Friday, April 30, 2010

We're Getting the Band Back Together

Finally some video from Soundgarden's not so secret show at the Showbox in Seattle on April 16.

Chris with grunge hair-Check
Kim with gray beard-Check
Doc Martens all around-Check
Ben with low slung bass, a couple extra Lbs. and bad attitude-Check
Matt having way more fun then he'll ever have in Pearl Jam-Check
High Vocal Notes!..Real.. live.. and un- auto-tuned High vocal notes from a 45 year old man-Check
Way Back Deep Cuts from their first full length album Ultramega OK-Check

way cool.........

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Days of Excellent Excess and Exile

 This is a fantastic(and long) article on the making of Exile on Main Street from the Guardian UK, written by Sean O' Hagan. The long awaited reissue with 10 never released tracks comes out in early May. I am posting this from a line I have started waiting in today at my local Best Buy. I have a lawn chair, 3 weeks worth of Milky Way Bars, a Charles Bukowski novel, a sleeping bag, an ipod and a dream My inner thighs are chafed, I'm quite ripe and my spine is out of place.I'm the only one here this early which suits me fine, the kids just don't get it in the suburbs anyway. They're not aware enough to hang with me, they've probably never heard Exile on Main Street anyhow...........Ok, I'm really in the moderate comfort of my own home typing on a new laptop...but I would do it, man. I would get that lawn chair, sit on my ass and wait for those big box store doors to open...just to be the first to listen to this reissue in my neck of the woods, a forest full full of simpletons, do gooders and rule makers........   read the should only take around 10 minutes...then join me in line, Soul Survivors!

It's nearly 40 years since the Rolling Stones fled to the French Riviera and recorded their masterpiece, Exile on Main St. On the eve of its relaunch, Sean O'Hagan marvels that the album was made at all…

There is a great moment in Stones in Exile, a new documentary about the making of Exile on Main St in 1971, when Keith Richards defines the essential difference in temperament between Mick Jagger and himself.
"Mick needs to know what he's going to do tomorrow," says Richards, his voice slurring into a laugh. "Me, I'm just happy to wake up and see who's hanging around. Mick's rock, I'm roll."
On Exile on Main St, though, Jagger, for once, rolled with Richards. So, too, did everyone else involved, from Jimmy Miller, the producer, to Marshall Chess, the young Atlantic Records executive, to the rest of the group and their extended retinue of session players, studio technicians and hangers-on.
Once the decision had been made to record the album in the basement of Villa Nellcôte, Richards's rented house in the south of France, the working schedule was dictated by the irregular hours kept by the group's wayward guitarist, who also had a singularly dogged approach to composing songs.
"A lot of Exile was done how Keith works," confirms Charlie Watts in the documentary, "which is, play it 20 times, marinade, play it another 20 times. He knows what he likes, but he's very loose." Without a trace of irony, Watts adds, "Keith's a very bohemian and eccentric person, he really is." 

Exile on Main St is so emphatically stamped with Keith Richards's rock'n'roll signature that it could just as easily have been called "Torn and Frayed" after one of the two gloriously ragged songs that he wrote the lyrics for. The title alone sums up his gypsy demeanour, his elegantly wasted look. Or they could simply have called it "Happy", after another track that was actually recorded in a single take when Richards woke up one morning – or evening – and gathered up the only other people who were awake, saxophonist Bobby Keys and producer Jimmy Miller, who was drafted in to play drums in place of the absent Watts. The whole record was, says Keys, a good ol' boy from Texas, "about as unrehearsed as a hiccup".
Perhaps because he was not the controlling presence on Exile on Main St, which has often been voted the greatest rock'n'roll record ever by music critics, it is not necessarily one of Mick Jagger's favourite Rolling Stones albums. He once described it as sounding "lousy" with "no concerted effort of intention", adding "at the time, Jimmy Miller was not functioning properly. I had to finish the whole record myself, because otherwise there were just these drunks and junkies."
Jagger may have been miffed that his vocals are sometimes swallowed up in the soupy mix but he sings with real passion throughout and seems galvanised by the raw rock'n'roll the group are making. If anyone should need a reminder that no one before or since has sounded as louche and limber, so raggedly majestic, they should watch the Stones playing "Loving Cup" live on their subsequent American tour. Footage of that performance is a highlight of the documentary, produced by the Oscar -winning film-maker John Battsek, which will be premiered at the Cannes film festival before screening on the BBC later in May.
Despite his former reservations, Jagger has gotten behind the planned reissue of the album, too, which comes in a deluxe package containing 10 previously unheard bonus tracks, some of which are alternative takes of familiar songs while others sound suspiciously like they have only recently had new vocals added. No one in the Stones' camp is coming clean as to whether this is the case or not.

For the purists among us, though, the original version of Exile on Main St, in all its ragged, full-on, rock'n'roll swagger, is all we need. "This is just a tree of life," said Tom Waits, when he selected it as one of his all-time favourite records a few years back. "This record is a watering hole." On the documentary, Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon is taken aback to discover the album was recorded in France. "I literally thought they were in Memphis, going out every night eating barbecue and partying." Which is exactly what it sounds like.
The creation of Exile on Main St, like so many early chapters in the Rolling Stones story, is shrouded in myth and blurred by conflicting anecdotal evidence. The American journalist Robert Greenfield, who was present briefly during the recording, wrote an entire book about — and named after — the album. Its subtitle is "A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones". The book paints an often lurid portrait of Richards and his then partner, Anita Pallenberg. Greenfield places the couple at the centre of a spiral of sustained hard drug abuse and wilfully amoral behaviour. Among the rumours he airs, but does not confirm or refute, is the one about Pallenberg encouraging an employee's young daughter to inject heroin for the first time. Another has Jagger bedding Pallenberg while Richards has nodded out on heroin, thus reigniting an affair they were rumoured to have had while filming Performance under the direction of Nic Roeg in 1968.

