Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Day Essay Question

If you don't like the following four singles written (and sometimes sung) by the often maligned (by hepsters) Neil Diamond...

...you don't like rock 'n' roll as a form.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Now THIS is More Like It!!!!

And speaking as we were of The Hollies last week, please behold in breathless wonder said band, with Graham Nash in 1967, running through their magisterial "On a Carousel" at Abbey Road Studios.

Words mostly fail me, but I should mention three things in particular.

For starters, a big thank you to guitarist Tony Hicks for letting us see exactly how he plays the song's great signature riff, including that little harmonic at the very end.

For another, if Bobby Elliott wasn't one of the coolest drummers of the British Invasion, than I'm Marie of Rumania

And finally, don't turn off the clip at the song's conclusion, or you'll miss about 30 seconds of the group a capella that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand completely erect.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Four Well Respected Men

The original Kinks -- featuring the great Pete Quaife on bass -- on French TV in 1965.

Interesting on all sorts of levels, and I never knew they covered "Bye Bye Johnny."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Total Victory is Ours, Comrades!!!

The Hollies on TV in Croatia, some time in 1968.

Three things immediately come to mind.

1. It is actually possible that The Hollies were staying at the same hotel as Mel Brooks, who was filming The Twelve Chairs in Yugoslavia at approximately the same time.

2. The Hollies probably had nothing to do after the show because Tito had the car.

3. This performance, although musically impeccable, is really kind of embarrassing. I mean, I had no idea that The Hollies were so totally a cabaret act at this point. No wonder Graham Nash was so hot to jump ship to Crosby Stills and Nash.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Your Christmas Day Moment of Oh Steve, You Sentimental Old Fluff, You!

Six years ago this week, "All That I Want" -- the preposterously touching Christmas song by The Weepies you can hear below -- was all over TV as part of an ad campaign for something or other.

And, coincidentally and utterly surprisingly, I found myself falling desperately in love with a certain Shady Dame at the same time.

With that song as the soundtrack.

Up on the roof tops
The full moon dips its golden spoon
I wait on clip clops
Deer might fly
Why not? I met you

I am pleased to report that here in late 2013 the song -- especially that quoted bit -- still makes me cry.

And, even more unlikely (and luckily), that I'm still desperately in love.

And that the aforementioned Shady Dame is still putting up with my bullshit.

Here's hoping all of you guys are as blessed.

And have a great Holiday season.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Your Christmas Eve Moment of Words Fail Me!

Eddie Vedder on Jeanne Tripplehorn:

"She has this incredible ability to sing any Rolling Stones song as Julie Andrews."

And a Merry Christmas to all our long-suffering faithful readers and friends!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Classic Rock From an Alternate Reality: An Occasional Series

In case you missed my post a week or two ago -- about the WSJ 70th birthday interview with Keith Richards -- here's an mp3 of the song that's the big revelation in the article: The original version of The Stones "Street Fighting Man."

With totally different non-political lyrics and some interesting differences in the mix (that's Dave Mason on that weird Indian oboe you can hear if you listen hard enough.)

It's still great, and I'm sure it would have sounded equally good on Beggar's Banquet as the more familiar version, but obviously Mick and Keith and the gang were absolutely right to revise it. Incidentally, according to Keith, he came up with the line "What can a poor boy do?" and Mick took that and ran with it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Okay, My Absolute Last Post About the Hall of Fame Nominations. Seriously. No Kidding. Not Another Word After Today.

Sorry, but this just pissed me off.

The odious little Golem...

...whose more or less daily droolings about pop and rock I took exception to LAST WEEK has just weighed in on the Hall of Fame nominations thusly:

""No questionables like Patti Smith, everyone is deserving and it’s about time."

Patti Smith questionable? The same Patti Smith who among other things smashed the gender gap in rock for all time? The Mother of Us All? That Patti Smith?

To which I can only respond -- go fuck yourself, fella.

And request that everybody who reads this post go click on the YouTube below...

