Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tom Snyder is dead...that's too bad, but tv journalism is better without him

take one of the most disagreeable interviewees of all time (Mr. Rotten/Lydon) and put him in front of one of the most arrogant, smarmy tv interviewers of all time and you get this, which will live in infamy:

I remember, growing up, watching Tom Snyder (my dad liked him...?) and wondering, at quite a young age, how the fuck did this guy get on tv? He sucks! Every time someone I cared about was sitting across from him (granted, it was usually someone in music or film) it was painfully evident that Mr. Snyder did not do his homework and had not a clue as to what his guest was all about. (Painfully and hilariously evident above, of course).

I soon discovered Charlie Rose and fell in love. (so charming, smart, and a such a major homework-doer.) He restored my faith in intelligent tv journalism.

They way the obits are telling it today, Snyder was a "pioneer"...I thought he was a real-life Ted Baxter who cared more to hear his own blustery voice (and opinions) than anyone else's. I guess I'm just too young and ignorant not to appreciate him...ah, well.

G'night, Mr. Snyder.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"downright catastrophic," OR "Wh rlly nds vwls, nywy?"

so fun to read someone who gets it so much.

I can't hardly wait to see these two RIP IT UP in Austin!!! I'm counting down the days...(52, to be exact)

In this review, Sanneh writes one of the best, most musically accurate bits about Meg I've ever seen. Praise him!

Also--I will never forget waiting for the show to get started at First Ave, the first time I saw 'em...and seeing the meticulously dressed stage crew--in fedoras and sharp gangster-like suits. Hot.
From the Times.......
July 26, 2007
Music Review White Stripes
If Something’s Missing, All the Better
They were wearing suits! And hats! No, not the two band members: Jack White was wearing red pants and a red T-shirt, while Meg White was wearing black pants and a red shirt. And besides, plenty of musicians dress up when they play Madison Square Garden. On Tuesday night, though, the White Stripes went one step further: those suits and hats belonged to the guys setting up the amplifiers.

Once the show started, the White Stripes were left alone: the two of them spent nearly two hours on a big stage in a big — and full — room. “I don’t believe we’ve played this bar before,” said Mr. White, surveying the Garden. He probably didn’t feel quite that blasé, but he certainly didn’t seem intimidated, or thrilled, or even triumphant. He simply went to work, howling and shrieking and sighing, while inducing his guitars to do the same.
The entire set was red, and carefully positioned footlights projected beautiful shadows of the two onto a huge red backdrop. The only special effect was a big disco ball, but that was plenty. In between songs, he paid courtly tribute to “my big sister Meg” (the two are actually a divorced couple), and to his opening act, the Nashville veteran Porter Wagoner, “the best-dressed man in country music.” (The other opening act was Grinderman, led by Nick Cave.)

It’s astonishing how much the White Stripes have achieved through pure stubbornness. Over the course of six albums, they have sidled up to the rock ’n’ roll mainstream without softening their approach. They still sound as rude and as unhinged as ever, especially compared with the emo and alternative bands with whom they share the modern-rock radio airwaves.

At most rock concerts, there are moments when the machine — the band — briefly comes unhinged: the beat is a split-second late, or the guitar emits a deafening squeal, or a lyric emerges as a formless howl. A White Stripes concert consists of almost nothing but these moments, and that’s the whole point. The two make a fierce, wobbly racket, confident that listeners won’t miss the comfort afforded by steady bass lines and fuller arrangements. Hearing them play is a bit like reading a sentence with no vowels. Wh rlly nds vwls, nywy?

A White Stripes concert also underscores the importance of Ms. White, whose drumming is more sophisticated than many fans (and many more non-fans) realize. She refuses to imitate a metronome, refuses to flatten the songs by making them conform to a steady pulse. Instead she seems to hear the music the way Mr. White does: as a series of phrases, each with its own shape and tempo. In “Icky Thump,” the title track from the group’s most recent album, which was released last month, she occasionally warped the rhythm by shortening one of the beats, perfectly in unison with Mr. White’s guitar. If her playing were mathematically precise, it would be less musically precise.