Needless to say, the documentary, which has Jagger's controlling presence written all over it, does not dwell on such unsavoury and unsubstantiated matters. The French photographer Dominique Tarle, who chronicled the making of the album in a series of wonderfully evocative shots, and who was Greenfield's entrée into the Stones' milieu, had this to say about the book when I spoke to him in Paris last week: "I read only eight pages and I really felt sick. First of all, how can he not write about the music? And all this stuff about a season in hell with the Rolling Stones? No, no, it was anything but that. We were all young and it was a time of great freedom and energy and creativity. For me, it was a kind of rock'n'roll heaven."

Perhaps, though, it was both. Tommy Weber, who is described as "a racing driver, drug runner and adventurer" in the documentary, and as "a fabulous character straight out of F Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night" by Greenfield, was one of Richards's inner circle at Nellcôte. His son, Jake, now a Hollywood actor, was just eight when he witnessed the decadence around the Rolling Stones first-hand. In Stones in Exile, he says, "There was cocaine, a lot of joints. If you're living a decadent life, there is always darkness there. But, at this point, this was the moment of grace. This was before the darkness, the sunrise before the sunset."
Bobby Keys, as ever, is more blunt. "Hell, yeah, there was some pot around, there was some whiskey bottles around, there was scantily clad women. Hell, it was rock'n'roll!"

Others experienced more mundane but no less pressing problems. Both Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman missed home and some of their own creature comforts. "I hated leaving England," Wyman reminisces. "You had to import Bird's custard, Branston pickle and piccalilli... you had to buy PG Tips and then deal with the French milk."
The Rolling Stones pitched up in the south of France in the spring of 1971 as reluctant tax exiles fleeing the Labour government's punitive 93% tax on high earners. The group had just extricated themselves, at some cost, from a misguided management deal with the infamous Allen Klein, who was still claiming he owned their publishing rights. In the public eye, though, the Stones were still the rock group that most defined the outlaw rock'n'roll lifestyle, their bad reputation built on an already colourful past that included high-profile drug busts, the death by drowning of Brian Jones, one of their founding members, the near death by overdose of Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger's former girlfriend, and the murder of a fan by Hell's Angels, who had been hired by the group's management to provide security at 1969's ill-fated Altamont festival.
Altamont was viewed by many contemporary observers as the symbolic death of the 60s dream of a burgeoning counterculture; by others as an inevitable result of the Stones' hubris and arrogance. Through it all, though, the Stones' music had echoed their turbulent lifestyle and soundtracked the tumultuous times, from the upfront sexual bravado of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in 1965, through the apocalyptic swirl of "Gimme Shelter" in 1969, to the swagger of "Brown Sugar" in 1971.

Sticky Fingers, the group's ninth album, nestled at the top of the British and US pop charts as the Stones, their families and extended entourage decamped to France to begin their exile. Richards sensed that the reason for their flight from Britain was not just to do with their dire financial predicament.
"There was a feeling you were being edged out of your own country by the British government," he remembers. "They couldn't ignore that we were a force to be reckoned with."
Having searched the coastline and hills around the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer for a suitable recording space, the Stones then opted to start working in the cavernous, multi-roomed basement of Nellcôte, with their mobile recording studio parked outside in the driveway. The house had once been occupied by the Nazis, and in a recent interview Richards describes working there as "like trying to make a record in the Führerbunker. It was that sort of feeling… very Germanic down there – swastikas on the staircase… Upstairs, it was fantastic. Like Versailles. But down there… it was Dante's Inferno."

In the often intense heat of the dank basement, the group struggled to get started. Musicians set up their instruments in adjoining rooms, with Bill Wyman having to play his bass in one space while his amplifiers stood in a hallway. Initially, they were hampered by guitars going out of tune due to the humidity. Basic communication, too, was a problem, with Jimmy Miller continually having to run from the mobile studio to the basement to deliver his instructions.
Then, a few weeks in, Mick Jagger announced that he was going to marry Bianca Pérez Morena de Macias, a Nicaraguan-born model, in nearby St Tropez. The international press and a clutch of the world's most famous pop stars jetted in for the very public wedding ceremony. As Jagger and his bride departed on honeymoon, the celebrations continued for a week at Villa Nellcôte. A week after they stopped, Gram Parsons, the country-rock singer who had bonded with Richards in Los Angeles a few years before over their shared love for Merle Haggard and heroin, arrived with his wife, Gretchen. The couple stayed for a month before they were diplomatically asked to leave by a Stones minion. "The atmosphere kept changing but the party kept going," says Tarle, laughing.

Interestingly, the Stones in Exile documentary does not even mention Parsons, whose closeness to Richards rattled the possessive Jagger. "Keith and Gram were intimate like brothers," says Tarle, "especially musically. The idea was floating around that Gram would produce a Gram Parsons album for the newly formed Rolling Stones Records. Mick, I think, was a little afraid because that would mean that Gram and Keith might even tour together to promote it. And if there is no room for Mick, there is no room also for the Rolling Stones. So, yes, there was tension. You could feel it and I captured it on Mick's face in some of my pictures."
The music the Stones made in Nellcôte reflected those tensions, as well as the sense of exile and uncertainty that hung heavily over the group, and the continuing encroachment of heroin on the lives of Richards and Pallenberg, and on the lives of some of those who entered their orbit. Speaking recently, Richards protested that he was not the only drug user in the group. "At the time, Mick was taking everything. Charlie was hitting the brandy like a motherfucker. The least of our concerns was what we ingested. These sorts of questions [about drugs] are predicated on what came a few years later when… I would play the game. 'Oh, you want that Keith Richards? I'll give you the baddest mother you've ever seen.'"

