Monday, August 31, 2009

is there really a point to this 40 years later?

UK police to review Rolling Stones guitarist death

LONDON – British police said Monday they will review the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, whose 1969 drowning was ruled an accident but sparked decades of speculation that he was murdered.

Sussex police in southeast England said they will examine new documents received from an investigative journalist relating to Jones' death.

"It's too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome might be," the Sussex duty inspector said, reading a statement over the telephone. Police did not give further details.

The Mail on Sunday reported that journalist Scott Jones — who is not related to the musician — has handed over 600 documents to Sussex police.

Brian Jones, one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, was the person who reportedly came up with the band's name. Formed in 1962, the band branched out from blues covers to become a pivotal group in the so-called British Invasion, drawing fans attracted by their rebellious image and surly but sexy style.

Jones was quickly eclipsed by swaggering lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, whose songwriting propelled the band's popularity.

Increasingly marginalized and drawn to drugs and alcohol, Jones quit the band a month before his death and was replaced by Mick Taylor.

Jones stood out even among his bandmates for his flashy clothes and prodigious appetite for drugs. He died July 2, 1969 at age 27, his body found in the swimming pool at his 11-acre (4.5-hectare) Sussex estate.

A coroner said Jones drowned while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but the ruling did not quiet speculation that Jones' death was not an accident.

Two 1994 books claimed that Jones was murdered by a London builder who had been hired to help renovate Jones' home: "Paint it Black: The Murder of Brian Jones," by Geoffrey Guiliano and "Who Killed Christopher Robin?" by Terry Rawlings.

Both claimed that builder Frank Thorogood confessed on his deathbed in November 1993 to killing Jones to a road manager for the Stones.

"It was me that did Brian. I just finally snapped," Thorogood reportedly said to road manager Tom Keylock, Rawlings' book quoted Keylock as saying.

It was not clear why British police did not reopen an investigation after those books were published.

Keylock died in July 2009, according to the British newspaper, The Times.

Scott Jones interviewed Janet Lawson, the person who discovered the guitarist's body, shortly before she died last year. In the interview, published in The Mail on Sunday last November, Lawson claimed that her boyfriend, the Rolling Stones tour manager Keylock, had asked her to visit Brian Jones as he was worried about tensions between Jones and Thorogood.

She told the investigative reporter that she saw Jones and Thorogood fooling about in the pool, and later saw Thorogood come into the house, shaking badly.

She told Scott Jones her original police statement did not mention any tensions between Jones and Thorogood.

"The police were trying to put words into my mouth," she is reported as saying.

The title of Rawlings' book is a reference to Jones' estate, which was formerly the home of the late author A.A. Milne, author of "Winnie the Pooh," which features the character Christopher Robin.

The Rolling Stones are now one of the most influential, biggest-selling rock bands in the world, with album sales estimated at more than 200 million copies. The band's long list of classic hits include "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Street Fighting Man" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

The band is now made up of Jagger, Richards, Ronnie Wood — who replaced Taylor in 1975 — and drummer Charlie Watts.

The Stones topped Forbes' rich list for music acts in 2007, earning some $88 million between June 2006 and June 2007, mostly from their "Bigger Bang Tour."


Saturday, August 15, 2009

damn kids today...

You're Bob Dylan? NJ police want to see some ID

RIP Jim Dickinson

Memphis producer, musician Jim Dickinson dies

JACKSON, Miss. – Jim Dickinson, a musician and producer who helped shape the Memphis sound in a career that spanned more than four decades, died Saturday. He was 67.

His wife, Mary Lindsay Dickinson, said he died in a Memphis, Tenn., hospital after three months of heart and intestinal bleeding problems.

The couple lived in Hernando, Miss., but Dickinson recently had bypass surgery and was undergoing rehabilitation at Methodist University Hospital, his wife said.


Dickinson's career touched on some of the most important music made in the '60s and '70s. He recorded the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" in Muscle Shoals, Ala.; formed the Atlantic Records house band The Dixie Flyers to record with Franklin and other R&B legends in Miami; inspired a legion of indie rock bands through his work with Big Star; collaborated with Ry Cooder on a number of movie scores, including "Paris, Texas;" and played with Dylan on his Grammy-winning return to prominence, "Time Out of Mind."

He credited his work with Big Star on "Third/Sister Lovers" with keeping his tape reels turning over the years, and Stephens found Dickinson's fingerprints all over the album when he listened to it recently.

"There's so many contributions from people that Jim either brought in or helped steer," Stephens said. "And sometimes a brilliant decision is to do nothing, allow space and that sort of thing. His keyboard part in 'Kizza Me' is this great fractured piano that kind of cascades, like the piano's falling down a flight of steps. I think it was all about the spirit and the emotion."

Dickinson's later work as a producer veered wildly across genres, skipping from Mudhoney to T Model Ford to Lucero and Amy Lavere.

"I'm not really a success-oriented person," Dickinson said. "If you look back at my records that I've made as a producer, they're pretty left-wing. It's some pretty off-the-wall stuff. Especially in the punk rock days. I literally took clients because I thought it would impress my children. I did work in the '70s and '80s where that was definitely my main motive."


Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Les Paul

Les Paul Dead, Guitar Legend Was 94

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday. He was 94.

According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side.

He had been hospitalized in February 2006 when he learned he won two Grammys for an album he released after his 90th birthday, "Les Paul & Friends: American Made, World Played."

"I feel like a condemned building with a new flagpole on it," he joked.

As an inventor, Paul helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll and multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the "tracks" in the finished recording.

With Ford, his wife from 1949 to 1962, he earned 36 gold records and 11 No. 1 pop hits, including "Vaya Con Dios," "How High the Moon," "Nola" and "Lover." Many of their songs used overdubbing techniques that Paul the inventor had helped develop.

"I could take my Mary and make her three, six, nine, 12, as many voices as I wished," he recalled. "This is quite an asset." The overdubbing technique was highly influential on later recording artists such as the Carpenters.

The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s, and then exploded with the advent of rock the 1950s.

"Suddenly, it was recognized that power was a very important part of music," Paul once said. "To have the dynamics, to have the way of expressing yourself beyond the normal limits of an unamplified instrument, was incredible. Today a guy wouldn't think of singing a song on a stage without a microphone and a sound system."

A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called "The Log," a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings.

"I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut." He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape.

In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar.

Pete Townsend of The Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string.

Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie's auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600.

As the Supersuckers have said, "Thanks for the Gold Top!"

Friday, August 07, 2009

another gone way too early

Founder of punk's Mink DeVille dies at 58

NEW YORK – Willy DeVille, a singer who was founder and principal songwriter of the punk group Mink DeVille, has died in New York City. He was 58.

Publicist Carol Kaye says he died of pancreatic cancer. He died Thursday night at Cabrini Hospital.

She says the rock world has lost "another one of its influential pioneers."

Mink DeVille appeared in the 1970s at the legendary CBGB club in Greenwich Village. It was billed as one of the most original groups on the New York punk scene.

Its 1977 album "Cabretta" featured the song "Spanish Stroll." It was a Top 20 hit in the United Kingdom.

Willy DeVille was known for his blend of R&B, blues, Dixieland and French Cajun ballads.


My Review of his first two albums here.