Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Shockingly, KISS is on the ballot. I say shockingly, because Rolling Stone founder and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner famously hates them. But they are also one of the most influential bands in rock and roll, like it or not. They totally deserve to be in. Although they may be on the ballot just because of the hype that that will generate - especially with a new album coming out. And sorry to KISS fans, I would think that the only members being inducted would be the original four (with apologies to the late, great Eric Carr).
Hip-hop legend LL Cool J is on the ballot, and I would definitely be voting for him also. The first artist to release anything on Def Jam, he is more of an actor/celebrity these days, but his early records had a definite rock and roll attitude if not a rock and roll sound the way Run-DMC did. I am totally cool with some hip-hop artists being in the Rock Hall, especially LL. I'm surprised that The Beastie Boys aren't on the ballot - they were last year. Maybe the Hall wants to wait for them to be able to perform - and right now they can't since Adam Yauch is still recovering from surgery.
Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff is also on the ballot - I'd vote for him too. Bob Marley is the only reggae artist in the Hall, and while it isn't the Reggae Hall of Fame, some reggae artists have certainly influenced rock and roll, and I think Jimmy definitely has. How many rock bands have covered "The Harder They Come"? I'd also think that Peter Tosh would deserve to be inducted.
Also, The Red Hot Chili Peppers - I can't believe they are 25! They'd get my vote also. One of the greatest bands of the modern era, and they are still relevant, unlike so many of thier peers. I wonder who will be included: I think original members, the late Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons should get in, along with John Frusciante and Chad Smith, but I wonder if Dave Navarro will be included?
Also on the ballot: Genesis (who I like but wouldn't vote for this time around - and it would be nice if Phil Collins is healthy and could play drums if they were to be inducted - I'd actually favor Peter Gabriel as a solo artist), The Hollies (cool, but they wouldn't get my vote), Darlene Love (ditto, but I bet she gets in), Laura Nyro (a Rolling Stone favorite), and Donna Summer.
Big omissions in my mind: the aforementioned Beastie Boys, Alice Cooper, The MC5, The New York Dolls, Motorhead and Tom Waits. And Bill Withers.
Muse was also incredible: I’ve seen some great bands open for U2 in the past, including Primus and PJ Harvey. Muse were as good – but seemed more ready to do their own stadium (or at least arena) shows.
A final note: the NJ Transit system made me embarrassed to be from our great state. I took the shuttle from NYC to the stadium – it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes, and I missed the beginning of Muse’s set. And I heard taking the train back was even worse. Everyone involved in convincing people to take the train should be ashamed of themselves. Of course, the alternative was driving, and it costs $25 to park. I heard a rumor that it will be $40 for Bruce Springsteen’s concerts.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
three icons of the '90s/Lollapalooza era who have brand new albums and they all have something to prove.
Pearl Jam have just released Backspacer, their first album without any label at all. They made seperate deals with Target, Guitar Hero, Verizon for different ways to distribute it. Which I'm cool with: it's no more of a sell-out than signing to a worldwide corporation. And they have more control of thier career this way. But I think it does sting them that many people aren't familar with much of thier music from the past decade, and I think they want to change that with this album. Eddie Vedder used to romanticize bands that didn't sell a lot of albums, but these days, many of his peers have returned to having day jobs. I think he feels fortunate to be where he is, and I think he's rather have a Sprinsteen-ian or Neil Young-ish career than have to work in a warehouse to support himself.
Living Colour reunited in 1999, and not that many people noticed, which is a shame. The Chair In The Doorway is their second album since getting back together, and I hope more people notice. I just think that thier first single, "Cult Of Personality," was so perfect, they've never been able to duplicate its success.
Out of the three bands, Alice In Chains easily has the most to prove: their new album Black Gives Way To Blue, is thier first without their late, great singer Layne Staley. It is much better than you would think, you should check it out if you are a fan.
I'm talking the '90s version of Lollapalooza, here. I respect the fact that they've totally redefined the festival for a new decade, but playing Lollapalooza doesn't really mean what it used to. From 1991 - 1997, they featured some of the coolest alt-rock and hip-hop artists, plus other artists like Metallica and George Clinton, and managed to avoid having the more clone-y bands like Bush, Stone Temple Pilots and Candlebox on the tour, although it would have been really easy to sign those bands up.