By October, though, heroin use seems to have been a constant in the lives of Richards and Pallenberg. "I walked into the living room one day and this guy had a big bag of smack," Pallenberg remembers, "and everything just disintegrated." Perhaps it was telling that when Richards bought himself a speedboat, he called it Mandrax.
Heroin brought with it the usual problems of supply and demand, and the usual retinue of shady characters and criminals, both local and from nearby Marseille. Villa Nellcôte was such an open house that, one day in September, burglars walked out of the front gate with nine of Richards's guitars, Bobby Keys's saxophone and Bill Wyman's bass in broad daylight while the occupants were watching television in the living room. "That's how loose and stupid it was out there," says Wyman. The crime was reputedly carried out by dealers from Marseille who were owed money by Richards. The nocturnal goings-on at Nellcôte were also starting to attract the attention of the local populace and the increasingly suspicious police force. "The music was so loud, really, really loud," Pallenberg remembers. "Sometimes I went to Villefranche during the day and you could hear the music there. And it went on all night."

Whatever the truth of the rumour about Pallenberg encouraging the teenage daughter of the resident chef to try heroin, the police eventually raided Nellcôte and, in 1973, both she and Richards were charged with possession of heroin and intent to traffic. The resulting guilty verdict meant that Richards was banned from entering France for two years, and thus the Stones could not play concerts there.
As summer turned to autumn, people started drifting away from Nellcôte and, in November 1971, Richards and Pallenberg followed suit. The album was eventually finished in Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles. In the documentary, Jagger reveals that some of the lyrics were written at the last minute, including the album's first single, "Tumbling Dice", which was composed "after I sat down with the housekeeper and talked about gambling". The words to another gambling song, the frenetic "Casino Boogie", were created by Jagger and Richards in the cut-up mode made famous by William Burroughs, which gives a lie to the notion that the line about "kissing cunt in Cannes" refers to an episode in Jagger's notoriously promiscuous sex life.
Jagger also denied recently that "Soul Survivor" was about his relationship with Keith Richards during the making of Exile. On it, he sings the line, "You're gonna be the death of me".

In places, Exile on Main St does indeed sound, in the best possible way, like an album made by a bunch of drunks and junkies who were somehow firing on all engines. Jim Price and Bobby Keys's horns are an integral part of the dirty sound, as is Nicky Hopkins's rolling piano. Songs such as the galloping opener, "Rocks Off", surely about the effects of a heroin hit, and "All Down the Line" are messily powerful, with vocals fading in and out of focus and the group kicking up a storm underneath. "Tumbling Dice" features one of the greatest opening gear changes in rock'n'roll and a swagger that carries all before it.
In one way, the double album, housed in Robert Frank's contact sheet-style cover, is Keith Richards's swan song of sorts, a final blast of rock'n'roll energy before he descended into a protracted heroin addiction that would often make him seem – and sound – disconnected from the rest of the group during live shows. After Exile, Jagger carried the weight and, despite some great moments on subsequent albums including Goat's Head Soup and Black and Blue, the Stones would never sound so sexy, so raucous and abandoned, so low-down and dirty. Neither, though, would anyone else. By the time punk came and went and indie rock had taken hold, the mix of sexiness and sassiness that the Stones at their best epitomised had disappeared entirely from rock music. So had the kind of survival instinct that the group drew on when the going got tough.
"The Stones really felt like exiles," Richards says. "It was us against the world now. So, fuck you! That was the attitude." You can still hear it, loud and clear, on this messy, inchoate, rock'n'roll masterpiece; the Rolling Stones in excelsis.
Stones in Exile will air on BBC2 on 23 May as part of the Imagine series


You don't remain one of the music industry's most lucrative concerns after nearly 50 years in the business by being wasteful and the Rolling Stones are rarely profligate as far as recorded material is concerned. So while a quick internet search will reveal the usual array of bootleg out-takes and alternative versions, thus far, repeated reissues of the band's back catalogue have rarely offered more than remastering existing material and adding fancy artwork.
This is one of the reasons this month's version of 1972's Exile on Main St, released on 17 May, is news and probably why it was held back from last year's unremarkable repackaging of their 70s output. Most of the fresh songs contained among its 10 extra tracks are genuinely unheard, lost-to-the-mists-of-time rarities.
There's been some tinkering, though, with Jagger finishing the lyrics and lead vocals to "Following the River", as well as adding the odd vocal flourish to other tunes. "Keith put guitar on one or two," Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine recently, although Richards himself declared: "I really wanted to leave them pretty much as they were. I didn't want to interfere with the Bible."
The impressively slouchy blues of "Plundered my Soul" has already been aired, gaining a limited release last weekend in support of international Record Store Day. "Good Time Women" is an excellent early incarnation of "Tumbling Dice" that has been knocking about online for a while, albeit in less polished form.
Like much of Exile, it dates from the sessions for 1971's Sticky Fingers, although another new track "I'm Not Signifying" originates from the notoriously drug-addled sessions at Nellcôte in the south of France.
There's a further treat included in the £99.99 deluxe box set version, something that adds to the sense that the Exile reissue is a sign that the Stones may be catching up with their peers and beginning to direct their own mythology more firmly, in the manner of, say, Bob Dylan with his recent flurry of official bootlegs and documentaries.
Among the commemorative hardback book and postcards is 10 minutes of footage from the infamous Cocksucker Blues documentary, shot on the band's particularly debauched 1972 US tour in support of Exile. Inevitably, the edit features Keith hurling a television off a hotel balcony and Mick ordering room service, rather than the infamous sex and drugs scenes that prompted the band to halt the film's full release. (The entire 93-minute version can still only be shown in the presence of the now 85-year-old director Robert Frank.)
Frank's film is named after another lost Stones track, their final single for Decca, rejected by the label because of its title. It made one brief appearance on a German compilation and hasn't been heard since. Apart from on the web, of course. Gareth Grundy

