Offbeat: Stay Wild Child (2017 Radio Race)



This Offbeat episode was produced for the KCRW 2017 Radio Race. The theme was Down With Whatever and included a special bonus clip of David Bowie performing for special consideration. Everything had to be recorded and mixed within 24-hours.

Tape Extracts: 

Unnamed Child: So, what I am making here is a little family.

Garrett Tiedemann (Narration): Thinking is difficult. Getting up is difficult. Planning is difficult.

This morning I left the record player on mistakenly. The old analog hum lingered in time as I got my kids' lunch together. Made me remember what it was like before being a parent. Made me remember my wife sleeping in. Me reading. Time. The air not doing anything.

Instead of taking an idea and planning it out, grabbing a microphone, and going outside; I gave a microphone to a child, to wander around with, carry it. An identity from a child who cannot speaking. Chasing after a child who can. 

Garrett (to unnamed child): You're making a family? What are we going to do with the family once you finish coloring them in?

Child: Go to the park!

 Garrett (Narration): Ideas over product. Ideas over thought excursion. As I just let the recorder go. 

I have this book. It's, in the closest sense, my book. Because they are notes. They are notes that I write as I'm making things, writing things, coming up with ideas. And from time to time I go back through them. Like now when I don't have any idea what I'm doing. Grabbing at words. Trying to screw things together. And when you do that, you're not only taking something and making something anew, but you're reengaging with an idea from a past time. Trying to get a sense of what it was, trying to see its connections to the rest of the page. How a thought got put down and forgotten. How a thought became a thought. Became something obliged to exist.

It's an idea I want to live with, it's an idea I want to store; contain and have as a moment in time. 

I did what the instructions said. We went out, did our day, a certain day in the life. I had this idea for a story about a day in the life of living with children. Being a part of children. Being enrapt in the abstraction and curiosity and experimentalism of sound that is children. Children naturally are an orchestra billowing out at the edges.

It's the thing that drives some people nuts and it's the thing that's most stimulating; a house is dead when your children are gone. There is no sound like their presence or their absence. 

Offbeat: Life (2016 KCRW RadioRace)

Offbeat Life.jpg

This piece was produced by The White Whale as part of The 24-Hour Radio Race from KCRW's Independent Producer Project. Features the voice of Don Chambers, a musician from Athens, GA. For more information on his work visit

Tape Extracts:

Everybody was trying to imitate everybody else because there was a set rule of this is how we're going to do this.

(narration from performance film) I went to the office that day only to see a sign tacked to the door. I was disappointed. I was confused, bewildered. So turned to the only man in town who I thought could help.

If you can get your ego out of the way and let it take on its own life then I think copy and imitation, I'm not afraid of those. You're looking for the ghost in the machine.

It started off with a film of Disneyworld. Like these were my personal films of my childhood in Disneyworld. At some point I had a friend of mine get up and give a lecture on why the Beatles ruined Rock and Roll. And then Pete sits back down and I was like "now ladies and gentlemen, Pete" and another guy came up dressed exactly like him, who does a good imitation of him, did the speech in an exaggerated form of what they'd just seen. This guy's good though, this guy, Curtis, my friend Curtis. 

The one year I was working at the bar and I stepped outside the bar and looked up the street and there was Vic Chesnutt on Halloween night, rolling down the street in his wheelchair with this acoustic guitar in his lap.

(narration from performance film) I was recently hired to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica. 

And it was Curtis doing Vic who he could do, he could do Vic Chesnutt better than Vic Chesnutt. Later that week they played a show. Curtis came out, introduced as Vic, Curtis came out and did a Vic song and then like halfway through the song Vic comes back with ropes on him as if he'd been tied up in the back. And Vic comes out and they end up doing the song together, but I swear Curtis' version of Vic was, what I remember was Curtis' version. 

(narration from performance film) Everyday was the same, and it suited me well.

I definitely am a strong believer in stealing. I'm a strong believer in trying to copy something as exactly as you can and when you go back and compare it to the original thing, and the part that didn't quite get that original thing, that part of it is you. I think borrowing and stealing, pull from wherever you can pull from. I think copying and imitation is a little tricky because copying is more of what I am talking about. 

I don't know if you've listened to the book on tape of Keith Richards' story, 'Life'. That's a really interesting book on tape. It starts off with a professional actor, British guy, reading Keith Richards' story. Then, about eight chapters in, Keith Richards reads a chapter of his own story. And Keith Richards doesn't sound nearly as Keith Richards-ish as the guy who was just doing it. I kinda wanna know who that is.

 Everybody is borrowing from somebody else constantly. You can't help it. It's part of being alive. 


Offbeat: Harlem 68 (2015 KCRW RadioRace)

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Sounds of Harlem in 1968. The story of one woman's experience during a time of great musical evolution. This piece was produced by Garrett Tiedemann and The White Whale as part of The 24-Hour Radio Race from KCRW's Independent Producer Project.

Tape Extracts:

So, sounds. You wanted to know about sounds, the music. Well...

I don't remember hearing a lot of the guys rehearsing. I mean, occasionally I could hear someone practicing. 

What we had instead were the sounds of fire engines and police sirens because it was Harlem in 1968 and things were poppin'. 

Kids playing outside. That was a big deal. 

There were the sounds of neighbors in the building. People playing music or watching TV. It was my neighborhood. You know like, 'these are the people in your neighborhood' kind of, from Sesame Street.

Friends went trick-or-treating for me, that was really nice and they brought be a bag of candy. 

There were all these jazz musicians who lived in the co-op where I lived and they all worked weird hours. Some of them came and went in limousines. I wouldn't get to hear them playing very often. Occasionally I could sort of hear someone practicing.

There was an apartment building that was under construction across the street and they had to use a pile driver to sink piles to help hold the building up and that reminded me of the pile drivers they used when they were building the highway nearby when I was like, I don't know, 3, and it was kind of like the relentless march of human progress.

The only musician I hear practicing was the kid who lived below me who would every weekend try to play the Star-Spangled Banner out the window into the courtyard. Oh god, did he practice, he was so diligent. I have to admire his diligence. Every weekend he would practice.

I kind of had to rely more on my ears to figure out where I was and what was going on around me. I felt like I was hearing the sound of time rushing by. 

We'd hear them because my dad would have their records. The musicians who lived in the co-op were out working so we didn't get wasn't like you could hear them, you know, out the windows or something. 

So, that was, I guess, a little odd. Because like, you know, we'd play records from somebody who lived around the hall form us or somebody who lived in the next building or somebody who lived around the corner. I don't know, I never really thought about it. It was just like 'this is what they did, this was their job'. 

Mostly I just remember just kind of running into them when I'd be with my parents or with my mom and have them telling me like, my parents, my mom, who this person was and it would sort of register, but it was just kind of like, you know just one more grownup in my life. It wasn't a big deal, it was just like 'there's the guy who worked at the airport and there's the guy who works at the Tonight Show. That's the way it was.

I think my strongest memory of musicians is when I was very small and while making the rounds through the neighborhood with my mother; you know, going to the market and going to the dry cleaners and all that stuff, we would pass by Louis Armstrong's house and if he was out in the front yard my mom would say hello to him and they would chat over the hedge. But, I could never see him because the hedge was taller than me. So, I could hear that distinctive voice, but really rarely saw the face. But, I knew who it was. And, you know, I don't know how much I cared, you know all I cared about was getting a pastry at the Italian bakery at the end of our errands.