Monday, June 30, 2008

Phish's Page McConnell writes letter to phans on reunion rumors

A Letter From Page | 06.26.08

Given the volume of speculation and rumors that have bubbled up recently, I have been asked to make a statement … Here goes.

For me, the last four years have been great. I’ve spent quality time with my family and have watched my daughter grow. I took great pleasure and pride in writing and recording an album. I’m living a healthy lifestyle. I travel as little as possible and I sleep in my own bed. It took a couple of years after the break up to begin talking to my old band mates, but once the conversations began to flow it wasn’t long before the friendships were rekindled. And I can honestly say that I’m closer with all of them now then I’ve ever been in our 20-year relationship.

Recently the conversations have turned toward the possibility of spending some time together. Currently many of us have plans and projects already in the works, most notably Mike, who made a great album and is about to hit the road in support of it. Given that I might not even see some of the guys for the next six months, I would say that the announcement of a reunion is premature. However, later this year we hope to spend some time together and take a look at what possible futures we might enjoy. In fact the only real decision that has been made is that when we do get together, it will only be the four of us, hopefully with no distractions. I am really looking forward to that.

I want to say just a few more things. The prospect of Phish reuniting is something I consider very seriously, and I think about it a lot. And lastly, as always, there is plenty of misinformation floating around. Try not to focus too much on secondhand sources and random gossip. If there is anything real to announce, it will come from the four of us as a group.

Until then,

— Source:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kanye speaks out about Bonnaroo

In case you weren't aware this year's Bonnaroo was slightly marred by a late appearance by Kanye West. A couple of factors were at play here: Pearl Jam played an hour over their time slot, breakdown of their stage and setting up West's elaborate set took time. Some say he showed up late even after his stage was set up. It was something like 4:25 a.m. when Kanye hit the stage.

Many Bonnaroovians showed their displeasure with chants, banners and graffiti suggesting that "Kayne Sucks!" Whether or not he got a raw deal is debatable.

Here's his response to his treatment: "This Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life," West wrote. "This is the most offended I've ever been ... this is the maddest I ever will be."

Click here to read more about this contraversy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New STS9 downloads

STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9) has released two songs from their upcoming album "Peaceblasters" for download. The files are in mp3 format.

Shock Doctrine

Beyond Right Now

If you like what you hear click here to download a bunch of hour-long, live STS9 podcasts. I highly recommend the Vol. I podcast. These podcasts are very high quality and great for mp3 players.

STS9's homepage

Bonnaroo streams and downloads

Click here to download many of the live performances from the 2008 Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival.

Many of the shows are in .flac format.

Enjoy audiophiles!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Purported new Guns N' Roses tracks hit the Web

The songs were only up a short time before the band made them take the songs down.

I heard one song sometime last year I believe and it was OK. Anyone heard these songs (Rhiad and the Bedouins," "If the World" and an unnamed track are the previously unheard tracks that were leaked)?

Click here for more >>

Monday, June 16, 2008

City Stages kicked the BamaJam blues

My faith in Alabama music festivals has been restored after going to City Stages last night. This was my first visit to this Birmingham favorite, and it was great. While the line-up for the weekend as a whole was less than stellar (I guess that's what happens when it's on the same weekend as Bonnaroo), City Stages ended the festival on Sunday with a blast ... literally. 

I'm a newbie when it comes to the Flaming Lips, but I've heard stories about the crazy antics at their shows.  More theatric than music, the Flaming Lips had a ball (once again, literally) with blasts of orange confetti, huge orange and yellow beach balls, dancing aliens onstage and frontman Wayne Coyne crowd surfing inside a giant bubble. The huge screen behind them flashed psychedelically with colors and random video of cars and hitchhikers. It's easy to see why they're listed as one of the top 50 bands to see live. Here's a (long) video that will give you an idea of just what they are about.

While the Flaming Lips was an awesome sight to behold, the aural pleasure came from the reggae, funk, rock, jazz, folk, hip hop tunes of Michael Franti and Spearhead. This group from San Francisco knows how to pump up a crowd for hours of hippie dancing. You can check out some of their music here

This festival is on my list to attend next year and years to come. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Water, water everywhere

Bonnaroo, as I’ve said before, is all about soaking it in. Well, yours truly was drenched last night, both literally and figuratively.