Monday, April 26, 2010

Get This

Raw Power: The Deluxe 2 cd version is out. As a matter of fact, its been out since April 13, so what the fuck are you waiting for?
David Bowie's original mix is cleaner, less distorted..and a bit too soothing for me. I kept waiting for the prim and proper golf claps from a British roundhouse after every song..unlike Iggy's mix where you're fearing for your life or jonesing for illicit action after every song... but I had never heard it, so I'll just say I'm glad to have it. I can't knock Bowie for it, he basically saved Iggy's life in the mid 70s then threw him a huge bone by recording and having such a huge hit with Iggy's China Girl in '83. Plus as you'll hear in the above video, he was only given 2 days to mix the album.

I really love the live show from Ga. included in this takes the soundman/or James Williamson..(can't really tell whose fault it is)....three songs to get any live guitar level...and Iggy just vamps...makes fun of the crowd and..its creation of a genre right in front of your ears.... the punk meets the/ is the Godfather.

Just go get it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sly Stone's Coachella Trainwreck

The mighty keep falling. Sometimes they tumble into an abyss of abuse, confusion and delusion until paranoia and anger take over their lives. The brain can only take so much, until it becomes untethered from the network where creativity and coherent thought end up rolling around like tumbleweeds in grey matter. Such is the case of Mr. Sylvester Stewart aka Sly Stone Sly Stone, along side James Brown and George Clinton, is responsible for funk.
Without him, there would be no Prince, no Talking Book, no Soul Train, no Flea slapping his bass(Thanx Larry Graham) He's that important. With the Family Stone he gave us classic albums like Stand and There's a Riot Goin' On. Then the drugs (that he used to carry from gig to gig in a violin case) took right over. He lost it all and we lost track of him. Now after years of secluded unknowns he has emerged...doing sporadic gigs since 2007. These "gigs' have NEVER gone as planned. He either leaves the stage mid gig, shows up 3 hours late...or starts, stops and switches songs while performing them.

At Coachella last weekend, he basically gave the crowd one of the most bizarre train wreck shows ever recorded. This You Tube video is just a taste of what went on. Feel free to seek out more video of the event. I've never seen anything like it.  I don't know whether to laugh, cry or be angry.  I don't think he does either.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Get Well, Bret

Bret Michaels went to the hospital on thursday complaining of a headache. As it turns out, the doctors found, he was suffering a brain hemorrhage at the base of the brain stem, and has been in critical care since.

 Hospital doctors are still trying to find the cause of the subarachnoid hemorrhage which plagues the former Poison front man and VH1 reality star, but so far, they've come up with little. This comes less than a month after the 47-year-old was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy.

Geez, I sure hope his bandana wasn't glued on too tight.  In all seriousness, I wish Bret a speedy, painless recovery. I have had excruciating headaches and with every one, I thought it was an aneurysm, stroke, hemorrhage or tumor. 

Cue "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" as this post fades out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CD Review: Howl-Full Of Hell

Full of Hell, the debut full length release from Providence, Rhode Island post- doom metal band Howl, crushes mere mortals into dust right out of the Hellish gates from behind which it came. This is merciless music for the man with the battle axe collection in his basement. This is dark deliverance in the form of a soundtrack for a tour through the hottest spots in Hades.
The album purges into battle with the opening track "Horns of Steel," which is seasoned with a brutal beating of guitars sounding like a raging demon horde on black horseback that then charges ahead with a focus on pure annihilation. Guitarist and lead growler Vincent Hausman preaches lyrics in burning breaths that could melt muscle from bone in tracks like "Gods in Broken Men" and "Jezebel." His voice burrows into the marrow, and never lets up in its gritty fierceness.
The highlights include "The Scorpion’s Last Sting," a mid-tempo sludgy stomp and the epic track "Heavenless," which after a surprising ethereal start , rumbles hard into an early Melvins meets dark prog rock piece of metal muscle. The sound is a perfect backdrop for a misguided angel who is fighting his way out of a burning abyss.The odds are not in his favor. Drum production throughout the nine songs is meaty and relentless, echoing cell doors closing or rusty blades clanging in stormy combat.
At times the guitar mix seems distant, but always ends up thunderous and hypnotic in its pummeling purpose. This gives the impression that the songs are always forging ahead, to some front line scorched by hellfire.
The lack of noodling metal solos only strengthen the massive wall of riffs and rhythm, which will echo in your ears in the form of the darker side of temporary tinnitus for days. The songs mostly hover around keys in the darkest register, which gives it more of a feel than a theme. This is a relentless record, and an impressive debut from the Providence foursome.

Baba O' Pearly

Pearl Jam members Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder kick out some teenage wasteland jams as they join Conan O Brien on his 'legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television tour when it stopped in Seattle.

Conan's band backs them up  and adds some horns............

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Crowes Fly?

I got this article from

Kind of stunning news...never liked the word.... hiatus.

