Lonnie Mack, one of rock & roll's earliest guitar heroes, role model to Stevie Ray and a fine singer to boot, passed yesterday at 74.
Philthy Animal Taylor, drummer for Motorhead's golden age lineup*, has passed away. RIP, you Philthy bastard. *this clip shows that along with being a great drummer, he could really cut a rug
A.J. Pero drummer for Twisted Sister during their early eighties peak, the drummer behind "You Can't Stop Rock & Roll", "I Wanna Rock" and of course "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which features some nice drum work) has passed on. Staten Island born Pero, who broke in to rock with the hard rock band Cities was touring with his new band Adrenaline Mob when he was found unresponsive on a tour bus in Poughkeepsie, New York. he was rushed to the local hospital and pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack. RIP, SMF.
Bob Welch former member of Fleetwood Mac, founder of power trio Paris, and the solo artist behind the 70's hits "Ebony Eyes" and "Sentimental Lady" has taken his own life in Nashville, aged 66.
WFMU's The Hound has been delighting record geeks for the past few decades with sets of some of the wildest, wooliest rockabilly, R&B, blues, gospel, garage rock, and punk that can be dug out of crates. His site offers full podcasts, and individual mp3's under the show links, and organized by artist, and title. Bo Diddley singing to Kruschev! Blues songs about the Kinsey report! The Cashmere's talking about the hop! Brownie McGee singing about baseball's integration! Roughly 4 million variations on 'The Twist!' And that;s just the tip of this glorious iceberg. [more inside]
The Iron City Houserockers were Pittsburgh's entry in the Heartland Rock Sweepstakes that occured after the success of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger. They had literate lyrics, tough rock and roll backing, and clear-eyed vision. Led by Joe Grushecky, a special ed teacher by day, produced by Miami Steve Van Zandt of the E Street Band, and possessed of tunes like "Junior's Bar" (youtube), they seemed poised to hit the big time, but it never quite happened, which is the music audience's loss. He is, however the subject of a loving tribute in the form of "A Good Life: The Joe Grushecky Story" (trailer).
Felix Pappalardi was a famous arranger and producer for the likes of Cream, the Youngbloods and the Vagrants, where he met Leslie West with whom he formed the legendary hard rock band Mountain who had hits with "Mississippi Queen" "For Yasgur's Farm" and a masterful reworking of Jack Bruce's "Theme From An Imaginary Western". In 1983, Pappalardi's wife shot him, in what she claimed was an accident. She was convicted of criminially negligent homicide and sentenced to four years.
Andy Fraser, the man who wrote and played on 'All Right Now,' one of the great swaggering rock songs, talks about his music, sexuality and living with AIDS in this exhaustive interview
The 10 Ugliest Men In Heavy Metal History. Well, Metal was never meant for the beautiful people, anyways.
Larry Harlowe (born Lawrence Kahn) was a Jewish kid from a racially mixed Brooklyn neigborhood who discovered the clave rhythm. Encouraged by his musician parents, he pursued his new love and became one of the genre's most admired players and one of the first artists signed to the legendary Fania (lovingly annotated reissues are on the street from this label), working with legends of the form. He also was one of the men behind 'Hommy,' the first 'salsa opera,' about a deaf-dumb-and-blind conga player (gee, that sounds familiar). One of the more interesting and illustrious musical charcters of our time.
Among Springsteen fans, the song "Meeting Across The River," has become something of a point of contention and parlor game in terms of what happens to the protagonists afterwards. Many speculated that "Jungleland," was a continuation of the story. Several authors have taken the enterprise a step further in a new anthology.
Syd Barrett passes on. Pink Floyd founder (paid tribute to by his former bandmates in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond) who had succumbed to mental illness passes away due to complications of diabetes. RIP.
Al 'Blind Owl' Wilson was one of the more interesting characters on the 60's music scene. A contemporary (and fellow traveler) of John Fahey, and student of blues history and with Bob Hite, the founder of seminal 60's blues-rockers Canned Heat (youtube video of Wilson and the Heat featuring the Owl on vocals) . A painfully introverted man who suffered from depression and addiction throughout his life, Wilson had a light touch and lack of histrionics uncommon among his blues-revival contemporaries. He died by his own hand at 27. Blind-owl.net is a loving and comprehensive tribute, featuring many rare interviews and photos.
