Friday, August 31, 2007

Songs (still) in my head

Ever wonder how a song gets stuck in your head? Check this out this excerpt from The Washington Post:

WASHINGTON — As a record producer turned neuroscientist — on a first-name basis with Stevie Wonder and Carlos Santana — Daniel Levitin holds the title of Most Righteous College Professor. (At least until recent astrophysics PhD Brian May of Queen gets a teaching gig.) We caught up with the author of “This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession,” whose rocking out is now confined to a sax and guitar gig with McGill University’s Diminished Faculties.
Q. You’re the expert, but doesn’t the B.B. King riff playing in this lobby seem kind of weird for a Westin?
A. When I came down for breakfast they were blasting a Steely Dan song about a drug dealer who made acid in an A-frame out in Oregon. It was really bizarre. ... Especially since music today is becoming the new architecture. Kids under 20 are using music very differently ... They don’t have favorite bands; half the stuff they have on their iPods, they don’t care who it is or where it came from. It’s more about creating an atmosphere. It’s sonic wallpaper.
Q. In your book you say music might be an evolutionary asset.
A. Darwin thought the function of music was to attract members of the opposite sex. ... A man who can dance for hours on end, always varying the steps — that shows great physical stamina and mental flexibility. Women could be subliminally thinking, “This guy is clever. This guy could bring home a bison.”
Q. And now, in our bison-free era?
A. Look at Mick Jagger. There’s an ancient genetic echo that musicians are attractive. ... In one study women were asked to rate various fictional potential mates. The guys were either creative or not creative, rich or not rich. When women were at their most fertile, they wanted to hook up with the creative guy. Other times, they wanted the rich guy. So if you’re passing on genes, you want the creative guy.
Q. What if the creative guy is a tuba player? Are tuba players hot?
A. Tuba players are hidden in an ensemble of 90 or 100 people. I would imagine that if there was a tuba soloist, there would be tuba groupies.
Q. Now I have “Stars and Stripes Forever” stuck in my head. Explain that to me.
A. Scientists call songs that get stuck in your head “earworms,” after the German Ohrwurm. We don’t know a lot about how or why they happen — it’s hard to get funding to study this type of thing — but we know a little. Like, it tends not to be a whole song that gets stuck in your head, just 15-20 seconds of one, and it tends to be a simple song that even non-singers can hum without effort.

Become an Aquarium Drunkard

The once blog turned Web site Aquarium Drunkard is another one of those sites that can make the hours fly by. The site has a little something for everyone. Don't be dissuaded if nothing appeals to you on the first page. The archives go back to 2005.

From their site:

"Based in Los Angeles, An Aquarium Drunkard is an eclectic audio blog featuring daily music news, reviews, mp3 samples and podcasts. Originating in 2005, the Drunkard bridges the gap between contemporary indie and vintage garage, psych-folk, country, New Orleans funk, R&B, soul and everything that falls in between. Run by Justin Gage, the blog has since spun off Autumn Tone Records and the weekly Aquarium Drunkard Show, broadcast live from L.A.’s Little Radio. Beginning in April 2007, look for Aquarium Drunkard’s two hour show on Sirius satellite radio’s Left of Center, channel 26.

Noteworthy recurring features include: The weekly Podcast series; the Live Upload Series featuring rare and/or exceptional live performances in their entirety; the Lost Album Series featuring demos that never saw the light of day in the form of a commercial release (e.g. David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name outtakes); exclusive artist sessions recorded in the studio for the Aquarium Drunkard Show (e.g. The Submarines, The Broken West, Travel By Sea, Willard Grant Conspiracy, Tandemoro, The Switch etc.), artists interviews, etc."

Eagles record new album (or CD, if you want to be accurate)

Saw this on a Web site while tooling around on the 'net this morning.

Have now idea if new Eagles music will be worth a dime, but at least they're not jobbing their fans for pricey CDs.

EAGLES LONG ROAD OUT OF EDEN - - - 20 SONG, SPECIALLY PRICED DOUBLE ALBUM:Long Road Out of Eden, the Eagles' first album of new material in more than 28 years, is scheduled for an October 30 release and will include 20 songs in a specially priced double album of $11.88 for the 2-CD set, or $10.88 if purchased digitally.Long Road Out of Eden is available now for pre-order, including a free download of the band's recently released single How Long, through, and On October 30 the album will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club in the U.S. and Canada, through and, and via the band's Web site:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

cover me

Every since I learned that somebody other than Motley Crue did "Smokin' in the Boys Room," I've had this weird love/hate relationship with established bands doing cover songs.

And now comes word that - joining the recent parade of cover albums (alongside Def Leppard, Poison, Tesla) is Queensryche ... the thinking man's metal band. According to the band best known for educating a generation of fans on the meaning of "lucidity" are soon to be releasing an album covering the likes of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky" and Peter Gaberial's "Red Rain."