In late summer, The Black Crowes will kick off their "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys" 2010 Tour which will feature three hour performance sets in most markets. The tour will begin on August 13 in Milwaukee and is presently scheduled to conclude with the band's annual multi-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco on December 19, 2010.The shows are being billed as "Acoustic Hor D'oeuvres followed by an Electric Reception With The Black Crowes," and will consist of a full hour and a half acoustic set followed by a full hour and a half electric set, except where noted below *.
In celebration of the 20th year anniversary of their 1990 debut multi platinum release "Shake Your Money Maker," The Black Crowes will release their first ever double album of all acoustic material on August 3, 2010.
After touring in 2009, The Black Crowes spent time at the Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles, recording over 20 songs from their 20 year history. The band arranged acoustic versions of many of their best loved songs and the band's catalogue picks.
The double album, Croweology, will be sold at the cost of a single album as a "Thank You" to their fans for 20 years of support. Also to be released on vinyl, the project was produced by Paul Stacey and will be released on The Black Crowes label, Silver Arrow, through Megaforce records.
Following their 2010 "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys" Tour the band has planned a lengthy hiatus. Chris Robinson had this to say, "With a smile so wide you can count my teeth and with a heart so full of love that it is spilling over the rim, I offer a humble and simple thank you. Thank you for your time, your imaginations, your heartaches and joy. Thank you for 20 years of cosmic rock n' roll ,20 years of keeping it weird. 20 years of chasing horizons and before the band that dares dream out loud puts it down for a while, we are proud to give you our Croweology. This year the music is only for you as we celebrate what has been, what is now and whatever will be".
Rich Robinson said, "At this milestone in our career, I feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to spend my life making music. It's been 20 years since we started out on this journey. I would like to extend my deep gratitude to all of our fans who have been there with us along the way. We would not have gotten here without your support. Every night I stand on the stage I feel great pride and respect for what we share with our fans. After this tour we are going to take some much needed time to spend with our families. But for now, we are very much looking forward to a great year of touring. I look forward to seeing all your familiar faces again on the road. See you soon."
Steve Gorman added, "20 Years Gone - To look back over the past twenty years ...there are so many thoughts, feelings, and memories of all shapes and sizes that it's tough to process it all. Lots of ups and downs, lots of everything. One can easily get lost in the labyrinth of those many experiences. However, there is one constant - and that's an overwhelming sense of gratitude to all of you that have supported us for the past twenty years. Our tour this year serves as a very large THANK YOU to all in attendance. Whether you have seen us one time, ten times, a hundred times, or more, it goes without saying that we wouldn't be here without you. The lives that we all lead, and the opportunities that we have been presented with, all trace directly back to your support. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! And after this tour, we'll be taking a nice, long, much needed break. We are all in agreement (no, seriously, we are!) that this is the right time to spend time with our families, friends, outside musical and non musical projects and of course, our personal lives. So, we're going out swinging with all we got. Let's all join hands and share the ride!"

The Black Crowes tour dates (* = Electric shows ONLY):
Aug-13 Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
Aug-14 * Walker, MN - Northern Lights Casino
Aug-15 * Apple Valley, MN - Zoo Amphitheatre
Aug-17 * Des Moines, IA - Simon Estes Amphitheatre
Aug-18 * Kansas City, MO - Harrah's Kansas City
Aug-20 Detroit, MI - The Fillmore @ The State Theatre
Aug-21 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
Aug-22 Columbus, OH - Promowest Pavilion
Aug-24 * Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
Aug-25 Indianapolis, IN - The Murat Theatre
Aug-27 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
Aug-28 * Council Bluffs, IA - Stir Cove
Aug-29 Denver, CO - Fillmore Auditorium
Aug-31 * Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
Sep-07 * Salina, KS - The Stiefel Theatre
Sep-08 * Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
Sep-10 Charleston, SC - Family Circle Magazine Stadium
Sep-12 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
Sep-17 Raleigh, NC - Raleigh Boutique Amphitheatre
Sep-18 Charlotte, NC - Uptown Amphitheatre @ The Music Factory
Sep-19 Asheville, NC - Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Sep-21 Jacksonville, FL - The Florida Theatre
Sep-24 Houston, TX - Verizon Wireless Theatre
Sep-26 * Dallas, TX - House of Blues
Oct-01 * Biloxi, MS - Beau Rivage Casino
Oct-02 Fayetteville, AR - Arkansas Music Pavilion
Oct-15 Albany, NY - The Palace
Oct-16 * Salamanca, NY - Seneca Allegany Casino
Oct-17 * Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
Oct-19 Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Oct-20 Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Oct-22 Boston, MA - House of Blues
Oct-23 Boston, MA - House of Blues
Oct-24 * Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
Oct-26 Waterbury, CT - Palace Theatre
Oct-27 Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
Oct-29 Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre
Oct-30 * Atlantic City
, NJ - Music Box @ Borgata Resort
Oct-31 New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
Nov-02 New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
Nov-04 New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
Nov-05 New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
Nov-06 New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
Nov-10 * Baltimore, MD - Ram's Head
Nov-12 Pittsburgh, PA - North Shore Entertainment Complex
Nov-13 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
Nov-14 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
Nov-16 Richmond, VA - The National
Nov-17 Norfolk, VA - The Norva
Nov-19 Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle
Nov-20 Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle
Dec-03 Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Auditorium
Dec-04 * Eugene, OR - McDonald Theatre
Dec-05 * Seattle, WA - Showbox SODO
Dec-07 Santa Barbara, CA - The Arlington Theatre
Dec-10 * Las Vegas, NV - The Joint
Dec-11 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
Dec-12 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Dec-14 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Dec-15 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Dec-17 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Dec-18 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
Dec-19 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore

The last two Black Crowes albums have  been very good to great..and barely anyone has heard about them...Warpaint?  Before the Frost..After The Freeze?  Why did this happen?  The latter is half acoustic, recorded live in Levon Helm's barn in Woodstock and has some stellar songs on it including Good Morning Captain and Houston Don't Dream About Me..and was, like Warpaint, released on the Crowes own label Silver Arrow.

