Used with Stanton Moore
A walk through the used record bins of some of the country’s finest music stores with musicians, both famous and infamous.
After six months on the job perusing record stores with musicians, nothing really surprises me anymore.
I missed a flight in Austin, Texas in late September when I got a call from Jason Isbell of the Drive By Truckers to come down to Waterloo Records and rode in a guy's cab from the airport that used to be a concert promoter in Africa and was a friend of the late great Fela Kuti.
Some kid offered Dave Schools two big handfuls of kind bud out of his cargo pants' pocket as we walked down Haight Street, to which Dave politely declined.
Last month, I spent an afternoon with Vince Herman from Leftover Salmon sifting through old 38s. Vince owns a Victrola and is an avid collector of old-timey folk and bluegrass 38s, a passion that will be featured in this column in the near future. And just the other day, I missed out on having Ronnie McCoury as a guest because of a recording session that popped up at the last minute. Apparently, David Grisman called.
So when I asked Stanton Moore if he remembered the first album he ever bought, I shouldn't have been surprised by his answer.
"It was the Grease movie soundtrack," the drummer from Galactic said in a low, gravelly growl, thick with Bayou funk. "I was nine years old when I bought it. I wish it was something hipper."
Before I can envision him with a Ducktail donning a black leather jacket as a member of the T-Birds, Moore is off to check out records produced by Tchad Blake. I catch up with him as he flips through used Los Lobos albums.
"Tchad Blake did a lot of the great Los Lobos records working with Mitchell Froom," Moore said. "Colossal Head and Kiko are both really good albums. We're looking at producers right now for our next record, and I'd love to have these guys do it. They do a great job at staying rooted in what they do, but kind of turning it on its ear, coming up with new sounds."
Talk of producers eventually leads to the band's current album, Ruckus, and the producer that the band chose to work with on the project, San Francisco-based hip-hop producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura.
"Dan's cool, man," Moore said. "He's a good dude. It was fun to work with a producer that comes from a different place, musically, than we do as a band. The record shows a different side of the band that a lot of people might not recognize, coming from us. I enjoyed it, but I'm ready to get back to our sound. I want the next record to be rooted in New Orleans music. The funk, you know."
Moore knows the funk. Growing up just across the river from New Orelans in Metairie, Louisiana, Moore used to go the Mardi Gras parades with his father and listen to legends like Professor Longhair and The Meters. He got his first drum kit at nine years old and took lessons from the great New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich, absorbing the famous second-line drumming tradition of the Crescent City.
"All those guys were huge for me," Moore said. "Zigaboo Modeliste, George Porter…Zig was on the list last night at the Fillmore, but they fuckin didn't let him in. The Fillmore is so oblivious, the guy at the door didn't know who he was and didn't let him in. I couldn't believe it."
Another influence on Moore's drumming is the legendary jazz drummer Bobby Previte. Previte stayed with him on a recent visit down to New Orleans.
"I made him come into town on Tuesday so that we could go out to the Maple Leaf," Moore said with a smile. "We went and had dinner at Jacques-Imo's and checked out the Maple Leaf the first night he was in town. He couldn't believe it. He's the best, man. I helped him out with a few gigs in town."
Besides Previte, Moore's a fan of pianist Hampton Hawes, vibraphonist Carl Tjader, bass player Dave Holland ("mostly his big band stuff") and drummer James Black, a New Orleans legend that played with Ellis Marsalis.
"He was this killer drummer from New Orleans that recorded very little music," Moore said. "Really obscure, but the stuff he did is fucking cool. The time signature changes and his approach to playing the drums are just incredible."
One thing that still does surprise me is how many musicians are into electronica music. Moore has had the luxury of touring with some of the very best DJs in the country through Galactic and believes the organizers of Bonnaroo played a large part in opening the eyes of many jamband fans to constructed music.
"That was one of the first festival-type shows that really blended the DJs into the whole scene," Moore said. "I thought it was bad ass, man. I'm a big fan of the Triple Threat guys, DJ Disk, Logic, Kid Koala, Z-Trip…all those guys. I love Apex Twin's stuff that shit blows my mind. Amon Tobin's Supermodified is one of my favorite albums. It's the best electronica album ever."
Stanton’s Picks of the Day Amon Tobin, Supermodified John Coltrane, Live at the Village Vanguard (box set) The Meters, Look Ka Py Py Los Lobos, Colossal Head Grease: Movie Soundtrack