Packing the first good night of sleep I’ve had since even before I left, I hung in like a trooper through the sizeable downpour to watch nearly three hours of My Morning Jacket. Trust me, it wasn’t because I was a fan — I’ve never heard any of their stuff. Honestly it was worth it, especially when Kirk Hammet, guitarist for Metallica, joined them on stage for a very non-Metallica song. Myself and two good friends were the only ones of the bunch that stayed until the end. We would have made it longer had it not been for the cool wind that kicked up — being soaking wet, it got downright painful.

Pearl Jam, BB King and Kanye West are tonight’s big draws. I’m going to be a trooper again. At least that’s what I hope — Kanye doesn’t start until 2:45 a.m.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One day down

Sorry about the lack of a second post on Thursday. If you were here, you'd understand. We didn't really get everything set up (tents and getting settled) until well after 6 p.m.

By that point, once we got something to eat (first time since breakfast) and got to see the sights, I couldn't find the media area. That's the only place that had power and wi-fi.

What I did get to see was some good music.

Vampire Weekend is a newer band, that has been described as "preppy rock". They weren't bad, to my surprise. Real happy music. But it was still odd to see someone with dreads dancing around to four guys singing in Izod polos.

The second band we saw was Dark Star Orchestra, a Greatful Dead cover band. Their deal is they play complete Dead show from the first to the last song. As a casual Dead fan, they were incredible.

The hardcore Deadheads looked pleased as well.

The show ended around 1:50 a.m., and from there we went to the disco. That blew my mind, not only because there was a disco at a "Hippy Jam Band" festival, but the D.J.'s were first class. One guy was scratching on the turntable with what looked to be a choregraphed Olympic routine.

But while it was amazing, the body odor on the floor was more than you could imagine.

I have no idea what I'll see today. I've learned already to make no plans. But I do know I'll be mad as a wet hen if I don't get to see Willie Nelson and Chris Rock (no they won't be performing together.)

"It's a cosmic experience," one of my friends said. "Take it in and flow."

Last tidbit, the weatherman lied. There's no way it was 68 degrees here last night.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bonnaroo Webcast this weekend

Seeing as how many of us aren't stuck in line to get into the sprawling farmland that plays host to Bonnaroo ... never fear! You too can get in on the action through the AT&T Blue Room's Webcast from June 13-15.

Click here for more information >>

Bonnaroo's Web site

Update: Fuse TV will also be broadcasting live from Bonnaroo. It looks like they're going to show the headliners.

Click here for more info >>

Hank Jr. and BamaJam

As I mentioned before, Hank Jr. is arrogant. But now you don't have to take my word for it.

Here's what he had to say about BamaJam: "This was a 'sleeper' show for me. It was gonna be a show in the middle of a field, for cryin' out loud ... I really had no expectations. I was shocked when I saw the crowds. It looks like more than just my rowdy friends (and neighbors) turned out."

Good to know that he wasn't excited to play here. I bet he didn't know there was a festival for his father going on only 65 miles away in Georgiana last weekend, too.

Lines, lines, everywhere lines

Dictated by Bran Strickland:

Imagine the lines at Six Flags and the traffic Sunday morning at Talladega. Now multiply that by 10 or 20 and throw in 1,000 hippies.

Fair citizens of Annie's Town, I bring you Bonnaroo.

Traffic is like nothing I've ever seen and this is coming from someone who's overslept for Talladega more than once. It's not just sitting in it that makes it so bad — I've seen where it starts and where it ends.

To pick up my credentials this morning I drove past all the traffic, which has been moved to the shoulder of Interstate 24. My lovely wife counted the line in miles: 17. It's crazy. People (and by people I mean hippies) are scattered along the grass, doing all the things that hippies do.

Our group, which numbers 18 strong, are in a line of eight vehicles. Wish us luck. At this rate, we may be at the campground by nightfall.

The other side of BamaJam

So there's a whole other side to BamaJam that I haven't written about, nor has anyone else in the media, it seems. I give BamaJam props for putting on a great inaugural music festival -- but that's where the fun ended, the music.

Ted Hacker, the event producer for Ronnie Gilley Entertainment, called the festival "redneck heaven." I prefer to think of it as redneck hell. The rednecks who attended BamaJam ruined it for me.

Most of the time, when I use the term redneck, it's in a loving way. I'm from East Tennessee and I've spent almost all my life in the South. I like to do stereotypical redneck things -- drink beer, get loud and rowdy -- hell, one of the reasons I went to this festival was to act like a redneck with 100,000 other people (that, and to see Ralph Stanley!).

