Thursday, July 29, 2010


Tonight I’ll be on SIRIUS XM’s Busted Halo show on The Catholic Channel, talking about the lyrics of Neil Peart – the legendary drummer of Rush. Peart is an atheist, so he might be alarmed, but it's OK: Busted Halo's "Faith and Culture Thursdays" is about finding meaning in "non-religious" music.

It’s a bit unusual for a drummer to write lyrics (when the drummer isn’t the singer), but Rush is an unusual band. Neil Peart wasn’t in the original lineup – Geddy Lee on bass and vocals, Alex Lifeson on guitar and the late John Rutsey on drums – Peart joined for their second album, 1975’s Fly By Night, and they haven’t had a lineup change ever since. On the first album, Geddy and Alex wrote the lyrics, but they really weren’t into it. Since Neil was always reading books, they figured he might be a good writer, and he became the band’s lyricist.
The first song on Fly By Night was “Anthem,” named after the Ayn Rand novella of the same name… it was about a totalitarian future where the word "I" is no longer part of the language. It includes the lyrics go "live for yourself, there's no one else worth living for, begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more." That kind of thing didn't really fit in in the hippie era, or even the post-hippie era.

I think Peart's thing personally was to always be an individual (and not follow a large collective) and politically, he was very pro-small government. but Rush's lyrics were interpreted by their many detractors as being "fascist," which is ironic... as Geddy Lee's parents were both concentration camp survivors.
In 1976, Rush released their fourth album, 2112. The title track was 20 minutes long with seven different movements and took up all of side 1. It was about a totalitarian society where a forced equality was imposed on everyone - the title character was happy with that, until he finds a guitar, and wants to express himself through that, which, as it turns out, is not allowed. He rebels against them, but it's futile. On side 2, there’s a song called "Something For Nothing" is filled with lines that could be Tea Party bumper stickers in 2010: "you don't get something for nothing, you don't get freedom for free." On the original album, Neil Peart dedicated the album to "the genius of Ayn Rand." One of the big points of Ayn Rand was that she was very much about the individual, and wasn't very altruistic.

Fast forward to Rush's most recent studio album, 2007's Snakes & Arrows, inspired by Neil's traveling around North America on his motorcycle. He didn’t like the control that organized religion seemed to have, especially in the U.S. Songs like "The Larger Bowl" and “Far Cry” are sort of an about face from his earlier lyrics. Ayn Rand probably wouldn't have been concerned with the people who Neil write about in “The Larger Bowl”: "The golden one or scarred from birth, some things can never be changed, such a lot of pain on this earth, it's somehow so badly arranged. Some things can never be changed, some reasons will never become clear, it's somehow so badly arranged, if we're so much the same like I always hear." "Far Cry," laments how "It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit, it's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it" - the idea of "sharing" is pretty removed from a Randian way of thinking!
A few years earlier, from 2002's Vapor Trails, is "One Little Victory," a song that I think anyone could get with, no matter what side of the political fence they're on - or no matter what they think of Ayn Rand. The song was written in the aftermath of a tragic year in Peart's life: his daughter died, and a few months later, his wife also passed away. I'm always moved by the entire song, but it is heavy and loud and powerful. While Neil was going through what he was going through, so many of us were still recovering from 9/11. But I think the song will always be an inspiration to anyone in the aftermath of a tragedy, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BEN KEITH, 1937-2010

This picture of Ben Keith is from the great Neil Young fansite, Thrasher's Wheat. Keith just passed away the other day. Yo umay not know his name, but you probably know his contributions to Neil Young's music. 

Keith was a Nashville session musician, mainly a steel guitarist. He played with Pasty Cline on her classic song "I Fall To Pieces." But he first worked with Neil on his Harvest album from 1972, and that led to a decades-long relationship. He played with Neil on the follow-up album recorded live in concert, 1973's Time Fades Away (a great album which has been criminally out of print for decades). In 1974, he played on On The Beach, not just playing steel guitar, but dobro, slide guitar, electric piano, organ, "hand drums" and bass. 1975's Tonight's The Night (recorded in 1973) is one of the few Crazy Horse albums that Ben is on.1977's American Stars 'n' Bars was recorded over sessions from 1974-1977, many featuring Keith (including some more collabs with Crazy Horse).  Ben was also on 1977's Comes A Time, 1980's Hawks and Doves, 1982's Trans, 1983's Everybody's Rockin' (he played sax and lead guitar), 1983's Old Ways, 1988's This Note's For You (again on sax), 1989's Freedom (on steel guitar, sax and keyboards), 1992's Harvest Moon, 2000's Silver and Gold, 2005's Prairie Wind, 2007's Chrome Dreams II, and 2009's Fork In The Road. He wasn't on the Greendale album, but appeared in the accompanying film as "Grandpa."

Ben Keith was Neil's most constant collaborator through his career, and contributed to some of his greatest moments.  Hopefully he's having a great jam session in heaven now . Rest In Peace, Ben Keith.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET, I go on the SIRIUS XM Channel OutQ to talk about music.  I'm a weekly guest on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. This week I'll be talking about some new releases from some pretty big legends.

