Life Along the Streetcar with Tom Heath from The Heath Team Nova Home Loans

This week, our Guest is DJ Ben(k) The Musical Bum. We’re going to talk about his show on Downtown Radio called “The Art of Easing.” This Sunday morning mix isn’t your standard rock and roll fair, so we wanted to know his story.

Today is August 15th, my name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to “Life Along the Streetcar”.

Each and every Sunday our focus is on Social, Cultural and Economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban Core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about. From A Mountain to the U of A and all stops in between. You get the inside track- right here on 99.1 FM, streaming on DowntownRadio.org– we’re also available on your iPhone or Android using our very own Downtown Radio app.

Reach us by email contact@lifealongthestreetcar.org — interact with us on Facebook @Life Along the Streetcar and follow us on Twitter @StreetcarLife

Our intro music is by Ryanhood and we exit with music from Stevie Wonder, “Shoobee Doobee Do.”

Transcript

Tom Heath
Good morning. It’s a beautiful Sunday in the Old Pueblo. And you’re listening to Katy DT Tucson. Thank you for spending a part of your Sunday brunch hour with us on your downtown Tucson Community sponsored rock and roll radio station.

Tom Heath
This week, our Guest is DJ Ben(k) The Musical Bum. We’re going to talk about his show on Downtown Radio called The Art of Easing. This Sunday morning mix isn’t your standard rock and roll fair, so we wanted to know his story.

Tom Heath
Today is August 5th. In my name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to Life along the streetcar. Each and every Sunday, our focus on social cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s, Urban core, and we shed light on hidden gems. Everyone should know about from a mountain to you, Arizona and all stops in between. You get the inside track right here on 99.1 FM. Streaming on Downtown Radio dot org. Also available on your iPhone or Android by heading over to your app store and getting the Downtown Radio Tucson app. You’ll have us in your pocket. Wherever you go.

Tom Heath
You can also reach us on the show contact at Life along the streetcar dot-org. Our podcasts are hosted anywhere. You can find podcasts. You’ll see a lot of those episodes on our website Life along the streetcar dot org, or simply by asking your smart speaker to play Life along the streetcar podcast.

Tom Heath
Well, we’re going to start Today’s Show with the word of the day. Scofflaw. I had to look it up, but it was in the Arizona Daily Star last week, as there is an announcement from the parking and transportation. The enforcement division that in downtown. There are currently almost a million dollars in overdue fines coming from 800 individuals. That’s almost 4,500 tickets and they are in the process now of an immobilization plan, meaning your car. If you’re one of these. Verso ska flowers. I’m not sure if that’s the word. You can have your car immobilized until you pay those tickets. Now, they’re not using those old boots that they put on the car.

Tom Heath
Apparently, those are little too dangerous to install in the city streets, but they do have something that goes across the windshield and would keep you from driving until those tickets are paid. So if you have more than three outstanding parking tickets, be careful downtown because they will immobilize your vehicle. And that is a much. Much bigger problem when you got a million dollars in unpaid tickets, but it certainly creates a stress level for for many in that area.

Tom Heath
And if you do have that stress level, our next guest can help you reduce it. His show every Sunday morning leads in two hours. His shows called The Art of easing and you know last week we interviewed the the show right after us with Ted presents key and this week. We’re interviewing our other neighbor, DJ Bank, the musical bum, who Leads us in every Sunday and you know, we wanted to get to know him a little better because his show is not the standard rock and roll makes that you hear on the rest of the week on downtown radio. So we’re going to know his back story. How he ended up on downtown radio and kind of what it’s meant for him to have the opportunity to play his music on Downtown Radio.

DJ Ben(k)
The way I listen to music is I don’t hear lyrics at all. Like I have to hear a song, a bunch of times before I even Here lyrics, like I just don’t hear like, it doesn’t register for Me. So I probably heard a song. I mean I’m exaggerating but I would say after I’ve heard the song 50 times of those lyrics are pretty cool.

