Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bobby Vee 1943 - 2016

From (Holy) Greil Marcus' brilliant Mystery Train:

At a DJ convention early in 1973, I sit drinking with Bobby Vee and Brian Hyland, veterans of the Now-That-Elvis-Is-in the Army-We-Can-Cash-in-on-the Vacuum Era. I am interviewing Bob (he has changed his name back to Veline and is a folksinger now) in order to pen six thousand words of liner notes to a greatest hits package, an essay that will no doubt be the only extended critical discussion of his oeuvre. Bob tells me that, yes, for him it all began with Elvis -- and suddenly the whole tone of the conversation is different. Professional cool drops away and we are shameless fans, awed by our subject. Vee and Hyland have met Elvis: he got drunk with Hyland (so Brian says) and was surly to Vee (I believe that). Well, they are outcasts in the rock 'n' roll world now, two very ordinary looking men; for all their triviality as rock singers, they once did their best to live up to Elvis and keep the faith. You can almost feel them gazing at Elvis as he is today, as if in his comback they still see a glimmer of a future for themselves, just as they did when he started out years ago.

The guy died of Alzheimers, which he first was diagnosed with at the age of 67.

This kind of shit is really starting to break my heart.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Randy Newman Wants to Be a Putin Girl!!!

"Here’s a song dedicated to a great world leader. I hope all of you like it. I know he will." — Randy Newman, October 12, 2016

This guy is an American treasure -- as some Brit said about Keith Moon, why haven't we nationalized him?

Incidentally, I didn't think Newman could ever surpass his "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country"...

...but I think he just did.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Year of Living Miserably

So I think that we can all agree that 2016 has been one of the suckiest years in the history of suckitude. I have personal reasons for saying that, obviously, but across the board the year has been pretty damn horrible on about a zillion levels.

Still, for me anyway, there has been one constant bright spot -- music. I have been lucky enough to be turned on this year to all sorts of great stuff -- largely in the genre that defines the mission statement of this here blog -- to the point where 2016 will be the first time I will find it easy to vote a Top Ten album list in the Village Voice Critics Poll in over a decade. I mean, for The Swedish Polarbears alone, and they're just the tip of the iceberg.

In any case, courtesy of my chum Marc Platt -- and may I just say, and for the record, that the fact I never got to see his band The Real Impossibles in a club back in the day is now the great regret of my adult life -- I've just discovered the incredibly great Nick Piunti.

Holy Cheap Trick, Beatles, Matthew Sweet, Willie Nile et al, Batman!

The above song is from a 2013 album; Nick's newest CD came out at the end of September (on Marty Scott's JEM Records imprint, which I hadn't realized still existed) and it's more of the same and possibly even more infectiously memorable.

You can find out the skinny on Nick -- who's been doing this kind of stuff for years, and why didn't I get the memo previously? -- over at his official website here. You can also order his albums, which I recommend you do posthaste.

Have I mentioned that this guy is so great I hate him?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

From Our "A Picture is Worth 1000 Words" Department...

...here are two that say even more.

Have I mentioned that Mike Love is an enormous dick lately?

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Pointer Brothers

So some friends threw a little early birthday bash for me on Friday, and I got to meet Jay Jay French, best known as the long-time guitarist for Twisted Sister. A great, super funny guy (and one who's led the kind of interesting life, not even counting the music, that I can barely imagine).

In any case, as you can see, a splendid time was had by all.

After I got home I was, unsurprisingly, moved to watch the classic TS video for "We're Not Gonna Take It"...

...and imagine my surprise when I learned -- on the very next day -- that the kid in the video actually DID get to...well, you'll see.

From the press release:

Dayz lead singer Dax Callner is also known for his memorable war cry “I wanna rock!” from a then wholesome, yet mischievous-looking, 12-year-old boy to his father figure in the iconic 80s rock video “We’re Not Gonna Take It” from 80s rock legends Twisted Sister. Now, decades later, Dax -- that defiant kid that helped define a generation’s youthful rebellion -- is back and still ready to rock. This time around, he’s behind the microphone.

Words fail me.

In any case, you can find out more about The Dayz -- and order their new EP -- over at their website HERE.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Boy, This is REALLY Gonna Piss Off Ned Rorem!

The irrepressible Bob Dylan is the 2016 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Meanwhile, here's the aforementioned Ned Rorem, America's self-identified greatest living art song composer who nobody gives a flying fuck about, having a jealous hissy fit in the New York Times.
Positively Fourth-Rate

JULY 4, 2004

To the Editor:

As one who has always found Dylan the singer charmless and rasping, Dylan the poet sophomoric and obvious, and Dylan the composer banal and unmemorable, I did not have my feeling changed by Jonathan Lethem's review of Christopher Ricks's book ''Dylan's Visions of Sin'' (June 13). Lethem's complicity with the author in equating Bob Dylan with Blake and Picasso, no less, must embarrass even Dylan.

Yet assuming he is right (though what is ''right'' in such matters?), Lethem has not one word to say about the music; when he says ''music'' it's as a synonym for ''lyrics.'' Since ancient times songs sink or swim on the quality of the music to which the poems are set; but Lethem has no opinion, much less an analysis, of how the tune and harmony and instrumentation relate to the text.

As for the giggly postscript by Lucinda Williams (''Love That Mystic Hammering''), she does refer to Dylan's ''sweet beautiful melodies,''as well as to his influential ''sweet-ass attitude,'' but such notions are meaningless in responsible criticism.

Ned Rorem
New York

Yeah, well, Ned old horse, here's a song Bob threw away. And to paraphrase what Charlie Pierce said at Esquire yesterday, if this isn't great writing then I'm Marie of Rumania.

Well, I heard the hoot owl singing

As they were taking down the tents

The stars above the barren trees

Were his only audience

Them charcoal gypsy maidens

Can strut their feathers well

But nobody can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning

Hear the cracking of the whips

Smell that sweet magnolia blooming

(And) see the ghosts of slavery ships

I can hear them tribes a-moaning

(I can) hear the undertaker's bell

(Yeah), nobody can sing the blues

Like Blind Willie McTell

And here's the master with another -- more light-hearted -- song he threw away on a Traveling Wilburys album. On top of everything else, this guy is -- as Jack Nicholson famously said about him at some awards show a while back -- a riot.

And speaking of Bob the stand-up comedian, here's my favorite thing he ever said.

"Once introducing himself to Bob Dylan at an L.A. party, [Peter] Grant offered a warm handshake. 'I’m Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin,' he said. Dylan replied, 'I don’t come to you with my problems, do I?'

Oh, and BTW -- the Hamilton guy gets it.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Separated at Birth

SPY Magazine is back. I can now die happy.

Regular posting resumes one the morrow, cross my heart.