Thursday, July 31, 2008


OK this picture is just a press photo of Aimee Mann, I took a photo of her at tonight's show, but it didn't come out that well.

It was an interesting show. For the past year, she's said that the electric guitar is "shit out of luck" in her music. She's using just her own acoustic guitar and two keyboardists. It's a nice change, but I found her decision to play a small rock club - that was mainly standing room - to be a bit odd. It really felt like a "sitting down" concert. Someone I was there with asked if I thought it was a bit self-indulgent. I'm hesitant to criticize anything that Aimee Mann does. But even her more anthemic songs - "Invisible Ink" and "Red Vines" - were a bit more calm. I thought it was a good show, but I'm glad I didn't take anyone to see her for the first time tonight. Maybe it was a bit self-indulgent, but I'll deal with it for Aimee Mann. I'll still go see her Christmas shows in December.

I'm still a bit iffy on her new album, Smilers. I think "Freeway" and "31 Today" are among her greatest songs though. It's tough though: her Magnolia, Bachelor #2 and Lost In Space are some of my very favorite albums. I do believe she can put out another one that is just as good as those though.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Night three of my "Five Nights To Rock" (reduced from seven) was a lot of fun. The Foo Fighters were great. Dave Grohl has become a great frontman. This was the first time I saw them headline: I'd seen them open for Mike Watt (before the debut came out, most people didn't know that it was Dave Grohl's band), I saw them open for The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and also at one of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts. 

Where a lot of Dave Grohl's peers (and his former bandmates, both from Scream and Nirvana) seemed to be put off by the arena rock thing, Dave has embraced it. I think he was partly influenced by drummer Taylor Hawkins (who was in Alanis Morissette's band before joining The Foo Fighters) and seems mainly influenced by classic rock radio. The dude has, like, not a bone of irony in him and he probably has more fun than most of the folks in the "alt-rock scene." I think he's helped Dave to embrace the popularity that he is fortunate enough to have. 

Anyway, great show. Most of the hits you'd expect (surprisingly, only "Big Me" from the first album, which I kind of think is the best, even though it is essentially a Dave solo record). They also did both songs from The Who tribute concert (Gaz Coombes from openers Supergrass again sang lead on "Bargain"). Great acoustic set on a mini-stage on the far side of the floor with an expanded band that included their former guitarist Pat Smear, Rami Jaffe from The Wallflowers, a percussionist (who played a triangle solo) and a violinist. It was the last night of the tour, but, like Pearl Jam, I think The Foo Fighters will be touring for a long time. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Having seen the Neil Young's Crosby Stills Nash & Young tour doc Deja Vu, I thought that it would be interesting not just to talk about it this week on Larry Flick's OutQ show, but also to bring up the topic of politics in music. 

Also on the political tip is the debut album by Rage Against The Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha, One Day As A Lion

I'll probably also talk about the Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band shows that I saw this week. I've wondered why last time he toured with the E Street Band, he played 10 nights at Giants Stadium, plus three at Shea, and this time he's just doing three Giants Stadium shows: is it because he has turned off fans with his politics? 

I've also wanted to talk about the Body of War soundtrack. Hopefully this will be interesting, and people won't want to kill me. I think the next topic will be less controversial: do any artists make better albums on their own than with their bands (since Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes have solo albums coming out). 


I went to see Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band for the second night in a row tonight. I wasn't planning on going; these concerts end up costing a ton of money when you put them all together. But I had some very, very good fortune and got a free ticket. Not just any ticket: a ticket for the much-coveted pit in front of the stage. A general admission section, center stage, that holds a few hundred people (someone said it was a thousand). It was more crowded than my last pit experience at "E Street boot camp" in October. But it was amazing. Like last night, they played over three hours, but they played about 16 different songs than they did last night (which is about half the show). 

The energy seemed pretty amazing tonight (although that may have been because of where I was located). I know I'm not writing eloquently here, so I'll keep this short: it's nearly 1 am ET, and I'm still experiencing that cool feeling after an awesome concert (and no I didn't drink or do drugs). 

What were my highlights? Something about "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" (a song I've written about already) followed by "Thunder Road" really moved me. I know some people think that the line from "Thunder Road," "So you're scared, and you're thinkin' that maybe we ain't that young anymore" is one of his best. I would agree. Somehow I loved hearing that next to "Girls," with one of my favorite lines, "I ain't got my shoes but I still got my feet." (I've taken that line to mean, "Well, I've grown past wearing show-offy clothes like fancy shoes, but I can still dance as good as I ever did!"). Another stragely moving part of the show was "Born To Run," which always resonates, but tonight Max Weinberg let his son play drums on it. The kid (who I heard is a Mastodon fan) plays more like Dave Grohl than his dad, but he was great. You could see how proud everyone in the band was. 

