:: Aric S. Queen is currently roaming around the United States on his friend’s bus – aimlessly from what I can gather. Additionally though, he’s a Clear Channel radio / television host, a former executive producer of ChinesePod.com, GigShanghai, and Soul Fire Radio, executive producer of the Johnson & Johnson “Bao Bao Radio” series, director / producer of “Theshanghaishow,” and “Urban Yoga.” In his spare time, which he has a lot of, he used to produce shorts on Shanghai bands (he also used to write about for Shanghaiist) and previously wrote a column for City Weekend (Shanghai). His previous daily vlog that used to be sent to US and UK televisions, titled: “Shanghai Diaries” (on Current TV) earned him the 2008 “Most Prolific Vlogger Award,” and now has now been combined with his travel / lifestyle show entitled “Shanghai [Exile] Diaires,” also on Current TV. And now, as if he needs more on his plate, Aric recently launched a superb new podcast called “Rough Sundays,” featuring old gospel, blues, folk, Motown, and an eclectic spattering of everything else. I caught up with Aric over the weekend to learn a bit more about his latest endeavor. Follow Aric on Twitter at: @aricsqueen.
56minus1: Tell us about your new show, what is “Rough Sundays” all about?
Aric S. Queen: You ever have a foggy morning the day after a big night at the pub? This show is the soundtrack – old gospel, blues, jazz, folk, and a shitload of Otis Redding. Something that goes well with 3 cups of coffee, some pancakes, and half-a-pack of cigarettes on a day that probably won’t see your face.
56minus1: What was the inspiration behind doing this show?
Aric S. Queen: Well, it came about by a few experiences – when I lived in Shanghai, my girlfriend at the time and I seemingly used to have one too many the night before so we could play Coltrane and Herbie Hancock all day; Sherpas (a Shanghai food delivery service) on redial and not changing out of our sweats – that was the first. The second was when I moved back to the States and on a Sunday morning was on the way with my dad to this old country church, so I threw on this cd by the ‘Roberta Martin Singers’ and as soon as the first track came on, we both kind of looked at eachother and winked – that’s when I realized that if two generations could agree on a track, I was onto something.
56minus1: After the first few episodes, how’s the response been so far?
Aric S. Queen: 15,000+ listens / downloads in less than 3 weeks.
56minus1: Who / what are some things we won’t hear on this show?
Aric S. Queen: Well, that’s tough, you know? I mean, there’s the obvious, a tune that would have to be played loud. Nor would I play any of this ‘new gospel’ shit, but, I mean, take Otis Redding for example, my favorite artist and someone I’ll always end the show with, but half of his tracks are more 3am plays, as opposed to 11am. Same goes for Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Zeppelin, Serge Gainsbourg, et al; so, hopefully, you’ll never hear a track that brings you down, although, if you’re going through your own stuff, I can’t help that. People might be surprised by the hip hop I want to incorporate though, I mean, there are some amazing tracks by (A) Tribe (Called Quest), Gang Starr, Mos Def and more that would fit perfectly, but I’ll probably have to introduce those slowly.
56minus1: Safe to say this is your favorite type of music?
Aric S. Queen: Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, my time in Shanghai was spent on that quote/unquote “indie” circuit, although it was only “indie” because there wasn’t much of a scene. I was raised on Otis and The Temptations and have yet to find any artist who compares. in fact, I’ve never met anyone who has a bad thing to say about Motown – which should tell you something. Plus, the scene these days is so fucking saturated by anyone with garageband and a Myspace, I can’t imagine liking anything else.
56minus1: Equipment question – you’ve recorded so far from a bus in the Florida keys, SXSW in Austin, and we’ve heard rumors of a show being done from Wayne Coyne’s (Flaming Lips lead singer) home – what gear are you using for all of this?
Aric S. Queen: Ha. okay, well, first off, there’s a chance I’ll be over at Wayne’s when we pass through Oklahoma City. One of the people on the bus I live with [56minus1 editorial note: Queen is currently traveling the U.S. in a 48 foot touring bus with 2 other friends] is quite close to him, so if he’s there, we’ll sit down and run through his “Sunday Pics” – but it’s not set in stone. Per the gear, man, of all the years I’ve been in the biz, I can honestly say that the Zoom H2 Portable Recorder is the most amazing mic I’ve ever put my hands on. We’ve had it in-studio recording demos with a 5-piece (band), I used it as a boom on a shoot, I tape my voice-overs for it, and it’s perfect for podcasting. Seriously, check out the reviews on Amazon, it’s insane – all for under $300. If you’re thinking about any of the things I just mentioned, pick one up. If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it off of ya.
56minus1: How much did the makers of Zoom H2 Portable Recorder pay you to whore for it’s product on my blog?
Aric S. Queen: I know, right? In all seriousness, when you’ve gone through portable recorder after portable recorder and finally find one worth the hype and cheap – it deserves to be mentioned. But I like the cheeky way of mentioning you get a lot of traffic on your site.
56minus1: A rumor – you raised money for this show / tech on your blog?
Aric S. Queen: True. I spent all of my money in India a few months back, but really wanted to get this show off the ground, so I just mentioned on my blog that if I could get 10 people to sponsor $45 each (and in turn, I’d plug their charity or whatever), I could do it; and within a week, I had the cash; really amazing, to be honest.
56minus1: Favorite song played to date?
Aric S. Queen: Ugh, can you change that to ’songs’? I’ll give ya 5 and will purposely leave out Otis Redding (even though ‘For Your Precious Love’ is the single handed best song ever written in the history of writing music):
Lou Reed – Caroline Says (part two)
The Roberta Martin Singers – The Old Ship of Zion
Nick Drake – Saturday Sun
Mavis Staples / Lucky Peterson – Wade in the Water
The Benny Goodman Boys – Blue (and Broken Hearted)
…agh! now I want to go back and change 3 of those. Okay, ask the next question before I can change it up.
56minus1: When and where can we find the new show?
Aric S. Queen: Every Sunday on Roughsundays.com, but tell me what nice things I’d need to do to cross-post it here as well, ha ha.
56minus1: Thanks Aric
[56minus1 editorial note: Aric will be cross-posting "Rough Sundays" on 56minus1.com; it is archived here. Embedded below is the latest show, episode 3, with everything from funk-to-indie, a black Jew-to-Scottish folktronica, a 10-foot tall Satan, and more. It's excellent.]