Pop Rocks: Desert Island Discs inspires look at choices of the locals

I have grown to hate digital music.


Don’t get me wrong, this disdain really has nothing to do with reduced sound quality, the resurgence of Walkman-era antisocial behavior or some pathological fear of convenience. Those, when compared to my real issue, seem pretty minor.

No, my issue is that it has robbed society of that innocent voyeuristic experience of checking out one of the greatest snapshots into personality – the music collection. While, admittedly, not a wholly accurate litmus of the full depth and breadth of someone’s personality, there is a certain amount of insight that comes with a quick perusal of musical choices. Simon and Garfunkel says one thing about a music fan, the Sex Pistols something else.

It’s that idea that has anchored the BBC Radio program – or programme as the case may be – Desert Island Discs for more than 75 years. The show is remarkable in its simplicity – each week a guest interview punctuated with eight music choices, a luxury item and a book with which they would choose to be stranded on a desert island.

I’ve long been fascinated by this show and recently, curious and inspired, I made inquiries of a variety of Augusta-area musicians, makers and shakers. The results I got were both interesting and illuminating. Not only did I find the lists fascinating, but also how the loose-and-simple rules were interpreted. Coco Rubio, of Sky City and Soul Bar fame, wanted music that would remind him of his family and so had his wife, Holly, and daughter, Maya, each pick four songs so he would have them with him always. He also took a copy of The Little Prince and a solar-powered eco-dome. Smart.

Local artist Raoul Pacheco and writer Brian Panowich took a far different approach. Believing they could live on a far simpler diet, opting to trade eight songs for a single album. Panowich went for Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness at the Edge of Town and Pacheco chose the criminally underrated self-titled debut by the Athens act Macha.

My favorite list came from Ryan Griffis, an Augusta-based bass player best known for his work with extremely heavy acts such as Chairleg. While it did include some of the acts that clearly influenced him musically – both Mudvayne and Megadeth make an appearance – his list most clearly illustrated the ‘Don’t judge a book …’ ethos of Desert Island Discs and included some Petty, Perry (Katy, not Joe), Pink Floyd and a copy of Thomas Paine’s 18th century political treatise Common Sense.

An interesting side-note. Almost everyone that participated in my fast-and-loose musical survey commented on how difficult the process was – despite a clear understanding that they would not actually be stranded on a desert island. I believe this says something about how we are affected by and attach importance to the things we love. I feel certain, for instance, that asking about eight desert island movies would have been approached with the same sort of gravity. So while it is true that we are not defined by what we listen to, what we listen to can offer an interesting peek into who we are.

The lists

Michael Baideme – Musician

  • 10 Years Gone – Led Zeppelin
  • In My Life – The Beatles
  • Money – Pink Floyd
  • Alive – Pearl Jam
  • Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Jessica – The Allman Brothers
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
  • Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ – Rolling Stones
  • Luxury Item – Martin d28
  • BookMel Bay Complete Guitar Lessons

Austin Rhodes – Radio host

  • Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees
  • God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
  • Behind Her Wall – In Like Flynn
  • Sister Golden Hair – America
  • Rich Man – Teri Gibbs
  • Papa Don’t Take No Mess – James Brown
  • For Pete’s Sake – The Monkees
  • Theme from the Austin Rhodes Show (Rock Version) – Bentley Rhodes
  • Luxury Item – NFL Sunday Ticket
  • BookKon Tiki (To be used as a guide for building rafts out of balsa wood and twine)

Mark Hodges – Musician/Artist

  • Estrada Do Sol – Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • New Noise – Refused
  • Sicilienne Op. 78 – Gariel Faure as performed by Steven Isserlis
  • There is a Mountain – Donovan
  • Do You Wanna Hold Me – Bow Wow Wow
  • Above the Clouds – Paul Weller
  • Say You’re Mine – Donald Byrd
  • Side 2 of Abbey Road – The Beatles (“It’s really just one long song, isn’t it?”)
  • Luxury Item – Turntable
  • BookThe Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged)

Stuart Rayburn – Entrepreneur

  • Disintegration – The Cure
  • Riders On the Storm – The Doors
  • You Started Something (Smiths cover) – Bow Wow Wow
  • Georgia On my Mind – Ray Charles
  • Favorite Things – John Coltrane
  • Black Swan – Thom Yorke
  • Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
  • Three Days – Jane’s Addiction
  • Luxury item – Yacht
  • BookHow to Survive on a Desert Island

Brian Panowich – Author

  • “All I need is a copy of Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town and I’m good.”

Evan Grantski – Owner, Grantski Records

  • Willie the Pimp – Frank Zappa
  • Planting Seeds – Built to Spill
  • Closing Time – Tom Waits
  • Jason the Dragon – Weedeater
  • The Sidewinder – Lee Morgan
  • Lizard – King Crimson
  • Maiden Voyage – Herbie Hancock
  • True Love Waits – Radiohead
  • Luxury item – Solar-powered generator
  • Book Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked Into the Wilderness

Rob Foster – Musician/Educator

  • One Fine Morning - Lighthouse
  • Dear Lord - John Coltrane
  • A Remark You Made - Weather Report
  • Tsuru no Sugomori (Nesting of the Cranes) - Michael Gould
  • Any track from Beyond the Missouri Sky - Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny
  • Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull
  • The Things We’ve Handed Down - Marc Cohen
  • I Couldn’t Write and Tell You - If
  • Luxury item – Shakuhachi (Japanese flute)
  • Book – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryū Suzuki

