“Alternate Iechyd Da Playlist”

I used to listen to some Gear Club Podcast here and there and I remember one particularly spirited episode with Joe Chiccarelli, producer of many key rock albums such as The White Stripes’ Icky Thump. He was discussing the groundwork that was being lain during that album’s studio sessions and leading up to final recording. Jack White, apparently, had a pretty good idea of how he wanted it to sound, but Chiccarelli all of a sudden said something like, “Well, what if we make it sound all crazy?” So, instead of going with White’s initial ideas, they made it sound all crazy — emphatic, rampant guitar feedback oozing through pretty much every crack, muscle and volume through the roof on “You Don’t Know What Love is (You Just Do What You’re Told)” and on guitar solos on “300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues” and “Catch He** Blues.”

What I’m suggesting for Iechyd Da, essentially, is something similar — “What if we make it sound all crazy?” Iechyd Da is the leading brewery in downtown Elkhart, Indiana, my current place of residence. To their credit, you usually can’t even get a seat at the bar in there. They’re hammering out a megaton amount of business each day and catering to a vast range of clientele. Said set of visitors, granted, does include a lot of old people, which may be why they kind of “play it safe” when it comes to the music, in my opinion — it tends to be on the “dentist office” side of classic rock, with Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and some extra-embraceable selections from the’ 90s such as The Black Crowes. 

And it’s not to say anything against this music — it’s just that we hear it a lot already, and I just can’t help but imagine what kind of identity this place could gain if we made the music a little bit edgier, a little more memorable, even, perhaps. And, again, it might be a business venture that the owners go with music that’s relatively tame and embraceable. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It is interesting, though, as Iechyd Da is anything but yuppy, has an incredibly approachable, blue-collar vibe, especially compared to the almost impenetrable Brass Elk Brewing down the street, and even lists the graffiti adage of “Never trust a fart,” on the wall, in the men’s bathroom. Now, if any place should be playing a playlist that ventures from the safe, conventional norm, you’d think, it would be this one. 



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