Tag Archives: Indianapolis

Pink Martini & The Von Trapps

Ray talks to Thomas Lauderdale, founder of Pink Martini:

Two months ago, I had heard of the Pink Panty Pulldown, though admittedly not at all since my college days, but I had not heard of Pink Martini.

pink martini

Pink Martini is a band.  A damn good one, too.  I wish I could tell you what kind of band they are, but categorizing them would be a disservice.  They play old school bachelor pad songs.  They play ballads that will make you bawl your eyes out.  They interpolate classical pieces within standards.  I’m sure they’d do a heck of a pro wrestler entrance theme if I asked nicely. Pink Martini also has adapted their unique style to that of another outstanding group, and together they are releasing (next week) a bad arse album.  They and that other group, our old pals The Von Trapps, are playing the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre Saturday night (March 1).

The Von Trapps are the only reason I know jack about Pink Martini.  To recap, here is my interview with them when they spent much of December in Indy as part of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Yuletide Celebration:

Ray with The Von Trapps, December, 2013:

The Von Trapps dropped the 411 that they were releasing an album with Pink Martini.  I assumed that meant they were celebrating a new album in a more grown up fashion now that they were of age, well three of them anyway.  Then, I figured out they were talking about a band.  I looked up Pink Martini.  Holy cow, are they good.

Thomas Lauderdale is a HOOOOOSIER (you have to say it like former state school superintendent Tony Bennett).
Say HOOOOSIER with Tony:

Thomas left Indiana when he was 12, became a classically trained pianist and founded Pink Martini roughly 20 years ago.  Thomas is a heck of an interview, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  And what in the blue heck are you waiting for, go see them Saturday night.  We’re getting a foot of dang snow on Sunday, so you might as well get your rear end out while you can!


Louis Erwin, USS Indianapolis survivor, plans on being around for the new movie about the attack

LISTEN: Louis Erwin, a survivor of the attack on the USS Indianapolis:

When I first met Louis Erwin, it was almost like old home day.  Erwin, 88, is a native of East Ridge, Tennessee, right next door to the place of my birth, Chattanooga.  Erwin is also one of 38 remaining survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis by a Japanese torpedo in the closing months of World War II; he was one of only 15 or so attending the latest reunion of the survivors at the Indiana War Memorial earlier this year.

I called Mr. Erwin when I heard that a new movie is being made about the Indianapolis and the ordeal of the 317 men who survived the sinking – and the almost 1,200 who didn’t (300 who went down with the ship, 880 who died while stranded in the water).  I cherish every conversation with one of our World War II veterans.  Our accomplishments seem so small compared to what they did seven decades ago.


Rev. Charles Harrison wonders if anyone cares about black-on-black crime in Indy

LISTEN: Rev. Charles Harrison w/Ten Point Coalition of Indy:

This week, we found out that the murder rate in Indianapolis is now higher than that of Chicago.  Many of those murders are committed by young black men against other young black men.   Rev. Charles Harrison (pictured at the podium) with the Ten Point Coalition of Indy thinks that a lot of people in power don’t care, be they politicians from either party or other African-American leaders.

Rev. Harrison was, as always, candid when I spoke to him at length for the first time at Barnes United Methodist Church, where he is pastor.

From the Archives: Ryback, back in Indy with the WWE tonight!

LISTEN: Ray Steele with the Big Guy, Ryback, from March 11, 2013:

Looky what I found in the archive!  My short but kick booty visit from The Big Guy, Ryback, who is back in town tonight for the WWE live event at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy.  He was a good Big Guy back then; he’s not as nice on screen now.  But he was super to talk to the morning of March 11, 2013, when I was filling in as host of Indy’s Morning News on WIBC, and he was getting ready for Raw that evening.

It’s great to have Ryback back in town.  I’m really pulling for this guy to have a great career.

Joey Stevenson: Master mower, baseline bada$$, one of the best groundskeepers in the country

LISTEN: Joey Stevenson, head groundskeeper for the Indianapolis Indians, mowing master:

We’re in the midst of Colts and Pacers season in Indiana, not to mention Hoosiers, Bulldogs and Boilers season.  But it might as well be wabbit, duck, silly mongoose or fiddler crab season because in my world, pitchers and catchers start reporting for Spring Training in 52 days (as I write this).  So we talk baseball, or specifically, the science of the baseball field, with one of the best in the business.

Joey Stevenson is head groundskeeper for the Indianapolis Indians.  He just won the first ever “Best Mowing Pattern” award from the Sports Turf Managers Association, mainly because he doesn’t mow a ridiculous bloody sock into the outfield like some teams do.  I can’t wait to see Joey’s handiwork again at Victory Field in a few months.

Chip Davis; Convoy! Oh yeah, Manheim Steamroller, too

LISTEN: My chat with Chip Davis, creator of Manheim Steamroller. And Convoy:

This is the man who created this:

That’s still one of the greatest compositions in American history.  Dang straight.

Oh yeah, Chip did the whole Manheim Steamroller thing, too.  And Manheim is playing its annual Christmas show at the Murat at Old National Centre in Indy Friday night at 8:00pm, Christmas music, tradition, yeah yeah.

But c’mon, Convoy!  C.W. McCall!  Dang!  Gives me chills.  Chip tells a great C.W. McCall story at the end of this podcast.


The Von Trapps know where they came from, but they also do their own musical thing

LISTEN: The Von Trapps on the ISO’s Yuletide Celebration and their own Indy concert:

von trapp

Before she brought them to the studio, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra‘s communications director, Jessica DiSanto, asked that I not refer to the Von Trapps as “The Von Trapp Children.”  I thought it an odd request, because the bill at the Hilbert Circle Theatre for the ISO’s Yuletide Celebration plainly says “The Von Trapps.”  It obviously meant others who had interviewed them had made that mistake, and Jessica was just doing diligence, which is her job.  So, I said “sure. No problem.” (To be sure, based on their web site name, it’s an easy mistake.)

After the quartet arrived, the Von Trapps themsevles, unaware that Jessica had already done so, also asked that they not be referred to as “children.”  I asked, incredulously, “people still call you ‘children’?”  “All the time,” they said, even though August, the youngest, is now 19.

I then imagined every interview they must go through; people saying (as I use my best Monty Python, Terry Jones fake woman’s voice), “oh, I just LOVE The Sound Of Music, and it’s SOOO wonderful how you CHILDREN are keeping the memory of the Baron and Maria alive.  It’s SUCH a BE-YOUUUU-tiful love story, and you CHILDREN are SOOOO inspiring blah blah blah blah blah.”  It made the swerve I planned that much more satisfying; I don’t really care for The Sound Of Music.  (My sister is reading this and, simultaneously, ripping up my Christmas card.)

My wish was to ask about anything other than Sound.  But the Von Trapps are proud of where they came from and happy to perform some of the old songs, including Edelweiss. That’s despite the fact that many people are mistaken in thinking the original Von Trapp family sang Edelweiss 70 years ago; it’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the musical. The Von Trapps are also doing their own material in traditional style – you hear a sample at the 5:30 mark of the podcast; August is writing some bad booty daddy music.

After they finish their run with the Yuletide Celebration, which includes their own, stand-alone concert on Monday night, December 16, they will return to their home base in Portland, Oregon to finish work on an album with the wonderful group Pink Martini (who is coming to the Murat next March!)  The album should be out in the spring of 2014, and we can hope the Von Trapps will be back for a tour to push that album.

I can hear August Von Trapp asking his sisters; “bad booty daddy? ”  It’s okay.  It’s a good thing, August.