"Drive All Night," an audience request was incredible. So was the less than two minute "Held Up Without A Gun," a song Steven Van Zandt has always wanted to play (I think this may have been the second or third time the band ever did it). "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City" was just great. And Nils Lofgren stole the show with his guitar solo during "Because The Night," which included a somersault, and I'm not joking. 

I also love the way they end with a Seeger Sessions-era song, "American Land," it's another of Bruce's classics, and I like it more than the kind of similar "Land Of Hope And Dreams." 

Tomorrow night, I'm going to see The Foo Fighters, and Wednesday is Aimee Mann. Thursday: back to Giants Stadium for another Bruce show! 

Monday, July 28, 2008


I got to Giants Stadium really early for tonight's concert by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. I spent $95 on the ticket through Ticketmaster, which somehow became about $110. Then I paid $20 to park in the lot. So, I'm sitting in my seat for a while, reading the latest issue of Backstreets (less expensive than a tour program, but there's more to read there) and wondering, in general, about why I spend that much money on concerts. 

And then Bruce walked onto the stage and kicked off the show with "Tenth Avenue Freezeout." 

The band, and that band, make each concert "The Superbowl of Rock and Roll" every night. I'll have a full review tomorrow. And I know I won't be able to go to so many concerts forever. But I'm glad I've chosen well lately: there haven't been many shows lately that I've walked out of feeling lukewarm. 

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I saw the Crosby Stills Nash & Young doc Deja Vu (directed by "Bernard Shakey," aka Neil Young) tonight. I was incredibly moved. Not necessarily because of the band members. But because some of the other people interviewed in the film: veteran of this and other wars, and family members of soldiers. There were parts that were pretty devastating. 

And it wasn't self-congratulatory to the band, either. You see people getting really angry with them, there are some really harsh reviews of their shows used in the film, and conservative radio DJs are interviewed (and arch-conservative TV host Stephen Colbert's interview with Neil is included as well). There's also footage of Neil messing up the words to "Carry On" and some unflattering footage of Stephen Stills falling down on stage.  Speaking of Stills, it's interesting, he somehow comes off as the most eloquent guy in the group. If the book Shakey is to be believed, he is (or was) the craziest guy in the band, and was the biggest prick with the biggest ego. I don't know much about the guy, but he seems to have changed a lot. Although he's as outraged at what is going on in the world as David Crosby, Graham Nash or Young, because he's a little more conservative, he comes off as less shrill. (I'm not putting those guys down, I can get a bit soap-boxy myself.) Plus, he's the guy who puts his time (and probably money) where his mouth is, helping Democratic candidates campaign in hopes of making a difference through more than singing. 

Is it the only doc about the war that you should see? No, but it is a very moving and - I'll say it - fair and balanced film. I recommend it, and not as a Neil Young fan, just as an American. 

By the way, you don't need to go to the theater to see it: you can watch it on demand on (only on a PC though). 

Also, check out Neil's interview with Charlie Rose, where he discusses this film, as well as Linc-Volt, here


I've been writing about this "Seven Nights To Rock" thing that I've been wanting to do: seven concerts in seven nights. Other than writing about the concerts, I also was planning on keeping track of what it would cost to actually go to seven concerts in seven nights. 

Well, it turns out that it would cost so much, that I'm not actually doing it. I will be going to two Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concerts, as well as The Foo Fighters,Aimee Mann and the Rock The Bells Festival in the next few days though, and I do plan on writing about all of them, and also logging how much it costs, etc. But I'm not going to seven concerts in a row. Other than the ticket prices, the cost of driving into NYC, parking, and then parking at the Meadowlands, plus tolls and gas just makes it pretty cost prohibitive. I was supposed to start tonight - my original plan was to see the Neil Young film Deja Vu in a theater in NYC, but instead I watched it at I know, not very rocking, but more cost effective, and it was cool (by the way) that you can watch it online (since it probably isn't available in many areas). 

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Well, isn't going with my "Seven Nights To Rock" pitch, which is fine: they really don't have a space for it on thier site. On the positive side, now I'm not going to go to the Warped Tour, which I probably wouldn't have enjoyed anyway.

Also, I made a mistake: The Rock The Bells show is a week later than I thought. So, on Sunday, July 27, I bought myself a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, which means I'll see them three times in a week. I'm sure a lot of people will go three times, and all three shows will probably be notably different.


