Today’s guest is Catfish. Catfish would never want to admit this because he is a humble dude, but he is a bit of a legend in Savannah. He won lifetime tickets to see their minor league baseball team by sleeping in the stadium for over a week, he played Tommy Ramone in the CBGB’s movie, he was a bartender at Pinky Masters (arguably one of the most legendary bars in America) and thats just the tip of the iceberg that is Catfish. He is an incredibly gracious individual and I was honored to have him on the podcast. Very rarely in life do you run across truly genuine people who appreciate the world they live in, and he is one of them. Dig it.[audio https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/episode-50-catfish.mp3%5D
Happy New Year everybody! In this episode, I fly solo to give you a delectable winter mix. I’ve mentioned before that I love making mixes for people, so these are some things that I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Most of it is older stuff, but it all packs quite a punch. Hope you like it.[audio https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/episode-47-winter-mix.mp3%5D
Jane Fishel is the person who made me appreciate a well made cocktail. Before I met Jane, the most adventurous I would get with a mixed drink was a Greyhound. She made me appreciate classic cocktails and drinks that I would have never dared try. I had my first Fernet-Branca with Jane, and for that, I am eternally grateful. She is a smart, vibrant, hilarious and beautiful person and I am incredibly thankful that I met her and get to have her in my life. Her bar, the Sparetime in Savannah, Georgia, is my favorite bar in America. I know that is a bold statement, but there is something very different about the Sparetime. The cocktail menu, the incredible employees, the record collection, all of these things make Jane, her people and her bar extraordinary. If you find yourself in Savannah, you are doing yourself a disservice unless you pay them a visit.[audio https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/episode-40-jane-fishel.mp3%5D
Most of you wont be familiar with Andrew Rippley, but you should become familiar with him. He is, in general, a badass. I hold that term in the highest regard. He is a concert oboist, masterful cocktail maker, and a lover of many things. I only met him about a year and a half ago, and he has quickly become one of my favorite people on earth. If you ever find yourself in Savannah, keep your eyes peeled for Rippah. Ask him to make you a drink and then have a conversation. You wont be disappointed.[audio https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/episode-39-rippah.mp3%5D
Laura Pleasants is a guitar player/singer/songwriter in Kylesa. Kylesa is a heavy metal band from Savannah, GA that has been re-defining themselves and their genre for years. Typically referred to as sludge metal, doom metal or stoner metal because people feel the need to categorize everything, there is a lot more to them than that. Their influences range from early hard core, goth, alt rock, psychedelic, punk rock and much more. Their latest record, Ultraviolet, is great and very unique. I’ve known Laura for a little while because we have a mutual friend. Whenever I see her, I just want to talk about music. She has a great mind and is a fantastic lady. I recorded this interview at a Kylesa show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. One of the opening bands is sound-checking for the first few minutes of the interview, so I’m sorry about the back round noise.[audio https://whatbringsustogether.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/01-kylesa.mp3%5D
Let me tell you a few things about myself. I’m from New York (yes originally you asshole), I’m a liberal, my favorite sport is challenging Republicans to arguments, I hate modern country music (most country things after 1980 can fuck right off), I’m an Atheist and I don’t like NASCAR. That being said, I have a pretty serious love affair with the South. I have traveled more to Louisiana and Georgia in the last 5 years than anywhere else. I’ve also made stops in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. I would say Florida, but we all know that Florida is a Northern state a lot of the time. I have also fallen into the habit of dating a lot of Southerners for the last 6 years. What is it about that place that I find so intriguing? Why is it that when I hear a Southern accent, I melt into bacon butter? After a recent excursion to the Southeast, I decided to take a closer look.