Much of the set was devoted to songs from “Icky Thump,” which is a bit more raucous than its excellent and unpredictable predecessor, “Get Behind Me Satan.” Where that album found Mr. White experimenting with marimba and other instruments, “Icky Thump” is a return to guitar-dominated tantrums and pleas. Ear fatigue occasionally sets in (that’s one inevitable effect of the band’s ruthless approach), but more often, it was simply exciting to hear familiar traditions — garage rock, country music, the blues — sounding so strange. And Mr. White’s squiggly solo during “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told),” from the new album, sounded downright catastrophic, in the best sense.

The White Stripes are in the happy position of having too many songs to choose from, though they found time for most of their biggest hits, some of which were packed into the encore. There was a singalong version of “We’re Going to Be Friends,” a breakneck run through “Blue Orchid” and, eventually, a thumping rendition of “Seven Nation Army.” But one of the band’s biggest songs, “Fell in Love With a Girl,” appeared only in modified form: a screaming garage-rock hit was reborn, slower and quieter. Perhaps some fans missed the original version. Others probably took it in stride: part of the fun of a White Stripes concert is learning how much you can live without.

Monday, July 23, 2007

10KLF, part 2

Just returned (Sunday) from my first festival of the summer-- 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes. You may have heard about it this year: two men were found dead and $25,000 worth of drogas were confiscated from 12 peddlers. The death thing kinda shook me up, maybe more than it should have, but what are you gonna do? People OD and that’s the hard, fucked-up facts that come with hard drug use... I guess, right?

It's a sad reality that comes with loving music. Musicians and fans do drugs; it's all around us. Sometimes they abuse 'em. And sometimes they die from it. Neil Young wrote some of the best songs about it all, and the lesson remains: just be careful and watch out for yourself and the ones you love. It's all you can do if you plan on being a part of that scene, man.

The music and the community and the scenic beauty is what I was really diggin’ on, though. Fitzy and I had a great time this year—he boldly claims “Best 10K ever,” and he means it. It may have a lot to do with the fact that he got a sweet gig—writing about the festival, *for* the festival. An act which allowed us to eat and drink like royalty with VIP passes. The swank salad bar city in the shade was the sweetest reward. A huge bonus to our bodies when you consider the amount of time we were out in the the brutal, hot sun for 4 days straight. Festivals can wreak some havoc on your bod, that's a known fact. But we did our bodies good. And it made such a difference. Maybe it's cuz we're getting...older...? eeek!

Now, some of you who know me and know all the shit I can't get out of being into know that I'm no fan of improvisational, "jammy," meandering guitar music...it tends to bore me. Just can't get down with it. (Of course, the drug thing comes back into play, here. It's inextricably linked to the Dead and everything after. So, the drugs seem to compliment the music and vice versa.) I think so much of it comes from the fact that I've never been into jazz, as shameful as that is to admit(I've tried!). Improv in music is something I deeply *admire*, but can't really enjoy listening to. Since I've been with Fitzy, he's opened my ears to so many different things (reggae was always something I was on the verge of loving--E Beth knows this and she taught me all about how the punks and the hippies come together when 'Babylon By Bus' is spinnin. Strummer and Fitzy made my love for it expand, big time). I've gotten over some of my prejudices--but still will never fully "get it" when it comes to how much people *adore* this music. It almost feels like something you're either born with or you're not. I just wasn't born with the gene to like noodling, I guess. ha!

Something that came up in my mind again and again as I watched all the bands was the Fran Healy (lead singer/songwriter of Travis) who once said that *bands* are really irrelevant, it’s the *songs* that really matter—that’s what lasts through the years. Discussing his album title from years ago, "The Invisible Band," he remembered (as most of us all do) growing up and listening to the radio. And as we all know, when you listen to the radio, you rarely hear which band played the song you just heard for the first time and fell in love with. You don't know what the singer looks like, and you don't care (this is pretending MTV doesn't exist, of course, but this theory still stands, because I still listened to the radio and loved songs by faceless bands even though I grew up with MTV). Maybe it's 40 years old and the band was a one-hit wonder. It doesn't matter, you end up knowing all the words and maybe you never know who sang it, wrote it or even what the song's title is. To me, that's one of the greatest powers of music and Healy hit it right on when he said that bands fade away, the image doesn't matter--it's great songs that last through the years, the decades.

