Questlove’s Mo’ Meta Blues

The Roots’ drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has just released Mo’ Meta Blues, his memoir which serves several functions. Part historical retelling of his life, growing up the son of Lee Andrews of the doo-wop group, Lee Andrews & The Hearts, part autobiographical discography — in addition to his encyclopedic recounting of the music in his life, the guy…

Rick Rubin

Legendary record producer Rick Rubin made Kanye West’s Yeezus, which took over at number one on the Billboard charts this month for another Rubin production, 13, Black Sabbath’s first album in thirty-five years. Andrew Romano, senior writer for Newsweek and recent contributor to the Things My Father Taught Me, explained in his interview with Rubin, “Few, if any, other producers…

Bobbie Gentry

In the fall of 2002, cast as Doc Porter in a college production of Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Crimes of the Heart, I received the following note from our director: Go make a mix tape for your cast-mates. What a gem of an assignment. Because the play takes place in Henley’s hometown of Hazelhurst, Mississippi in 1974, I spent…

Coors Banquet Beer

Paul Newman They say you never forget your first. I was five. It was on the back deck of my parents’ house. My uncle slipped me a sip from the shiny yellow pop-top can. In my small hands, it felt like I was holding this giant golden cannon. I swallowed. Bleck. I hated it. Beer.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish

When I was a little kid, a family friend of ours, a general contractor named Greg Elder, was hired to give a facelift to the Kentucky Fried Chicken in our small Kansas town. From time-to-time, Greg and his wife Sue would babysit me and my brother, and one night, they took us to the KFC. Looking…

Things My Father Taught Me: Brad Wastler

Most of the stories I know of my grandfather and my great-grandfather are largely exaggerated. They’re tales handed down from my father and his siblings. I was told my great-grandfather was the only man in Alton, Illinois who drove a convertible with reclining front seats, and his friend Robert Wadlow, the tallest man to have…

Things My Father Taught Me: Ben Wastler

A couple years ago, on the phone with an ex-girlfriend, I made mention of the word, “hero.” “You use that word a lot.” “Hero?” “Yeah. Have you ever thought about making a list of all your ‘heroes?’ Maybe you could do a blog post on it.” I sat down after that conversation, and I jotted…

Things My Father Taught Me: Jeff Thrope

Someone once told me there’s no one better suited to do what he does than Jeff. Mr. Thrope is a kind of guru in the world of outdoor clothing. He doesn’t get super technical when talking about it, and that’s what makes his work so wonderfully good and approachable. But to hear him tell it,…