White Wall Blog #1
Oct. 14, 2014
For the past year and a half, I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that I am the LUCKIEST music lover in town.
Working on the White Wall Sessions has allowed me to really reconnect with the local music scene in a new way. When I first joined the crew, I didn’t really have much to offer other than enthusiasm and a lot of connections to local musicians. All the cameras were being operated by others with much more experience than I had at that point. I just kind of hung around for the first few sessions and helped haul equipment in and out, and talked to the musicians. One day Jeff Zueger asked me if I’d like to take over the interviews he was doing with the acts so he could concentrate on the million other details he has to attend to at each session. Let’s see- talk to musicians about music…now that I can do!
At first I was a little nervous before each session. But it didn’t take long to see that there is nothing difficult about the task at hand. Most of the musicians on the show have thought about music for their entire lives in one way or another. So if you can just make them comfortable and start them talking, the interviews will be good. Of course there will always be a few that are having a bad day, or are painfully shy or don’t like to talk about themselves. And I sensed a couple just did not like me. But there have been very few of those situations, the majority have been very enjoyable to talk with and very forthcoming.
The first thing I have to do is decide how much research to do on each act ahead of time. The internet makes that job a lot easier than it must have been in the past. Most bands have their own dedicated website, or a Facebook or Bandcamp site that will yield the basic information: band members, albums released and where and when they play live. And you can usually stream tracks that will give you an idea of what they sound like. But to be honest, I don’t like to take it much further than that in advance. The first thing I like to ask the musicians after they arrive is, what do they want to talk about. I almost never have any questions prepared in advance. We usually film three or four songs before we start the interviews, and I find the questions come very easily to me as I listen to the music.
After we were doing the TV show for a few months, negotiations began to incorporate a radio show into the White Wall Sessions. Thanks to our good friend Crash at B102.7 in Sioux Falls, we launched the radio show which runs on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. The radio show is one hour long, instead of the thirty minutes that the TV show runs. This has allowed much more time for the interviews to be heard. I am always very excited to do the radio show, because radio is in my blood! My dad, Jerry Zastrow, was a radio DJ when I was young. We moved around a lot as he took different radio jobs around the Midwest. We finally landed in Sioux Falls in 1969 when I was 5 years old.
I hope everyone enjoys the artist interviews as much as I do. It really is a good way to learn more about the musicians and their approach to music and songwriting. I’m really happy to start writing a blog for the White Wall Sessions. I look forward to writing about the sessions we do, guitars and other musical instruments, different genres of music and some of the many live shows I go to. We’ll also cover the local and regional music scene in general.
Thanks for taking the time to read this!!