The very best example of that at the festival, for me, is our very own local (Duluth/Minneapolis)boys (and old friends of Fitzy) Trampled By Turtles—who tear up a mean mix of bluegrass with rock and punk that make even the mellowest hippies get down and dirty and down-right aggressive—at times. Near the stage, the crowd on Friday night could have been part of a Rancid pit at the Entry--plenty of rough, good-natured pogoing and flailing about. Their fast and furious rendition of bluegrass-rock has been compared to the Ramones because their fast songs clock in under 3 minutes and the style they pound out is precise, polished and poppy--just like those New York boys playing Beach Boys or Ronnettes songs at CB's, TBT showed their stuff and blasted out a fucking rocking version of "Sloop John B" for their final song of the night. Perfect.

Each member is fucking talented beyond their years, but it’s Dave Simonett, the group’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter that shines as an up-and-coming star. His songwriting is something that struck me instantly, the first few times I actually concentrated on the lyrics(specifically, a song called "Never Again" is what shook me. check it out.) To me they come from the same place as Westerberg and Springsteen (hell, Simonett even holds his guitar like Bruce, it's fucking hot).

The other three highlights for me all were at the blessed Barn Stage as well. Two of groups were from New Orleans, Dumpstaphunk and Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen (both have played with Bonnie Rait). The other was Cornmeal, out of Chi.

After getting shut out of God Johnson playing the cigarette-smoke-filled Saloon stage, we drifted over to the magical Barn Stage to the sounds of the breakdown of the Stones' "Miss You." It was Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk—the last band of the festival, playing till the late hours and getting the crowd riled up and wanting more. A tribute to James Brown was most definitely in order, and we got it good. Then came an original (I presume) and the chorus was "No more 'okey doke'" --which I know as a rhetorical line from Obama's speeches. It stuck a chord, man. Then, after a minor on-stage (off-mic) bicker back and forth, the band funked it up for the festival lot (a la Woodstock, no doubt) and pumped out a joyous version of Sly & the Family Stone's “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”

That song completely connected with me, more than anything at the festival. During a lot of the shows I felt quite disconnected, cuz I don't have that gene inside of me to dig so many of the bands. During Dumpstaphunk, I felt a part of something I really understood, with my brain and my booty. The song says it all--I felt like mice elf, listening to the pure funky bass lines and dancing my ass off in front of the stage with Fitzy doing the same, right by my side.

Monday, July 16, 2007

lights out, this land is yours and I ain't no President's Son

On Friday the 13th, in the cramped cavern of the 7th Street Entry, we were treated to a political and musical delight, and a bit of a surprise of an evening. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine is currently out on a solo tour billed as "The Nightwatchman." Turns out, Mr. Morello has a wonderful, deep, melodic voice and he pulled off his guitar-stylings on his acoustic really expertly (admittedly, I didn't *love* some of his original songs...they were a bit too obvious and simplistic for me...some might say "contrived," even). My man Ike Reilly opened for him and is doing part of the tour with him, as well. They went to high school together in Libertyville, IL and have maintained their friendship since. (Also an alum: the late, great Chris Farley. crazy, huh?)

Most exciting was when Ike joined him on stage to pound out a stirring version of CCR's "Fortunate Son." Incendiary, really. I was lucky enough to see John Fogerty do it at the Vote For Change show a few years back...when we had hope of booting out that President's Son (as Fogerty had done before, Morello and Reilly stuck in "President's" instead of "Military" rightly so). Those were hopeful times. Now, it was another rallying cry...maybe looking towards the countdown to January '09. Whew. The only pointed comment from Morello about Dubya was sharing his hope that Bush will be taken before an International War Crimes Tribunal. The crowd went wild.

