Notes From the Edge
Conversation with
Billy Sherwood and Jim Ladd
nfte #303


It's probably a cliché to say Jim Ladd was a pioneer in free form radio. Nevertheless it's also an indisputable fact that can't be denied.

In the 1970s, at a time when homogenized, preprogrammed playlists were to become the bane of future rock radio, Jim left a lucrative gig at a prosperous L.A. rock mainstay KLOS to join a maverick rival, the late and legendary KMET. After many years of fun and music that station's demise brought Jim's dream job to an end; shortly thereafter Jim got the call from Roger Waters to play a major role in Roger's project RADIO KAOS. Jim, who appeared on the CD and the supporting tour, was a natural portraying a DJ who connects with a the main character Billy, a remarkable individual who can hear radio waves.

Jim, as it were, continued to create his own radio waves, including hosting events for both the biggest and the brightest in rock history. Eventually Jim returned to KLOS in L.A. and created HEADSETS (described below) which caught the attention of a fellow Angeleno: longtime Yes alumnus and musical dynamo Billy Sherwood. The two joined forces to create their own Headset, and this first release--or, more accurately, chapter--demonstrates how well the two meshed. Their mutual affection and admiration were apparent as they discussed their inaugural project.


MIKE TIANO: Jim, for the uninitiated in our audience, tell us about your weekly radio show HEADSETS, which you have described as the "theater of the mind".

JIM LADD: Right, I think that was an Orson Welles line that I copped, but it does describe HEADSETS very well. I'm on Monday through Friday from 8 PM til 1 AM, but HEADSETS is Wednesday nights at midnight, and I've been doing it for maybe 25 years at different stations. It has always garnered the most loyal audience, and it's an interesting thing, because it's a very eclectic show for radio but it does work very well on radio, because it is literally the theater of the mind, and as you know from listening to the album it's a combination of spoken word and music. What we've done here is we've taken that to the next level, which is writing original music and original speeches and original poetry, where on the air I'd be using, obviously, the Beatles and Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues and Chemical Brothers and Radiohead and people like that, which would lend itself to the HEADSETS experience. And then I would use movie clips and poetry and so forth. All of the stuff we're doing we wrote, save for "2000 Light Years from Home".

BILLY SHERWOOD: And a few of the Yes remakes, and there is a World Trade remake. So there's a few extras in there, but it's all original stuff, and very, very eclectic as he said, and very unique. The cool thing is the show that he does on the radio is formed around a theme and as he pulls in all those elements, the theme is created and kind of kept rolling along, and that was the trick to figure out how to make a record like that where you have to have that kind of spontaneity; he does that all on the fly, so working on a record you have to keep going over stuff to make sure it's right, because it's going to go out there forever. So it was an interesting thing to take that off of that format and turn it into a record--a concept record, which, that, in itself, is kind of unique in 2000-whatever we're in anymore-7-I think it is [laughs].

MOT: I'd like to get clarification here--are you saying that Jim's show is largely improvised?

JL: It's all improvised.

BS: Yeah, he's the last standing DJ to do it.

JL: Yeah, the show is referred to as free-form radio, meaning that any station you listen to, of any format, is programmed.

MOT: Just be clear, I'm referring specifically to HEADSETS.

JL: That's completely spontaneous when I do it.

BS: Yeah, like a live performance thing.

MOT: I would think though you may have some ideas scratched down going in?

JL: No.

MOT: Really. Wow

BS: He just goes for it. That's what made it so bizarre to work together making a record, "Well Jim, we have to listen to this about a hundred and fifty-five times [both Billy and Jim laugh]. So try to keep that spontaneity going here [laughs].

JL: That's exactly right.

MOT: Do the concepts spring from something done on the show or was it totally original and separate from that?

