Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My East Coast Red Rocks Monster Vacation

Well, I did it. As promised in my 5/29 post, last night after a little encouragement from Jake S.(and the gracious use of his car), I made my reservations for a trip to Philly and Connecticut to see my boy Brian Wilson and band perform SMiLE. I'm sooo fucking stoked. Having twice seen them perform it in Texas last year (Houston & Austin), I knew I would punch myself in the face if I didn't go see him again this summer. I got the whole thing booked for under $500! That's pretty reasonable. Thanks you Southwest Airlines. Now all I have to do is live that long. Until then you just try and wipe the shit-eatin' grin off my face. Yahoo and woot! Good for me. I'm glad I got motivated and made the plunge. It will make working the 50-60 hours a week worth the wait. I had thought about making a day trip to New Orleans to see him perform at Jazz Fest in late April. But after a little consideration, the thought of braving the crowds, heat, and New Orleans, I thought better of it. And after seeing his set list, I'm glad I didn't go. He didn't play SMiLE and it was an abbreviated set at best. Greatest hits kind of thing. I prefer the set up he's been doing during a full show frankly (acoustic opening set followed by a meaty electric set and finally after a set break SMiLE and a greatest hits encore). A good 2 1/2 hours of Brian at his best and covering all parts of his career. In the immortal words of Flounder, "Oh, boy! This is gonna be grrreat!"

And the cherry on top is a free trip to Denver, later this month, to see Widespread Panic at fucking Red Rocks! All I have to do is go to my cousins wedding on 6/25 and my mom paid for the plane ticket. After telling her I didn't wanna go about 5 times, I finally realized the opportunity that was presented to me..And I jumped on it. I'm not a huge WP fan, but a bunch of my fellow touring buddies from the Grateful Dead years are and they will all be there. I didn't even know about the concert until I agreed to go, so I think it's fate. I must admit that I've even walked out of a WP show here in Houston back in the mid 90's. They played at a very intimate venue called Rockefellers (now a wedding reception hall) and I wasn't too impressed. But to my credit, I had eaten a huge horse pill before I went and it wasn't very conducive to being vertical. So, I bailed. The last time I got to see my friends was when they were all in Austin about 3 years ago seeing WP at a venue called the Backyard. I met them after the 3rd night of a 3 day run and we partied like rock stars. We did all go to a late show that same evening to see Robert Randolph and his family band and it was amazing. He's a real showman. Several members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band showed up (having been at the WP show earlier that evening) and really added some excellent grooves to RR sound. Several months (or years) later I told my friend Steve I was at the show and he was kinda jealous. He informed me that no bootleg recordings of that show had surfaced and likely would not. So another "good for me" is deserved. I'm looking forward to the trip and seeing my pals again.

And finally, since I know no one is actually downloading any of the music I put up here, I'm going to offer an original recording produced by my old pal Eddie Hawkins. It's called (It's a) Monster Vacation feat. Frankenstein on bass. That's right, that's the title. It's from a soon to be released retrospective CD of songs from the previous ten years of Tamalalia (a wacky autobiography of a musical about my good friend
Tamarie). enjoy!


Monday, May 30, 2005

The Grateful Dead & Me(4.12.89)

While watching a vhs recording I made last weekend of the Flaming Lips on Austin City Limits, I discovered I had partially recorded over a PBS broadcast of the documentary Anthem To Beauty which chronicles the recordings the Grateful Dead did between 1967 and 1970. As I was drawn in to the viewing, I was reminded of my eternal connection with this band...

My love affair with the Grateful Dead(not the Other Ones or The Dead or any of that related bullshit) began on April 12, 1989 with the attendance of my first concert at Rosemont Horizon in the suburbs of Chicago. Several months before a college friend named Eli Goodman asked if I was planning on buying tickets to see their 3 day run at the venue. I thought it was awful silly to be buying tickets for a run of shows that far in advance and gently said no and went about my business. Well, the day after the first show Eli showed up at my dorm room with a look of dazed glory beaming from his soul. He simply told me, "You’ve got to come to tonight’s show". I'm no fool and when somebody with that look tells you to do something, you do it! I'm not even sure how I got a ticket for that evenings show, but before too long I had blown off my Wednesday afternoon classes and hopped on the "L" with Eli and away we went. Being prone to motion sickness the bumpy 45min. ride did not treat my stomach too well, but we arrived and were soon wandering the parking lot looking for someone Eli called "the liquid guy". Before too long we found such a person who informed us it would be a dollar a drop. So, we handed him 4 bucks and he gave Eli two nice droplets on the back of his hand next to his thumb joint. As I held out my hand, the liquid guy gave it a little too much pressure and proceeded to blast the back of my hand with liquid. "Oooh, sorry", he said and off he went. I licked the excess fluid that was now running down my arm, and thought little of it.
Now, I had had psychedelics before, but what I was about to experience was beyond anything I had ever witnessed.

We moved around the parking lot enjoying all the sights and smells, which looked to me to be some sort of reject carnival that had completely taken over this tremendously large concrete lot. I recall walking down aisles of cars with people selling all sorts of tye-dyed goods along with any number of food stuffs. Before long we saw a trail of people all coming from one area who were all carrying large inflated balloons with the. I thought it was just more strangeness in a lot filled with such wonders. Well, Eli knew what it meant and he shuffled us off to the source. After procuring our balloons, we found a car that we laid on the hood of looking skywards. Rosemont Horizon is just across the freeway from O'Hare Airport, so as we leaned back on the hood the airplanes that were coming on to land lined up right before our eyes. With the first inhalation of the N2O balloon, my brain instantly splattered as one plane after the next flew directly over our heads with bone jarring decibels in tow. "Jeezzus-fucking-christ!" was the only thing running through my head as I was transported to another time and place with each inhalation. I regained a portion of my composure when Eli informed me it was now time to go inside and see the band. I already felt as if I had been on the journey of a lifetime and we were still in the fucking parking lot!

As we made our way to the door, a large crowd had assembled at the very same area. With a bank of some 2 dozen doors in front of us, the genius' at Rosemont decided it would be best to try and get everyone through as few doors as possible. Needless to say, the crowd grew very thick and soon I realized I was no longer in control of my feet and was being carried every which way by the movement of this suffocating amoeba of people. With my stomach already queasy from the train ride, I became nauseous and proceeded to throw up on the back of the poor little hippie chick in front of me. The lsd had taken, and I was no longer able to speak in order to apologize to the dear girl. She just rolled her eyes and slid through he crowd with ease (now that she had my puke as lubricant). It all happened so quickly, even Eli wasn't sure about what had happened. He asked if I had just thrown up on her, and I guess by the look in my eyes he could tell it the answer was "yes".

It wasn't too long after this that we could hear the band starting to tune up and the intensity and desperation of the crowd grew with each passing second. Before I knew it, I was at the ticket taker and inside the venue. Eli shuffled us inside the arena where my eyes fell upon a miraculous sight. A crowd of 18,ooo people all moving to the sound, with a light show that painted a pastel picture more beautiful and vibrant than any oil painting I had seen before. Despite the beauty that was before my dilated pupils, I was still VERY sick to my stomach. And to save myself from any more embarrassment in front of Eli, I ventured away from him to the upper-echelons of the venue. I found a nice large object and leaned against it to try to get my head together. Well, the object I was clinging to was a large quadraphonic speaker placed in the upper deck of the hall and was now twisting my head with bolts of delightful musical notes bending and swirling around my brain. I was too high for this. I quickly moved away and shuffled through rows of people who were bending and twisting themselves along with the musical backdrop. Even with my senses completely on overload I was aware of a "sound". A body piercing wave of musical ecstasy that filled every pore in my drug addled body. I seemed to be coming from the right hand side of the stage. There seemed to be a halo surrounding this grey haired figure playing guitar. I was aware of it, but in my state couldn't quite comprehend what exactly was going on there. I really just needed to get myself together and figure out which way was up and which was down. I think I must have thrown up 2 or 3 more time before I had the courage to find Eli again, but by this time that band was wrapping up the first set and headed off stage. Again, without the aid of speech, Eli could tell that my head was spun and he lead us off to the hallways outside the arena proper which was teaming with Deadheads of all shapes and sizes. We sat again a wall so that I could have something against my back and a solid foundation under my feet. This is where I caught my snap and it was all due to some tour rat who was bouncing a little red rubber ball against the cinder block walls of the hallway. This made me giggle...a lot!

