Metro and Smartbar Director of Publicity, and "Liner Notes" host, Shannon Nico Shreibak talks about the August installment of the live podcast series which sees members of Chicago's art and music community telling the stories behind the albums that have had a profound impact upon them. This month's episode records Thursday at 7PM at GMan Tavern and is free to attend...
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally thousands - of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
That's the rhetorical question asked, over the 13th Floor Elevators track "You're Gonna Miss Me," by John Cusack's character Rob Gordon in the opening scene of the 2000 Stephen Frears directed film High Fidelity.
The film adaptation of the 1995 Nick Hornby novel is set in Chicago and examines the way music impacts virtually every facet of the life of Gordon (and cohorts Barry and Dick as portrayed by Jack Black and Todd Louiso) as he attempts to reconcile a relationship with his ex Laura (Iben Hjele).
The film also acts as the inspiration for the new live podcast series "Liner Notes." The brainchild of Metro Director of Publicity, Shannon Nico Shreibak, the free series is recorded on the first Thursday of each month next door to Metro at GMan Tavern.
Members of Chicago's arts and music community get together in front of an audience to tell the stories of the albums that had a profound impact on them through methods ranging anywhere from PowerPoint presentations to a track-by-track dive. Each speaker gets fifteen minutes to make their case, with the full podcasts available online at the "Liner Notes" website and via iTunes.
Hosted by Shreibak, the August edition of "Liner Notes" will be recorded this Thursday night at GMan featuring Riot Fest talent buyer Buck Foley (discussing the NOFX album Punk in Drublic), Time Out Chicago writer Zach Long (Wilco's A Ghost is Born), Gillian McGhee of Chicago acts Turnspit and Hi Ho (Avril Lavigne's Let Go), Rosie Accola of Hooligan Magazine (Tegan & Sara's So Jealous) plus a special guest Shreibak describes as "no stranger to the Metro and GMan stage."
I spoke with Shannon Nico Shreibak about the idea behind the "Liner Notes" series, a few of the albums that have impacted her, what makes GMan the right venue and more. A lightly edited transcript of that phone conversation follows below...
Q. Where did the idea for "Liner Notes" start?
Shannon Nico Shreibak: We had our first event in May. I came up with it after watching High Fidelity for probably the thirtieth or fortieth time, wondering what albums changed the lives of the people around me.
So I started asking my co-workers and the answers were not at all what I expected. People who are super into punk, or more aggressive styles of music, would name like folk records or just something totally out of left field. All of the stories behind those choices were really fascinating. So I wanted to know what albums changed the lives of everyone in the Chicago arts community.
After asking around, a lot of people were eager to talk about the music that kind of came to them at formative times in their lives and also inspired them to work in the music industry.
So that’s kind of how it started.
Q. What for you is that album?
I have a couple. I actually just did a “Liner Notes” of my own for the July event and I discussed Rid of Me by PJ Harvey. That one kind of saved me in the midst of my first huge heartbreak.
I would say that the first album that really changed my life though was Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. That was always what was playing in our house and that’s what inspired me to really work in the music industry and become a part of the machine that brings music to the masses.
Q. What makes GMan the perfect venue for this?
I think because it’s an intimate environment but it also has a stage where the speakers can literally command the room from it. But it also still has a really convivial vibe to it. I think it’s the perfect balance between it being a venue and being sort of a clubhouse where we can still perpetuate conversation between audience and artist/speaker and still give the speakers the reverence and the respect that their stories deserve.
Q. This week's live event at GMan marks the fourth installment of "Liner Notes." How have they gone and what albums stand out as a highlight so far?
They’ve all gone really well. They’ve all improved as far as technicality.
We do have a lot of PowerPoint presentations. We’ve had essay readings. We’ve had audio essays. Dave Hofer from Reckless Records, he compiled a whole audio essay on the grunts and groans of a Morbid Angel record. Which was amazing.
I couldn’t pick out just one but a few… We had Jill Hopkins from Vocalo, she talked about how Pearl Jam’s Ten made her feel less alone as a young black woman and how, somehow, this band of white guys made her seem less alone in the grand scheme of things.
There’s been so many. Lorena Cupcake talked about how Lil Yachty changed her life.
We’ve had so many people from so many different walks of life and really every genre getting covered. So, I think, as we continue, we’ll just keep uncovering all of these really amazing, unexpected stories from an eclectic group of people. We’re just gonna see how long we can keep this train running and how much we can make “Liner Notes” grow.
- Jim Ryan ( @RadioJimRyan )
(Details on Thursday's "Liner Notes" taping at GMan below)
Liner Notes: A Musical Storytelling Series
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Doors open at 6PM
Show starts at 7PM
21 & over