If you’re a music nerd, of which I gleefully admit I am, a song isn’t just a song, it’s your sustenance. You want, need, to know everything about the song or the band. Names like George Martin, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, and Tom Dowd mean something to you. Before he was known as a headphone entrepreneur and billionaire, Jimmy Iovine was a producer. I would purchase albums he produced, band unknown, because I knew whoever it was I’d like.
Yea, I’m that nerdy.
In any event, I suspect we all know enough about music to know that songs recorded in a studio are built piece by piece, or track by track. One track for drums, another track for bass, a track for guitar, a track for vocals . . . well, you get the idea. Then they all get mixed together to (hopefully) create something worth listening to.
While The Session with Christian James Hand is a podcast and not a song, it’s well worth listening to.
Hand pulls back the curtain of the recording studio, takes specific songs and dissects them track by track to show you how they were recorded. More importantly, how all the tracks come together to shape the song(s) you love. He also provides some context for the song and a little color commentary. If you like music, you’re gonna like this.
The songs are a little Gen X-y and rock heavy, which is fine by me. I am a card-carrying member of Gen X and I love rock & roll. I also know (and love, like or tolerate) most of the songs . . . and you will too. Much to its benefit, the podcast doesn’t dive into The 13th Floor Elevators territory.
And now the caveat.
It’s not its own podcast (although it should be, hint hint). It’s part of the KLOS morning show with Davey, Daisy, and Daffy or whoever (it’s actually Frosty, Heidi and Frank). No disrespect but I find listening to FM morning shows akin to having a catheter inserted and a root canal . . . simultaneously . . . without any pain relief. Provided you can tolerate the comedic (?) interjections of a hilarious FM morning show, and the occasional sound effect (HONK!), when Hand is doing his thing (which is once a week on Mondays) you’re going to enjoy this.
Seriously though, don’t let the morning show nonsense turn you off because this podcast is fun and well worth it.
One of the best things about the podcast is that there’s no pretense. The Session doesn’t provide any Greil Marcus like examinations of the band or the songs. Hand makes it very accessible and, despite the efforts of Frosty, Heidi and Frank, he makes it interesting. Fret not, you don’t need to be a nerd, savant, producer, engineer or a music snob to enjoy this podcast. You just have to be modestly curious about music. That’s it.
The other great thing Hand does is he takes the piss out of the song and removes some of the high brow silliness that has somehow crept into rock & roll. He reminds us that it’s not all the nonsense that surrounds the song, it’s the song . . . and only the song that matters.
You can download the FHF (Frosty, Heidi, Frank) Podcast and look for the segment called FHF Studio Session or you can go to Soundcloud and find them there.
Be sure to check out the website for the show because he takes this show on the road and if you get the chance to see it live, I’m gonna go ahead and guess it’s a lot of fun . . . and you won’t be subjected to inane or banal interjections . . . or sound effects (I hope anyway).
The Session with Christian James Hand podcast reminds us that it’s only rock & roll . . . and you’ll like it.
A version of this was originally published on The Latest.com February 3, 2019.