Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Kids Are Alright

The Strypes, live at the BBC in 2012, and their cover of "Route 66."

Best shit I've heard since Eddie and the Hot Rods. If these guys ever turn into songwriters, they're going to rule the fricking world.

Capt. Al played that one -- which I hadn't heard previously -- on last night's intertube radio show. Here's a link to listen to the whole program.

Lotsa laughs and some very cool music, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Who Listens to the Radio?

I'll be guesting on my pal Capt. Al's intertube radio show today at fabulous AREA 24 RADIO

Beginning at 5pm east coast time and continuing for two glorious hours.

You can listen to it stream at the link HERE.

We'll be giving out my e-mail addy throughout the show; feel free to make requests, threats, or just say hi -- we get lonely in the studio.

Oh -- and here's a hint to the theme of the show.

And no -- it ISN'T songs about summer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Thank You, Supreme Court -- I Just Went GAY All of a Sudden!

From 1984, Tom Robinson's cover of the Steely Dan classic "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." And yes, it was always a gay song, apparently we just never noticed.

I don't think this -- a minor hit in England -- can really touch the original, but good on Robinson for doing it anyway.

Friday, June 26, 2015

And So You See....Ennui!!!

"Casanova's Waltz."

My old chum from my Greenwich Village rock-and-roll days Peter Spencer, who wrote it, did an absolutely killer version of this when I saw him play at Kline's Gallery in Lambertville N.J. last Saturday.

Yes once I had money and lovers
Once I had teeth in my jaw
But why have adventures except when you're old to tell stories
That fill your companions with awe?

I shall die here of boredom
I shall die here of boredom

I swear to god, that's one of the greatest songs of all time. And yes, a certain Shady Dame and I had a lovely weekend, BTW.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Taylor Hawkins: Living Saint

Foo Fighters drummer and mensch Taylor Hawkins sings the lead vocal on "Holy Man," a Dennis Wilson solo track left unfinished at the tine of the Beach Boys legend's tragic death.

Being a Southern California surfer dude himself, I guess Hawkins kind of related to Dennis. In any case, a beautiful job (originally released on the 2008 Sony reissue of Wilson's 1977 masterpiece, Pacific Ocean Blue).

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Closed for Monkey Business

Real life has reared its ugly head once again. Regular fun-filled posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dave Grohl: Living Saint (An Occasional Series)

The Foo Fighters (on the Jimmy Fallon show) and "I am a River," the concluding track from Sonic Highways.

And here's the actual album version.

Just binge-watched the complete Sonic Highways documentary series and finally listened to the CD. Short version: Both doc(s) and album are inconsistent -- and "River" is not without its flaws, either, which is to say it's admittedly a tad earnest and a little contrived -- but overall they're both freaking tremendous. And when Tony Visconti's string arrangement kicks in at the end of "River," frankly I'm a goner.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Nick Danger Has Left the Office

Firesign Theatre member Phil Austin has passed away at the age of 74.

Announcing the news on Facebook, Phil Proctor said it for everybody who loved the guy's work:

Rest in Peace, Regnad Kcin.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekend Social Notes

So a certain Shady Dame and I are off to beautiful Lambertville, New Jersey, where on the morrow my old chum Peter Spencer -- a splendid singer/songwriter who I've known since my 80s days in the Village -- will be performing at Kline's Gallery.

Pete's terrific, so if you're in the area please drop by; his show starts at 8pm.

Here's one of my favorite songs of his, from a splendid all-acoustic CD available at his website.

And here, as you may recall, is an inadequate cover of it I did recently with my old garage band pals The Weasels.

I should add that when I presented this version to Pete earlier this year, he graciously declined to beat the shit out of me.

In any case, I won't be posting again till next Tuesday, so wang chung in my absence until then.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tom-Tom, C'est Moi

I don't know how I missed this 2010 New Yorker appreciation of the great Who drummer until now, but it's one of the best pieces of rock writing I've ever encountered, and I thought I'd share it.
My Life as Keith Moon

By James Wood

I had a traditional musical education, in a provincial English cathedral town. I was sent off to an ancient piano teacher with the requisite halitosis, who lashed with a ruler at my knuckles as if they were wasps; I added the trumpet a few years later, and had lessons with a younger, cheerier man, who told me that the best way to make the instrument “sound” was to imagine spitting paper pellets down the mouthpiece at the school bully. I sang daily in the cathedral choir, an excellent grounding in sight-reading and performance.

But what I really wanted to do, as a little boy, was play the drums, and, of those different ways of making music, only playing the drums still makes me feel like a little boy. A friend’s older brother had a drum kit, and as a twelve-year-old I gawped at the spangled shells of wood and skin, and plotted how I might get to hit them, and make a lot of noise. It wouldn’t be easy. My parents had no time for “all that thumping about,” and the prim world of ecclesiastical and classical music, which meant so much to me, detested rock. But I waited until the drums’ owner was off at school, and sneaked into the attic where they gleamed, fabulously inert, and over the next few years I taught myself how to play them. Sitting behind the drums was like the fantasy of driving (the other great prepubescent ambition), with my feet established on two pedals, bass drum and high hat, and the willing dials staring back at me like a blank dashboard.

Noise, speed, rebellion: everyone secretly wants to play the drums, because hitting things, like yelling, returns us to the innocent violence of childhood. Music makes us want to dance, to register rhythm on and with our bodies. The drummer and the conductor are the luckiest of all musicians, because they are closest to dancing. And in drumming how childishly close the connection is between the dancer and the dance! When you blow down an oboe, or pull a bow across a string, an infinitesimal hesitation—the hesitation of vibration—separates the act and the sound; for trumpeters, the simple voicing of a quiet middle C is more fraught than very complex passages, because that brass tube can be sluggish in its obedience. But when a drummer needs to make a drum sound he just . . . hits it. The stick or the hand comes down, and the skin bellows. The narrator in Thomas Bernhard’s novel “The Loser,” a pianist crazed with dreams of genius and obsessed with Glenn Gould, expresses the impossible longing to become the piano, to be at one with it. When you play the drums, you are the drums. “Tom-tom, c’est moi,” as Wallace Stevens put it.

The drummer who was the drums, when I was a boy, was Keith Moon, though he was dead by the time I first heard him. He was the drums not because he was the most technically accomplished of drummers but because his joyous, semaphoring lunacy suggested a man possessed by the antic spirit of drumming. He was pure, irresponsible, restless childishness. At the end of early Who concerts, as Pete Townshend smashed his guitar, Moon would kick his drums and stand on them and hurl them around the stage, and this seems a logical extension not only of the basic premise of drumming, which is to hit things, but of Moon’s drumming, which was to hit things exuberantly. “For Christ’s sake, play quieter,” the manager of a club once told Moon. To which Moon replied, “I can’t play quiet, I’m a rock drummer.”

You can read the rest of the essay over here.

I should give Greil Marcus, who so often deserves it, the last word; he famously observed that when you listened to Keith Moon's best performances, he didn't just sound like the greatest drummer in rock history, which he self-evidently was -- he sounded like the ONLY one.