The Fritz has since folded, alas.

 by Aaron Gustafson

In the'80s a band emerged from the Los Angeles post-punk scene with both a strong instrumental and lyrical presence. That band was Afterimage. After over a decade of organizing his thoughts and reorganizing his band, Daniel Voznick is still making incredibly good music with a strong lyrical base. The lush instrumental backdrop over which he hangs his verse is remarkably fresh in a world full of redundant music. Voznick took a bit of time away from the recording of his new record to speak with us about both music and life.

Afterimage has been around for many years, have your influences changed at all since the beginning?

What I listen to has changed a lot and now it seems to be changing back to what I was listening to then. I was into stuff with a certain intensity: punk and post-punk. At a certain time Joy Division, Wire, Fear, The Fall, Pere Ubu, Gang of Four and X helped me make it through. When I had to start working full-time, I started listening to more upbeat music... more funky stuff. When the original band split up, that helped to dissolve it. I was getting more into backbeats and such. I had also been listening to jazz a lot, which showed up in my sax playing. Now I am going back that hard sound. And I find a whole slew of newer bands that have that same intensity. I listen to all types of music though, except Dixieland.

What made you want to be a musician/songwriter?

Since I was a child I've been listening to music. It never seemed like something to make a go of. I harbored it as a secret passion. I wrote my first good song at 21 or something like that.

Has being an independent band for so long changed your prospective of the industry at all? Would you rather be on a major?

I'd love to have a lot of the burden of sales and production costs taken off, but I don't know about the pressure to produce the goods. I don't want people telling me what to do. I know a lot of indies struggle. Some make the best music ever, but never find a big market. I am amazed at what Ani DiFranco has accomplished. She's done a lot on her own. Most indies aren't that successful.

As a poet, who or what do you look to for inspiration?

Anything. A phrase can spark me to write ... a guitar riff, a sound I want to hear, a beat, or things that happen in my personal life. It all comes out. Everything.

You have been in Philly for the last few months, what have you been doing there?

I've been working on the new album and the amazing thing is that I've had more time than I've had in years to work on it. I've switched to a digital recorder now, so the whole thing is more consistently recorded. It should be totally cool.

How has L.A. changed since you first began making music?

When I first started playing, I didn't know how good the scene was. When I was a kid, you could go out any night and see a good band. I changed my musical style at the same time the club scene went into the toilet. This is when "pay to play" was in full effect. Promoters got greedy. You had to buy 50 tickets and sell them yourself in order to play a show. The coffeehouse scene has brought back the good club scene, but I don't get out much now. There are a lot of local bands. There don't seem to be many rock star head trips anymore, that's good.

Do you still enjoy working and living there?

I am living much better now that I am no longer under employed. I have a good living situation. I've never worked anywhere else so I wouldn't be able to gauge working here versus another city. Each place has its moments ... I takes a lot of cash to live here, though.

What is your favorite aspect of music?

Creation... there are hard parts, but no really bad parts. I decide what to do and I do it. As far as the industry and clubs, I really hate the greed. People seem to be into music not for the music, but for getting laid. It's a glamour trip. They read the trade magazines and follow the money and now it's all about making megabucks. People should be in it for the music, not for other reasons.

I hate the way the old music is being used for new commercials, using Sly Stone and Aretha, Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire to sell products. They take these people that we love and stick them on the television to sell a stupid product. It's the same with these old songs. It's awful.

what are your goals for the future of afterimage?

I hope to finish this record and then turn around and make another one. I'd like to get more exposure in the rest of the country, then the world. If it goes well, I'll keep making records until I check out. Or maybe I'll change and stop making pop music. I don't know.

Where do you see music going in the new century?

I don't know where it's going. I used to think knew where it should go, where it had to go. Now I'm just trying to figure out what I should do. And as far as my music goes, I can only do what I can do the best I can do it. Mystic, huh?

Where do you think music should be going?

When radio was young, everything was on the radio. There were no classic stations or oldies stations or "alternative" stations. I'd like to see it go back to that.

Do you think it will happen?

I'm not holding my breath.


Voznick brings up a good point. Why should we alienate certain forms of music? Why the separation? A lot of it has to do with marketing, but it is also the kind of thing that perpetuates distance between generations and even between people who happen to like different genres of music. Would people get along better if all types of music were played on the radio? The answer is probably not, which is unfortunate because music should bring people together, not keep them apart. What will the future bring? Who knows, but if all goes well, we should be graced with quite a few more releases from Afterimage, a truly exceptional band, fronted by a truly exceptional man.



© 2015 Daniel Voznick All rights reserved

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