So with my head together, we headed back inside the arena and moved quickly toward the floor. I'm not exactly sure how we made it on to the floor as our tickets were for anything but decent seats, but somehow the two of us made it down just as the lights fell for the second set. With electricity now at a fever pitch the band came back on stage and tore in to one of two songs I knew by them, Touch Of Grey. I started to move like all of the other attendees without even being conscience of it. I also realized that there was a noise floating just above the heads of the crowd. It dawned on me that every single soul in the venue was singing along with each word and it created an invisible instrument which hung above the crowd like a swirling mist. No sooner had I realized this, when the band started up their next song (the OTHER song I knew by the band) Truckin. I was dancing REALLY hard now. Jumping up and down with delight and singing along with the crowd. As the line "the lights all shinning on me" came around, the light show swooped across the stage and illuminated the entire crowd which exploded with approval. I was in heaven. Not 30min. before, I had been in hell. And now here I was singing and dancing as if my life depended on it. I had found my nitch, no doubt about it.

As Eli and I wandered out to the parking lot, a girl holding a Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) tee shirt which had him with a sort of devilish knowing grin on his face. This was me. I KNEW what he was thinking and I quickly bought it from her. It all made sense to me now. I had seen the look in others eyes as I walked the parking lot with Eli. The secret was out, but it was safe with me. We got a ride home from some friends of Eli's and I can recall thinking as we drove down the freeway back toward Chicago, "if this guy driving is anywhere as high as I am right now, we're never gonna make it." With the freezing Chicago air blowing in from the windows, I shivered a bit and held my Calvin shirt close to my body.

We made it back to the dorm where I climbed in bed. Unable to sleep for
several more hours, I watched the ceiling twist and turn as it appeared to be made of oil and water. The next 6 years of my life would be in pursuit of that evenings wonder. Sometimes I found it; sometimes it fell far short of the mark. But what I experienced on that night would profoundly change me forever. I discovered a band with music that hit me at my core. I found others, Dylan, the Flaming Lips, George Harrison that would affect me in a similar way, but never again like Garcia and band would. Even though I never met any member of the band, I (and those that toured with me for the next 6 years) felt as though I had a special window in to their lives. And whether my perception of them and their relationship with the audience was accurate, it became real to me. They had found me (or I them) at a pivotal time in my life. When I was looking for something greater than the sum of its parts and stumbled upon a lifestyle that few get to experience. I know some think I am crazy for my attachment to this group, but what they don't know is the depth to which the bands (and certain members) have affected my emotional growth. It was the school of life the guys taught, warts and all. As they are fallible, so am I. But together, we reached for a higher thing. An American Dream that went beyond the house with a lawn and 2.5 kids. An American Dream that showed me anything was possible, through hard work and determination. Taking the road less traveled has indeed made all the difference, it made me a man.

iPod Song of the day: California from the Lenny Kravitz album Baptism

Sunday, May 29, 2005

SMiLE Live!

In a featurette on the new Brian Wilson presents SMiLE Live dvd, Brian says that he "was born scared". Well let me tell you, after viewing the performance of this instant classic, you've got absolutely nothing to be scared of. If you let it, this show(filmed in L.A in the fall of 2004) will take you on a journey that is only limited to the boundries of your imagination. An aural orgasm is the best way to describe this disc. With its crystal clear audio(including 5.1 mix) and its amazing array of colors, you will need no chemical assistance whatsoever to reach total nirvana. With camera shots so close you can see every nook and valley of the aging, yet quite spirited, Wilson. With facial genstures and hand movements reminiscent of a young schoolboy, Brian guides his band of almost 2 dozen through a symphonic journey that surpasses even the heralded Pet Sounds. And speaking of the band...having been lucky enough to see this superb band live in concert myself three times, I can say without a doubt, this has got to be the finest collection of backing musicians I have EVER had the pleasure to witness. With assistance from the Stockholm Strings, the band, many of them multi-instumentalists, recreate the Beach Boys harmonic blend with masterful precision. The backbone of the group consists of members from the Los Angeles based Wondermints and are beautifully suplemented by Jeffrey Foskett(aka the CEO of falsetto). The sheer giddy emotion that is evident on each band members face is wonderfully infectious. They are acutely aware of the historical importance of this recording and it comes through with every note that is played on stage. And the normally "hipster" LA crowd is more that happy to show their joy as well, with standing ovations after each movement(and sometimes in the middle of them!). Durning the first few minutes, it obvious Brian is aware of the cameras recording the event, but he soon relaxes and gives the performance his undivided attention accented by nods of appoval to specific passages or band members as he sees fit. My only complain is with the overcaffeinated director who has way too many camera angles at his disposal. I feel a more organic feel could have been produced. But as far as Brian and band are concerned, I can hardly express the emotion that overcame me when watching this performance. Delight, sadness, joy, wonder, longing, peace. Do yourself a favor and go and buy this NOW! A splendid time is guaranteed for all...

And that's just the second disc! The first contains a superb documentary which aired last year on Showtime entitled, Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson & The Story Of SMiLE. A unique telling of the backstory which led up to the original SMiLE sessions back in 65-66. With interviews from many of Brian's closest friends and family members, the heartbreak and turmoil experienced by all those surrounding the original sessions is expressed and analyzed to an amazing degree. Of course there are magically intimate stories contained as well. Such as the time Brian commissioned the construction of a harem tent inside his house so they could have hash parties inside the pillow laden structure. But when Brian is asked what it was used for, he innocently replies "to eat sandwiches." With rehearsal footage from 2003 interspliced between interviews and classic footage, this is the definative story of SMilE. Other highlights include, Brian's sheepish backstage meeting with Sir Paul McCartney prior to the premier performance and the emotion that overtakes lyricist Parks Van Dyke at its conclusion.

I think I'm gonna book a flight for the fall East Coast tour right now!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Only The Good Die Young

Sorry if you were looking for Billy Joel content. You'll find none.

It really is true that the best bands die long before most get a chance to hear them. I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it happen a half a dozen times or so. It's usually a local band you've put your heart and soul in to, either as a member or a fan, only to see them dismantle like the Space Shuttle over the Everglades. I'll do my best to scrape the plaque off my brain and give a few recollections of just such a phenomenon.

Before I joined the greatest band that you never heard live(Horseshoe), several members were in a band called Tab Jones. This band would inspire me for years, even after their demise. Greg Wood, Scott Daniels, Chris King, Eddie Hawkins, and Devon Fletcher were the mainstays of this group. Scott on his white Stratocaster blew my mind with every live show. I saw them a number of places here in H-town, but most notably at the Edge Bar on W. Alabama. Stuck back in the corner and adjacent to the pool table, the band tore a hole in my head each time they fired up their amps and did their thang. Sitting on the wooden bench behind the pool table, I was in awe as Scott shot rapid-fire notes from his axe and twisted my brain with his volume control nuances. His work with the volume control is mainly the thing that sticks out in my mind. Now, I've seen some professional musicians tear up the fretboard, but Scott had a way of really taking you on a melodic roller coaster ride as he went up and down the neck with precision attack and tasty waves of joy. Greg, on the other hand, was like a sweaty, gin soaked bear ripping through your mothers lingerie closet. A tidal wave of painful lyrics full of humor, razor wit, and down right genius. Always in your face or stealing your beer, you just couldn't help but see yourself in this hulk covered in hair. Always loaded and always full of the truth you were too afraid to face. But inside those dark greasy bars, he made it somehow okay for you to face those taboos and spit whiskey right in their face. A bonafied rock god, if ever I saw it. A gentle giant with a bottomless pit of despair at his fingertips. I love and respect him more than he'll ever know. I hope he lives to see the fame and fortune he so rightly deserves. Chris King would be my roommate several years later, his best years are still before him. I wouldn't learn of Eddie Hawkins musical genius until I was asked to join Horseshoe. It was there that I discovered I had the east Texas equivalent of Brian Wilson within my sight. When it comes to music, there's nothing this cat can't do. Writer, producer, composer, arranger, singer, you name it, this guy is the total package. Another friend who has yet to see his most productive years. With him, there is no ego. It's all about the music. He will do whatever it takes to get "the sound". I've had the pleasure of seeing him do his magic in the studio and boy is it a sight to witness. A Buddha of music. I hope he gets his chance to make another masterpiece(Horseshoes' King Of The World being the first) sooner rather than later. I'm lucky to call him friend. Devon basically wrote the soundtrack to my 20's. That's all.