This made me think about my off-the-top-of-my-head favorite cover songs - in no particular order:

Rage against the machine - Kick out the Jams
Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane
Bruce Springsteen - Jersey Girl
Rod Stewart - Tom Tolbert's Blues (Waltzing Matilda)
Johnny Cash/Joe Strummer - Redemption Song
Johnny Cash - Hurt
Ace Frehley - 2000 Man
Metallica - Am I Evil?
Counting Crows - Friend of the devil

Breaking news about the CMAs

This just in from the AP...

Strait, Paisley lead CMA awards
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — George Strait, who had his 55th No. 1 single this year and was recently inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame, returned Thursday to the Country Music Association Awards with top nominations including entertainer and male vocalist of the year.
Strait and Brad Paisley led with five nominations each. Strait was also named for musical event of the year, for a performance with Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson; album of the year for “It Just Comes Natural”; and single of the year for “Wrapped,” his 55th career No. 1 single.
Paisley is nominated for entertainer, male vocalist, his album, “Fifth Gear,” best single for “Ticks,” and best music video with “Online.”
Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban rounded out the entertainer of the year category. CMA industry members have nominated only male entertainers of the year since the Dixie Chicks got a nod in 2001.
The Chicks, who have had a troubled relationship with the country industry since Natalie Maines’ derogatory comments about President Bush in 2003, got their first nomination since then for best vocal group.
Chesney picked up four nominations with male vocalist, video for “You Save Me,” and vocal performance with Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw.

U.G.L.Y (You ain't got no alibi)

As far as ugliest rock star goes ... that's kind of an oxymoron, 'cause most guys (especially guitarist) become rock stars because the ARE so ugly. But, for the sake of argument - there is no argument.

Hands down, ugliest guy is Shane MacGowan, singer/guitarist from the Irish punk(ish) band The Pogues. (And please keep in mind - this is a glamour shot!)
Second place goes to Angus Young. Dear God, the man's named after a cow (or the cow's named after him ... either way it's bad.
Then there's Lemmy of Motorhead. But he's ugly/cool, plus the greatest mole in rock

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hilly Kristal's gone

The passing of a punk legend ...

NEW YORK — Hilly Kristal, whose dank Bowery rock club CBGB served as the birthplace of the punk rock movement and a launching pad for bands like the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads, has died. He was 75.
Kristal, who lost a bitter fight last year to stop the club’s eviction from its home of 33 years, died Tuesday at Cabrini Hospital after a battle with lung cancer, his son Mark Dana Kristal said Wednesday.
Last October, as the club headed toward its final show with Patti Smith, Kristal was using a cane to get around and showing the effects of his cancer treatment. He was hoping to open a Las Vegas incarnation of the infamous venue that opened in 1973.
“He created a club that started on a small, out-of-the-way skid row, and saw it go around the world,” said Lenny Kaye, a longtime member of the Patti Smith Group. “Everywhere you travel around the world, you saw somebody wearing a CBGB T-shirt.”

Ugliest men in rock

Mick Mars, Ace Frehley, Dee Snider, Gene Simmons -- and pretty much any Southern rocker.

John Butler Trio announces U.S. tour w/ stop in Atlanta

This band isn't that easy to catch. They're from Australia and give the States some love but as much of a fan as I am I've only seen them once.

They played a free show in Mobile last year to make up for a one that was cancelled by Hurricane Katrina. So I decided to go down because I have had trouble catching them in the past. It was at a place called Felix's Fish Camp, which if you're familiar with you know is an amazing place for a concert. Sand, suds and great music is a wonderful combination.

Anyway, quite possibly the weirdest thing I've seen at a live concert happened that day. Being that the venue was on the water, some decided to arrive by boat. Only they were airboats and it was easily 20 minutes into the show. So all the sudden, mid-song, we all heard this roar and lo and behold two airboats pulled up a good 30 feet from the stage. Most of the crowd noticed this and laughed it off. The airboats stopped and all was well.

But the guys on one of the boats weren't satisfied with their unusual entry and decided to pull up a good 5 feet onto the beach. If you've ever heard an airboat you know how load they can be. It was just this enormously loud noise for such a short ride. So much so that the band heard it over their own playing and John Butler flinched and looked over his shoulder to see what the commotion was. They continued playing the song and afterward John said something to the effect of: "I'm glad to see everything is OK. I thought that the aliens were landing for a minute." Then it was onto the next song. It was all rather bizarre. Regardless, it was a great evening.

If you're a fan of acoustic guitar, you must check these guys out. They're playing at the Variety Playhouse on Nov. 5, which is a Monday. However, on Nov. 3, which is a Saturday, they're playing at the Sweetwater Festival in Milledgeville, Ga.

John Butler Trio Web site

JBT Myspace Page

Cashin' in on The Police

From Pollstar, this week's listing of Top 20 concert tours, listed by average box office take at each city and the average ticket price.

There are all kinds of things here to ponder. Three million bucks at each tour stop? Roger Waters in the top five? (I thought he was dead.) Gwen Stefani? Steely Dan? Where's Britney?

Oh, well, here's the list. It's worth reading.

