Update, June 5: Here’s a list of the many, many cultural references Svenonius made on the show.
Update, June 4: Miss the segment? It’s archived in audio and video form on kojoshow.org.
He’s written books, made heaps of records and toured the planet, but somehow, D.C. rock star Ian Svenonius has never appeared on a WAMU talk show. Until Thursday, June 4, that is, when the mop-topped frontman stops by WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show at noon for a chat about his life in music.
Svenonius, who’s dabbled in “gospel yeh-yeh,” post-hardcore and “crime rock” across his bands Nation of Ulysses, Cupid Car Club, The Make-Up, Weird War, Scene Creamers, Felt Letters and Chain & the Gang — among others — likes to combine music with his own sardonic flavor of philosophy: His 2013 book Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group established a list of strict rules for rock musicians (“If tennis shoes aren’t consistent with the identity of the group, one mustn’t wear tennis shoes, even if one is at home alone or on vacation”) and broke down rock ‘n’ roll into a social science.
Svenonius’ forthcoming book Censorship Now! (out in November) promises to be just as staunch but broader, tackling Apple, Marion Barry, tipping and “the gentrification of punk by indie rock,” according to its publisher, Akashic Books.
When I interviewed Svenonius in February, we talked about his suspicion of modern pop, why music needs rules and how technology threatens to wipe out a century of cultural memory. Expect more thoughtful conversation Thursday during the first hour of the The Kojo Nnamdi Show — and if you’d like to join in while we’re on the air, tweet us at @kojoshow, email email@example.com or call 1-800-433-8850.
To get you stoked for the segment, here’s a playlist of what I consider Svenonius’ greatest hits: