Friday, August 29, 2008

RIP: Steve Foley

We at PowerPop wish to recognize the passing of Steve Foley, who drummed for The Replacements on their last tour. Foley died over the weekend in Minneapolis, apparently from an overdose of prescription drugs.

Weekend Listomania (Special Bend Me Shape Me! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental rentboy amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off for the Republican National Convention, where in a gesture of solidarity with the Republican base, we'll be staying in that parking lot owned by adulterous senile gigolo John McCain's wife. John himself doesn't remember it, but we here it's very tastefully appointed and that the office fridge is well-stocked with six packs of Bud.

In any case, posting by moi will thus be sporadic for a few days.

But in the meantime, here's a fun project to tide us all over:

Best Slide Guitar Work On a Pop, Rock or Blues Song Under 10 Minutes Long!!!

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Eight:

8. Canned Heat -- Let's Work Together

The great Alan Wilson.

7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Spaceboy (audio only)

Anybody counting how many consecutive Listomania's I've managed to work Billy Corgan's angst-in-your-pants routine into? Frankly, I've lost track. Worse, I'm not even sure why I bother.

6. The Beatles -- For You Blue

George: "Elmore James' got nothing on this baby!"

5. John Hiatt -- Riding With the King

With the unbelievably amazing Sonny Landreth on slide. Seriously -- I've seen these guys do this live, and it was the closest thing to a psychedelic experience I've ever had without drugs. Those notes seem to literally hang suspended in time and space.

4. Leo Kottke -- Louise

The definitive version of this oft-covered folkie classic, I think. Actually, If the slide solos don't make you cry, I don't want to know you.

3. Mick Jagger -- Memo From Turner

That's the very young Ry Cooder on guitar, absolutely dripping menace and mystery. Incidentally, I recently discovered who the rhythm section is (courtesy of Rhino's 2007 Jagger solo best-of): turns out it's Stevie Winwood and Jim Capaldi. Who knew?

2. Joe Walsh -- Rocky Mountain Way

Walsh may be, in Don Henley's famous phrase, "an interesting couple of guys," but one of them is clearly an absolutely monster slide player.

And the numero uno most concise slide guitar work on a pop record,, hands down it's so totally obvious if you try to argue with me I swear to god I'll harm you so just don't, is ---

1. The Rolling Stones -- I Wanna Be Your Man

There's tons of slide all over the Stones catalogue, obviously, but this cover of the Fabs song was the first use (1964) of slide on a pop hit ever so I think it deserves the top slot.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (special Blade Runner For Morons Edition) is up at Box Office. As always, if you leave a comment over there, an angel gets its wings.]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Slightly Earlier Than Usual Clue to the New Direction

From 1977, here's The Pretenders, featuring all-time coolest rock woman Chrissie Hynde, and a brief snippet of their fabulously sexy "Cuban Slide."

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first reader who divines its relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Spinal Tap: The Lego Years

In honor of tonight's history making Democratic Convention, I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a video of Sha-Na-Na's hilarious "Vote For Me."

Decided to post this instead, and to be honest, I can't tell you exactly why it cracks me up. But it does.

Apparently, there's some underground subculture of filmmakers whose thing is to reshoot iconic movie scenes with Legos. There's such a fine line between clever and stupid...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No Problemo

I may have mentioned this earlier, but for me, the big rock reunion of 2007 wasn't Led Zeppelin or The Police. For my money, it was the get-together of Any Trouble, the first generation Stiff Records band whose 1980 debut Where Are All the Nice Girls is one of the absolute gems of the era -- thirteen concise, gorgeously melodic guitar driven original pop gems with a punk edge and heart to spare, plus "Growin' Up," still my favorite Springsteen cover ever.

The reunion album (on the newly active Stiff, where it belongs) still hasn't been released in the states, so I finally took the plunge and ordered the import here. Turns out I shouldn't have waited -- it's an absolute gem on the level of the debut.

Here's the opening track...

Seriously -- if that doesn't make you smile, you're trying way too hard to be difficult.