Brad Loekle from OutQ In The Morning With Larry Flick probably saw this one coming: in a recent interview with Billboard, Lindsey Buckingham said that Sheryl Crow would not, in fact, be working with Fleetwood Mac. He probably doesn't want Sheryl and Stevie Nicks ganging up on him, and given that Sheryl has sold millions of records, she probably won't be intimidated by him. It's too bad, I think Sheryl would be good for the Mac. Sheryl helped to produce Stevie's last album, Trouble In Shangri-La, which I think was her best solo album ever. The Mac's last album, meanwhile, (Say You Will) wasn't that great in my opinion.


Check out this footage of Rush backstage at The Colbert Report trying to play "Tom Sawyer" on Rock Band.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


No secret that I'm a huge fan of Pete Townshend
and The Who. He's so interesting to me, just as a personality. He was one of the first rock stars that I was aware of who blogged, and in his interviews have always been interesting to read. It's like, he feels compelled to be honest. He recently sent an email to Rolling Stone writer/Left Of Center DJ Jenny Eliscu, which you can read at Among the interesting points is that at one point in 1993, Eddie Vedder considered hanging it up. He said, "To think he nearly quit in 1993 and went back to some surfing beach. Lucky he came to speak to Uncle Pete. I told him — submit" While I don't generally think of "submit" as great advice, I'm glad that he talked Eddie out of a pointless retirement.

I was thinking about the recent Green River reunion at SubPop's 20th anniversary concert. It must have been a bit weird: on one hand, you have Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, millionaires who can do whatever they want to for the rest of their lives. On the other, you have Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney, who still record and tour (some of their recent stuff is truly awesome, by the way) but they tour in a van and play small places and have day jobs (Arm manages SubPop's warehouse). I think Vedder used to romanticize these bands that were less popular and had some kind of guilty conscience about Pearl Jam's success and maybe felt that that somehow made them less cool/good/relevant. But I think - I hope - that these days, with most of his peers playing small venues, if they are still playing at all, Eddie is grateful to be in a great band like Pearl Jam with a loyal following.


Yesterday U2 released remastered versions of their first three albums, Boy, October and War, which I knew about in advance. What I didn't know was that they also releasing Live From Paris, recorded on The Joshua Tree tour, on iTunes. It's the audio of the concert included on the DVD of The Joshua Tree deluxe reissue, which came out last year. But, for those of us who don't have a DVD player hooked up to a CD burner, it's cool to be able to have an audio version of the show. I saw that tour three times, and it was a pretty incredible time. I don't think they've played "Exit" since then, and that's one of my favorite U2 songs ever. 


I've read that tapes have surfaced
of an album's worth of material by Stephen Stills and Jimi Hendrix. I'm pretty excited to hear this, but with reservations: there's so much Hendrix stuff that has come out over the years that maybe should have stayed in the vaults. That said, everything that is currently out is pretty cool. Jimi played on a track on Stills' debut solo album, I guess these sessions were recorded at around that time. 


Yes, another Rush post. They've just released an alternate version of "Working Man," from their self titled debut album which came out in 1974. Originally they just released it for Rock Band, but due to fan demand, released it as a single on iTunes.

Back in the days when every band with a history was getting the box set treatment, Geddy Lee said that there was probably no Rush box set in the works, simply because they recorded every track for albums, didn't do b-sides, and didn't have many alternate versions of songs. But someone found this version of "Working Man" with a different guitar solo. Rush also recently appeared on the excellent show The Colbert Report, which was pretty funny.


In an interview with Thrash Hits, Slayer frontman Tom Araya says that the band may hang it up after their next album, which is the last one on their contract with Rick Rubin, who they signed with in 1986.

Tom said that he doesn't think being 50-something in a thrash band would be cool, which I can respect. On the other hand, watching Lemmy in Motorhead, I might contest that statement.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've said it before, it's always interesting following Neil Young. Contrary to what he said in May about the Archives project, it won't just be released on DVD-audio and Blu-Ray. It will also be released on CD, according to Gary Graff's interview in Billboard.

He also said he's going to be touring "pretty extensively" for the next year or year and a half. he mentioned having a great band. By that, I guess he means the band he's been using lately, bassist Rick "The Bass Player" Rosas (from The Bluenotes, he's played on Prairie Wind, Living With War and Chrome Dreams II), drummer Chad Cromwell (from The Bluenotes, Prairie Wind and Living With War) and multi-instrumentalist Ben Keith.
Which is cool, but I'd love to see another tour with Crazy Horse.


This is a pretty crazy week for new record releases, but here's what I'm going to be talking about on OutQ tomorrow morning:

1. The avalanche of new U2 stuff: the reissues of Boy, October and War, which "Todd" commented about when I posted about them a few weeks ago. He cried "foul" that there were still bonus tracks left after the release of The Complete U2 on iTunes a few years back. Speaking of iTunes, they've just released U2's Live From Paris, recorded on The Joshua Tree tour. It's the audio of the DVD that came with The Joshua Tree reissue that came out last year. And "The Ballad Of Ronnie Drew" CD single that came out only in Ireland a few months back.

