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Live Review: Glenn Kotche at Senior Hall • Homewood

| May 15, 2023

Glenn Kotche

Glenn Kotche

Senior Hall Cabin

Homewood, IL

May 6, 2023

By Craig Frank

Bang a gong, play it with wooden spoons, or rattle it with paint scrapers, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche recently treated listeners with his insights, tricks, and inspirational sources to both his methods and musicality. On a recent Homewood evening in a Depression-era forest preserve cabin, the interview and performance was a delicacy to all who attended.

For two hours, Kotche exceeded the expectations of both Wilco fans and supporters of local music at the Homewood Arts Council’s, “Get In Tune With Glenn Kotche,” hosted by Chris Castaneda, HAC president. Izaak Walton Preserve’s century-old rustic cabin (that once housed German prisoners of World War II) provided an intimate backdrop to the nearly sold-out event.

During a 2002 meeting with Kotche, after becoming the new drummer for Wilco, Castaneda quipped, “I’d love to interview you sometime,” to which Kotche replied, “Well, I’d love to be interviewed by you some time.”

When Castaneda did, in fact, interview Kotche in 2002, he did so conversationally, he said, mentioning Wilco band members by first name and asking Kotche to reply with the first thing that came to mind.  Though the rest of the band wasn’t on hand Saturday, relationships with current and former members were openly discussed openly, providing insight into both Kotche’s creative process and the workings of the ensemble throughout their 20-year history. Kotche also walked onlookers through the precarious balance of family life and the obligations of a touring musician, along with the substantial relationships he has formed with fellow musicians and his not-insignificant personal histories with producer Jim O’Rourke and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.

As meaty as the precursor was, the highlight of the evening, though, was Kotche breaking out his laptop. The magic happened during the proverbial “peek behind the curtain.” Kotche provided both soundbites of songs and musicians influential to his drumming, but he also illustrated direct correlations to the Wilco songs they were applied to. Kotche first apologized for sharing trade secrets, but quickly reiterated the trope, “Talent borrows; genius steals.” While he emphasized he was not calling himself a genius, some audience members quickly begged to differ.

It only took a few seconds into Kotche’s first example for listeners to hear the rhythmic similarities between “Hallogallo,” a song by the German band Neu!, and Wilco’s “Kidsmoke.” In another example, Kotche played a snip-it of Beck’s “Derelict,” juxtaposed with “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” from Wilco’s 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Once presented, the percussion similarities were unmistakable, with Kotche emphasizing the atypical rhythmic accents separating his performances from standard pop beats.

Nearing the end of the event, Kotche fielded questions from those in attendance that generated anecdotes from the road to an A.I.-generated question that examined Kotche’s compositional inspiration versus his technical ability. The evening wrapped up with Castaneda asking Kotche the very same questions asked more than 20 years ago — referring to band members by first name only and asking how Kotche feels about them today. His answers were both respectful and entertaining.

For those interested in hearing more from Glenn Kotche, here is a link

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