First up is Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, who just released the DVD London Calling: Live In Hyde Park. I wrote about this a few weeks ago. But I'm still knocked out by what a great show it is. I love it as a DVD, but I think they should release it on CD at some point. Of course, the main complaint about this DVD is that there were better shows on the tour: namely the shows in the U.S. where he played complete albums. Those would make great CDs also. Actually my request would be to get a live version of Joe Strummer's "Coma Girl," recorded at Glastonbury, the night before the show that was filmed for this DVD. Pretty cool that he opened two huge shows with Strummer compositions (London Calling opens with a cover of The Clash song of the same name).

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have a new album, Mojo, which I'm digging. I don't know if I love it as much as his last two efforts: his reunion/debut album with his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch, or his solo album Highway Companion. Mojo was definitely inspired by Mudcrutch though: on Mojo the band would record a song within one day, all live on the floor. It sounds like they had a great time on it, and I bet the songs will be great live.

I was a bit cynical when I heard about Cyndi Lauper's new album Memphis Blues, which is, as it sounds, a blues album. Lots of legendary artists do blues albums, either in some bid for some kind of credibility, or because they're out of ideas. I don't think Cyndi worries about cred, and I don't know why she did this album, but I think she did a great job with it. She is a great singer, and knows what she's doing. I think if people listen to this with an open mind, they'll dig it. There are guest shots from harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, Ann Peebles, Allen Toussaint and (of course) B.B. King, but Cyndi is really the star of her own show.

I started making fun of Sting's Symphonicities last week. Sorry, I can't help it. It's Sting, backed by a symphony orchestra, doing new versions of songs from his Police and solo catalog. This, from the guy who doesn't want to dwell in nostalgia. I'd pay to hear Stewart Copeland review this album. From listening a bit: The Police songs sound goofy, but some of his solo songs work in this context. But they're not as good as the originals. So what's really the point?

I don't think anyone ever expected Devo to do a brand new album, of all new songs. But they did, and it's getting good reviews too. I like a few songs off of the misleadingly titled Something For Everyone. Their philosophy has always been that they don't believe in evolution: in fact, they think the human race is DE-volving. Hard to argue that point, sometimes.

Finally, Ozzy Osbourne's album, Scream, exceeded my expectations. This is his first album in a while without guitarist Zakk Wylde, now he's got a guy named Gus G. and a new drummer Tommy Clufetos (formerly of Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie's bands). Cluefetos replaces Mike Bordin who is back with the reunited Faith No More. Scream is really rocking and very contemporary sounding without condescending. Good job, Oz.


Who says Rush isn't funny?  They've been pegged with that reputation, but fans have long known that Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neal Peart enjoy a good laugh.  And on thier current tour, besides playing every song from their classic 1981 album, Moving Pictures, they showed off their sense of humor with a couple of silly/funny films. They have a history of doing this kind of thing: on the last tour the South Park guys gave them an intro to "Tom Sawyer," (and speaking of which, watch them play "Tom Sawyer" on Guitar Hero backstage at The Colbert Report here). The show started with a Beastie Boys-like film with the band members dressed in ridiculous costumes a la The Beastie Boys, playing both a polka band and also patrons of a restraunt.  I won't describe it well, but it made everyone laugh.  The second set started with a skit where all three guys played music biz guys on the set of a rock band's video, and during the performance for some reason Neil is playing guitar, Alex is on bass and Geddy is behind the drums.  Neil steals the show mimicing Alex's guitar faces.  And at the end of the concert there was a really funny film featuring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel of the film I Love You Man (apparently being fans of Rush was a plot point, and the guys from Rush were actually in the film) did this bit where they snuck backstage and got caught by Geddy, Alex and Neil. You could tell the guys were having fun being funny.

Laughs aside, I guess there wasn't any chance that I wasn't going to love the show! Moving Pictures remains the band's most popular, and with good reason, every song is a classic. It's my favorite Rush album as well. Side 1 is carved into the memory of anyone who has listened to classic rock radio (for better or worse): "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ" and "Limelight." Side 2 has more stuff for the die-hards: "The Camera Eye," "Witch Hunt" and "Vital Signs." The entire performance was magnificent. 

But I'll admit I didn't love the entire show.  They opened with "The Spirit Of The Radio," maybe their best song ever - and the song they opened up with on the Grace Under Pressure tour in 1985 (which happened to be my first rock concert ever).  After that, though, they played "Time Stands Still" is one of my favorite post-Grace songs, but I always think it is weird live, because you hear Aimee Mann's guest vocals when she isn't there. They should rearrange the song, or just not play it. After that they did the title track from 1989's Presto, which  I always thought was corny (and there were so many better songs on that album, like "Scars," "Anagram," "The Pass" and especially "Show Don't Tell").  This is the first time they've played it on tour. "Stick It Out" from 1993's Counterparts was pretty rocking, but I'd rather hear "Animate." "Workin' Them Angels" from their last album, 2007's Snakes & Arrows is fine. "Leave That Thing Alone," one of their best instrumentals, also from Counterparts worked for me. "Faithless," from Snakes & Arrows (but not played on that tour) was OK but unnecessary. "BU2B" (aka "Brought Up To Believe") from their upcoming album was pretty rocking.

