Saturday, May 29, 2010

ah, man...

Hollywood icon Dennis Hopper dies, was a leading official of CineVegas

LOS ANGELES -- Dennis Hopper, the high-flying Hollywood wild man whose memorable and erratic career included an early turn in "Rebel Without a Cause," an improbable smash with "Easy Rider" and a classic character role in "Blue Velvet," has died. He was 74.


If any actor is rock'n'roll, it was Hopper - making a career of being a fucked up, stoned crazy man. I have not idea what he was like in real life, but man, what a cast of characters he created!

He will be missed...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gene Simmons in trouble

No charges for Gene Simmons over LA mall attack

LOS ANGELES – Prosecutors will not charge Kiss rocker Gene Simmons over an alleged attack on a couple at an upscale outdoor mall, while a new, separate civil lawsuit claims the musician sexually assaulted a makeup artist.

The district attorney's office stated in documents Wednesday that there was not enough evidence the 60-year-old musician threatened Nathan Marlowe and his wife Cynthia Manzo at The Grove mall in Los Angeles last December.

Marlowe had said the musician choked the couple and took their video camera after they started filming the star, while Simmons told police that Marlowe shoved the camera in his face and that he feared for his family's safety.

Simmons' attorney Barry Mallen called the decision "completely expected." The couple's attorney, Matthew Nezhad, said Thursday that they would pursue the matter with the district attorney's office.

"We don't understand how there could not be a charge if he admitted to taking the camera," he said.

Nezhad also said a civil lawsuit filed in December by Marlowe and Manzo against Simmons was still pending. The couple is seeking more than $25,000 in damages for claims of assault, battery and emotional distress, including damage to their sex life.

Simmons also faces a separate civil lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Los Angeles by makeup artist Victoria Jackson, on allegations of sexual assault and battery. She is seeking unspecified damages.

In court documents, Jackson claimed she was working for ESPN Sports Center on Nov. 24, 2009, when she met Simmons wearing his Kiss costume. She alleged that Simmons said "in a lecherous and inappropriate manner, 'I like you.'"

Jackson claimed Simmons then shook her hand, grabbed and hugged her, with his costume's spiked chest plate jabbing her in the face.

After she resisted his embrace, Jackson claimed, Simmons started grinding into her, then finally released her.

Jackson described the alleged incident as "degrading, shocking and humiliating." A phone message left for her attorney, Richard Kolber, was not immediately returned.

Simmons' spokesman, Allan Mayer, said his client filed suit against Jackson last week.

In a statement, Mayer said Simmons "categorically denies" the allegations and Jackson is trying to get "compensation from him for nonexistent injuries."

His claim argues that his costume is like a suit of armor and would have made it impossible for him to grind into Jackson because it covers his groin area with a cod piece.

"Mr. Simmons intends to defend himself aggressively and looks forward to refuting Ms. Jackson's charges in the courtroom," the statement said.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Iggy Pop - TV Eye Live 1977, Iggy & Ziggy Cleveland ‘77

Having been a huge Iggy & the Stooges fan for years, when the initial live TV Eye came out in 1977/1978, of course I had to buy it. Unfortunately, it was just ok – the sound quality is iffy throughout and the performances were not the best – sloppy, muddy and unbalanced, even for the material.

That said, it was still an interesting artifact of the time, with David Bowie sitting in (on some of the songs – the 8 songs on the album are compiled from three different gigs, 2 of them without Bowie) on keyboards, giving a cool texture to the show. Iggy pulled off some cool Stooges numbers, including the then-recent Bomp single, “I Got a Right”, one of his most phenomenal numbers.

The new Iggy & Ziggy CD has the entire March 21st Cleveland show (with Bowie on the whole gig), showcasing many more Stooges tunes as well as a few more of his solo songs. There are numbers from each of the 3 Stooges records - in fact, many more of these than of his later material. While nothing is improved upon, it is fascinating to see what he was doing with the tunes at the time when so many punk bands were covering these, most notably the Sex Pistols take on “No Fun”.

The sound on the new CD is considerably better than the original album – either due to new technology or simply more time spent on the production. So while there are different songs of both, I would recommend the new Iggy & Ziggy over the original TV Eye, but naturally, complete-ists will need both.