...and dedicate Patti's delivery of the line "We don't need that fucking shit" to you, Bob.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More Proof, As If Any Was Needed, That John Lennon Was Right: God Actually IS a Concept By Which We Measure Our Pain

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees got announced yesterday. KISS is in, but the most unique band of the British Invasion, i.e. The Zombies...

...got hosed agaim.

You know, I don't have a problem with the HOF basically, but there are some bands that deserve to be in it. And there are some bands that deserve to be in it before some other bands.

If The Zombies aren't one of them, then I'm Marie of Rumania.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Geezer Rock Rules

Taking a day off...

...to work on guitar parts for tomorrow's recording session with my high school garage band chums. They're not IN high school, of course; we met back then.

Anyway, you get the idea. Normal posting resumes on Wednesday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

Christopher Lee has a heavy metal Xmas single out.

Yes, THAT Christopher Lee.

If this isn't a sign of the End Times, I don't know what is.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special And In Conclusion, National Rifle Association -- Bite Me! Edition

[Still too woefully busy and over-extended to do any lengthy new writing for a while -- sorry, RXH -- but in the meantime given the recent anniversary of the horror at Newtown, I thought it would be relevant to re-up this posting from 2010. It's been slightly edited for content and there's a new selection in there as well. -- S.S.]


Self-explanatory, so no arbitrary rules, but by firearms I mean the obvious, i.e. handguns, rifles, etc. In other words, if you try to sneak in something like Bruce Cockburns' otherwise quite splendid "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" I'll make merciless fun of you.

And my totally top of my head Top Nine is:

9. Terry Reid -- Bang Bang

Written by Sonny fricking Bono, and covered here to within an inch of its "my baby shot me down" life. Reid, of course, is the man who passed on Robert Plant's gig in Led Zeppelin, thus altering history in unfathomable ways. A certain Shady Dame and I were privileged to see Reid in a tiny club a few months ago, BTW, and it was in a word transplendent.

8. The Connells -- Get a Gun

From 1990 and a long-time fave of mine. Utterly gorgeous on every level, I think, but to this day I haven't the slightest idea what it's about. These guys are apparently still a going concern, however, and if I ever run into them maybe I'll ask.

7. Warren Zevon -- Jeannie Needs a Shooter

Thought I was gonna say "Lawyers, Guns and Money," didn't you?

6. Mission of Burma -- That's When I Reach for My Revolver

Yeah, it's a great song. Still, and I forgot who said it, but there comes a time in everybody's life when they look at their CD collection and realize that those three Mission of Burma albums are basically just taking up space.

5. Hackamore Brick -- Zip Gun Woman

From the 1971 cult album. These guys are supposed to be some kind of proto-something -- punk, powerpop, I don't know what -- and people I know whose opinions I respect actually like the record. All I know is, I pull it out once every year or two to see if it makes sense to me yet, and it never does.

4. Webb Wilder -- The Devil's Right Hand

Written by Steve Earle, natch, and still the best anti-gun song ever. From Wilder's brilliant 1986 debut album, and recorded live obviously.

3. Bruce Springsteen -- Held Up Without a Gun

The Boss Goes Punk, and (at a breathless 1:22 seconds) just a total pleasure. This is the studio version from The River sessions, which has never been on legit CD to my knowledge.

2. The Sevens -- Seven

Apocalyptic garage rock from the Rolling Stones of Switzerland. Actual gun shots -- a starter pistol, actually -- fired in real time in the studio, courtesy of producer Giorgio Moroder (in his pre-disco days, obviously).

And the Numero Uno ode to the joys of blowing stuff up real good simply has to be...

1. The Guess Who -- Guns, Guns, Guns

This is one of the Guess Who tracks I usually pull out when people make fun of my obsession with the band. I'd actually forgotten it was a single; I mostly think of it as one of the best cuts from Rockin', the 1972 LP that's not only their masterpiece but one of the most unjustly overlooked albums of its decade. The song itself is sui generis; slash-and-burn guitars, a chorus for the ages, and a lyric -- at a historical moment when corporate greedheads are trying to convince us that fracking is good for you and the NRA and their Supreme Court enablers won't rest until every American can walk into a bar carrying a Stinger missile -- that's obviously depressingly prescient.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hell is Other People

Superchunk, from their new album I Hate Music, and "Void." Heh.

