Everyone loves The Beatles, incuding radio DJ / comedian / televison writer Tom Scharpling, who has long favored Paul McCartney as his favorite of the Fab Four. Scharpling, who hosts the briilliant weekly WFMU 3 hour live radio program The Best Show on WFMU, considers McCartney's post Beatles, May 1971 release RAM (with wife Linda McCartney) to be one of the artists' finest works.
In fact, Scharpling was so into the album, which is often unfairly dismissed by critics, that he had the wonderful idea of producing a RAM covers tribute compilation, inviting his many musician friends to contribute to the project.The final product would be a special WFMU only release made out of love for McCartney, as well as for WFMU, as it helped raise funds (which it did very well) for the New Jersey radio station's annual fundraising pledge drive marathon earlier this year.
Renamed TOM, and with a cleverly altered cover, the new tribute RAM is a sincere track-by-track reinterpretation of the 38 year old release with such artists as Ted Leo, Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Portastatic, Danielson, Dump (Yo La Tengo's James McNew), Spider Bags, Black Hollies, and Stones Throws' James Pants, all pitching in their time and talent to help out the popular radio host and the non-profit independent radio station.
I recently caught up with Tom Scharpling, whose show really is The Best Show on WFMU and one I never miss! It airs every Tuesday 8pm to 11pm EST on WFMU. I talked with him about the concept for the album, the artists' attitudes towards McCartney, and also his reaction to the similarly themed Ram on L.A. album that was released around the same time as his RAM tribute.
Amoeblog: How did you first get the idea to do this RAM themed compilation?