I guess it’s an odd transition to being all about your hometown to attempting to be “king of all media” and losing the local identity that was what you were all about.
Right and no one has ever done it, other than Ronald Reagan. No one has ever gone from being a radio announcer to being someone of actual significance. It’s never happened otherwise. And the thing is that radio simultaneously sounds super high-technology, super-exciting in a kind of technical way, and you know, it’s the beginning of the modern era, the beginning of long distance mass communication ― or I should say instant mass communication, not long distance? But now it’s like this relic.
Well yeah, it’s like there was radio but then there was television, and then radio persevered as the stepchild of TV.
No, I think radio and television co-existed quite comfortably for a long time, the same way that television and film co-existed. I think that they were different enough that there were still radio networks and television networks. Now, it seems like there are so many different ways for people to amuse themselves that radio is such a small part of that spectrum, that the only significant money to be made is by corralling all these little tiny $100,000-a-year profit making stations into these big conglomerations.
I guess if you mull the idea of radio in your mind, it has many little chicked-off facets of interest on it as a concept, but we may be coming to the end of its use, in that fashion, because a lot of those things are going to historical elements rather than contemporary elements. One of the strongest memories that I have as a child is driving around in my grandfather’s truck in his olive orchard listening to Vin Scully broadcasting Dodgers games. The sound of Vin Scully’s voice relaying baseball in this setting that sort of fixes it in my memory ― for the rest of my life, Vin Scully will be the voice of baseball, I will never be able to hear his voice without being brought into this frame of mind where I want to know what’s happening with the Dodgers. And I haven’t given a shit about the Dodgers in what, 40 years, something like that?
Yeah, I used to listen to baseball on headphones in the dark as a kid, and it’s funny because if you think about “the sound of baseball,” it’s like a tree falling in the woods, right?
Right! There’s the quiet murmur of the crowd, and Vin Scully talking about it, that’s what it all boils down to. And then he was doing the game of the week, and even when I wasn’t around my grandfather, in the ’70s, when I was kind of following the Reds and the Pirates, then Vin Scully was announcing those games every now and again, and I still hear Vin Scully in my head when I think about baseball.
One of the songs on our new album, “Genuine Lullabelle,” has a long talking part in the middle. There’s like the music part at the beginning, talking part, quiet part, and then another music part, and in between the music part and the quiet part is this talking part, and in the talking part we have interwoven, with me doing a sort of character study, there are other people’s voices making commentary on it, and those other people’s voices are all voices that we have very strong memory associations with.