Thursday, August 31, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a productive but very late night.

Regular all dressed and peppy postings resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oh Hell, Let's Just Make It Butch Walker Week

From 2012, please enjoy the great you know who on Daryl Hall's brilliant TV series.

With "Bodegas and Blood."

Sweet jeebus, that is amazingly wonderful. Listen under headphones, BTW.

And may I add that I would give my left nut to be a guest on an episode of that show. Singing or playing anything.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Is This the Most Exciting Rock 'n' Roll Song Ever? Some Signs Point to Yes!!!

From 2000, please enjoy the Marvelous 3, featuring the great Butch Walker...

...and their brilliant ode to negative solipsism "I Could Change."

New Year's Day, lyin' next to my bed
With a hand in my pants and a song in my head
About being depressed til I figured out
It ain't the '90's anymore

I looked through a Raygun and looked through a Spin
Then I ripped out the pages of clothes that were in
Threw on my Pumas and tried to throw it all behind me

And Mona Lisa smiled as I was walkin' through the door
She said, "Yo, you gotta keep it real, just like the year before"
I second that emotion and twenty thousand more

I could change and you could change
But everybody would stay the same
I could change and you could change
But everybody would stay the same
I know

Still on vacation with nothin' to do
So I got in my car and I got a tattoo
Just to cover up the one that I got of you
When I was drinkin'

I really only now regret the things I haven't done
Stayin' under covers in the dark it ain't no fun
I'd rather take my glasses off and stare right at the sun

I know
I know

I don't precisely recall how I stumbled across this song -- which is by a band I missed back in the day -- but Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of challah toast, this is about as killer as it gets.

I mean seriously -- if this one doesn't get you jumping around you need immediate medical attention. And I should add that the lyric is so vividly written that anybody, of any generation, should know the feeling.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" Edition

So two weeks ago, on our first day in San Francisco, a certain Shady Dame and I were walking down Geary Street; I believe the plan was to go see the old Fillmore West, which is still a concert venue. (It was way disappointing, BTW, but that's a subject for another post).

At any rate, in the course of our moseying, we passed a small art gallery called the San Francisco Art Exchange, and suddenly we were both flummoxed to see a set of six photos from the Abbey Road album cover shoot -- five outtakes and the familiar iconic LP -- hanging on the wall.

Intrigued, we went in, and suddenly realized the gallery was also hosting this amazing exhibition.

And yes, the Abbey Road collection is the last commercially available complete set of the original photos, and can be obtained for your personal collection, if you have a lot of disposable coin, for 800 thousand clams (cheap, as they used to say at MAD).

In any case, we wound up talking to the gallery rep, a wonderfully enthusiastic and kind young man named Matthew Ely, who was gracious enough to take BG and I on a tour of the gallery's full cache of rock and movie memorabilia. Among the unbelievable stuff available for purchase there was one of Jim Marshall's last remaining prints of the cover for the first Moby Grape album (a mere 10,00 bucks, if you want to buy me a birthday present), an actual edition of Gered Mankowitz's famous shot of Jimi Hendrix in his trademark military coat, and signed-by-the-photographers prints of famous Stones and Beatles images up the wazoo.

But this is the one that totally killed me -- the Blonde on Blonde cover photo, signed by shutterbug Jerry Schatzberg. I was dumbstruck.

To browse the gallery's collection -- and BTW, the SFAE is also the largest dealer of original artwork by the great Alberto Vargas (yes, him) -- click on their website HERE.

And if you're ever in San Francisco, stop by 458 Geary Street and tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, August 25, 2017

For Andy

Self-indulgence alert: I'm gonna get a little sentimental here.

So as long time readers are aware, back in the early 80s I toiled in a 12-string pop band called The Floor Models. And also that Andy Pasternack, one of our principal songwriters (and our Rickenbacker ace), passed away unexpectedly in 2012.

I should add that apart from being immensely talented, Andy was also one of the sweetest guys who ever wore shoe leather; as Gerry Devine (our singer and other principal songwriter) put it to me recently -- Andy never got the memo that if you're a genius you're supposed to be a dick to other people.