We did get to meet and hang with Morello, which was totally exciting and surreal. (also REALLY exciting for me: we got to chill with Babes in Toyland drummer/legend Lori Barbero like it was no big thang. She is sweetness personified, people. sigh.) My man Fitzy did an exceptional job of storytelling of the night's events. He brought such a fresh perspective to everything, and did a far better job at it than I was attempting... here ya go: 612Jams

here's a funny pic Fitzy took (I think I look like a madwoman, he's got a better pic on his blog with him, Ike and Tom):

note: because he missed one song (and it was a doozy) I will scribble about it. Morello did his own interpretation of "Guerrilla Radio" that was riveting. It was still super-tough and powerful, even without Zack's screaming...maybe more so, because for the first time, I heard all the words, crystal clear and resolute as ever. Even more thrilling and chilling: all those voices in the Entry singing (shouting) along with Morello, "What better place than here, what better time than now?"

Now, bring on the revolution.


Transmission third world war third round
A decade of the weapon of sound above ground
No shelter if you're lookin' for shade
I lick shots at the brutal charade
As the polls close like a casket
On truth devoured
A Silent play in the shadow of power
A spectacle monopolized
The camera's eyes on choice disguised
Was it cast for the mass who burn and toil?
Or for the vultures who thirst for blood and oil?
Yes a spectacle monopolized
They hold the reins and stole your eyes
Or the fistagons
The bullets and bombs
Who stuff the banks
Who staff the party ranks
More for Gore or the son of a drug lord
None of the above fuck it cut the cord

Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up
Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up
Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up
Lights out
Guerrilla Radio

Contact I highjacked the frequencies
Blockin' the beltway
Move on D.C.
Way past the days of Bombin' M.C.'s
Sound off Mumia guan be free
Who gottem yo check the federal file
All you pen devils know the trial was vile
An army of pigs try to silence my style
Off 'em all out that box
It's my radio dial

Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up
Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up
Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up
Lights out
Guerrilla Radio Turn that shit up

It has to start somewhere It has to start sometime
What better place than here, what better time than now?

All hell can't stop us now
All hell can't stop us now
All hell can't stop us now
All hell can't stop us now
All hell can't stop us now
All hell can't stop us now

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"...had they invited frontman Liam they might have been in trouble"

From the NME...

Tony Blair was worried Oasis would trash Downing Street

Alistair Campbell's diaries reveal fears about Noel Gallagher
6 hours ago
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was worried that Oasis would "do something crazy" when they attended a reception at 10 Downing Street in 1997. The then newly-elected leader was holding a music industry reception when he discovered that the band's guitarist Noel Gallagher was attending. However, according to the diaries of his spokesperson Alistair Campbell, which were published yesterday (July 8), Blair had no idea how the Oasis man had been invited, and was then worried he might be the victim of a spot of rock 'n' roll behaviour."

TB (Tony Blair) was worried that Noel Gallagher was coming to the reception tomorrow. He said he had no idea he had been invited," wrote Campbell. "TB felt he was bound to do something crazy. I spoke to (Creation Records boss) Alan McGee and said can we be assured he would behave."The record label boss assured them it would be fine, explaining had they invited frontman Liam they might have been in trouble."Alan said he would make sure he did. He said if we had invited Liam, it might have been different," said Campbell. "(Noel) Gallagher arrived with his wife Meg, McGee and his girlfriend. Cherie (Blair[/b) met them and took them upstairs to see (the [b]Blair's children) Kathryn and Nicky, who was pretty gobsmacked when Gallagher walked in. "He said he thought Number 10 was 'tops', said he couldn't believe that there was an ironing board in there."

Monday, July 02, 2007

whoa-oh-oh-oh, Tom Jones does the lads...!?

Jones to cover Arctic Monkeys track
(Sunday July 01, 2007 11:15 AM)
Welsh singer Tom Jones will belt out his own version of an Arctic Monkeys' track at the Princess Diana Memorial Concert today.
The veteran crooner is so impressed with the British rockers that he has chosen to perform a
personalised rendition of their hit song I Bet You Look Good On The
Dancefloor. He says, "I'
m a massive fan of the band and I felt like doing something different with my set. It's a great song and I wanted to do it as a surprise for the Princess Diana concert. I
haven't been in touch with the lads about it but I hope that they like it."