Aaron’s Radio Show

Episode 55

My Three Songs with Kris Kaufmann

 

Notes

Episode Notes

EPISODE 55 – My Three Songs with Kris (and Joanne) Kaufmann  Welcome, everyone, to Episode 55. This is the 45th in our series of episodes called My Three Songs where my guest chooses three memorable songs and we listen to the songs and talk about why they are meaningful to my guest. Kris Kaufmann and his wife, Joanne, both intensely love music, especially live performances. They are both talented at playing music, too. We had a great time listening to and discussing three meaningful songs for both of them, including “The Little Things”, by Toto.

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Three Songs

  1. The Last Time I Felt Like This – Johnny Mathis and Jane Olivor (1979)
  2. Land of Make Believe – Chuck Mangione (1973)
  3. The Little Things – Toto (2015)

Aaron’s Radio Show has been licensed by ASCAP and BMI to include songs from their repertories in performances on this website.

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Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California, it's Aaron's Radio Show, with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 55. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I play three special songs, chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. Today, my guest is Kris Kaufmann. And he's joined today by his wife, Joanne. Kris is a media specialist with a school district in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And Joanne is a marketing strategist with a large healthcare organization, also in Pittsburgh. Welcome to the show, Kris and Joanne, how are you today?

Kris Kaufmann:

Doing? Well. Thank you, Aaron. Thanks for having us.

Aaron Gobler:

It's my pleasure. You are the first couple that I've had on the show. So I'm looking forward to to some fun banter among the three of us,

Kris Kaufmann:

We'll do our best to behave.

Aaron Gobler:

I understand you're both involved in the music and voice worlds beyond what you do or as part of what you do. professionally. So do you want to speak about that for a few minutes?

Kris Kaufmann:

Well, sure. I should start out with Joanne and I are approaching our 33rd anniversary together. And we met at band camp when we were in high school. Okay, so Music has always been a part of our lives. Joanne plays a couple of instruments, I played trumpet in the band. And I've gotten back to playing guitar, which was something I started in first grade, but kind of gave up on by the time I started to play trumpet. So I'm really enjoying that.

Joanne Kaufmann:

And I play piano and my midlife crisis hit in my early 50s. And I started taking drum lessons. So I'm going to be a drummer in the nursing home band. That's when I'll finally get to some level of decent proficiency. Along with that, I do some voiceover work for corporate training videos, you know, the ones that are dry, and no one ever wants to do, but you have to. And I would say that, that music really is a huge part of our lives from having it on, almost constantly in the house, in the car. And then also we go to a lot of concerts. I know, this week alone will be at three different concerts.

Aaron Gobler:

I'm sure you really missed that during the height of the pandemic.

Kris Kaufmann:

We did, we'd have to get our concert fixed by listening to Margaritaville radio and Jimmy Buffett Live.

Joanne Kaufmann:

And then some of the artists that we follow. They were doing online stuff. So we'd buy tickets to their online pieces, groups like Chicago, they were doing weekly things where they just all be in their own homes, and they put something together, Toto did an online concert, lots of places were doing online concerts. And I think that's also when we found Quello the sort-of like concert streaming service. We could see some concerts that way.

Aaron Gobler:

So it's an It is great to be back in a real concert environment. Again, I'm sure it is. Yeah. And then one thing that intrigued me at the start was you mentioned you've met in band camp. So can you tell me of a myth and a reality about band camp is a myth that people have that you think and you can like dispel that myth?

Kris Kaufmann:

Ah, let's see. I would think one of the myths is that band camp the people who are there are kind of inept at what they're doing with as far as in our case, we actually were out at a college campus for our band camp. But we've also been out at what was once an old Boy Scout camp for the band camp.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Must have been before my time! I think that we're one of the myths of band camp is that it is always fun and you're always having a fabulous time. I will tell you that the band director we had, who we are both friends with still and he was absolutely awesome, but it was like eight solid hours of a crapload of work. It was it was unrelenting.

Kris Kaufmann:

It was it was rigorous. It was really rigorous! But the end result of band camp, although a lot of people think that it might be all fun and games, was that you? You really got to become a better musician and a better disciplined person.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Yes, absolutely. So the reality is that it was grueling.

Kris Kaufmann:

So shout out to Frank T. Williams, III, our band director, well known in the drum corps world. Thank you, Frank for the inspiration you always gave us.