Tom Heath
Tell me your name and the name of your show and let’s dig into this a little bit.

DJ Ben(k)
Okay. Well, my name is DJ Ben(k), the musical bum the name of my show is the art of easing. Its every Sunday from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Right here on downtown radio, and I’ve been doing it for I think I’m coming up on. Four years, maybe five by now. I’d have to look back and be the best way to sort of having ideas to look at the number of the show, because there’s 52 weeks in a year. And I know I’m on 200, it’s something. So I’m at least four years on or a little more.

Tom Heath
Did you either at the beginning?

DJ Ben(k)
No, not at the very beginning. I actually it’s pretty cool how I ended up on the, on the radio. So I used to live downtown many moons ago before I have family. And I used to live next to this band. They used to call themselves the crowd and then they changed their name to the holy rolling Empire and they were, they were a band about town for a time and they might still play. Sometimes I don’t know. I mean obviously nobody’s been playing lately until fairly recently. But anyway, my friend Dave has a really cool guy and a drummer and plays other instruments and stuff and he’s like, yeah, there’s this new radio station. You should try it. You should try to get on there because I think he knew Jason at the time.

Tom Heath
The original founder and station manager at the time.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I remember he put it into my mind and then I just kind of Not forgot about it, but I just, I just wasn’t thinking about it because I guess in my mind, I thought it was a way more involved thing than it really is. I mean, it isn’t, it, is it, you know what I mean, like, as far as the, the channels for actually getting on the radio. It’s really not all that complex and then you pretty much just get ahold of somebody and maybe go sit in with somebody for a little while and then try your own show. I mean, that’s all it really was to it. But anyway, so my friend Dave had told me about it and then this was I don’t know, probably three to six months later. I was at Trader. Joe’s actually and I was talking to this guy as I want to do. I’m quite the talker and he had a show on Saturdays on Downtown Radio. I was like, oh, yeah downtown

Tom Heath
Downtown Radio. It’s it’s a you know, pegged as a community rock and roll radio station, but your your show sort of Bruce more on things that might not be classified. As, as Rockets, you know, the art of easing. Its tell us about your philosophy and what you play.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah, so I was very happy to be on the non-rock day Sunday, which is the one day where we kind of section out programming that is, you know, either like your show like we have a few talk shows and shows that kind of integrate music and talk, and then it’s the sort of non-rock day. So there’s other like dance, music shows, and hip-hop, and R&B and mine kind of. And then, of course, mr. Nature in the morning, mine falls into, I mean, I say that it’s that it’s a rhythm and blues, gumbo, you know. I’ve expanded the genres that I pull from over the years because, you know, the first year of doing the show. I kind of used up everything. I came to the party with, you know, and I had kind of a kind of work through all the artists. I already kind of knew and had to start expanding, you know, it’s definitely, there’s always R&B influence running through it, but I’ve really branched out to a lot more.

DJ Ben(k)
Exotica which, which is sort of like Lounge music from the 60s and 50s, which is sort of Jazzy, but it has its own place in the culture really and A lot more of that. I always play jazz. I find that when I first started the show. I played more gospel and blues, which it’s not that. I don’t play those anymore, but I don’t know. I go in waves and it also depends on the time of the year, you know, I tend to play more excuse my shows pretty mellow almost all the time. But if there’s going to be something a little more up-tempo, it’s much more likely to be in the second hour of the show and it’s even more likely to be in the summer. Whereas I find in the winter. It’s even more novel. The show is

Tom Heath
Is your back. And I mean what led you to kind of want to launch with the with this type of format versus like doing a rock and roll mix?

