We talk with Dan Drago about his life in the music industry and his local podcast, which recently celebrated its 200th episode.
Dan Drago has been an online champion of local musicians for over seven years. And when he wasn’t a lawyer, he was a participant, playing guitar and bass in various touring bands until 2013. A year later, he recorded his first episode of 25 hours. Now the oldest podcast in the Philadelphia music scene, it recently celebrated its 200th episode.
MLT: What is your connection to the main line area?
NOT A WORD : I was born on City Line Avenue and spent a few years in King of Prussia and Norristown before my family moved to Western New York. I came back in 2004 and have been here ever since. I live in South Philadelphia.
MLT: Did you grow up in a family of musicians?
NOT A WORD : Neither of my parents play instruments, but there was always cool music around – Tom Petty, the Who, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell. My family was part of a grassroots evangelical Christian movement, so there was also a lot of Christian folk music in the house – and when you’re a kid, there’s no difference. It’s just music. I had excellent music teachers at school and I was in choirs. I loved to sing. When I was a teenager, it was the early 90s, with grunge, voluminous hair and loud guitars. I convinced my parents to buy me one of these guitars.
MLT: When did you decide that the life of a touring musician was not for you?
NOT A WORD : It was in 2013 and I was almost 33 years old. When you’re in a band, you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall. In the end, it’s almost lightning in a bottle. I definitely gave it away. But as I got more and more involved in the industry, I realized that it was still going to be hard work.
MLT: So how did you 25 hours to arrive?
NOT A WORD : I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts on tour, so I thought I’d start mine by chatting with some of my artist friends. They would come to my house and sit at my kitchen table. We set up lights and we left. Then my friends started making recommendations. Next thing I know I have guests I’ve never met before, and people are contacting me.
MLT: Favorite recent podcast interviews?
NOT A WORD : I got a lot out of it [WXPN’s] Interview with Helen Leicht for Episode 200. She’s had a long and incredible career in radio, and not just as an on-air personality. She’s been responsible for breaking up a ton of bands in Philadelphia. She gets excited about things and wants to share them with the world.
MLT: Sounds like you can identify with that passion.
NOT A WORD : Sometimes I wish I could just listen to stuff and have it on me. But this ship sailed a long, long time ago.
Related: Live music is back this year at People’s Light in Malvern