Incidentally, lead singer/songwriter Clive Gregson tells a wonderful story from back in the day. Seems Any Trouble were doing a gig with first generation power pop gods The Searchers, who were touring their wonderful eponyous Dave Edmunds produced comeback album. Gregson, who idolized them, went back to the Searchers dressing room, stuck his hand out and said "Hi, Clive Gregson, Any Trouble." To which Searchers guitarist/singer John McNally, barely looking up, responded "No thanks, everything's fine."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did You Ever See a Jew Jitsu? (Well, I Did)

[Posted about this over at Box Office, but it's too good not to share, especially as I've been looking for the album cover for years -- god bless Google Images!]

From today's New York Times:

More than 40 years after the Beatles first proposed a concert in Israel, a date has been set for Paul McCartney to play there, The Times of London reported. Mr. McCartney’s show in Tel Aviv, which had previously been announced with a date to be set, is now scheduled for Sept. 25. Earlier this year Israel officially apologized to the remaining members of the Beatles for canceling a concert tour in 1965. At the time Israeli officials cited financial problems, and some there had argued against the concert, suggesting that the band’s performance would corrupt Israeli youth. Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to Britain, said the country wanted to “rectify a historic missed opportunity.”

rabbi saul.jpg

Well, obviously, this is great news for Israeli Beatlemaniacs, but we can only hope it's also a chance to rectify another even greater historic missed opportunity. We refer, of course, to the possible release of the great lost Beatles album, Rabbi Saul. Originally scheduled for release in 1967, RS was a result of the Fab Four's brief (hidden from the public) flirtation with Orthodox Judaism after their "divorce" (John Lennon's phrase) from The Maharishi; songs -- some of which have been bootlegged over the years -- included "The Shul on the Hill," "Mocky Raccoon," "P.S. I Owe You," and (my personal favorite) "Your Mother Should Only Know."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Suicide is Painless

Absolutely hellacious technical problems today -- hence this brief, pathetic blogpost is all I can manage until they're resolved or I kill myself, which ever comes first.

In the meantime, you might get a kick out of today's Box Office -- check out the totally groovy geriatric hippie psychedelic band rocking out in a the clip from an obscure but really amazing early Spielberg sci-fi TV effort from 1971.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Mandrake Gestures Hypnotically! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental rentboy amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off for another weekend in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. We'll be putting our asses on the line in the fight against tyranny there by joining the Robert Kagan/William Kristol Brigades. As we mentioned previously, it's sorta like the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, except that Kagan and Kristol won't be joining us, despite the fact that unlike Lincoln they are actually alive.

In any case, posting by moi will thus be sporadic for a few days.

But in the meantime, here's a fun project to tide us all over:

Best Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Record Whose Title References the Supernatural!!!

Totally arbitrary rule: The actual word "supernatural" in the title is okay.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven:

7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Glass and the Ghost Children

Proving once again that there isn't a Listomania topic I can come up with that doesn't have a relevant song featuring Billy Corgin's pretentious bald noggin.

6. Redbone -- Witch Queen of New Orleans

These guys -- by which I mean twins Pat and Lolly Vegas -- ran one of the best r&b-influenced rock bands of their day. Never really gotten their due, alas....

5. Duane Eddy -- Ghost Riders in the Sky

Actually, the song predates Elvis (Vaughan Monroe had the first hit version in the late 40s) but it's inspired a zillion covers. Duane and his trademark twangy guitar is an excellent fit, obviously.

4. A tie:

Jimi Hendrix -- Voodoo Chile


Godsmack -- Voodoo

Devolution in action, I think.

2. Bruce Springsteen -- The Ghost of Tom Joad

You know, somedays I think Bruce would have been really happy to be Merle Haggard.

And the numero uno coolest rock song about the supernatural, hands down it's so totally obvious if you try to argue with me I swear to god I'll harm you so just don't, is ---

1. Roky Erikson -- I Walked With a Zombie

The fact that this man is alive, touring, sounding great and apparently enjoying himself in the process has got to be one of the nicest musical stories of the last couple of years.

Awright then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania, Marquis de Sade edition, is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to leaving a comment over there, an angel gets its wings.]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Somewhat Early Clue to the New Direction

Off to NYC for yet another not-so-mysterious assignation.

