chorus is ‘I don’t care if you’re purple, pink, puce, or greenish-brown / Just do us all a favor and own it so we can all get down.’ I don’t care who you are, but if you can own who you are, then we can have a common understanding. I found that the more I am myself the easier it is to navigate through life — of course, my self tends to be happy, so that’s easier.
It’s also very much inspired by that Maya Angelou quote that’s like, ‘When people show you their true colors, believe them the first time.’ I’ve been in experiences where I’ve met people, and I’ve worked with people and something doesn’t go right. And you give them the benefit of the doubt, but they keep biting you in the ass as time goes on. If you’re an asshole, be an asshole. Just don’t tell me you’re not an asshole.”
Glaser: “This is about people who don’t come out to shows. We all have friends that are really fun when you’re with them and they give all these excuses not to come out and it hurts everyone. I’m a ‘the more the merrier’ kind of guy, and you not being there isn’t just a bummer for you, it’s a bummer for all of us. Especially when the excuses are so stupid — all your friends will be hanging out and you’ll be like, ‘Oh I have work tomorrow’? So what? You’re never gonna care about that work 20 years down the road, but when you have that memory of all your friends hanging out it’s special. And life is so fleeting and can be taken away from you at any moment. Go out with your friends. Don’t leave them hanging. You’re missing out on the times of your life.
The way the song is written is that it starts the way a night starts out. You’re calling all your friends to come out, and then the middle part goes, ‘Feeling out the stops / When the radar pops,’ and you’re trying to feel out the scene. Then you walk in the club and the song really gets going, and at the end of the song you hear the bird sounds as if it’s dawn and you’re walking out of the club. And that’s such a special time of the day — when you’ve gone all night and you’re with your friends and kind of loopy. And that pale-blue sky starts showing and you go get breakfast and you just kick it. It’s great.”
“I Could Have Been A Rock”
Glaser: “I was writing that with some buddies, and we were all just sitting there chatting about cosmic stuff when I worked out that cool bassline. The song is about how you could’ve been anything, so be grateful for who you are. It could always be worse. You could just be a rock and just sitting there. Everything is made of the same stuff, so you could’ve been anything. It’s kind of silly in that regard, but the point is I want people to be happy. I want the music to inspire you to be good and enjoy it. The attitude of gratitude keeps us in a good place.”
Glaser: “My old band was on tour in this big old converted school bus, and we were all just stinky from being on the road. Someone mentioned B.O. and I said, ‘That’s not B.O., that’s just my pheromones,’ and someone said I had to make a song about that. So I eventually did, and this song is about a cat going around trying to find the perfect feline. Other cats get a whiff of him and they don’t like what they smell, until one cat decides that she likes what she smells. It’s just a funk song, really. I just like people to get funky.”
Glaser: “I was sitting with my feet in the water down in L.A., and I was just like, ‘If everyone just didn’t suck, and was cool, that would be great.’ It’s a variation of the golden rule, to not take more than you give. Don’t drain. Just be cool and do your best. A lot of my songs are kind of about that.
I can’t think of one time in my life where it was better to be a dick, or better to be short and not be my best and most patient self. And it’s hard — for sure it’s a process. But in the end, it’s silly to be upset about stuff that is ultimately so small and unimportant.
Glaser’s music is available on SoundCloud / Tonyglasermusic.com.
Tony Glaser plays at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25 at Amnesia; 853 Valencia St. $7; amnesiathebar.com.