2. David Bowie's Live In Santa Monica '72. This is Bowie before he was a star, and he still had lots to prove. He was completely into the Ziggy Stardust act, and his band, The Spiders From Mars, were rocking.

3. The new Nine Inch Nails albums, Ghosts I-IV and The Slip.

4. Black Sabbath's Rules Of Hell box set, covering their lineup with singer Ronnie James Dio.

I won't even have time to talk about Buddy Guy's new album Skin Deep, Zach de la Rocha's new project One Day As A Lion or Peter Gabriel's new song from Wall-E.

Next week, I think we'll start introducing topics of discussion. Hopefully next week's will be that long debated topic, "Do politics and music mix?" So, we'll talk about Zach's new album, as well as the soundtrack to the Crosby Stills Nash & Young documentary Deja Vu. (And also the non-political Rolling Stones concert film, Shine A Light, which comes out on DVD. Although Bill and Hillary appear in it).

Monday, July 21, 2008


No surprise that The Police will be releasing a live CD and DVD documenting their reunion/final tour, which wraps up in a few weeks. I'll pick it up, although I wasn't blown away by the show that I saw, and I think there were canned backing vocals going on, unless Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers suddenly sing just like Sting. I'm curious to see the doc on it, which was directed by Stewart's son Jordan Copeland. The band have a few more area shows coming up (including their final show at MSG) with Elvis Costello & The Imposters opening. I'd love to catch one, but they are in town right after "Seven Nights To Rock," so we'll see.


From Reuters: "China will ban all entertainers from overseas, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have ever attended activities that "threaten national sovereignty", the government said on Thursday, after an outburst by Icelandic singer Bjork. "

Read the rest of the article here. I wrote about the Bjork incident a while back.
This comes a few days after I attended a teaching by The Dalai Lama at Radio City Music Hall. Three were lots of protesters outside: they were actually protesting The Dalai Lama, saying he didn't recognize their certain sect of Buddhism and that he was persecuting them or something. I'm not an expert on this stuff, but most of the protestors were white - so I'm not sure how The Dalai Lama is persecturing them. My first thought was that this was propaganda being funded by the Chinese government, and apparently, lots of other people thought so too.


Jimi Hendrix's songs will finally be coming to the next edition of Guitar Hero, and his likeness will be in the game as well. I'm sure some people won't like that, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm happy that this will bring Jimi to a new audience.

I recently listened to Are You Experienced?, and I was totally blown away by how powerful it still is. If someone is going to get the "experience" of hearing that album in full for the first time... I'm jealous of them.


The U.K.'s The Independent reports that Ray Davies has written a musical based on The Kinks' '80s hit "Come Dancing." That song will be the only old song in the production, the other 20 songs are brand new. This is less than a year after Ray released Working Man's Cafe. It's good to see that Ray is so prolific lately.

And it's good to see that he's doing new things.

But I have to admit: I'd love to see a Kinks reunion (if Dave Davies is in good health at least).


In September, Rhino is going to release reissues of the final four Replacements albums, Tim, Pleased To Meet Me, Don't Tell A Soul and All Shook Down. In April, they reissued their first four releases. I bought them all for my brother, who became a huge fan from the moment we saw them open for Keith Richards & The X-Pensive Winos. I wasn't as big of a fan, but over the years, I've definitely grown to appreciate them. I know I enjoyed seeing them, I may just have been an immature contrarian because my brother wouldn't be quiet about how great they were. But he was right about that one.


Soon after the announcement that Rick Rubin is
going to produce the next ZZ Top album, word comes out that he's also producing the next Crosby Stills & Nash record. According to Billboard, it's going to be an album of covers.

I remember about ten years ago, there was talk that the trio was going to record an album of songs they had done in thier former bands: The Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies. They ditched that idea, started writing new songs, and went to the studio for the sessions which would eventually attract Neil Young for the Crosby Stills Nash & Young album Looking Forward. But if Rick doesn't want new songs, the band is obviously smart enough to do what he wants to be able to work with him. But Rick Rubin doesn't spend as much time in the studio as other producers: I wonder how that will go.

In the same Billboard story, Graham Nash mentions some other interesting projects, including an album worth of unreleased tapes of Stephen Stills playing with Jimi Hendrix. Nash also said that he was putting together a live album from CSNY's 1974 tour. The Neil tome Shakey didn't make that tour sound too great, but I'd gladly buy that album. I'd rather hear a live album from the 1999 or 2001 tours though.