This is simultaneously one of the funniest and one of the most depressing things I've ever seen. Especially the fat guy crying in the bathroom.

And, of course, "It's like a punk rock Chuck E. Cheese."

[h/t Kid Charlemagne]

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

Okay, he's not Otis Spann, but what the hey -- he's pretty funky for a pachyderm.

Ladies and gentlemen -- please enjoy Peter the Elephant.

I'm reminded of a great New Yorker cartoon from a few years ago; a bunch of bears are walking out of a movie theater that's showing a film called The Salmon, and one of the bears says "Gee, I didn't realize they had feelings too."

[h/t Gregory Fleeman]

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Well the Weather Outside is Frightful...

...and my schedule today is NOT delightful.

Let it snow, blah blah blah. I have to go to the city to talk to my opthamologist.

Have I mentioned blah blah blah?

Monday, December 09, 2013

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy! Oh Wait -- Actually Not.

Had to postpone today's scheduled Richard X. Heyman album review for a day or two -- way to busy at the moment to actually write something longer than a paragraph, alas.

But in the meantime, as a belated, heartfelt, and possibly in bad taste tribute to last Saturday's historical anniversary (December 7th, you'll recall) please enjoy Pearl Harbor...

...and the Explosions, live on August 24, 1979 in Oakland California, with their Nuevo Wavo classic "You've Got It (Release It)."

Don't think I ever saw these guys live, but this single was one of my all-time faves from what was a very good year for same. Holds up rather nicely, I think.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Previews of Coming Attractions

Long time and attentive readers are perhaps aware that pretty much the first thing I ever posted at this here blog was a rave review of an album by...

...Richard X. Heyman. Back in May of 2007, if you can believe.

Jeebus, where has the time gone?

Anyway, I pretty much said it was a masterpiece, a judgement I still stand behind.

The short version: Richard has a brand new album out...

...which I've just listened to, and I think it's at least as good.

A more eloquent response to it will be here on Monday. Wang Chung till then.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

A Foggy Day...

...not in London, but here in the Paris of the Tri-State Metropolitan Area.

Seriously, here in Hackensack you can't see the hand in front of your face. Weird!

UPDATE: Somewhere in my nabe, an hour ago.

As you can see, it's as thick as sea poop.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

And the 2013 Lou O'Neill Jr. Memorial Award for the Most Irksome and/or Preposterous Writer About Pop and Rock Goes to...

...this homunculus.

Better known as Bob Lefsetz.

In case you haven't been playing the home game, Lefsetz has been an annoying philistine know-it-all for several eons now; he formerly peddled his wares via a subscriber-supported website (who paid to read the stuff is something I do not even want to imagine) but of late his oeuvre has been available on the intertubes, for free, to anybody with a modem and no fear of having their IQ lowered by exposure to it.

I bring all this up because last Friday the proprietor of this here blog commented on Facebook about Lefsetz' latest series of annoying declarative sentences posing as a think piece, calling it -- and I paraphrase but only slightly -- "possibly his most assholish post ever." When the proffered link to the piece didn't work, I asked her what it was about, and she replied -- and again I paraphrase but even less slightly -- "talent doesn't matter and everybody should be like Rihanna."

In any event, I read the thing eventually -- you can find it here if you're strong of stomach -- and as it turned out I concurred: It really WAS his most assholish post ever.

Now, to be fair, the larger point (if that phrase is actually applicable) he was trying to make -- that the record companies are in business to make money, that their idea of quality is simply what they believe will sell, and that artistic content is consequently irrelevant to their business plan -- is inarguable.

On the other hand, if you read the whole piece, it's quite clear that Lefsetz actually approves of this state of affairs. And it occurred to me that some guy whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels had said something similar, in the pages of The Magazine Formerly Known as STEREO REVIEW somewhat earlier...

Anyway, that's all an extremely roundabout way of getting to my real worry, which is, simply put, that because the vast sums of money to be made in the record business today have raised the corporate stakes so precipitously that no future performer who is not on some level a clone of an already established star is ever going to get a chance in front of the public again.