And after that, the "Time Machine" kicked in (they're calling it the "Time Machine Tour").  The classic "Freewill" from 1980's Permanent Waves always works (I'd love to see them do a tour where they do that album start to finish). "Marathon" from 1985's Power Windows was good - I'd way rather hear "Mystic Rhythms" or "The Big Money" (more relevant than ever in 2010). They ended the set with the always-relevant "Subdivisions" from 1982's Signals.

After the Moving Pictures set, they returned to the present with another new song, "Caravan," which was OK.  That led to Neil's always mind blowing drum solo (it's not really a drum solo, more of a "drum composition" or "drum symphony").  That's always mind blowing.  There aren't too many drummers who can interest me with a solo.  Alex then came out with an acoustic 12 string, and played a nice piece that led into "Closer To The Heart," which I still love. Then everyone lost their minds to the first two chapters of "2112" (I'd love to see a tour where they do the entire 2112 album!).  Then, from Snakes & Arrows, one of my very favorite Rush songs, "Far Cry" (I wish they'd played my other favorite recent song, "One Little Victory" from Vapor Trails).

The encore was maybe the best part of the night. The always amazing instrumental "La Villa Strangiato" (with a polka arrangement to open the song) followed by "Working Man" from their debut album (with a reggae opening).  I actually wish they just did "Working Man" straight, though, as it is also more relevant than ever in 2010 (other than the fact that many "working men" can't even get work these days).

So, maybe I complained a bit about the song selection, but hey, I'm a fan.  Really though, I'm glad the band is playing the songs they want to play: they never seemed like they were going through the motions, so if this is the combination of songs that kept them interested, then great (I do think it's weird that they play the same set every single night, but that's their perogative). Anyway, they have a new album coming out next year, I'm sure it will be followed by a tour, and I'll definitely be there to see it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning I am a guest on the SIRIUS XM Channel OutQ's show The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick at 9 am ET. Each week, I talk about new records, or new releases, or newly released archival material, or sometimes just a specific theme. This week I've changed my day to Thursday.  I'll be talking about new releases from some very talented ladies.

M.I.A. just released her latest album, Maya. She is one of those artists who the press love to write about. I think she is really exciting and interesting, even though I don't always agree with the things she says (she name dropped the P.L.O. in one of her early songs). In this now-infamous article from The New York Times Magazine, the writer kind of calls her out (not in the interviews though) for her oversimplifying of political issues, and also over some contradictions in her personality. Her very violent and shocking video for "Born Free" has been criticized too, but I found it interesting. (She did an unusual performance of the song on Letterman, catch it here). I've also read that the album is too abrasive ("Born Free" samples Suicide 's "Ghost Rider"). It actually reminds me of Nine Inch Nails, and I don't think Trent Renzor would mind that statement.

Kylie Minogue's new album Aphrodite is one of Larry Flick's top three albums of the year. It's not so much my thing, but I don't mind her either. I interviewed her a few years ago and she was very nice. Of the new songs, I don't like any as much as "Can't Get You Out Of My Head."

Say what you want about Christina Aguilera, girl can sing. Yes, she overdoes it sometimes, but not always. Exhibit A: her cover of James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" from the 2007 Grammy Awards. She nailed it. Exhibit B, albiet a bit less heavy: when she joined The Rolling Stones onstage for "Live With Me," included in the Shine A Light film. People are saying her new album is ripping off Lady Gaga. I don't know, let's see what people say tomorrow on the show.

Morcheeba is a kind of trip-hop band from England, featuring brothers Paul Godfrey (a DJ) and multi-instrumentalist Ross Godfrey, they also had a very charismatic and beautiful singer named Skye Edwards. In 2003, they dismissed Skye from the band, but earlier this year, she rejoined. I was psyched to hear the record, but so far I'm not a huge fan of Blood Like Lemonade.

Like Morcheeba, Tracy Bonham was on the verge of getting big in the '90s and then it kind of didn't happen(I actually saw both groups at the Lilith Fair show in, I think, 1998). I liked a lot of her songs, especially "The One." Recently, my wife and I were at a karoke night (for real) and some girl there, who looked like she had a pretty buttoned up straight office job sang "Mother Mother" and nearly lost her mind. Anyway, I was glad to see that Ms. Bonham put out a new album, Masts Of Manhatta (that's how it is spelled), but I don't love it yet either! A great Tracy Bonham moment, believe it or not, is on Aerosmith's "Back Back Train" from their excellent Honkin' On Bobo album - Joe Perry sings lead on the song and she kind of accompanies him to great effect.

Jane Krakowski? What can I say? Her music isn't my particular cup of tea, but I love her on 30 Rock and she has a new album, The Laziest Gal In Town. It's very show-tuney, but it's true to who she is.

Even though Mavis Staples' new album, You Are Not Alone, produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, isn't out until September, the first single (the title track, written for her by Tweedy) is out now, and I wanted to share it. I have written about this album already, and I can't wait to hear it.