Iggy & Ziggy line up:
Raw Power
Turn Blue
Sister Midnight
I Need Somebody
Search and Destroy
TV Eye
Gimme Danger
No Fun
I Wanna Be Your Dog

TV Eye line up:
TV Eye
I Got a Right
Lust for Life
I Wanna Be Your Dog

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cheap Trick - The Latest

When I saw Cheap Trick last fall doing Sgt. Peppers, my main disappointment was that they didn't do any of their own stellar material, as well. At this show I discovered that they had a new record out, so I put it on my wish list, but I didn't pick it up until now. Glad that I finally did!

The band is as strong as ever and their time doing the Beatles really comes through here - they were always heavily influenced by the Liverpudians, but it is really obvious here. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is kinda funny as you hear bits and pieces in the new tunes.

The album opens with a short, almost ambient "Sleep Forever" (fittingly, reminiscent of something from Dream Police) before moving into a terrific cover of Slade's Beatle-esque tune, "When The Lights Go Out". Simply marvelous! Really took me by surprise when I first heard this, but it totally works, especially since they add segments of their own "'Elo Kiddies" to the mix!

The album alternates between power ballads and hard rockers, and, naturally, I favor the rockers, but everything is pretty damn good here. There is a bit more orchestration than I sometimes prefer, but nothing that doesn't work within the tunes.

The heavy tunes truly rock, such as "Sick Man of Europe" (sounding similar to an upbeat Jet tune - who got their ideas from Cheap Trick, most likely), "Every Day You Make Me Crazy" (also sounding like a Dream Police outtake), the Paul McCartney-does-Little Richard "California Girl" (right down to the "I'm Down" bass lines and "Whooo's") and the monster riffing in "Alive".

Not as manic as their early works, of course, but still a terrific outing from these cats showing that they still have what it takes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

looking forward to this!

Rolling Stones go back in time with 'Exile'

NEW YORK – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards aren't interested in repeating the past.

The legends say if given the chance, they wouldn't try and relive their wild days with the Rolling Stones.

"We have done it once, don't want to do it again," Jagger says.

But that doesn't mean that they wouldn't re-watch it — and they've done plenty of that lately with the Stones-produced documentary, "Stones in Exile," chronicling the making of their iconic 1972 album, "Exile on Main Street."

"It was kind of odd at the beginning, but you get used to it," Jagger said last week. "It is always fun piecing together what actually happened because your memory of that is so long ago, you don't really remember what went on because it is such a long period of time."

The movie is also being paired with the rerelease of the album, with 10 new tracks.

Jagger and Richards — in separate interviews — talked about their trip down memory lane, trying to improve upon perfection in "Exile on Main Street," and, of
course, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll

AP: How hands on were you with the project?

Jagger: The film was my baby because I thought it was the best kind of thing to do — evoking a period, to make a film about the making of the record. Normally, these kinds of films are corny and they are painted by numbers. ... What I wanted to do is, I want the viewer to feel like they are really in the period, like they are really stuck in the period. I think in the end we achieved that.

AP: "Exile on Main Street" is considered to be one of the best rock albums of all time. Why add extra tracks and mess with what some think is perfection?

Richards: We had guys searching around in the can, and all of this other stuff came out. We realized we would have finished if we had the time. We were going to put out 18 tracks on "Exile," so we couldn't force the record company to put out anymore at gunpoint. They either got left behind because they were not quite finished, so we finished them after 40 years.

Jagger: Four of them are alternate takes of the ones that are already on there. The most hard work for me was finding the six new tracks and finishing them because they were not finished. The were raw and had never been touched, whereas the tracks that were out on "Exile," we took them to L.A. We did vocals. We put other things on them and mixed them. These had not gone through that process. I had to take that 40 years later and do the process. It was fun because after a while, I just said, "If this was done yesterday, what would you do now?" Don't treat it like it is 40 years ago, the process of it.

AP: Does it trip you out that you are still doing this nearly 40 years later?

Richards: It is weird. You go check out what you have done in the past. You try it. You don't want to go there.

Jagger: It is weird, really. When you do these kinds of things, especially when you are younger, you don't really think of them as a piece for prosperity. You are just doing it for that year because next year there will be another record, so, you don't really think at the time, "This will hold up, or I'm so proud of it. This will be something I will be looking back on in 40 years." You don't think of it. I don't think people in rock music, especially at that time, ever thought like that.

AP: There are so many myths about the time you spent making this album. Was it all sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll?