So here's where my story begins. It's Friday afternoon, and we've recently arrived at our campsite. I'm walking through RV-land, heading back to the tent after a visit to the porto-john. I was smiling, having a good time ... other than the almost unbearable heat, things were looking great. I was drinking beer, hanging out with friends, and getting ready to see some of my favorite musicians.

I wasn't surprised when a late 50, early 60 year-old-man invited me over to his "porch" (it was an RV, so there wasn't really a porch) for a hamburger and some friendly conversation. I declined the hamburger, but did accept a beer. It was about 5 p.m., 90-something degrees out and the man was already half lit.

Most of our conversation has already faded from my memory -- he hit on me repeatedly, I repeatedly turned him down, mentioning my husband at every convenient moment. He talked about where we were from, what we did. I was telling him about working for the newspaper. Just when I had enough (my beer was warm) and was getting ready to leave, my husband came up in conversation again.

"Is your husband black?" the man asked me. I don't know why he asked — maybe I said something to arouse his suspicion.

"No," I said. "But not that it matters."

"It does matter," he said, with an accusatory tone. "Have you dated black men?"


"Get out of my camp." He stands, pointing me toward the dusty path on the other side of his RV. I stood, thanked him for the beer, and stuck out my hand for him to shake. He looked at me like I was a leper, the girl he had been flirting with only moments ago gone in his mind.

I left, muttering curse words and flipping his camp an hand gesture that went unseen.

I accept the fact that there are racists out there. I'm not blind to the world. But if I can accept their beliefs, however backwards and outdated they might be, why can't they accept mine?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 10:00 p.m.

ABOVE: Hank Jr. rocking the crowd. Not only is he broadcast on multiple Jumbo-Trons, but he's wearing a jersey that says "Bocephus #1."

Hank Williams Jr. rocks! And 100,000 thousand other people agree with me. This first-time festival has definitely made it's mark on southern Alabama.

Beach balls and rebel flags printed with Hank's face fly above the crowd. This is the man that inspires thousands of people every day ... but in what ways makes me uncomfortable. Along with Hank's face are the words, "If the South would've won, we'd had it made."

Hank Jr.'s arrogance is incredible. These people worship him -- I saw them bowing to him after he swaggered onstage, rocking out "My Name Is Bocephus." Behind him, the Jumbo-Tron and it's accompanying mini-Jumbo-Trons flash his flame-engulfed moniker.

He knows how to give them what they want -- his hard-edged, outlaw rock gets them dancin' and hollerin, and queching thousands of beers to keep their vocal cords going for the next hour -- Hank Jr. made sure this festival will see it's second year.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 4:35 p.m.

ABOVE: Props to the Del McCoury band for wearing suits while it's 100 degrees out.

So there's three stages here at BamaJam -- the bluegrass stage, the alternative stage and the country stage (although it's not just country -- ZZ Top played there last night, and Skynyrd plays there tonight). Like most music festivals, the acts overlap, but I'm doing my best to catch most of them.

I'm at the bluegrass stage now, listening to the Del McCoury Band pick. Del was one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys many years ago. He's still picking along, now with his sons Robbie and Ronnie and a few other folks.

This crowd loves the bluegrass. It's definitely a different mood than you find at the other stages, even if the fans are the same. You can't rightly do a jig to ZZ Top.

I'll probably only post one more time tonight ... my MacBook's battery is going quick, and I've got no electricity.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 3:52 p.m.

ABOVE: Dan Tyminski Band ... you can't tell but they're drenched in sweat.

We skipped out on early on Marc Broussard to grab a frozen lemonade and catch Dan Tyminski. Even though you might not know his name, you know his music -- he played "Man of Constant Sorrow" for "O Brother Where Art Thou."

His mandolin player, Adam Steffey, summed up the festival: "Where else can you see bluegrass and Lynyrd Skynyrd?" The bluegrass stage has a great lineup ... we'll be back over there in a minute to see Del McCoury before I head back to camp for a quick dinner, then I'll be back again to catch Ricky Skaggs.

We left the bluegrass stage after about 30 minutes to catch Railroad Earth, an Americana/bluegrass jam band. We got an extra treat, though, because as we walked through the BamaJam Saloon (a really big outdoor bar), the Miss BamaJam competition began.