In the meantime, from 1975, and Ken Russell's execrable film version of The Who's Tommy, here's Elton John and his thoroughly bogus version of "Pinball Wizard."

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first reader who divines it's relation to tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

School of Shlock

My review of Rainn Wilson as the Pete Best of 80s hair metal in The Rocker is now up over at Box Office.

Short version: The Citizen Kane of failed 80s hair metal rocker comedies.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Putting on the Dog

And now, another surprise from the MOJO 40th Anniversary of the White Album issue (September 2008):


It's a Paul thing. And a humour-filled one, right from the pawn shop piano start and on through a build-up punctuated by farting tuba where some of Britain's premier jazzers impersonated a brass band and cellos, violas and violins pile in to add substance to Macca's lightweight but attractive melody line. There are those who reckon Paul's sometimes vaudevillian creation was inspired by a chunk of a Von Flotow opera that tenor Mario Lanza boosted in at least three MGM musicals. Then there's the Crufts crowd, peddling a belief that the song was prompted by McCartney's affection for Martha, his old English sheepdog. Not that the lyrics lend any weight to that particular idea. More substance can be given to the theory that Paul had his break-up with Jane Asher in mind while piercing together such lines as "You have always been my inspiration" and "Be good to me -- don't forget me." Certainly it was a personal offering with -- despite the Lennon/McCartney credit -- no other Beatle involvement, although George Martin aided and abetted with those brass and string arrangements.

All in all, a bit of tuneful fun -- one that suited (Ambrose)Slade when they covered the song on their debut album just a few months later. -- Fred Dellar

I don't know about you guys, but I had no idea Slade had done this, or that they were ever so utterly twee, as the Brits say. Skinheads with violins? Only in the 60s...

"That summer, race was a much bigger story than the Beatles..."

Well, waddya know -- turns out that the Paul McCartney ditty that everybody loves to dis has some interesting unsuspected depth.

From the 40th Anniversary White Album Tribute in the September 2008 issue of MOJO:


Between starting the song in March in Rishikesh and the first attempt to record it in Abbey Road on July 3 fell what would have been Hitler's 79th birthday. That April 20, 1968, Conservative Shadow Defence Secretary Enoch Powell gave the notorious "Rivers of Blood" speech where he prophesied a racial apocalpse in Britain if immigration from the former Empire continued. It was headline news, provoking protests both pro and anti. That summer, race was a much bigger story than the Beatles.

So when Paul McCartney wrote what he intended to be a Number 1 hit whose male lead was clearly to be identified as West Indian ("Desmond is a very Caribbean name"), set to music that hybridised British music hall and a ska beat, how could he not be making a point? McCartney was in the business of making points in a publically palatable style: he'd written the Beatles previous single A-side, "Lady Madonna," in solidarity with women's daily struggle. The inspiration for "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da came from a citizen of a former British colony typical of those in the Powellite firing line. Born Jimmy Anonmuogharan Scott Emutakpor in Nigeria, jazzman Jimmy Scott came to England in the '50s, for a while playing congas in Georgia Fame and the Blue Flames; he met McCartney in Soho's Bag O'Nails club. His Yoruba catch-phrase, 'ob-la-di, ob-la-da,' meaning 'life goes on', sparked a hit chorus just as Ringo's stray catch-phrase 'a hard day's night' had with Lennon four years before. And like that 1964 smash, McCartney's new song celebrated workaday romance -- but whose folksiness pictured a friendly face of Britan's controversial new arrivals in a familiar British street setting, the West Indian lilt giddying up a public bar knees-up.

The old joanna intro came courtesy of John Lennon whose "fresh attitude", according to Macca, "turned the whole song around" after it had become bogged down in repeated takes with Ringo and George that totalled 42 hours over seven days.

Vetoed as a single by the other three -- all that effort and ill-temper for "granny music" was their verdict -- the song went to Number 1 anyway as covered by Marmalade, a better version by Leeds-based West Indian musicians The Bedrocks having just scraped into the Top 20.

And Jimmy Scott? He played congas on an early take (Anthology 3), and McCartney later settled a legal bill for him in return for dropping a claim for royalties on the song. Later he joined UK ska revivalists Bad Manners, in 1986 contracting pneumonia on tour in the US and dying after being held for hours naked when strip-searched by immigration officials at Heathrow Airport. McCartney really had a point, it seemed. But not even his fellow Fabs got it. -- Mat Snow

Me neither, I must admit; that whole story is news to me, and mea culpa if everybody else has already heard it. To be honest, though, I've always liked the song, as unfashionable as it may have been to say in rock crit circles.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kelefa Sanneh, We Hardly Knew Ye

The World's Most Irksome Rock Critic may have departed The New York Times, but over at the Arts section of The Newspaper of Record, his spirit lives on, especially when it comes to that all important Song of the Summer contest.

From today:

In the summer of 2007, Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was the inescapable song of the season, booming from car windows and city parks long past Labor Day. This year there has been plenty of competition for the crown: Lil Wayne has two contenders, “Lollipop” and “A Milli”; Rihanna is back with “Disturbia”; and Katy Perry ignited ChapStick sales with “I Kissed a Girl.” Other songs might have dominated the summer charts in a bigger way, but for the artist Andrew Kuo, whose visual music criticism can be found at, no song better captures a lazy afternoon on a city stoop than “Lookin Boy,” a hilariously detailed insult-fest from the Chicago rappers Hotstylz.

The song in question...

Yup, does it for me. Easily as good as "Umbrella." How's that for a ringing endorsement?

Seriously -- say what you will about the Times, but do they know their demographic or what?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Feist Rules, Okay?

I love this woman and I love this song, and I am here to tell you -- this is beyond question the cutest version of it you're ever going to see.

"One two three four...chickens just back from the shore."

Seriously -- do they say "the shore" in Canada? I thought it was just a New Jersey thing....

[h/t Kerrin L. Griffith]

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Glam Blogging...

Here's Jobriath with Rock of Ages from his 1973 eponymous LP. While Bowie flirted with homosexuality, Jobriath's stage persona was courageously and defiantly gay. Todd Haynes' dissapointing 1998 film Velvet Goldmine, featured lead character Brian Slade who was clearly an amalgam of Bowie and Jobriath, but the film was a muddled mess that is best forgotten for those interested in the era.

Love the band, love the tune, and love the space suit and helmet! By the way, his 1973 LP will soon be re-released on Rhino August 19th, so check it out.!

Cheers! Have a great Saturday!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Familiarity Breeds Contempt Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental rentboy amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to the Republic of Georgia, where we've signed up to fight the forces of tyranny in the newly formed Bill Kristol/Robert Kagan Brigade. It's sort of like the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, except that Kristol and Kagan won't themselves be serving even though, unlike Lincoln, they're actually alive.

In any case, posting by moi will likely be sporadic for a few days.

But in the meantime, here's a fun project to tide us all over:


Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven:

7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Disarm

I actually still like this song, which has always struck me as a kind of White Album outtake for our time. However, since I needed yet another Smashing Pumpkins song for the purposes of getting them into every Listomania from now until the end of time, I have decided I never want to hear it again. So much for my street cred...

6. Smash Mouth -- All Star

How many movies has this been in? Shrek 1, 2 and 3? Schindler's List? Brokeback Mountain? Titanic? The Sorrow and the Pity? In the Realm of the Senses? I've lost count....

5. The Who -- Won't Get Fooled Again

I'm sorry, I love the fricking Who, I love this song, and I love the album it's from. I even loved hearing Pete and Roger do it at the recent VH-1 Honors concert. Nonetheless, after hearing it every week for the last 80 years on whatever CSI franchise it's on, I'm officially done with it. Sorry.

(Honorable mention: "Who Are You" and "Baba O'Reilly")

4. Bonnie Raitt -- I Can't Make You Love Me

A beautiful record, full of longing and regret, and gorgeously warbled by Bonnie. Nonetheless, for several years it was impossible to sit at a bar without this coming on the jukebox and hearing either a waitress or a tipsy woman by the peanut bowl singing along. As a result, if I ever hear it again I will definitely take a hostage.