In any case, there was a song of Andy's called "You Can't Tell Me Anything" that I particularly loved, and which we used to do live for ages, but for some reason never demoed, which has been a sort of sore point with me for all these years. So recently I decided that we should record it for a possible posthumous EP as a sort of tribute.

Only problem was nobody could remember the lyrics. Ack.

Then a month or so ago I discovered a crude live version, taped by someone with a boom box in front of the band at one of our legendary weekend gigs at The Other End (bless you, Pat Kenny!). We edited it -- removing a duplicate verse and a brief instrumental solo section that didn't really work -- and presto! We had a click track for a concise three minute song that seemed to encapsulate the entire esthetic of the band.

So then ace drummer Glen "Bob" Allen, myself, and brilliant guitarist J.D. Goldberg (who came in for Andy in a later incarnation of the band) headed into the studio to recreate the song from the ground up. (Gerry did his vocal at home and then intertubed it to us.)

And here it is, a few sessions later, in more or less finished form.

Where are you going with that look on your face
Seems so off-center
So out of place
What makes you think that I know
How much of you I'm missing

But you can't tell me anything
If I don't listen
If I don't listen

What are you thinking with that crease in your brow
There's been some confusion
But that's all over now
You know it might make some sense
If only you let it

But you can't tell me anything
And then just say forget it
And then just say forget it

You say that you're thinking
Thinking about me
It sounds like you're planning to make it without me
And I would do anything
I would do anything
If you just wouldn't doubt me

What are you doing with this time on your hands
Too many secrets that I might understand
What makes you think that I see
How much of you doesn't show

Well you can't tell me anything
You don't want me to know
You don't want me to know

We're gonna tweak the mix, and we'll probably put a Rickenbacker 12-string part on it, but even at this stage, I gotta say -- this is a magnificent song and the performance ain't too shabby either.

And I think Andy would have approved.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me

So to paraphrase Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby -- I just went *FOLKIE* all of a sudden!

Seriously, after listening to my chum Peter Spencer's splendid new album (as discussed yesterday) I remembered an obscure folk thingie by a 60s guy named Jackson C. Frank that I originally wrote about in back in 2009. And I decided to revisit it.

And what I stumbled across in the process is an amazing cover version by a young woman from the UK -- previously unknown to me -- named Janileigh Cohen. Who I think may have a future in the music field.

I'm still not sure whether this is a great song or merely a maudlin one in an interestingly period way, but I think we can all agree that the above is a pretty spine-tingling performance.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

My old chum from my days in Greenwich Village Peter Spencer has a new album about to drop, and this is my current favorite song from it.

I've been listening to it obsessively for two days now, and when I informed Pete of that he told me "There's a running bet over which Dylan song it "borrows" from the most, 'Boots of Spanish Leather' or 'Girl From the North Country.' "

Personally, I vote for "Girl," but I don't really care if it's derivative -- I'd give my left nut to be able to finger-pick and sing like that.

The rest of the album is equally good -- when it's available for purchase, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a massive attack of post-vacation exhaustion.

Regular posting -- including a dispatch from the most amazing music-related art gallery ever -- resumes on the morrow.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jerry Lewis 1926 - 2017

On top of everything else, Monsieur Lewis deserves to go down in history as one of the great avant-garde noise-rock guitar heroes of all time.

You know -- as in Mars, DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks...bands like that.

And speaking of DNA, as you will doubtless notice, Jerry's guitar solos in the clip above sound pretty much exactly like Arto Lindsay. He kind of looks like him, too.

Obviously, if Jerry had been hanging out on the Bowery circa 1984, it wouldn't just have been the French hailing him as a genius.

POSTSCRIPT: So I was at our local watering hole in the Q-Boro yesterday when the news came of Lewis's death.

I mentioned it to the very nice millennial bar lady and she said "I don't know who that is."

ME: The other half of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the most famous comedy team of the 50s.

