December 4, 2011 |
Let's start with the hands, Ry Cooder's hands. They're large, expressive: hands you could see wrapped around a guitar neck, or in the act of making things. They move when he speaks, creating shapes in the air that take form and dissipate, all in the space of a few words. On a Friday afternoon at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Cooder is using those hands to help recount the saga of "El Chavez Ravine," a 1953 Chevy pickup he commissioned to be rebuilt in 2007 in the style of a vintage ice cream truck and covered with an elaborate mural, by the artist Vincent Valdez, depicting the eviction of Mexican American families from the neighborhood that is now home to Dodger Stadium.
June 1, 1986 |
"It was obvious to me by the time I was 20 that if I wanted to keep playing the same rock 'n' roll bottleneck (guitar) licks I could work a lot of recording sessions and make some money. But I also knew that I'd eventually be strip-mined. I could feel it beginning to happen . . . the repetition and the tendency for people to say quite simply, 'Just do the same thing you did on that last record.' You'd try to tell them you could do something better, but they'd say, 'We don't want "better."
August 20, 2012 |
L.A. guitar institution Ry Cooder is set to release his album "Election Special" Tuesday, a handy, nine-track blues-rock guide to this year's presidential election. The subject matter? Republican and Democratic leaders, super-PAC funders and even Seamus, the family dog who rode in a carrier atop presidential candidate Mitt Romney's car. Cooder talks up his mission with Pop & Hiss. What's your goal with this record? Use your mind and think a little. Put the small screen down.
October 28, 1987 |
Ry Cooder's atmospheric film scores, eclectic albums and collaborations with prestige performers like Randy Newman and John Hiatt have created an image of the musician as the Pure Artist. But here's the singer-guitarist on the phone in the small coffee room of a Hollywood recording studio, looking like a colorful pool-hall hustler in his tropical shirt and pork-pie hat as he sweet-talks an executive from Rounder Records.
October 27, 2002 |
After career phases as ace sideman, respected blues/folk-rooted solo artist, world music pioneer and film composer, Ry Cooder in recent years gained considerable profile as a key instigator and producer of the Cuban musical renaissance centered on the Buena Vista Social Club projects. Now he's stepping out for the first star billing of his own since his 1993 Grammy-winning "Meeting by the River" collaboration with Indian musician V.M. Bhatt. And for the project he's turned ... back to Cuba.
July 14, 1995 |
The biggest mistake the Rolling Stones ever made creatively was not luring Cooder at all costs when they needed a replacement for guitarist Mick Taylor in the '70s. Not only would Cooder's rootsy sensibilities have brought a renewed blues vitality to the band, but his intimidating presence could have made Jagger-Richards work harder on new material. The Stones' loss, however, has been the film world's gain.