...by which I mean in June of 1990.

In other words, Bob -- no shit, Sherlock. How long did you ponder before coming up with that bit of blinding insight?

Oh and Bob -- congrats are in order for your win; that is some truly memorable wanking and I'm proud to bring it a wider audience. Heh.

Although I must admit that my pal Dave Lifton over at Pop Dose does a much funnier number on you than I ever could. Seriously, I'm not worthy.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Another Day in Paradise

Having computer trouble. Blech.

Back tomorrow, assuming we get our issues resolved.

If we do, I should add, tomorrow's post will be a doozy.

Monday, December 02, 2013

When Black Monday Comes

In the spirit of the recent holiday shopping mania just concluded (and, also, as a tribute to the beloved CRASS COMMERCIALSIM segments over at Eschaton), allow me to simply mention again that Floor Your Love --

-- the superb newly re-mastered and redesigned CD by The Floor Models (featuring a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels) can be ordered over at the website of ZERO HOUR RECORDS over HERE.

To paraphrase the old Mad magazine: $9.95, cheap.

Needless to say, they make lovely Christmas presents.

And because I love you all more than food, here's a bonus track that didn't make the cut but which I'm inordinately fond of anyway. (I posted it here a while back, but in case you missed it..)

The song is "Fade Into Grey," a different studio take of which appears on our album. This version was recorded semi-live at WBAI-FM circa 1983; ace 12-string player Andy Pasternack edited out a dramatic, sort of Police-like middle section that worked better on stage and replaced it with sitar samples from The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," thus giving the tune a delightfully cheesy faux psychedelic feel.

As I said, I'm inordinately fond of this one, albeit now with a layer of bittersweet; Andy e-mailed me the MP3 of this in May, which was the last time I heard from him before his unexpected and tragic death in September.

In any case, go buy a copy of the CD in his honor. How's THAT for crass commercialism?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Have a Very Guess Who Post-Thanksgiving Weekend!

And in tribute to the original inhabitants of our noble republic, i.e., the people the Pilgrims stole it from, please enjoy Burton Cummings and the rest of those loveable canuckleheads with their stirring renditions of both the venerable oldie "Running Bear"...

...and their own perhaps less politically troublesome hit "Rain Dance."

You know, some days I find myself thinking that those guys were like the greatest band ever.

Then I usually get over it.

In any case, see you all on Monday.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Walking in Memphis

Because nothing says Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody! like a deeply embarrassing Elvis Presley song...

..co-written by Ed Wood's girlfriend Delores Fuller.

True story: The 45 of this...

...was actually on the jukebox at my college snack bar, and one night I loaded it up with two dollars worth of dimes and played the song 20 times in a row. As an experiment to see how fast I could clear the place. Pretty damn fast, if memory serves, BTW.

In any case -- Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Could Be Wrong, But These Clips May Be the Greatest Things in the History of Television

From 1977 and his ill-fated variety show (it lasted exactly four episodes)...

...please enjoy comic genius Richard Pryor as he invents death metal. (Don't blink or you'll miss a shot of Sandra Bernhard in the audience.)

I should add two things.

1) This predates Spinal Tap by seven -- count 'em, seven -- years.


2) That isn't actually the funniest bit from the Pryor show.

THIS is.

Words fail me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Nothing New Under the Lucky Old Sun Edition

Purportedly from 1962 -- although experts tell me it's actually from somewhat later, circa 1964 -- please enjoy ultra rare footage of Brit rock pioneer/legend Screaming Lord Sutch (doing business with The Savages) at Liverpool's fabled Cavern Club.

Say what you will about Sutch...

but I think it's pretty obvious that the guys from GWAR...

...ripped him off for pretty much their entire act.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Master Thespians Edition

A blog friend writes:

The below video, produced by Adrian Bliss for the comedy network Dead Parrot, provides a dramatic reenactment of an actual (and perfectly typical)
YouTube comment war: an empty and vile back-and-forth that originated beneath a popular One Direction video. The simplicity of the concept is
brilliant and its execution is flawless.

To which I can only reply -- ditto!