As a member of Horseshoe, I had the chance to witness many great musical acts on the same bill with us. However, the band that stood head and shoulders above the rest was a little country punk rock act known as The Sundowners. These guys were really a breed of their own. From their suburban refinery roots, they brought to town a unique hillbilly sound and vision. The lead singer, Johnny Wolf, was part Hendrix, part Hank Williams, with all the sex appeal of Jim Morrison. A statuesque 6' 5", this guy was all nitty-gritty rock 'n roll who just walked out of the backwoods. With the volume on his Marshall half-stack turned up to bleeding ear volume, he stood like a Greek God over the microphone and rocked it just as hard. On drums was an unassuming cat named Red. With his "praying hands" tambourine by his side, he laid down a rock steady beat very reminiscent of Charlie Watts. Never flamboyant, always in the pocket. Their bassist, Hollywood, looked like he was country music royalty. Always decked out in the smartest country garb in fashion, his silver glitter-faced Precision Fender spat out a walking bass line that would get even the most jaded hipster barfly to shake their booty. I think an album was in the works when the whole thing blew up like the Deathstar.

Finally, there was this little ole band called J.W. Americana. Comprised of J.W. Americana on guitar and vocals, C.C. Dupree on bass and vocals, L.C. Dupree on drums, and J.C Dupree on saxophone. These sewer rats were the best thing to happen to this lousy swamptown in a decade. The sum of their parts added up to something much bigger than their individuals. The drunken singing Irishman, the gutter dwelling hero, the sloppy raging idiot that we've all buried beneath a facade of social graces stood up and whipped it out whenever these guys plugged in. A band that slapped you in the face and then made you wanna pogo dance until you puked. The party DID NOT begin until these guys made an appearance. With an arsenal of songs like I Fuckin' Love It, Man, Larry, and We Got No Hotdogs(In My Hometown) they broke all genre molds and made rock 'n roll their bitch. Their no holds barred live performances took you by the shirt collar and kneed you in the dick. And all the while you had a shit-eatin' grin on your smarmy mug. True hedonistic rock at it finest/worst. Again, an album was in the works before the wheels came off.

It's called Rock 'n Roll tragedy, my friend. All shooting stars that would fizzle and die before their day in the sun. Nothing is built to last. Nothing. So goddamn it, support local music. If you're smart, you'll record it, bootleg it, and send it around the world for others to worship. Do yourself a favor, dance and jump around like you've got a red-hot poker up your ass because before you know it, somebody has a baby, gets a job, drug problem, or ego that stomps out the embers before their flash fire can catch. It'll happen again, and dammit I hope I'm there to hear it!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

First Impressions Of The White Stripes' "Get Behind Me Satan"

From an advance vinyl issue:

Blue Orchid: This is pure glam rock. A cross between T-Rex and Lenny Kravitz. Jack socks it to you with his best falsetto right up front. Driving bass drum. Gritty-ass-low-down-dirty guitar tone. Cymbals like gravy over the second half of the verses. Sounds like he's not too happy she took his "wild orchid and turned it blue." Renee, how could you do this to little Jackie-boy? Final notes go right over the precipice.

Quickly turns in to "The Nurse". Xylophone(several) throughout the whole damn thing, accented by the guitar/bass drum/cymbal explosion. Is this a concept album? The one that once cared for him has up and gone. "No I'm never, no I'm never, no I'm never gonna let you down." Huh? Sounds like somebody got let down. Sparse rooster guitar sounds. Another one that concludes by dropping right off the edge.

My Doorbell: Bouncy beat. Not a blues chord structure, but repeating the phrase "I've been thinking about my doorbell. When you gonna ring it?", makes it sound that way. Chunky piano chords are in the drivers seat. Vocals up front one minute, way in the back the next. He must have been doing that famous Jack White electric slide inside vocal booth. No guitar to be found. Slow fade out.

Forever For Her(Is Over For Me): This is a concept album. Jack's had his heart broken and it doesn't sound like he was prepared to call it quits. His hands are tied, but he's also at the end of his rope. Great line: "Forever for her is just a word that means never." Song filled with frustration. Another xylophone and piano based tune. Maracas sprinkled very liberally peppering both verse and chorus. Tinkling xylophone till the end. Again, no guitar.

Little Ghost: Count it off, bwoy! Acoustic guitar, Jack, and beats on the back of an acoustic. I don't think the "pops" from my advance vinyl copy will be on your cd. Verse melody & chords are a total cop of Dylan's "I Believe In You". Lyrics describing an argument? Two people wanting different things. Can't figure this one out.

The Denial Twist: Piano, drums, and more maracas. Soft electric guitar in the bridge. Sounds like Jack is jumping on the keys of the piano. Following a nice Rock & Roll template. Breaks down after each chorus. Staccato instruments under the verses. Great song, I really like this one.

White Moon: Tortured semi-ballad played on a grand piano. More maracas. At one point it sounds like a tambourine gets thrown across the studio in disgust, hitting the wall . Finds Jack once again pining for a woman(Rita) that he cannot have. Renee must have driven an 18 wheeler right through Jacks heart. Poor Jackie, poor Jackie.

Instinct Blues: Power blues! Laying down a suppressive guitar line. Rapid fire at times. Loud guitar, sometimes played quietly. Pickin' off the birds one by one. Classic wailing Jack vocals and guitar lines. Chaos rules this number. Gatlin gun finale that explodes in to...

Passive Manipulation: A 40 second cautionary tale for all the ladies in the house from sweet, sweet Meg. Piano, tambourine, and drums.

Take, Take, Take: This is classic White Stripes. Another mention of Rita(Hayworth). R=Renee. A bitter Jack screams TAKE! TAKE! TAKE! Finally realizing all he needs are the simple things. Recounts and encounter with a movie star from the point of view of a(obsessive?) fan. More acoustic guitar, piano, drums, and tambo. Some tympani thrown in for good measure.
Along with Blue Orchid, one of my favorite. Here's a link:

As Ugly As I Seem: Backwoods acoustic sing along. Double-tracked vocals from Jackie(one high, one low) and I think I hear Meg buried down deep. Sounds like a negro spiritual. Won't someone please scare up some love for our poor heartbroken Jack.

Red Rain: Searing hot electric guitar tone with some slip 'n slide guitar work. Our hero is caught is a pretty bad rain storm. Vocals buried below the wall of guitar amps. Clanky children's piano thrown in for good measure.

I'm Lonely(But I Ain't That Lonely Yet): The grand piano finale. Just Jack and his keys. He's hurtin' bad. Part LeadBelly's "In The Pines", part Hank Williams' "Lonesome Whistle". Somber and sad. Desperate, but not rock bottom yet. Going down fast, though. Excellent tune and a wonderful close to a "love gone wrong" album.

So, there ya have it. Not your typical White Stripes album by any stretch of the imagination. The top, middle, and bottom have the most memorable songs(Orchid, Take, Denial, & Lonely...and Megs song is nice too). I've read comparisons to Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks". Don't know if it's quite that classic, but certainly filled to the brim with heartache. A big left hand turn for the band. Shows them mixing it up a great deal from their previous recordings. Interested in hearing these songs live.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

iPod Song of the day: Star Spangled Banner from the Jimi Hendrix boxed set Stages

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

What can I say, I'm sucker for pop music. My collection is chock full of those recordings you used to hide in the closet whenever friends would come over for fear they would "out" you to friends. Here are a few.