By the way, the "old" in the title is a reference to the title track of Looking Forward where Neil sings about "trying not to use the word 'old.'" But I wonder: Columbia Records signed Rick as a Exec VP last year: I wonder how signing ZZ and producing CSN will give them a return on their investment?


I thought it was surprising when I read that Billy
Joel was playing the final concerts at Shea Stadium, but only because he's a well known Yankees fan (and in fact he played the first rock concerts at Yankee Stadium nearly 20 years ago). But the shows sold out super-quickly. No surpise: Billy is probably as popular as he's ever been, despite not releasing an album in over 15 years. Plus, Shea is an important place for Met fans and New Yorkers. At the first show, Billy was joined by Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp, John Mayer and Don Henley. But the final show featured Roger Daltrey, Steven Tyler and, probably most significantly, Paul McCartney (The Beatles were the first rock band to play Shea). My friend was at the first night, and he reported that it was one of the best concerts he'd ever been to, and I know he's been to many.

Meanwhile, Billy has just released a 30th anniversary edition of The Stranger, perhaps his finest moment. it features the original album, a live concert recorded a few weeks before the album's release, and a live DVD, plus the usual box set liner notes treatment.


SonicBoomers is a cool new website that you should check out. I know the guy
who runs it, but I recommend it because it's good. Anyway, they have a cool new interview with Neil Young that's worth checking out. He talks about the upcoming Crosby Stills Nash & Young doc Deja Vu, his upcoming doc Linc Volt and a few other things. The writer asks why Neil didn't tour for Living With War with Crazy Horse instead of CSNY and Neil said that the project wasn't right for the Horse. He said he'd work with Crazy Horse in the future, but the Horse guys have to work together without Neil first.

Meanwhile, Farm Aid has announced their 2008 date: September 20 in Mansfield, Mass. No other artists on the bill yet, other than Neil, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews.

Also: a stage production of Neil's Greendale is coming to New York this week. Neil has nothing to do with it, other than the fact that he approved it.


The UK's Times Online has a piece about the history of the concept album, which seems to be making something of a comeback. It cites Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm and Neil Young's Greendale as recent examples (although it didn't cite Green Day's American Idiot).

I think concept albums are a strike one-hit albums and disposable ADD-addled pop culture. They don't always work, but you've got to respect the effort put forth by the artists who create them. And when they work, they work well (as with American Idiot).


Heavy Metal Islam by Mark LeVine seems like an interesting book. It's about heavy metal, and punk, and hip-hop and reggae artists in the Muslim world, who sort of buck the boogie man stereotype. Not to say that they are the majority, but it is an interesting alternate look into the lives of young people in the Middle East.

The author, by the way, is a Jewish guy who has played guitar for Mick Jagger and Dr. John. Read the New York Times review here. The guy who wrote the Times review describes LeVine's vision as "that old-time Lennon/Bono rock idealism reimagined for a post-Cannibal Corpse world, and that's winning on a case-by-case basis."

Funny enough, I read about this book the same week that a Reuters blogger wrote a post asking whether Bruce Springsteen deserves any credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall. I think that may be a bit much. I mean, Bob Dylan didn't end the Vietnam war either, to say he did seems to be an oversimplifcation. But I do think artists inspire people to move on their feelings, so who knows? Predictably, conservative websites are whining about this post already, even attacking Bruce's patriotism, and complaining that he might be taking some credit that is due to Ronald Reagan. Waaaaah.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


A week from today, my lovely wife (we just celebrated our six year wedding anniversary) leaves for a week and a half trip to Africa. She goes nearly every summer. Last summer I went with her. This summer I'm not (her trip involved a class, much reading and a term paper that needed to be completed before the trip).

Anyway, at some point I noticed that starting the night she leaves, there are seven shows in a row that I want to go to. Wouldn't it be fun to go to all of them? I'm calling it "Seven Nights To Rock," after an old song that Springsteen sometimes covers. Of course, I'll be blogging about it. Other than just writing about the shows, though, I'm also going to be writing about what it costs in ticket prices, gas, tolls, parking and food. Plus, what's it like to be a guy who is pushing 40 (or, leaving his 30s), holding down a job, and going out for seven nights?

