Monday, January 5, 2009

Winning Them Over, One at a Time

Andrew Bird's new album, Noble Beast, comes out soon, and according to the Gonzo Gal, it is streaming on a loop at NPR. Matt Belloni was kind enough to send over this NY Magazine piece on Bird. It's a good read and this quote caught my attention:

"[Bird] never records melodies or even writes them down. He assumes that if they’re worth remembering, he’ll remember them. The longer they remain lodged in his head, the more likely it is that they will eventually be fashioned into a song. “It’s like I’m my own Top 40 radio station, playing the things that get under my skin,” Bird says. “The ones that really stick are the hits.”"

Bird drips with musical talent and after seeing him life at Northwestern and hearing him explain his music, this quote doesn't surprise me at all. His music is really complex and it takes me a long time to find a way in, but once I do, and I always do, look out. It's not easy though and often times I put down his music for a while and then return to it. I return to it looking for the basic personal satisfaction that comes with listening to music, but I also return because I know how hard he works on it and how hard it was for him to "make it."

A lot of that is covered in the NY Mag piece, but I still remember the look on his face when I saw him in Chicago a few years back. The Riviera, I think, was sold out, it was clear he had "arrived" and when he walked on stage he took a few moments to soak it all in. Then he leaned into the microphone, and in his quiet voice he said, "I used to live a few blocks down the road, and ride my bike by here everyday. Thank you for coming to see me play here. It's a dream come true..."

And with that he started an amazing show. I'm one of those fans that he won over one at a time, and it keeps me coming back.