Aaron Gobler:

Awesome. So it's more like a boot camp than like a you know, a day camp where you're going swimming and doing archery and stuff. It sounds like ...

Kris Kaufmann:

Absolutely.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Ours was a sleepaway camp wasn't it?

Kris Kaufmann:

Yes.

Aaron Gobler:

And so you met there.

Kris Kaufmann:

We didn't really date in high school.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Well, I was still in high school ... old man.

Kris Kaufmann:

Well, we've been, we were friends. That's where we met and became friends before we began dating.

Aaron Gobler:

So you really share both shared a passion for, for music and trying to be your best, musically.

Kris Kaufmann:

Exactly. And happily, we like a lot of the same music, we have little different areas that the other doesn't venture into much. But we were, we always have the I don't want to say the name of the product right now because it will trigger her to say something in response. But we've always got those internet connected speakers playing music throughout the house.

Aaron Gobler:

It's cool that you both have is really intense interest in music. And I think it's normal that you have certain tastes that the other one, you know, may just not like. So thank you. Thank you for for indulging me on the on the band camp thing because I have really no idea what what really goes on just what I imagined. Kris, I understand you're a big fan of Christine Lavin, who is my guest on Episode 54, which is just before this one. What inspired you to be a guest?

Kris Kaufmann:

Well, after reading Christine's post, and talking about your show, of course, I wanted to listen to it because Christine was on. And I really loved the show. I thought it was great. I think one of the reasons that I wanted to submit some songs to this show was after listening to Christine's episode, I realized just how important music is to our lives. And these three songs that I picked out, have a real emotional resonance with me that there are three of the songs that and full disclosure here, you might hear me choke up a little while I talk.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Oh my.

Kris Kaufmann:

It never failed to elicit an emotional response when I listened to her. And they kind of each touch on three different points in my life. And the kind of music I was in at different points in my life with the songs.

Aaron Gobler:

And had you conferred with Joanne for this list, or this was your list?

Joanne Kaufmann:

No! Not at all!

Kris Kaufmann:

I sprung it on her; like I do a lot of things.

Aaron Gobler:

And does she know ... well I'm gonna read the names of the songs in a moment, but does she know what songs you chose?

Kris Kaufmann:

Yes, she does

Aaron Gobler:

Okay, it sounds like there's going to be a great story about each of these songs from what you just said, Kris. So let's look at your list of songs. They are the "Last Time I Felt Like This", by Johnny Mathis and Jane Olivor, from 1979. "Land of Make Believe", by Chuck Mangione, from 1973. And "The Little Things", by Toto from 2015. You know, I'm eager to listen to the songs and I'm really interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you. So let's listen to your first song, which is "The Last Time I Felt Like This", by Johnny Mathis and Jane Olivor.

Aaron Gobler.:

Kris, Johnny Mathis has such a unique voice and this duet is it's really beautiful. And I understand it was featured in a movie I am eager to know what inspired you to include this song on your list.

Kris Kaufmann:

Well, the movie "Same Time, Next Year" was a movie we saw early when Joanne and I began dating and it sort of became our song. And I really wanted to be able to share this with her on the show now, because when we did our wedding dance, it was supposed to be that song and I could not, at that time, find a copy of it anywhere to give the DJ. So we had another song that worked quite well. But this was really the one that meant the most to us. And coming up on 33 years, I figured I better get this one in now!

Joanne Kaufmann:

I think, too, what makes us so meaningful, and we really did want it to be the song for our wedding dance was we met when we were really young, like 14 and 16. And so as you might imagine, between that point, and to the point of getting married, there were a lot of coming together, and then we weren't together, and then we were together, and then we weren't together. And the movie that this was used in was about that it was about a couple who met for a weekend, once a year came together fell in love weekend's over, went home, live their lives until the next year. And you saw the evolution of them as this is very ephemeral couple. But you also saw how each of them grew and changed as individuals over that time.

Kris Kaufmann:

And that's what we've done.

Joanne Kaufmann:

I think it's very reflective of when we were younger, before we got married. And then still, to this day, we're still growing and changing both as a couple in individuals. So I think it's really representative of that.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you think if you had just heard the song without actually experiencing it in a movie, it would it would have a different meaning? Or it would have no meaning?

Kris Kaufmann:

I think it would still resonate.

Joanne Kaufmann:

I think it would for me because the arrangement is so beautiful and soaring. However, at the age that I heard this, well, I would have appreciated its musicality. I suspect I would have been like, Oh, my God, no. My parents listened to Johnny Mathis. And thats just not cool!