My old company, VH1, may be interested in me blogging about this on their site. I've been trying to push it to other sites as well, but time is running out. So, I may blog about it here, or I may blog elsewhere (but I will link to it from here). Here's the schedule: 7/26 I'm starting out with a movie that "rocks," Neil Young's Crosby Stills Nash & Young Deja Vu documentary. My original plan for 7/26 was to see Yes, but they cancelled their summer tour. However, if I do it for VH1, I'll be going to the Warped Tour. I went to the Warped Tour in its first year, its first few actually, but I haven't been for a long time. I'm not that interested in many of this year's bands. I know that Pennywise is playing, so is Against Me! (a band I would probably be into if I were in high school now) and the Horrorpops. 7/27: Rock The Bells (with A Tribe Called Quest, de la soul, Nas, Mos Def, Method Man & Redman, Raekwon & Ghostface and more). 7/28: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. 7/29: The Foo Fighters. 7/30: Aimee Mann. 7/31: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (yes, again). 8/1: Loretta Lynn. But if I do it for VH1, I'll go to see Apples In Stereo instead. Should be fun and interesting, if tiring. I'm sure I'll be talking about it on the OutQ In The Morning With Larry Flick Show.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Wow: VH1 did such a great job with their Rock Honors show. In past years, they've honored four bands per show, but tonight it was all about The Who. Rightfully so.

They got bands that deserved to be there on the bill - The Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and The Flaming Lips as well as Tenacious D (and also Incubus... I'd rather have heard The Raconteurs or Joan Jett or Oasis or Paul Weller), and they were all great, especially Pearl Jam.

But, of course, it was really all about The Who. It really is amazing how this band, who have been around for forty years now, has held up. So many of my favorite albums are by them: The Who Sing My Generation, Tommy, Who's Next, Live At Leeds just to name a few. I think it's cool to hear their songs on TV (it really works well on CSI) and I'm not surprised that kids are rocking out to them on Rock Band or Guitar Hero. The current band still sound great. (Kudos, by the way, to VH1 for leaving in "Tea and Theatre," a song from their last album Endless Wire, on the broadcast). I was sorry to hear that they are probably ditching the idea of recording a new album with T-Bone Burnett, but I'm glad that they are still going to be touring.

Anyway, it was a great show, if you love The Who, you should check it out. Here's hoping that they release a live document of the event. It's rare that I see something on VH1 that really makes me miss working there (I was there for three and a half really fun years), but this was one of them.


I've written about Chris Cornell's upcoming album, produced by Timabland. Now you can hear the first song, "Long Gone," here. I haven't heard anyone say that they like it. The way I look at it, Bruce Springsteen's "Streets Of Philadelphia" sounded weird at first, but now I (and most fans) recognize it as a classic. Then again, few would say the same about Neil Young's Trans. I need some time to get used to this. I'm curious how he's going to perform this material live. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Today on the OutQ In The Morning show, I was saying, as I have before, how Pearl Jam are sort of occupying a space like The Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen: they're at a place where they can pretty much tour whenever they want to, whether or not they have an album out, and sell out multiple nights at huge venues. I mentioned that they were like The Dead (and I know they were influenced by The Dead's business organization big-time, especially when it came to figuring out a fanclub based ticketing system and bootlegging policies) but also like Springsteen, in that their lyrics mean a lot to fans. My Deadhead fan took me to task for that one. I wasn't saying that the Dead's lyrics aren't good - in fact, I think that lyricist Robert Hunter is great - but just that the lyrics aren't central to the experience of their music. Bruce's lyrics are central to the experience of listening to his music.  The Dead covered a lot of country songs and blues songs, and those genres are based around the lyrics - and Bruce is also influenced by blues and country. Yes, I'm a much bigger Bruce fan, but I do own about 15 Dead CDs and I'm a fan. So, no harm intended! 


It was so great to see The Mighty Mighty Bosstones again. They played on a three band bill with The Dropkick Murphys and Civet in the parking lot outside of the Starland Ballroom on Sunday. 

If I'd known what the deal was with the show, I might not have gone. But I'm glad I went. Basically, we had to go to a huge lot about a mile from the venue, then walk a half mile to get a school bus to take us to the Starland Ballroom's parking lot where the show was. It was all fenced in blacktop: kind of like going to a concert in a prison yard. It was hot. We sat through Civet, who were cool for a few songs, but their singer had the Courtney Love raging yell going on, and after a while I wasn't feeling it, although I can see that they have some potential. 

But, like I said, I was glad we went. It felt like we "earned" the show. And that's the thing about the Bosstones: you kind of had to go out of your way to get into them. Even when they had a hit single, they were never the band that was being forced down your throat on the radio or in print. The mainstream just didn't know what to make of them. Yet, they had and have tons of fans who are really loyal. Judging by the all ages crowd at the show, they have a new generation of fans, too: there were lots of young kids who were probably in grade school when the Bosstones released their last album in 2002. They were great: I was glad to see sax player Kevin Lenear back in the band. And I have to say that trombone player/singer Chris Rhodes was awesome, and is a good replacement for "The D-Man," Dennis Brockenborough.  And Dicky Barrett is indeed a cold blooded entertainer, and one of the best frontmen, even if he isn't the best singer. Here's hoping the Bosstones do more shows in the future. If they do a Hometown Throwdown in Boston this December, I'm there. 


