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The Deli’s Featured Artist(s) of the Month: The Spinning Leaves





The Deli’s Featured Artist(s) of the Month: The Spinning Leaves

 
The Spinning Leaves recently released the vinyl Love on Ropeadope Records. Probably aptly named for the way that they feel about Philly’s local music scene, the duo Michael “the” Baker and Barbara “B the Leaf” Gettes are the proud parents of Excited Light Productions who have been responsible for The Philly Folk Parade, but this interview is about the celebration of their music and victory in our most recent poll.
 
The Deli: When did you start playing together?
 
The Spinning Leaves: October 16, 2006 ~ a day after Michael met Barbara at her birthday party.
 
TD: What are your biggest musical influences, and what artists (local/national/international) are you currently listening to?
 
B:  Hmmm...The Pixies, Otis Redding, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, The Grateful Dead, Bonnie Prince Billy, David Byrne, Devendra (& family), really dig the new Hope Sandoval & Massive Attack stuff right now, Leonard Cohen, The Flamingoes, Maurice Sendak, Woody Guthrie, A Tribe Called Quest, soundtracks from Wes Anderson movies, The American Roots program on NPR, Scrapper Blackwell, The Shins, Ali Farka Toure, Cat Power, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Townes Van Zandt, The Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, and Klezmer music. As for local - The Philly Folk Parade folks and the West Philly Orchestra!
 
M:  Gonna go ahead and agree with B on all that. And, without repeating, add Pavement and Malkmus with the Jicks, Johnny Showcase and the Lefty Lucy Cabaret, Chris Bathgate, Vetiver, Animal Collective, Neil Young, NOMO, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Air, Gillian Welch, Madlib, The Kinks, Will Oldham’s other stuff such as the Palace jawns and Superwolf, Califone, Phil D'agostino, Joanna Newsom, The Liars, Johnny Miles, love, The Skygreen Leopards, Castanets, Silver Jews, Black Star, old French movies, Sly and the Family, and an eclectic mix of others I just can't think of right now. I mean, influences are weird as far as inspiration goes. I can listen to something really developed on a recording and spring forth into fantastical new ideas, or sometimes just sit and look at something like a blade of grass and see the fabric of the universe. I like to imagine and nurture new things and be open to the nearest now.
 
TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
 
B: Jackie Pack, with my family.. repeatedly.  Jackie Pack is a woman who sang folk music for children. I loved her and had all of her records! The first album...well, I consider this one of the triggers to my music addiction. I bought 10 tapes or (something like that) for a penny from a Columbia House thing the summer before 6th grade. The tapes that I remember getting are a few Simon and Garfunkle, The Violent Femmes, Skeletons in the Closet from Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, They Might Be Giants, and the soundtrack to Grease

M:  Uhmm...this one time my friend Matt and I were riding in the car with my mom and we heard a contest for concert tickets on this radio station called WSTO. The DJ was at a gas station and said that the first person to come claim the tickets could have them. We were basically in the parking lot. SO, my friend Matt and I saw Toni Braxton and Kenny G up close in the age of silk shirts and in the full blossom of early junior high. Truly magnificent! Kenny G is maybe five feet tall and Toni Braxton seeped sex. But my first concerts were the W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festivals in my hometown of Henderson, KY. W.C. Handy wrote the "St. Louis Blues" in my hometown. Can't remember my first album, but I definitely remember locking myself in my room with Boyz II Men’s II and wailing for hours.   
 
TD: What's your take on the Philly music scene?
 
B: Ever-growing glowing family of love and incredible talent.
 
M: We are ultra-blessed! There are so many genius people making all kinds of genius music of all types in Philadelphia. And the kicker - this city is big and little enough for there to be plenty of room in the gene pool for new people to get in there and swim around yet, we're packed into the petri dish tight enough for the familiars to get familiar with each other, ya dig? Or should I say, "If you know what I'm sayin'" wink, wink.  We're set up for cross-pollination and our particular scene, the weird folky thing, feels more like a moving growing animal than an amalgamation of bands and albums and shows. There's something extra alive here right now. And this is an endless fountain of inspiration for us.   
 
TD: What are your plans for 2010?

B: The sky is the limit!

M: A new album, some videos, tours to the Pacific Northwest, the Southeast, and Europe and the wild new things that will certainly spring forth from all that. Also, I would like to publish a few zines of my drawings and poetry.  
 
TD: What was your most memorable live show?
 
B: That’s a hard question…but off the top of my head in the recent past, our last show in moscow…a big warehouse sort of venue pretty packed…and everyone was dancing and stomping with us and smiling and celebrating in some sort of love all together. I felt like I was flying. At the end of the show, people showered us with beautiful presents. Some guy gave me a beautiful antique amber ring…and told me that it had magical powers.  Absolutely incredible, right? The last show made me even sad to leave amidst the negative 20 degree weather of Moscow!
 
M: Gonna agree with Beeb on the last show in Moscow. We were a complete oddity there and had an immense amount of energy surrounding us everywhere! Will never forget that. But also, you know, we just added a horn section to our band by way of Larry Toft and Adam Hershberger of the West Philly Orchestra and it is it ~ they make the room want to dance all night without fright. Our show last Friday at The Fire was sooo snappy!
 
TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?
 
B: The pickles and matzoh ball soup!
 
M: An Italian sub. I'm from Kentucky. That's how we say it.
 
(Photo by Lisa Schaffer)
 
- The Deli Staff
 

 

Published: March 14, 2010 |

This Emerging Artist is based in NYC,
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