Seriously, I could give two shits about One Direction or any current boy band, but this is out of control hilarious -- it's like watching two immature teenage girls portrayed by Sirs Alec Guinness and Ralph Richardson.

[h/t Richard_thunderbay]

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Kennedy Assassination Day

I don't know if I've told this story before, but on this day 50 years ago, at Teaneck High School, I heard the news over the PA during a next to last period study hall.

"The president has been shot."

And my first thought was -- who the hell would shoot Timmy McBride?

Who was the student council president.

That's how unthinkable the idea of JFK having been murdered was, kids.

Music posting resumes on Monday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Ghosts of Versailles

Not sure how I think about this purely as a conceptual art project, but somebody has commissioned portraits of how our dead rock heroes might look today, i.e. if they hadn't died tragically young.

For example -- Kurt Cobain.

Bob Marley.

Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys.

The Lizard King.

Janis Joplin.

Keith Moon.

John Lennon.

And some guy from Tupelo, Mississipi.

The ghoulishness aside, I think the Marley is right on the money, i.e., he looks like George Clinton. And the Joplin works for me too; she would have been a very cool old broad.

The Dennis Wilson and the Morrison are barely recognizable, on the other hand, but that may be the point.

And I like the fact that the elderly Keith Moon is definitely wearing a hairpiece.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Your Tuesday Moment of "Le Heh"

A friend finds this cartoon somehow reminiscent of moi.

Something about the hat, I imagine.

[h/t Marcellina]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Annals of the Music Biz: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Attentive readers and long-time friends are perhaps aware that a small indie label in Australia has, unaccountably, decided it would be a good idea to release a compilation of demos and live tracks I recorded in a band some thirty years ago.

And by "a small indie label" I more accurately mean a philanthropic organization. Seriously, the fact that somebody was willing to release Floor Your Love is perhaps the greatest act of compassion and charity a sentient mammal has exhibited toward his fellow beings since the death of Albert Schweitzer.

In any case, said record was released a week or two ago. So, naturally, lawyers are getting involved. Or something.

Apparently, a musician who helped us with said demos back in the day thinks the album is going to sell in Justin Bieber numbers and wants a piece of the action.

Here is an e-mail exchange forwarded to me on Friday by my mogul Down Under. The participants' real names and e-mail addresses have been omitted to protect whoever, but I recreate the messages verbatim.

FROM: Say My Name...Heisenberg (a/k/a The Guy Simels Used to Work With 30 Years Ago)
TO: The Record Company Guy in Australia

Stated on the back of The Floor Models CD is the following:
'Unauthorised duplication and reproduction is a criminal offense'. I've heard the material, and I couldn't agree more.

But that is not why I write: Here's a little tidbit I'm certain no one from the band has mentioned: I am the (uncompensated) legal owner of several of the master recordings on this album as well the producer.

Any last words before I send the police to your door??

FROM: The Record Company Guy in Australia
TO: Say My Name...Heisenberg

Good luck dickhead.

FROM: Say My Name...Heisenberg
TO: The Record Company Guy in Australia


I really didn't expect such a horribly stupid response. Congrats.

With regard to my connection to this album, everything I stated is true.

And now you are free to go back... back!!... into the shadows of the internet from whence you came,
along with the rest of the delusional vermin who puke up pretend, self-propelled fame and fortune.

Words, as they say, fail me. I also don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

I should add that if you know the guy in question, the fact he's using that quote from Breaking Bad as his nym is a really wonderfully psychotic touch.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Planet Where Dogs Evolved From Men?

Taking another couple of days off for mental health reasons, obviously.

Serious posting resumes on Monday, if for no other reason than Calvinist guilt. And I should add, it's gonna be a doozy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bullshit or Not?

Taking a mental health day.

You know -- because of all the bullshit.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In the Immortal Words of Edith Prickley...

...could be a hot one!!!

More specifically, I'm seeing John Fogerty tonight at the Beacon.

Amazingly enough, never seen him in concert. Or Creedence neither.

Oh well, better late etc. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Spirito Nella Notte Edition

Bruce and the E-Street Band doing "New York City Serenade" live in Rome Italy, earlier this year.

