La Sera's great new album, Music for Listening to Music To, was released Friday. To celebrate, we asked guitarist Todd "Totally Tod" Wisenbaker to share some of the inspirations that helped him and Katy Goodman — his bandmate and wife — hone their sound. He returned with a grip of videos that broke down their influences track-by-track:
YouTube has been a huge part of my growth as a guitarist and songwriter. Imagine how much better Hendrix would have been if he had it! Here are some of my favorite vids that were either a direct inspiration for a song or just a general vibe that may convey what I was going for when shaping the sound of our latest record.
Come see La Sera on Friday, March 11, at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. It's free with RSVP! More info here.
The writing and pre-production stages of this record were heavily influenced by my absolute obsession with guitars. Specifically an interest in Fender's early years when their solid body guitars were first introduced. These guitars were built for and with the help of country session players in Southern California. A large part of my guitar playing is just simply trying to continue some traditions that I see being forgotten about! Being a SoCal native I watch this video and get STOKED, BRO ! !
Here's a news segment from 1990 on Danny Gatton. Danny Gatton is one of the all time greatest telecaster players. This guy was like a chilled out John Goodman and traded a '52 tele for a goddamn hot rod. If you play guitar look up his Hot Licks instructional vids. "High Notes" is a nod to my boy DG, may he rest in peace.
"A Thousand Ways"
I could probably find 10 Smiths videos to go along with every one of our songs we've ever written but this one especially captures exactly what we were going for. The bass is in your face and Marr's dancing is cuteness overload.
"One True Love"
For this song I'm sharing one of my all time favorite Weezer clips. We invited Rivers to a tiny Venice in-store we played, AND HE CAME!! We had just written the song "One True Love" and were so proud/excited/nervous to play it for him ;) I read somewhere that all of his guitar takes on The Blue Album were first takes and I referenced that every time I had ever recorded. That night in Venice I asked if it were true.. He laughed and said that Ric Ocasek was a perfectionist and he definitely didn't nail anything on the first take.
"Begins To Rain"
Here's some CLASSIC SILVER LAKE hipsterdom from the Godfather of Silver Cool, Elliott Smith! He's cruising our hood. I always thought the end of "Begins To Rain" had a Smith-ian angsty vibe to it. Maybe Affleck will use it in Great Will Hunting?
"Take My Heart"
Fuck it, is it too late to just use Smiths vids? This is a clip from the show they taped Rank from! These clips are just some of the best things on the internet. First thing I noticed was Moz's white pants — just crazy to me. "Take My Heart" is probably my favorite song on our record and when Katy brought it to me I was overjoyed to give it the "I Know It's Over" treatment..
"I Need An Angel"
Here's an EPIC Dwight Yoakam video. "I Need An Angel" is my attempt at a sped up Dwight Yoakam or Buck Owens tune. California country must never die!
"Time To Go"
"Movin' out again, eh Joe? Don't I even get a goodbye this time?" Here's the trailer for Suburbia... I watched this movie everyday after school for most of 8th and 9th grade. "Time To Go" has the chorus-y guitar effect Alex Gibson used on the score for Suburbia and kind of hits on the weird cow-punk vibe of the Vandals and D.I. If somehow you've never seen this movie do so ASAP.
"Shadow Of Your Love"
Here's a clip of Mister Guitar, Chet Atkins.. Chet Atkins had a very specific style of playing the bass line, the rhythm and the melody all at once and was an absolute master. 'Shadow Of Your Love' lightly scratches the surface of this style.
Here's a not so great "video" of one of my all time favorite tunes. When I wrote the chords to "Nineties" and got to the Gmaj7 chord it reminded me of this song. The Beach Boys taught me about sophistication in chords, and how to create a nostalgic feel. Also, CALI PRIDE 4 LYFE.
"Too Little Too Late"
As much as I want to include a rare vid of some obscure country guitarist, I can't complete any YouTube playlist without some ridiculously long live Zeppelin clip. "Too Little Too Late" weirdly reminds me of "No Quarter" for a couple reasons: This was the only song I played my Les Paul throughout the whole thing and the vibe of the mellow arpeggiation sounds like an organ to me. I have probably watched more Zep footage than anything else on YouTube. The guitar solo starts at 6:05 btw. ROCK ON.