Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You wanna piece of my heart?

Label this one, Fun with industrial supply catalogs.
The Lab Safety Supply catalog landed in the newsroom's mailbox yesterday.

One entry (above) looks for all the world like a Loverboy Starter Kit. The red bandanna, the sexy look, the styled hairdo. Yes, you too can travel back to the early 1980s when bands like Loverboy ruled MTV and everybody was working for the weekend.
Shawn Ryan suggests rolling up the sleeves of this guy's T-shirt and calling it the Bruce Springsteen circa 1984 Starter Kit. (Young Courtney Cox Starter Kit sold separately.)

Dumb names of bands named after dumb names

What do these have in common?

Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Booker T. and the MGs

Bon Jovi




Fleetwood Mac



J. Geils

Alan Parsons Project

Joe Perry Project

Van Halen

They're all names of bands that were named after someone in the band. Have no idea why I was thinking about this while driving to work today, but that's all I could come up with. I'm sure there are more. Probably some obvious ones.

And, no, Lynryd Skynyrd wouldn't qualify, because Mr. Skinner wasn't in the band. And solo careers like Madonna, Britney, Ozzy, Phil Collins -- and on and on and on, especially in country music, where so many are solo artists -- don't qualify, either, because they're not bands in the purest sense.

Southern rock poll results

Here they are, the results of last week's Anniston Star music poll.

Greatest Southern rock song:

"Sweet Home Alabama" - 4 votes
"Free Bird" - 3 votes
"Ramblin Man" - 2 votes
"Can't You See" - 2 votes
"Devil Went Down to Georgia" - 2 votes

Star readers apparently agree with those CMT knuckleheads.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mexican symphony hits the right note

Saturday's Knox Concert Series performance by the Mexican symphony was top-flight. Two things stood out: the piano concerto (a Rachmaninoff piece) was flawless in execution and conveyed a wonderful sense of artistry and passion. The hit, however, was the final number, which took off on an Aztec rite of passage: the snake-killing ritual. The conductor explained the piece before turning to the orchestra and setting off a fire of sounds. Percussion section shined in this number. It was enough to make an 8-year-old perch on the edge of his seat.

Great stuff.

Jimmy Page wants Zeppelin world tour

By Eric Talmage, Associated Press

TOKYO — Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page said Monday he was ready to take the iconic band on a world tour after burning up the stage at last month's reunion concert in London. But it probably won't be before September.

"The amount of work we put into O2 was what you would normally put into a world tour anyway," Page, 64, said of the intense rehearsing the band did for the Dec. 10 concert at London's O2 Arena.

The band's three surviving members — Page, singer Robert Plant and bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones — were joined at the sold-out benefit show by the late John Bonham's son Jason on drums.

Page, who was in Japan to promote the new Zeppelin release, "Mothership," said the two-hour-plus concert was proof that Led Zeppelin can still perform at its best.

He said the band, which formed in 1968, was ready musically to get back together and take it out on a wider run, but it was not clear when it would go on tour as the singer had other plans.

Read the article >>

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Alison & Robert in Bham

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, the unlikely duo that recorded the CD Raising Sand, are coming to Birmingham on the subsequent tour.

They're scheduled at the BJCC Arena on April 26. Tickets are $45-$65 and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. I'm guessing that the BJCC will have a curtain halfway across it because I don't think Krauss & Plant can fill the entire 18,000-seat arena. So you're looking at about 9,000 or so tickets available.

Freedom from Kidz Bop

We've established a daily afternoon ritual, and the hard-core rock fans on here will have to forgive me. Snicker at will, I suppose.

My boy and girl are in love with those obnoxious Kidz Bop compilations. They take a hit -- in the generic sense -- song and remix it layered with a chorus of children's backgrounds. My 8-year-old, who can't remember whether a basketball game HE'S BEEN WATCHING has started or not, has these things memorized by the track number.

Even creepier is watching the 5-year-old girl belt out her Fergie imitation for Glamorous: "If you ain't got no money, take your broke self home."

