Monthly Archives: August 2011
Must admit…pretty good burritos for fast food.
I want to have this…but the 180 dollar price tag means I won’t pick it up new. I will wait for a used copy or hope it makes its way onto Pop Market in a year or so. My ‘Smile’ bootlegs will have to make due until then.
Seasick Steve on Later With Jools Holland playing a Diddley Bow.
Recently Rolling Stone online ran a post stating that Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were both open to considering a Replacements reunion. The story was really a non-story as nothing is promised. The article was basically Paul saying sometimes he wants to do a reunion and sometimes he does not. He went on to say that drummer Chris Mars would never do it (he has a successful art career), but Tommy Stinson is always ready to go. When Stinson was contacted he gave an interesting and honest quote… “Why would we do it?” he asks. “The only reason we would ever do it would be to get paid. We’re not going to recapture anything. I think I could probably have fun with it though.”
That quote got me to thinking about bands that have broken up only to regroup for the cash grab. Sex Pistols, The Pixies, Cream, Soundgarden, Faith No More, Jane’s Addiction, The Eagles, The Police…and so many more. And it is not only limited to huge bands with baby boomer fans that have extra cash to burn; even Jesus Lizard re-formed for a reunion tour.
Why do bands reform after years of bad blood, declining record sales and general lethargy? Are they wanting to do some shows, get loose and record another album? With few exceptions, and the occasional live album (which is another cash grab), the answer is no. Are they doing it for the fun and thrill of being in front of a crowd? And did they enjoy doing it? I think it varies with each band. I have read enough from Henry Rollins to know that he hated the reunion tour with his original Rollins Band for a string of shows with LA punk legends X in 2006. Johnny (Rotten) Lydon went so far to call the reunion tour with the Sex Pistols the Filthy Lucre (money) Tour and made no bones about them doing the tour for the money.
I went to one of the first Pixies Reunion shows back in 2004. The concert was not as exciting or raw as when I saw them in 1991, but it was fun and I don’t regret going to the concert at all. They were a band that I really liked, just a little older, with no new material to promote. On the same line of thought, I saw Sonic Youth (a band that has never broken up) a few years back and they were not the same as seeing them in 1990 either. People get older, people change…does that make a huge difference? Would I want to go see the Replacements if they do the reunion rodeo?
Let me ask myself this question…if Led Zeppelin reformed would I go? Honestly, probably not and I love that band. Not because I don’t want to see them in a state of decline; not because I don’t want to taint the memory I have of the band…I just figure I will be priced out. I refuse to pay 69.00 plus ticket convenience fee, plus order processing fee, plus parking fee to see a concert in the Enormodome in the cheap seats and end up watching the LED projected images of the band. I will just buy the DVD and watch it in my living room.
Okay, now let me ask myself this…Black Flag reformed for a reunion tour (Greg Ginn suddenly stopped being a dick and Henry Rollins decided to let the past 25 years drop from his memory and play nice), only playing 3,000 seat halls or less, and tickets were 30 dollars…would I go? Even though Ginn is 57 and Rollins is 50? Even though there is little chance of that old spark, that old magic? Even though it would appear to only be a total cash grab move?
I would buy tickets in a heartbeat…
They are my band. The most electrifying band I ever saw. You could say everything about them struck a chord with me. The antithesis of blotted corporate rock. They booked the shows, they drove the van, they loaded in/loaded out…hell, they had their own record label to put out the music they wanted to make available. I look up to that ‘do it yourself’ ethos.
So what happens when one of your favorite bands get together for a reunion tour? Do you not go? Do you go and expect a lesser show? Or does it just depend on the band and your connection to them?
You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me – Tom Waits
New Tom Waits will be released on October 25, titled Bad As Me. A single of the same name is up on iTunes, Amazon and all other legit download sites or you can sample 30 seconds on the Tom Waits official website.
Update – If you have Spotify the single is up to stream…and that is why I like Spotify.
In the summer of 1976 I was a young man of 12 and I had just taken possession of my parents stack of 45 rpm records, all without sleeves, piled on top of each other to form a 18″ tall round black tower. The stack consisted mostly of older country and western, but some rock and blues…I recall The Turtles, Beach Boys, one Beatles on the Vee-Jay label, Burl Ives, Chuck Berry among others.
One Saturday morning I was slapping down 45s and playing a minute or so of each record to see if it was anything that would catch my ear, usually anything fast or bubblegum pop sounding would get played all the way to the end. I put on a record that had a bouncy beat and a vocal that boomed out of the speakers sounding like a variation of a nursery rhyme I had heard before. When the song finished my father walked into my room and asked me to play it again. When it was over he asked me to play the other side. I asked him who this guy was and he said, ‘That’s old Bo Diddley, he was one of the inventors of Rock and Roll.’
