Friday, November 08, 2013

Dan Wilson In Words and Music

When a musician tells a good story, it's a golden evening.  Dan Wilson took center stage last night at Joe's Pub (with the accompaniment of keyboardist and smart phone programmer Brad Gordon).  Dan told lots of great stories and played lots of great music. 

Dan Wilson at Joe's Pub
I met Dan when I managed his earlier band Trip Shakespeare.  They were a powerhouse. Their live shows were unmatched for excitement and sweat.   Dan had the hits with his next band Semisonic.  Last night he told us of the genesis of Closing Time.  Although Dan was happy to be in his routine of playing the same song each night to close the band's set, band members were bored and wanted something new.  At the same time, he and his wife were expected their first child.  He wrote Closing TimeEvery new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.  When I first heard that song, it brought back so many memories of hanging out in clubs and talking to bands after the show.  There was always someone to say gather your coats and head out, we're closing.

Dan has co-written with "very strong women":  Carole King (his second co-write), the Dixie Chicks, Adele, Pink, etc.   In a story arc that played out over the evening, he began by talking about how initially it was slow going to hook up with other writers. Finally John Titta his music publisher asked his manager Jim Grant, if he would be interested in writing with Carole King.  Dan's mother said to him, remember she spells her name with an "e".  Being nervous at their meeting, the first thing Dan could think of to say to Carole was "My Mom loves you."  She said, "That makes me feel old." 

Several songs later, Dan gets to his writing with Adele.  They meet in this small studio in LA and Adele says I'm not really that familiar with your stuff, but my Mum loves you.  The ironic circle closed.  They wrote Someone Like You.  She played the unfinished song for her manager (who loved it) and her Mum (she cried).  Dan said we must be on to something and they were.

It's the little touches that make a wonderful evening even greater.  Dan who I admire as an artist as well as musician, had printed up a take home memento of the evening. His illustration work can also be seen in the video for his latest single Disappearing

Dan has three more shows on deck tomorrow in Minneapolis, then to Hollywood and San Diego.  Go see him!

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