Six years and one day after seeing Rush at PNC for my "bachelor party," I saw them again at the same venue. (Actually, I also saw them last summer at PNC also). Yes, I'm a big fan, and I've written about them a lot lately. 

The show was nearly identical to the show I saw last summer, although they threw in "Red Barchetta," one of my favorites, which they didn't play last year. They also threw in 1991's "Ghost Of A Chance." The cool thing about the band is that most of their fans are real fans: they aren't there just for the eight or so songs that radio consultants have deemed to be hits. Pretty much every song got a great reaction, from "2112" to the songs from last year's Snakes And Arrows. Check the picture of the "Rush bus" above. A bunch of Rush fans from all over got together to road trip to the show. 

If I were in a band, I'd have a hard time doing the same exact show night after night with very few changes. But Rush are like Pink Floyd in that regard: it's about a presentation of certain songs in a certain way, it's not loose at all. And Rush do that as good as anyone. 

Oh yeah, my bachelor party. When I got engaged, my brother started talking about my bachelor party. I just ain't that kind of dude. I'm not judging it, but I'm not the guy going to scores or whatever. So I said, "If Rush plays the week of my wedding, that will be the bachelor party." Wouldn't you know it, they played PNC the week of my wedding! Instead of just going to the concert, I called it my "bachelor party." Which served two purposes: I didn't have to pay for my ticket (and my brother got us second row seats!) and it enabled me to go out to a concert four nights before my wedding. Although I wish I'd thought about making my brother take me in a Rush bus. 


I've often written about being a big
fan of John Mellencamp. I was really excited to see his concert last week at Jones Beach. I remember years ago, I think it was when Big Daddy came out in 1989, that he said he was going to stop touring. He said that it was "devastating as an artist" to have to go out and sing "Hurts So Good" every single night.

Of course, a few years later, he got over it. I've seen him a number of times since his return to touring, and he really cranks out the hits. I'm not someone who will hate on that kind of thing. And with John, it's not a "retro" thing: he has more hits from his recent albums than you think: I'd say that "Walk Tall" from his best of is one of his best songs ever, if not his best. But there's also "This Is Our Country," "To Washington," "Teardrops Will Fall," "Your Life Is Now," "Peaceful World," "I'm Not Running Anymore" just to name a few.

I think Jones Beach was the opening show of the tour, and this was a different show from what I've seen lately. He opened with a re-arranged version of "Pink Houses," usually his closer. That's crazy, Prince doesn't open with "Purple Rain," you know? He re-arranged a bunch of other songs too, and played lots of stuff from his new album, Life, Death, Love and Freedom - an odd move, as the album didn't come out until yesterday (although they were selling it at the show). I'm still digesting the album, but two songs stood out: "My Sweet Love" (which I've heard on the radio) and "If I Die Sudden" (which he played at Farm Aid last year). I think I really like this album. Not including 2003's classic Trouble No More (one of my favorites, it's so underrated) which is all covers, it's my favorite since at least 1996's Mr. Happy Go Lucky (which features one of my favorite Mellencamp songs, "Life Is Hard") and maybe longer than that.

But my favorite part of the show was John's solo acoustic version of one of my favorite songs, "Minutes To Memories." It was a great moment. I'm not suggesting that he do a solo acoustic tour, but I'd love to see a longer solo segment during the show. And I'll be bold enough to request solo versions of "Life Is Hard" and "Between A Laugh And A Tear."

Lucinda opened, and I was a bit nervous about that, given the fact that I "broke up" with her after the last time I saw her perform. Thanks to Long Island's insane traffic, we missed the first half of her set, including the classic "Drunken Angel." She was much better than last time, but she still doesn't seem as authoritative as she was about a decade ago, I don't know why. She closed with a kind of funny version of AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock And Roll)."


I've been a bit remiss as far as posting updates goes. But that's because over the weekend my wife and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary

But stay tuned for reviews of concerts by John Mellencamp/Lucinda Williams, Rush and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, plus other cool stuff, like a bunch of record reviews I'm trying to catch up on, a lyrical debate about Bruce Springsteen vs. The Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter and my upcoming "Seven Nights To Rock" stunt. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Dear Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler:

Hey, how's your summer going? I'm glad to hear that your "other" band, Heaven & Hell (the Black Sabbath mk. 2 lineup - which includes Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice) - is doing so well. I know you guys are going on a righteous tour with Judas Priest and Motorhead. You've got a box set of the Dio era Sabbath stuff coming out, and an album of new material. Great!