Tomorrow on OutQ, I'll be talking about three Lollapalooza veterans who have new albums out: Pearl Jam, Living Colour and Alice In Chains. But I thought I'd offer a separate post about the whereabouts of some of the other artists:
Jane's Addiction: their summer tour was mind blowing. The went into the studio to re-record two songs from their debut, with Trent Reznor producing, but I have a hard time seeing them do a new full-length album. I bet they'll continue to tour, while pursuing seperate projects.
Nine Inch Nails: toured with Jane's this summer - they were also incredible. After the tour, Trent did a few last NIN club dates and said that that was it. I think this is kind of like what Trent's hero David Bowie has done - left something really successful behind, but he can access it whenever he wants. Bowie "retired" the Ziggy Stardust persona, but still performs songs from that era if he feels like it.
Ice-T: His personality is almost bigger than his music, and he is most visable as an actor these days on Law & Order: SVU.
Henry Rollins: Like Ice-T, most people know who he is, but they probably couldn't name many of his songs. He just got a role on the Sons Of Anarchy show, he hosts his own IFC talk show and does spoken word tours.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers: working on a new album!
Ministry: Al Jourgenson has retired the band, but one of his other bands, The Revolting Cocks. The catch is, he doesn't tour with RevCo anymore but is a special guest on select dates.
Ice Cube: still makes music, but is a much bigger force in film than music these days: he's not just an actor, he directs, produces and writes.
Soundgarden: still broken up! Chris Cornell continues his solo career, and Matt Cameron has been Pearl Jam's drummer for over a decade now.
Primus: one of my favorite bands ever. They broke up in the late '90s and reunited a few years later. I don't think they'll ever do another album, but they'll probably tour here and there. Les Claypool is a very active solo artist, he's also directed a film, written a novel, and is starting his own wine label.
Fishbone: They still tour, but singer/sax player/stone cold entertainer Angelo Moore and bassist Norwood Fisher are the only original members left. Rocky George from Suicidal Tendencies also plays in the current lineup, but there are rumors of a reunion of the originals.
Tool: They toured this summer, and are supposedly going to do a new album. Maynard's main priority is his winery in Arizona, and he's sort of deactivated his other band, A Perfect Circle, but he still has his solo project, Pussyfier.
Rage Against The Machine: I think they will exist as a touring band, I don't see them ever making a new album. Tom Morello is really into his new group, Street Sweeper Social Club, and I think he will continue to do acoustic music as The Nightwatchman. It's been over a year since Zach de la Rocha released his EP with One Day As A Lion, I don't know what's up with that.
Smashing Pumpkins: Still around, it's Billy Corgan and whoever he hires. He also plans to work with other projects.
The Beastie Boys: have been reissuing their catalog, and waiting for Adam Yauch to recover from throat surgery.
A Tribe Called Quest: occasionally perform, but Q-Tip mainly focuses on his solo career now
Green Day: one of the biggest bands in the world!
Hole: kind of like Billy/Pumpkins, Courtney Love says she is Hole, and has hired a new version of the band. But she needs to chill.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
As for Jon Bon Jovi, who I remember making fun of Nirvana and grunge music in general in a music video years ago, even he doesn't like it, as he recently told BBC News. He said he wouldn't want to hear someone else's song coming out of a cartoon version of himself.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
At one point, Pavement had me thinking I shouldn't read music magazines anymore and here's why: I'd read SO much about them before I'd even heard them. And then when I'd heard them, I felt like they were very... OK. I know that there are people who will totally write me off for expressing this opinion, but there you have it. I kind of suspect with certain people, they kind of have to like them, out of a weird sort of hipster peer pressure. I know a lot of indie rock loving females have a thing for Stephen Malkmus (the frontman), but I kind of always thought of them as a bit eunuch-y. They were so post-everything: post-grunge, post-arena rock, post-trying hard, way too clever, and making fun of bands who were way out of their league (like Rush, for one) .
I saw them live at the first Tibetan Freedom Concert: they were on the bill with The Beastie Boys, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, A Tribe Called Quest, John Lee Hooker, de la soul, The Fugees, The Foo Fighters... they were pretty out of their league. Or if not out of their league, they were far from their usual clique. Most of these artists were larger than life, and Pavement struck me as the guys who snicker at anyone who attempts to be larger than life. Still, they were pretty good - their best songs were a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Beginning To See The Light" and the Schoolhouse Rock song "No More Kings." Even they couldn't be their usual cynical selves about the Tibetan situation. Hearing the monks speak (many through translators) was really moving. Soon after, I'd read that someone from Pavement said that it was one of their best shows ever. They weren't one of the best performances of that day, but OK. I saw them a few years later on Lollapalooza, and they weren't as good.