Kris Kaufmann:

And, of course, we've really we've grown to love well, we'd heard Johnny Mathis before since and we really we love his music.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Absolutely.

Aaron Gobler:

Back to the whole idea of the movie. As I was listening to the song. I had not seen the movie. So to me, it's just a song. And it made me realize that when you hear a song in a movie, it can often be played in the background usually, or as part of a montage or something. And so it can be very intense experience hearing that music and seeing the visuals.

Kris Kaufmann:

Absolutely.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Absolutely.

Kris Kaufmann:

And this song does a wonderful version of capturing the essence of the story and the voyage that the characters take

Joanne Kaufmann:

Yes. If you haven't seen the movie, check out the movie if you can find it. It really is it starts Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. And it is really an excellent movie.

Kris Kaufmann:

"Same Time Next Year". And it is a film of a Neil Simon play.

Aaron Gobler:

Nice. Well, thank you for that story that ... so this song has has really deep meaning here for both of you. And I feel bad that you couldn't have played at your wedding. And of course, like no one had it ... no one had it on their iPod or something??

Joanne Kaufmann:

Can you believe it?

Kris Kaufmann:

Yes, it was 1989. You would think everybody would have had their iPods

Aaron Gobler:

I mean, really, come on! We take for granted now. Just how easily accessible anything; any information or song or anything is available now. And and I mean, maybe you know, maybe you could've hired Johnny Mathis. But but you know ... that might have ...

Joanne Kaufmann:

That wasn't really in the budget!

Aaron Gobler:

That was not in the budget. You would have had like what maybe like one or two people at the wedding instead of bigger crowd, right?

Kris Kaufmann:

Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, thanks again for sharing that with me. The next song on your list is "Land of Make Believe" by Chuck Mangione from 1973. So we'll give that a listen, and we'll talk about it on the other side.

Aaron Gobler.:

Kris, I think most people know Chuck Mangione from his mega-hit, the instrumental song, Give It All You Got", which was the official theme of the 1980 Winter Olympics. You know, I honestly don't think I've heard any other track by him. Besides this one. I may be wrong. But I want to thank you for expanding my repertoire. And I also need to note that this is the short version, what one might call the radio edit. If listeners want to hear the full version, you may want to clear your calendar first. So Kris, what inspired you to include the song on your list?

Kris Kaufmann:

Ah, it has always been one of my favorites. This is the edited version of their performance that was performed. Live at the Hollywood Bowl. On the album of the same name, and the, the recording is fantastic. I mean, you really feel like you are sitting in the Hollywood Bowl in the audience. And that was always a bucket list item for me just to see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, this song came on the heels of his other hit "Feels So Good", which was a big hit in the late 70s. And so it was part of that high school part of my life where I was a horn player in the band. And I was able to play Flugel horn, and I did a solo on another one of Chuck Mangione songs, but we didn't play this song in the back, okay, it encompasses all that hopeful outlook on life that that you have when you're in your adolescence, and it seems like the world is going to be yours. And between the recording and the stellar musicianship of the guys he had in that band. Grant Geissman on guitar, James Bradley Jr. on the drums, Chris Vadala on flute and clarinet and soprano clarinet. And then, of course, Chuck, Mangione playing Flugel horn, electric piano, and Charlie Meeks on the bass. Those guys were fantastic musicians. And the whole record was a big hit with with all the brass players in the band at the time.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I can imagine how inspirational it was to hear him because he was such a virtuoso at his craft and on the Flugel horn doesn't sound like it's an instrument that's used a lot. Although, I don't know.

Kris Kaufmann:

No, no. And it's interesting, too, he often plays it in a higher register than the Flugel horn maybe was meant to be played. But that also appealed to me and the other brass players because we were big fans of Maynard Ferguson and he had had that big hit the theme from "Rocky" on the "Conquistador" album. And then he had some great songs on the follow-up album, "New Vintage." And those were also, you know, in heavy rotation on all our turntables for us guys that were in the band playing trumpet.

Aaron Gobler:

So did you see his performance at the Hollywood Bowl or at somewhere else?

Kris Kaufmann:

Well, no, we didn't get to see Chuck Mangione at the Hollywood Bowl, but we did get to visit California a couple of years ago. And my sister, whom I had never met until this visit, when we went to California ...

Joanne Kaufmann:

They were both adopted as infants.

