By Drew Matlovsky and Ben Weinstein
Unless you’re living under a rather large rock, you’ve probably realized by now that Lewis & Clark has a new president. In fact, it’s already Wim Wiewel’s third week on the job. He graciously found time amongst the chaos of settling in to speak with us in his Manor House office. Like with any new acquaintance at LC, we decided the most important questions to ask him were those regarding music taste. Last year we learned that Barry Glassner has a sizeable affinity for Bruce Springsteen, and also that he’ll occasionally play modern artists ranging from Chicago rapper Common to the late Amy Winehouse. After that illuminating conversation with our now-former president, we were excited to hear what insights Wiewel would offer into his personal, music-listening life.
It’s easy to forget in the world of streaming music like Spotify, Apple Music and yes, even Tidal, that there was once a time where the only place you could listen to new music was on the radio. And not just any radio, but state-run radio. Growing up during the 1950s and 60s in the Netherlands, Wim had the option between listening to two radio stations, which mostly played classical music. “I remember there was an hour a week for modern music — and that was anything post WWII,” Wiewel said. “If you were lucky they played Elvis Presley or Cliff Richards.” Yet as the cultural revolution of the 1960s began, radio stations started to (illegally) expand from just state broadcasts, commonly known as as “pirate radio.” “It wasn’t until the early 60s when some of these stations started [to broadcast] in the North sea,” Wiewel said. “They weren’t licensed so they had to be in non-territorial waters like Radio London and Radio Veronica, and they played the music of the 60s.”
Like the majority of others consuming the music of the 60’s, Wiewel was quickly taken by the music of The Beatles. After first hearing them thanks to a school project of his sister’s, he made his first ever purchase of a record. “I’m sure it was a Beatles album,” he said. “It was probably “Help!”” Their music has continued to resonate with Wiewel throughout his life. Though unable to see the band at what he remembers as being one of their only shows in the Netherlands, he hasn’t entirely missed out on witnessing The Beatles in concert. “The only time I saw any of The Beatles live was the Paul McCartney concert when he was [in Portland] last year at the Moda Center,” Wiewel said. “It was a wonderful experience.”
This isn’t to say Wiewel’s tastes are entirely steeped in the past. He’s a fan of bluegrass-country singer Alison Krauss and indie artist Esperanza Spalding, who earned a scholarship at Portland State University. He enjoys time at the Portland opera, as well as listening to modest helpings of Jazz and Blues. Wim is particularly a fan of the late 1920s blues singer Bessie Smith.
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