Wednesday, April 30, 2008
"The Beeb" has just spoken to the man: check out the interview here. He didn't commit to anything - he said they had rehearsed, but seems skeptical that it could work, and if he does it, he really wants it to be good.
So, rest assured, if this happens, it'll be good.
It was great to finally see them, and they did a great show. They played every song that I wanted to hear. Of course, they played some of the earlier stuff, which made me want to check it out. I do have 1995's A Northern Soul, but nothing else. They also played a new song which I liked - but the audience seemed to have checked out for that one. Which struck me as odd: the indie/alternative scene in the '80s and '90s, like the punk scene of the '70s, seemed to shun nostaligia. Here's a band that is trying not just to reunite, but also reactivate as a band, and people didn't seem too interested. Well, I liked their new song, I hope their album lives up to the band's legacy.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I have to admit I was suprised by that. I mean Roger's songs hold up to anyones, but still, the indie crowd has an aversion to artists that are firmly "classic rock." It's cool to like the Syd Barrett-era Floyd, but not the more commercially successful version that followed.
You can find reports on Coachella all over the web, I don't have to point to them. Most of them rave about Prince's performance: he covered Radiohead's "Creep" and The Beatles' "Come Together," and was joined by Morris Day and Sheila E. during the show. (My friend wasn't super-impressed with Prince, which I found shocking). Prince was a sort of last minute addition, and was allegedly paid north of four million - and also cut into the set time of the original day two headliners, Portishead, who haven't played the U.S. in like a decade or something. I like Portishead, but it's kind of weird that Coachella had to go so "off-brand" (to use the marketing term) to be successful - their headliners were Prince, Waters and scourge of indie rockers Jack Johnson.
UPDATE: I don't know if this is a joke, but as I published this last post, I got an email from Coachella's publicity firm offering a $1000 reward and four lifetime Coachella tickets for the safe return of Roger Waters' giant inflatable pig, which apparently "escaped" during his performance.
Anyone with information on the lost pig should email email@example.com.
Marvin is one of those figures, like James Brown, Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding... the list can go on and on. They're names that you know growing up, but you only know a song or two. Before the CD (and box set) era, it was hard to get a grip on what the best albums were (as the Internet wasn't a factor at the time, and magazines weren't so list-addicted). "Classic rock" radio stations ignored them due to their color or age or both in favor of giants like Styx or REO Speedwagon or Foreigner.
Anyway, I got into these artists during college, or after college, and I am grateful that I did. Listening to the artists that influenced your favorite artists can give you a new appreciation of the continuity of music. I'm listening to Marvin Gaye right now - he's one of my favorite singers. If you're not familiar with him, you should check him out also. Outside of Marley, Stevie and Dylan, few artists were able to tackle matters of the world and matters of the heart the way he could.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
In an interview, Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson mentioned that they actually considered reuniting and decided against it.
I think it would be pretty impossible for these guys to live up to whatever expectations people have for them. On the other hand, they're both still alive and well. Paul does his solo thing, and Tommy does his solo thing and also plays in the Guns N Roses machine. Maybe they should just tour as "Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson," it would allow them to do Replacements songs without having to be The Replacements.
I first got into them when I saw them open for Keith Richards & The X-Pensive Winos. My brother went crazy over them and didn't shut up about them for, like, two years, which made me not like them. But these days, I have to admit they were a great band.
But despite booking a wide variety of talent, the club seemed to have a perspective - it wasn't just about booking anyone who was available. Activism was always an important part of the club. It felt like a cool place to hang out. I was bummed when it closed down.
Now, there's a doc on the club, Wetlands Preserved. I want to check this out. You can find out more about it here.
Happily, the band say that they'll be back on the road in August. As they did last summer, they'll be touring with Bob Weir's band Ratdog. I saw them at Jones Beach last summer, and they were just ridiculously good; they were also mind-blowing at Farm Aid. They're going to reschedule this year's Beacon run for early 2009 (I don't know if they'll also do the Beacon in the spring, as they have done every year since 1989 or something.
Glad to hear Gregg is recovering well, and I look forward to seeing the Brothers on the road (where they belong) this summer.
I think Tori Amos' upcoming project, Comic Book Tattoo (out in July) will be different, and hopefully better. She has "cred" in comic book circles, due to her friendship with Sandman creator Neil Gaiman (who will write the intro). She has name-dropped him in her lyrics, and supposedly his character Delirium (from Sandman) is based on her. She's assembled a cool team of comic book talent (read about it here) so I have semi-reserved high hopes for this.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So imagine if your partner decides he doesn't want to rap. He doesn't want to really work with you. And, turning down millions in ticket sales, he doesn't want to tour. Big Boi has like this calm, zen-like way of dealing with it. He just moves on, doesn't talk smack about Dre, and hopes that dude will come around.