BS: When we first started talking about doing one of these, the space theme just seemed like a really cool thing to work with, and you could also take it into a deeper thing about the inner journey into your own soul and man's creation and all that stuff that's very heady and deep. Jim's really good with these poems that come out that are really deep and meaningful and colorful and interesting to work with behind cool music, and in a way it's kind of Floyd-y; it just takes you on that journey, but it's its own thing. It ends up being its own thing, so the space theme is Chapter 1, we're calling it, and we intend to do many chapters, because we dig working together, and we found this unique way to work together.

MOT: Maybe you should talk a little bit about the way you work together. I guess I was under the impression that--and this may be a correct assumption--this was all scripted out and mapped out and you planned in advance, but from your comments here it sounds like maybe that's not the case and maybe the script was improvised.

JL: This one, for the record now, is a different animal and we knew the theme, and we're trying to tell a specific story, and it's a very different experience for me than being on the air, because on the air you get into a mode. I know what I got to work with, and it's a matter of kind of getting your mind set into the place, and then the music pulls you along; in other words, if I'm playing one particular song, that song will give me an idea of the next song to play, and that song gives me an idea for the next song. In this case, we wrote the songs and wrote the speeches, other than the two ladies you hear on there, they wrote both of those poems--I want to make that really clear, by the way. They wrote those two things, but everything else we wrote, and then decided on what music goes with this; what song are we going to write with this particular piece of dialog if you will, so the spoken word and the lyrics should all tell the story. It's all like dialog in a film, so the lyrics are just as important as what I'm doing if not more so to carry the storyline. And so to do that in a record, that's where it was completely opposite of the way I work.

What was fascinating to me, working with Billy, is I never once had to explain to this guy what a segue was, which is something I take a lot of pride in. He just naturally understood how to go from one song to the next; that's not an easy thing to do. And then of course we could talk about the fact that I'm sitting here with one of the great musicians on the planet, giving him my words, and watching him take that, just the lyric, and turning it into these extraordinary songs. It was amazing for me, because after all these years, I never worked with somebody of this caliber and written a song and watch them make that song come alive, so to me that was just heaven.

MOT: You're saying for the new tunes on the album, rather than just provide the narrative, I mean as far as your contribution to the spoken portion of the album...

BS: Yeah, it ended up crossing over from narrative into co-writing stuff and then really getting into creating this whole thing, and it's very much kind of a partnership on that level to really make the whole concept come to life.

JL: When you listen to the songs that Billy and I wrote together, basically I wrote the words, some of them he wrote lyrics as well, but he would take that and then turn it into "the song" and literally play the song and the instruments and sing it, craft it, and all of that. That's an extraordinary thing to be able to be a part of, because I don't play anything. I can't help him; I can't sit here and play the drums or the guitar. It's all him. And then when we would produce the thing, then I can kind of add my ear at that moment, but there's nothing I can do about how the guitar sounds or any of that.

BS: Except turn it up in Jim's head; make it louder (all laugh).

MOT: There were no moments where Jim would say "More cowbell, more cowbell."

BS: [Laughs] Just more guitar, more guitar.

MOT: Do you know how many chapters there will be?

BS: Well, we plan on doing as many as we like, and you know when the inspiration comes to start working on things, and we put so much time and effort into Chapter 1 at this point that we plan on putting it out in a month's time or so, and doing it ourselves, so in the same way that, for me CIRCA: is doing its thing, and naturally taken on a life of its own, that's what's going kind of happen in this case as well with HEADSETS, so there will be multiple records as years roll by I'm sure.

MOT: Is the entire storyline mapped out beyond Chapter 1?

JL: No.

BS: No, because we're thinking just in terms of themes, branching out in different areas with different projects so that you can explore music in a different way, because it's all about that theme.

MOT: But it'll be much like CIRCA:, kind of casual, just when it feels right...

BS: Yeah, well having your own studio makes it easy to make that happen, and Jim lives in LA, and when we talked about getting together to make music, it happens quickly. At this point we're focusing on really this first one, and Jim's going to be speaking about it at KLOS, and we have plans to make a live production out of it and include perhaps special guests and friends who, between Jim and I and the people we know, put together a unique kind of show, and just make an event out of the whole thing, and maybe there's your model to come around and do that a few times with different chapters and different themes.