Their live shows have gotten quite "Jammy" over the years. But still full of blues. Although I never did find the perfect bell bottoms to wear,  I had the pleasure of seeing them at one of their residency Fillmore shows in San Francisco, 2005. It had been almost 5 years since I'd seen them last (Beacon Theatre, NY 2001)..and I was really psyched to see Marc Ford back in the band. Alas, he left the band soon after..and was replaced by Luther Dickinson (from the North Mississippi All Stars)...

If this truly is their last go can bet I'll be at the Tower Theater show in Philly in October.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Verses of Review

Fixed gear bikes
like horses tied to posts outside the saloon
into the queue
longshoreman like impostors flushing out a pit
in a living room place
bike messengers going postal
in a gallery space.
Guitarist fluttering lids like epilepsy scars
scratching at sounds and smashed chords with bad math.

Singer slashes nodes to ribbons
wraps it in a bow
in group blues in gang sing
into skipped record sounds copter crashing off walls of the fjord.
no one is bored.

Wait for the shatter of appreciative gaps coughs then claps    then
acid gargling ball bearing chewing
blood fucking curdling
polyrhythmic chaos spewing at repetitive mind melding RPM
songs like smart bombs spray the dumbed down.
now this is a punk town.

Radio interferes through the bleeding amps
bobbing hoods like pistons churning
satan sent to his bed for lying
head and horns down crying on his star wars sheets
black hoods hip checking gnashing teeth to beats .
bumping beards clanging sweat logged bells,
channeling heaven as sound shards ricochet into reading glasses.
read the sermon skip the masses.

Everyone looks like Bluto, Paul Bunyan or a hybrid of both
no giving peace a chance in the pit
sure to get a piece of it.
Feel the love , raise yourself down to the ring
a slow bleed is rising under tattooed skin, and a bruise is
ridden hard towards the encore thing.

Carabiner key metronomes sway from a forest of moving jeans
like stage compasses vibrating true north
to the front line.

Spine shifts like rivets burning
singer spits up splinters
embracing larangytical delivery.

This is the juice to make them dance their Dickies off
pedal faster,
strain soy into their tea
forgive their dads.

A chain gang coup de tat
sledgehammer bass chords levitating rocks,
stage buckshot pinning shoulders back
singer plays warden
prisoners scatter
hitting decks and bailing for exits.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Hunted Down" live from Soundgarden's first reunion show Last Night

Listen, this is not from 1987...the year this song( as the first single from Soundgarden) was released on a fledgling Seattle label called Sub Pop...when Chris Cornell was 23 years old and grunge had yet to stick the knife in the solar plexus of hair metal ......this is from Last Night!  Chris is 46 and the pipes have been cleaned.... from all of that vocally phoned in midrange solo album sludge and Audioslave post drug larynx collapse!  The gods must be crazy and armed with some serious holy node rejuvenating pixie dust because these notes are high! High like clipping wings of archangels in flight who may or may not have been illegally videotaping this show from overhead.

Beyond the Wheel...even Higher!

Bring on the tour!

Tardy to the Party

I was invited to the very first "Nudedragons" show in over 10 years last night. It was a secret show. Only the coolest and the most informed were invited. Its a shame that I couldn't go. The Showbox is in Seattle, WA. I am 3000 miles away without a babysitter or a plane ticket. Nudedragons are Soundgarden, people. This was their very first show in a long, long time.  I could have been part of history, but instead, I fell asleep on the couch with my almost 4 year old huddled next to me, within a halo of cracker crumbs and a snore that kept the pesky cats away.  I dreamed of flannel sheep.

Here is the email the band sent me: 

Hello Nudedragon faithful,

Your loyalty has not been forgotten, we would like to invite you to the

Showbox tonight for a chance to see us for the first time in a long while.

Click here to buy tickets use the password: dangerxxxxx

Please leave your camera and video recorders in the dungeon. There will be a VERY LIMITED number of tickets available. All tickets sold on line. No tickets available at the door. All tickets are will call only.

With record store day tomorrow, don’t forget to pickup your special edition
t-shirt and "Hunted Down/Nothing To Say" single click.
And if all this weren't enough, we will have a special edition Nudedragons
t-shirt and poster available at the show and online soon.

 Hurts me down to the grunge marrow, yes it does.

UPDATE!  Here is the setlist from last night!
soundgarden's picture
APRIL 16, 2010
  2. GUN
  3. WAITING FOR THE SUN-(Morrison) “Doors” cover

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Its The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine

Come to think of it, I'm not Fine.
Here are 40 People/Bands I would feel more at ease with on the cover of the Rolling Stone.
1)Nickelback 2) The Cast of Glee(again-2nd time in 2 mos.) 3) Randy Jackson and Ellen Degeneres
 4)Irving Azoff  5)Vampire Weekend  6) Dexy's Midnight Runners  7) Bread  8) Gene Simmons and Mini-Kiss 9) Speidi 10) Jared Leto and 30 Seconds From Mars  11) Vivian Girls  12) Joan(Facelift)Jett and Kristen Stewart 13) Stevie Nicks and Taylor Swift  14) a smiling Jimmy Buffett  15)Flo Rida   16)The Wiggles 17) William Hung 18) Ted Nugent and Toby Keith dressed as Patriots  19) R-Kelly on a Playground  20) a shirtless Justin Bieber  21)Lilith Fair 2010  22)Slash and Adam Lambert  23)The Cast of Green Day's Musical   24) A reunited Men at Work  25) The Dirty Projectors  26) Zakk Wylde, Zac Efron and Zach Galifianakis 27) Queen Latifah in a dress, surrounded by the Chippendales  28) Blanket Jackson 29) Trans Siberian Orchestra  30) Jimi Hendrix for the 112th time  31) Arnel Pineda and Steve Perry  32) Snooki, The Situation and Bruce Springsteen   33) The Juggalo Nation  34) Zak Starkey, Zachary Quinto and Zach Brown Band  35)Susan Boyle and Rod Stewart  36) The Banana Splits  37)Carrot Top  38) The Vinnie Vincent Invasion  39)Michael Buble   40) The Cast of DWTS meets Jay Z.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pics from the High on Fire/ Priestess show