It seems ironic somehow that they are doing a reunion, they always seemed to be the band who were so anti- that kind of thing. But maybe the guys need to pay their mortgages, I can't be mad at that (although I bet some of their "fans" are). I wouldn't mind checking them out when they play Central Park - I wouldn't pay for it though - I think I'd be just as interested as watching the fans as the band. Anyway, I'm never mad at reunions. If it makes people happy, then great.
P.S. in other news about bands who the hipster union requires its members to like, Sascha Frere-Jones puts this year's Pavement (or this year's Air Supply/Ambrosia), Animal Collective, on blast in The New Yorker. He refers to them as a "communal hallucination." Wow. This is why I'd never last as a rock critic, I'd never come up with that!
UPDATE: maybe not everyone is happy. The Daily Swarm is tracking the Pavement backlash!
"The Lemmys" was the name that Metallica used when they played Lemmy 's 50th birthday a couple of years back. Lemmy joined them for one song (I think). Anyway, Lemmy joined Metallica again recently on stage in Nashville. Total bootleg video, but check it out anyway.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I will be talking about Muse 's new album, The Resistance, which came out today, and is maybe the most highly anticipated rock album of the year. They are so huge in England that they sold out two nights at Wembley Stadium (not the arena) and they even sold out MSG in New York last year - I would imagine a lot of tickets went to relocated NYC Brits. They're opening for U2 and they just rocked the VMAs, I really think this will be their year, it's a very exciting time to see them. I hope U2 is on their game at Giants Stadium!
Living Colour has a new album The Chair In The Doorway, which also came out today. They reunited in 2000 and this is their second album since then. I haven't had much time to spend with it, but I am a big enough fan to buy it regardless. There's lots of credits for songwriting and producing, like everyone was trying to get theirs, which may not be a great sign, but I bet there will be some great songs.
The Reverend Horton Heat just released Laughin' & Cryin' With The Reverend Horton Heat and it is one of my favorite albums of the year. More on the country side of rockabilly than his usual stuff (which is more punkabilly) and it also has lots of songs with hilarious lyrics like "Death Metal Guys" and "Just Let Me Hold My Paycheck." Highly recommended.
The Arctic Monkeys are like the new Oasis in England, and they're pretty big here also. I liked their first two albums: their latest one, Humbug, was produced by Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal and Them Crooked Vultures. Homeboy gets around! They wanted to get a bit more weird on this album and they went to the right guy to achieve that.
Crown Of Thorns is a hard rock band led by Jean Beauvoir, who is a former member of Wendy O. Williams' Plasmatics and also Little Steven's Disciples Of Soul. They are the first band on Steven's new hard rock label Lost Cathedral (as they wouldn't really fit in on Wicked Cool).
So, that's the lowdown for tomorrow, get ready to rock!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
But news came out that Phil has a physical ailment that he developed on the Genesis reunion tour that won't allow him to play drums ever again. He posted a statement on the Genesis website addressing the situation:
"There isn't any drama regarding my 'disability' and playing drums. Somehow during the last Genesis tour I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands. After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can't function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano. I am not in any 'distressed' state, stuff happens in life." Get well soon, Phil.
1 - MTV plays "hip" with their promos and image, but MTV is really for high school and early college kids. Beyonce is probably almost 30, and her song "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" probably doesn't resonate with kids that age. Taylor Swift's song is about a girl in the school band who digs a football guy who digs a hot cheerleader. In the video (spoiler alert!) the nice girl gets the guy at the end (Taylor plays both girls, but the nice one more closely resembles her). Taylor is 19, and probably seems a bit more like younger girls. Beyonce never shows weakness, her video features choreography that most girls could never hope to copy, and of course B is impossibly good looking.
2 - Although the VMAs is not a political event, nearly every artist who performed endorsed Barack Obama in the last election. Even the host, a British guy, gave The President -- and even his health care plan! -- some major props during his opening monologue. To me, and lots of people I know, and most people who work at MTV, that's all good and almost expected. The thing is, MTV is supposed to appeal to all young people, not just the ones who voted for (or wanted to vote for) Barack Obama. I bet Taylor Swift voted for Obama also - but she didn't get politically involved in the election, so middle America is comfortable with her. Inviting her to be a part of the VMAs was clever marketing. Which is the entire purpose of the VMAs - don't get it twisted.