HER: I've heard of Dean Martin. Jerry Lewis, no.

ME: (thinking) Ah -- ever see that Eddie Murphy movie THE NUTTY PROFESSOR?

HER: Oh, yeah -- love that.

ME: It's a remake of a Jerry Lewis movie.

HER: Oh. Okay.

Kill me now, is the point I'm trying to make.

Friday, August 18, 2017

You Can Take the Jew Out of New York...

...but you can't take the New York out of the Jew.

So, of course, BG and I had to travel 4000 miles to see a Roz Chast exhibition at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum this morning.

More dispatches from our Excellent Cross Country Adventure starting Monday, after our return to the East tomorrow.

In the meantime -- have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

It's Steve and BGs Musical Itinerary -- Part V

We've arrived...and to prove it, we're here!

Yes, via California Zephyr...

...we're now in San Francisco...

...just in time for the 50th anniversary of the fabled Summer of Love.

Hey, I vas dere, Charlie. Albeit for only a couple of days. And that's a band I was in a few years later doing the Jefferson Airplane-ish ode to the City by the Bay (hey -- it was recorded under extremely primitive conditions and we were kids, so don't hold it against us).

Photos of our adventures begin posting tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It's Steve and BGs Musical Itinerary -- Part IV

Still zipping our way to the coast on the California Zephyr.

Next stop -- Reno, Nevada! The city...

...where Johnny Cash shot a man just to watch him die.

Guess where we'll be tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

It's Steve and BGs Musical Itinerary -- Part III

Chicago was great, but now we're zipping along on the California Zephyr... our next destinations on our way to the coast.

First to the Mile High City...

...and then to the spiritual home of Mittens Romney (who, I might add is looking considerably better in retrospect (when compared with the current occupant of the White House) if you know what I mean.

Guess where we'll be tomorrow! Damn, this is fun.

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Steve and BGs Musical Itinerary -- Part II

Off to the coast on the California Zephyr.

And our first stop after departing the Windy City is...

Damn, this is fun.

Friday, August 11, 2017

It's Steve and BGs Musical Itinerary -- Part I

So a certain Shady Dame and I are spending the next week on a cross-country odyssey.

Our first jaunt is a flight to the mid-West and a certain Windy City.

And after that, we're taking the California Zephyr train to the coast. Think Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, except without the police and the Communist spies.

We'll be checking in with musical tributes to all our stops for the next several days.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me

From their 2004 reunion show(s), please enjoy power pop gods The Raspberries and a live version of -- IMHO -- their absolute greatest song "Tonight."

From their just released double live album Pop Art...

...which I can't recommend highly enough.

BTW, a certain Shady Dame and I had our first date at a Raspberries show three years later at the Highline in Manhattan.

Gee, I wonder why I fell in love with her.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Closed for (Hi-Fi) Monkey Business

Had a long and late night in the studio working on the Last Great Floor Models track yesterday.

Regular posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Monday, August 07, 2017

A Depressed 7 Foot Clown Sings "Pinball Wizard" to the Tune of "Folsom Prison Blues"

From 2017, please enjoy the incomparable Puddles Pity Party -- and why didn't I get the memo on this guy until last week? -- and his genre-bending mashup of The Who and Johnny Cash.

Words, as I am wont to say, fail me.

Friday, August 04, 2017

It's Churchy LaFemme Week: Part Deux

From 1967, and from the compilation album pictured below...

...please if not enjoy at least tolerate Anna Karina -- iconic muse of Jean Luc Godard and just about the most existential French babe ever -- and her actual hit record "Roller Girl."

Sweet fucking Jeebus, but that's just awful. BTW. that dreck was written by Serge Gainsbourg, the 60s pop Frenchie responsible for the soft-porn classic (with then girlfriend Jane Birkin) "Je t'aime..."

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Closed for Monkey Business

Slightly under the weather. Regular posting -- probably some French babe -- resumes on the morrow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Sam Shepard 1943-2017

[I originally posted this in February of 2010, but I'm reposting it today for sad, if obvious, reasons. And yes, it was self-indulgent when it first ran, and it still is. So sue me. -- S.S.]