Oy. How I suffer. Apparently the lineup of artists on this CD (the real ones, not the kids) are really hip, unless of course I'm dating my 37-year-old non-broke self by saying "hip"? There's Avril Lavigne, something called Timbaland and Ludacris.

Who knew?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Star's music poll is ready

Yep, it is. Right there at the top of the page, on the right.

Vote for your favorite, as long as it's not named Hillary, Barack, Mike, Rudy, Mitt, etc. ...

Top Southern rock songs of all time

Last night, we were toolin' around the TV listings and saw on CMT -- yes, I watched CMT, for like the first time in my life, but that's another story -- a show about the 20 greatest Southern rock songs of all time.

I bit.

I like Southern rock. It's odd, for sure. I mean, how long can you sit and listen to Duane Allman and Dickie Betts do scale exercises on their guitars? And why do all Southern rock bands have like 10 guys in the band? How many drummers do you need? Led Zeppelin had just one, why break that model?

Oh, well. I like some of the music, particularly the old stuff. Early 70s Allman Brothers, first .38 Special album, any Skynyrd they don't play on the radio. (They always leave the best stuff out.) I like Leslie West and Mountain. If you can get past the unkept beards, ugly clothes, and their habit of hanging Confederate flags behind the drum risers, some Southern rock had intense musicianship. Some, I said. Others was, well, this is a family blog.

(True story: In 6th grade, my music teacher used Charlie Daniels' "Devil Went Down to Georgia" as a teaching tool. She'd play the record, and we'd have to pick out the different instruments and tell her what they were. I passed.)

Anyway, we watched the show last night. Not bad. Apparently it's been on before, but we're virgin CMTers, so it was new to us.

Everything went OK until they did the final spot, and of course it went to "Sweet Home Alabama." Now, this may be heresy in the South, but huh? It's a good song and all, but I don't think it's Skynyrd's best song, much less the best of all time. Problem is, it's iconic. It's played so much on radio that when people hear Southern rock, they think "Sweet Home Alabama." So it won, hands-down. I could blog on this for days, but won't waste your time.

Oh, and I'll say this: It was weird watching the bit of the show about Molly Hatchet and remembering when they played Noble Street last summer. Strange how NONE of the guys in the original band were the ones who showed up in Anniston. Well, maybe there was one, but I know the drummer who played on Noble Street wasn't born when "Flirtin with Disaster" was recorded.

I digress.

Here's the CMT top ten:

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd"Sweet Home Alabama"
2. The Allman Brothers Band"Ramblin' Man"
Lynyrd Skynyrd"Free Bird"
4. The Marshall Tucker Band"Can't You See"
5. The Charlie Daniels Band"The Devil Went Down to Georgia"
6. The Allman Brothers Band"Midnight Rider"
7. Hank Williams, Jr."All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin' Over Tonight"
8. Little Feat"Dixie Chicken"
9. .38 Special"Hold On Loosely"
10. Elvin Bishop"Fooled Around and Fell in Love"

If you want to see the whole list, click here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Plant and Krauss hitting the road in April

NEW YORK (Billboard) — Robert Plant's world tour with Alison Krauss — a key obstacle to a Led Zeppelin reunion trek — will kick off in Louisville, Ky., on April 20.

The bluegrass queen and the self-proclaimed "golden god" will be promoting their album "Raising Sand," which opened at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 last fall.

Other stops include Knoxville, Tenn., on April 22, Chattanooga, Tenn., on April 23 and Birmingham, Ala., on April 26. The tour's 11-date run in Europe follows in May.

Read the article >>

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Web site

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Every single heavy metal video ... ever

Well, maybe that's a stretch, but your good friends at Sleaze Roxx have been kind enough to create every metal fans dream by collecting literaly hundreds of hard rock, metal, hair metal and classic rock video together in one easy-to-navigate area.

Bounce from Dio-led Black Sabbath tracks like "TV Crimes" to Danger Danger's "Naughty, Naughty," and Giuffria's "Call to the Heart to Iron Maiden's "Stranger in a Strange Land."

Some are actual videos - and good god are they bad - while others are rare live performances. There's an entire block of Bon Scott-led AC/DC, which, by itself is worth the trip through cyberspace.

