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Published: 2007/12/07
by Mike Greenhaus

Auld Lang Syne Set 1: Al Schnier, Keller Williams, Marco Benevento, Chris Frantz, Fuzz and Other Friends

As another year comes to a close, another best of season begins. And once again weve asked a number of musicians, managers, writers and other scene staples to look back on 2007. Below we asked Al Schnier, Keller Williams, Marco Benevento, Chris Frantz, Fuzz and other friends a series of four questions and, fittingly, their responses touched on such diverse topics as the impending presidential election, the return of Bruce Springsteen and the fall of Britney Spears. We hope their thoughts help guide you into 2008. Look for new installments regularly throughout December.
AL SCHNIER (moe.)

1) What will you remember most about 2007?
Being in the Adirondacks with my family. My kids both had breakthrough days skiing at Whiteface this year. We also hiked our 1st 46er as a family. Simply spending some downtime with my family, swimming all day long in the same places I swam as a kid, is something I hope to remember for a long time.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?
Cornmeal. These guys are doing great. Allie Kral (the awesome fiddler of the group) plays on several tracks on the new moe. album. After sitting in with us at Summer Camp, she was one of the first people we thought of when it came time to record this fall.
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
Bruce Springsteen, 10/18/07, at MSG in New York. I was blown away. I’ve been a fan since I was 13. I haven’t seen Bruce in over 20 years, but I own just about all of his albums. That night the E Street band totally delivered. I was sitting in the back of the Garden and I never felt like I was far away. Thanks to Bruce’s great stage presence, it was one of the most intimate shows I’ve seen in a long time. I got chills a bunch of times. It was really amazing. It gave me a lot of perspective on the whole live music experience.

4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)?
Death Cab for Cutie Plans
For more on Al, check out this feature from 2007
KELLER WILLIAMS

1)What will you remember most about 2007?
The beginning of the WMDS, the beginning of this band, you know? The exciting festivals we played in this fall tour. Just watching these songs blossom and the energy the four of us have. Its really come to life and to be a part of his musical exploration has been amazing. The more comfortable we get the more musical improv magic seems to go down onstage.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?
Afromotive is going to be one to watch, as well as Toubab Krewe and Lotus. All those guys are definitely something to watch. Also the Larry Keel and Natural Bridge record is going to be something really cool.
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
The very last String Cheese showI have been to so many String Cheese shows and these guys were definitely playing like it was there last show. It possibly could be, but I know its not going to be. I think that was definitely one of the most meaningful shows I have seen.
4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)?
I get so many good records I cant pinpoint one that is freaking me out right now, but the Afromotive CD has gotten a lot of play. I have always been a big Fela Kuti fan and Afromotive has taken over that type of style and I respect that!
For more on Keller, check out this feature from 2007
CHRIS FRANTZ (Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads)
1) What will you remember most about 2007?

The distinct possibility that a woman or a black man will be the next President of the United States.

2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?

Kid Ginseng.

3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?

Ivan Kral’s song ‘Wasn’t It Great?’ at Hilly Kristal’s memorial service at The Bowery Ballroom. Ivan, who played guitar with The Patti Smith Group in the glory days, flew in from Ann Arbor, Michigan and performed a song he had written especially for the occasion. He immediately forgot the lyrics, but Annie Golden of The Shirts held up the lyric sheet for him and he sang the song beautifully, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. This was the only music at the service and it came at the end of many wonderful tributes to Hilly. I was moved to tears and I wasn’t the only one.

4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)?

Mento Madness (Motta’s Jamaican Music 1951-56) on the V2 label. Mento is the style of music that preceded ska in Jamaica. You can definitely hear the roots of reggae in it and also the clear connection to Africa. Lovely, hot stuff!

Fore more on Chris check out this feature from 2007
MOCEAN WORKER
1) What will you remember most about 2007?
The incredible experience of putting together my own live band and going out on the road. After spending the last decade being either a DJ or a one man band and shelving my bass playing skills in the live performance world, it was a huge pleasure to get back out there and show folks a good time with a real show and real band experience.

2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?

Mocean Worker.

3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?

KRS-1 at Celebrate Brooklyn in August. Mostly because any KRS-1 show is spectacular but something was just that much more vital and real about this show. His son sadly committed suicide about a month before. He just was bringing it from another place. He floored me. It was a very emotional night.