(honorable mention: "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About")

3. Marvin Gaye -- Let's Get It On

Another great song, but at this point it's replaced a packet of condoms and a scratchy Barry White album as the cheesy sexual encounter signifier of all time. Seriously -- once Jack Black has covered it, it's over.

2. Led Zeppelin -- Stairway to Heaven

Overfamiliar? Hell, I'm at the point now where even the parodies drive me crazy. (This one is still pretty funny, however.)

And the numero uno actually good song that you've heard so many fricking times that you just want to kill yourself at the thought of hearing it again, it's not even close so don't bug me already, is obviously --

1. The Beatles -- Hello Goodbye

Again, I happen to love this song -- which I understand is not a lot of people's favorite McCartney/Beatles effort -- but after the six or seven lame covers of it that have been featured, endlessly, in Best Buy ads in the last year or two, I'd rather have my eyes gouged out with a burnt stick than listen to it again.

Awright then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you leave a comment over there, an angel gets its wings.]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Slightly Earlier Than Usual Clue to the New Direction

Live in Milan (date unknown), here's drunken mick louts Conscience of the Western World U2 with their anthemic "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

Of course, let's not tell these guys, okay? It might sting a little. The whole Fair Use thing, and all that.

In any case, as always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first commenter who divines its relevance to tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Today's Chart Listings From Hell

From The New York Times' Arts(!) section today:

In a slow week at music stores, the “Mamma Mia!” movie soundtrack rose two spots on the Billboard album chart to reach No. 1. The soundtrack, released by Decca, sold 131,000 copies in its fifth week on sale, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while last week’s top seller, Sugarland’s “Love on the Inside” (Mercury Nashville), dropped to No. 3 with 91,000. Miley Cyrus’s “Breakout” (Hollywood/Disney) remained at No. 2 with 102,000.

We should note here, more in amazement than in an anger, that the "Mamma Mia" soundtrack features Pierce Brosnan and Christine Baranski singing ABBA songs, not actual ABBA records.

Seriously, I forget who said it but it's nonetheless true: If God doesn't totally smite the Music Business out of existence he owes a written apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brevity Is the Soul of Wit Part Deux

And now that we've established that teen sensations The Jonas Brothers are not, in fact, The Beatles [see post below], here's another question deserving a pre-emptive short answer.

Does teen sensation Miley Cyrus deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Chrissie Hynde?

Uh, no.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

Saw a piece in one of the papers yesterday asking whether current teen sensations The Jonas Brothers deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles.

Uh, no.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Boy Looked at Johnny

Caught Patti Smith: Dream of Life the other day, and what a pleasure.

"Eleven years in the making, commercial-photographer-turned-documentarian Steven Sebring’s impressionistic account of poetess/punk rock icon Patti Smith is insufferable, endearing, pretentiously arty, bracingly direct, humorless, hilarious, oddly distant and strangely touching, but always compulsively watchable—in other words, a fabulous contradictory mess, much like Smith herself..."

You can read the rest of my review here.

Bottom line: If it's playing in a theater anywhere near you, pounce.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Masculin Féminin Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental rentboy amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off with Senator John McCain (R-wrinkly whitehaired dude) on a cross country roadtrip; we're attempting to set the all-time mileage record for driving with uninflated tires.

Which means that posting by moi will likely be sporadic for a few days (and the damage to my liver incalcuable).

But in the meantime, here's a fun project to tide us all over:


You guys rarely play by the rules, so let me simply say anyway that songs with the titular words "boy" or "girl" are clearly inelegible (with the exception of the number four entry below, for obvious reasons).

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Six:

6. Smashing Pumpkins -- Enter Sandman

Yes, I needed an excuse to work Billy Corgin into the list for like the fifteenth time. But I have it on good authority that Smashing Pumpkins did in fact cover this, even if there's no video evidence. You can Google if you don't believe me.

5. Deep Purple -- Woman From Tokyo

Were these guys the worst dressed major band of all time or what?

4. Urge Overkill -- Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon

From the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, obviously. These guys took a load of shit back in the day for not being sufficiently ironic when covering Neil Diamond. You know what? It's a great song...unironically.

3. Black Sabbath -- Iron Man

This clip is better than the Robert Downey movie. I'm not kiddingabout this!!!