Check out here http://www.sleazeroxx.com/audio.shtml

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

rediscovering old (sorta) albums

I have a hard time reading in silence. For whatever reason, the voices in my head get a little too loud when I'm trying to focus in the quiet. So I need a distraction - generally music. It's also a cool way to listen to records that have either been forgotten or overlooked for far too long.

Last night, while having to pour through a ton of boring medical journals for an upcoming feature, I - completely out of the blue - pulled out a live GreenDay album from a few years ago. Now, first I've gotta preface this with the fact that I've pretty much grown up with GreenDay. I saw them way back in '93 on an early lollapalooza tour in Atlanta - They played early then jetted out for Woodstock. This was back when "Dookie" was everywhere. And it was really my first introduction to punk.

But the boys grew up with the release of American Idiot a few years ago. Great record. Though more The Who (a la Quadrophenia) than The Clash, this takes shots at both religion and politics ... plus there's an 11-minute punk song with like six different parts.

And I had forgotten all about it. Hadn't listened to the whole thing all the way through in ages. But rather the original, I played the live album "Bullet in a Bible," which, recorded live in England during a stadium tour, truly captures the raw anger and emotion not only of the band but also of the crowd.

After an hour, I was ready to go out and change the world. But it was Taco Night, so revolution would have to wait for another day.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Musicians come together for Bill Graham birthday show

On Friday, Jan. 11, an eclectic mix of musicians celebrated Bill Graham’s birthday at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.

Bill GrahamThe night featured a number of duets, some more expected than others, including singer Linda Ronstadt and her hit making partner Aaron Neville, Phil Lesh and his recent tourmate Jackie Greene, wordsmiths Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Jackie Greene, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and veteran blues-sideman Roy Rogers, longtime songwriting partners Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart and a closing dance set by the Booker T. Jones Band. The 27-year-old Greene and the 76-year-old Ramblin' Jack Elliott had the evening’s largest age spread, but still ran through choice versions of “San Francisco Bay Blues” and “I'll Be You Baby Tonight.” Lesh, one of the California songwriters’ common links, also took the stage with his friends for a version of “Friend of the Devil” that featured Ramblin' Jack Elliott on leads vocals. A bit later, the bassist offered a short set with Greene that featured the young singer’s “Ball and Chain,” as well as “Casey Jones” and “Brokedown Palace.” Interestingly enough, Greene recently told the San Jose Mercury News that he originally hoped to cover the Velvet Underground and Television, but Lesh nixed his idea to pay tribute to the seminal garage-rock bands.

Bill Graham Birthday Bash setlist
More about Bill Graham

— From jambands.com

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Music to sweat to (...no, it's not what you think)

I've blogged before about my struggles finding the appropriate music for my iPod when I run.

I've tried fast, slow, old, new, aggressive, subtle, live songs, studio songs, trash and classics. I can't settle on any one thing. (The real problem is I'm slow and in my 40s. Cry for me, please...)

Anyway, there is a great story in the NY Times today about this exact thing -- what music to work out with. After reading it, I've found out that I don't run to enough dance or hip-hop, but that's another conversation entirely.

Read it here.

Download "Walk on the Flood" and donate to New Orleans

Exclusive advance track from Widespread Panic's upcoming album ’Free Somehow’ is available now.

Widespread Panic has joined the effort to rebuild post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans by sponsoring a house in the Lower 9th Ward area of the city through the Make It Right foundation. A collaboration of Brad Pitt and Global Green, the organization rebuilds not only the homes, but the unique culture and spirit of the 9th Ward.

Widespread Panic is also offering an advance download of the track, "Walk on the Flood" on LiveWidespreadPanic.com for a $10 donation to Make It Right. The track is from their forthcoming 10th studio album, Free Somehow, to be released on Widespread Records on February 12, 2008.

The mission of Make It Right is to be a catalyst for redevelopment in the Lower 9th Ward by building a neighborhood for safe, healthy homes, inspired by Cradle to Cradle thinking and high quality design that celebrates the spirit of the community.