JL: But to answer your question, no, we do not know what the subject of Chapter 2 will be yet. We have some ideas about where to take it, but no. Once this is up and out and the record is released, then Billy and I are going to start focusing on Chapter 2 and see where that goes. Maybe we'll take this character and continue with his journey, or maybe we'll take a whole different subject and go from there.

MOT: One observation I had about the album from listening to it is that there's a lot of Bowie's "Space Oddity" in it.

BS: Yeah, well, that vibe kind of permeates that theme and it puts your head in that kind of spacey mode. It's also one of those records for HEADSETS, obviously, there's an implication for listening to it in headphones, that's not the secret message in the whole thing, but to hear it in headphones it just takes you to another place for an hour that's almost like somewhere between watching a film and kind of riding a ride at the thrill park or something.

MOT: The title of the [radio] show itself, and subsequently the album, has a double meaning; isn't that correct, Jim? HEADSETS probably has a meaning as far as an improvisational method of putting a narrative and music together, but it's also for listening to headphones, correct?

JL: Yeah, it's a definite double entendre. There's HEADSETS as in literally headphones, and then sets of songs for heads, you could look at it that way, so it's for people who get the idea that they're going to be taken on a journey, and they're going to be told a story, and that story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, so it is, in fact, a set of songs that, like I do on the radio, one set might be about politics, the next set might be about the environment, the next set might be about sex, so a set of songs, which this is--it's a set with narrative in it, so it does have a lot of different meanings; you're absolutely right.

MOT: Billy, tell us about some of the musicians on this album.

BS: Well, other than myself playing several instruments along the way, there is Jay Schellen playing some drums for us on "Alone Out Here" and "The Melancholy Diety". John Densmore from the Doors is playing the drums solo on "Finding Our Way", which is really cool. Billy Bob Thornton is a guest on here doing "2000 Light Years from Home", and his bunch of guys played on that record as well, and who am I leaving out here?

JL: The ladies that are on there; the first one from "Finding Our Way" was Helene Hodge, and the second poem is called "Message From Home" and that is a lady by the name of Victoria Cyr. Each of those ladies wrote and performed those pieces. The first one, "Finding Our Way", that John Densmore from the Doors is on, is the first time since the Doors' American Prayer album, the first time since then that he wrote something for a poet is this album, so the last time he did that was with Jim Morrison. He was so knocked out by this particular piece that he agreed to do it.

BS: Yeah.

MOT: I thought the poem from the wife was fairly touching... it could have been the main character who could have been saying those exact same things.

BS: Yeah. Ethan Sherwood makes his debut in show business at three years old which he was at the time--my little son.

JL: When Billy's son comes up, that's about the point when people start reaching for the Kleenex.

BS: [Laughs] I couldn't work on it too many times; it was killing me. "Alright, we're done with this part; let's move on."

JL: [Laughs]

MOT: At the same time having the character of the son is fairly prescient, because I think just prior to that the narrator talks about how he came from a whole line of explorers and the such, and you can only think he [the son] will go on to do something similar.

JL: That's a very good point, Mike.

MOT: In fact it just occurred to me, maybe there's this whole "Star Wars" things where time bends and Dad meets son and son's a grandfather... [Laughs]

BS: Just a little Jedi. Somehow I'm stuck on the ship with Jim though (Jim and Billy laugh).

JL: And he's had it, let me tell you. "That's enough of Jim."

BS: I think I'm in the cryo-freeze at this point.

MOT: The narrator saying [dramatically], "I'm all alone out here", [and Billy out of nowhere saying] "No you're not, man! What about me!"

BS: For people to get into it and read things into it, and also just get into it as a musical experience--you can't really break it down into individual songs; you have to give it the time and listen to it as a whole piece, which is cool.