A memeber of the KISS Army since I was 6 years old, the walls of my room were literally covered floor to ceiling with posters of them. My brother and I even had some of the original trading cards we stapled in the empty spaces between the posters. I was too young to see them at the top of their game, but I did take a trip to Planet KISS back in '96 when my buddies Scott, Josh, and I all rode our bikes to the Summit to see the big reunion tour. Loaded on psychadelics we created a world in which KISS were the party 24/7. Long before that though my brother and I, along with our friend Nathan, created a three man KISS in our bedrooms. We even went so far as to record our adventures as the three man KISS on audio cassette. We would drop a a record on the player and mime to a song, then act out adventures outside the gig or traveling to the next gig. What a silly great time we had. I can recall miming a particularly moving version of "Beth", after which my brother and friend seemed to have been REALLY impressed with and congratulated me on. (shrug of the shoulders) Now of course I'm talking about the original KISS(Paul, Gene, Ace,& Peter). All other versions are as appealing to me as Van Hagar. Some favorites include "New York Groove", "King Of The Nighttime World", "Fire House", "Shock Me" and "Rock & Roll All Night"
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Olivia Newton John
I fell in love with her in Grease. I must admit I liked her with the "girl next door" look much more than I did after she tramped herself up in order to impress Danny. I never have been normal that way. I always thought it sent a fucked up message to kids. If you look like a tramp, boys will like you. I guess I'm just a freak. My fondness for her music really only covers about 3 or 4 years(1976-1980). "You're The One That I Want", "Magic", "Xanadu", "Have You Ever Been Mellow", "Totally Hot" are some of my favorites. Her album Totally Hot was one of the first albums I ever spent my own money to buy. All other women were compared to her thereafter.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Before or After, you decide.

Electric Light Orchestra(E.L.O)
I discovered you either love Jeff Lynne or hate him, there's no inbetween. Overproduced? Maybe, but I like it. OK, Xanadu the movie sucked, but the soundtrack is pretty killer. For years I searched for a song from that soundtrack called "All Over The World", but not knowing the name it was nearly impossible to find. Years after I had forgotten the song, I found a mix tape inside the closet of a house my family had moved in to that was left over from the previous tenants. Imagine my delight when the song was on this unlabled cassette. Score! Both Traveling Wilburys albums and George Harrisons' Cloud Nine were produced by Lynne and I love all three. I even found a long out of print VHS copy of a concert they did at Wembley Stadium(complete with lasers and space ship stage!) in 1978 and burned it DVD. It really is ridiculous to to have guys roaming the stage with cellos, violas, and violins but I've seen worse(I think). Some goodies are "Telephone Line", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Turn To Stone", and "Can't Get It Out Of My Head".
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

iPod Song of the day: Dancin' With Mr. D from the Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dylan In The Studio(Songs You Should've Heard) pt.1

Up To Me(Biograph)
This Blood On The Tracks outtake is the crowning jew of the Biograph boxed set. It wouldn't surface for more than a decade after it was recorded. As darkness closes in all around him, Bob turns to the only one he can rely on, himself. A man in the eye of storm delivers a heartfelt plea for the inner strength to carry on. Using contrasting images of light and dark to paint his picture of turmoil, Bob poors his heart out to his true love. From the highest high(Sermon on the Mount) to the lowest low(death) he weaves a tale of a relationship he had put all his hope in, only to be betrayed. One of the only songs I can recall in which he is reduced to tears(Somebody's got to cry some tears, I guess it must be up to me). He concludes with gentle resolve.

If we never meet again, baby remember me.
How my lone guitar played sweet for you that old time melody.
And the harmonica around my neck, I blew it for you, free.
No one else could play that tune.
I guess it must be up to me.

Every Grain Of Sand(Biograph)
A man at peace with himself and his past. Accepting the hand that has been dealt to him, Bob reveals a new found faith in all that surrounds him. Having fought his moral battles, he leaves the tunnel of despair with all the awe and wonder of a new born child. This song is truly an emotional ride for any who have followed his carreer. Bob as Buddah. And if ever there were a Church Of Dylan, this would be the testament of the converted. Bob at his most spiritual. A confession of love for the world.

Speaking of confessions...I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity, on his 64th birthday, to express my feelings for the man. Where do I start? Having come from a broken home, he's been a real father figure for me throughout my 20's & 30's. A poet who has touched my soul in places I didn't know exsisted. Taken me to the top with his music, but also willing to wallow with me in my darkess hours of despair. A friend I've never been formally introduced to. An imperfect man, in an imperfect world. A guide who has shown me the universe of man through words, music, and mayhem. Shown me, through the many masks he's worn, not to accept what others can force on you. But rather to excel in what I believe, and accept no substitute. To reach for the brass ring, no matter the obstacles. An uncomprimising soldier in the battle that is life. My hero. May you live another 64 years, my friend. Even if you never play another note, my respect and admiration for you will never diminish. I love you and will carry your message in my heart for as long as I live and beyond. Long may you run...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Best Dylan Performances(You've Never Heard) pt.2

In anticipation of Bob's 64th birthday tomorrow, I thought I'd continue this thread.

10.16.92 Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration
After a parade of what can only be described as the finest collection of musicians to be on one stage in a generation, Bob is introduced by his bandmate George Harrison. "Some of you may call him Bobby, some of you may call him Zimmy, I call him Lucky...ladies and gentlemen, Bob Dylan!" And with that, Bob steps on stage for a staggering 2 song solo acoustic set(one of his last). In an evening that saw several dozen of the worlds most influential performers interpret and pay tribute to THEIR musical hero, Bob pulls the ultimate swicheroo. He stands alone to pay tribute to HIS musical idol, Woody Guthrie. How many in their life have had the opportunity to immortalize their hero in a classic song and actually perform it for that person? That's just what Bob had done some 30 years before as Woody lay dying in a Brooklyn hospital. Now 3 decades later, a hush falls over the rowdy New York crowd as the bittersweet phrase, "I'm out here a thousand miles from my home..." falls from his mouth. A truly sublime reading of "Song To Woody" is what follows.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

5.22.94 Great Music Experience
The final day of a 3 day concert event presented in Nara, Japan finds Dylan supported by the New Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen in a performance nothing short of stunning. Any of the 3 songs performed on that day could have easily made the cut, but I'll start at the beginning. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" begins with only Bob's acoustic guitar floating above a bed of weeping violins. The percussion of Jim Keltner and Ray Cooper help to build the momentum with each verse sung. Bob really steps up to the plate and delivers a powerhouse vocal performance that sounds like it was made for an orchestral backing. Heartwrenching, inspiring, and ultimately explosive. A rare instance of Bob not straying from the songs original melody. An H-bomb of musical brilliance!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

In a performance more comedic than brilliant, this is early Dylan at his most playful. Recorded at Bonnie Beechers apartment, this gem begins with Dylan attempting to mimic a trumpet by blowing air through his flapping lips. The ensuing bass line propels this silly number as Bob recounts the joys of riding in a car. Climaxing with him doing a psuedo yodel(and cracking himself up in the process!). A real hoot.

For the hell of it...

iPod Song of the day: The Man In Me from Bob Dylans' "New Morning"

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Kate Smith Evening Hour w/ Hank Williams

Just got this dvd...


After a successful appearance on the March 26th show, Hank and the rest of the Grand Ole Opry cast are asked to perform on that evenings variety show.

Brought to you by...The Reynolds Metal Company
"Vital for the the defense of the nation and all your household needs." How's that for a company slogan. Makes you wanna stand up and salute, then bake some cookies.

First up is Kate, who greets us and sings a short number welcoming everyone to the show. Squeaky clean.

Next, she introduces the upbeat tap dancing of the appropriately named Step Brothers. Decked out in tux and tails, the quartet present a jump-jiving dance routine filled with flips and flops and hootin' and hollerin'. Fun stuff.