4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)?

Mark Ronson’s Versions is an incredible album. I really love what he has been up to over the last couple of years in general. He is the only peer of mine that I just totally bow down to. He gets it. Sound, Songs, Groove very talented bloke as the Brits would say.

For more on Mocean Worker, check out this feature from 2007
FUZZ (Rolla, Deep Banana Blackout)

1)What will you remember most about 2007?
It is a bit of a blur but the Virginia Tech Massacre stands out in my mind… even above the Britney Spears ‘I Wanna Be Sinead O’ Connor’ stunt.

2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?
The Alternate Routes – they are friends of ours here in CT. They have some great tunes and I’ve recently heard them on the radio a couple of times. Maybe they will make it big. Do people still make it big?

3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
New York Philharmonic performing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor.
Though it’s a concerto and the violin player was flashy – this is a very emotional piece and they did an outstanding performance.

4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)? CD player!!! I’m old school. Fionn Regan’s The End of History. JASON BAU (Hard Head Management) 1) What will you remember most about 2007? Friends Ive made and friends Ive lost. 2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? My Morning Jacket. They have certainly already made it, but with their new record coming out in the beginning of the year they will definitely take that next step into very elite company. I wouldnt be surprised to see them playing arenas by the end of the year, which is a long way from the Mercury Lounge four years ago. 3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? Im having a hard time looking past this weekends [New York] Ween shows, especially Friday night. The Blarney Stone brings a tear to me eye. Honorable mention: John Paul Jones doing four Zeppelin songs with Govt Mule late night at Bonnaroo. Watching the crowd slowly realize that JPJ had replaced Andy for the Moby Dick reprise out of Drums was a moment I wont forget. 4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)? Tie: The Hold Steadys Boys And Girls In America and Jason Isbells The Sirens of the Ditch. The Hold Steady album was my soundtrack to my walk to work every morning this fall and reminded me that no matter what your headspace is at, it all comes down having a good time. Also, I cant remember the last time I heard a record with more brilliant lyrics. You just cant deny he’s Tennyson in denim and sheepskin. He looked a lot like Izzy Stradlin. Jasons record is just so well-rounded…its one of those albums where you have another favorite song each listen. JASON COLLETT (Jason Collett Band, Broken Social Scene) 1) What will you remember most about 2007? Getting 27 stitches in my face. I took a block of oak in the chin that kicked back from a table saw. It’s healing well enough, but the scar won’t let me forget it. 2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? Dirty Projectors. 3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? Tony Scherr playing a guitar solo on a track off my new record (out February 5th 2008). He’s such an incredible musician to watch, a very physical player, he often looks possessed. I’m sitting beside him on a couch in the studio while he takes a pass at this track he’s only just heard moments before. The amp is right at our feet and he’s all hunched over moving back and forth, sweating profusely but holding back, staying in the groove. When the song comes to the outro he starts a solo, one note Neil Young-like. Then he kicks an overdrive pedal, stands up, starts lunging around the room, knocks over a chair, kicks yet another overdrive pedal taking things completely out of orbit with this crazy Queen-like guitar lick frequency. I got goose bumps all over and my jaw is on the floor. It’s one of the most exquisite rock and roll solo’s I’ve ever heard, one take. At one point he went to a major where there was a minor chord, but we later changed everything else to a major rather than mess with the solo. (Tony plays with Bill Frisell, Willie Nelson…) 4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)? Kate Fenners Magnet JONATHAN SCHWARTZ (Zenbu Media/Relix, Sirius Jam_On)

1) What will you remember most about 2007?

The birth of my second child.Donna Jean God-Schwartz. Number one came in 2004Beyonce Garcia Schwartz.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?

The Heavy Pets.
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?

Arrested Development, Jerusalem, Israel, 9/9/07.

Im not a hip-hop guy, but these guys kill it. All amazing players, ripping it up live on stage. Theyve got great harmonies, a positive message, its a super high energy show and they JAM. Cant wait to see them again at Langerado.
4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)?
In all honesty, Jonah Smiths new demosbut thats kind of cheating. Besides Jonah, my iTunes says its a tie between this sick 1975 Pink Floyd show from Hamilton, Ontario and Phishs Vegas 96.
JON TOPPER (moe. Management)
1)What will you remember most about 2007?
My first time in Amsterdam during Cannabis Cup, going to the Anne Frank House and seeing moe. perform at the Melkweg.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?
Cornmeal, U-melt, Macpodz, The Brew, The Bridge
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
I have to say Perry Farrell sitting in with moe. at moe.down during Ocean Size. It seemed so natural to moe. and Perry, like they have been doing it for years and Cornmeal playing the main stage at Summer Camp. I loved getting turned onto something new

4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD)?
moe.s The Conch and The Avett Brothers
MATT MCDONALD (Perpetual Groove)

1) What will you remember most about 2007?