2. Gene Pitney -- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

I prefer the John Otway version, but this will do in a pinch.

And the bestest ever song with man or woman in the title, it's not even close so don't bug me already, is obviously --

1. Peter and Gordon -- Woman

At the height of Beatlemania Paul McCartney gave this to P&G under a pseudonym, the idea being to see if it would be a hit even if nobody knew it was written by a Beatle. Sure enough, it was, although if memory serves the secret didn't stay secret for long.

Awright then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and leaving a comment, an angel gets its wings.]

Thursday, August 07, 2008

An Extremely Early Clue to the New Direction

Off to the city for my no longer mysterious Thursday assignation. In the meantime, from 1991, here's spawn of satan thinning-haired asshole Michael Bolton doing unspeakable things to Percy Sledge's great "When a Man Loves a Woman."

With subtitles, for our Asian readers.

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded the first commenter who divines its relevance to tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tales From the Heartland

Now THIS is why you pay the big bucks to live in New York City. Oh, wait....

McCartney in Springfield? Strange As It Sounds, It Seems to Add Up
By Dave Bakke
Aug. 5, 2008

SPRINGFIELD — Name the last person you would have expected to see last weekend at the Circle K gas station on Clear Lake Avenue.

No, it wasn’t him. He’s at the White House packing for his trip to Asia. And, no, it wasn’t him either — he’s still in a cave somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

It was Paul McCartney. Or a really well-done hoax.

You probably find the story hard to believe. So did we. Especially when the witnesses claimed that Sir Paul was driving a 1989 Ford Bronco. But, you know what? It all adds up.

On Saturday afternoon, a group of Springfield guys stopped at the Circle K on their way to St. Louis for the Cardinals-Phillies game. While in the parking lot, they saw someone walk by who looked just like McCartney.

“We were getting in the car as he was walking in,” says C.J. Lowder. “I said, ‘Man, that looks like Paul McCartney.’”

The Bronco parked on the side of the gas station, not in the front. The man who looked like Sir Paul didn’t buy anything inside, but used the station, just off Interstate 55, for a “pit stop.” Nobody at the gas station even noticed him, Lowder said.

“Josh (Lowder, C.J.’s brother) said ‘Hey, Paul!’ and he said, ‘What’s up?’ with this real thick English accent, and I knew it was him,” C.J. Lowder said.

McCartney said he and his girlfriend, Nancy Shevell, were on their way to St. Louis, but not to the ballgame. He posed for a picture with the boys — besides Josh and C.J. Lowder, they included Jared Lowder (a cousin), plus Cory Neuhoff and Jeremy Judd. McCartney then spent a couple of minutes talking and left.

“He was definitely trying to stay low-key, for sure,” C.J. Lowder says. “It was just a couple of minutes. He shook all of our hands.”

“Another thing that got me,” says Josh Lowder, “was that of all the older people in the place, none of them recognized him. C.J. recognized him, and he’s the youngest one.”
Coincidentally, Decatur Celebration hosted a Paul McCartney tribute band on Saturday. Was this merely the impersonator? No. In an interview, the impersonator, Ron Starr (R. Starr?) admits he looks nothing like Paul and is much younger. Pictures of Ron Starr confirm the lack of resemblance.

But how about that 1989 (or thereabouts) Bronco? Paul McCartney? One of the richest men in show-business history? Come on.

But wait. It had New York license plates. Nancy Shevell lives in New York. The vehicle at the gas station had a yellow access sticker to the Hamptons on the bumper. Both McCartney and Shevell have places in the Hamptons.

And then there is the clincher.

In November, the Web site Gothamist posted a photograph of Paul and Nancy kissing while sitting in an older-model Ford Bronco.

That is what people in the news business like to call “independent confirmation.”

“It was wild,” says C.J. Lowder about running into a Beatle at a Springfield gas station. “It was one of those things I never would have expected to see. They were super nice.

“Nobody got his autograph, it happened so fast. You could tell he didn’t want to draw a huge crowd. We talked for a while, and he said, ‘Well, I’ll let you get going to the game. Go Cardinals!’”