Kris Kaufmann:

... had gotten us tickets to go see John Williams conduct the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. And so my first visit there at the Hollywood Bowl was a was being able to see John Williams conduct an orchestra with the sister who I'd never met but was separated from a puppet. And add those two things together just really make this song even more impactful every time I hear.

Aaron Gobler:

It is a very unique place to see a show with all the little picnic pods or whatever.

Kris Kaufmann:

it is, and the food was delicious.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Yes, it was. It is a great venue.

Aaron Gobler:

The last song on your list is "The Little Things", Toto. So let's give that a listen.

Aaron Gobler.:

Kris, I feel like everyone has heard the song "Africa" by Toto. They of course, have a greater collection of hits and many lesser known songs. I hadn't heard this particular song before. Why did you choose to include the song in your list?

Kris Kaufmann:

Because it should have been released as a single! I get goosebumps at the end of that song. You think it's over? Here, Steve Pacaro sing that last line.

Joanne Kaufmann:

I think it's a great song, because it's grown up. We've been total fans for forever, since they came out in the late 70s since their first album, and so we've kind of grown up with them. And along the way their music has grown up as well. And when you look, this song is so great because it really kind of put you where you are now with with this stage of life that you kind of you know yourself. You know your partner, you know they're there for you. But on a larger scale, and I absolutely love this song. This is one of my top two songs from that album. But when you look at the album in its entirety, you can see how the band and has grown up and how they are reflecting the realities of our lives now, not when we were teenagers not when we were in our 20s 30s 40s. But where we are now as mature adults, more looking towards the sunset. It is just it is an awesome album and that song. It's just amazing. What gets me every time is I work from home and when he when Steve starts to sing about the sound of your key turning in the door, okay, we don't have keys, we all have keypads, or pads now, but when I hear that lock go [ makes lock disengagement noise ] to unlock when Chris comes home from work or comes to see me for lunch, it's like, oh, he's home. It's all good, now. To me, it kind of puts life in perspective in terms of what's important.

Kris Kaufmann:

And as far as being fans of the band like we are of Toto. What a treat to hear Steve Lukather are on acoustic guitar instead of electric guitar because he's just so good at everything he does. And to hear Steve singing, Steve Pacaro, because he generally either does background vocals or is simply on the keyboards and programming the synthesizers.

Joanne Kaufmann:

And going back to John Williams, Joe Williams, Toto's lead singer, is actually John Williams' son. Fun fact!

Aaron Gobler:

I mean, I understand the Toto started as like studio musicians ... It's interesting, Joanne, the point you made about

Kris Kaufmann:

They were studio musicians, they were friends from high school, they performed on different studio records here this song be more of a rich, mature song, as opposed to some and there. But they gotten together as Boz Scaggs' house band, and they actually toured with him. And from there, they of their earlier stuff. And I just have this feeling like when began as Toto when they were done with that tour with Boz Scaggs. they broke away from Boz Skaggs, then they must have really... you know, we think of the songs like "Hold the Line", and other songs that were that happened a long time before the "Africa" ... was technically just incredible songs; just really just such great musicians they are, they were putting out songs that were just so tightly produced, and just really intense. And and "Africa"is an example of just how complex and robust and beautiful song that just has ... is timeless ... that people you know, of every generation that are aware of it, right? Yes, it's a song like "Land of Make Believe", that every time you hear it will take you away,

Aaron Gobler:

They matured to a point where this song, the lyrics of this song are not just you know, something like "Rosanna" or something like that. It's this is actually a more meaning there's more meaning to this. And it's not just an ode to a particular person, but more like an ode or an observation of of life. And then stylistically, I've listened to the song several times before. Once I saw it on your list, I listened I had listened to it a few times. But listening to it this time, I did notice at the end, like you described, it changes. And you got Pacaro's voice really close to the microphone. Like he was kind of like he was standing back and just kind of whispering, you know, and then kind of like this time he's like, right in your, you know, right up there. And I my visual was like him actually saying that to someone's ear.

Kris Kaufmann:

Yes.

Aaron Gobler:

Like not just talking from across the room saying this, but coming up real close to them and saying and I don't know if that's what he intended. But that's kind of the feeling because it was really dramatically more intimate. You think that the softer voice would be more intimate but him being like, so close to the listeners ear had a different effect? I feel.