In June of 1970 I was getting some extra credits toward my B.A. in a summer theater program at what I usually refer to as An Unidentified College on Long Island. One of the pieces we were doing that month was a tragically avant-garde 1967 one-act called Melodrama Play by the then not-a-household-word Sam Shepard. The work itself, which I barely remember at this point (many drugs were being consumed that summer) concerned a Jaggeresque rock star, his twin brother, an unscrupulous manager and (I think) a murder of some sort. I got cast as the rock star, which is funny on any number of levels, especially considering that I looked like this; Jaggeresque really isn't the word that comes to mind.

Anyway, a song by the show's fictional rock star, entitled "Prisoners Get Out of Your Homemade Beds," figured prominently in the script; Shepard had provided shall we say idiosyncratic lyrics, but the music was apparently up to whoever decided to mount a production. The day we started rehearsals, the director (one of my profs) took me aside and said "Come up with a tune for for this. I've got two hours booked in the college radio station on Thursday, and you'll record it then." Considering I had never written a song in my life (nor have I since) this was rather a daunting challenge, as you can well imagine.

Fortunately, The Who's Live at Leeds album had come out a few weeks earlier, and I had been listening to it obsessively; using that as a template, it turned out to be surprisingly easy to come up with a stupid riff and a moronic three chord instrumental track that sort of fit Shepard's somewhat wayward words. Two of my musician friends from my garage band at home -- including my old pal Allan Weissman, with whom I still toil in The Weasels -- happened to be available, and so, with me doing a woefully inadequate imitation of Pete Townshend on guitar, we eventually found ourselves at the recording facilities of WCWP-FM, bashing out the tune in about as much time as it took to rehearse it once. As I recall, the engineer simply hung a single microphone in the vicinity of the band; there was no overdubbing, obviously. The finished product, however, met with the director's approval, and I wound up yowling to it on stage when we did the show a week or two later.

Cut to: sometime last January. I was reminiscing about all this with another old pal, and he let it drop that years back I had entrusted the original reel-to-reel tape of the song (the only one that ever existed) to him, and that against all the odds he still had it. And still playable, apparently.

So -- at great personal expense (actually, fifty bucks to a good engineer I know), here it is these four decades later, in mp3 form for all to hear. I also found Shepard's lyrics, which I have appended; feel free to sing them in the privacy of your own home, preferably while playing air guitar. You'll notice three strategically placed screams throughout the clip -- those are your cues for the beginning of each verse.

I should add that a version of this track with a vocal by yours truly has survived as well, but it will be available for public audition at approximately the same time that frozen yogurt goes on sale in Hell.

"Prisoners, Get Out of Your Homemade Beds"

Well early one day you got out of bed
And then you decided to go to sleep instead
So early one day you got back in the sack
And you fell fast asleep in your homemade rack
You don't know how you decided this
And all that you know is there's something you missed
But you don't know what and you don't know where
So you just stay put and go nowhere

Oh prisoners get out of your homemade beds
Oh prisoners get out of your homemade beds

Well early one night you got so very uptight
And you said this sleeping it just ain't right
But you couldn't at all decide what to do
But your eyes stayed shut with their homemade glue
But you couldn't hear your own voice speak
And you couldn't walk 'cause your legs were too weak
So you lay in bed crying to yourself
And your life's just out there hanging on the shelf

Oh prisoners get out of your homemade beds
Oh prisoners get out of your homemade beds

And now the night and the day are just the same
And now the light and the dark have no name
And you just lay in bed without no game
You just lay there sleeping without no fame
But when you awaken from your deep deep sleep
That bed will disappear and you won't even weep
You'll walk right outside without no name
You'll walk right outside from where you came

Oh prisoners get of your homemade beds
Oh prisoners get out of your homemade...heads

I must confess, cheesy as the track is, I still kind of dig the blatant steal from The Kinks at the end.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017