Marshall Chapman saved my life

Wed, Oct 20, 2010

We heard through the grape vine that John A. Smith, the Wexner Center's director of technical services (by which we really mean "sound and stage magic"), had interesting memories of Marshall Chapman, who will be here Friday afternoon, and asked if he would write a bit for the blog. As you'll see, he does have something fine to contribute to the subject. Thanks a bunch, John.

I'm not sure how you figured that I have anything to contribute to the subject, but I can tell you that I first heard of Marshall Chapman, when I was breaking into the Columbus music scene as a sound mixer/engineer and making the transition to a new genre (something they called "country/rock"). I got a lot of grief for tuning the sound system with music from Steely Dan and Weather Report ("what the hell's that $*&# buddy, play some country!"). One day this cassette tape showed up on the console, and I can only imagine that Mushroom Joe left it there as a subtle hint. (Joe always had my back.) So I started playing Jaded Virgin before the shows and at the band breaks. Chapman's covers of "Turn the Page" and "I Walk the Line" were plenty twangy alternatives to the familiar originals, and I still remember "Why Can't I Be Like Other Girls." That album was pretty raw, no fancy production, just a nice reverb slap on the vocals to give reference to juke-box rock and roll. I saw her and her band a few years later at a couple festivals and was really impressed by the players and Chapman's full-tilt performance. And so in retrospect, Marshall Chapman saved my life… or at least saved me from redneck harassment and the threat of physical pain. I never played Gino Vannelli again, ever. Know your audience!

Jean Dubuffet, Vaches au pre (Cows in a meadow), 1954

Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection closes Dec 31. Don't miss the exhibition artnet named among the world's 25 "must-see shows."

Artists featured in Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection

Learn more about the artists represented in Transfigurations at our dedicated website. (Educators will also find curriculum resources to support their K–12 classrooms.)