Monday, May 31, 2010

Music Monday - Crawdaddy!

Music Monday with Crawdaddy!

Before Rolling Stone or Creem Magazine, launched in 1966, Crawdaddy! is considered to be one of the first U.S. magazines of rock music criticism. Originally born from 17-year old Paul Williams doorm room in Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Crawdaddy! made noise across the country with features on the biggest rock bands in the world, years before other publications. In 2003 after years of personnel changes and financial constraints, Crawdaddy! shut down. Fortunately they were well ahead of the game when they brought the same integrity to the Internet version of the magazine. Now in its online version, Crawdaddy! still operates with the highest level of quality criticism, views from numerous genres, and sincere encyclopedia of knowledge of music from the 1960s to contemporary bands on the rise. Crawdaddy! writer Angela Zimmerman answered Music Monday's 10 Questions with true passion, and the broadest taste in music of one person we've seen in a long time! :)

Music Monday Q&A

1. How long has Crawdaddy! been operating?

Crawdaddy! Magazine was started in 1966 as the first U.S. magazine of rock music criticism. It rose and fell a few times over the years and came back as a weekly - and then daily - online magazine in May of 2007.

2. What makes Crawdaddy! different from other websites?

Crawdaddy! celebrates music, always looking for the merit in what we cover, choosing to spend our time with the art that makes us think instead of pouring over something we dislike, just to review it negatively. Call it an earnest take on the personal realization that can be achieved through music. We cover everything that we find in good taste, be it Motown from the ‘60s, post-punk of the ‘70s, underground college radio rock of the ‘90s, to breaking bands of today. We cover the whole gamut in a comprehensive way and really let the individual writer’s experience with the music translate to the page.

3. Do you feel Crawdaddy! has a specific musical niche?

We cover it all, 50 years of rock and all its derivatives. Not that many other publications explore such a wide range. While we do stories on many major artists, we also really tend to explore the unsung heroes of today and yesterday – Gary Higgins, Van Dyke Parks, Billy Childish, Jackson C. Frank, Black Randy.

4. What contemporary albums are you looking forward to coming out?

Autolux, Arcade Fire, Delta Spirit, Wavves, Against Me!, the as-yet-no-date-or-much-information-about Belle and Sebastian, Sun Kil Moon. I’m really into LCD Soundsystem’s new one, and Nathaniel Rateliff as well. Oh, and Free Energy, and Future Islands. Big fan.

5. How does Crawdaddy! support independent music and what is important about doing so?

We write about a lot of emerging bands, and are always promoting new artists that are on the road. We do quite a lot of live show coverage, which gives us an opportunity to talk about bands with no big backing. We couldn’t survive without them, and we always try to express our gratitude towards these artists.

6. Do you think online publications are taking precedence over print magazine? What kind of effect do you think that has on bands?

I think there is and always will be a higher standard for print, although I do fear for the sustained survival of the medium. Bands have a lot more opportunity to be talked about, since there are so many blogs operating that can write about music. The pool is just so vast in terms of getting your band heard, I think a lot of times it just has to do with getting that lucky break so people start to come to your shows. All the sites that operate now live under the same big umbrella and we are all so directly impacted by what each other write, because it all shows up in our RSS feed. It creates a climate that is very dense and hard to infiltrate; the limelight is so diluted that bands have really found such new creative campaigns to make themselves rise above all the noise. It’s invigorating to be a part of it.

7. What blogs/publications do you read other than your own?

I rely pretty heavily on my RSS feed for news, and press releases and newsletters from labels and PR agencies. I also check out Stereogum, Mog, NME, LimeWire, Paste, Daytrotter, The New Yorker’s music section, and Pitchfork.

8. What has been your most definitive moment since you started at Crawddaddy!?

We held a charity show for Crawdaddy! founder Paul Williams last spring because he is in very poor health with no insurance. We read some passages from his works (I overcame my stage fright to read the first review he’d ever written of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence) and had artists like Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, John Doe and Mark Eitzel perform sets for the show, which was held at a very intimate space here in San Francisco. Ben Fong-Torres hosted, we had a great turnout, made some money for the cause, to honor the life and work of Paul and Crawdaddy! It was so special.

9. If there is any musician/band you could interview (dead or alive) who would it be?

Jerry Garcia. I’m such a sucker for the Dead, but Jerry’s solo projects are high among my favorites.

10. If you could be in any band (of all time), who would you rock with?
Sonic Youth, who I consider the epitome of cool. That’d make me cool for life.

Each Monday we will feature a Q&A with the bloggers, critics, writers and taste-makers behind music websites, blogs, magazines and other publications that keep us all in touch with the latest in new music.