But after this Heaven & Hell thing winds down, I was hoping that you guys could convince your original and greatest frontman, Ozzy Osbourne, to get back together with you guys. Did you hear his last album, Black Rain? It was actually quite good. I know a new Sabbath album is probably out of the question: how could a new album compare to your body of work (although I bet if you try hard, you could match the underrated Technical Ecstacy or Never Say Die!). Maybe just record a few new tunes like you did with Dio for the Sabbath compilation The Dio Years. And then go on tour. I used to hope you guys would play some more obscure songs. Now, I'd just like to see Ozzy get back out there.

You've heard about his family's upcoming variety show, right? 'Nuff said. I'm not talking smack about the family: Jack has made a great recovery/comeback from what I hear. And, whatever may have gone down between you guys and Sharon , well, I doubt Oz would still be alive, not to mention as successful as he is, without her. I got a kick out of their reality show. At first. But I gotta admit - at the risk of Sharon reading this and wanting to k&*% my f$%^*&% a## and feed me my b*&^s, I'm not feeling good about this. I guess it's going down no matter what. I'd just like to remind people why Ozzy is so great - it's because of his body of work, not his stunts or hijinks. And most of the great body of work was with you guys.

Think it over? Please? Thanks!


I'm a big George Clinton fan. I got into the whole Parliment-Funkadelic thing I guess in the late '80s and early '90s, mainly through hip-hop groups who sampled them (notably Public Enemy - I still remember a special issue of Rolling Stone where then-current artists posed with their influences, and there was a cool picture of Chuck D and Flavor Flav with George), but also The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who cited him as a huge influence, and who used him as a producer on their Freaky Styley album.

Things really took off for him again when Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg started sampling his music in the early '90s, and it was great to see so many younger people showing up at his shows. At the same time, he was starting to get a Deadhead/hippie crowd. The thing about George is, he's done too many albums that were billed as his "comeback," and done too many tours where people thought that Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell were back in the band. And his shows are a bit too Deadheady these days, the last few times I went, it was very jammy. I mean, Funkadelic always jammed, as did Parliment, but I felt it was getting a bit unfocused, and I stopped going.

So, Billboard reports that George's next album will have a big guest list, including the Chili Peppers, The RZA and Sly Stone, among others. I wonder if that will do anything for him - if the public will pay attention. I'll check it out for sure

I don't mean to sound down on George. If I was going to describe myself with a mixtape, it would have to include Funkadelic's "Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock?" and "One Nation Under A Groove." The early Funkadelic and Parliment records can improve your life. I hope this new record is good; maybe it will get me to go to George's shows again.


I was glad to read in Billboard (in a feature written by Gary Graff, a cool guy) that Tenacious D have "one to one and a half" songs done for their next album. Which may be their last. Say it ain't so. Say what you want about the D, they make me laugh; I always have fun when I listen to their music, and when I saw them in concert at Town Hall in NYC, it was a great time. Long Live The D.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I am a fan of (Product) Red, although it has been criticized for (allegedly) spending more money on marketing than it should, and not sending enough money to Africa. I don't know about the numbers, but I think it's good to encourage corporations to contribute money to help to make the world a better place. As a consumer, I'm happy to choose to purchase things if I think some of my money is going to a good cause. I've definitely bought a bunch of gap clothes with the (Product) Red label on it. 

I was interested to read that Red's next project is a digital music subscription service: you pay $5 a month, and get three tracks. One from a well known artist (U2, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello have agreed to donate tracks), one from a lesser known artist, and one bonus track. Some of the songs will be performances from Elvis Costello's upcoming talk show on The Sundance Channel. I myself will be signing up for this. 


I think it's always interesting to hear from an artist what they think their best songs are. David Bowie recently wrote a piece about his favorite Bowie songs for the UK's Mail On Sunday. Unsurprisingly, it's mainly his lesser known songs. The biggest "hits" are "Life On Mars" and "Hang On To Yourself." It's an interesting read, check it out


Back in September, I wrote about how Zach de la Rocha had allegedly finished his first solo album. And then nothing happened. Now, the interweb is reporting that Zach has a new project called One Day As A Lion with Jon Theodore, the drummer from The Mars Volta. Zach plays keyboards. Their debut EP comes out July 22. I look forward to hearing this - it seems different from anything else Zach has done in the past. I imagine he'll promote this with a tour - but I'm hoping that Rage Against The Machine will do some shows in the fall around the time of the election. In related news, I hear Tom Morello has finished his second album as The Nightwatchman, and this one is a bit more rocking than the first one. 


Last week, sax player LeRoi Moore of The Dave Matthews Band was hurt in an ATV accident. But the band's web site says that he's recovering well and his conditions has been upgraded from serious to fair. It also provides links to email messages to him. I know the band is continuing on their summer tour, but here's hoping that he recovers and rejoins the band soon.