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah. I mean, you know, I definitely have eclectic taste in music, like many people these days. I’m going to feel like very few people are like I only listen to this kind but really what sort of changed everything for me. I grew up as a little kid. I was a Beatles fan really hardcore. That was the first band that really I got really deep into and then of course that led to end Eric’s and Zeppelin and all that stuff. And that was kind of, you know, middle school era. And then, you know, in high school. I started getting into the alternative way of a little bit the grunge thing, but I wasn’t as into it, as some of my other friends until later on. And then I’d say, the big shift was I got really into, well, Jazz was a big thing. When I sort of discovered John Coltrane and Miles Davis and all that stuff. And then after that, I got really into what’s called underground backpack, hip-hop. Which had a really strong seen in the Bay Area in the all throughout the 90s.

DJ Ben(k)
But by the time I was actively participating in, it would have been the late 90s because then I could drive because I graduated high school in 1999. So it wasn’t until around then that we could start going up to San Francisco because I grew up in Fresno, California, which I love that town, but it’s pretty unhip, you know, we’re not going to get a whole lot of cool bands coming through there. It happens, a very occasionally, so we used to just always go up to San Francisco. The to hear bands and that’s when I got into vinyl. Around that time, you know, late high school early for me, junior college

Tom Heath
and vinyl. So to tell me a little bit about that. That’s a whole thing that so many of these DJ’s on Downtown Radio have experienced. No, I’m a, I’m an electronic, you know, I download my music. I’d do like to support the artists and by their albums, but I’ll do the electronic download, but you actually have those those those record machines playing sometimes.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah. You know, I haven’t really done it all in my program, a whole lot, just because of the logistics of dragging all my stuff down to the studio, but I would say, I’d like to include it, you know, down the line. And I actually have talked to some other folks, you know, once things kind of start to smooth out. I would like to even maybe try to have some fundraisers, so we can get some legit turntables down there. And we’ll give you a because I think a lot of people would use them. It’s just sort of Pain in the ass. So we’ll to drag the equipment even just one turntable is not. Yeah, a huge deal.

Tom Heath
What is the sound of vinyl that? I mean? Why is it what’s different about that than playing a CD or just listening on a stream?

DJ Ben(k)
Sure. Well, you know, to me, it’s a lot of it is not only the sound but it’s the ritual of it. And it’s also the getting to look at the rate of the record sleeve, you know, where as you know, when you’re looking at a CD booklet. That’s still great. But the type is a lot smaller. And if the sun, it’s the whole experience of it and the thing about, you know, I’ll be honest. I have not been as into my vinyl for quite some time. I’d say, since my daughter was born. I don’t break out my records as much as I should. And I’ve actually been trying to get things cleaned up here, so I can start doing it again, but it’s, and you also are going to pay closer attention because when you’re, you know, I find, I have the same issue with, you know, all the modern ways that we were singing music. I don’t feel like I have the same relationship with albums as I used to because, you know, back when I was, you know, in my car all the time driving around there, were those seven cassettes that were in there for three months at a time that I just absorbed constantly and now it’s just, you know, it with everything at your fingertips. It’s almost overwhelming for a music person like myself. I don’t even know where to start. Sometimes, if anything. I almost feel like I could go back and listen to old stuff sometimes when I can’t think of what to do, even though, hundreds of albums are released every month, you know.

Tom Heath
so when you when you’re doing your vinyl, it’s an experience. It’s not just a sound quality, but it is their difference in the sound?

DJ Ben(k)
you know, a lot of people, I mean myself included. I feel like you can hear layers of sound in a way like, like, when you’re listening to like a perfect CD, you know, it’s, I feel like the nuances are lost so, little bit and I mean, you know, I mean, you can still hear everything great on digital recording, but there’s also just this Yeah, the layers that you can hear on vinyl. I think are just our special. And yeah, like I said to me of the ritual of it is a big part of it because when I got into records, I mean it kind of changed my life forever because it was, I mean, at the time, I was just a kid in my 20s and I had pretty much any disposable income. I spent on recordings, like that’s what I did. Unless that my money on and I mean, I even have working 45 jukebox in our living room.