So, it's funny that Big's new single, "Royal Flush," features Dre (as well as Raekwon from The Wu-Tang Clan, a bunch of guys who could maybe learn a thing or two about co-existing with bandmates from Big Boi). He raps on it. It's a great song. Talk about just rewards. Here's hoping they do an OutKast album soon.
Oh yeah, and on the macho tip: Big Boi also talks about being influenced by, of all people, Kate Bush, and he recently collaborated with the Atlanta Ballet. For real.
She has just posted an essay on her website arguing the merits of analog over digital and vinyl over iPods. I'm with her on this one. Check it out. And while you're at it, check out her music too, she's great.
Happy 20th, Sub Pop.
Meanwhile, Chris will be touring the U.S. this summer as part of the Projekt Revolution tour, which is Linkin Park's version of Ozzfest I think. I saw Linkin Park once when they opened for Metallica... boring. I'll wait for Chris' next tour, but I have to wonder how he will be recieved.
He recently made the keynote speech at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. He's an odd choice, being so progressive - the radio industry is so old-fashioned and, well, it isn't progressive. Tim railed against right-wingers, urged broadcasters to "appeal to our better natures" and denonced the obsession with celebrity culture. Read more about it here. Good on you Tim. If acting, directing and softball and activism don't work out, I can use someone to help me write for No Expiration.
Anyway, Bill is supposedly working on a hip-hop album (he's producing, not MC-ing) called The Cosby Narratives, Vol. 1 State Of Emergency. Unsurprisingly, there are no real credible hip-hop artists collaborating with him. Hip-hop gets real defensive about any criticism of the art-form as a whole - which I guess makes sense. But that doesn't mean it should be beyond criticism, especially from someone who lived through the Civil Rights era.
By the way, this isn't his first foray into music. Other than some of the great songs by Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids (I loved "Soap And Water"), Bill himself is supposedly a good jazz drummer, plus he actually did some vocal albums (which I've never heard) and in the '60s ran a record label that signed Deep Purple.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
"I played some of the stuff to the record label not long ago and they described it as being very noir. At the time, I took the comment as being a huge compliment. That they liked the intensity of my material. But then I realized it wasn't intended as a compliment. But I'm 41, I'm a woman not a kid. I have no interest in making silly pop music and I don't want to wear a silly sexy outfit and sell myself short. I'm sure it will all get sorted out in the end. But I do think record companies, in general, have different ideas about how they promote women. In the end, it is down to each and every woman to fight to be treated as an individual. I just want to be who I am."
She's right about the "women" thing, but I also think it's the "I'm 41" thing. Labels don't know how to work with artists that don't appeal to teenagers or 20-somethings. When someone figures out how to do it - Starbucks has done a good job for sure - someone will make lots of money from it. There's got to be a decent amount of people out there interested in hearing Ms. Manson's new music, I know I am. I wonder if Garbage is still together. I didn't love their last album, but "Bad Boyfriend" was a classic.
Anyway, Mudcrutch's reunion/debut album (what other band's reunion album is also their debut?) comes out April 29.
Although the Vote For Change tour of 2004 obviously wasn't successful, when Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band along with John Fogerty, Jackson Browne and Patti Scialfa played New Jersey on that tour, it was a very powerful moment. Maybe a second time will achieve the desired result. Here's hoping.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Paul always mixes whatever is on his new album with his older material - lets hope that this album is a good one. I haven't been a big fan of most of his material in the past, say, two decades. The last album I liked a lot, other than the covers album Run, Devil Run (which included some originals, including one of his best solo songs, "Try Not To Cry") was 1989's Flowers In The Dirt. On that album, he collaborated with Elvis Costello, and I think he probably needs to collaborate with someone like that to make another great album. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong. I'd love to hear a Paul McCartney album that holds up to the best music of his post-Fab Four career.
Here's hoping that he does recover, and is able to perform again. he truly is one of the greats.
But (according to the great blog Product Shop NYC) his next book may not be Chroicles Volume 2, but a children's book called Forever Young. I just look forward to reading anything that Bob writes. But as I recently mentioned, a new album would be great, too. It's pretty amazing to think about this: his last three albums, Time Out Of Mind, "Love And Theft" and Modern Times are all classics. He could do a show drawing mainly from those albums, and it would be a great show (at least the setlist would be great, the show would only be great if Bob was in the mood to play a great show).
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
But in fifteen or twenty years, who will be rocking the huge shows? There's an article in The American about that: in the past two years, the only touring acts under 30 years old to make the top ten touring acts were Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera (both of whom I believe have potential for longevity). The other younger acts include some country performers - Kenny Chesney, Rascall Flatts, and the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill team, plus The Dave Matthews Band. Everyone else is older - people like The Rolling Stones, The Police, U2, Genesis, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, Roger Waters, Madonna and Bon Jovi.
