Now Hear This! Robby Grant
By Bob Mehr
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
What Memphis movers and shakers are watching, reading and listening to:
Since emerging in the early-’90s, Robby Grant has proven to be one of Memphis’ more interesting songsmiths. A member of local orchestral-rock “supergroup” Mouserocket and the leader of his own avant-pop project Vending Machine, Grant has spent much of the past few months completing work on new albums for both groups. Vending Machine’s Let the People Sing and the still-untitled Mouserocket disc are both due later this year.
In the meantime, Mouserocket will be among the bands performing as part of the annual WEVL spring benefit concert Saturday at the Hi-Tone Café.
Grant took time to tell us about what’s been keeping him entertained and how he’s passing on some of his childhood favorites to his kids.
What are you listening to?
This group called Happy End. It’s a Japanese band from the ’70s. They were on the “Lost in Translation” movie soundtrack. I found one of their records and have been listening to that a lot. To me it’s kinda like ’70s California country-rock — but with all Japanese lyrics. The songs are great even though I can’t understand a word they’re saying. (laughs)
Also, I listen to (online radio station) Dublab.com a lot, and there’s this mix on there that has some ’70s singer-songwriter stuff. And there’s this one tune by (Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks’ pre-Fleetwood Mac outfit) Buckingham-Nicks called “Long Distance Winter,” which I’ve kind of been obsessed with. I’ve been trying to get Mouserocket to cover it but I don’t think they think it’s that cool. (laughs)
What are you reading?
A little while back I attended that presentation on (Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew’s)“Recording the Beatles” book that the local Grammy chapter put on. I finally got the book last week, so I’ve just been poring over that and it’s incredible. I’ve been plowing through the technical side. People talk about gear all the time and I don’t know understand a lot of it. But when put in context of a Beatles song — since I know pretty much all their music — it’s kind of opened up a whole new world.
Also, through my kids’ school, they tell us about all the books they read in class and there’s a book called “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. That’s been on my bedside table for the last few months and I’ve been reading it.
What are you watching?
We’ve been watching “Big Love.” I definitely think it’s Bill Paxton’s best role since “Weird Science.” (laughs) We also watched the DVD of the Richard Donner cut of“Superman II” recently. That was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I was showing that to my kids. It’s definitely different, but it’s the same story.
And I went to the movies and saw the Terry Gilliam’s movie, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” I have a love/hate relationship with his movies. Whenever I rent them I always fall asleep. But at the theatre, I stayed awake and I thought it was great.
Mouserocket performs Saturday at 9 p.m. as part of the WEVL Spring Concert, along with Jack O. and the Tennessee Tearjerkers and The New Mary Jane. Cover is $10. For more information call, 278-8663.