1. (1) The Police; $3,705,599; $113.17.
2. (2) Kenny Chesney; $1,620,572; $63.82.
3. (3) Tim McGraw / Faith Hill; $1,414,262; $90.51.
4. (4) Roger Waters; $1,298,943; $90.89.
5. (New) Nickelback; $821,850; $44.56.
6. (5) Gwen Stefani; $611,280; $46.12.
7. (6) Rush; $579,786; $54.96.
8. (New) Michael Bubl De; $555,091; $81.36.
9. (8) Tool; $518,911; $51.49.
10. (7) John Mayer; $511,455; $43.32.
11. (9) Vans Warped Tour; $413,864; $27.28.
12. (10) Stevie Nicks / Chris Isaak; $402,856; $57.95.
13. (11) Brad Paisley; $396,182; $34.47.
14. (12) Steely Dan; $358,146; $74.64.
15. (14) The Fray; $325,190; $30.15.
16. (15) Martina McBride; $224,537; $42.83.
17. (New) The Moody Blues; $204,100; $52.03.
18. (16) Goo Goo Dolls; $198,577; $32.73.
19. (17) 311; $191,518; $26.49.
20. (18) Willie Nelson; $185,565; $53.76.

All hail the compact disk

Technology changes so fast that CDs no longer are hot -- or that popular, really. Gotta have that iPod and MP3 file, right?

For what it's worth, it's the 25th anniversary of the CD. You can read about it here. I remember the first time I held one, acting so scared about touching the data side and damaging it. Little did I know you could use them for frisbees and they'd still work.

As for me, I'm still wondering about what to do with that box of 8-tracks I have in the bottom of my closet. I'm curious: Can you still even buy an 8-track player anywhere?

Hats off to Star reporter Andy Johns for the tip, by the way.

weirdest concert

Strangest concert I ever saw was Springsteen (Sans E. Street Band) back in like 1996 in Atlanta ... I think. That was the "Ghost of Tom Joad" tour where it was mostly Bruce and an acoustic guitar. But the weird thing was that the crowd, which was "sorta" sold out had to be totally quiet and there was no leaving for beer or bathroom breaks.

And I say sorta because almost have the place was roped off trying to create that "intimate" vibe. Springsteen solo was great and "Ghost/Nebraska" were my two favorite albums, but no beer ... and he talked all the time. It was VH-1 storytellers only I paid like 50 bucks for the tickets.

The Rising tour with the whole E-street band was far better ... and exhuasting ... three hours and change.

Black Sabbath Jr.

Saw that Heaven & Hell, which is Black Sabbath without Ozzy (Ronnie James Dio instead), has a live album out this week. Hope it's better than the Sabbath show I saw back in 1975 on the Sabotage tour. I was leaning on the stage in Atlanta's Municipal Auditorium and witnessed one of the five worst concerts I've ever seen (and that number is around 2,000 bands at this point). TWO guitar solos, TWO drum solos, a wave of mud instead of clear sound and Ozzy clapping completely out of rhythm with the music (but he ALWAYS does that). I wanted to leave but couldn't, I was hemmed in by the crowd behind me. Even worse, Peter Frampton opened the show and this was before he became famous (notice I didn't say good) with Frampton Comes Alive.

Bruce on tour ... In Atlanta?

Breaking news from New Jersey! Bruce Springsteen is reuniting with the E Street Band and will tour the U.S. and other countries this fall. Really. I'm not making this up. (It's not really breaking news, but it's news to me.)

I'm not a huge Springsteen fan, but he's hugely popular and still sells a ton of records. For those around here who love Bruce, let's wait and see if his tour goes through Atlanta. If so, wonder how much Springsteen tickets at the Georgia Dome would cost?

(An update: He's NOT coming to Atlanta. Rats! His Web site -- link below -- lists a bunch of places in the U.S., but not an Atlanta date. Which is odd, considering he recorded his new CD in Atlanta. How 'bout some Southern love, Bruce?)

Let's ponder this question: What will cost more...Springsteen tickets or LeAnn Rimes tickets at the Knox Concert Series?

Bruce on the Web.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Get well soon!

Publicist: Bo Diddley had heart attack

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Bo Diddley was in stable condition at a Gainesville hospital after suffering a heart attack, his publicist said Tuesday.

The 78-year-old singer-guitarist complained of dizziness and nausea during a routine medical checkup with his physician on Friday, said publicist Susan Clary.

Read the article >>

On the Net:

Bo Diddley

Kelley Osbourne in diva role -- for real

She's lost a ton of weight and apparently has found her voice and acting skills. Here's a story from London on Kelley Osbourne's role in the West End version of Chicago. The show's run has been extended to November. It's a great musical, and I'd be oddly curious to see her in it. She's 22 now, considerably older than when she was during The Osbournes' reality show. The question is, did she find any class?

You can almost hear Ozzy doddering up to the front aisle: "Shar-RON!!! I'm the @*^%#$* Prince o' Darkness, and she's up there singin' THAT!! Where am I??"

