by Ryan Meehan
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Marshall Crenshaw began playing guitar at age ten and he received his first break playing John Lennon in the off-Broadway company of Beatlemania. Living in NYC in the early eighties, he recorded the single “Something’s Gonna Happen” for Alan Betrock’s Shake Records, which led to a deal with Warner Brothers Records. His debut album, “Marshall Crenshaw” was acclaimed as a pop masterpiece upon its release in 1982 and established him as a first-rate songwriter, singer and guitarist. The record spawned the Top 40 single “Someday, Someway,” which rockabilly singer Robert Gordon scored a hit with a year earlier. Crenshaw’s second album, 1983’s Field Day, was another critical smash and led to a successful slate of 20-plus years of studio recordings that offered a fascinating evolutionary journey through an array of musical landscapes. In 1987, he played Buddy Holly in the Richie Valens biopic “La Bamba.” Since that time, he has went on to record six other studio albums, the latest of which was 2009’s “Jaggedland” and we are proud to have him as our guest this week in 5 Questions.
FOH: When it comes to songwriting, which musician has been the most influential to you over the years and why?
MC: Myself I guess; at this point I can’t name anybody else specifically…I just try and write something that makes me go “OK, absolutely…”
FOH: In 2007, you wrote the title track from the film “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”. How did that come about?
MC: It happened when one person that I didn’t know and another person that I’d once talked to on the phone but had never met were talking to each other and my name came up. The two people were (music supervisor) Tom Wolfe and Jake Guaralnick; Jake manages Nick Lowe, Olabelle, others I think.. I did meet Jake a couple years later and thanked him for dropping my name, which was purely a random act on his part. Tom was asking various songwriters to get involved with the project and I wound up doing the theme song…
FOH: You host a radio program called “The Bottomless Pit” on New York’s WFUV station. (90.7) Could you tell us a little bit about that show?
MC: It’s on at 10 PM EST, Saturdays, and it’s just me running my mouth (hopefully not too much) and playing items from my personal record collection, which is pretty diverse. It’s kind of singular I think, and people tell me that they love it…
FOH: Over the years you’ve had several artists cover your songs, most notably Ronnie Spector. What goes through your mind the first time you hear another artist perform their interpretation of one of your songs?
MC: It really varies, anything from “OUCH, NO, STOP!!”, to “ahh, yesss…” With Ronnie it was the latter…
FOH: What’s next for Marshall Crenshaw in the twelve months to come?
MC: I have a great recording project in the works: A subscription package w/ a new 3 song EP every four months over the next 2 years, vinyl and downloads. The first one goes out on July 26th and I really love it…Tomorrow morning is the mastering session, with the great Greg Calbi..
You can check out Marshall Crenshaw at the City Winery in New York City Thursday, June 21st or check out either of the links below for insight on a truly amazing career.
Marshall Crenshaw’s official website: http://www.marshallcrenshaw.com/
The Bottomless Pit: http://www.wfuv.org/programs/bottomless-pit
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