Jerry Moss: Legendary A&M Records Co-Founder

2/14/2018
Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Jerry Moss: Legendary A&M Records Co-Founder 2/14/2018
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Today, we present the story of a legend who facilitated incredible change in the music business. I’m sitting down with the one-of-a-kind Jerry Moss, Co-founder of A&M Records. If you’ve heard of artists like The Police and Sting, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Peter Frampton, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, Chet Baker, Bryan Adams, Carole King, Sheryl Crow, and Cheech and Chong, then you’ve listened to some of  the products of Jerry’s keen ear for good sound. Founded together with iconic trumpet playing recording artist, Herb Alpert, A&M records has signed artists with astounding careers and lasting legacies. You will get to hear all the history of the world’s largest independent record label, as well as some of the coolest stories of Jerry’s personal journey. His story is truly remarkable.

He’s worked with some of the best artists in the world, been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and even won the Kentucky Derby! Jerry Moss has led an extraordinary life and humbly tells us how lucky he feels. Starting with a dream to sit at the entertainer’s table in the Catskills, Jerry’s career in music began with a series of fortunate acquaintances and opportunities taken. Although not an actual musician, he has a keen musician’s ear and has made many brilliant signings based on experiencing artists perform, as well as influencing some of the greatest recordings.

“We hired great people, and we didn’t stand for any corruption in any way.” – Jerry Moss 

You’ll hear stories of working with Sting and the Police, as well as incredible discoveries made with international artists like Soundgarden. Artists like The Carpenters and Garbage also found their advocate and supporter in Jerry. Everything he chooses to be a part of is intentional, and good things are manifested from his honorable actions. Jerry has paved a path through a notoriously shady industry with integrity and honor.

Episode Highlights: 

  • Discover how Jerry’s upbringing in the Bronx has influenced his career choices and opportunities.
  • Learn what motivated Jerry to get into the music business.
  • In spite of the challenges, Jerry maintained the highest sense of integrity throughout
  • Partnering with Herb Alpert was true magic.
  • Learn the decision process behind signing current pop artists, and then why he made the switch to Rock n’ Roll.
  • Why the lyrics and delivery matter most to Jerry.
  • Developing artists was part of the process at A&M
  • Jerry particularly loved signing artists with great performance ability.
  • Jerry has a huge passion for horse racing.

Suggested Reading:

Broken Music by Sting 

 

 

Dennis Chambers: Modern Drummer Hall of Fame Award Recipient

1/24/2018
Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Dennis Chambers: Modern Drummer Hall of Fame Award Recipient 1/24/2018
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The story of how I met Dennis Chambers started with a  music performance I will never forget. However, that’s not why I’m here. Today, we learn how Dennis Chambers became the legendary drummer he is today. From his earliest memories of copying records on a toy drum kit, to slinging tracks with the likes of John Scofield and Miles Davis, Dennis has a story to tell about everything. Like the music he plays, Dennis shares stories with a rhythm and flow that is music to my ears. You definitely do not want to miss out!

Though Dennis is a self-taught musician, he claims he learned from the best. He was so good, that his drumming appeared on a gospel record when he was just 7. At 13 or 14, James Brown was asking him to play in his band. The names just keep coming! Dennis has jammed with the likes of P Funk, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Stanley Clark, and Carlos Santana. Across the decades, across jazz, funk, soul, and rock and roll, Dennis has become a master chameleon of rhythm and style.

I had the opportunity to hear Dennis perform at Blues Alley with Mike Stern, Tom Kennedy, and Randy Brecker – and to watch him play is unbelievable While seeming completely calm and in control of his craft, Dennis can light up a stadium, like he did, beginning as a teenager, during his Parliament Funkadelic days.. When you get a guy like Dennis talking, expect your mind to melt a little bit. His experiences and memories could fill a book, but for now, we’ll settle with a podcast episode. Listen to hear all of these stories of music and soul unfold.

Episode Highlights:

  • Dennis shares how he remains so very calm in the middle of mind-bending performances.
  • With a Motown singer mom, music was in Dennis’ DNA.
  • Dennis first picked up a stick when he was 3 years old, and got his first drum kit when he was 4.
  • We discuss how Dennis got his professional start at a very young age.
  • Finding your sound is a constantly evolving process.
  • Dennis shares all of his early influences and inspirations.
  • Playing with P Funk gave him incredible exposure.
  • Hear some of Dennis’ favorite bass players to work with – he has worked with some of the greats!
  • What’s new on the horizon for Dennis.

