the apples in louisville

the apples in stereo. (robert schneider in glasses). photo by joshua kessler.

the apples in stereo. (robert schneider in glasses). photo by joshua kessler.

No, he hasn’t gone Hollywood. But tonight’s tour opening performance by The Apples in Stereo isn’t the only place where you will find Lexington’s own Robert Schneider this summer. Keep your eyes open during the new Mike Myers comedy The Love Guru for the big Apple in a cameo appearance as a banjo player in a barroom.

“Mike had heard us multiple times in a tea house in New York,” Schneider said. “So he had the music director for his film contact our manager.”

A cameo wasn’t the initial plan, though. Myers mostly wanted a taste of bluegrass for the film. He was especially drawn to the definitive 1949 Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs version of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. But to produce a version that could be properly mixed for the film, Schneider was enlisted. He, in turn, signed up the Benton family string band The McKendrees to replicate the song’s rustic charm and warp-speed melody.

“Mike wanted the music aspect of that scene to be authentically bluegrass. So the producers asked me if I knew of any bluegrass bands in Kentucky,” Schneider said. “I told them, ‘Are you kidding? Of course, I do.

“The whole thing happened very quickly. They called and said, ‘We need the finished song in three days.’ But the McKendrees were awesome. They just blew my mind.”

On film, the Toronto-based Creaking Tree String Quartet was set to portray the barroom band that would be playing the Schneider-produced, McKendrees-performed Foggy Mountain Breakdown. That’s when Myers extended the invitation for Schneider to strap on a banjo and join in the on-camera fun.

“Mike had said, ‘Well, Robert produced the session. We’ve got the authentic sound. Why don’t we get him to do a cameo in the film?’ So he asked me to be the banjo player on screen. They flew me, my wife and my manager up to Toronto. So for 3 days I got to be treated like a movie star.”

Don’t expect much by the way of string music at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville tonight, though. The inaugural night of a month long tour by The Apples in Stereo will bring the band’s longstanding love of power pop and post psychedelia back into play. Some of the songs you will know. Others will be new. A few will be orphaned tunes, like the ones gathered on the recent Apples compilation, Electronic Projects for Musicians.

“As time goes by, the songs we learn to go on tour with will wind up dropping out of our repertoire. Sometimes we’ll never even record them. There will be these great Apples songs over the years that just didn’t fit into any recording project at the time. Usually the only way I’ll remember how they go is by listening to some bootleg or something like that because I don’t record every song I write. That’s impossible.”

Electronic Projects for Musicians is a set of songs that didn’t fit into any album we were playing around with at the time. The song that starts the album, Shine (in Your Mind), and Onto Something were originally just parts of the music for Fun Trick Noisemaker, our first album (released in 1995). We just never finished them in time.”

Chicago’s Poison Control Center and Lexington’s Big Fresh will open tonight’s show. The Apples in Stereo will conclude its tour by taping performances for World Café Live in Philadelphia on Aug. 2 and, in a return appearance, The Colbert Report in New York on Aug. 4. 

The Apples in Stereo, Poison Control Center and Big Fresh perform at 9 tonight at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Rd. in Louisville. $12. Call (502) 584-8088.

New York Daily News Writer Is Warned to Drop Coverage of Manhattan Judge.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News January 14, 2003 By Robert Ingrassia, Daily News, New York Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Jan. 14–A Daily News reporter has received an anonymous warning to stop writing about Manhattan judge Marylin Diamond — who police suspect has been sending death threats to herself.

Michele McPhee, The News’ police bureau chief, got a Christmas card saying, “Michele, one more word about Judge Diamond and we’ll see who the bitch is. See you soon. The Nite Watchman.” Police investigators who examined handwriting in the card concluded it was from the same person who sent a series of threatening letters to Diamond, an acting Supreme Court justice, over the past three years.

Although the investigators can’t prove it, they have said they suspect Diamond was the author of those letters — and, by implication, the threat to McPhee. website christmas card sayings

“It’s the same block handwriting,” one high-ranking police investigator on the case told The News. “The same language. One of the old letters even was signed from the night stalker, or night watchman, something like that.” McPhee broke the story of police suspicions about Diamond, 61, in September. She has reported that police believe Diamond may have written the letters to garner attention and justify around-the-clock police protection.

The judge has denied writing any of the threatening letters. Her attorney, Harold Tyler, said yesterday that Diamond denies sending the card McPhee received.

But Tyler, who examined a fax copy of the McPhee card, confirmed that the handwriting is similar to the printing on the other letters. here christmas card sayings

“It does look like some of the notes from way, way back,” he said. “It’s astonishing.” Pennies from hell McPhee received the card, which also included two pennies, at the News bureau at 1 Police Plaza. She opened it this month after returning from vacation and filed an aggravated-harassment complaint with the 5th Precinct.

A Park Ave. businessman who was questioned by police about the Diamond death threats after the judge fingered him as a suspect also received a warning on a Christmas card.

Tom Snowdon, who publicly lashed out at Diamond for her handling of his 1998 divorce from fashion designer Cathy Hardwick, is organizing a group of former death-threat suspects to file suit against the judge.

In Snowdon’s card, someone wrote: “Keep it up a——. Keep talking to the newspapers about Diamond and you’re dead dead dead, [expletive].” Snowdon said the threat was unsettling.

“It looked like a 5-year-old wrote it,” he said. “Obviously, though, this was no 5-year-old.” Except for the message inside, Snowdon’s card was identical to the one McPhee got. Both were postmarked Dec. 19 in zip code 10001. His card contained a 5-mark German coin.

Diamond was elected as a Republican to New York City Civil Court in 1990 — and appointed an acting state Supreme Court justice four years later.

Police took extraordinary measures in their probe of the death-threat letter — following Diamond, placing a camera outside her home and even going through her garbage.

They closed their investigation in October and turned the matter over to the Office of Court Administration.

Court spokesman David Bookstaver declined yesterday to discuss the status of the agency’s probe or respond to the implication from police that Diamond may have written the Christmas card threats.

“For all I know, Michele McPhee wrote the letter to herself,” he said.

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