Intriguing idea for a podcast:
Andy Cush: Like Winston said, the impulse to do Late Era definitely grew out of Welcome to Chicago: to give some sort of consideration—whether it’s relatively serious thought or just cracking dumb jokes—to music that might as well not exist to 99% of the sane listening population. To me, on some level, both podcasts are oblique reactions to the perverse abundance that streaming services offer us as listeners, even if we’re not talking about streaming directly most of the time on the shows. In music, as in just about every other area of our lives, nearly all of recorded history has become incredibly easy to access—oppressively so, sometimes—with a void of context that can make trivial things seem important and important things seem trivial. By diving into these bodies of work that are more or less forgotten in the cultural memory, but still just as readily available for listening as the Abbey Roads of the world, we’re willingly exposing ourselves to some of the weirdest and most disorienting contradictions of our new reality as music listeners, and trying to make sense of them.
Don’t sleep on Chicago 19:
Winston Cook-Wilson: Since November 2018, the three of us have been co-helming the controversial music and humor podcast Welcome to Chicago, which is an examination of the 36-and-counting-album discography of the band Chicago. This was inspired by a joke on our text thread after seeing a music writer post a picture of the 1989 album Chicago 19 with the caption “Don’t sleep on Chicago 19,” as if it was some deep Detroit rap mixtape people needed to check out. The project has become increasingly high-concept, featuring tons of guests, invented side characters, scripted true-crime episodes and about an album’s worth of original music. We’re still doing that and may be doing it until we are old men.
Sam Sodomsky: As a music fan, I have always had a collector’s mindset. If I like an artist, I want to know everything they have ever done. I have probably listened to, say, Neil Young’s Fork in the Road more than most band’s best albums. When I start reading a rock memoir, I always skip ahead to see how much they get into their later albums, because usually those are the most mysterious to me. Why did they choose that cover art? Why is there an entire song about grocery shopping? Most times they don’t get into it. I also find that eventually everything comes around. The same way that I can hear Van Morrison’s ’80s albums with fresh ears, maybe someone decades from now will hear that Who album from last year and feel totally mystified by it. Maybe not. Either way, it’s good to get outside the canon mentality, especially when you’re dealing with these legacy artists.
What’s one tip that you’d give a music podcaster starting out right now?
Winston Cook-Wilson: Don’t do a music podcast about the band Chicago.