The flip side was more of that beat with this man bragging about how bad he was. I had just been introduced to Mr. Bo Diddley by a 1955 single…A Side – Bo Diddley, along with the B Side – I’m a Man.
My dad and myself went digging through that big old stack of records looking for another Bo Diddley single that he was sure he had. After finding and playing a Chuck Berry single we did find it. It was ‘You Can’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover’ backed with an instrumental song called ‘Aztec’. I liked the A side, but my father liked the B side, so we played them both twice.
That morning my father told me the origin of those singles. Some of them he bought from a man who serviced the jukebox at his local hang-out for a nickel each, some were my mother’s, some were just left by random friends of my parents after parties. He showed me some of his favorites and then he showed me some of my Grandfather’s 78 rmp records, but we couldn’t play them as my record played didn’t have that speed. He talked about Chuck Berry and Little Richard and Bo Diddley. It was a good Saturday Morning…
Born as Ellas Otha Bates on December 30, 1928, he was adopted by his mother’s cousin and took the sir name of McDaniel. Later on he would take the stage name of Bo Diddley. It is assumed that the name was a play on the name of the one-stringed instrument the Diddley Bow. He recorded the song by the same name for Chess Records in 1955, it would become a #1 R&B hit.
Through out his early career he would have many hits on the R&B and Pop Charts. His songs would be covered by The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Captain Beefheart, The Who and The New York Dolls among others. The Buddy Holly song ‘Not Fade Away’ would use Bo’s famous beat. He is often overlooked when people are remembering the beginnings of rock and roll music. But he might just be my favorite of the early rock and rollers. Bo had a swagger about him. Bo was a bad ass.
He continued to tour through out his life. He opened for the Clash on their first US tour in 1979. He made a live album with Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He received a Grammy. He made a career out of his music. Bo died on June 2, 2008 at the age of 79. Cause of death was heart failure after a year-long illness that saw him suffer a stroke and a heart attack.
I look back on that Saturday morning and the bonding with my father, talking about music and sharing his memories with a warm feeling in my heart. If you don’t know Bo’s music give it a listen. If you are already a fan try revisiting a greatest hits collection…turn it up loud, lose yourself in his joyous noise and enjoy that beat.
A lyrical painting of a repulsive ultra-violent biblical western fever dream. That would be my description of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, his fifth book published in 1985. I will admit to being new to Cormac’s work. I have only read three of his books prior to reading Blood Meridian. He has a style of writing that takes some time to get used to. He does not use quotation marks for dialogue and he tends to throw in many unusual and antiquated words. The first book of his I read, The Road, was bought on Amazon and downloaded to my Kindle. I thought there might have been a problem with the file…no quotiation marks, no apostrophes to signal most contractions. It was easy enough to read after I realized this is the way it is written.
Blood Meridian is very loosely based on actual historical events, set in the American Southwest of the 1800’s. The narrative follows a character called only “the kid” as he drifts around the western landscape. The main body of the novel finds the kid joining in with a group of Indian hunters. Slowly a character named Holden, an erudite judge becomes the embodiment of evil. He calls all war his God. The judge is presented as an almost magical other being. I had the feeling that he was a supernatural character. Cormac has constructed the Judge so well that he is one literary character dripping with wickedness that will be slow to fade from one’s memory.
Cormac’s used of language is surreal, almost as if he is writing a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Violence and gore are presented in a lyrical style that only enhances the other world feel of this novel. The horrifying images that will stick with you (a tree full of dead bloated infants, bloody scalps, decapitated bodies of travelers, a necklace of Indian ears) are presented in a language that floats the reader between the real and surreal. The revisionist history we are now taught is that the white men were the villains and the Indians were the victims, but in Cormac’s world all men are unapologetically blood thirsty, out for self-preservation and generally of an evil nature.
The prose bounce along with an almost biblical quality to them. Read the following sentence from the novel to get a sense of the word play while listening to Peter Gabriel’s excellent world music from the soundtrack to the film ‘The Last Temptation of Christ”…
All else was heaped on the flames and while the sun rose and glistened on their gaudy faces they sat upon the ground each with his new goods before him and they watched the fire and smoked their pipes as might some painted troupe of mimefolk recruiting themselves in such a wayplace far from towns and the rabble hooting at them across the smoking footlamps, contemplating towns to come and the poor fanfare of trumpet and drum and the rude boards upon which their destinies were inscribed for these people were no less bound and indentured and they watched like the prefiguration of their own ends the carbonized skulls of their enemies incandescing before them bright as blood among the coals.
This book will not resonate with all readers, I would imagine that the violence will leave some horrified, but I find the language of the violence compelling. The author does not give the reader all the answers to every question. The ending leaves the book open for one’s own interpretation. Some may not find that appealing, others will like to ponder this novel and the possibilities of its author’s purpose. I can see myself reading this book again looking for answers to questions that are forming in my mind.