Tom Heath
I didn’t know. That’s awesome.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah, and I mean, I probably have a total of four or five turntable somewhere in the house 45s. I have I even have a few 78 and seventy-eights are wild. Have you ever have you ever watched a 78 spin? No, I have not sir. So you have to have a particular kind of turntable out a lot. They make them now but so the way it goes is if you watch good, if you’re if you’re listening to a regular record, it’s 33 and 1/3 RPMs. Right? So, which is the Big 12? Inch album, and then there’s those little smaller records that have the big hole. That’s a 45 and those play at 45 RPMs. And then the original records. Like when people say wax, when they’re talking about wax, the original records are made out of shellac and there. I mean, it’s like a wax. And if you drop an old 78 on the ground, it will shatter into a thousand pieces. So, what I’m getting at is, I’m sure you’ve seen a record spin before at somebody’s house or wherever and, you know, it’s gone. At a pretty reasonable speed. And then when you put on a 45, it’s a little faster. And then, you know, if you watch an old record player, those ones the bell and it’s spinning a 78. I mean, that thing is whipping around so fast, it’s going, you know, double the speed almost triple the speed of regular 33 and a third record. So that’s just the way people consume music especially in the 50s Because by the time the 60s came around albums, became a much bigger thing, especially by like, you know, when the Psychedelic era started to hit Mid-60s and on, you know, albums became the thing where you know, it’s all about. Can you assemble a 10 12 songs really nicely on a full album was the thing.

Tom Heath
We’ll be right back to finish up our interview with DJ Bank, the musical bum host of downtown radios. Art of easing every Sunday. But first, I want to remind you that you’re listening to Life. Along the streetcar on Downtown Radio, 99.1 FM and streaming on Downtown Radio dot org.

Tom Heath
Last week, we interview Ted presents key forwards and work. He’s our neighbor on the show that follows us. And today, we’re talking to DJ Bank, the neighbor that precedes us and, you know, both of those Industries are impacted by online media. So we wanted to get DJ Banks, take on how to affected the music industry. I mean, you’ve been paying attention to the music scene for some time, you know, it’s sort of Ebbs and flows, but the you know, the streaming services, you know, how do you have a sense of how those of impacted artists positively / negatively?

DJ Ben(k)
Um, yeah, I definitely have looked at it through both sides because I am an interesting case because of the age that I am, I just turned 40, so I was kind of I’ve experienced every every single style of media. Like I even have a minidisc player, but like all the way from cassettes and vinyl to CDs, to even minidiscs trying to make a shot at it and then mp3s and now eventually screaming I’ve been along for each part of it, you know what I mean? Because I always involved with wherever it was going because you kind of had to, you know, because even when like, I mean when iPods came out with such a huge Deal for somebody like me that has a lot of albums to be able to have it all in one place or just had never been done before and now having everything on Earth ever. Always available is just as wild and and it’s it has had. I mean I feel bad for artists because the film industry has managed to kind of keep a tight grip, you know, you still have to pay for streaming of almost anything.

DJ Ben(k)
You can’t. I mean YouTube is constantly, if you try to put up a whole movie gets taken down right away by the, you know, by the big Motion Picture companies, but unfortunately music because of the whole Napster thing. It really never recovered, you know, and And also I think it was, you know, I put everything under a microscope because let’s be honest, you know, when mute the music industry was just hand over fist money in the 90s like sixteen dollars is too much for a CD. It’s not it’s not affordable for a normal person. I feel like they should have been more like 10 because I think that the artist should definitely make some money but if you make it a little more reasonable for the consumer, you’re going to sell more records because 16 bucks. I mean, that’s what I used to pay for albums and You know, will CD. Start, you know, when places started selling you see these, I would wait for stuff to go use. So, it’d be eight bucks or whatever, because I’ve always been a quantity music person like me, you know, ever since I, like I said, early high school when I got into jazz and Hip-Hop and all that. That’s when the change, that’s when I couldn’t put enough music into my head.