Straight to hell ... indeed

I must admit to loving Drivin' 'n' Cryin'. And yes, without doubt one of the loudest bands I've ever seen ever. And I've seen Kiss (6 times) Ted Nugent, AC/DC, WASP, Stryper, Alabama, Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, QuarterFlash.

Wait ... what was I blogging about? Oh D 'n' C. One of the better live bands, but that also comes from the fact that I've only seen 'em in seedy bars and tiny gyms. But I'd stack "Mystery Road" up against any of the great Southern Rock classics and of course the MTV-hit Fly Me Courageous wails ... which is where the real volume comes from.

And, as a side note, the overlooked solo work of Kevin Kinney is very good - solid songwriting but delivered with acoustic twang - especially in his debut, "The Flower and the Knife, which includes acoutic versions of classic D 'n' C songs, Straight to Hell and Scarred but Smarter, along with Dylan covers, I shall be realeased and the haunting, "hollis brown." Listened to it just the other day.

New Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals album out today

This band has wide-ranging appeal and put on one of the best live shows I've ever been to.

Watch Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals perform "In the Colors" from "Lifeline" on the Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno tonight (Aug. 28) on NBC.

Click here to listen to "Lifeline" or snag a copy for your collection.

Band's Web site
Band's Myspace page

On a sidenote, MSN Music's Listening Booth is worth checking out. It appears that they have an extensive list of albums streaming.

Too bad this is not coming down south

Guy, Randolph Set For Experience Hendrix Tour

Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are among the star guitarist confirmed to appear on the five-city Experience Hendrix tour. The outing begins Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C., and will also play New York, Hampton Beach, N.H., Atlantic City, N.J., and Waterbury, Conn.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience rhythm section of bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell will appear on the dates, as well Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, Hubert Sumlin, Double Trouble's Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, Indigenous and Eric Gales.

In 2004, Guy, Shepherd and Sumlin anchored the first Experience Hendrix Tour, which also featured Carlos Santana, Joe Satriani and Paul Rodgers on some dates.

Here are the Experience Hendrix Tour dates:

Oct. 16: Washington, D.C. (Constitution Hall)
Oct. 17: New York (Beacon Theatre)
Oct. 18: Hampton Beach, N.H. (Casino Ballroom)
Oct. 19: Atlantic City, N.J. (Trump Casino)
Oct. 20: Waterbury, Conn. (Palace Theatre)

Soundboard-quality Pearl Jam show in MP3 format

Click here for download

2006-08-23 Dublin, Ireland — The Point

Set 1 Inside Job, World Wide Suicide, Severed Hand, Animal, Do The Evolution, Given To Fly, Corduroy, Gone, Marker In The Sand, Daughter/(It's Ok), Better Man, Why Go, Education, Even Flow, Life Wasted, Rearviewmirror

Encore 1 Indifference, Black, Crazy Mary, Alive

Encore 2 The Boys Are Back In Town, Leash, F*@#^n' Up

Drivin' 'N Cryin' and loud bands

Had an interesting conversation in The Star's newsroom yesterday. (Yep, we occasionally can be interesting up here on McClellan.)

Someone mentioned that Drivin' 'N Cryin' was coming to Brothers in Jacksonville. I cheered; they're a great band, or at least used to be 15 years ago. Somewhere deep inside my closet I have an old, worn-out Drivin' T-shirt from '92, I think. I may have to break it out this weekend. (Sing along...."I'm going straight to .... Just like my mama said ... I'm going straight to ... ")

And immediately two guys agreed that Drivin' was one of the loudest -- if not the loudest -- bands they ever saw. And that's saying something, considering these two guys have seen their share of shows over the years.

Anyway, I looked around to see if I could find a date for Drivin' at Brothers. Couldn't find it. (Here's Drivin's Web site.) But I've included the show schedule for the next few months from Brothers Web site. Click here to see more.

30 - HIGH TIDE BLUES BAND 8 pm $5/8
31 - STANDARD CANDLE 8 pm $5/8
1 - KNECKDOWN 8 pm $5/8
6 - JOHN ALVERSON 8 pm $5/8
7 - ROUND 21 8 pm $5/8
8 - LEFT WITHOUT STARS 8 pm $5/8
11 - VELCRO PYGMIES 8 pm $8/10
13 - HIDDEN ELEMENT 8 pm $5/8
15 - GA CADILLACS 8 pm $5/8
20 - WILX 8 pm $5/8
27 - HIGH TIDE BLUES BAND 8 pm $5/8
29 - BRANDED WITH FEAR 8 pm $5/8

Monday, August 27, 2007

Video clip of Col. Bruce and the Quark Alliance

Click here to watch a short clip from the bands performance at Brothers Bar on Aug. 25.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dang you carrie underwood

Fresh of a disappointing even when I simply couldn't stay up late enough to celebrate Southern pride with the likes of Molly Hatchet, I was torn by a peacful slumber by a Satanic song haunting my brain.

Happens more often than I care to admit.

