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- Posted on Jul 6th 2011 1:00PM by Melody Lau
But some musicians really enjoy their eats and need more than a mere 140 characters. In the case of My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Zooey Deschanel's She & Him bandmate M. Ward, and Beastie Boys' Mike D, among others, the next step is food blogging.
Hey, they can pen a great song, so why not use those honed writing skills to express their love for food?
In January, Jim James and M. Ward, two halves of the indie super-group Monsters of Folk, created Crème Bru-log, a blog that claims to be "an online source for critique and tastings of crème brûlée from around the world!"
"We were big crème brûlée fans and we coincidentally would keep ordering them," James tells Spinner. "We just kept joking that we should do a Crème Bru-Log because that name is so good."
When the duo finally got around to starting the blog, both food and music fans started salivating. "I have read it and I love it!" says Matthew Hickey, co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. "I suspect there have always been a lot of foodies in the music community, but with blogging and social media becoming increasingly accessible, they are just being more vocal about it."
Turntable Kitchen is a foodie's music blog -- or perhaps vice versa -- covering music alongside recipes and often pairing record reviews with the perfect meals. The latest Antlers album goes well with roasted rhubarb, for instance. Matthew and blogging partner Kasey Hickey point out the relationship between music and food has always existed.
"Many smart restaurant owners and dinner party hosts have long realized the power of music in creating the perfect ambiance for a meal," says Matthew. "Nonetheless, it's only in recent years that the relationship between food and music has become a two-way street with bands openly engaging with the foodie world."
Kasey is surprised that it's taken so long. "It's almost as if we've always enjoyed both but talked about them separately; I think that the relationship is quite natural. Increasingly, we are realizing that tastemakers in both food and music know a little something about each other's worlds!"
This isn't the first time we've seen this connection, though. Singer-songwriter John Vanderslice worked for years at celebrated chef Alice Waters' Chez Panisse restaurant, Australian band Super Wild Horses own a successful bakery in Melbourne and Canadian bands Hollerado and Hot Panda both have their own brands of hot sauce. Even Fugazi showed their love of food by publishing personal recipes for 'Ian's Oatmeal' and 'Brendan's Spicy Pop Tarts' in a '90s zine.
But it's only recently that musicians have begun flexing their fingers to write about their favourite fixings. Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos led the charge with a food column for The Guardian in 2005 that resulted in the book 'Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand.' Kapranos worked as a cook before Franz Ferdinand took off, but his column and book draw more on his food adventures while touring.
"Some bands have no problem with eating Taco Bell everywhere they go," says author Kara Zuaro, who compiled the 2007 indie cookbook 'I Like Food, Food Tastes Good,' featuring recipes from artists such as M. Ward and Devendra Banhart. "I think it makes sense that creative people, in general, are into food; when you're on the road and not making much money, good food is one of the things that keeps you going.
"Last spring, I tagged along on a tour with Title Tracks, a great band from D.C., and the 24-hour schedule went something like this: Soundcheck, eat evening meal, play show, eat late-night meal, sleep on someone's floor, eat morning meal, drive to next soundcheck, and repeat. For an indie band, shows can be poorly attended, the sleeping arrangements can be uncomfortable and the drives can be long. But good meals can really keep up morale."
James concurs: "We're so fortunate to get to travel so much. We've got friends in different towns and they're always turning you on to new things; after being trapped in a dressing room all day, you get to go out and eat at a really cool restaurant in town -- it's always a thrill."
The Beastie Boys once rapped about Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 'Body Movin'' and as of February Mike D now reviews wines on jamessuckling.com, commenting on their "refined funk" and "long-ass finish" and rating bottles on a scale from 1 to 100. It's not a new obsession -- he's long been a wine aficianado and keeps a wine storage room in Chelsea --and also runs in the family. Mike D's wife, director Tamra Davis, hosts an internet cooking show which has featured a spagetti recipe from Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino.
Famed alt-rock producer Steve Albini has gone from producing Nirvana and the Pixies to producing lengthy posts about the gastronomic delights he prepares for his wife's dinner each night. "A lot of musicians are good cooks and a lot of cooks are musicians," Albini recently told LA Weekly. "But I think that may just be a result of the creative impulse finding several means of expression. Probably an equivalent number are visual artists, woodworkers or compulsive liars."
Brazilian band CSS even released a cooking mixtape accompanied by a tasty recipe. So there's clearly no shortage of food and wine love from the musical sect, but do our fave rockers and rappers really have the time for blogging between all that writing, recording and touring?
"I don't see how people can keep up with normal blogs," James says. "I don't ever have time to do that stuff, it's ridiculous."
Zuaro agrees that blogging requires a certain amount of commitment, and hopes Crème Bru-Log will keep the confectionery love-in going. "It's a typical example of an amateur food blog. It's got a catchy name, a great concept, and a fun writing style, but only four posts over the course of five months. I love the concept, but if they're serious about this this, they've got to start sampling a new crème brûlée every night, in every town. Step it up, boys!"
Who knows if this trend of musician food bloggers will keep cooking indefinitely, but given how easy Twitter and Facebook make it to shout-out your lunch, there should be plenty more courses to come.
"There will always be musicians who are passionate about food," says Matthew. "It's hard to imagine that more bands won't decide to do it."