Lately I like it loud. Shaking muscle away from bone loud. Loud enough to forget what I was trying to forget about. Ear abuse, mind in use. Is there anything louder than a High on Fire/Priestess/Black Cobra/Bison B.C. show? No! Unless you've had your head in a jet engine recently. Here are some pics from this show...held in the Bingo Basement room of the First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia. I really wanted to ask the guys in "Priestess" if this was their first "church gig" but I didn't get the chance. I was wrapped tightly in a tinnitus blanket and wouldn't have heard the answer anyway.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ace of Saturday Morning

I wish this was on a permanent loop for my alarm clock every morning.  Dave Grohl, Lemmy and Slash slay Ace of Spades @ the Revolver Golden God Awards in LA.

good morning, sunshine.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Death Of Rock Journalism?

Christopher Weingarten is a freelance music critic for several monthlies..Rolling Stone, Spin, etc. I don't know whether to love him or hate him because most of what he says is true...critics are everywhere...look under a banner and you'll find a critic pushing out his three columned blog for his/her 2 cents of info.

I'm sure I would be considered one of the people he throws caustic javelins of hatred at..being a blogger and all...but my critiques are chock full of belly laughs, right? I mean, I do take my rock seriously, and only wanna be friends with those who wanna hang out in the basement and high five each other when a killer song comes blaring out of the tune box during a block party weekend....wait that was 1983..Ok, here....I only wanna be friends with denim tuxedo clad file sharers who try before they buy and are in the know about the best places to download obscure album cover art for their "libraries".

I love good criticism as much as the next well rounded rock snob, but I know when to stop taking myself too seriously as well. Sure I'd like to make a living, traveling around from festival to festival heeing and hawing about some underground all girl metal folk hybrid band...but I'd also like to make fun of myself for having that much time on my hands to care, when people are forming militias in their backyards and poverty get less coverage than the shifty billionaires running the corporations that run the world.....I have to poke fun to keep myself sane. Its not fun just to collect facts and wax philosophical about how great a guitar tone between the second and third verse of a Utopia song was...It is a small thing that I give big love to...this blogging/critic/reviewer thing I have going on. I'd rather help Chris Weingarten than hurt him...Let me know what you think about the state of rock journalism as you hear him talk in this you have a go to critic these days? Or do you just have a go to blog/website to be in the woe or in the know.?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Soundgarden Says its True!!

Oh My God.  Windy City Here I Come.

Click This :

Singing Guitarists... Yay or Nay?

Has this ever happened to you? You bust out of the house and go and see a band you've heard a lot about, but never actually ...heard. There are two opening bands on the bill, you get there early enough to have to sit through their short sets. You're at an all ages show(Huh? I wanted to know why as well) so you have to keep going to the "bar" side of the bar to get your fill. You catch a few songs of the scruffy band of  Brit openers by peering through the doorway as you slug down suds and are slightly impressed. Catchy inflections of rough house blues with a radio friendly feel. Nothing too dangerous. They are handing out free EPs and you grab one. maybe sell it on EBAY if there's a bus crash or drug problem.

The second band comes on as you're 20 bucks lighter and 4 pints heavier...and something magical happens. Magical like shooting the shit with a Unicorn or sitting on a needle in a haystack in a barn while canoodling with the farmers daughter.....  The first song is epic..overdriven distortion, slapped around blue-sish indie, pummeled drums and and the singer can sing! High and clear with precision and a rock subtle vibrato at the end of a phrase now and again!
I gulped faster and headed in to see if they could keep it up. Who are they, you ask?  A phenomenal band called Band Of Skulls, from England. And the answer is yes, they kept it up. Their infectious combo of stomp rock, feedback and punky blues sing alongs were ferociously played and nastily delivered, think sort of like White Stripes/Black Keys with a Chrissie Hynde looking bass player and a GREAT singer. The Spring Break texting sect ate them up, and so did I.  People, this is a power trio. The singer, Russell Marsden, is also the guitarist. And he's really good at both....which brings me back to my original point......

Has this ever happened to you? The band you came to see was not nearly as good as the opener? I stuck around for the headliner...also a power trio from Athens,GA. But here's the difference. The guitarist couldn't sing. He tried, I mean there's three people, somebody has to. But it was a nondescript soul less voice over midtempo bluesindie rock. There was a dull metronome clanging in my head, my foot rested finally after tapping, then stomping through Band of Skullls...Headliner/Deadliner? These guys were on Letterman. There's a lot of buzz around them. But I left after three songs because the singer/guitarist couldn't sing...which brings me back to my original point...... There are VERY few lead guitarists who can really sing...there are very few lead singers who can really play guitar.  I'm going to list the short list musicians I think have mastered both, and can pull it off(live,usually) and are usually part of a power trio, unless the band has a need for rhythm guitar.