Finally, Sheryl Crow's 100 Miles To Memphis. We talked about the first single, "Summer Day," last week, but now I have the whole album. I don't know if I like anything as much as the lead single, but I haven't heard any of the other songs like 50 times! "Summer Day" is amazing. I like "Eye To Eye" which features Keith Richards on guitar, a cool cover of Terrence Trent D'arby's "Sign Your Name" with Justin Timberlake, and Citizen Cope's "Sideways" with Cope on vocals, plus a bunch of other good songs (originals, with no guests). Well done, Sheryl, and welcome back.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


A couple of years ago, Rush released Feedback, an EP of covers, which was notable as Rush has never released a cover in their entire three decade career.  Or so I thought!  (And probably most other fans thought so too). It turns out that their first single ever was a cover of the Buddy Holly classic "Not Fade Away" (also covered by The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead and many more). Hopefully they'll release it at some point, but now you can check it out yourself.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I thought that Johnny Cash's series of American Recordings albums, produced by Rick Rubin, were universally loved classics.  *I* love them. But a few months back, I read an interview with Bob Dylan who said he really didn't like those albums, and in a recent interview in Uncut, Willie Nelson says that "Aw, I could probably do that one of these days, do my morbid album. My wrist-slashing music. No, they weren't my favorite Johnny Cash albums." OK! Well, I'll still maintain that those albums are great, and Cash and Rubin's partnership was a pretty cool one.

P.S. I love Willie's new album, Country Music. It is one of my favorite albums of the year.  Last year, his album with Asleep At The Wheel, Willie & The Wheel, was one of my favorites too. I'm just glad that so many of the artists that I love are able to make great music after they are AARP eligible. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010


In honor of tonight's Black Sabbath documentary airing on The Biography Channel, I wanted to do something Sabbath-centric, like a list of my favorite Sabbath songs. But I can't whittle it down to ten or twenty.  But it did get me thinking about how I first experienced the band.

I started listening to music, like a lot of other kids, with classic rock radio (and like lots of people, got bored with it quick and soon stuck with my own tapes).  But I am pretty sure that's where I first heard songs like "Paranoid," "Iron Man" and "War Pigs." Or maybe it was MTV's "Closet Classics" or even "Headbanger's Ball." I really heard a lot of the songs for the first time on Ozzy Osbourne's live album, Speak Of The Devil, which features all Sabbath tunes. And also Black Sabbath's Live Evil, released at almost the same time, which featured Ronnie James Dio on vocals (that album featured Dio singing his songs, as well as a few Ozzy tunes). At the time I didn't get why Ozzy and Sabbath had the same songs on their albums.  There was no internet to look this stuff up on! To make things more confusing, soon there was another new Black Sabbath album, Born Again, with a different singer! But as I got more into metal, I learned about the band's different eras (and by then Glenn Hughes was the singer!). 

I picked up the greatest hits album, We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll, and loved it, then got Paranoid.  I caught up and realized what an awesome band they were. But the tribute album Nativity In Black, released in 1994, really re-ignited my interest in the band, and made me listen more closely to some of the songs. That may not be a hip thing to admit, but it's true.  The same was true for me when I listened to the live recording of the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary tribute concert. I don't remember if NIB got good reviews, and I've read some bad ones of the Dylan tribute concert. But the fact was, both of those tributes made me re-examine each artist.  

Anyway, Nativity In Black was pretty great, and had a lot of happening bands of that moment.  The first single was Biohazard's cover of "After Forever," which has gone on to become maybe my favorite Sabbath song. That song made the collection for me, although today the rap-metal does sound a bit dated.  But it also had White Zombie's re-imagining of "Children Of The Grave," Corrosion Of Conformity's "Lord Of This World," and my other highlight of the album, Sepultura's "Symptom Of The Universe." It also had previously released covers: Faith No More's live version of "War Pigs," which I liked, but I didn't feel like it belonged, because Mike Patton was clearly making fun of the song (I felt the same way about Type O Negative's "Black Sabbath"). It also had 1000 Homo DJs' version of "Supernaut" (the "DJs" were Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails). The whole album got me to go back and listen to the original versions of "After Forever," "Children Of The Grave," "Lord Of This World," "Symptom Of The Universe" and "Supernaut" and appreciate them even more.  I think that's the job of a tribute album! 

A couple of years later, they went back to the well for Nativity In Black II. It didn't have as big of an impact on me, but again, some cool versions of the songs made me listen more closely to the originals: Pantera's "Electric Funeral," Slayer's "Hand Of Doom," Soulfly's "Under The Sun" (another one of my favorite Sabbath songs) and Monster Magnet's "Into The Void." 

I hope that they do a third: it may not have any bands that I like, but I think that every generation of hard rock kids need to know where their music started.  Long live Black Sabbath! 


I usually deal with music news on twitter, but I had to write about this. Over the weekend, Roger Waters and David Gilmour performed together!

Over the past few years, Waters has expressed interest in rejoining Pink Floyd.  At the very least, he'd probably like to have the rights to the band name, which he unwittingly lost when he quit the band in the mid-'80s.  For his part, Gilmour has expressed that he wouldn't want to work with Roger again, and doesn't want to do Pink Floyd anymore.  After a lengthy tour for his last album, he pretty much said he doesn't know when he'll even do another solo album.  He doesn't want to work with himself!