Becoming a real band and realizing that it’s music, not show production that makes you a great band.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?

I think Broken Social Scene will continue to grow exponentially. The very idea of this band is something that can do nothing but grow.
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?

God is an Astronaut really blew me away at Echo Project this year. I had heard of the band and had a couple CD’s but the energy and emotion they brought live made me a true fan. Just good songs executed in the live environment in the perfect way.
4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)?

It’s a definite tie….

NIN- Year Zero
Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew-_Spirit If_
DEANNE SUPERDEE HERMAN (Jambase, Rotary Downs)
1) What will you remember most about 2007?
2007 is the year that the world wide interweb had a Crush on Obama and wanted us to Leave Britney Alone even though she totally sucked at the VMAs – YouTube had a pretty big year, too. Unfortunately, I will remember 2007 as a year our wonderful President Bush continued to allow thousands of people to be killed in this senseless war but fortunately, our REAL winner Al Gore opened the eyes of millions of people about global warming which started a Go Green or Go Home trend across corporate America. I’ll remember Roger Federer although I won’t have to because he’ll likely win most of the tournaments in 2008, too. Congressmen apparently do their mating in airport bathrooms. The Red Sox kicked butt, won the World Series and I liked it. 2007 is the year the Sopranos left us with nothing but a black screen and our imagination. And then one crisp fall day, all the writers went on strike and I had no idea what was going on in the world because Stewart or Colbert were all of a sudden gone with the wind.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?
American Babies!
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
I’d have to go with Daft Punk at Lollapalooza because I had no idea what to expect and it completely blew me away. Robot rock was all the rage this summer! But if we’re talking about flying emotions here, I will have to go with the solo Page McConnell workshop at High Sierra. You had me at ‘Tiny Dancer,’ Page. My Morning Jacket had a particularly epic set at Langerado but that’s pretty much par for the course with those guys, in my humble opinion.
4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your itunes (or CD player)
It’s a dead heat between Rilo Kiley’s Under The Blacklight and Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky.
MARCO BENEVENTO (Benevento-Russo Duo)

1) What will you remember most about 2007? My daughter Ruby. 2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? The Royal Potato Family. 3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? Bjork, I don’t I need to explain whyshe’s out of control good!! 4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? Jim Noirs _Tower of Love. _

For more on Marco, check out this feature from 2007
SKERIK

1) What will you remember most about 2007?
How corrupt our country is, and how we are the apathetic flock of gross liars like Bush, Cheney, and Rove.
2) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
Melvins and Big Business (10/13/07 Nashville). Total rock. Total concept. Total execution of aforementioned. I have use for this.
3) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)?
Messiaen-_Turangalila_
CRIS JACOBS (The Bridge)
1) What will you remember most about 2007?
The road. 2007 was our busiest touring year so far. I’ll definitely remember this as a year of not being home too much. But if I had to pick one place out of all that we went to, I’d have to say Maui was definitely the most epic place I’ve ever played music.
2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008?
The Amity Front from Northampton, MA. What a great band. Great songwriting, vocals, and picking. Once people start to hear them they’re going to catch on fast.
3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)?
Hands down, The Bridge at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans. It was our first time playing in New Orleans, and you could say we were graced by some serious funk royalty. We set up an extra drum kit and had Russell Batiste play the entire set alongside our drummer Mike Gambone. And as if it couldn’t get any better, Ivan Neville showed up and played organ on half the set, with Papa John Gros playing the other half. Having those guys be so welcoming in their own city to us was truly an honor. And hearing our tunes being played by those guys wasn’t too bad either…
4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD player)?
I think it’s a tie between Townes Van Zandt, Live at the Old Quarter and Bill Frisell, East/West.
_Mike Greenhaus would like to give a special thanks to Randy Ray. To read Mikes typos please visit www.greenhauseffect.com

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