Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Blonde Wig on Blonde Wig: Update

There is an interview with Bob Dylan at rollingstone.com. In it, there is confirmation that he wore a blond wig onstage:

RS: I saw you play at the Newport Folk Festival a couple of years ago. What was up with the wig and fake beard?

BD: Is that me who you saw up there?

The wig is Advanced, while the fake beard is extremely Advanced.

What About Phil Collins?

I don't know if Phil Collins is Advanced or not. If you think early Genesis was the greatest thing ever, then you probably would have to say it is. As for me, I haven't listened to the early stuff much. One thing I can say, though, is that I have always loved "Take Me Home" and "Easy Lover." I like "Abacab" and "Paperlate" and some others from the Genesis days. I often find myself singing "No Reply at All" and "That's All," and I wouldn't change the channel if "Illegal Alien" were to come on. There are plenty of songs by him that I really don't like, especially "In the Air Tonight," but I would stack his best solo stuff against Sting's any day. He's also a pretty good drummer.

Were it not for the Advanced Theory, I would probably be embarrassed to admit all this.

One other thing: One of my favorite running jokes from "Late Night With David Letterman" was from back in the eighties when Phil Collins had a million hits. Letterman would always say something like, "Paul, you know who I'd really like to hear on the radio? Phil Collins. If only they'd play one of his songs every once in a while." Then Paul would play along, of course. I always thought that was funny.

Outkast, Running Up That Hill (With Update)

Outkast is talked about so much that it has become kind of tiresome, which is why I rarely mention them. However, they are excellent candidates for Advancement. I don't know enough about hip-hop to say which acts are Advanced (though I suspect Ice T and Flavor Flav qualify), but Outkast seems to be on their way. The most recent example can be found at nme.com:

Outkast have revealed details of their busy year, with a movie and not one but two new albums on the way.

One half the hip-hop megastars, Big Boi, has been telling MTV about his reunion with estranged bandmate Andre 3000.

The pair made "Speakerboxx / The Love Below" as two solo albums, but they have reunited to make a feature film, "My Life In Idlewild."

Big Boi said of the Bryan Barber-directed picture: “It’s like two stories going on at the same time. Dre’s is like more a love story and mine is kind of crazy, wild… Bryan Barber did a really good writing the script, and it’s going to be real good!”

That's a pretty good, but what Big Boi had to say next was quite intriguing:

As well as the film soundtrack, Outkast release their next studio album in June, rumoured to be called '10 The Hard Way'. And Big Boi said how they were looking at some unusual collaborators:

"We’ve been trying to do a song with Anita Baker (as well as) Sade, maybe Kate Bush if we can find her. They say she’s crazy, so I don’t know what’s going on."

A collaboration with Kate Bush would be incredibly Advanced.

Update: But Advanced for whom? That is the question.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Early Lou Reed

Want to hear some Lou Reed before the Velvet Underground? Go here.

Advancement, From A to ZZ Top

I think I've linked to this before, but you must go to zztop.com if you want to see some really Advanced musicians. Check out the photos section.

How they got from where they were to where they are is completely baffling to me. One thing I do know, though, is that they will own the phrase "Watch your dress" forever.

Somebody Get Me a Doctor

Over at the extremely brilliant Jimmy Page's Sweater Vest, Mr. Beaujon has been thinking about the sorry state of health care as reflected by popular music: "One of the finest indicators I can think of to show how Americans' attitude toward health care has changed is just to look at pop music. Used to be, a guy in a pop song fell in love, and it was only natural for him to go see the doctor about it. If you were in the Rascals, you were likely to be prescribed good lovin'. If you were in Bachman Turner Overdrive, you were told that any lovin' is good lovin' (what were doctors like back then?). If you were Harry Nilsson, you naturally saw a witch doctor. If you were in Kiss, you pretended to have gone to a medical school that taught you to take your patient's temperature in a most unorthodox manner." He is worried that he "can't think of any recent examples of pop songs in which people go to the doctor." I think this is an excellent point. In a somewhat-related thought, I wonder when email will become as much of a fixture in pop songs as the telephone has been over the last fifty years or so. Maybe I'll write a song about consulting WebMD about my feelings for a girl I've only spoken to by email.