For his part, Waters has toured quite a bit, doing very Floyd-centric concerts (he hasn't done a new album in decades).  His last tour saw him doing Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety, and his upcoming one will see him doing The Wall, complete with the legendary production from Floyd's 1979-1980 tour.

Anyway, this Gilmour-Waters reunion was prompted by Gilmour, who wanted Waters to perform "To Know Him Is To Love Him" at a charity event, which Waters didn't think he could sing. Long story short, Gilmour said he'd join Waters for "Comfortably Numb" at one show on his Wall tour if Roger would join him. Pretty amazing.  Read the whole story, from Roger's point of view, at his facebook page.


The American Carnage tour - featuring Slayer and Megadeth - just got a bit better: Anthrax signed on! The three bands toured together back in 1991 as Clash Of The Titans, and an up-and-coming band called Alice In Chains opened. Read the details of the tour here.

Of course, the ultimate would have been a U.S. leg of the Big Four tour that's hit Europe this summer: that tour features all three bands, plus Metallica.

Back to Anthrax: I was hoping that John Bush would be rejoining the band, as they did a brief Australian tour with him a few months back. But it turns out that the guy he replaced, Joey Belladonna is back as the band's singer. I know the band recorded an album with Dan Nelson, but fired him and ditched the vocals.  I wonder if Belladonna will just re-do those and that will be the next Anthrax album.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Tomorrow night The Biography Channel will be airing a documentary on the almighty Black Sabbath! I was interviewed for the show (I have no idea how much they'll use from my interview), but I'd be interested in seeing it no matter what. It's just an hour long show, though, and I don't know how you would cover the original Ozzy Osbourne era in one hour - not to mention the later incarnations of the band.

Pretty strange that such a legendary band's story hasn't really been told on camera, and now, within the space of a month we get Biography Channel doc and also the DVD release of the Paranoid episode of the Classic Albums series. I've read that Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi's lawsuits against each other have been resolved. Hopefully in the wake of Ronnie James Dio's death, they can be "mates" again. I don't care if Black Sabbath never record again (Ozzy himself has said that if they can't do something as good as the music they made in the '70s, they shouldn't bother, and that would be hard to do). I am even OK with them not touring again. They did some killer performances after reuniting, I felt lucky to have my chance to have seen the band. I just hate the idea of them not being on speaking terms. I know a lot of other fans feel the same way.


iTunes has a new live Ozzy Osbourne EP, recorded live at the iTunes Festival in London just about two weeks ago. Judging by the ad at the right, they are booking artists from lots of different genres.

Ozzy has no shortage of live material: 1982's Speak Of The Devil saw him revisiting his Black Sabbath classics (with a band that featured future Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis and once-and-future Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo). In 1987, he released Randy Rhoads Tribute, featuring recordings with his late and legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads.  That's probably the best live Ozzy album. 1990's Just Say Ozzy featured Zakk Wylde and also Ozzy's former Sabbath mate Geezer Butler in the band. 1993's Live & Loud was supposed to be his last release, as it was recorded during this "final" tour.  This time the band featured Zakk and future Alice In Chains bassist Mike Inez. (It also features the reunited Black Sabbath doing "Black Sabbath"). Finally, 2002's Live At the Budokan featured what may have been his best solo band - Zakk, former Suicidal Tendicies/future Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo, and Faith No More's Mike Bordin on drums. Plus Black Sabbath has Past Lives recorded in the '70s, and Reunion from, well, the reunion tour.

So, why a new live EP?  Well, I downloaded it from iTunes.  I was curious how the songs would sound with Ozzy's new guitarist, Gus G.  I think Gus does a great job, he definitely reminds me of Zakk Wylde, but he has his own thing going on also. The EP includes just one new song from Ozzy's latest album Scream, "Let Me Hear You Scream." It includes Ozzy's early classics "I Don't Know," "Mr. Crowley" and "Suicide Solution" (where Gus really shines) and also "I Don't Want To Change The World," which I never really dug.  And also Sabbath's "War Pigs," which I think is really difficult to pull off without the original Sabbath. All in all, not a bad buy for $6 - I kind of wish there were more songs from the new album Scream, and the last one, Black Rain, both of which were really good and kind of underrated.


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning I am a guest on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ's show The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick at 9 am ET. Each week I talk about new records, or new releases or archival material, or sometimes just a specific theme.
Tomorrow I'm talking about some of the artists who are on the Lilith Fair tour.  The tour has gotten some bad publicity lately, as some of the shows have been cancelled due to (of course) poor ticket sales.  Lots of tours are having problems this summer though. Back in the '90s, critics always seemed to have it in for the tour, I remember hearing that it was "too white."  I went to the tour all three years, and I'd seen Missy Elliott, Mya, Tracy Chapman and Morcheeba on the tour - that's just off the top of my mind. I think that critics just don't like Sarah McLachlan, who headlines the tour.  She's a bit too earnest for a lot of people, I can understand that. Also, she has a huge following, which she did on her own without being too commercial - but without help from the music press, which I think may rankle some writers. Anyway, Sarah has a new album, Laws Of Illusion. I wrote about the new single, "Loving You Is Easy" a while back, I dig the song. I like the album, I don't love it.  I guess with Sarah, I compare everything to Fumbling Towards Ecstacy, and I haven't liked anything she's done as much as that album.