MOT: Are you concerned about the challenge that such a concept album will face? I'm referring to the fact that this is best appreciated as a whole as opposed to be broken up into individual songs, downloaded from [the likes of] iTunes.

BS: No, I don't fear it, because I think there's a certain contingent of people out there, and there's a lot of them I believe, who are still of that same mindset that it's like, "Give me the whole thing, let me hear this thing, as opposed to the three minute song or four minute song rolling by". I think there's people out there, and obviously as Jim told you he does this show every week, and this is the same format, so there's enough people hungry for it at this point live, so we kind of figured let's find them out there now and get them the whole record.

JL: I played this for John Densmore a week before last, I had him over to the house, and he sat down, listened from beginning to end, because I wanted him to hear how his part worked and if he was happy with it and so forth, and he brought up that very point; he said, "Jim, you have got to tell people they have to take the trip." That were his exact words; they have to take the trip, and then if they go back and you know, bounce around and listen to their favorite song on the album, that's one thing, but we are hoping that they will, first time, sit down and listen to it from beginning to end.

MOT: And there are precedents here. I thought of Rick Wakeman's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH Parts I and II, which was another narrative-based musical.

BS: Yeah, the Moody's did it as well at some point.

JL: Pink Floyd.

BS: Obviously Meat Loaf records, you know, and I mean there's Floyd... there's even Genesis, obviously LAMB LIES DOWN [ON BROADWAY] is kind of meant to listened to from head to tail. But I think there's enough of us out there, and I say "us" because I'm one of them. I'm personally not into the world of needing to chop music into these short segments and reshuffle them. I like putting on an album; I want to hear it. I want to hear the album. I still say album; that tells you where I'm at.

MOT: It's funny, the concept of theater of the mind... I'm not sure you're going to be able to relate to this particular comment, but when I was listening to it, I was reminded of the Firesign Theatre and the flow of the music as the narrative, particularly

BS: [Laughs] Yeah, I know what you mean.

MOT: Are you both familiar with the Firesign Theatre? I would think Jim would be.

BS: Yeah, I remember that.

JL: Sure.

BS: This is going to take people on that journey, and that's what it's all about. That's the main point of the whole thing. So it has to be taken as a whole, and you wouldn't understand it if you listened to track 17 on its own, because it might be 35 seconds long and a very brief moment about the record.

MOT: But at the same time, you use exiting songs from Yes, Conspiracy, and World Trade, even though their themes are in context here.

BS: Yeah, I suppose if you wanted to hear those songs, you could listen to them on their own and get off on it. I'm sure there are fans of those songs that'll dig it. There are new arrangements on those songs, so there's a different twist and style on how they're presented, which makes them kind of cool but I still play into the theme, and they roll the whole album along and out on the journey.

JL: It's amazing to me how well those songs advance the storyline, and if you are a person who is acquainted with that song, you love that particular tune, now you're going to hear that song in a whole different way. It's like hearing the song from the first, because it is rearranged; it's re-recorded. It's a different take, and in the context of the story, now it'll be like listening to the song for the first time again.

BS: From a different angle.

MOT: They're definitely appropriate. I was curious if there was some thought as to writing new songs to express some of those same concepts, as opposed to using these.

BS: Well, at one point I was looking around, thinking we could spend more time writing more material, but we do kind of want to get with it, because we have this concept of getting it on to the stage, and getting this whole train moving. So in an effort to kind of move the train along, I had presented a few tunes to Jim and said, "What do you think about these?" First, I just typed out the lyrics, and I sent him the lyrics and said, "What do you think of this as part of storyline?" and he said "I love these words, they're perfect. What's the music like?" So he hadn't really been that familiar with that material. I had different arrangements kind of kicked up and I showed him the tunes, and we were digging it; so at that point, there we are in the same mode where we're working with new material, yet it's a remake of stuff we've touched on before; it just moved the project along faster. I'm sure on the next one we might not be looking to do that kind of thing, because we'll have time and not feel like we're wanting to get this train rolling as quick because the train will be in motion.