Jagger: It was very familial because we hadn't had a lot of children around before. We were just starting to have children. I didn't have any children at that point, but we started to have children around. Keith had his first son, and some of the other people around us, not necessarily the band, but people who were working on the record, so it is always good to have a few children. If you have one, it is not much fun for that child. It is nice to have a gang. That was really nice. Of course, there was sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but there was also a good family atmosphere.

Richards: I have been thinking about that. We were on a schedule where I had to write two songs a day, every afternoon. Then I had to get it down to the basement and get it to the guys to play who would hopefully come back with two tracks in the morning. I couldn't find any time to do porridge (drugs). There were parties going on, but no more than anywhere else. The baby went to bed at the right time. It was the south of France in the summer. There were a lot of people drifting in and out.

AP: Do you think the Stones have another iconic album in them?

Jagger: Well, you always hope so. You are always proud of the new things you do. You always think, "What I wrote last week is just as good as anything on 'Exile on
Main Street.'" That is what I think. The thing about records like "Exile" is that they require a big pattern, like an old English table. It requires some time.

AP: Knowing what you now know, what advice would you give to the young you of 40 years ago?

Richards: Don't do this at home.


Monday, May 17, 2010

perpetuating the myth of moron metal-heads

Guitarist falls ill after taking Viagra

BERLIN (Reuters) – Tokio Hotel guitarist Tom Kaulitz told a German newspaper on Friday he fell ill after taking too many Viagra tablets and could not see straight for days.

Kaulitz, 20, told Bild newspaper that someone offered him a Viagra tablet during a concert tour of Asia. After first turning down the offer, Kaulitz said he decided to try one. He said a little later he took a second one and fell ill.

"I first asked the seller 'Do I look like someone who needs help with that?'" said Kaulitz, whose brother Bill is the group's lead singer. "He said 'no' -- but that I should nevertheless try it out.

I popped one in."

Kaulitz, a member of the German rock band that has sold millions of albums around the world, said he took a few more tablets used to treat impotence when he got back to his hotel.

"I popped a few more pills, probably too many," he said. "The next morning my head was pounding and everything in front of my eyes was blurry. It wasn't fun anymore. It was pretty bad."

Kaulitz said it took two days for the effects to wear off. "Unfortunately there were situations where it just wasn't appropriate," Kaulitz said.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

he gained my respect when he worked with Tenancious D

Metal legend Ronnie James Dio dead at 67
I was never a big Dio fan, but when he appeared in the Pick of Destiny with Tenancious D, I respected him for being able to laugh at himself.

And I find this headline pretty hilarious:
'Devil's horns' music great 'passes peacefully'

Saturday, May 15, 2010


WATCH: Gaga, Springsteen, Elton, Sting, Deborah Harry Sing Journey

(Huffington Post)
Why would these people get together and cover such a horrific song by one of the worst bands of all time?
WTF is the music world coming to?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together

The 70’s was a golden era for soul music, as well as for FM radio, which was still a relatively new format at the time. I used to sit in my bedroom with my little Radio Shack cassette recorder (which I also used to create multi-tracked original songs) sitting next to my clock radio and hit “record” any time I heard some cool sounds coming out of the free-form format. I discovered many fantastic rock, blues and soul groups in this way.

Tommy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together” is one that I first heard this way and always loved, but often forgot about and never knew the artist. I recently heard this again after what seemed like decades and thanks to the internet, was finally able to discover who did it.

The title track opens the CD and its minimalistic groove still never fails to capture me with cool key sounds and drum machine rhythm. In fact, it sounds like Thomas is playing on some early Casio or something and there are no other instruments. He gets a variety of tones out of the keys and the percussion sounds just like the built-in that the organ would come with. Somehow, this works amazingly well and everything clicks to create a classic soul tune. Of course, his sweet, smooth voice, incredible melody and message of unity pull it all together.

The rest of the album, while also containing the same elements, doesn’t quite click as well, though it is all still immensely listenable. It does come across as a bit “muzac-y” at times, as in the instrumental version of “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. But he manages to meld gospel, soul, r’n’b and blues into his simple concoctions and make a distinctive and unforgettable sound. Still groovy after all these years!

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Space Guitsr

Wanting more after hearing The Essential Johnny Guitar Watson again, I found this collection of his early 50’s through early 60’s works. The title “Space Guitar” grabbed me right away and when I heard that it was one of the earliest uses of Fender’s spring reverb, I knew that I had to have it, since I have used and abused that effect over the years, myself.

