Friday, December 31, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Patti Smith Group - Teenage Perversity and Ships in the NIght
I bought this vinyl bootleg when it came out in the late 70's, but hadn't pulled it out in ages. It stills stands up as one of the best 70's boots and a superb document of the PSG at their finest.
The climax is their punk-rock take on "My Generation" with John Cale on bass, sounding like he is simultaneously mangling and tripping over his instrument, and with such performed by everyone with such wild abandon that words become negligible but the energy is palpable. Fantastic!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
All the Young Dudes, The Biography - Campbell Devine
Obviously, I have written about Mott the Hoople many times before and they have been a fave band of mine since discovering them when they hit big with Bowie's "All the Young Dudes". I went back and discovered their earlier works which are rawer and wilder, overall, and were the blueprint for the later British punk bands. Their 3 CD Anthology was a wonderful find for me and the live CDs of their early days are a continuing revelation.
This book recounts the guys' lives and careers, from their early days of rival bands playing through England and Germany to their days of stardom, headlining large halls. There are some terrific tales of recording sessions with Guy Stevens and tales of the road (though I think there could have been more lurid details that have been left out) told by each of the original band members. This is an authorized biography so each person had been interviewed and gives their points of view, though Overend Watts (his real - middle and last - name!) seems to speak more than most, other than Ian. Apparently Watts was a main instigator in their career, so this seems more than fitting.
Almost half of the book is about Ian Hunter's solo career which, while I admire his talent, was never that interesting to me. The rest of the guys in MTH went on to Bad Company (Mick Ralphs) and various spin-offs (Mott, the British Lions) before more-or-less retiring from music - or at least live bands.
Still, a fantastic tale of one of the best bands of the 70's. Get it!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Xmas to Me!
Friday, December 17, 2010
damn, the Captain is gone...
Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, dead at 69
SAN FRANCISCO – Musician and artist Don Van Vliet, who performed a complex brand of experimental rock under the name Captain Beefheart, died Friday. He was 69.
The Michael Werner Gallery in New York confirmed Van Vliet's death in California due to complications stemming from multiple sclerosis. The gallery exhibits his paintings.
Van Vliet was probably best known for the album "Trout Mask Replica," which was released in 1969 by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.
The album's angular, dissonant take on blues rock and Van Vliet's growling, surreal lyrics put him outside the mainstream, but staked his place in rock history.
Rolling Stone magazine recently ranked "Trout Mask Replica" number 58 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was produced by fellow experimental rock pioneer Frank Zappa, a high school friend from the desert town of Lancaster, Calif.
"Record producers have always been certain that Don Vliet was just a hype away from the big money," according to a 1970 profile in Rolling Stone. "But Beefheart stubbornly continues what he's doing and waits patiently for everyone else to come around."
By shunning commercial success and a more accessible sound, Van Vliet became a role model for subsequent generations of musicians. His music is cited as an influence on the rise of punk, post-punk and new wave. Beefheart is also claimed as a kindred spirit by free jazz musicians and avant-garde classical composers.
In the 1980s, Van Vliet turned full-time to art. He painted in a raw, expressionistic style and showed his acclaimed work widely even as he withdrew from the public eye.
He is survived by his wife of more than 40 years.
Beefhart has been a fave of mine for decades and I've just recently converted Melanie to the cult of the Captain, so this is particularly sad...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Congrats Alice Cooper Band, Dr. John, Tom Waits, Leon Russell and Darlene Love!
Alice Cooper, Darlene Love, Neil Diamond in Hall
That point came on Tuesday, as the 2011 class for the Cleveland hall was revealed. Diamond, whose hits include "Sweet Caroline," made the list, along with the Alice Cooper Band, New Orleans musician Dr. John, Darlene Love and singer-songwriter Tom Waits.
Piano man Leon Russell was honored with a musical excellence award, previously the sideman category. Executives Jac Holzman and Art Rupe were given the Ahmet Ertegun Awards.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Elvis Costello – Live at Hollywood High
Opening with the then-new “Accidents Will Happen” as an acoustic piano ballad, the group blasts into the frantic “Mystery Dance” followed immediately by “Lip Service”. They finally take a breath long enough for Elvis to speak to the adoring crowd to introduce the (comparatively) sedate “Living in
The set closes frenetically with crazed versions of “You Belong to Me”, the fabulous “Radio, Radio” and the powerful “Pump It Up”. They come back for rockin’ takes of “Waiting for the End of the World” and a rousing “Miracle Man”.
I really doubt that Jim cares these days
Doors' Jim Morrison to get pardoned in Florida
Monday, December 06, 2010
The Insect Surfers – Aces & Ales, Las Vegas, NV 12-4-10
Guitarist Dave Arnson has been leading various incarnations of the Insect Surfers across the country for over 3 decades now. Though the line-ups change, the quality always remains the same, for Dave manages to find some of the finest players to work with at all times. Arson himself is an excellent and imaginative guitarist who still ping-pongs and windmills across the stage without missing a note and while playing intricate harmonies with his fellow players.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music
Widely seen as Lou Reed’s “fuck you” to his fans, his record company and the music industry in general, MMM sees Reed playing amplifiers, effects boxes and tape machines, but no traditional instruments. This ends up being futuristic (still) robotic noise music, but is not completely random or unplanned (at least, Lou claims it isn’t). There are sounds similar to strings, horns and even bird calls throughout, making it reminiscent of many different genres – in fact, his record company wanted to release it on their classical label as an “experimental/electronic” album, but Reed insisted that it was a “rock” record and got his way.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
My latest acquisition - a hollow body Gretsch Electromatic. Great action and a beautiful, warm sound for the jazz and blues pieces that I've been working on. I prefer double cutaways in general, and this single cutaway starts lower than on most electric guitars, but this is a fine instrument and was a great purchase!