JL: But make no mistake, have the songs sucked they wouldn't have been there [Jim and Billy laugh].

BS: Jim's got the bar for that.

JL: But they're there, because they're great songs and they move the storyline forward. When you listen to those songs in context, it's almost like he wrote those now. They fit in there that well, I think.

BS: I'm still a proud now ex-member of Yes, and I'm into keeping that torch burning in some positive form, and there was a little part of that in there as well.

MOT: What were some of the challenges of weaving the music into the narrative, Billy?

BS: A lot of that was just vibe on how Jim was going read it. Like for the track "Perspective", he came in with that read, and it has its dark overtones and it's kind of ominous, and as soon as I heard that I went to the synth and did this slow-paced thing, and built off of that emotion so you bounce off each other on that level. But in this relationship mostly I'm taking how it's delivered and taking the emotional attachment to that. "Reflections" is the same kind of thing where I took those words and thought let me just make this a real trippy kind of exotic, proggy, Floyd-y kind of experience, because these words are really bizarre and trippy.

JL: The real magic--and I don't want to nail it down too much, because I don't want to ruin it-is that I never had to explain that to him. In other words, what I do on the radio is a very, very individual thing, and you either get it or you don't, and to try to explain the creative process to anybody is almost impossible for me. It's hard to explain it, and I never once had to explain it to Billy. He just got it; he just understood it, and suddenly we're speaking the same language, and that was an extraordinary moment for me, because I thought how am I going to explain this to this guy, and how is he going to explain what he does to me, and suddenly we're just doing it. It was amazing.

MOT: Before I forget, Billy, is it you who plays that blistering solo on "Alone Out There"?

BS: Yes.

MOT: That was really an awesome solo.

BS: Yeah, with Jim right next to me, I think he had pom-poms in both hands...

JL: [Laughs]

BS: ... and a #12 shirt on, jumping up and down, telling me to play faster [Laughs], so I was just trying to play as fast as I could.

MOT: That one sounds like a real AOR track.

BS: Yeah, that's the stand-out song, and it's up there on the MySpace page, which we plan on launching here as soon as we release the record.

JL: He shreds that solo. He shreds that thing.

BS: [Laughs] There's also a couple of guys who we forgot to mention who we shouldn't forget doing the voices of a few of the characters in the front of the record at the launch. One of the guys is Pat "Paraquat" Kelly, who was a famous LA DJ here when I was growing up here, I remember listening to him forever. He's a great guy; he's on there. Who else we got on there...

JL: Joe Reiling is the captain of the ship; he's the first voice, and then John Densmore is the first mate. And Damian Bragdon...

BS: Yeah, Damian Bragdon's on there... .

JL: And Paraquat is the NASA voice, and then Billy Sherwood also does some acting.

BS: That's right.

MOT: Oh, you can pick out Billy a mile away.

BS: [Laughs] Yeah.

MOT: You do the countdown, right?

BS: Yeah, I did that [Mike and Billy laugh].

MOT: I knew that was you.

BS: That's funny; that's funny.

MOT: What was it like recruiting your buddies for this, Jim?

JL: I heard these specific voices in my head; I knew they could do it. Densmore, oddly enough, has done some acting, so when he came over to do the drums, which took two different sessions to do the drums, I didn't even ask him, I just shoved the script in his hand and said here, say this, and he did it really well.

MOT: "2000 Light Years from Home" was really a kind of a shock; I didn't have the track list in front of me at all until today, so when I first listened to the album, it was a pleasant surprise. I didn't realize until Billy told me, though, that it was Billy Bob Thornton. How did he become involved in this?