Tom Heath
You said when you started the show after that, first year, you sort of played everything you brought to the table. So yeah, so that means the last three-plus years. You’ve been bringing new stuff. Table that you’re finding out there. And, and is that is that streaming or is that digging

DJ Ben(k)
through streaming and kind of streaming? Yeah, it really is.

Tom Heath
So you’re finding artists that you maybe didn’t even know about.

DJ Ben(k)
Oh, yeah. Well, and I’ll be honest. I mean, the streaming services kind of do a little bit of cheating for me like, because what they once they get a sense of your, your musical style, they give you these free playlist every week that kind of cater to that style of music and trying to Abuse you to stuff the, you know, and I’ve been introduced to a ton of stuff like, I mean, even in the last couple of years, like, I was not aware of a lot of this Japanese R&B and Funk and disco, and even like Yacht Rock style stuff that I play on my show. Like I didn’t know about any of it and it’s, there’s this whole, you know, sub-genre of Japanese R&B. That’s great. I mean, and I’m like I said, I’m not a lyrics person. So I don’t really care if I can understand what they’re talking about. It’s good, you knoww.

Tom Heath
And listening to her. It and I would say this even if you weren’t on the on, you know, as I guess who it’s one of my favorite shows because it is so eclectic. But I was surprised as I got to listen more of how worldly it is, you know, you know, I think a rhythm and blues is being a an American thing but really it’s it is international. You got all kinds of different countries represented on your show.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah, I do try to do that whenever I can, you know, because even like last week, I’ve I’ve played multiple groups from Australia and there’s there’s some really fun. Icky stuff going on in Australia. And then you know, they call blue-eyed Soul or Northern Soul. There’s you know England just like what it did for the blues, you know, with all the rock bands in the 60s, the stones and everything, the same thing was happening with R&B. So there’s like a lot. I mean really when I think of some of the better soul singers of the last 20 years, I mean, you can’t not talk. I mean there’s a reason why I felt so so many records because she’s got the golden pipes. So to gaming Winehouse and those are Ladies from England or, you know, with with heavy English accents, when you hear them talk.

Tom Heath
couple of quick questions here, as we wrap up the moniker DJ Bank, the musical bum. You are not a bum my friend. How did that name come

DJ Ben(k)
about? Well, let’s find my dad said the same thing and I’m like it’s meant to be sort of a tongue-in-cheek thing, but I can tell you exactly where it comes from. So, you know, like I said, I was a really heavy hip-hop guy and there are there’s two records that have been released by this Duo of producers that I love both of them. Their Individually, but as cool that they put something together. So they’re called Handsome Boy, Modeling School and it’s Prince all who made a lot of beets for De La Soul amongst many other amazing hip-hop artists and then Dan the automator is kind of one of the Premier Bay Area producers of the last 20 or 30 years. He also did work with gorillas the very first Gorillaz album. But anyway, they did this project together called Handsome when modeling school. And the very first record think the song is sunshine at the Very, very beginning. There’s this little tiny snippet, which, you know, I’m being from the DJ culture and everything. I love like Pastiche. I like when stuff is just all chop together and, you know, so there’s this little sample on this guy says he was a bum really more of a musical bump and that’s where it came from. Nice. It’s totally just a random little snippet from an album. And and what I didn’t realize, when I picked the name, the musical bum is that, it’s also the music album. Which I didn’t really notice inside side. I’ll written out. So the music album and DJ Bank, my friends. Just call me Bank occasionally, and I remember I had all these flip, cool DJ names