Derailroaded: Inside The Mind Of Wild Man Fischer. Larry "Wild Man" Fischer was a schizophrenic street musician on LA's Sunset Strip back in the hippie daze. Frank Zappa took him under his wing and produced a double album entitled An Evening With Wild Man Fischer (full audio available) [mi]
The Garage Compilation Database. A great tool for Garage Rock neophytes and research tool for longtime fans. From the great folks at Ugly Things.
Judy Henske. One of The Great Lost Artists of the early 60's folk/blues revival. An original among hacks and pretenders. Forgotten by most beloved by many, including crime novelist Andrew Vachss. A torch singer worthy of the name.
The original power trio is back. Reunions are distressingly common these days, but these guys playing together again is historic. Old farts everywhere rejoice....
In the early 70's explosion of singer-songwriters, one great one's career was tragically cut short, just over 30 years ago. His lyricism, humor, unpretentious manner, and ear for a hook are sadly missed and rarely remebered these days. The recent release of archival material might help revive interest.
Bobby Fuller was a Texas based rock and roll singer best known for the immortal rebel anthem "I Fought The Law,". Considered by many to be the heir to Buddy Holly as the king of Texas Rock, he built on Holly's style with songs like the aforementioned "...Law," "Jenny Lee," "Love's Made A Fool Of You," and the 2 1/2 minute masterpiece "Let Her Dance." And then it ended, at age 22, in very weird circumstances. Over the years, interest in Fuller and his work has ebbed and flowed, and plenty of archival material surfaced, but the mystery of his death remains unsolved, although many have speculated. Ann odd end for a footnote character in rick history, but who was bound for more
I have seen the future of Metal and it's name is Norselaw and their anthem "Sweet Home Scandinavia". Let the Berzerking Begin!
In the spirit of Sunday morning (and the Martin Luther King holiday weekend), I bring to you the news of a musical release of historical proportions. Dust to Digital has compiled Goodbye, Babylon an exhaustively annotated, beautifully packaged collection of American gospel music from the turn of the century up until 1960. Some performers are recognizable names in sacred and secular music. Others practice lesser known styles like Sacred Harp singing. Non-religionists, don't feel left out, this music is enjoyable strictly on it's musical and historical import, since along with blues, traditional country and Tin Pan Alley, gospel music both white and black is one of the main foundations of modern American music. Judging by the raves it's been recieving, this (admittedly expensive, but worth every penny) box set is destined for a place next to the Anthology Of American Folk Music in the collection of any serious student of American music.
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM to cognoscenti) one of the lesser known but most influential movements of the past quarter century. After the innovators of Metal ran out of steam in the late 70's and were stampeded in the maelstrom of punk, heavy metal (and testosterone-soaked delindquents everywhere) found itself in a quandary). A number of UK acts took some cues from the punks, shortened the songs, reigned in the self-indulgence and speeded up the tempo, and upped the relevance and intelligence of the lyrical content, while still retaining the vocal prowess, instrumental pyrotechnics and young warrior energy that makes it Metal in the first place. Some groups became world famous. Others only big in Europe. Some great ones missed stardom by just a notch. Many of these acts have been cited as inspirations by Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Napalm Death and the thrash/death metal hordes, and even many post-punks. An interesting summary for fans, and a good introduction for non-mans who may have to recalibrate their opinion of the genre after checking some of these bands out.
Plenty of pop music explosions have been international in scope-metal, punk, hip-hop. But none as much as the initial blast garage rock and roll that erupted after the Beatles and Stones broke big. Cutie Morning Moon does an astounding job of documenting the far flung outposts of garageland like Chile, Hong Kong, Sweden, Holland Japan Uruguay, Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe. It also includes the story of Japanese Brazillian expatriates Os Incriveis , plenty of wild photos, movie footage of swede legends the Tages and an article on the secret history of Joan Jett's #1 hit " I Love Rock And Roll". This site is seemingly bottomless, but if that ain't enough there's great links too. If the whole world gan get together and dig three chord boogie, I say there's still hope. *some pages are translated from Japanese. The prose can be awkward. But the feelings there.