Carrie Underwood, that country minx from some American Idol past was howling about "... Right now she's probably singing some white-trash version of Shania karaoke ... Right now, she's probably sayin' 'I'm drunk' and you're thinkin' you're gonna get lucky."

I was actually humming this monstrous hit in my sleep. And either the chorus or my wife's well placed elbow roused my painfully from bed ... at 5:30.

Now I love/loathe pop music as much as anyone, but what causes these things to pop in there with all the common courtesy of a brain tumor? And then how do we get 'em out once they appear.

I haven't even heard that song in ages. Course, it could be worse - It could be "8-6-7-5-3-0-9 ... Jenny."

Great. Now that one's stuck. Help, how do I get these song out of my head?

Even more Rumble photos

Two things that happened to me at the Rumble show last night:

1 - A lady next to me asked me to guess the age of another woman who was on the other side of her. She was attractive and dancing with her husband, so wanting to keep my face intact, I said I had no idea. (I'm married; I know this drill.) The first woman wouldn't take no for an answer, so I had to guess. I said 35. (Wink, wink.) She was turning 52 today.

2 - A woman who brought her dog -- think Marmaduke -- on a leash stood behind me, with the dog licking my ankle and smelling the back of my shorts (and those of the aforementioned woman) during the Molly Hatchet show. I'm glad Michael Vick wasn't around.

I had the thought during the show that there's a huge difference between fans of Southern rock shows and fans of rock shows in general, especially metal and hard rock. I like Southern rock as much as the next guy -- the very first headlining act I saw was .38 Special back in the late 1970s when I was a pimply teen -- but I never feared for getting my head bashed in at a rock show, and I've been to gosh knows how many shows in 25 years.

I've seen fights at shows of all types, mind you, but the drinking last night was a little too much -- though it was really only a few who got out of hand; kind of expected, I guess. There was too much pushing between a select few trying to get to the stage, especially when you consider there were children scattered throughout the first few "rows" of Noble Street. When Hatchet broke into "Flirtin' With Disaster" to close their show, two guys nearly knocked me to the ground trying to shoulder their way in front of me.

Most people behaved well; a good crowd mixed with Calhoun County residents and out-of-towners, I thought. But the few who drank their week's salary in Pabst Blue Ribbon could have ruined it for one of those kids if they had been hurt. Just a thought. It was a good night and the shows were OK. Glad I went -- though I'll pay for it with bleary eyes and ringing ears for a few days.

My face is ugly, but at least I kept it.

More Rumble photos

Rumble on Noble photos

OK, it's late, I smell like beer -- dude next to me wasted half a Budweiser on my right leg -- and what little hearing I had is now gone. For good.
But it was fun.
I've sent along a few photos: The first is of Molly Hatchet guitarist Bobby Ingram. The second is of the lead singer from the band Geneva. And the third is of JB Walker and the Cheap Whiskey Band. I'll try to post a few more when I get some sleep.
The music was loud -- especially Hatchet -- and a few too many of the yahoos at the show had too much to drink for my taste. Hard to enjoy the show when you're avoiding shoving matches between ... you get the point.
There were some highlights. The guitar player for the JB Walker band was pretty good. That band and Geneva both covered John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses," and Hatchet covered "Freebird," of course. This, too: I'm not so sure how many people can tell you anything about Geneva's set because of the outfit the singer wore -- or what she didn't wear, if you get my drift.
Oh, well. If I have more thoughts I'll post them when I get the other pictures sent your way.
Even if you're not a huge fan of Southern rock, it was good to have shows in downtown Anniston. This town needs more of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Putting up the stage on Noble Street

It was steamy down on Noble Street this morning, where the work crews were busy erecting the stage for the Rumble on Noble concerts this evening. The stage is on Noble between 11th and 12th streets -- I think ... I didn't take notes or anything, and that's what I remembered when I got back home.

Oh, well, you can figure it out when you get there.

The Quark Alliance don't mess around

Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance played at Brothers Bar in Jacksonville last night and was much better than I had anticipated.

The Col. was a little more reserved (unlike many in the crowd) than previous times I've seen him ... but that was often a fleeting condition. Aside from him singing half the songs, he would frequently blaze throught solos with Southern rock irreverance that led to him playing behind his head at one point. Of course, I only heard about it. The moral here is to wait until the song is over before visiting the restroom.

Although I wasn't very familiar with some of the music, there were some nice rendetions of Aquarium Rescue Unit songs. "Working on a Building" really stood out. They also got the crowd going with an inspired version of "Turn on Your Lovelight," a song made famous by Bobby "Blue" Bland and The Grateful Dead.

I shot some video and will post a clip Monday. Now for some much needed rest.

Van Halen "jump" ... the shark

The reunited Van Halen is what rock needs - 10 years ago.

It's kinda sad, especially to hear Diamond Dave - muggin' for the camera like it was the MTV Music awards of 1984 - talk about "this is just the beginning" and plans for a new record, which the world is just clamoring for. No doubt Eddie's still great (long as he keeps his shirt on, a la the cover of Guitar World) but dynamics have died.