JL: He's a friend of mine, and when we decided to do the record, I wanted that song on there, and this is kind of an interesting story. I called him up one day, and I said, "Listen Billy [Bob], I'm doing HEADSETS," and fortunately he's a fan of the show and he listens, he lives out here, and he listens to the show, and he said, [talks like Billy Bob], "Well, what song do you want me to do?"--because he's from Arkansas where my dad is from--and I said, "Well, I was thinking about the Stones' "2000 Light Years from Home" and he said, "Well, you ain't gonna believe this." I said, "What?" And he said, "Well, yesterday I was looking for my copy of THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST, and I didn't have it, so I went down to Tower Records," which we still had then, "and I bought the copy and for the last three days I've been listening to '2000 Light Years from Home,'" and I thought he was kidding me. I mean, imagine of all of the albums in the world--all of the Stones songs in the world--he's been listening to that song three days before I call him, and he decided they wanted to do that in concert, when he went out on the road it was the only one they were going to cover. So that blew my mind, and he said, "Yes, I will do it." And that's all him and his guys, I'd have to get the names of the guys that are on that with him, but he's playing drums and singing.

MOT: Wow, divine providence, eh?

JL: Isn't that an amazing story? I mean, really! That's an amazing story, and that's absolutely true, word for word that's true, and when he said that, I kind of looked at the phone and I thought, "Am I hearing this right?" [Laughs] But that's a true story.

MOT: That is such a mind-blower.

JL: Of all the gin-joints, of all the towns, in all the world, you're listening to "2000 Light Years from Home". That particular song.

MOT: It's not exactly one of the best-known songs in the Stones canon.

JL: No, it's not like we said we want you to cover "Satisfaction", you know, or "Start Me Up". It's amazing.

MOT: Jim, I know you were involved with Roger Waters' project RADIO KAOS; in fact I saw that show at the Forum in Inglewood. What was it like working with Billy in comparison to working with Roger?

JL: Well, Billy's just... [Joking] it's really tough. He's got a huge ego; he's always complaining.

MOT: Yeah I know. [Laughs]

JL: No, it's amazing to me... Billy's problem is, because he has no ego, he thinks that everybody can do what he does, and I keep telling him, "Billy, not everybody can play guitar, keyboard, bass, sing, drums, write, then mix it. Not everybody can do this, Billy." It's nice, because I'm not working through some kind of guy who's always reminding me he's a rock star; that's not the vibe over here at all, and he makes me somehow feel like I belong in the studio, which is really nice. Roger was very good about that too, because when I worked with Roger, obviously I'm working with Roger-fucking-Waters, and Andy-fucking-Fairweather Low, and these are the best of the best, and yet they were very cool to me and made me feel very welcome when I did that. Albeit, I was the only American on the tour, so a lot of the humor was done at my expense, but as far as not being a musician, they were very cool about it.

MOT: Are there any aspirations to go beyond this album, beyond the CD/audio medium, like film or TV or even performance?

BS: Well, for the moment, the idea is to get the album out, get it in people's ears and get them listening to it, and hopefully early in the first quarter perhaps of next year somewhere we actually bring this to a live setting and film it and record it and create a live DVD of the experience, in the same way I'm doing with CIRCA: right now, just finishing the editing for the live DVD of our show, and that way we have a vehicle to get it out there and show it around now in a different format to people all over the world who might not have gotten a chance to see it, obviously. At least for right now that's a huge goal to reach, and it's doable, and that's what our sights are set on.

It looks like most likely CIRCA: will be involved in that production in terms of being the backbone band of the whole thing and then perhaps the HEADSETS set: when CIRCA: is playing it, we will invite special guests up to come and join us, and they shall be named later, but there's a lot of people between Jim and I who we know who we've already spoken to about this to come up and play with us and make it a special event, so that right now is the goal. It's a big one; it's doable. That's what we're going for. Beyond that, the idea is to make more records and come and do the same thing, I mean this is a unique situation in the sense that Jim isn't a musician who can go out and just tour; he has a job at a radio station [laughs], so he can only get so many days off for his holiday break, and I guess that's where we're going to shoot these shows, the idea being just make records and shoot for a great couple of weeks of live shows and make that happen a few years in a row until we're old and gray.