Next week Sheryl Crow releases her next album, 100 Miles From Memphis. I've always liked Sheryl Crow, but I haven't been super-into her last two albums.  I've heard one song from the new album, "Summer Day," which I think is incredible. She's really showing off her soul influences, as opposed to a modern country-adult contemporary sound.  At least on this song.  I actually just heard her cover of Citizen Cope's "Sideways" (featuring Cope on backing vocals) which was really great. I'm definitely looking forward to this album.

Heart has a new album, Red Velvet Car, coming out next month, but for now they have a new EP, WTF, and I'll be playing the title track. Heart are badass ladies and don't really get their due. I don't totally love this new song, but their catalog speaks for itself. Ann Wilson is an incredible rock and roll singer, and Nancy Wilson is a very underrated guitarist. I'm curious to hear the album.

We're also going to talk about a bunch of other artists on this summer's Lilith Fair festival: Corinne Bailey Rae, The Bangles, Court Yard Hounds, Janelle Monae, The Indigo Girls and Mary J Blige, among others.

Monday, July 12, 2010


So now I have three favorite albums of 2010. The Drive-By Truckers' The Big To-Do, The Black Keys' Brothers and now I'll add The Roots' How I Got Over.

It's not secret to long time No Expiration readers know that I'm a big fan of The Roots and their drummer Questlove.

I'll admit that I was a bit worried when I heard that they were collaborating with indie-rock artists (many of whom they met on Jimmy Fallon's show).  Questlove is the kind of guy who appreciates all kind of music, and who seems to get along with everyone. The ladies from Dirty Projectors (one of the most overrated bands in recent memory - but the ladies did a great job backing up Black Star on Fallon a few months back) sing on the intro piece, "A Peace Of Light." Some of the guys from Monsters Of Folk are featured on "Dear God 2.0," a sequel to their song "Dear God" written by Jim James (of My Morning Jacket). That works really really well. Indie harp artist Joanna Newsom is on "Right On," and Patty Crash is on "The Day," which is one of the true highlights. My favorite collab is with John Legend, who sings on "The Fire." (They also sample him on the previous song, "Doin' It Again.") (Now I really can't wait for the Legend/Roots album featuring a number of socially relevant covers).

The Roots have always been great at collaborating without losing their sound, and I think the Fallon show has only strengthened that, so it always ends up sounding like them. There's also hip-hop guests, some who have worked with the band before (Peedi Peedi, P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw), and at least one newer name (STS).

The centerpiece of the album, and my favorite song, is the title track, which features Dice Raw.  And I think Black Thought even sings a bit on that track! The lyric is one of their best ever: "Out on the street, where I grew up, first thing you learn is not to give a fuck.  That kind of thinking will get you nowhere. Someone has to care!" Who else is writing stuff so simple, poignant and elegant these days.  That puts them in Marvin Gaye/Curtis Mayfield turf. When you're there, you don't have to worry about keeping up with wacka flacka or drake. They're not so much about this moment in hip-hop, they're timeless.  That's how I've always felt about the group, but this album hammers it home.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


In the new issue of British magazine Uncut, Bert Jansch talks about the new Neil Young songs that Neil has been playing on his current solo (but not "acoustic") tour. Jansch, who Neil has said is his favorite acoustic guitarist, is the opening act on Neil's tour. His quote: "The songs that I'm hearing are literally unbelievable." Good to know!

Friday, July 9, 2010


In the new issue of Mojo, the great Joe Henry interviews the great Harry Belafonte. Joe Henry is an artist who I admire: he has made some really great records, but produced albums from some of my favorite artists, including Solomon Burke and Aimee Mann. Belafonte is often remembered for "Day-O," but his music was much deeper than that, plus he is an actor and a civil rights activist (having marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the '60s). It's a great interview, but the part that struck me was where he was talking about not being accepted by the folk scene, even though he not only sang folk songs, but brought them to a wider audience (which is what folk music is supposed to be about, right?).  He says that he wasn't accepted because "there wasn't a lot of generosity... if you didn't come down a dusty road with a banjo over your shoulder, a piece of hay stuck between your teeth and a plaid work shirt." He even mentioned that Joan Baez referred to him as "Harry Bela-phony" in Time magazine! I guess one thing that never changes is the way people behave within a scene. Anyway, it's a great interview, and it inspired me to order the record pictured here, Belafonte At Carnegie Hall, recorded in 1959.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


It's a bit weird to me that Rush posted the setlist to their tour on their website before the tour started. I mean, we all knew that they were going to play Moving Pictures in its entirety. But they've posted every song, in the order that they will play them, every night.  That's weird to me, but Rush are perfectionists, and improvisation isn't a part of their live thing (which is odd, as Neil Peart is such a huge jazz fan). Anyway, it includes their two new songs, and a good amount of recent material, which will surely get some complaints.  I don't love the list, I wish they included "One Little Victory" from Vapor Trails, it's one of my favorite Rush songs. But I'm sure it will be an awesome show, it always is.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ and talk about music on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. This week and next week, however, I am moving to Thursdays.  In three weeks, I'll be back to Wednesday.