Next up, the comedy stylings of Phil Foster. Very clean. He looks and sounds a lot like Gary Marshall with his Bronx accent, Dumbo ears, and toothy grin.

Another plug for Reynolds Metals along with a pitch for engineers.

Kate steps up to the plate again and delivers the piano driven torch song, "Be Anything But Darling Be Mine." (hoooooowwwwwwl)

Mr. Runion from the American Cancer Society presents Kate with the American Cancer Award for Distinguished Service. (Is that like the C. Montgomery Award for the Outstanding Achievement in Field of Excellence?)

Of course the next shot is reporter Edward R. Murrow sitting with a cigarette dangling from his mouth....

A classic commercial for BAB-O is next. "No Sink Smog with BAB-O" is their slogan. Whatever the fuck that means!

A throaty "Away We Go" by Kate is up next. She's very clean.

The very dirty smog guy, who hides in your sink, then shows us just how to get rid of sink smog .

The Opry cast is up next...YEE-HAW!

Roy Acuff thanks everyone for being invited back and he and his hillbilly crew present an upbeat "Living On The Mountain" surrounded by square dancers.

He then performs a small comedy bit with the one and only June Carter(not yet Johnny's wife). She and a trio of the Carter ladies then sing some song about "Henry Lee".

Here come the Cedar Hill Square Dancers again! (lookin fat and old)

Next, Roy brings on old bashful brother Oswald, who doesn't seem bashful at all(I guess that's the joke). He and his hick clan(The Smokey Mountain Boys) perform "Mountain Dew". As quick as it starts, it's over.

At last, Acuff introduces a fringe laden Hank and crew. Hank speaks for a second and informs us that this is their most financially successful song to date. A soulful "Cold, Cold Heart' is what follows. Man, this guy is the real deal. Despite his grin, pain is all around when this guy sings.

June then introduces her sister, Anita, and she and Hank sing a super sweet duet, "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You".

A toothless trio(Cousin Odie, Lanso, & Oscar) then come out for a silly, "You Never Cry Over Me". Cousin Odie accents the song with his talking slide guitar that everyone in the audience seem to get a big kick out of.

The grand finale brings on the whole Opry cast for a sing along, "Glory Bound Train".

As Acuff thanks all involved, the dancers reappear and the Kinescope cuts off before he has a chance to finish.

Like a time machine, this allowed a glimce in to a much simpler time and place. Very clean.

This is one of only 2 performance by Hank known to exist on Kinescope. A real treasure! God bless Hank Williams and television. This would be Hank's final televised appearance.

(I had planned on posting sreen captures with each act, but for some reason all the captures came out funky. Sorry...)

iPod Song of the day: The Tra-La-La Song(One Banana, Two Banana) performed by Liz Phair & Material Issue from 'Saturday Morning - Cartoons' Grteatest Hits

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Best Dylan Performances(You've Never Heard) pt.1

3.22.84 Late Night w/ David Letterman
Dylan and his short lived backup trio, burn through a raging 'Don't Start Me Talkin'. The band, part Rolling Stones/part Clash, are the perfect compliment to this bass-driven blues ditty. The show finds Dylan in a very mischivieous and playful mood. Flashing his elusive cheshire cat grin, he jumps about while warning you, "Don't start me talkin'. I'll tell you everything I know."
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Fall '75(Renaldo & Clara)
OK, I concede, you may have seen this performance of 'Tangled Up In Blue' on late night VH1. In what is possibly his finest solo acoustic performance of the 70's, Bob does what he does best. Shares the highs and lows of a failed relationship with urgency and grace. Hiding behind white pancake make-up and the brim of his flowered hat, he changes lyrics, skips verses, and shares his heartbreak, while never losing the emotional impact of this classic song. Revealing only what he wants. Like a tiger jumping from the bush, he pounces on the final verse and brings it home with a blistering harp solo. This is the SHIT!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

11.19.95 Sinatra: 80 Years My Way
The perfect song for the perfect occasion. Even if you did see the American television broadcast, only the European version was left unedited. Half under the cover of darkness, Bob gently delivers a flowing county-fried 'Restless Farewell', as the Chairman of the Board looks on. With the care of a gardener, Bob let's the heartwrenching tribute slowly blossom and grow concluding with a simple, "Happy Birthday, Mr. Frank." A bittersweet tip of the hat, to a man who lived his life under his own conditions and did just as he pleased. Backed by strings and the wailing pedal steel of Bucky Baxter, this is sure to bring a tear to your eye every time. Proving above all else, Bob is one class act.

Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time
To disgrace, distract, and bother me.
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face,
And the dust of rumors covers me.
But if the arrow is straight
And the point is slick,
It can pierce through dust no matter how thick.
So I'll make my stand
And remain as I am
And bid farewell and not give a damn.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

iPod song of the day: Estimated Prophet from the Grateful Dead's 'Dick's Pick's Vol.5'

Friday, May 20, 2005

Van Halen: 1984 & Largo '82

What a fucking power trio! Right up the with Cream, Jimi & The Experience, and BTO(wink). The day "1984" was released(or "dropped" for all those born after 1980), my brother and I went right out and bought it on vinyl. Man, I miss vinyl. We played the first single from the album(Jump) over and over, trying to figure out the lyrics. The next day we fought over who was gonna carry the album around school with them. For some reason, I think I got to show it off first. I probably let my brother beat the shit out of me in exchange for the honor. It was worth it. I looked really cool the next day, walking through the halls and showing off. I also recall doing the same thing when Motley Crue's "Theatre Of Pain" came out. When you think about it, it's pretty silly to think I was walking around with hot wax at school and nothing to play it on.

In '82 when they played the US Festival, my brother and I stayed up late to listen to it on the Westwood One Radio Network. We recorded it on cassette and it became a fast fav. "Runnin' With The Devil" is the only song I can recall on the tape, but since then I've gotten a bootleg on DVD and can enjoy the entire performance in digital video.

Remember in 'Back To The Future" when Michael J. Fox appeared to Crispin Glover as the man from the future? The tape in the Walkman that Fox used to punish Crispin was labled 'Van Halen Live!'. I think that's the first time I ever realized that bootlegs of their live shows might exist. I've since collected several thousands of hours of bootlegs from a variety of bands. I blame Spielberg.

10.12.82 Cap Centre/Largo, MD
Quality of the audio/video is very good. The strongest performance I have on DVD. As Michael Anthony jumps around during his bass solo(when was the last concert you went to with a bass solo?) someone throws a cowboy hat on stage. Without missing a beat, Anthony puts on the hat and tears in to the theme from 'Gunsmoke'. As stoned as he looks, he's still sharp as a tack!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Dave gets his Jack Daniels delivered by a midget.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

And Eddie, to his embarassment, is named Guitar Player of the Year
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Alex works on his Tinnitis.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

And even Little Dave gets some of the spotlight!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Dave love you long time.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Here's my current VH fav.

iPod song of the day: Medicated Goo from Traffic's 'Welcome To The Canteen'

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Up On The Roof, Beatle Battles

Been watching some of my Beatle dvd's lately...


The boys, after a month of rehearsing, decide to take it to the roof in the dramatic finale to Let It Be. In a month that saw George quit the band, Peter Sellers stop by for some Acapulco Gold, and several hundred hours of music recorded on tape, the band brings the bustling London business distict to a halt as they put on an impromptu concert for the masses below. Highlights include, angry businessmen proclaiming it's an "imposition" to disrupt the workday, giddy secretaries squealing with joy, and confused policemen scratching their heads. Classic mischief. And easily one of the finest acts of defiance by a rock 'n roll band caught on tape. If Alice Cooper had actually torn the chicken apart on stage in Toronto, he could've claimed the title.


George quits the band in disgust. As they sit around discussing their options, Eric Clapton is mentioned as a possible replacement. The same day, Peter Sellers drops in for a spell.

