By Melissa Baron
The Mountain Goats
March 1, 2008
Better Than: Anything other interns get to do at their respective media institutions.
Download: The Mountain Goats tracks on Daytrotter.
Lots of people decide on careers in journalism for the Almost Famous factor. A theory seems to exist that reporters mingle with celebrities and go to fantastic rock concerts. Frequently, this pursuit ends in disappointment when once enthusiastic writers become bored and frustrated fact checkers. Not for me. The morning of March 1 I had one of those moments that makes you want to write about music forever.
Daytrotter, an innovative music website based out of Rock Island, Illinois, held recording sessions at the Mosser Hotel. Obviously this prompts two questions: what does Daytrotter do and how do you record at a hotel? Daytrotter records bands when they tour across the country. They post these recordings on the internet for streaming and download. Along with the tunes they have text (more narrative than journalistic) and illustrations (no photos). The result is an art project of sorts, a creative center for multiple senses. Founder Sean Moeller says that the site "cuts down to the compete core of what makes music great." The impact of live music is undeniable and Daytrotter brings raw and fantastic music to listeners. Previously recorded artists include Rivers Cuomo (you know, the Weezer dude?), Beirut, GWAR and Tokyo Police Club and almost everyone else you can think of.
Today they recorded John Darnielle, the voice behind the Mountain Goats. He played four songs on acoustic guitar in the Mosser. Yes, the hotel has a recording studio adjacent to it called Studio Paradiso. While Darnielle rocked out upstairs, the press heard the recording process through speakers while stocking up on free water, red bull and booze (even though it was 10 am). He recorded "02-75," "There Will Be No Divorce," "Raja Vocative" and "San Bernadino." The recordings should make their way onto the site in the next few weeks.
However, an equally awesome experience changed my life before the sessions even started. From now on today will be known as the day I met M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel, known in the rock world as She & Him. I sat in the lobby with Lizzie, the PR guru for Daytrotter, when an unsuspecting dude came in and started chatting with us. We talked about which Noise Pop shows we attended, what we liked. I told him about the awesome Fleet Foxes concert, just basic conversation. Minutes later in walked a girl that looked like the quintessential indie rock girl. She had just gone for a walk and I told her she should have gone to the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building and had some Blue Bottle Coffee. They mentioned they had to go get ready for a photo shoot. She said she needed to put on makeup, he said he had to wake up. It started to set in that these people are really famous, but I just couldn't place it. Then it hits me, the chick from Almost Famous and freaking M. Ward. At this point my heart melts and I die on the spot. Or at least I almost do.
Just when I thought the day couldn't improve I went on a special tour of Wolfgang's Vault. The Vault contains the collection of concert maverick Bill Graham and then some. They keep a curated collection as well as actioning some of the items (many priced at over $1,000 like the picture above valued between $7,728.00 - $11,028.00). The warehouse space they occupy has a meeting room, an office area and an enormous middle portion filled with shelving. Framed photos and concert photos line the walls. Highlights of the physical collection include concert bills, rare posters/original prints, Bill Graham's record collection and rock documents (like a song contract from Jimi Hendrix that has his name printed and signed as "Jimmy Hendrix"). In addition to the tangible collection, the Vault possesses live recordings of all the greats (Bowie, the Clash, Iggy, Fleetwood Mac, the Dead, the Who, etc) and you can stream them online. Apparently they have a Zeppelin track so old that each band members has to introduce himself. Rad, right?
Now this is a job I could get used to.
Personal Bias: The Mountain Goats are one of my favorite bands in the history of the world.
Random Detail:Zooey Deschanel wore the cutest jumper ever.
By the Way: Daytrotter also had sessions with Jeffrey Lewis, Snowblink and Kelley Stoltz.