Rockers are showing off their love of food in an ever-growing number of ways, from blogging about it to starting restaurants to founding their own food and wine brands.
Diners tucking into duck leg confit at Brooklyn’s popular Thistle Hill Tavern may be surprised to learn Fat Mike of the punk stalwarts NOFX — a big-time gastronome — is co-owner.
Blur bassist Alex James is planning a September food-and-music festival where attendees will be able to take a master cooking class or attend a gardening workshop.
Les Claypool of Primus and James Maynard Keenan of Tool are making wine, while fellow oenephile Mike D. of the Beastie Boys is blogging about it (recently praising a Jean-Philippe Fichet Meursault Le Tesson 2002 for its “smooth finish of wet slate with hints of apricot”).
Other culinary bloggers include the influential producer Steve Albini, who details his cooking exploits at, and the team of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and guitarist M. Ward, who founded a blog devoted not to obscure Stax singles or analog recording techniques, but to crème brulee.
“I am in a forest of cream,” wrote James in January, rhapsodizing about the decadent dish at Nashville restaurant Miel. “My feet sink into sopping wet puddles of deliciousness with every step forward all around me are trees of sugared caramel all covered in sweet lace burnt amber leaves.”
Maybe Zach Brooks, the founder of the popular NYC food blog Midtown Lunch, was onto something when he named his new blog “Food is the New Rock.”
A Web site detailing the intersection between the food and music worlds was “kind of a no-brainer,” says Brooks, who used to work in the music business, most recently at Sirius Radio.
“I started to notice more and more what a big crossover there is,” he says. “Friends from the music industry were starting food blogs, bands were tweeting about the foods they’re eating on tour, and chefs were talking about the music they love.”
One practical reason why musicians are such a food-happy bunch is that eating dinner can be a bright spot during days spent moldering in vans and waiting for sound checks.
And, of course, both musicians and chefs are performers who thrive on audiences’ appreciation. Ask drummer Marky Ramone what inspired him to market “Marky Ramone’s Brooklyn’s Own Pasta Sauce,” and he talks about the reaction his grandfather, a chef at the Copa and the ‘21’ Club, got from feeding people.
“I used to watch him cook, and I saw how it made him happy to make other people happy with food,” says Ramone.
Josh Schaier, a 26-year-old Brooklynite, interviews musicians about their food obsessions for his site Epicurean Musician. “Both food and music are all about triggering an emotion in your audience,” says Schaier, whose interviewees have included Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and members of the Dave Matthews Band, Devo and Guster. “Whether it’s happy or sad, sour or sweet, you can twist the palate and get a different reaction.”
For his part, Les Claypool describes making the wine he’s been marketing under the Claypool Cellars label as “very similar to making records, in terms of how subjective it is, and how many variables there are.”
A resident of California’s Sonoma County, the bass visionary developed a love for wine after he gave up a longtime marijuana habit and needed “a new teat to suck on.” A few years ago he and a couple friends decided to make their own pinot noir, figuring it’d be an inexpensive route to a private stash of good wine. When they chanced into a massive haul of pinot grapes during a bumper year, the project grew.
“We were sitting on four tons of premium fruit, and we thought, we’d better do this right,” he says, speaking to The Post between a session of tasting blend samples and playing a Primus show at Red Rocks.
Soon he was out in the field sorting grapes and “trucking it down to the facility, getting it into the bin and sloshing it around,” he says. “It was like being in the studio for the first time — you’re looking at all these buttons and asking, what the hell does this one do?”
The reaction has been great, says Claypool, who notes that, musicians or not, people in general are excited about food these days. After all, it’s where the action is.
“It’s like, instead of going to see the newest, coolest bands, I’m going to the newest, coolest restaurants,” says Brooks. “What someone like David Chang does is not that different from punk rock. There’s a visceral thing about what they do that makes you feel the same way.”
So for musician foodies, there may be comfort in the fact that while their record business is reeling from technological change, the machinery of feeding people remains constant.
As Les Claypool says: “You can’t digitize a bottle of wine yet and hand it out on the Internet.”
Article from the: New York Post