The following is a transcript from footage which was not used in the released film. Text within double parenthesis "(( ))" indicate dialogue that is indeciferable.

Scene: Peter Sellers visiting the Beatles on the set of thier LET IT BE film, at Apple Studios.
CLOSE UP on PETER SELLERS as he enters the studio. A boom microphone drops within inches of his head, almost hitting him. Sellers doesn't seem to notice.

(Someone offscreen): ((...the only way I can keep my balance with 'em)).
SELLERS: (agreeing) Uh-hum.
JOHN: (offscreen) ((???))
Sellers leans in to shake John's hand and CAMERA pulls back to show us the rest of the room.
JOHN is standing, shaking Sellers hand.
PAUL, RINGO, YOKO, DEREK TAYLOR ((and others)), are seated in a semi-circle, on couches and in chairs, in the studio.
The casual setting is only disturbed by the bustling of the filmcrew around them, and the long, intrusive fishpole of the boom microphone that hangs above their heads and follows the conversation...
JOHN: Peter.
Everyone in the room greets Sellers.
JOHN and SELLERS begin to speak at the same time, stepping over each others words.
JOHN: You know for a long time I've been---
SELLERS: I'm really, really---
JOHN: Remember when I gave you that grass in Picadilly?
The room laughs.
SELLERS: I do, man. It really stoned me out of my mind. Really, I---
JOHN: I was just---
SELLERS: ---Acapulco Gold, wasn't it?
JOHN: Exactly.
SELLERS: That was really fantastic.
(someone offscreen, not a Beatle): We can't get it.
JOHN: That's just---
SELLERS: I'm not holding any... right now... (pats the pockets of his pants). I'm sorry.
JOHN: No, uh, actually, I've given up, you know?
SELLERS: (laughing) Oh, really?
JOHN: (direct to camera) As stated by Hunter, damn you, in The Beatles' actual life story.
(Big laugh offscreen)
SELLERS: Well, I'm sorry about that fellows, but I, you know, if I had known I was gonna see you, then of course, I would've had some on me...
PAUL: Yeah.
SELLERS: ...'cause I know how you love it.
PAUL: Yeah. Yeah.
(giggling, laughter)
SELLERS: ...and, uh...
JOHN: Dig.
SELLERS: Sure. Alright, dig.
PAUL: Gotcha, Pete.
SELLERS: Got it.
SELLERS: ...and, uh...
PAUL: Can ya dig it?
SELLERS: Oh, yes. God, I can dig it.
(someone offscreen): You wanna make the scene to the gent's lavatory?
SELLERS: That's a groove.
(everyone laughs)
Sellers starts to exit, backing out of the room, shaking hands as he leaves.
SELLERS: Well, guys... see ya.
JOHN: Bye, bye.
PAUL: Too much, Pete.
RINGO: Way out! (points to the studio exit)
PAUL: Way out.
(someone offscreen): Exit.
Everyone watches as Sellers exits.
(Someone offscreen): It's that way.
(everyone laughs)
JOHN: (shouting to Sellers) Just don't leave the needles lyin' around, you know! We've got a bad reputation now...
(everyone laughs)
JOHN: ...with John gettin' busted and that.
(no one laughs)
JOHN: (to the group) I know what it's like for show-biz people. They're under a great strain and they need a little relaxation.
YOKO: (agreeing) Uh-hum.
PAUL: Yes. So we ((?something about the cameras?))---
JOHN: That's why---
RINGO: That's why he's going to bed.
YOKO: They need some---
JOHN: It's a choice between that and exercise, you know and uh... drugs win hand down. I say, "hand down".
YOKO: Uh-hmm. But shooting is exercise.
JOHN: Shooting is exercise, oh yeah. Especially for the birds.


During rehearsals for 'Two Of Us', George & Paul go at it as the cameras roll.
PAUL: It's like, complicated now, so, if we can get it simpler, and then complicated where it needs complications.
GEORGE: Its not complicated...I mean, I'll play just the chords if you like...
PAUL: No, come on, you're always getting annoyed when I say that...I'm trying to help, but I always hear myself annoying you.
GEORGE: You're not annoying me
PAUL: But you know what I mean...I'm not trying to get at you. I really am just trying to say, 'Look lads, as a band, shall we try it like this?
GEORGE: Its funny, though, how it only occurs when we...
PAUL: Its like 'shall we play guitar all through Hey Jude?'...'Well, I don't think we should'
GEORGE: OK, well, I don't mind. I'll play whatever you want me to play, or I won't play at all, if you don't want me to play. You know, what ever it is that will please you, I'll do it.

OUCH! That's gotta hurt.

If I have a request, I'll post a small mpg of the Sellers encounter.

iPod Song of the day: Love & Mercy from Brian Wilsons' first solo album


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How The Flaming Lips Found Me

I saw/heard the Flaming Lips for the first time, as a lot of people did, back when grassroots Chicago fans made "She Don't Use Jelly" a hit and the video played like clockwork on Mtv. Surprisingly, Wayne's orange mane wasn't the thing that grabbed me. I was more fascinated by Ronald's big, bushy black hair. But mostly I was trying to figure out what this guitar player, who looked like he might be from India, was doing with all of these psychadelic white boys....and the song was pretty catchy too.

The next time I encountered them was during my weekly gathering to watch Beverly Hills 90210 with all my roomates. There they were in the Peach Pit, lip-synching to their hit and generally looking out of place. Bold move.

A few years later, I was riding my bike on a hot day and ran in to a guy(Miguel) who had crashed on the couch some time back. He was beaming with joy as he informed me that he and his old lady were going to see the Lips that very evening. He invited me to come along. I declined(doh!). Several years later, after I'd fallen head over heels for the band, I recounted the story to Miguel who had no recollection of the encounter.

Fall 2002. A new woman had entered my life and she asked if I wanted the extra ticket a friend had purchased to go see the Beck/Flaming Lips show at Jones Hall in Houston. As intrigued as I was by the chance to go see them both, I was more curious about seeing a R&R show in the plush surroundings of Jones Hall which normally housed the Houston Symphony and other upper crust entertainment. I was game and bought the extra ticket from my pal. Since tickets had gone on sale early, we had to wait a few months before the show actually came to town. And in that time, the anticipation grew to a fever pitch. Joe had scored us some pretty schweet tickets (13 row center orchestra), so that added to the buzz.

The night of the show(11.13.02) I headed off for the show after smoking as much grass as I could, since there was no chance of that happening inside the venue. I also filled a small flask(a prop for a show I was in at the time) with some cheap-ass Canadian whiskey and away I went. When I arrived at Jones Hall, there was a terrific back up at the entrance. With a little investigation, I decided there was too much of a security shakedown at the front gate to get in with my little flask. So, I walked around the block a few times and drank as much as this non-drinker could handle. After stashing the flask, I headed off to the main entrance. As I approached, I noticed the security guy I was heading toward had a look in his eye as if to say, "This mofo has GOT to be carrying something illegal." Needless to say, the pat down he gave me was so thorough, I could have NEVER gotten the flask passed him. Whew!

Inside the venue, I quickly found my lady and our friends as the electricity in the place mounted. I waved to the Hawkins family up in the mezzanine and settled in for the show. What came next was more than I could have ever dreamed of. Not only was the stage filled with several dozen folks in furry animal costumes having a hell of a time, but it also had 3 giant disco balls projecting beems of light in all directions. But none of this compared to the magical, acid soaked music that came out of the speakers. I must have looked like a fool to all as I stood there, mouth agape and eyes aglow from industrial flashlights. "This must be heaven", I thought. I was wrong. Heaven ain't got nothing on these guys. Beauty, sadness, euphoria, glee, ECSTACY! Wayne's voice was so bittersweet. The music, symphonic in its peaks and valleys. This was everything I had searched for since losing Jerry Garcia seven years before. Finally, the search was over. My faith in psychadelic pop renewed!

I hadn't found the Lips. They found ME. And they had been trying to do so for years. At last I was complete again, after years and years of searching. Phish..naw. Medeski, Martin, & Wood...nope. Widespread Panic...not even close. The Lips had wiped all those bands and years clean away. Leaving this ol' psychadelic warrior with but one word on his lips as he stood. And that was......YEAH!