Maybe as music genres splinter off more and more, it is inevitable that fewer acts will be able to command large crowds, but there's something sad about the prospect of that. On the other hand, there's always exciting new artists starting up, I just hope that continues. Despite the fact that No Expiration covers more, uh, "heritage" acts, music really lives in the clubs and bars, not the stadiums.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Coincidentally, I recently listened to the only album by Oysterhead, which featured Les, Trey Anastasio of Phish and Stewart Copeland of The Police. 2001's The Grand Pecking Order kind of introduced Les to the jamband scene. In my mind, the album is a classic. I saw one of their few shows, at New York's Roseland, and even convinced my bosses at Video Hits 1 to allow me to interview the band and shoot the show, which was a huge thrill. I am probably one of the only people to interview the three of them together. Oddly, all three guys said that they didn't want to reunite with their former bands, and since then, all three of them have. Here's hoping for an Oysterhead reunion!
The band didn't last long, mainly because of drugs probably. But their one album, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, is a classic.
Anyway, after they broke up, bass player Carl Radle played in Clapton's band for a while, and died in 1980, and drummer Jim Gordon (who also played the piano coda at the end of "Layla") was confined to a mental institution in 1984, he's still there today. Bobby Whitlock did some solo albums and kind of faded into obscurity. But he and his singer/sax playing wife Coco Carmel, have a new album out called Lovers.
Clapton has spent most of his career moving forward and not reuniting with old band mates. That changed a few years ago when Cream played a few shows. Then Clapton and his old Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood played some gigs together.
Although Clapton and Whitlock's breakup was supposedly bitter, it would be great to see them doing some old Derek & The Dominoes songs together.
Well, it turns out that AC/DC actually is in the studio, and they've chosen a great producer: Brendan O'Brien. O'Brien has a long list of credits, including three of the last four Bruce Springsteen albums, as well as records by Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine and Matthew Sweet, among others. Here's hoping that this results in a great album.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Jack White's two bands have generally fared really well in the press, and I imagine that at least some writers have thier knives out, plus they are probably a bit sore about not getting advance copies because of the way the band surprised the industry by releasing it with a week's notice.
My take is that it's a great album. I loved their debut, and I don't know if it is better. I do know that none of the songs immeadiately grab you the way "Steady As She Goes" did. But I do know that "Top Yourself" and "Carolina Drama" are classics. But I don't know if the album is a classic yet. I am looking forward to spending more time with it though. Which I will be doing, because I have tickets to see them next month at Terminal 5.
Some might ask if it really is necessary for another live Stones album - there are eight others, plus the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus soundtrack.
My reply would be yes. Yes, this is a live album worth getting. In fact, I'd say it is another live album worth having. I like almost all of the Stones' live albums (Still Life isn't great though), but this is one of the better ones.
I will allow the point that some of the songs have appeared on a lot of live albums before: by my count, there are five authorized versions of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," five of "Sympathy For The Devil," four of "Start Me Up," four of "Brown Sugar" (a song I think should be retired, I'm sorry), and five of "Satisfaction." Many of the other songs on the album have appeared on live albums before, but surprisingly, many haven't, including one of the band's best songs, "As Tears Go By." Also never on a live album "Little T&A," "She Was Hot," "Loving Cup," "Some Girls," "Far Away Eyes," "You Got The Silver" and Muddy Waters' "Champagne And Reefer." A live version of "All Down The Line" was a b-side to a single, and Keith Richards did "Connection" on his Live At The Hollywood Palladium album, but neither song has ever been on a Stones live album.
Fun statistics aside, it's a great live album, I think it shows that the Stones are still at the top of their game. They choose great songs to play, and the collaborations really work well (Jack White on "Loving Cup," Christina Aguilera on "Live With Me" and especially Buddy Guy on "Champagne And Reefer").
My only complaint: the most recent song is "She Was Hot" - from 1983's Undercover, which kind of makes them seem like the relics their critics would want you to think they are. I thought that their last album, A Bigger Bang, was easily their best since Tattoo You, and maybe even Some Girls. I would have loved to have heard "Rough Justice," "Back Of My Hand," "This Place Is Empty," "Oh No Not You Again" or "Infamy." Or even from the Forty Licks best of, "Stealing My Heart" or "Losing My Touch." Or even "The Worst" or "New Faces" from Voodoo Lounge.
Of course, that gives me something to look forward to on their next live album.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Having already reissued their classic album The Joshua Tree, U2 is now preparing to do expanded reissues of their first three albums, 1980's Boy, 1981's October and 1983's War. They did such a good job with Joshua Tree, I'm excited to see what tracks and video footage they unearth for this. The Edge is overseeing the reissues, which is good news. I also hear that they may finally be releasing their classic 1983 home video, Under A Blood Red Sky, on DVD.