But with that said, I'd rather pay way to much for these nostalgia acts than half-price for most of what else is out there (save for Mastodon, but that's another post). But at least it's the ACTUAL Van Halen.

Before is was the year of "Hey, we know our lead singer's dead an all but how about paying too much to hear ... this other guy?" I'm talking to you Queen, Alice in Chains, Sublime, Foreigner (ooh. Is that guy dead).

Anyway, now that Van Halen's back together, maybe we can somehow resurrect the actual Guns 'n' Roses.

Disappointed in Van Halen tour

I have no idea how good the reunited Van Halen will be -- they're old, and Michael Anthony isn't in the band, and Wolfgang's on bass. They could be terrible.

But it'd at least be nice to see for myself. But the first tour dates list does not have Atlanta on it. Bummer. I'll just wait for the DVD -- it'll be cheaper, anyway.

Rumble on Noble lineup

OK, we're getting a little carried away about this Molly Hatchet thing -- and for no reason, really, since those guys never were on the top of the Southern rock heap. But it is nice to have something -- anything -- at all in downtown Anniston.

For what it's worth, here's the full musical lineup for today's Rumble on Noble:

Jim Parks Band - Web site
Last Ride
JB Walker and the Cheap Whiskey Band - Web site
Molly Hatchet - Web site

Rumble starts at 4. Music may start around 6, I think...not sure from looking at the Rumble Web site. Noble Street is supposed to be closed off starting this morning at 6.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Knox's 2007-08 lineup

In case you missed it in The Star's Escapes section on Thursday, here's the lineup for the upcoming Knox Concert Series.

LeAnn Rimes
Tuesday, Oct. 2. 7:30 p.m.

She hit the big time when she was all of 13 with her remake of Patsy Cline’s “Blue” (also the title of her first record). Now all grown up and married at 24, LeAnn Rimes has tried her hands in rock, pop and country. In the process, she’s sold more than 37 million albums worldwide, not to mention her two Grammys and three Academy of Country Music Awards. Her current single, “Nothin’ Better to Do,” features Chicago-style dancing on the video. Her latest album, Family, comes out a few days after her Knox concert.

The Ten Tenors
Tuesday, Nov. 6. 7:30 p.m.

In concert, they perform Queen‘s “Bicycle Race,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Who Wants to Live Forever” as well as ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” then they’ll switch to opera or maybe to jazz or maybe to pop standards. Australia’s Ten Tenors obviously don’t like to be pigeonholed. Formed in 1995 by 10 opera students from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane, Australia, they were just a way for the guys to earn extra beer money, but by 1998 they had parlayed it into a touring act.

The Nutcracker
Sunday, Dec. 3. 2 p.m.
$30, $20 and $12

An annual Christmas-time favorite, Tchaikovsky’s ballet is performed by Alabama Ballet. This season, they’re presenting the George Balanchine version. Begun in 1954, this is the best-known version to American audiences.

State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico with pianist Lionel Morales
Saturday, Jan. 26. 8 p.m.

Created in 1971, the State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico has toured the world. When it comes here, its program will include Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 3, Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 5 “Reformation” and S. Revueltas, “Sensemaya.”

Tuesday, Feb. 26. 7:30 p.m.

Evita by Andrew Lloyd Weber (Cats, The Phantom of the Opera) follows the rise to power of Eva Peron in Argentina in the late ’40s and early ’50s. The musical features such songs as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and “Buenos Aires.” Singer Madonna starred as Peron in the 1996 film version.

Thursday, March 13. 7:30 p.m.

Their first and biggest hit was a last-minute addition to their first American album. “A Horse With No Name” topped the U.S. singles chart in 1972 and the album, America, also hit No. 1. From there came half a dozen other hits, including “I Need you,” “Ventura Highway,” “Don’t Cross The River,” “Tin Man,” “Lonely People” and “Sister Golden Hair.” Original member Dan Peek left in the late ‘70s, but Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley have soldiered on.

All concerts will be held in the Anniston Performing Arts Center inside Anniston High School. Season tickets are $130 (excluding The Nutcracker). Call 237-3897 or e-mail

Holy Hatchet

Can't say as I'm particularly well versed in Molly Hatchet. Course everybody knows "Flirtin' with Disaster," but it's those gnarly album covers that I remember most.

Records used to be so awesome and are half the reason I'm a music addict today. I remember that first Molly Hatchet record with it's creepy, faceless viking standing on a mound of human skulls ... no way to confuse that with Barry Manilow and Melissa Manchester (mom's other favorites rockers.)

Then there was Kiss. Bought my first Kiss record at Woolworth's with money I stole out of my mom's purse. Kiss Alive II, the one with the mug shots at the bottom and the huge, gatefold photo inside. I would stare at if for hours ... in between trying to blow fire using a swig of Lord Calvert and Bic lighter. My eyebrows still haven't grown back.

Y'all are excited about Molly Hatchet?

I haven't seen them in years, but my guess is that they're all big, fat and ugly, just like that big, fat and ugly guy they hired as lead singer after Danny Joe Brown quit. I would look up his name, but really, who cares?