Aj & Joe, I owe ya big time.


iPod song of the day: The Night Hank Williams Came To Town from "The Essential Johnny Cash"

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Memories of Elvis

My first R&R concert was Elvis Presley at the Municiple Auditorium in Kansas City, MO on June 29, 1974(late show). I was 4 years old. It was the first time I ever recall being in a multi leveled parking garage. The other thing I recall was the tremendous uproar as Elvis made his entrance. He came out to a barrage of flashbulbs in his famous American Eagle jumpsuit, turned his back to the audience and spread his bedazzled wings. It was a profoundly exciting experience. For years I thought my memory had come from the "Elvis, Aloha From Hawaii" television special. But thanks to the internet, my search discovered that he had indeed worn the famous jumpsuit on that evening. Regardless of what you think about Big E, you gotta admit that's kinda cool. Here's a pic and setlist.

June 29 - 8:30pm - Kansas City, MI. / Municipal Auditorium.
Also Sprach Zarathustra - See See Rider - When My Blue Moon Turns Gold Again/Blue Christmas - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - Trying To Get To You - All Shook Up - Love Me Tender - Hound Dog - Fever - Polk Salad Annie - Why Me, Lord - Suspicious Minds - Introductions - I Can't Stop Loving You - Help Me - Bridge Over Troubled Water - Let Me Be There - Johnny B. Goode - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp
10,400 cap. American Eagle


Another Elvis memory comes from shortly after that show. I had a portable record player that opened up like a jewelery box which I took everywhere with me. Not long after the concert my mother purchased me the "It's Midnight/Promised Land" 45 single. What I remember is that I was sitting alone in my room listeneing to "It's Midnight" over and over agian when my mom came in and found me sobbing. She asked my why I was crying and I said I missed Elvis(he wouldn't die for several more years). I asked her if we were ever gonna see him again. She assured me we would, dried my tears, and told me not to worry. We never did get the chance to see him live again. I guess that makes my mom a liar. ;^)


In 1995 it was announced that the Grateful Dead would be playing two nights(4/1 & 4/2) at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis. Since this was going to be my birthday weekend, I decided I needed to be there. So I flew out and met all my touring buddies for two days of psychadelic mayhem. The morning of sunday 4/2/95, the whole lysergic crew piled in the car and headed off for Graceland. When we arrived our pupils got even larger as we encountered a line that was probably 100 people deep. Amazingly, someone in the group(Chey or Mindy) actually had the forethought to make reservations for the whole group. (Word to the wise: if you are thinking of going to Graceland, take my word for it, MAKE RESERVATIONS). So they ushered us in to the next group and off we went to that big white mansion on the hill. First thing you learn is, NO one goes upstairs. DAMMIT! Second thing you learn is, Elvis was one tacky muthafucker! To get to the pool room you gotta walk through hanging strands of beads. The "Jungle" room had green shag carpet from floor to ceiling(literally on the ceiling) and velour covered lamp shades. And if you've ever see the Simpsons episode where Bart & Lisa write a script for the Itchy & Scratchy show, you've seen exactly what Elvis' television room looks like. Complete with 3 tv sets and his famous TCB lightning bolt logo painted on the yellow walls. Here are pix of each room.


P.S. In Bob Zmuda's biography about Andy Kaufman, he retells a story about the two of them making the pilgrimage to Graceland. When one of the tour guides recognizes Andy, he secretly sneeks the two of them up to Big E's bedroom( a big no-no!). As Zmuda distracted the guide, Andy quickly slipped in to the Kings bathroom and took a duke in his throne. Wish we had been that bold.

Here's a hysterical recording of "Three Cool Cats" from the Beatles failed Decca audition.


iPod song of the day: Sunday Morning Coming Down from "The Essential Johnny Cash"

Monday, May 16, 2005

Zimmy(or How I Went Kicking and Screaming and Learned To Love Upsinging)

Spring 1990. The Big Bang II(electric boogaloo). I was working as a dishwasher in a soup & salad joint on the west side. I had dropped out of college the year before and moved to the Virgin Islands in hopes of finding something, anything. Now back in Houston, I was hurtin' to see the Grateful Dead again. It didn't seem likely that they were gonna come down south, so I was gonna have to go to them. I quickly made plans to return to Chicago in June. For now, I was just gonna have to suck it up and count the days until my return to the great mid-west.

So there I was, washing dishes in a 10X10 room with only a dusty AM/FM radio with one speaker to ease my mind. I had it tuned in to the only classic rock station in town and quickly became familiar with their song rotation. "Lay, Lady, Lay" was one of them. How could I have known it was Dylan's cigarette-free voice floating above those tasy pedal steel licks? I loved that song and it brought a shit-eatin' grin to my face each time it came on. But wait!....Since I didn't know it was Dylan, I still wasn't a convert.

(rewind a few years)

Ya see, I have this old high school chum who is the biggest Dylan fan I've ever known. We'll call him Jake S. No matter where I saw him, he was always more than willing to humor me in the great Beatles vs. Dylan debate. There we were in Marfreless having the same debate we always had. My only argument at that point was "his voice". I couldn't get past THAT VOICE! "He makes up more notes than Janis Joplin", I proclaimed. Jake just sat back in his chair and grinned. He knew. BOY, did he know. Bob's voice was exactly the thing that was gonna shake me to my soul in that little room at the back of the restaurant.

My hands puckered from dishwater, my feet throbbing with pain, and my face greasy from youth, I couldn't wait to escape that 10X10 prison cell. Day in. Day out. The classic rock rotation did little to make me feel better. Suddenly, there it was. Like a shock to my nads. The electricity came from the radio, but it was Bob who had tripped the switch.

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what's worse
Is this pain in here
I can't stay in here
Ain't it clear that--
I just can't fit

How did he know? Could he have possibly felt the same way in 1966 as I did at that very moment? This guy was talking to ME. Not with some bullshit mumbo-jumbo. But with simple, elegant phrases that cut me to the quick. My heart skipped a beat. I was blown apart and reassembled in the blink of an eye and...I was HOOKED.


Less than a week after returning to Chicago, Jake and I were on the road heading north to my first Dylan show at Alpine Valley Music Center in Wisconsin. BUT, that's a tale for another day...

It all came together that summer in the mid-west. Jake S. was there to witness the blooming conversion. I couldn't have asked for a better guide through a universe of poetry, pain, and passion. I am eternally grateful for his patience and wisdom in this matter. My hat is off to you both.


iPod song of the day: Texas Trash from Horseshoe live on KPFT
(My rhythm guitar playing on this is pretty wicked. It wasn't too long after this they kicked me out because of my guitar playing.) :^)


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Thompson Twins "Side Kicks", the great unsung 80's album

The first time I recall hearing the Thompson Twins was in the closing moments of the movie "Sixteen Candles". As Jake and Samantha sit on the glass table, her cake aglow with candles, I was entranced by the bed of music. The movie credits informed me that it was a song called "If You Were Here" on the TT album "Side Kicks". Searched it out on vinyl. Only problem was that the brand new copy had numerous skips on it(cursed vinyl!) Returned it to the store and got the cassett version instead. I must have listened to that tape hundreds of times. Every song was filled with keyboards, catchy melodies, moody nuances, and toe-tapping magic. Easily one of the best albums of the 80's(their follow-up "Into The Gap" is almost as good.)

The opening notes of "Love On Your Side" have you bopping and weaving like the chicken head you are. I can recall singing this song in the halls of Spring Woods Junior High to my old chum Paul Rybiski. Whenever he requested, I sang it and danced around like a fool.

"We Are Detective" reminds me of Costello's "Watching The Detectives" in that it creates the perfect smokey mood for the subject matter. The lyrics "We saw him standing by the newspaper stand. There's something odd about his gloved left hand." always kinda spooked me.

"Watching" includes the cavernous background vocals of Grace Jones.