In the wake of the tornados and armageddon, perhaps some happy news is in order. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have released the third volume in their Will the Circle Be Unbroken series. This series which began 30 years ago and continued with Volume 2 in 1989, features the boys in the Dirt Band getting together with country legends like Johnny Cash, members of the Carter Family and Vassar Clements and inheritors like Emmylou Harris and Ricky Skaggs and doing some astonishing versions of old traditional tunes, hymns and a few originals. I'm listening to Vol. 3 right now, which features first timers like Dwight Yoakam, the lovely Iris Dement and even Tom Petty, and I'm tellin' ya, it's a worthy addition to the tradition, my freinds. Traditional music is enjoying a revival right now and that's great, but these folks have done an enormous amount to keep it alive and vital between the vogues and created some music for us in the bargain.
In an a era where so much music seems overly mechanical Funk45.com and Galactic Fractures are terrific reminders that danceablity can be warm and loose and that human-powered music is the funkiest. These sites have what every good music site should have, encyclopedaic knowledge, detailed info, and truckloads of audio that makes you wanna find a good record store and hunt down the 45's yourself. And it's all presented in a way that encourages you to dig deeper. The song You Got Me Mama by Hayes Ware is a favorite, but there's plenty of great stuff. requires RealAudio
Outsider Music. From a mailing list, here's a concise description of what is really more an idea than a genre, per se. The Hip Surgery Music Guide has some info on the essential artrists of the phenomenon. If you wanted to stretch the definitions of the form you could include, some better-known artists as well. Unspoiled genius in the rough or merely crude freakshow appeal? The answer I believe is somewhere is somewhere in between. But in an age where most music is either a copy of what is currently popular or a revival of what used to be popular, Outsider Music is a place to go for a "Wow! What was that?" musical experience.
The odd phenomenon of tribute bands. Heartfelt homage and harmless fun? Creepy obsession and pale imitation? Whatever you see it as, their numbers are swelling. Some that you'd expect, a few that'll surprise you, at least one that vaguely frightens me and one to which I say 'it's about time!'. Sincerest form of flattery or mild insanity? Your call.
This evening 20/20 broadcast a report on the new payola.Names are named. This explains a lot about the current state of music radio. Ironically, one of those complaining the loudest was good ol' Hilary Rosen of the RIAA who are doing their damnedest to destroy internet radio, along with college and public radio, the only alternative to the institutional corruption she decries. But in this case, she's on the side of the angels, it would seem. This report is timely though and does illustrate what's wrong with concentrating media power in too few hands.
Put a glide in your stride and dip in yo' hip and step on board the Mothership*. Finally, a comprehensive site for one of the most influential musical agglomerations of the last 30 years. All hip-hop, and most modern R&B and Rock would be unimaginable without these guys. More Cyberbetabuckdown here if that wasn't enough, plus a great essay by Scot Hacker here. Like the man says "Uncle Jam Wants You!"
*Flash site. Let the intro finish, then comes the good stuff.
*Flash site. Let the intro finish, then comes the good stuff.
Remember all the furor in '70's and '80's over Backmasking , which for the uninitiated is inserting backwards messages(usually Satanic) into records to seduce the innocent.Usually the allegations came from folks like this. Judas Preist even found themselves dragged into court over it. Thankfully, the audio at this site you can judge for yourself. More links here. I don't buy it myself. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill my parents.
E Street Band guitarist and erstwhile Sopranos star Little Steven is launching a syndicated radio show to be centered around garage rock of the '60's plus latter day punk as well according to this story. Steve's own site includes some great live reviews and excellent garage rock links . I, for one, am really looking forward to hearing this show. Good luck, Steve.
The best CD I've purchased so far this year is the latest from the Blind Boys of Alabama. this record features superb vocalizing, great bluesy guitar, and a Sones(!) and Tom Waits(!!) cover. In an age where "gospel music" has sunk into the quagmire of "Contemporary Christian", its easy to forget that old-school gospel both black and white were huge influences on rock and roll. Little Richard, for one, took his trademark "Whoo!" from Marion Williams and countless rockers from Aretha to Elvis learned to sing in church. Now, can I get an Amen?!