The "competition" consisted of seven girls strutting around in bikinis and answering some of the dumbest questions I've ever heard, like "What's your favorite color and why?" Only one of the girls gave an answer that made any sort of sense at all ... The winner gets $300, a year of free tanning and a cowboy hat. They all get featured in the Miss BamaJam calendar ... I'm still trying to figure out how they are going to make a 12-month calendar out of photos from seven girls.

I think the mullet competition tonight will a little more entertaining -- Railroad Earth definitely was.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 2:13 p.m.

It is so hot!!! Even though we've got layers and layers of sunscreen, we're still burning ... This festival is not for the faint at heart. We went into Enterprise this morning to do a little shopping and it was 97 degrees ... and that was before noon!

Just a note: The boll weevil statue was not what I expected at all. I thought it would be just a giant bug, but it's actually a fountain/statue of a woman holding the weevil in the middle of an intersection downtown. I'd post a photo, but the my computer and camera are still fighting. I guess I'll post them all on Monday when I get back to the office.

Speaking of computers, I've got to tuck this back away in my bag. The sand and red clay dust are already coating everything.

Tonight we'll be checking out Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Gov't Mule, Skynyrd and Hank Jr ... this festival is great!

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

BamaJam -- 10:17 p.m.

ABOVE: Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.

** While I type this, it's almost 11 p.m. and I'm sitting in the unlit media tent, just a few feet from ZZ Top onstage. I pause for a moment to look at the huge crowd in front of them. While the media tent is positioned so I can't actually see the band, I have a full view of the thousands of people rocking out to "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide." Our camera and my computer have decided they aren't getting along at the moment, but we'll keep trying.

We rolled into the event grounds at about 8 p.m., just in time to catch Old Crow Medicine Show, who put on a fantastic show, as usual. Fiddles, banjos, a standup bass ... young people jumping around ... old time music with love.

This festival is a redneck Woodstock -- or "redneck heaven," as Ted Hacker, event producer for Ronnie Gilley Entertainment said. And that's not an insult by any means. A lot of thought went into creating the lineup for this inaugural festival.

It really is like a bunch of people from the race at Talladega decided to go to a Phish concert. I love it. Everyone needs to embrace their inner redneck every once in a while.

"It's all about the synergy of the music and the feeling we get from all the acts," Hacker said of the blend of southern rock, country and bluegrass. "There's no other concert like this in the country ... it comes from the heart."

That can be seen especially with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys show. As I sat down to listen to them pick, I hear the guy in the row next to me explain to his friends, "That's Ralph Stanley. Him and Doc Watson are like Godfathers of bluegrass."

I listen to a mean breakdown onstage, twang versus twang, until the crowd finally overtakes the music with a thunderous standing ovation. I didn't see the crowd react like this to Trace Adkins, even though there were thousands more people watching.

Ralph Stanley drew a younger crowd than I expected, though most of the hippy/rednecks were across the way dancing to Old Crow.

ZZ Top is pretty badass, I have to admit. I'm not a huge fan, but I can appreciate some good Southern rock. And these Texas boys have perfected that art. Singer Billy Gibbons sounds like he's drunk whiskey and smoked cigarettes every day of his life -- a true Southern boy.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

Off to BamaJam

Only 2 hours and 40 minutes until I hit the road and head to Enterprise for BamaJam, Alabama's newest music festival. Well, it's not just me -- Assistant Metro Editor/Business Editor Mary Jo Shafer is my photographer, and my husband's along for the ride, too.

We've got the truck loaded down with camping gear and firewood and the cooler's packed with ... drinks ...

While BamaJam officially began last night (I missed out on Darryl Worley and Randy Owens), I think the real fun will begin tonight -- I'm gonna see Old Crow Medicine Show, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and ZZ Top all in a 4-hour time slot.

Tomorrow's headliners are going to be a bunch of fun too -- Skynyrd and Hank Jr. I can already hear the crowd yelling for "Freebird" and flicking their Bics.

I'll be posting more later today from the festival, so stay keep checking back for more (including photos).

If you want to learn more about BamaJam, including the full lineup of acts, click here.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday after months of ill health. He was 79.


Listen to some of Bo Diddley's music:

Bo Diddley

Good bit of bootlegs

At first glance it appears to be a blog of nothing but live shows available for download.

A good bit of the bootlegs found here are from bands that you rarely find recordings of. Enjoy