JL: Unless of course he makes me so rich, that I can just do this full-time.

BS: [Laughs] That would be good too.

MOT: That would be wonderful.

BS: You're the one with the microphone. [Laughs]

JL: Yeah, that's true; ok, fine.

MOT: One point of reference though, just so I'm clear: your show on KLOS is not streamed.

JL: Oh, that's a great question, because Monday through Thursday, no at this point, but oddly enough last Friday we streamed the show for the first time. KLOS streams all day long until I come on, and then it stops, and your next question is probably going to be why is that, and it's because of the nature of what I do, which is free-form radio with no format, no lists, no playlist at all. I make these shows up as I go along, so imagine trying to create 25 hours of entertainment a week when you're starting with dead air. Because of the nature of the way I do it, when you stream, there's a bunch more rules put on you, and I had to look at that and decide do I want to, pardon the pun, water down the show to stream or do I want to keep the show pure and do what I do, so I decided I'm not going to water the show down, but I do something called Theme of Consciousness, which is all requests and it's all around a theme. For example Friday night was the word "world", and the listeners call in with the request that has to contain that word in the lyric or the title. Then it's my job to take only their requests, put them into thematic sets and make a show out of it. Because of the nature of that, I'm able to stream without breaking these stupid rules that have been put on the Internet.

BS: This is amazing when you think about that.

MOT: What are these rules? I'm not clear as to what the rules are.

BS: For instance, if you wanted to play one artist and play four songs in a row, he can't; there's a quota of three or something silly like that. That's just one of these plethora of rules that are engaged that people don't think about, but it is part of the reality of how these things are done for the guy, and so the way he's doing his thing, obviously that's intruding on his art form.

MOT: But that's KLOS' rule, right?

JL: That is not KLOS rule.

BS: No, it's governed by the FCC, I think.

JL: I think the RIAA did that one.


JL: Yep. It's absolutely stupid, because why would you not want me to play five Doors song in a row if I wanted to do it? What would be the problem there? And it goes deeper than that, it's like you can only play so many cuts from the same album, and it's like suddenly now I'm having to think about what I do rather than just do it, and that's where it stopped me cold. With KLOS, let me just make this very clear, the show I do at KLOS is as free-form, Mike, as KMET was. I have absolutely zero restrictions on me at KLOS.

BS: That's why you hear CIRCA: there.

JL: Correct. And Johnny Cash, and AC/DC, and Judy Collins, and Aerosmith, and...

BS: Muddy Waters.

JL: Muddy Waters.

BS: Everything.

MOT: Like radio used to be in the '70s actually.

BS: Yeah, just whatever the theme of consciousness is; that's the whole concept, it's nice to have that. I mean, I don't want to say that's how it should be for everybody because obviously there's the other formats that work for people, but this is certainly a needed thing for people who are still listening to radio and there's tons of people out there listening.

MOT: It's exciting that you're doing this album and series, and the fact that you're planning something live as it's unknown as to how you're going to pull that off. That's very original in this day and age of homogenized product.

JL: Thank you. I'll tell you, man, for me to put my toe in Billy's ocean of what he does and be able to play in this arena, it's amazing, because I've always been playing finished product, finished songs. On my show I use a finished song as Billy would use a note, and then I would add more songs as Billy would make a chord and so forth and so forth and so forth, now to get in on the level of actually creating the songs, it's just a dream for me.

MOT: A dream come true, I'm sure.

Also visit the HEADSETS MySpace site, which features tracks from the album.

Notes From the Edge #303

The entire contents of this interview are
Copyright © 2007, Mike Tiano

Special thanks to Jen Gaudette
This conversation was conducted on November 11, 2007

© 2007 Notes From the Edge