For more information on Make It Right, please visit: www.makeitrightnola.org.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Radiohead announces stops on its American tour

From Billboard.com:

There's no dates or venues yet, but Radiohead has confirmed the cities for its North American summer tour.

Atlanta and Charlotte are on the list. Click here for more information.

Zeppelin to hit the road?

I'm pretty sure the horse is dead but I'll continue to beat it.

There is an interesting tid-bit from a Rolling Stone article with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.

Excerpt from the article:

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones' small bombshell in the current issue of Rolling Stone — "There is a band meeting in January" — will be more than enough to set off new tremors of hope among fans for a full-fledged tour following the group's December 10th reunion performance at the O2 arena in London. But in these additional excerpts from an exclusive interview a week after the concert, Jones also talks about Zeppelin's intense preparations for that night, the backstage vibe, what it was like on stage and why — as he puts it in the magazine and explains in detail here — "It could be fun to do more stuff."

Read the full article >>

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Black Keys Reveal Danger Mouse-Produced Album

Nonesuch Records will release Attack and Release on April 1 and the Black Keys will head out on tour in the spring in support of the album, starting with their appearance at South by Southwest. There are no dates in the southeast.


Visit the Black Keys' Web site or Myspace page for info on the band.


It was bound to happen. All the presidential campaign talk about "change" has led to CNN's Jeanne Moos doing a pop culture piece that references David Bowie's 1971 song Changes. (I don't wanna be the only one with this song stuck in my head so I'm passing along a video of the song.)

Fallen "Idol"

Seems as though Alabama native Taylor Hicks' "Soul Patrol" has let him down ... and his record label was feeling too charitable.

Hicks was recently dropped by J Records a little over a year after his self-titled debut was released to mediocre sales - just under 700,000 - and is thus far the only "American Idol" winner to have not sold 1 million units on the debut.

The silver fox whose spastic delivery won him the heart (if not the loyalty) of millions in the voting, but that seemingly didn't translate into actual album sales ...

Personally, I liked Taylor, especially since he didn't fit the typical "Idol" mold. So this drop is necessarily unexpected. But weep not for Taylor, who has promised to continue making music "his way."

Another “Idol” winner — Ruben Studdard of season two — left his contract with J Records late last year, but continues his contract with 19 Entertainment, the company managed by “Idol” creator Simon Fuller.

Studdard is now at work on an upcoming album, but it will not be distributed by J Records, Morentin said. Studdard’s previous album, 2006’s “The Return,” has sold only 236,000 copies.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Black Crowes song

Check out the Crowes' new single "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution" off of their upcoming album Warpaint.

It can be found on their Web site — blackcrowes.com

There you can find more information about their upcoming album and tour.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Video from Jamcruise 6

We experienced some great weather this weekend but I think I would rather be on a cruise with a steady flow of good live music.


More about Jamcruise

Friday, January 4, 2008

HARP Top 50 albums of 2007

The December issue of Harp gives their top fifty albums of 2007.

What do y'all think? — What are your recommendations?

1 okkervil river, the stage names
2 band of horses, cease to begin
3 iron & wine, the shepherd's dog
4 future clouds & radar, future clouds & radar
5 feist, the reminder
6 spoon, ga ga ga ga
7 radiohead, in rainbows
8 arcade fire, neon bible
9 neil young, chrome dreams II
10 jason isbell, sirens of the ditch
11 white stripes, icky trump
12 devendra banhart, smokey rolls down thunder canyon
13 avett brothers, emotionalism
14 the shins, wincing the night away
15 the new pornographers, challengers
16 wilco, sky blue sky
17 the good, the bad & the queen, the good, the bad & the queen
18 georgie james, places
19 bruce springsteen, magic
20 rilo kiley, under the blacklight
21 the national, boxer
22 ted leo & the pharmacists, living with the living
23 bill callahan, woke on a whale heart
24 m.i.a, kala
25 jesse sykes and the sweet hereafter, like, love, lust and the open halls of the soul
26 steve earle, washington square serenade
27 of montreal, hissing fauna, are you the destroyer?
28 grace porter & the nocturnals, this is somewhere
29 kings of leon, because of the times
30 grinderman, grinderman
31 robert wyatt, comicopera
32 broken social scene presents: kevin drew
33 st. vincent, marry me
34 ryan adams, easy tiger
35 animal collective, strawberry jam
36 bright eyes, cassadaga
37 rufus wainwright, release the stars
38 eleni mandell, miracle of five
39 patty griffin, children running through
40 ian hunter, shrunken heads
41 dr. dog, we all belong
42 mavis staples, we'll never turn back
43 explosions in the sky, all of a sudden i miss everyone
44 beirut, the flying club cup
45 bettye lavette, the scene of the crime
46 manu chao, la radiolina
47 yeasayer, all hour cymballs
48 oakley hall, i'll follow you
49 sharon jones & the dap-kings, 100 days, 100 nights
50 tunng, good arrows