I think power trios happen because of two reasons..the guitarist(who is usually the song writer) thinks he/she can sing and should sing because he/she wrote the songs and they can only be interpreted his or her way. Stupid egos, bad mistake. Your songs better be instant classics or you better be a master at that much of a master that people get distracted by how colorless, void of emotion or horrendously off key you are.
The only other reason power trios happen is because the band is too lazy, stoned or lost to find a singer, so the first one who has the guts to step up to the mic gets the job. (Lemmy)

I admire singers(who play guitar) or guitarists(who sing) who want to make their band better and realize that the only way this is going to happen is if you choose ONE or the OTHER. Choose your stronger hand and play it! If you're a guitarist who sings like Fred Mercury but plays like Mel Bay...then drop back to rhythm guitar or leave the axe at home for christsake and SING like a golden fucking God with a voice that makes angels pee their robes in amazement. Be a singer.(Chris Cornell, Jeff Buckley)
If you're a guitarist who can play like Joe Perry but sing like Keith Richards...back away from the mic, get that scarf swaying and burn up the neck with your spindly digits please.

Here is a list of geniuses who can do both...(sing and play guitar or bass as well) and are masters of each domain.
In terms of vocals...remember...I am not just a proponent of classically trained, 4 octave range type singers...all the voice has to be is original and/or instantly recognizable.

1) Paul McCartney-of course he's a great singer, but also one of the most fantastic bass players of all time.
2) Prince-Can do a variety of vocal styles effortlessly (rock ,funk, r&b and shreds like a 12 fingered demigod, before and after the Jheri Curl era.
3) Stevie Ray Vaughan-his voice was like no other, stunningly southern and soul drenched and he had an amazing vibrato for someone who abused himself for so long.
4) Gordie Johnson-Big Sugar, Grady -vastly underrated Canuck now living in Austin who can really do it all.(one of the few, living slide masters)
5) Geddy Lee- His voice from Fly By Night to Signals was super high and mighty, but he happens to be a bass master as well.(listen to YYZ or Xanadu)
6) Lindsey Buckingham-Fantastic, powerful, melodic pipes and a stunning array of guitar styles, all mastered and performed easily. One of the most studio savvy guitarists of all time.
7) Ian Thornley- Big Wreck- great Canadian band(sadly missed) with soaring vocals and Berklee grad guitar one- upmanship from the same guy.
8) Dave Mustaine-Megadeth-an awesome snarling metal voice and shades of  skimming the shred stratosphere, too.
9) Doug Martsch- Built to Spill- a spooky,forced hush of a voice(instantly recognizable) and fascinating guitar passages in almost every song.
10) Mark Knopfler- Gotta give it to Mark's patented fingerplucking signature style and his rough and ready weathered vocals.
11) Elliott Smith- The darkness and isolation of his exhausted and scared hush vocals overshadowed his effortless style of strange tunings and mastery of the acoustic guitar.
12) Sting- I don't mean Sting now, I mean Sting then.
13) Jack Bruce-better than EC. 2 less strings.

Here's two you don't know yet, besides the aformentioned Russell Marsden from Band of Skulls:

 Alex Johnson from the band House Harkonnen (Denton, TX) Aggressive and nasty lead guitarist with a three headed monster vocal style of mayhem, metal and melodic.

Jake Sproul from the band Rose Hill Drive: Jack Bruce Jr. on the Bass with the voice of a road weary and rugged angel. 

Dontcha gimme no lip about Hendrix(average singer, great songs) or Gilmour(vox don't do it fer me).

Honorable Mentions include: Stephen Stills, Peter Frampton, Buddy Holly, Jack White, Paul Simon, Todd Rundgren, Rik Emmett, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Joni Mitchell, John Fogerty, and the late great Steve Marriott!

So let's hear you tell me who I missed.......

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fallout from Yesterday: Mandatory Roundtable Discussion

The fallout from yesterday's anti hip hop rant has been...colossal. I really didn't think anyone would care.The feelings were caustically thrown out there, and really had nothing to do with racism and everything to do with a genre of entertainment I don't like at all. It had been bottled up inside of me for so long and it was seeping through my psyche like poison. I'm known to let loose with a rant now and again here at Circle of Fits so I thought I was cool to do so, especially on my little blog which, while growing in readership, is still very little.

I was contacted at around 11:15 pm eastern time last night by a representative from Google (who shall remain nameless) who said that word had gotten back to him from the management of a very popular hip hop artist. This artist had somehow read my post from yesterday and was very angry about it. Thought it was dangerous, had racial overtones and promoted violence.....went on and on about how he wanted to meet the man who was behind this vitriol or have my blog shut down. Period.  Google was contacted because they own Blogger, the platform on which I publish my blog. I cannot go into details about what was discussed because of the legal boundaries surrounding this "incident" as it is being called, I guess.

What I can tell you is that I have to attend an "internet roundtable discussion" that will be filmed w/webcams from different locations(including right here at my desk) and possibly posted on a website (also must remain unnamed-but you know it, for sure). This artist will be at one location and two more very recognizable hip hop industry names will be filmed at theirs. Plain and simple, if I refuse to do this, my site gets shut down for sure, and this artist will use yesterday's rant on my little site "as an example" and go to the press. This will make Google look bad for sure, so they set this whole thing up to throw some dirt on the fire.

I'm as dumbfounded as you are, believe me.  We will be discussing the "underlying problem" of veiled racism in the blogosphere using found examples (I guess there are more, but I was told mine really struck a chord with this entertainer) but I am told no politics will be discussed. I'm hoping to have a say, because there are so many things I don't understand about hip hop. I would also like to at least be able to explain myself as a non violent and extremely sarcastic person, and one who doesn't really "hate" anything. I've never been in a fist fight, or even a scuffle, and I'm not planning on joining any underground militia group or tea party at anytime while still walking upright on this earth.

Please stay tuned.........

Using Album Covers To Describe the Day Pt. 2