Photo by Andrea Carta
Five years back, I found myself going through a bit of an obsessive phase over legendary drummer Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Earthworks) after having caught one of his jazz improv sets at Ronnie Scott’s in London, England. It was during this phase that, while on one of my tangential web surfing sessions, I came across an internet radio show that was announcing a live interview with ol’ Bill later that same day. The show was called Beyond Beyond is Beyond on East Village Radio.
Sitting in the study of my University apartment, I tuned in to hear the interview but was met with a cacophony of abstract sound instead. “Is it normal for weird sounds to be coming from my speakers?” I asked via tweet. “If by weird sounds you mean great music, then yes!” the host replied before slipping into Bubble Puppy’s “Road to St. Stephen’s.” That was my first interaction with Mike Newman, and it said a lot about the kind of person he is. Mike would soon become one of my most favourite people on this planet, as well as one of my dearest friends.
My second or third time tuning in to his show, I realized that Mike possessed a wizard-like gift for picking these magically obscure “jams”–those songs that send your mind to the cosmic zones right from the outset; the ones with those unique notes or riffs that make you go back and listen to them over, and over. The ones that take you on a journey every time.
I remember, while in University, hoping that I would one day meet someone who shared a similarly geekish level of interest for conversation topics like the specifics of “Steve Howe’s guitar solo on ‘Siberian Khatru,'” or “Bruford’s fills on ‘Heart of the Sunrise.'” I spent a lot of that time on my own, reading, playing guitar and listening to Mike’s show. Every time I tuned in, it was like I’d found that person.
When I finally made the decision to move to New York, I reached out to Mike and asked for some recommendations on record shops and cheap places to eat. A few weeks later, I remember buying him a burger at one of those places to thank him for introducing me to the Welsh band Man. We’ve since attended more uh-mazing concerts together than you can shake a stick at.
Sadly, Beyond Beyond is Beyond will broadcast from East Village Radio for the final time today as the station plans to close up shop by week’s end. It’s been a great ride listening along and hopefully I’ve managed to turn a few of you onto the show as well.
You can listen to the final broadcast today from 4-6PM on East Village Radio.
Also, be sure to check out the record label wing of Beyond Beyond Is Beyond.