It’s not as if Sir Paul was playing a concert in Europe last weekend and couldn’t have been here.

McCartney’s Web site shows that his last concert was a week ago in Quebec City, and he is not on tour.

The Quebec City show was just a one-off for the city’s 400th birthday.

McCartney’s public relations manager in Britain, Stuart Bell, could not be reached Monday for confirmation of the star’s whereabouts.

At the Circle K station, manager Tim Kelley took the news of McCartney’s visit in stride. Kelley’s not the star-struck type.

But his clerk, Martie Brandon, flashed a little Beatlemania.

“Oh, my god, and I left at 2 o’clock!” she said, slapping her forehead. McCartney was seen just after 4 p.m. “If I’d have just stayed a little longer ... .”

[h/t John McPartlin]

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Francisco Franco, Still Dead

I'd totally forgotten this, but did you know that when Sticky Fingers came out in Spain in 1970, the powers that be thought the famous zipper cover was obscene? But that this one, which replaced it, was absolutely fine?

I mean -- seriously, isn't that a zillion times grosser?

Additional trivia note: The Spanish censors also nixed the inclusion of "Sister Morphine," which was replaced with a smoking live cover of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock."

[h/t Billy B]

La Vie Boheme

Saw What We Do Is Secret -- a very entertaining bio-pic on seminal LA punk band The Germs and their doomed lead singer Darby Crash -- the other day. My review at Box Office will be up on Friday, but in the meantime here's a look at the genuine article, from the wonderful Penelope Spheeris-directed documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.

Yes, the guitarist on stage left is Pat Smear, more recently of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame.

Monday, August 04, 2008

And in Breaking News: Water Wet!

The hepsters at Pitchfork Media have declared Blondie's Parallel Lines "an undiscovered gem."

Coming tomorrow: Their review of Meet the Beatles.

"A promising debut."

[h/t John McPartlin]

Apocalypse Now

Food for thought:

The present day Disney teen idol/sex object has smaller boobs than Annette.

I'm not sure what this means, but it's the kind of thing that occurs to me when I realize that Avril Lavigne has now birthed her own cheesey rock sub-genre.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special The Beast in Me Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Nome, Alaska and the palatial estate of Sen. Ted Stevens [R-goniff] where we'll be putting on the dog at the annual Earmarks, Shmearmarks festival.

As a result, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:


Oh, and for what it's worth, there are no arbitrary rules of exclusion this time. Insects? Fine. Fish? No problem. Mythological beasts? Well, I shouldn't, but what the hell.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Six:

6. Smashing Pumpkins -- Rhinoceros

Jeebus H. Christ in a chicken basket -- how many Listomanias has Billy Corgan's pretentious noggin showed up in over the last couple of months? Like fifteen or so? Sheesh. Oh well, at least he has hair here.

5. The Byrds -- Old Blue

An excellent live version of my fave track from their lovely Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde album. Clarence White rules, of course. Honorable mention: the Byrds' "Chestnut Mare" and "Bugler" (saddest dog song ever written).

4. A tie --

The Monkees
-- Porpoise Song

One of Carole King's two great stabs at psychedelia (the other is "Wasn't Born to Follow," at least as the Byrds do it) and the Monkees masterpiece.


Fred Neil -- The Dolphins

Often covered, never bettered. Neil is pretty much the great underappreciated architect of 60s folk rock, among other interesting things.

3. Kate Bush -- Hounds of Love

I don't care if she's wacky, she's a doll.

2. Henry Gross -- Shannon

The former Sha-Na-Na guitarist's 1976 hit and a memorial for a dog owned by Beach Boy Carl Wilson. I believe that's some of the Beach Boys doing the back up vocals, actually. Okay, I know it's wimpy, but I like it a lot anyway. Sue me.

And the number one pop rock song about some kind of animal, and don't give me that "Crocodile Rock" shit or I swear I'll take a hostage is, obviously --

1. Soupy Sales -- The Mouse

Full disclosure: Great as this is, I actually bought the single for the B-side, the immortal Pachalafaka.

Alrighty, now -- and your choices would be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania is now up over at Box Office. Like it would hurt you to go over there and leave a comment? I don't think so...