But this comp has plenty of other works, as well, including some of Watson’s piano pieces, such as the minor-key “No, I Can’t” and the relatively obscene “Motor Head Baby”, another early piece comparing fast cars to sex. In “I Got Eyes”, he shows off some fine boogie-woogie key riffs and then in “Half Pint of Whiskey” he highlights his love for alcohol as well as some of the first recordings of his uniquely expressive guitar licks.

“Space Guitar” comes next and is as wild, wacky and vicious enough to be a Lick Wray number, right down to the pop culture references and insane guitar attacks. Watson truly sounds like he is beating on his guitar rather than picking or strumming it. It is almost a relief when the sax comes in for a solo as it takes a little of the aggression out of the tune! If this was all he was ever known for, it would be enough! What a crazed masterpiece!

Back to the drinking and partying in the matter-of-factly titled “Getting’ Drunk”, with its wildly exaggerated (I hope!) lyrics of the amount of alcohol Johnny is going to consume in order to forget his woman. More stabbing guitar lines and neck slips, slides and taps highlight this number.

Watson also has a nice, doo-wop influenced tune in “Cuttin’ In”, with its more traditional blues guitar lines and even a string section! Showing even more versatility, he bounces in with a cool, early r’n’b goover, “Broke and Lonely”, which I could imagine someone like the Detroit Wheels or the Sonics covering in later years. “Sweet Lovin’ Mama” rocks a similar, toe-tapping vein, with nice horn accents.

This collection throws in another version of his theme-song, “Gangster of Love”, his (highly original and personal) take on Muddy Waters’ “Hootchie Kootchie Man” – brash, boastful and excellent! It closes with another version of “Space Guitar”, showing how Watson improvised on these recordings and always came up with something cool and all his own.

While obviously influenced by those who went before him, no one else quite sounds like Watson and this is another superb grouping of his early works.

Lowell Fulson – The Original West Coast Blues

Another legendary blues guitarist of the original burgeoning west coast scene is Lowell Fulson, who started his recording career in the 40’s. This collection contains some of his earliest works dating between 1946 through 1948. A contemporary of other giants such as T-Bone Walker, Fulson works in a similar idiom, a relatively smooth, urban blues with piano backing his fluid guitar lines.

Overall, Fulson’s style is fairly laid-back, mid-tempo blues, but there is variety, such as the boogie-woogie of “I Want to See My Baby” and “Don’t Be So Evil” to the pre-r’n’r of “9:30 Shuffle” and “Trying to Find My Baby”.

Lowell worked with many fine musicians over the years and even gave Ray Charles his start in the business. This compilation shows Fulson’s beginnings (though he had been playing for years prior to his first recordings) and proves why he was an enduring artist whose careers spanned decades and influenced many of the world’s most well-known guitarists.

Jimmy Rogers - His Best

In the 40’s and 50’s, Muddy Waters and his band, which at its peak consisted of Willie Dixon on bass, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Little Walter on harmonica and Elgin Evans on drums, positively ruled the Chicago blues scene. Many other stars came through the ranks (including Otis Spann, Big Walter, Junior Wells, and a number of others) but this core was the band at its best and created careers for both Walter and Jimmy. Interesting enough, the recording sessions often overlapped and so the same lineup was used for Muddy’s hits as well as Jimmy’s and Walter’s. But rather than market these records as the same band, the Chess label created several stars from the same group.

Waters obviously became the superstar and (deservedly) one of the kings of the blues, but the others were supremely talented as this collection of Rogers’ proves. As I said, many of these recordings are backed by Muddy’s band (with Muddy on guitar) and so you couldn’t ask for a better group – these cats knew how to groove! There are some sessions with others, as well, and all swing with a fine passion.

Jimmy’s voice is much smoother and less raw and primal than Waters, so there is a different feel to these numbers despite the consistency of the musicians. But, that is not to say that these are any less great – just not the same as Muddy’s tunes. Rogers is still a fine singer and a terrific songwriter and Little Water in particular stands out on many of the cuts.

This collection has many of his best known tunes, from “That’s All Right”, “Luedella” and “Goin’ Away Baby” to the finely melodic “Walking By Myself” to the swingin’, jazzy “What Have I Done” to the hilarious dark humor of “One Last Meal” to the high energy of “Rock This House” with its cool, blazing jazz/blues licks.

This man is an icon of the blues who, despite the acclaim of many famous rockers, remains relatively obscure compared to men he played with, such as Muddy & Howlin’ Wolf. Get this collection and find out just how talented he was on his own, as well.