I’m All Right Jack, Keep Your Hands Off My Stack

Here's a little something about Pink Floyd from nme.com:

The former schoolchildren who sang the infamous chorus on PINK FLOYD’s 'ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL' have begun legal action for unpaid royalties. Peter Rowan, a royalties expert, has said that he is appealing on behalf of one former pupil and was working with others. The 23 north London schoolchildren recorded their vocals in secret and have since been unable to claim royalties as a result. According to BBC News, Rowan said: "They (the former schoolchildren) are owed their money and we lodged the first claim last week. I've been working on it for almost two years."

Wow. I'd hate to see what kind of royalties those kids who got ground up into hamburger meat will ask for.

Advanced Musicals: The Prequel

I read in the "500 Greatest Songs" issue of "Rolling Stone" that "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" was intended for a musical that never happened. And now, here we are, awash in Advanced musicals. I also noticed that Billy Gibbons has an extremely Advanced top ten of his own.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I won't be posting anything until Monday because I'm off to Lopez, Washington, to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wife's family. I wish you all well.

Now That's What I Call Variety!

Check out this weird line-up at the Royal Variety show (from AP)

Ozzy Osbourne and Liza Minnelli will perform at the annual Royal Variety show in front of Prince Charles at London's Coliseum Theatre on Dec. 14, organizers said Wednesday.... Others on the bill include Cliff Richard, Elton John, Jamelia, Gwen Stefani and girl band, Girls Aloud. Nathan Lane and Lee Evans will perform a medley from the West End hit musical, "The Producers."
I really don't know what to say about this. It would be really interesting to see what was on the riders at this show.

Elvis Costello or Paul Giamatti?

According to undercover, an Australian website, Elvis Costello is playing shows at various wineries throughout the country. This isn't the most exciting thing to be posting about, but I wonder if this is a regular thing in Australia. In any case, here's hoping that Costello will follow the lead of Mick Fleetwood and Bob Dylan and come out with his own wine. Now that would be exciting.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I Only Need Them When I Reed

I saw this on Lou Reed's website:

Join Lou Reed on November 18th at the NYU Casa Italiana for a talk about Lou's Views - his self designed eyewear line produced by Tramontano.
I'm very sorry I missed this. As you probably know, sunglasses are very important to an Advanced artist.

I'll Have a Lou Christmas

For some reason, I got to thinking about Advancement potential in Christmas music. Then I wondered if Lou Reed every did anything special for Christmas. Well, I went to the Rock and Roll Animal Web Page and found this set list and accompanying comments:

Sweet Jane - Love Is Here To Stay - How Do You Speak To An Angel - Perfect Day - Men Of Good Fortune - Caroline Says II - The Kids - The Bed - Sad Song - White Christmas - Rock And Roll - Star Spangled Banner / America - Vicious - Street Hassle - Heroin - Walk On The Wild Side
("A very happy Lou on fine form. After "Love Is Here To Stay", he announces his engagement to Sylvia. Note also Lou's new-found patriotism, with "Star Spangled Banner" and the only known live perfomance of "America". Remember that at this time, Americans were being held hostages in Iran" - GORDON LYON)

I would love to hear his version of "White Christmas." And I'm beginning to think that patriotism might be Advanced.

Dory Previn and a New Category of Weirdness

I realized something this morning while listening to "Jesus Was a Androgyne": There is a brand of weirdness that needs to be addressed: the Authentic Weirdo category. As I have explained in earlier posts, the Advanced Theory came out of conversations that Britt and I had about what it means to be a "weirdo." When I say someone is Overt, it means that they are trying to appear strange in an obvious way. For instance, if everybody believes that a pop song can only be three minutes, write one that is seven minutes. If everyone is singing about love, incense, and peppermints, write a song about transvestites and hard drugs. Advanced artists move beyond this stage into a style of strangeness that is much more difficult to understand. You can tell that Lou Reed makes weird music, but it is a weirdness all its own, a weirdness that doesn't stick to the formula of "if this is popular, I'll do the opposite."

However, both the Overt and the Advanced make conscious decisions to be a certain way. In fact, the theory is based on the idea that Advanced geniuses know exactly what they are doing, no matter how ridiculous their latest project seems. But the Authentic Weirdo is just a very strange person who can't help but to make weird music. Lou Reed could write hits if he wanted to, but he chose a different path. Artists like Dory Previn, though, would love to make normal music, but they just can't. Most of the Authentic Weridos are mentally ill, of course. Wesley Willis is one of them. Michael Jackson is another.