I'm going to talk about what I was supposed to talk about last week: the British invasion of the early '60s, and the American R&B of the era: how they influenced each other, and how that influence manifests itself today.  I'm adding one recent release that I didn't originally plan on: Otis Redding's Live On The Sunset Strip. It's a two CD collection of a few sets that he did over the course of a multi-night stand at the Sunset Strip in April of 1966, backed by his own band (as opposed to Booker T & The MGs) at the point where the dude was blowing up.  It is hot, and worth checking out. I've talked about Otis on the show before, but as far as I'm concerned, you can't talk about him too much.

I'll also be talking about The Kinks, in honor of the late Pete Quaife. I'll be talking about a newly released live Jackson 5 album. And new albums by Paul Weller and Bettye Lavette. But the main thing will be the recently released DVD version of The TAMI Show. I was talking with a friend of mine, we said it may be the best music DVD ever. And I never say that kind of stuff.  But it is a well shot concert from 1964 featuring a legendary performance by James Brown (see part of it here). Plus, The Rolling Stones (here), Marvin Gaye (here), Diana Ross & The Supremes (also here), The Beach Boys and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Check out below, I've posted a joint performance by Chuck Berry with Gerry & The Pacemakers, and also Lesley Gore. This is incredible stuff.


I'm a bit behind on this, but you should look for the latest issue of Mojo, it's the 200th issue, and to celebrate, they let Tom Waits edit. And why not? Tom interviews Hank Williams III in the issue, and Joe Henry interviews Harry Belafonte. There's also lots of historical features from the magazine's history, including stories on the making of Nirvana's In Utero (the magazine's first "album of the month") and Radiohead 's OK Computer. My favorite was the story behind Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind, where many of the players on the album (but not Dylan, nor producer Daniel Lanois) give the behind-the-scenes story of the album. It seemed like Dylan didn't like Lanois' ideas, and neither did most of the musicians, but the tension between Bob and Lanois led to a classic album (as it did years earlier when they did Oh Mercy together).

Anyway, as always, a great read.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ's show The Morning Jolt With Larry Flick to talk about music. This week, however, I'll be going on on Thursday morning.   I'll be discussing what I was supposed to talk about last week: the British invasion, early '60s American R&B, and they way they affected and influenced each other, and the effects of that cross-pollination in 2010.


First off, I should mention that I took this photo from Roddy Bottum's blog. In his post about the show, Roddy said that the Brooklyn shows (Faith No More played Friday and Monday) was one of the highlights of his career.  Wow! I was lucky enough to be at the show last night, and it was indeed amazing.  I'm sure they did some shows that were as good, or better, back in the day, but maybe it's just that Roddy was able to enjoy this one more.

Faith No More had such a weird history.  They were sort of a cult thing with former frontman Chuck Mosley, but when Mike Patton joined, they exploded. Their first album with Patton, 1989's The Real Thing, sort of accidentally invented rap-metal.  They were doing the rap-metal thing with Mosley, but it got much more popular with Patton, which is ironic, as Patton seems to disdain anything popular. With their next album, 1992's Angel Dust (my favorite FNM album by far), they left rap behind and got more experimental, and continued on that path for their next two albums, King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime and their swan song, Album Of The Year. But they would only get less and less popular and that was probably a bummer to them. I remember one of the last times I saw them they did a Halloween gig at Irving Plaza for a radio station, and Monster Magnet were on the bill.  Great show, but it didn't even sell out! After that, I remember not being able to get tickets to what turned out to be their last NYC show at Roseland. It was sold out, but I think that was because of the opening act.  Believe it or not, that was limp bizkit. I remember being bummed out that I couldn't get a ticket, and even more bummed that limp bizkit was what people were getting excited about.

Cut to last night.  I was wondering if Patton was going to be into it. He has been ambivalent on the topic of Faith No More reuniting over the years (and has occupied himself with lots of other projects like Fantomas, Tomahawk, Peeping Tom, solo projects and collaborations). From the second song of the show, it was clear that he was way into it.  The first song was FNM's cover of "Theme From 'Midnight Cowboy," but then they played "The Real Thing," and Patton just went off. And from there it was on.  There was a lot of the easy listening music that FNM love, or love making fun of, like their classic covers of Lionel Richie's "Easy," The Bee Gees' "I Started A Joke" and their own "Just A Man." But they also roared through "Last Cup Of Sorrow," "Be Aggressive," "Midlife Crisis" and especially "Land Of Sunshine." The show had everything that was great about the band.  Lots of aggression, but also the soft rock stuff, and Patton's cutting and cynical sense of humor. Sometimes I hear about people feeling ripped off by reunions because the artists are just there to get paid, and I was worried about that with this particular one, but in fact, the band were awesome. Mike Patton gets a lot of attention, but the band's secret weapon is the unrelenting super powerful drumming of Mike "Puffy" Bordin. I've seen him in Ozzy Osbourne's band (and even in a 75% reunion of Black Sabbath) and I'll say he's one of the best drummers of the past 20 years.