Connect with Dennis

Dennis’ Website

Here are some of my favorite performances by Dennis:

Dennis plays on David Letterman:

Dennis gets FUNKY at Drum Camp:

With Mike Stern, Tom Kennedy, and Randy Brecker:
Dennis’ Drum Solo – This is AMAZING!:

 

Dennis is Sponsored by the following companies:

 Pearl     |   Zildjian    |    LP percussion    |   Ddrum electronics    |   Evans Drumheads 

Ashfer Biju: Crafter of Perishable Art

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Ashfer Biju: Crafter of Perishable Art
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In today’s conversation, Andy talks with Ashfer Biju, the executive chef and food and beverage director at the iconic The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York City, responsible for all things culinary. To Ashfer, however, he’s more than his official job title; he’s a self-proclaimed “crafter of perishable art.”

After growing up in a small fishing town in India, Ashfer discovered his passion for food as a child and was driven to share his love with others ever since. With his entire family working in the restaurant industry in some fashion, Ashfer quickly dove into the hospitality industry and helped launch a vegetarian restaurant in India when he was only 18. He studied hospitality and pursued a degree at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. Soon after, Ashfer traveled to open restaurants around the world, from Berkeley to Mauritius and the Maldives. By 2009, when he had already opened numerous hotels and restaurants, the time for Ashfer to move to New York City had come.

Not surprisingly, Manhattan ended up being far more than the mere short-term piece of a working travel circuit as he’d expected; Ashfer found his calling in what he considers one of the three “maximum food cities” of New York, London, and Hong Kong. Extending beyond his current work at The Pierre, Ashfer and Andy delve into the “extreme form of art” that is food, the importance of food’s personalization in weddings, why food is an experience at heart, and even why turmeric is “the next kale.”

After their conversation, Andy had the opportunity to experience Ashfer’s food firsthand through a tasting at Perrine in The Pierre. Read about his experience below the links.

Links

“Following the interview, Ashfer was kind enough to offer me a multi-course tasting in The Pierre’s onsite restaurant, Perrine. The setting, it provided, was a perfect location for such a culinary endeavor. I proceeded to be served seven different dishes and I had to fight hard not to consume every drop and morsel in order to save room for it all! Each dish was presented beautifully, as shown in the pics, and I had to take a moment with each one just to take in the visual aspect.”

Read Andy’s comments on each dish by clicking on each photo in the gallery.

Dr. Alexandros D. Powers: Master Neurosurgeon

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Dr. Alexandros D. Powers: Master Neurosurgeon
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To operate, or not to operate. This is the question that Dr. Alexandros Powers has continuously asked himself since the beginning of his career as a highly respected Neurosurgeon. Gaining influence from his older sister, as well as his love for continual research, Dr. Alexandros Powers entered the world of medicine.

Today, Dr. Alexandros Powers sits down with Andy to discuss his early life and career ambitions. Their exchange is filled with inspiring stories, stimulating accounts, and influential testimony that will leave you wanting to hear more. Anyone in need of enlightenment about the complexities of the nervous system, topics related to spinal surgery, cranial procedures and his philosophy about recapturing a patients quality of life – prepared to become inspired.  Check out the full story on Extraordinary Ordinary People.

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Grainger Brothers: Masters of Bass and Drums

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Grainger Brothers
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The Grainger Brothers’ talent and prowess in the world of music and rhythm is unparalleled.  Between the two of them, Gary Grainger on bass and Greg on drums have recorded or performed with the likes of Whitney Houston and John Scofield, and together opened up for Earth Wind And Fire while on tour with their band, Pockets, all while keeping their musical roots and strong brotherhood bond at the forefront of their work. The brothers took many separate paths in their musical careers, as well as some similar ones too, that led them both to finding musical success from the late 70s to present day.

Today Andy, Gary, and Greg explore the brothers’ fascinating and ever-changing journey to becoming recognized as one of the best rhythm section duos in today’s music. They also share stories on the dynamics of what it’s like to perform and create together as brothers and as colleagues, how they keep their skills so versatile, and what it’s like to perform in venues as small as a one room club to as large as Madison Square Garden. Nowadays, the brothers are still busy touring, recording, and have even helped developed The Musicianship, a non-profit aimed at bringing music to youth to empower, educate , and inspire them.  Music lovers and those who appreciate the story of rising stars won’t want to miss this episode. Check out the full interview, only on Extraordinary Ordinary People.

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Robert Kraft: Former President of Music, 20th Century Fox Film

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Robert Kraft
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Robert Kraft’s list of accomplishments is nothing short of incredible. He was the President of 20th Century Fox Music for 18 years, supervising the music and film scores for blockbusters like Titanic, Avatar, and Slumdog Millionaire as well as for hit television shows like The X-Files and The Simpsons. Under his leadership, Fox Music garnered numerous Academy Award nominations and awards, Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys. He is also an award-winning songwriter, film composer, recording artist, and record producer. His talent is multifaceted and far-reaching, as is evident in today’s interview.

