Few people walk in to a situation like Steve Hurst... literally. While working at The Weather Channel, he walked into his producer's office for something, and walked out, with the job of choosing the music for the local forecasts. That may not seem like that big of a deal, but for a lot of people it is. Gothamist has mentioned to several friends that we got the opportunity to speak to Steve, and the overall reaction was in the general vicinity of, "Cool!". The job has gained some street cred in recent years as Steve began to replace some of the coma-drool inducing elevator music with songs by bands like Phish, Pink Floyd, and Moby. And believe it or not, he has people tracking him down to praise him, threaten him, and request songs.
Gothamist continues our 3-part interview we started Monday with Steve Hurst, DJ on The Weather Channel.
In your words, a good local forecast song is one that's not too distracting, but beyond that, what makes you choose a song?
Its purely subjective. If I like it, I will use it. You do not have to be famous, or have an agent, or have a record contract to be played on The Weather Channel. Many of the songs I play are by guys just starting out and recording their songs at home. I find some of the best music that way.
Surely you aren't listening to Pink Floyd and thinking, "this makes me think of scattered showers"... um... or are you?
Pink Floyd is probably my favorite band, so when I knew we had the rights to them, there was no doubt that I would use them on the local. The weather really did not come into play on that one.
There's been quite a few Phish songs on the 8's. Are you a fan?
A few years ago I was in the music store and came across a Phish CD and thought, "this would be cool." It turned out that they are BMI artists as well. So that was a no brainer. I have been a fan since that day.
Any plans to add them again this month to do a tribute to their final tour?
Since their final concert is in August, I will wait until then to play some Phish songs. By the way, everyone should check out Trey Anastasios new classical cd Seis de Mayo. Im really not into classical music in general, but this cd is one of the best I have heard in a while.
If you had to choose between using the Beastie Boys or the Strokes, which would you pick?
Beasties no contest not even close.
People track you down to request songs and send you their material. do you really listen to all of it?
I have to listen to every cd that is sent to me. I never know when a really great song will come my way. In fact, some of the best music I have played comes from people who just burn a cd at home and send it to me. A perfect example is a guy named Steve Glotzer. He is a guitar player from Boulder, CO. One day he sent me a non-assuming cd, but when I heard it, I was blown away. I cant believe he does not have a record contract.
Any advice for aspiring kazoo players who want to have their material played on TWC?
Doesnt Satan play the kazoo?
Will you pay us?
Only in screams of mercy.
How come some songs remain on the playlist for more than one month? What makes you say, "It's time to pull that one and put in this one"
I try to use as many new songs as I can each month, but if I really like a particular tune, I will let it continue to the next month.
What's the most ridiculous call/email/etc you've gotten?
A lady from Texas threatened to beat me up if I did not stop playing classic rock. She said she was old school local forecast and did not like rock and roll. When I told her that I would probably continue to play classic rock, she then said she was driving to Atlanta from Texas to "teach me some manners." Luckily for me she must have gotten lost because she never showed. But for a couple of weeks after that, I was looking over my shoulder when I walked to my car to go home.
We've heard you had an onslaught of neverending Pantera requests a while back... still coming?
Pantera kid must have moved on to a new crusade, because I have not heard from him in a couple of years.
Anything else out of the ordinary?
Ive had people call me at home. Some have even called at 1:00am on a Saturday night. They are really nice and usually just want the name of a song that is being played. I tell them to call me at my work number at a better hour.
Do you ever hear from the more well known artists about getting played?
A few years ago I was playing Claptons Layla and Eddie Money heard it and called to say he wanted some of his songs on the local. He spoke to my boss and said he would send his musicians back into the studio to record some tunes. We havent heard from him since. I love Two Tickets to Paradise though.
Did you ever hear from Moby about how he feels about being on The Weather Channel?
I have not talked to Moby but I would love to speak to him. In my opinion, his work is genius. He is a true original. He copies no one. I played one of his songs, Rushing, last year, and the positive response The Weather Channel received was amazing. People in their 80s called me wanting the song. Hopefully there will be more Moby on the local.
I want to request a song, will you play [insert any non-Pantera song here]?
Ill do my best.
If you missed it, check out part 1 of the interview. The final part of our interview with Steve Hurst will be published later this week on Gothamist Weather. Rock the funky beats.