Tom Heath
when I never sang ‘ben k dj Bank.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah, which doesn’t mean anything. It has no significant, you know, it was just my friend, my friend Omar used to call me Bank sometimes. So, in the musical bum, I actually really like it, because It’s it’s, I mean, it’s sort of meant to be a little bit self-deprecating I guess, but it’s really more about, like, I’m just such a fool for it. Like, you know, what? I would go to Coachella and stuff. I would just be a zombie walking around from one, you know, one stage, to the next just in Evan, just music everywhere. It was the best because I’m just a bum for it. And I definitely think being a part of downtown radio for keeping the active because, you know, it’s been a rough couple of years for most of us and having my show to have, you know, be an anchor for me once a week to sort of force me to stay involved in music was huge, because I was not feeling consistent, particularly artistic or creative for a large sections of this covid era. And the pattern the show really kind of helped me have some kind of center with all that. So that’s been really good actually.

Tom Heath
Well, mr. Mr. Bum. DJ bank. I appreciate your time today. I remember my last question is going to be about downtown radio, but you just said wait perfectly into that because you know how this show works, but you are on every Sunday you you kickoff Life along the streetcar for me every Sunday. And I think I probably have a few followers to just forget to turn off the radio and when they’re done listening to your show, so I appreciate that. Hugely popular show in Downtown Radio one of my favorites, the art of easing Every Sunday and I highly encourage anyone out there that has interested in learning a little bit more, expanding your horizons to take a listen next Sunday.

DJ Ben(k)
Yeah, it’s fun man. And it’s also been a pleasure working with you man. Yeah, you’re definitely been a good friend since the beginning and I appreciate it.

Tom Heath
All right, sir. Well, I appreciate your time and we’ll talk to you soon.

DJ Ben(k)
All right, buddy. Take care of thanks. All right. Bye.

Tom Heath
Now. I get off asked by a lot of folks, you know, the amount of time, it takes to put on a half hour radio, show each week and do an interview and is it worth it? And, you know, I love sharing this content. I love to Son and specially downtown Tucson and I like being able to highlight these hidden gems, but being on the radio with cool people like DJ. I think that’s just fun. You know, we get to go to these meetings and hang out with all of the Rockstar DJ’s that we have here in downtown radio. And these are some extremely knowledgeable and passionate folks. And I don’t know, I’m not the music guy. So hanging out with them. I saw a little bit Starstruck. Well, mr. Bank. Thanks for spending your time with us and we’ll hear you next Sunday on the art of easing right now. You might want to remind you. My name is Tom Heath, and you are listening to Life along the streetcar on. Downtown radio 98.1 FM and available for streaming on Downtown Radio dot org.

Tom Heath
That’s episode number 164. I just I think that’s what it is here on Life along the streetcar. I want to thank you for following along. Thank you to DJ bank for spending some time here. Talking about the art of easing and how about me throwing out? Some new words like Scofflaw. I literally had to look that up. I just, I didn’t know it was a word but glad to be sharing and educating you on a Sunday morning, but if you are interested in topics other than Larry. And you’d like us to reach out to specific gas or cover specific topics. Let us know. Our email address is contact at Life, along the streetcar dot-org as we talked about were all over social media and we have a website at the you can track us down. And as you can see from our past episodes, we don’t have a specific format of who we like to talk with. We want to talk with people that are having an impact in the urban core or doing something exciting and fun, artistically cultural economically. We try to stay away from politics. So that

Tom Heath
seems to creep into everything we do these days, but the goal is to highlight hidden gems. Either emanating from the urban core things happening that are impacting this stretch from a mountain to the University of Arizona. Don’t hesitate to let us know our best topics. Always come from from shout outs or call outs of things. We should be covering because there’s so much we just don’t know yet. But one thing I do know is one of DJ Banks, favorite artist is a gentleman by the name of Stevie. Wonder you may have heard of him. So we thought we’d leave you a little music today. From 1968. Stevie Wonder’s album. For once in my life. I’m going to leave you with shooby dooby doo, da day. Have a great week into next Sunday for more Life along the streetcar.

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Tom Heath - Senior Loan Officer with Nova Home Loans
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