As the co-founder and president of MySpace, Tom Anderson is everyone’s first “friend.” Among his friends on the popular social networking site are millions of bands from around the world. Tom tells DJ Raul Campos about the band that inspired him to keep his gear when he was a frustrated musician, his favorite song to play on Guitar Hero, and his love of mainstream pop music. He also picks a KCRW artist that recently joined the MySpace Records roster.
1. The Beatles - All My Loving
2. Meiko - Boys with Girlfriends
3. Kelly Clarkson - Because of You
4. Green Day - Jesus of Suburbia
5. My Chemical Romance - Dead!
Raul Campos – Hey, it’s Raul Campos here with KCRW and I'm here with MySpace Co-founder and President Mr. Tom Anderson. Thank you for coming down to the basement studios of KCRW.
Tom Anderson - I'm glad to be here. It’s an exciting topic.
Raul Campos - You brought in a very eclectic selection of cds and tunes.
Tom Anderson - I have a couple of themes for all my songs which is pop music, technology and something that KCRW would never play. I thought that I might embarrass you guys. Or maybe embarrass myself and try to justify these pop songs.
Raul Campos - Alright, alright.
Tom Anderson - I don't think some of these have ever been played on public radio, so…
Raul Campos - Well, I'm sure The Beatles have. And "All My Loving," no problem, has been played a ton, but why this song?
Tom Anderson - This one I thought this one could ease people into it. And for me, the Beatles are my favorite band.
Song: The Beatles’ “All My Loving”
Tom Anderson – I’ve loved them forever and I just think of their older stuff as very unrecognized in the critical view of what's good from The Beatles. In other words, because I love pop music so much, I really love their first couple albums, first three or four. Even when they went on to Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road and The White Album this is the thing that sort of makes people think of The Beatles as this timeless band that really broke new ground and everything. But those classic songs are some of the very first songs they ever did. Even their first album that was all covers, I loved it so much.
Raul Campos - Now what's this next song we are going to hear?
Tom Anderson - The next one is Meiko, "Boys with Girlfriends.” She’s actually in MySpace recording artist. I'm sort of giving myself a plug here, not intentionally, but not just because of that.
Raul Campos - Meiko is a great artist. We play her here all the time.
Tom Anderson - She has been on KCRW for over a year. You guys found her before I did. And that is kind of one of the reasons why I wanted to play her today is because this theme of technology I'm going with. I should have known Meiko but I didn't find her until I found her on MySpace.
I just think it is a really interesting thing, that even when it is in my own backyard and it's on these other technologies and ways that I could have found her, I actually found her on the Internet. That's why I wanted to play her today and because I love this song. It is a great, great pop song.
Song: Meiko’s “Boys With Girlfriends”
Raul Campos – Did you mean for MySpace to be specifically for music eventually and down the line to develop and showcase artists?
Tom Anderson - Well, when we started it definitely wasn't. It was just for people to socialize. And then the artists themselves started showing up and, of course, it was unsigned and small bands. And so in the beginning when we saw them doing that we just started to create the features for them because they showed up and sort of showed us the way. So THEY really gave me the idea. It was the artists own creativity and forward thinking that got music onto MySpace and I really didn't expect the bigger bands to ever show up but of course they followed in the footsteps of the unsigned and the independents and that's really how it happened.
Raul Campos - Tom from MySpace is our guest. And obviously you are one of my good friends, on MySpace. But what's the next song we are going to hear for all the other friends that are listening right now?
Tom Anderson - This is, "Because of You," by Kelly Clarkson.
And the reason why I wanted to bring this up, besides it being a great song and a great example of pop artistry, is because she is an American Idol. And I think there's this real force in music that is "American Idol" that people don't want to recognize these days. You know, they think that it is a talent contest and it's this goofy thing, but I think there are real artists that come out of that show and she's one of them and she's amazing. I think it is really interesting how something like that could lead to something like Kelly.
And this song she wrote the lyrics, it’s very personal it’s a very meaningful song that I think a lot of people can relate too and have real strong emotional responses too and it came out of a talent contest, on "American Idol." And for me, I can't really think of any lyric, or something like that, in particular, and even when I was in bands and writing my own lyrics, I was never able to express myself in that way. So I see it as an accomplishment and something more than what we give pop singers and pop stars credit for and that's why I appreciate it. It's hard to do because I've tried.
That is why I kind of wanted to highlight this one. One of the ways, that we discover music today, that didn't exist 8 to10 years ago that is one of the most powerful platforms in America.
Raul Campos - I think this is the first time this has ever been played here on KCRW, it is called, "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson.
Song: Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You”
Raul Campos -- What is the next song we are going to get into?
Tom Anderson - The next one I have is a Green Day song called "Jesus of Suburbia." And again, continuing this tradition of pop music, I think the first time I heard Green Day, I KNOW the first time I heard them was when I went to the college campus for my first day at Berkley and they were playing on the campus. I had been in bands and had sort of given up and was going to college and didn't want to play anymore and they just blew me away that day and made me keep my equipment because of it. I didn't sell my gear. I was so into it.
Raul Campos - Wow.
Tom Anderson - The "Dookie" album, it think this was ’94, was just about to come out, it was like a couple weeks before they played, and then they just blew up and became this big band. And then, the thing for me with them, is they kind of went down hill over the years. They put out several albums that I never heard, that no one was really playing attention to, and then they came out of nowhere with this "American Idiot" album.
Raul Campos - Right.
Tom Anderson – It’s very unusual, I think, to see a group, 10-15 years into their career, do something better than when they started and, you know, really hit their stride. I think it's an example of how pop music can be so valuable to people. They were singing about things that they had never done before. It is a very political album, its 9 minute songs; it's not these 3 minute punk songs. And this particular track, "Jesus of Suburbia," is one of those really influential songs. For me it sort of ties back to The Beatles cause even though it is pop and it's punk, it goes back to some of the Sixties sort of sounds and the melodies in that song and throughout the whole album. So it is a big track for me.
Song: Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia”
Raul Campos - Now we are going to get into a tune by My Chemical Romance. That is the next selection that you brought up. What's the song we are going to hear?
Tom Anderson - This song is called "Dead!" with an explanation point at the end. And another great song from another band that I think started out very simple and has progressed a lot.
It reminds me of Green Day's new album, very operatic and cinematic and long songs and complex structures. This track, in particular, I guess I have not been bringing in the technology part so much in here, I forgot one of my themes, but TV was the point with Kelly and this one is Guitar Hero. Like I didn't realize that I loved this song so much until I started playing it on Guitar Hero. When you go back and look at the history of music and you had to go see it live and then there was radio and then there was the phonograph and all these different ways that you can experience music and then there’s MySpace and the Internet and things like that and you think what's next -- and Guitar Hero, I really think, is what's next.
It is a real meaningful addition to music. In a way that I don’t think everyone quite understands yet like when you play a song on Guitar Hero, you are experiencing the song in a way that you don't when you listen. I've had that experience playing. It's made me want to play the guitar more. It's made me like songs better than I liked them before by playing it and it's sort of made you feel the song in a way. And it's this technology that's really not only obviously helping sell more records and break new artists but it's actually letting us experience music in a different way where you can play along. It's more important than people think.
Song: My Chemical Romance “Dead!”
Raul Campos - Just fantastic stuff that you brought in so thank you so much for coming through and bringing these CDs and digital tracks.
Tom Anderson - Thanks for listening to my silly pop music.
Raul Campos - There is nothing silly about popular music. It's a wonderful thing and thanks again for coming through.
Tom Anderson - Alright, thanks a lot.
[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]