3 - Like I said, Beyonce is probably almost 30, Taylor isn't even 20. MTV is all about "in with the new." And while it might make some people uncomfortable hearing this, Beyonce is getting a bit old for MTV. Sorry! It happens to everyone. To me, Kanye West complaining about Taylor just make him look old. REALLY OLD!!!! (caps and !'s in tribute to the man's twitter style). Again: sorry.
4 - And by the way, it's not like Beyonce got dissed. I know "Single Ladies" got Video of the Year - the voters (a small group of MTV execs) decide on all the results at once, so they know that B was getting something later in the night. But to address Kanye's claim that "Single Ladies" is one of the best videos of all time: it isn't even in Beyonce's top five. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't cover her on this blog, I submit: "'03 Bonnie & Clyde," "Crazy In Love," "Work It Out" (yeah, the Austin Powers jam), plus Destiny's Child's "No, No, No," "Bootylicious," "Soldier," "Lose My Breath," "Survivor," "Jumpin' Jumpin'" and I'm probably forgetting some other ones.
In closing, Kanye is a douche. I have to admit: I liked when he was douche and took aim at bush. But really, come on dude. On the other hand, The College Dropout and Late Registration are still great, and Graduation had some good jams too. And that was very nice of Beyonce to give Taylor her speech back. It's not like she donated her kidney to Taylor (some people seemed to think this made B a saint), but it was a gracious move and the right thing to do.
Friday, September 11, 2009
This is a statement regarding Nirvana, Guitar Hero and the likeness of the late Kurt Cobain.
We want people to know that we are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate - we have no control whatsoever in that area.
While we were aware of Kurt’s image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn’t know players have the ability to unlock the character. This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in “re-locking” Kurt’s character so that this won’t continue in the future.
It’s hard to watch an image of Kurt pantomiming other artists’ music alongside cartoon characters. Kurt Cobain wrote songs that hold a lot of meaning to people all over the world. We feel he deserves better.
Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
First off, is The Beatles stereo box set. It contains all of The Beatles albums, remastered in stereo. It also has both Past Masters collections. The Past Masters have all the songs that were released as singles, but were never on albums. So, if you get the stereo box set, you pretty much have everything, and by all accounts, the stereo box sets sound amazing. By the way, all the stereo albums will be available seperately.
Some people ask why anyone would want the mono box set, which has fewer albums and is actually more expensive. Back in their early days of the band, they recorded and released everything in mono, as most music was listened to on record players with one speaker or radios with one speaker. So, most of their music was recorded for mono. At first, the band didn't care much about stereo, and didn't pay much attention to stereo mixes. Then when home stereos became a bigger thing, everything was recorded for stereo (in the Beatles' case, I think they started recording for stereo with Sgt. Pepper. The last few Beatles albums were actually recorded for stereo, and so no mono versions exist, which is why the mono box is shorter. It's more expensive because they're making it into a collector's set, and apparently it has sold out just from pre-orders (also, the albums won't be available individually in mono). In some cases, different takes on certain songs are featured in the mono and stereo mixes.
The Beatles box sets Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 came out in 2004 and 2006, respectively. What are they? Well, in the first few years of The Beatles' career, their U.S. label released different versions of albums than the U.K. albums. It's complicated. When CDs were first released in the '80s, the label decided to only release the British versions of the albums, to make things less confusing. But then to make things more confusing (and profitable), they released these box sets with the U.S. versions of the albums - oddly enough, they all contained the stereo and mono mixes! These are kind of just for the real collectors.
If you just want to dive into The Beatles for the first time, I'd recommend "The Red Album" (basically a 2 CD best of covering the first half of their career) and "The Blue Album" (same deal, for the second half). Or, if you're on a tighter budget, 1 is a single CD with all songs that hit #1 in either the U.S. or U.K.
I try not to be a sucker for unnecessary reissues - and some artists have been repackaged so many times. But The Beatles catalog really needed it - these albums haven't been remastered since they first came out on CD in the '80s, and technology to make CDs sound better has improved so much since then. I can't wait to get the stereo box set, and if they ever release the mono albums individually, I'll pick up "The White Album" and Sgt. Pepper.