Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Interview with 52Shows.com founder Francis Ma

He's the one on the left, the one on the right is Manny Ramirez. Who's got better shades?

Francis is from Boston, has one of the biggest music blogs in the country, and hates the yankees as much as I do.. He's cool. Here  are his takes on todays music scene. His Blog is  52Shows.com

With writers in 4 different cities, would you like contributors all over the world?
Yes. Everywhere in the world. Except Guam. Guam knows why. We thought we had someone in the UK for a while, but sadly he didn't have the time. Right now, we're missing key cities in the States such as Seattle, Austin, Chicago, and DC. And I could always use more people in NYC and LA. But this isn't to say I don't want someone from North Dakota to write for me. In fact, I'd probably value that person more.

So living in Boston you have to be devastated that Manny is gone? Manny for Jason Bay are you kidding me?
Let me tell you something about living in Boston and being a Red Sox fan. There are two different factions. One group is comprised of fans since 2004. The rest have been with the team since they were born and lived through the pain of '86 and the embarrassing 90s. Those people are also the ones who never get tickets.  As for Manny, I hate to see him go, but I blame the Red Sox organization for not ponying up the cash/excitement to keep him.

How did you get the name 52shows.com? Average # of shows you attend each year?
My old college roommate/friend/drunken compatriot Dave came up with the name. The idea was that we would see at least one show a week. I'm pretty sure we've failed at that (although it hasn't been a year yet...i don't think).

Best city to see a show NYC, Chicago, L.A???
LA if you like drugs.
Chicago if you like beer and food.
NYC if you drink Miller High Life (it's one of the cheapest things in the city to drink)

How often do you check out shows in NYC???
Not that often. I'm in the Boston area and when I head down to NYC it's usually to see friends.

Favorite U.S. festival?
Pitchfork has I think the best deal, provided that you can get there. I think Bonnaroo has had its last great year and SXSW is just too big to handle. On a local level, I enjoy it when the street musicians get together and play an impromptu festival that benefits the war against poverty.

As an experienced music blogger, what are your favorite type of reviews to read? Bashing, Praising, Comical?
Not to throw praise on the site, but I like the reviews we have, which aren't bashing or praising and at times comical. It deals with the experience the writer had at a show. I don't care about the sound, the setlist, or what the band said on stage. That is, unless it affects you in a certain way. I remember seeing Kings of Leon and, afterwards, being convinced they were the best rock band in the world because of what I was thinking about when they were playing "Arizona."
I also remember seeing a band where some drunk chic kept yelling at me. All these things are part of the experience and our site is dedicated to talking about them. But any review that has the line "blind inbred monkeys" in any context, has my vote for the best.

I'm sure you have top 10 album lists? Will Sigur Ros and Paul Weller be in your top 10?
I love the new Sigur Ros album. I like playing it and pretending I'm in some epic movie scene. I am embarrassed to say that I haven't heard the new Weller. I'm an ass.

Hows the local music scene in Boston?
It's a lot more vibrant than people think. In the past the city was known for punk/alternative. But now there's a growing country/bluegrass scene, along with the unclassifiable (saw a dude play a washboard on stage to a song about sex). The hip-hop scene still has a way to go.

Can I get a thank you for Kevin Garnett?

Have you ever worked in the music industry?
I've done freelance PR work for bands and worked as a music journalist for alternative weeklies and newspapers. I also steal from the music industry whenever I can. Just kidding. No, not really (yes I am RIAA. Leave me alone now).

If you were in a band, maybe you are? How would you try to stick your self out or just flat out sell material?
Sex tape with Miley Cyress. I'd never have to work again.  For reals: First, I'd get my music up on Tunecore, a company that, for a nominal fee, houses your music and helps you destribute it to iTunes, Amazon, etc. When it sells, you get the entire cut.  I'd put up the obligatory Myspace music page instead of a real website. I'd start a blog, answer fan's emails, and I'd also cover a random pop song a month and let people download it for free off the site. Oh and the name of the band would be The McFancys

Is Rock N Roll Dead?
I don't think so. As a genre, there are still moments of rock with Kings of Leon, the Raconteurs, and even the Black Keys. As a way of life, the women have been living it up from Winehouse on the brink of destruction and Lily Allen saying she doesn't want to be part of the industry anymore.

Give me your 3 greatest bands of all time? And 3 cool bands, no one knows about?
Of all time. I'm gonna simplfy this a bit and turn it to the greatest bands of "my" time, which means any band that's come into existence since '78 (because bands like the Rolling Stones, Beatles and .38 Special are givens...that's right, I went there and said .38 Special).
3 of the Greatest
-Lucinda Williams
-Public Enemy
3 of the Coolest
-Okkervil River
-The Drive-By Truckers

Have you ever gotten jumped on the street?
-Only by soririty girls on Thursday night.

Crowd surfing or Stage Invasion, what is more of a thrill?
Crowd surfing. I know where I'm going after a stage invasion. With crowd surfing, it's more of an adventure set to music and gravity.

2 bands never to see live?
-These guys, twice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4nNHOF6jQ8
Anything is Possible!!!! Top of the World!!!!! Who am I?
-The members of Flock of Seaguls, circa 1982. JK KG

> 2 best shows so far this year you've attended?
Ok, for reals? It was Ingrid Michaelson because I didn't expect her to be entertaining, hot and hilarious.

Throw me the Statue was another surprising find since I didn't expect to like it that much.

He also interviewed me on his blog. Check out Brody's interview at 52shows.com

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Skybombers @ Triple Rock(Minneapolis) 8/4/08


With everyone at the sold out Ting Tings show, i decided to head over the check out some mates from Australia called the Skybombers. These guys reminded me of the hives and the vines. Lots of noise and energy. Good stuff. They have a new record called Take me to Town, check it out! 

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