As you'll see...

...a crazy Italian fan had been following the band around from show to show with a huge banner asking for a performance of said "Serenade," and for this occasion, Bruce surprised the guy by hiring a string section and dedicating the song to him.

Like I said, words fail me.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Baby Let Me Bang Your Box! Edition

So the other day, somebody who I won't mention -- but whose initials are Shady Dame -- wondered if I was going to put up a new Weekend Listomania ever again.

I had no cogent answer for her, but I thought it might be fun to post this one -- from April of 2008 -- and see what the responses would be. I've personally changed my mind on one or two of the entries, so we'll see what you guys think after all this time.

In any case...go to it, if you don't mind going to it. -- S.S.


By which we mean the most melodic, the most effective, or the most inventive. It can be a solo, an entire part as played through the length of a song, or simply a riff -- whatever gets you off.

But, and at the risk of belaboring the obvious, it has to be played on a piano. No synths, organs, or even clavinets need apply, although by piano we do mean of both the acoustic and electric varieties. On the other hand, if somebody nominates anything played on the shimmering Fender Rhodes (as we used to say in the '70s) I'm gonna take a hostage blah blah blah.

Oh, and one other totally arbitrary rule: The record said piano part adorns has to come in at under four minutes in length, which is pretty much the limit of my attention span where these things are concerned. This, of course, has the virtue of eliminating almost any dreaded prog rock I can think of, although it also means I can't include two of my personal faves, Bruce Springsteen's gorgeous piano-driven "Incident on 57th Street" (sorry, David Sancious) and Traffic's ridiculously infectious "Glad" (forgive me, Stevie Winwood).

Hey, life's a trade-off.

Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Ten:

10. Bruce Hornsby and the Range -- The Way It Is

From the YouTube comments: "Does anyone know if he was famous before 2pac used the tune?"

Sigh. Incidentally, there are many reasons that Sean Hannity will someday burn in hell, but high among them is the fact that the odious racist fuckwit has the gall to use this passionately anti-racist song as a lead-in on his radio show.

9. The Chiffons -- One Fine Day

One of the greatest opening riffs in rock history, played here by its auteur, Carole King. It's so good, as a matter of fact, that a decade later the Raspberries were moved to recycle it on twelve-string guitar for the intro of their equally epochal "I Wanna Be With You."

8. A three way tie --

The Beatles -- Tell Me What You See


The Beatles -- You Like Me Too Much


The Beatles
-- In My Life

Don't know which Beatle is playing the brilliantly simple mini-solos on the first tune but it's a perfect part, and heard in tandem with Ringo's quasi-Phil Spector drum fill, it's pretty breathtaking. Apparently that's Paul and George Martin on "You Like Me" (one of George Harrison's best early songs), and then it's all Martin on the "In My Life" solo, which (note to aspiring pianists) is actually in the key of C although the track itself is speeded up so that it plays in B flat.

7. Ben Folds Five -- Philosophy

Punk rock for sissies. I like the sound of that. Odd to think, though, that Folds may well turn out to have been the last great piano man in rock history.

6. The Moody Blues -- Go Now

This is, of course, the kickass r&b-inspired early Moodies featuring the great Denny Laine, not the Justin Hayward-led ensemble responsible for such over-ambitious albums as The Moody Blues Cure Cancer. Incidentally, the arrangement here is lifted pretty much note for note from the original version by Bessie Banks; Mike Pinder's trenchant piano solo, however, is totally his own invention.

5. Johnny Cash -- Hurt

I'm not sure who's actually playing the piano here -- the video suggests it's the Man in Black himself, although from what I can tell from the album credits it could be Benmont Tench, Roger Manning or even(!) Billy Preston -- but whoever it is, it's brilliant. In fact, that droney thing may be even cooler than John Cale's similar octaves on the Velvet's "All Tomorrow's Parties."

4. Nina Simone -- My Baby Just Cares For Me

This after-the-fact video is so hilariously apt that you can almost miss the fact that Nina's solo is as perfectly constructed as any in the entire history of jazz OR pop/rock.