You go to hear Flirtin' with Disaster and everything else is just a wash. None of us can drink as much Jack Daniels as it used to take to make them sound good.

Hatchet venues

When it comes to music, context means plenty. Play a song from this album and I'm back at Gulf Shores, circa 1975. Very cool. Very mellow.

Put this one on or tell they're coming to town and suddenly it's 1981 and am riding in the backseat of a black Trans Am with Molly Hatchet playing on the eight-track.

Please don't make me go back to that time. Please.

Rock and Roll all night at JSU

Here's another.

It's an oldie but still a goodie -- though it's common knowledge by many up at Jacksonville State.

One of Kiss' earliest tours made it to JSU, where Paul, Gene and the boys played the Leone Cole Auditorium in 1974. The opening band was Rush -- yes, that Rush, which was making its first foray into American venues.

Above is a copy of the concert poster and the concert review in The Chanticleer, the JSU student newspaper. In his story, the JSU reporter opined, "Those who attended the Kiss concert were treated to the freakiest show Jacksonville will see for a long time." How's that for being prophetic.

You can find all sorts of historical tour-date lists that have Anniston and JSU on them if you have the time to Google.

Kansas played at Fort McClellan

Really, they did.

While clicking around on the 'net for stuff about music in Calhoun County, I ran across this little tidbit of info:

Kansas played at Fort McClellan on July 4, 1998.

Found that juicy nugget here on a Web site that has a massive list of all Kansas tour dates. Don't know how reliable the info is, but it sounds plausible, considering the fact that Kansas hardly was a mainstream rock act in the late 1990s and would play just about anywhere. I saw them in Gadsden a few years before that.

I guess this means you can add Kansas to any number of popular rock and country acts that have played in Calhoun County through the years -- though most of them played up at Jacksonville State.

I'll try to get into more examples of that later. Some music fans in Calhoun County may be more aware of that list than I am anyway.

Interestingly, Kansas was also one of two acts -- Billy Joel was the other -- to christen Pete Mathews Coliseum at Jax State in 1974.

By the way, Kansas' Web site is pretty cool. Plays tunes when you log on.

Col. Bruce returns to Jacksonville

It's been years since I last saw Col. Bruce Hampton (Ret.) play at Brother's Bar in Jacksonville. The last time I saw him his band was called Col. Bruce Hampton & the Codetalkers. The addition to the Rev. Jeff Mosier on banjo is what made them really special. I just hope his newest incarnation, Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance, can deliver like him and the Codetalkers and arguably his best band, the Aquarium Rescue Unit, did.

Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance

WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday.
WHERE: Brother’s Bar, 206 Pelham Road S., Jacksonville.
HOW MUCH: $8, $10.
CONTACT: 435-6090.

Stream: Quark Alliance show from March 2007

Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance Myspace page

Click here to read Shawn Ryan's recent article

Trucker no more

I'd tried desperately to curtail my CD buying. With a baby on the way, a man's gotta have priorities.

With that said, to those who have an interest - the best CD of the year was quietly released last month. Jason Isbell former guitarist/singer/songwriter for the brilliant Drive-by Truckers released "Sirens of the Ditch," a haunting collection of acoustic ballads and poetic storylines with the same deft characterizations of Southern life that Trucker fans have come to expect.

Dress Blues, easily the album's best song, portrays the reverberations of loss in a small town after a fallen soldier returns home.

Other great tracks ... "Down in a Hole," "Razor Town," "Try."

Good stuff with that famous Muscle Shoals sound.

Favorite Hatchet songs

I know it seems like I'm all giddy about Molly Hatchet rockin' Noble Street on Saturday night, but, well ... OK, I am. So sue me.

I started thinking (for a change): What's my favorite Hatchet songs? Here's my list:

  1. Fall of the Peacemakers
  2. Flirtin' with Disaster
  3. Satisfied Man
  4. Dreams I'll Never See
  5. Beatin' the Odds
  6. Gator Country
If you don't have your Greatest Hits CD with you, click here for Amazon's Web page where you can hear some of these classics. (Yes, there are classics!)

iPods and cow manure

Finally, I have joined the digtal age.

I remember havving an actual arguement with my good friend Chad Bulloch in like 11th grade when I swore that I'd never by CDs.

"Dude, it's a fad," I said, combing my fingers through a glorius mullet and smoothing out the wrinkles on my Sex Wax t-shirt.

Besides, who needed CDs? Tape players had finally taken all the guess work out of rewinding by getting "smart" players that stopped at the beginning of every new song. Course that didn't work for mix tapes ... but that's another blog.

But I did eventually sell my soul to the CD gods - and some 2,000 discs later, I wasn't about to hear about the "iPod thing." Then my wife got one for Christmas. And I've been addicted ever since.

Nothing's better than an iPod for yard work. I can toil away all day with 250 downloaded songs on random - Rock 'n' roll all night, planting every day.