The Plastic People of the Universe are a reminder of how powerful and important a force rock and roll can be for positive change. Many American and British acts spoke of revolution, but they usually only meant it in the cultural sense, for these guys living in Iron Curtain-era Czechoslovakia, they were talking about the real life-or-death McCoy. Inspired by the Beatles, Frank Zappa, and future Czech president (and sometime collaborator) Vaclav Havel,the Plastics created some amazing music and were often surveilled or imprisoned as "enemies of the state" for their trouble. Thankfully, they lived to see a free Czech republic, although founder Milan Hlavsa passed away in early 2001. Special props to my main man rodii, for jogging my memory about the Plastics in this comment
Tooling around today, I happened upon small but burgeoning subculture-gay Heavy Metal fans. Headbanging and Rainbow Pride stickers may seem like an odd combo until you think of the number of openly gay performers in Hard Rock (Roddy Bottum of Faith No More, Doug Pinnick of King's X-a gay Christian metalhead, and of course the great Rob Halford formerly of the legendary Judas Preist. I dunno whether this is a large trend or merely people coming out of yet another closet, but it's nice to see metal shaking off it's homophobic image.
Jandek has been creating some of the most arrestingly bent music around(audio here ) for 23 years now. On top of the strangeness of his music he's so reclusive that he makes J.D. Salinger seem like a party animal. This brings out the investigative impulse in some folks, like this fan who went so far as to take pictures of his record company's PO Box, among other things. Someone else has has created this fittingly inscrutable tribute page . Jandek's music is worth a listen, but be prepared to recalibrate your understanding of the term "strange."
George Burdi, formerly a major figure in the White Power movement publicly denounces racism. Burdi was a member of the skinhead band Rahowa(RAcial HOly WAr) and considered by many to be the next major ambassador of hate to the mainstream. Some time in jail, among other things seems to have turned him around. This interview offers some interesting insights on what makes young people vulnerable to recruitment by hate groups and perhaps, what we can do to prevent them from taking hold.
W.P. Kinsella probably the finest literary chronicler of America's National Pastime is also a master at the delicate art of being sentimental without being saccharine. The Band created some the greatest musical portraits of America ever committed to wax. Both of these artists tackle very "American" themes, yet both(excepting Band drummer Levon Helm) are Canadian. Canada is often ignored or glossed over culturally speaking, but these two examples make me think that perhaps Canadians have a unique perspective on America that helps them create such amazing portraits of the US.
The Hendrix of The Accordion, the Stevie Ray of the banjo,and even Tubas are producing some rockin' stuff. I see something of a small trend here an I think it's a good one. These artists take the insturments you hated to be stuck with in the high school band and turn them into something astounding. If anyone knows of other examples, I'd love to hear about 'em. (some sites require Flash)
Greeting, Dementoids and Dementites! Stumbling upon this site today was like running into an old pal. I remember when I was 9 years old listening to the Demento show in the dark on my headphones and cackling my head off. The Doctor was also a serious music scholar and record collector, who would play stuff like Bullmoose Jackson and Riley Puckett along with the Weird Al and Tom Lehrer, which would whet my appetite for more. He probably did spawned more record geeks in my generation than any other person. Good to see he's still around, even if no station in my area plays him.
If you've ever worked in retail, you MUST download this song. Apparently, back in the mid 1960's, Woolworth decided that the best way to motivate their managers was to hire one Michael Brown to compose and sing a snappy pop tune just for them, with predictably bizarre results. Here at the store, it's become our new anthem. For more info the tune and it's creator go here and scroll down.
It's nice to see something on the web living up to it's name. Raremusic.com is a rare instance of truth in advertising. In a world where pablum like Bush and Limp Bizkit qualify as 'alternative' (whatever the hell that means) this site is a godsend. It hasn't been updated in a dogs age but there's plenty of sounds here to keep you busy, some great, some funny, some just weird. For instance, If you wondered where that flute in the Beasties 'Sure Shot' came from, they've got the source. Also, theres a Moog version of 'What's New Pussycat?' that must be heard to be believed. Requires the latest Shockwave plugins.