3. The Rolling Stones -- Street Fighting Man

The late great Nicky Hopkins, of course. He played on just about everything good out of England or San Francisco in the mid-to-late Sixties, including the Beatles' "Revolution," the sort of spiritual flip side of this one. Which is, you'll have to admit, one hell of a hat trick.

2. Ray Charles -- What'd I Say

IIRC, this was the first time a Wurlitzer electric piano had been heard on a pop single. In any case, the sound of the thing sold this record almost as much as Ray's brilliant (and subsequently endlessly imitated) minimalist funk phrasing.

1. The Zombies -- She's Not There

There's more sheer drama and atmosphere in the ten or twenty odd seconds of Rod Argent's solo here than can be found in the entire ouevre of countless keyboard-dominated prog bands I could mention. Simply brilliant, and for this, if for no other reason, I can forgive him for "God Gave Rock and Roll To You."

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Radio Radio!!!

The fabulous Floor Models on the radio in Sweden!

I should add that I'm absolutely nuts about The Leftovers' "Dance With Me," which precedes us.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Kids Are Alright. Heh.

So a few days ago, reader J. Lag posed the following question in comments:

I may be poking the bear here (and how I wish I could translate that phrase into French) but, Mr. Simels, is there a major rock act that's come onto the scene in the last six or seven years that you (or any of the contributors to this blog) actually LIKE, that might have a shot at having an estimable, influential career output?? Not trying to be a smart-ass here, I'm genuinely curious about people's opinions, opinions I may be able to learn (something) from.

To which my -- not snarky, trust me -- response is: At my age, I'm not really sure I'm the right person to ask about that sort of thing. I mean, for the last couple of years, every time I've seen some new band I'm unfamiliar with as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, my reaction tends to be, "what, is it open mic night at Folk City?"

That said, however, there is at least one new band, and a local one here in NYC at that, that I'm really nuts about.

Ladies and gentlement, please enjoy the incomparable Driven Mad.

These guys used to do business as King Hell, during which time they did to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" what always deserved to be done to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"...

...but in this new incarnation they are louder, faster and if possible even funnier.

To paraphrase, as I'm fond of doing, Jack Nicholson on the subject of Bob Dylan -- these guys are a riot. Seriously. And if they're ever appearing at a venue near you, run do not walk.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Greatest Thing From Sweden Since Blondes!

Unbelievable as it may be, and thanks to my new Facebook buddy, DJ Wayne Lundqvist Ford, a certain band (featuring a certain bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels) will be played on an indie radio station from the land of Ingmar Bergman and ABBA later today.

The show is called Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More...

...and you can check it out on the web at RADIO ANDRA at 7pm CET.

I believe that's 2 PM East Coast time in the States, but you might want to Google that to be sure.

In any case, here's the playlist, by artist, in the order the songs will be played.

Harry J Allstars - Liquidator
The Madd - I'm Gone
Love Zombies - Smile
Ballard - Monkey
The Skywalkers - Mrs Fords Dream Collection
The Prisoners - Hurricane
Pernice Brothers - Saddest Quo
The Leftovers - Dance With Me
Bryan Howell - Why Oh Why
Wiretree - Across My Mind
Eddie and the Hotrods - The Kids Are Alright
The Floor Models - Spin Cycle
Strangely Alright - Let's take the train to nowhere
The Cry - Shaken
The Posies - I may hate you sometimes
Squire - It's Too Bad
French Church - Without Crying
The Ace - One More Chance
The Buttshakers - Mans World
Kurt Baker - Don't Steal My Heart Away

You'll note that The Floor Models are represented about half way through the set. This is as God intended, I think, and Wayne informs me he will be saying nice things about us as well as mentioning the release of our album on World's Coolest Label ZERO HOUR RECORDS.

Please -- feel free to order a copy. Ten bucks: Cheap!

Meanwhile, here's last week's show, with power pop gems by The Singles. The Stairs, The Movements, RAF, Robby Allen and The Kite Collectors, Glenn Robinson, The Zags, Phenomenal Cat, The Early Hours, The Sadies, The Barry Holdship Four, The Chords, The Brigadier, Exploding Hearts, The Frowning Clouds and...