How else can you get from Black Flag to Johnny Cash, Drive-by Truckers to Bad Religion and Our Lady Peace to Venom all with a single spin of the thumb. Plus, I never have to switch CDs.

But I still miss tapes.

Two guys playing the same guitar

This is an amazing video that I know nothing about other than it is "Turkish March" by Mozart.

hair metal for bald people

I have finally come to embrace and defend the misunderstood glory of hair metal.

Gone are the days of being a closeted White Lion fan, of trumpeting to the ignorant masses the brilliance of C.C. Deville ... and his whammy bar.

Yes, I honestly believe that Nikki Sixx is Shakespeare with tatoos and when Jani Lane left Warrant - I died a little inside.

But I will hide no more. I'm too old to waste time pretending that I enjoy Radiohead. And that whiney brit-rock/New York City cool quasi-rock makes me want to bang my head ... with a ball-ping hammer.

All hail the twin-guitar solos and the spinning-drum set. All hail Aqua Net hairspray and the power ballad! All hail one-armed drummers, flaming cod pieces and pyro, pyro, pyro.

Heaven's On Fire - Indeed! Indeed!

I really wish I hadn't done that

If you have any desire to hear what Britney Spears' new song sounds like click here to check it out.

Nothing new under the sun

Overheard after school the other day:

"Man, I just heard the coolest song....."

What followed was a conversational trip by a bunch of today's teens rhapsodizing about this great set of music they'd come across on YouTube, of all places. Among them, Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." They were feeling hip. They were feeling as though the mysterious Web world had opened up broad new frontiers -- far beyond the reaches of the stodgy parents.

I didn't have the heart to tell them that all the songs they'd rattled off, their parents probably still had the cassettes (or records!!!) to play them ... at home on the Hi-Fi.

Pygmies at Brothers

I messed up this week.
The Velcro Pygmies -- my favorite college rock bar band -- returned to Brother's up in Jacksonville on Tuesday night and I whimped out and missed it. Went to bed. How's that for lame?
The Pygmies are bar-band legends. They play all across the Southeast, they're eternally famous in college towns -- hence, Jacksonville -- and they virtually own the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast during Spring Break week.
If you were there, let me know how they were. I'm sure they were loud. Good, too.
Hopefully they'll come back to Brother's this fall -- and this time I'll go, you can count on that.
The Pygmies' Web site's pretty good. For a price, even you can own a Pygmie T-shirt.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Online music

In my inaugural post I would like to share with you all some of the best sites out there for streaming music. Most of these sites allow you to download songs in mp3 format and some offer flac. One of my favorite Web sites. Pandora allows you to build stations according to a certain band or song that you like. Once you have created the station it will play music of the band you have chosen as well as songs that are similar. It's a good way to be exposed to bands you may have never heard of that have similar musical qualities. As far as I can tell there is no limit on the number of stations you can create.

Wolfgang's Vault: This is a site dedicated to live concerts from various archives. Here you can stream shows for free and pay to download them. A little something here for everybody. According to the site, "The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public." This site has got an enormous live music database. Just like Disney World, don't try to take in all of it in one day. Great place to find music that is flying under the radar. Lots of mp3s from all genres to stream or download. Originally designed as a streaming site for live Widespread Panic shows, Panicstream has a non-Panic section that boasts over 400 concerts currently streaming and over 400 Widespread Panic shows. The webmaster adds Widespread Panic and other band's live concerts on a regular basis.

Here's a list of bit-torrent sites: - Grateful Dead torrents - Grateful Dead torrents - Rolling Stones torrents - Frank Zappa torrents (now forum based) - Dylan torrents - Dylan torrents - Pearl Jam torrents - Peark Jam torrents - Neil Young torrents

Molly Hatchet live! In Anniston!

I don't know about you, but I'll be doing some flirtin' with disaster Saturday night on Noble Street when Molly Hatchet -- Yes, that Molly Hatchet -- plays Rumble on Noble.

(If only I could grow a mullet ... )

I have to admit, I'm a Hatchet fan. Saw 'em in the early 80s; think the last time was in '81 at an outdoor music festival when I was about 15. All I remember about it was I liked the music, there were lots of bikinis, and I was the only dude there not waving a Confederate flag.

Maybe that's what Noble Street will be like Saturday night.

When I get home tonight, I'm gonna break out my Hatchet live album and crank it up for the 8-year-old. Might even give him a mullet for old time's sake.

Here's the Hatchet Web site.

(By the way, the band's Web site mispells Noble Street on its tour date list. Might want to update that before Saturday night.)

Welcome to Off The Record

Say what you want about The Star -- many of you do -- but our newsroom is jam packed with music fans whose CD collections (or MP3 files) are full of all genres of music.

Some of us like country.

Some of us like jazz. (Well, not many.)

Some of us like rock.

And rap. And classical. And pop. And ... well, you get the point.

So, we're kicking off The Star's music blog, where our staffers will type about all things musical -- local concerts, shows in Atlanta and Birmingham, new CD releases, our favorite oldies, whatever comes up. We'd love your comments.

So click over here often. It'll be worth your time.