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Zeppelin to headline Bonnaroo?

I heard this a couple weeks ago and at the time it was total speculation but there may be legs to this story.

From www.mirror.co.uk on Dec. 31, 2007:

Looks like Led Zeppelin's appetite for rock is well and truly back.

We can exclusively reveal that the legends — who staged a triumphant "one-off" gig at the O2 this month — will be the headline act at the Bonnaroo festival in the U.S. next year.

The festival runs from June 12 to 15 in Tennessee — and if all goes smoothly they may even hit the road and tour.

An insider told us: "This is the news that will drive their fans absolutely wild.

Read the article >>

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Minnelli to perform again after collapse

NEW YORK (AP) — Start spreading the news: Liza Minnelli will sing again.

Almost three weeks after collapsing during a show in Sweden, the 61-year-old entertainer was doing fine and preparing for her next gig, Minnelli's lawyer, Allen Arrow, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Read the article >>

OK, so it was only a decent year in music

The voters -- well, six of them -- have spoken in The Star's latest music poll.

The results:

4 votes -- 2007 was only a decent year for music.
2 votes -- 2007's music was nothing but a bunch of stinkers.

REM goes ... metal?

Well not quiet...

But it does sound as though the Athens boys who once gave college radio a reason to live are promising to turn up the volume - this according to the band's manager, Bertis Downes.

"It's not like we're going to pretend these are ballads. These are rockers," Downs says in a recent interview with Uncut magazine.

Anybody remember "Monster?" That was the last time REM tried to crank things up. Though poorly received critically, that record was 100 times better than anything since ... ("Around the Sun"? Horrible.)

"Accelerate," which will be release in April, promises to recapture the band's early energy. This according to frontman Michael Stipe.

"I feel like there's a confidence in the material, and a communication between the three of us that hasn't been there for some time," he said. "We didn't talk to each other for a couple of records -- as friends or as bandmates. And we reached a point before this LP where we just sat down at a table and hashed it out."

Truth be told, they need to bring original drummer Bill Berry gave up fame and fortune for a farm on the outskirts of Athens.

Beatles to license certain songs

It's 'bout time ... though a part of me has now died inside.

I must admit that in the great "British Invasion" debate, I was always more of a Rolling Stones fan than a Beatles-mania kinda guy.

But seeing as The Stones sold out ages ago, I was rather proud that the Beatles legacy (Michael Jackson's ownership notwithstanding) had remained relatively intact.

No more ... Seems the Fab Four - or, more to the point, their record label, Sony - will be moving into the 21st Century by allowing select tracks to be sampled in music, films and (say isn't so) commercials.

Here's John, Paul, George and Ringo for Doritos - So much for Strawberry Fields forever ... how 'bout that nacho flavor! Or cool ranch.

There's already a mix in the works with Wu-Tang Clan supposedly sampling George Harrison melancholy guitar riffs from "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

Can't say I'm shocked. Soon as I heard The Ramones shilling for Toyota, I knew that "selling out" wasn't the shame it used to be. Guess it's like Johnny Rotten so famously said at the end of The Sex Pistols (supposedly) last show ... "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

Yep, every time I turn on the TV. Read it and (gently) weep ... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22465966/