...you guessed it...

The Floor Models!!!

If truth be told, the only band on that list (besides us) I was familiar with is The Sadies, but I gotta say I dug just about everything Wayne played, and that the hour absolutely flew by. Great stuff, in other words.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Your Monday Moment of WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T I GET THE MEMO ON THIS????!!!!!????

There is no God.

I bring this up because I just learned that earlier this year -- over at something called the Nate Sanders auction website -- that somebody (and whoever they may be, they are a person I deeply loathe and detest because they aren't me) purchased David Crosby's iconic leather cape from his days in The Byrds.

Let me be especially clear about this. David Crosby's signature leather cape from The Byrds.

You know, the one seen on THIS album cover? Which may be the coolest group shot in the history of either rock or roll?

As I said, there is no God.

To which I can only add that if I ever hear somebody's auctioned off Mike Clarke's suede jean jacket from the same cover without having informed me in advance, I swear to the God who does not exist that I'm gonna take a hostage.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Le Grand Retournement!

Finally back from (the real) Paris, and once again safely ensconced in our ancestral home in the Paris of the Tri-State Metropolitan Area, aka beautiful downtown Hackensack, NJ.

Regular blogging will resume after a day of sleep and jet-lag decompression.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Farewell to the City of Lights!

Off to the airport and thence to the Land of American Exceptionalism (USA! USA! USA!!!!).

But until our return, I leave you with this disturbing image, as seen in the Paris Metro station earlier this week.

I mean, Jeebus -- the fricking Nazis occupied the fricking place. Haven't the Frenchies suffered enough?

Travel Notes, Odds 'n' Ends and Other Stuff

Getting ready to head back to the USA -- where, as you know, and as Chuck Berry informed us, the hamburgers sizzle on the open grills night and day -- so, given the rigors of international flight and the inevitable decompression upon our jet lagged arrival, posting will probably be fitful until Friday.

In the meantime, let me simply say and for the record that although Bruges is on balance NOT, as Colin Farrell observed in the magisterial In Bruges, a fuckin' hellhole, it IS one weird wacky town. As evidence, I give you the following photos taken by moi during our weekend there.

This painting, in an apartment window, was the first thing we saw on arrival

And of course, this. Because nothing says 15th century Cathedral town like a nose ring.

Also, in Floor Models news, our Australian mogul over at Zero Hour Records has posted two songs from Floor Your Love on YouTube. Please enjoy the sublimely Beatles/Buddy Holly/Byrds pastiche that is "Spin Cycle"....

...and then what we used to refer to as a dark psychedelic song in e-minor, AKA "Fade Into Grey."

And a final programming note, which completely floors me (no pun intended): A total stranger in Sweden will be playing one of our songs on the radio tonight.

"Tomorrows "Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More" show on Radio Andra brings you musical delights from: The Singles. The Stairs, The Movements, RAF, Robby Allen and The Kite Collectors, Glenn Robinson, The Zags, Phenomenal Cat, The Early Hours, The Sadies, The Barry Holdship Four, The Chords, The Brigadier, Exploding Hearts, The Frowning Clouds and The Floor Models.

Listen in online at 7pm CET here. www.radioandra.se"

Ain't that a kick in the pants?

Monday, October 28, 2013

His Life Was Changed By Rock 'n' Roll: Lou Reed 1942 -- 2013

I am deeply saddened by Lou's death, and I will have more to say about him -- including a great me and Lou story (hey, who doesn't have one?) -- upon my return from the land of the Ignoble Frog.

But in the meantime, I gotta say -- I've always loved "Your Love," the 1962 single in which he did business as Lewis Reed and tried to market himself as the next...well, I'm not sure who, actually. Some teenage idol, I suppose.

Hard to believe that the same guy who made the first Velvet Underground LP four or five years later -- probably the most avant-garde album ever released by a major pop music record label -- was already a seasoned Brill Building type music biz hustler before he was even out of high school.

I should also add that the old reprobate actually outlived Lester Bangs by more than two decades. And who the hell saw THAT coming?