George Claussen – Entrepeneur/Promoter

  • Welcome to the Machine – Pink Floyd
  • Victory Dance – My Morning Jacket
  • Something in the Way – Nirvana
  • Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones
  • Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
  • Call on Me – Janis Joplin
  • Eminence Front – The Who
  • The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

Brian Allen – Musician

  • Blue – The Jayhawks
  • Repulsion – Dinosaur Jr.
  • Star Telegram – The Reivers
  • So. Central Rain – R.E.M.
  • Children of Children – Jason Isbell
  • The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
  • The First Part – Superchunk
  • Mistral Wind – Heart
  • Luxury item – Gibson Hummingbird
  • Book – Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Marco Blak - Musician

  • A tie between any James Brown song and Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield
  • Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
  • The Joker – Steve Miller Band
  • Southernpayalistic – Outkast
  • F*** The Police – N.W.A.
  • Umi Says – Mos Def
  • Angel Dust – Gil Scott Heron
  • Luxury item – One gallon of Jack Daniels
  • Book – Message to the Black Man by Elijah Muhammad

Troy Campbell – Musician/Artist

  • Old Jolly Farm – Rob Morsberger
  • Tatooed Love Boys – The Prestenders
  • I Can’t Wait to Get Off Work to See My Baby – Tom Waits
  • Living the Carefree Life – Chang Kiha and the Faces
  • Soul Power – James Brown
  • Cruise Control – Dixie Dregs
  • Honey Don’t – Carl Perkins
  • When the World is Running Down – The Police
  • Luxury item – Cushy chair like that guy has from the old Memorex ads
  • Book – A Confederacy of Dunces

Coco Rubio – Club owner/Promoter

  • Holly's list -- 
  • Send Your Love – Stevie Wonder
  • Love is Stronger Than Pride – Sade
  • Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  • La Vie En Rose – Louis Armstrong
  • Maya list
  • The Moon Song – Karen O & Ezra Koenig
  • Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine – Eric Whitacre
  • Blue in Green – Miles Davis
  • Formation – Beyonce
  • Luxury item – solar-powered bio-dome
  • Book – The Little Prince

Chase Lanier – Artist

  • Tahoe Tweezer – Phish
  • Freddie Freeloader – Miles Davis
  • Give Up the Ghost – Radiohead
  • Oh, Comely – Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Marking Time – Olivia Tremor Control
  • Army Arrangement – Fela Kuti
  • We Want a Rock – They Might Be Giants
  • All My Friends – LCD Soundsystem
  • Luxury item – A bulk pack of Bic lighters
  • Book – Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Raoul Pacheco – Musician/Artist/Educator

  • Macha – Macha, the classic that never was.

Micah Swenson – Musician

(Based on Pluchik’s eight basic emotions)

  • I Feel Good – James Brown (Joy)
  • Schindler’s List – John Williams (Sadness)
  • Heaven on Their Minds – Jesus Christ Superstar Original Cast (Anger)
  • Theme from Jaws – John Williams (Fear)
  • Slow Dancing in a Burning Room – John Mayer (Trust)
  • First Tube – Phish (Distrust)
  • Stickshifts and Safety Belts – Cake (Surprise)
  • Ob La Di – The Beatles (Anticipation)
  • Luxury item – Ruby, my Epiphone Hummingbird
  • Book – Complete Works of Plutarch – “I’ve never read it but Louis L’amour and Clive Cussler both said they would have it on an island. If it’s good enough for them, it’ll be plenty for me.”

Ryan Griffis - Musician

  • Running Down a Dream – Tom Petty
  • Death Blooms – Mudvayne
  • Hanger 18 – Megadeth
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  • The End – The Doors
  • Can’t Keep My Eyes Off of You – Lifehouse
  • Nutshell – Alice in Chains
  • Roar – Katy Perry
  • Luxury item – Cold Steel SRK survival knife
  • Book – Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Eric Parker – Co-Founder & Innovation Architect, The Clubhou.se

  • Say It Ain’t So – Weezer
  • Where Is My Mind – Pixies as covered by Tenacious D
  • Mademoiselle Mabry – Miles Davis
  • Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ – The Velvet Underground
  • Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
  • Fat Bottom Girls – Queen
  • Breakneck Speed – Tokyo Police Club
  • Luxury item – Sketchbook
  • Book – SAS Survival Guide

And in the in interest of full disclosure

Steven Uhles – Writer

  • Amphetamine – Steve Wynn
  • Green Onions – Booker T and the MGs
  • The Payback – James Brown
  • 20 Flight Rock – Eddie Cochran
  • Moonage Daydream – David Bowie
  • Heroin – The Velvet Underground
  • Unsatisfied – The Replacements
  • Pillar of Salt – The Thermals
  • Luxury item – Word processor (because I think a computer might be cheating)
  • Book – The Grapes of Wrath


Wed, 12/13/2017 - 21:35

Pop Rocks: Augusta, my Christmas wish list has one thing

My family often accuses me of being a difficult person to Christmas shop for. While it is true that my tastes run toward the particular and tend to lean heavily on easy-to-wrap standards such as books and records, I believe that as I get older, I’m less concerned with the item than the idea. Give me something I believe you have thought about and carefully considered, and I’m happy. The present clearly purchased at the drug store the day before is met with considerably less enthusiasm.

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