"Kamikaze" slowly fades in and places you square in the cockpit of a pilot wishing the best to all those he will not see again.

I've never really had stage fright in my performing career, but I sure understood Judys dilemma in "Judy Do".

Yeah, judy laugh, and judy cry
Yeah, judy do, and judy die...yeah

And finally the album closes with "All Fall Out", reminding us that indeed all good things must come to an end. A droning keyboard, accented by a hammer on anvil, leads us down the ever winding path surrounded by what seems like a million chanting monks.

I remember driving to Big Bend National Park with the family unit back in 1985, and I don't think I ever took it out of my Walkman. Lying in the back of a van, cruising down the highway, lost in the land of British synthpop was paradise.

I bought it on cd when it was issued. But during a moment of poverty/stupidity, I sold it for money or pot to a really cool music store in Chicago. Several years later I was jonesin' to hear it again, only to discover it had since gone out of print. Ended up spending too much on Ebay for a replacement. It was reissued back in 2004 and it sounds killer.

With "Side Kicks", the TT took hold of the reigns that the Human League, Kraftwerk, and Ultravox had pioneered. Their production and writing techniques were really at their peak during this period. Their next album "Into The Gap" would follow shortly and catapult them in to the pop mainstream. And how cool was it that the band had a woman and a man of color!
They also had a unique sense of style. Which, like all fashion trends, didn't make much of an impression on me.

I only saw them once in concert(with OMD opening) at the Summit in Houston during the mid-eighties. They did not disappoint. I also seem to remember it was the first time I ever saw the arena split in half with a large black curtain. I guess tickets didn't sell as well as expected. Once again, proof that my finger is NOT on the pulse of America.

cover art:

mpthree of Kamikaze:

iPod song of the day: Born In The 50's from the Polices' "Outlandos d'Amour"

Saturday, May 14, 2005

American Beauty radio spot, pirate radio, Frank Zappa, Up Above The Daily Hum

This radio spot was included as a bonus track on the Grateful Dead's American Beauty remastered disc(2003). http://rapidshare.de/files/1767061/18_Radio_Spot_For_American_Beauty.mp3.html
It tickles my funny every time it comes up on shuffle on my iPod. Why can't radio have fun stuff like this on it anymore. I ain't talkin' about satellite radio either. I can't afford it, so it might as well not exist.

And why would you wanna pay for someone else to be your DJ? I can only recall a handful of late night acid house parties where I was genuinly amused/entertained by someone who took control over the speakers. Maybe it's a control thing...NO, it's not a control thing. I know how to entertain my ears. And I do it best. And mad props to Kevin and Ricky(the acid house dj's) for all those crazy pop songs I'd never heard. Now, THOSE guys should start a pirate radio station for the Houston Heights and I would sure as shit tune in. But I think they are too busy feedin' their spawn to be doing anything that fun.

In Frank Zappa's "The Real Frank Zappa Book", he writes that some day music would flow like water in to your household. We all lived long enough to see(hear) the mpthree. Although Frank realised this was inevitable, would he have been happy that artists received no compensation for 'em? I have no moral issues about this subject. I have given the music industry most of my entertainment $ for more that 25 yrs and have been fucked in the wallet for doing so. I will not be the one who pads JoJo's marketing budget.

Speaking of JoJo...that fucking Gap commercial she is now starring in makes me wanna fillet my dick with a nail file. White girl "soul" is SHIT! If you're a white chick and can sing, sing rock. I'll listen to Diana Ross if I wanna hear white girl soul. And I don't.

Been obsessed with the Flaming Lips "Up Above The Daily Hum" lately. This song is where it's at. Intro drum beats sound like its gonna be more up tempo, but when the piano kicks in it's all mood-rock. It speaks to the sentimentalist in me, but also expresses the longing for something beyond the routine and planning of the day. It blows my mind in its discussion of the "moments" we have, asking where does one end and the next begin. Simple and seductive.

"Up Above The Daily Hum"
by Steven Drozd

Wondering at the scope of my experience
Cautious so not to be cold
Caught up in the compfort of what I once was
Lost in all the brand new possibilities
Oh to be
In the middle
Out beyond the pull of the past
Just before the future comes
Hoping for the rush of some experience
That could elevate me

Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum

When is this moment over
When does the next one begin?
Out beyond the pull of the past
Just before the future comes
Hoping for the rush of some experience
That could elevate me

Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum

iPod song of the day: Days Between(rehearsal 2.16.93) Grateful Dead's "So Many Roads" boxed set

Friday, May 13, 2005

Stones(Mick Taylor era), Stones dvd boots, David Alan Coe

Man, the fucking Rolling Stones. Mick Taylor era, totally. It's not that it's even Mick T's slip'n'slide guitar playing. The other band members really are at their collective best during this time too. Spilling over into the Ronnie era until '81, maybe '82. Haven't heard enough boots from the time to say fer sure. But the Mick Taylor era shines both in their live AND studio efforts. Never really strong on a cohesive studio album, but on a song by song basis...Phenomenal.

Stray Cat Blues: I get a hard-on everytime I hear this song. Maybe the sexiest, drugged-out, testosterone filled song they ever drooled out. (Cocksuckers Blues is close, but missing the testies. Where can I get my ass fucked, indeed!

Which leads us to "Cocksuckers"(song & movie). Get the bootleg DVD. Worth a view. Stones hedonism at its finest hour. Bobby Keys and the horns are just gravy. Now to the song. Who didn't do a double-take the first time they heard the chorus. (Googled the lyrics...nada.) Here's the mpthree http://rapidshare.de/files/1745763/Cocksuckers_Blues.mp3.html. Read that the song was part of some New York cats idea to record an album of X-rated songs for his defense against porno haters. Stones wrote and recorded it, but of course didn't allow its official release(same for the movie). The filmmaker has an agreement with them to have 1(one!) screening per year. Dr. John was another who wrote a song for the X-rated album(You Can Never Eat Too Much Pussy). Never heard it, but sounds self explanatory. Years later, David Alan Coe wrote an undergroud album of fuckin', suckin', and racist songs. Heard 'em. Novelty at best.

BTW, David Alan Coe is one crazy sum'bitch. My old band Horseshoe opened for him at Rockefellers here in Houston back in the late '90s and he had them tear out their very good sound system and have his personal sound system set up instead. Basically, he had two 10 foot tall speakers flanking the stage and facing away from the audience(?). And he had the treble turned up ALL THE WAY in both, no low end. Deaf bastard. His monitor system consisted of old guitar amps he had positioned around him in a semi-circle(wtf??). So, with the two feet of stage left, we set up our gear and walked through the maze of his sound system like good little rats. The entire evening he played the same white electric guitar that he had set up through his effects box to sound like an acoustic. His beard was braided in two halves like pig-tails and he had a shrunken head placed at the foot of the stage.

Ladies & Gentlemen The Rolling Stones(1972) Now this dvd is the SHIT. No fuckin' around here. Pro-shot right here in lil' ole Texas. And good-goddamn is this thing smokin'. Clear picture and beautiful fucking sound. Says it has 5.1, but I ain't got no fitty-one system. I'll have to take their word. As if this dvd could get better. In the imortal words of Ted Knight, "Top notch, TOP NOTCH!" Capture is from the opening song "Brown Sugar". As Mick scoots his skinny ass across the stage, he catches the eye of Keif and flashes his a grin as if to say, "We are the kings of the world!"

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Paris 1976 pro-shot bootleg. Color bleeds on everyone. Kinda gives an alien glow to everyone under the spotlight, but beautiful. 2 dvd's. Long opening of all the goings on backstage, not with the band but all the hangers-on. HUGE stage. But I guess everything they did from '75 on was more and more hugified. Crack kills kids. And Billy Preston, the kidfucker, is along for the ride. Guess they had gotten rid of the big parachute weenie. You'd think the French would be the ones to appreciate a giant uncut cock. Go figure.

iPod song of the day: Big Ol' Bug (Is The New Baby Now) Flaming Lips "Soft Bulletin Companion"