Kris Kaufmann:

Absolutely. And it gets me every time.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes, yeah, really beautiful song. I really appreciate you including this song in your list. Is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections like things you may have thought about while we were listening to the songs or maybe answers to questions that I didn't ask you?

Kris Kaufmann:

I don't think so. I think we've kind of covered the, the emotional impact that this music has had on me throughout my life and continues to is just a small representation of the great stuff that Joanna and I get to listen to, and have listened to over the years. But these three songs really for me, they always stand out. They have an emotional impact for me.

Joanne Kaufmann:

I think one thing is What is the craziest thing we've ever done in terms of music.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay, what is the craziest thing you've ever done in terms of music?

Joanne Kaufmann:

I think that would have to be. Kris was out mowing the lawn one day. And if you know Toto, you know that they were not backed in the US very much. And they didn't tour here much, but they tour in Europe a lot. So they announced the European tour, and Chris was out mowing the lawn one day, and I came out and I said, "we're going to Germany in March!" And he goes, "What?". I said, "we're going to Germany in March." And he goes, "Why do we have ...?" And I'm like, "we're going to see Toto." And he's like, "No, we're not." And I'm like, "yeah, just bought tickets." He's like, "how are we getting there?" It's like, "I don't know. I have a few months to figure that out. But we're going to Germany in March." No plans whatsoever ..

Kris Kaufmann:

Noo passports.

Joanne Kaufmann:

No, YOU didn't have a passport at that point. So it was just spur of the moment thing. It's like dammit, I am going to see them in Germany or somewhere in Europe.

Kris Kaufmann:

And part of the impetus for that is of as we knew that, and we had seen them here in the US, but they play smaller venues. and in Europe, they still sell out stadiums. So we wanted to be a part of that experience with our favorite band. And darned if we didn't fly to Frankfurt, take the bullet train to Stuttgart and see Toto at the Porsche arena.

Joanne Kaufmann:

That's the craziest thing we've done.

Kris Kaufmann:

And what's wonderful is there's a great online community of Toto fans. And we did spring for the VIP tickets.

Joanne Kaufmann:

We always do.

Kris Kaufmann:

We go all the way to to Germany. And we got to meet many of the fans who live in Europe that we've known online, but never met in person.

Joanne Kaufmann:

It's it's music, but it's brought us together with people ...

Kris Kaufmann:

from around the world.

Aaron Gobler:

Sure. Yeah, it certainly is ... you know, you've been to so many concerts and such that it really can just be a spiritually communal event or experience, you know, people are all singing along with the band or just dancing or whatever. It Yeah, it's pretty remarkable. And it really is great for the spirit. That's really cool that you, you kind of centered this excursion around this. And like you said, you meet new people, and especially meeting new people overseas is an experience in itself.

Kris Kaufmann:

Exactly. That's how music has really enhanced our lives. All of our lives.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Yes, yeah, absolutely.

Aaron Gobler:

So I want to thank you again, Kris, and Joanne, this was a lot of fun. It was my first time talking with more than one person at a time. And it was it was a hoot. I really

Joanne Kaufmann:

We did. enjoyed myself. I hope you did, too.

Kris Kaufmann:

Thank you.

Aaron Gobler:

Good. Thank you again, for taking time to be on the show and to provide your list and all your stories.

Kris Kaufmann:

And thank you, Aaron, for allowing us to share this music with hopefully a new audience.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes. Yeah, I do. I do appreciate you being part of this project. And I hope some of your friends feel inclined to be on the show, I'd be delighted to talk to them. And Joanne, if YOU want to provide your own list, you're welcome to come back on the show and have and have Chris, you know, give the putting the color commentary for yours.

Joanne Kaufmann:

Okay, I can give you my I can give you my list.

Aaron Gobler:

Wonderful. Great, and, and then to my listeners. If you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website, Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My three songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing lists so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. You can also find Aaron's radio show on your favorite podcast service. But the podcast episodes only include interviews and no licensed music.

Aaron Gobler.:

Before we wrap up this episode, I wanted to let you know of an experimental format we have for the radio show called dedications. If you're familiar with Casey Kasem's Top 40 show, he would read a dedication written by one listener with hopes that it would reach the ears of another listener, and then he would play the song. I'm hoping to recapture some of that magic. So I'm asking you, if you have a dedication you'd like to make this somebody please go to Aaron's Radio dot show slash dedications to submit yours. Once I receive a few I'll begin making episodes based on those dedications.

Aaron Gobler:

So until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

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