Andy and Robert delve into the journey he went on to achieve these great moments in his career, starting with his love of all things musical as a young child. Robert’s story is all about jumping at the chance to try something you’ve never done before, and knowing that your own passion and determination will inform the task ahead of you. The pair also discuss how his role at 20th Century Fox fit him like a glove, what the process is like to supervise the music on a big budget movie, and Robert’s interesting view on how music and movies intertwine.  And with his current venture Kraftbox Entertainment, he’s not slowing down anytime soon. Anyone looking to hear about the inner workings of music production and how the cogs of a Hollywood film work will find today’s Extraordinary Ordinary People episode deeply enjoyable.

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Paul Cloutier: Master of Collography

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Paul Cloutier: Master of Collography
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Paul Cloutier is considered to be one of the great masters of callography, an art form that involves materials being placed onto a printing plate, then varnished so it can be painted with acrylics, and then later pressed onto paper to produce a print. His technique and skill is both as intricate and detailed as it is fascinating to see the final product. Paul grew up in Quebec City with a particular inclination for the arts. His great love of classical music and painting were on display from a young age, and helped define his techniques in collography later in life. Today, he works and lives in his Montreal studio doing what he loves six days a week. Paul’s story of taking his passion to amazing heights is one full of inspiration and wisdom.

In this week’s Extraordinary Ordinary People episode, Paul and Andy discuss the technical and creative process of his callography work, and the challenges he faces working within such a niche medium. The two also delve into what a typical day for Paul looks like, the struggles he and many other artists continue to face, and how his life as a younger artist compares to life nowadays. The full interview is available now.

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Brie Salzman: Cheesemonger Extraordinaire

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Brie Salzman: Cheesemonger Extraordinaire
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When you hear the name Brie, do you conjure up images of delicious cheeses spread over a board, paired with meats and wine? That’s exactly what Brie is all about. Now a Certified Cheese Professional recognized by the American Cheese Society, Brie had humble beginnings the same as all of us. His upbringing in New York City was a tumultuous one, filled with fond memories as well as some bitter ones with his parents. He decided to get away and move to Barcelona after he finished college, where his love for all things related to food and cheese were realized.

In this week’s interview, Andy and Brie share an all-encompassing chat about his passion and devotion to the art of cheese. The two also discuss how family has played a role in shaping Brie’s profession, the various kinds of cheeses he might recommend depending on the situation, and how Brie enjoys some of the greatest pleasures in life. Listen to the full interview right here.

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Marty Dread: Hawaii’s Reggae Ambassador

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Marty Dread: Hawaii's Reggae Ambassador
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Being Hawaii’s “Reggae Ambassador” is a title Marty Dread takes pretty seriously. The singer songwriter grew up on the island of Maui from the time he was eight years old, and always had a creative soul. In high school he was at a crossroads in life, when he thought he might want to pursue his aspiring career as a watercolor artist, after his mother. But a pinnacle moment unfolded that opened Marty’s eyes to the power of music, and showed him just how influential this medium could be.

Marty and Andy have a jovial chat about his long and accomplished songwriting and recording career. The two share stories about their most inspiring singers and performers like Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Bob Marley, Michael McDonald, and others. You can also hear about how Marty writes lyrics centered on social issues and change, how he became the gateway for reggae artists to become mainstream on Maui, and even hear a few of his original songs performed live during the interview. Listen to it all right here.

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Fred Spanjaard: Bringing Live Aid to Life

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Fred Spanjaard: Bringing Live Aid to Life
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Back in 1985, before the time of countless celebrity charities and philanthropic foundations, the largest charity concert ever held was put on. Our guest this week, Fred Spanjaard remembers Live Aid like it was yesterday, because he was the Operations Producer of the Philadelphia live performance. Almost 2 billion viewers tuned in to see this 17 hour performance, both in London and in Philadelphia, where performers and celebrities of all genres came together to raise millions of dollars for Ethiopian hunger relief. The show is considered one of the most important moments in music history, and helped changed the context for how the collective public views and takes action to help causes like world hunger.

Fred’s recollections of his time producing Live Aid are nothing short of amazing. Fred discusses some of his favorite behind the scenes stories about performers like Madonna, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and other super stars, and how he and the Live Aid team pulled off the benefit concert of a lifetime.

Nowadays Fred’s busy with his business Global Media Productions, where he still produces and promote events of all sizes and magnitudes. Some of his most notable recent clients include Deepak Chopra, Ram Das, the late Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, and others. Listen to the full interview to hear what putting together a show like Live Aid was really like.

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