I don't know why they are only doing a handful of U.S. dates - but I hope they come to the area again, I would definitely want to see this tour a second time (and my wife missed it, much to her chagrin).

Monday, July 5, 2010


I've never seen any episodes of the "Classic Albums" documentary series, but when they did a doc on the Black Sabbath classic Paranoid, I had to check out the DVD. The album is one of the greatest albums of all time, no question, and deserving of being featured on the series.  But as long as Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward were being interviewed, it's too bad that they didn't do a full on documentary on the band. Who knows, maybe someone will soon...

But the doc is definitely cool, although there weren't any real revelations.  All four Sabs are interviewed, as well as some journalists, some people who worked with Sabbath at the time, and Henry Rollins, who always has cool stuff to say.  Tony, Geezer and Bill show how they came up with some of their respective parts to their songs, which is fun. I'd love to see them do more Sabbath docs, and I'm looking forward to checking out some of their other DVDs.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I really enjoy watching documentaries about music, but if there's one band who really needed to have a documentary, it's Rush. Their story is rarely told, because the gatekeepers of music media hate them.

Also, you rarely hear big name musicians talking about how awesome Rush is, and here you get Trent Reznor, Jack Black of Tenacious D, Billy Corgan, Kirk Hammett, Gene Simmons, Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine, Les Claypool, Danny Carey of Tool, Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters and Zakk Wylde among others, talking about how great they are. Even a guy from Death Cab For Cutie!

And I don't think I've ever seen an interview with Neal Peart. Ever!

On the other hand, other than the unimaginable tragedy that Peart endured some years back (documented in his book Ghostrider), the band hasn't had too much controversy or drama, so I was kind of wondering if their story would really make a great documentary.  Yes it does.

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage came out on DVD this week, and I watched it tonight.

It does a great job of telling their story - how children of immigrants Geddy Lee (son of concentration camp survivors) and Alex Lifeson came together in school and formed a lifelong friendship and this awesome band. And how they had the confidence to do what they wanted to do, and not let the record label or trends or even fans dictate their direction. There's lots of amazing footage: a young Alex Lifeson at the dinner table telling his parents he wants to drop out of school and become a musician and early footage of the performing with original drummer John Rutsey.  There's also interviews with Geddy's mom, Alex's mom, and Neal's parents, plus lots of other people around the band and interviews with all three guys that are actually revealing. Absolute essential viewing for any Rush fan, but I've heard that even non-fans enjoy the doc.

A friend and former boss of mine who does a blog on rock docs wrote about it here: he mentions that he used to like the band and then moved on because of punk. I never did that, even as I got into punk and what was known as "alternative," and neither did many of the artists interviewed for this film. One of the creators of South Park was interviewed, and comments that even rock critics who hated them for years have to give the band their props these days.  And if they don't, "then they're just being old dicks." Amen brother.

My only gripe: there were great extras, but I would have loved to see the full interviews with Reznor, Claypool, et all. The interviews with other artists was the best part of the recent Stones In Exile doc.  Maybe on the deluxe edition!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've written a lot about Bruce Springsteen since starting No Expiration. His live shows with The E Street Band over the past few years have been incredible. If you don't believe me, or you didn't get to go to one of the shows, or you did and you want to see what is quite possibly the best rock and roll band in the land again, pick up the new DVD London Calling: Live In Hyde Park.

Recorded at the Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park last summer, Bruce opens the show with a cover of The Clash's "London Calling" (possibly inspired by a fax Joe Strummer sent to a British TV producer about Bruce). There's lots of songs that have been on other recent DVD releases (Live In New York City from the 1999/2000 reunion tour and Live In Barcelona from the 2002/2003 tour for The Rising). But I don't get tired of seeing songs like "Badlands," "She's The One" and "Out In The Street." Watching this enormous crowd going crazy gives chills - and the fact that the show starts during the day and you actually watch the sunset adds to the vibe.  But there's also some great unique things here.  The aforementioned "London Calling," but also "Night" which is a great live song, "Seeds," the rocking version of the Nebraska classic "Johnny 99," "American Land," Jimmy Cliff's "Trapped" and "No Surrender" with Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem. I mean, a 20-something year old Jersey punk rocker made good, joining Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on stage in England for "No Surrender," and the crowd goes wild?  It gave me chills to watch it.

The main critique of this that I've read is that there were more "interesting" shows on the tour, mainly the full album sets.  I'd agree with that, but that isn't really a critique of this release, it's a complaint that he didn't release the show you wanted. Which is fine, but this release is awesome.  Of course, I'd love it if he released any (or all) of the shows where he played albums in their entirety on DVD or CD, but I'm not mad about Hyde Park. I will say that the bonus tracks are random: "The River," recorded the night before at the Glastonbury Festival, and the video for "Wrecking Ball," the song he wrote for Giants Stadium's last date. I would have loved the opening song from Glastonbury, a cover of the Joe Strummer solo classic "Coma Girl," but I won't complain.

I wonder if this was the last E Street Band tour. People seem to think that there's one left.  Well, if there isn't: they went out on top, and this DVD is exhibit A.