New Orleans-Tennessee Williams once said ““America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” I’ve got no problem with Cleveland, but this man had a point. I first went to New Orleans in 1998 with my dad. I clearly remember being completely enamored with that city from the first day I was there. It hasn’t lessened one bit. The food, the people, the music, all of it. I think there is something so magical about New Orleans. It is such a unique city for so many reasons. I think one of the reasons that it is so interesting is its turbulent past. In the 1800’s, it was the largest port in the slave trade, in the 1980’s through early 2000’s they had one of the most corrupt police departments in the country, and then of course there was hurricane Katrina. One of America’s most important cities saw the government turn their backs on them in their greatest time of need. You can feel all of that there. Its all mixed in with all of the things that make the city great. The city is a gumbo, one of its most loved traditional dishes. A big mix of everything. I try and visit New Orleans every 2-3 years. The last time I was there, I went for Halloween. There is no other city in America that can kick it off like that. It was phenomenal. New Orleans has this amazing voodoo/spirit world vibe to it already. Compounding that with the Halloween Harvest is just amazing. I would go there for Halloween over Mardi Gras any time. Then there are the different parts of town. Frenchman street, the Garden district, the French Quarter, the Metairie. All of them, so special and different from the last. Everywhere else IS Cleveland.
Savannah-I had always wanted to visit Savannah after watching the first hour of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. Its another city that seems to have a love affair with its past. After all, its where Sherman’s March came to an end. Luckily for us, the Northern troops stopped burning things down once they got to Savannah, so lots of the city has a beautiful old look to it. Now I’m a little biased with this one. One of my best friends/favorite people on earth owns what I think is the greatest bar in America in Savannah, the Sparetime. We are going to speak to the ladies of the Sparetime another day, but if you ever make it down there, you are committing a sin by not going there. As far as the rest of the city is concerned, the old mansions, the Spanish moss dangling down from most of the tree’s in town, its relation to beautiful beaches like that on Tybee Island, its really hard to wrap your head around it all. There are also more beautiful people living in Savannah than most other places. There is definitely something in the water. There are few places on earth that welcome you like I have been welcomed in Savannah. After going there for my 4th time in about a year, I’ve found the locals to be some of the warmest, genuine and most interesting people I have ever met. Every time I leave, I instantly feel like I am leaving something behind.
Jesup-A few years ago I spent some time in Jesup, Georgia with a lady friend for the holidays. The people I met there were nothing short of amazing. I had never felt so welcomed by people I did not know. I was taken in and shown a level of hospitality that was awe inspiring. We spent Christmas Eve working in a soup kitchen and the level of love in that room was truly magical. I ended up on the cover of the local paper. Over the course of the week we played music, shot guns, went fishing, went to the drive-in and did so much more. I got to practice the art of shutting the fuck up when it came to talking about politics and religion. That was a good thing. Its never a good idea to be someone’s guest and shit talk the way they live their life. There are plenty of times to do that elsewhere. I have traveled quite a bit on this big blue marble and the kindness I was shown in Jesup was something I will remember forever.
Western Virginia-For the last 2 years, I have spent my labor day weekend with a friend of mine driving on the Crooked Road. The Crooked road is 300 mile stretch of road in Western Virgina (not West Virginia) where bluegrass was born. The Carter Family, Ralph Stanley, and many other bluegrass legends hail from this part of Appalachia. There are fiddle festivals, ho downs and more live music than you would ever imagine. All along the road are music venues, Luthiers and museums all dedicated to bluegrass and preserving the rich musical history of the region. We usually camp out the first night in Grayson Highlands State Park. Drinking local moonshine and playing guitars. The first year we went we spent a few hours hiking the Appalachian trail. At one point we ran in to a bunch of wild pony’s. The experience was and is almost impossible to convey to anyone who hasn’t been there. Do yourself a favor and look in to the Crooked Road.
People have been asking me recently “When are you moving to the South” because I’ve been spending so much time there. The truth is I dont know. I live in New York and I love this city so much. Not for the bullshit reasons that everyone loves New York. There is an element to this great city that is difficult to explain. It goes far beyond the museums and the culinary wizardry and the fact that being a music fan, there are fewer better cites to be in than this. However after having so many beautiful experiences in the South, it does feel like a matter of time. Now about those Republicans…