I guess this is all my way of saying I really don't understand what is behind "Jesus Was a Androgyne." Maybe her influences are clear to others, but I do know that it is more Authentically Weird than anything you'll hear on a Sonic Youth record.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Jonny B. Overt, or Real Wyrd

This just in from nme.com:

Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is set to appear in the next "Harry Potter" film alongside Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, according to reports.

The pair are to make a cameo appearance as a group of witches called the Wyrd Sisters, in "Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire," reports The Mirror.
Like his name, Jonny's cameo is a nice try at Advancement, but we aren't buying it here. Why is Jonny's name a failed attempt at Advancement? Because to be truly Advanced, his name would have to be spelled "Johnny," which is the name most often used by Advanced artists in songs. Leaving out the "H" is overt, even if that's the way his parents spelled it. Also, Jonny acts too mysterious and overtly weird on stage to be Advanced.

Appearing in big Hollywood movies is often Advanced, but Harry Potter is too well liked by all kinds of people. Now if Jonny were in a new "Police Academy" movie, then we might have something.

Addition: Also, to be one of the "Wyrd Sisters," is pretty overtly weird.

Ivy-League Advancement, Plus a Shiny-Shirt Update

There is a review of Bob Dylan's show at Harvard at thecrimson.com. Here's what they had to say:

...despite the legendary hits and massive crowds, several students said they were disappointed with the show.

“I love Bob Dylan. I just don’t know what he’s saying,” said Alexander A.C. De Carvalho ’08. [This young man may be smart, but he's got a lot to learn.]

And while some students left the concert disappointed, other diehard fans said Dylan’s raspy voice did not get in they way of a good time. “I can’t understand a thing, but Dylan is Dylan. This is a pilgrimage,” said Sergio from New York. [Sergio has a better grasp of how to enjoy an Advanced artist.]

While dancing alone to the music, Kate A. Farrel of New Jersey, a graduate of Boston University and self-proclaimed Dylan fanatic, called the crowd “lame” because they weren’t “familiar with his new stuff.”

Farrel was not disappointed that Dylan didn’t play the guitar himself, a common complaint among students. She said Dylan was better off setting the tempo on the keyboard. She added that having him play would have been like “asking a dentist to floss. You can just have others do that.” [This strange floss comment shows that Kate is the most Advanced of all those interviewed. I've mentioned this before, but it is so Advanced for Dylan to play keyboards instead of guitar.]

In his cowboy hat, black silk shirt, and elegant black suit, Dylan, 63, charmed the crowd of young and old... [This is the best part for me because it seems that he is wearing the Shiny Shirt, which is the newest development in the world of Advancement.]

Super Paul

According to nme.com, Paul McCartney is playing the halftime show at the Super Bowl. McCartney said: "There’s nothing bigger than being asked to perform at the Super Bowl. We’re looking forward to rocking the millions at home and in the stadium."

The Super Bowl halftime show is about as Advanced as it gets. I'm hoping to see Bob Dylan play it one day. Be on the lookout for "hope he won't have a wardrobe malfunction" jokes. I'm sure they will be hilarious.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Dad Rock

According to the set list from the recent Eagles concert in Melbourne, Australia, there was a trumpet interlude before their encore. I wonder what that is all about.

I once told a story here where a friend of mine destroyed my enjoyment of CSN&Y with an offhand comment (actually it was a mocking impersonation of their singing style). The Eagles were similarly destroyed by "The Big Lebowski." On a somewhat related note, is there an American dad who doesn't like Jim Croce?

Fifty Bucks Buys You a Mass-Murderer

Lou Reed was at the opening of the exhibition of porn-star portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. This page six article tells more:

Lou Reed was once so poor that he posed for a photographer for $50.... Reed recalled, "The deal was that the shot could be used for any purpose whatsoever. But then the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News ran my photo as this guy who was a sex maniac who had just been caught after he murdered 14 children and tape-recorded all the killings. When I walked around after that I got some astonished stares. I didn't mind. In fact, I thought the whole thing was pretty funny. I just wished I'd gotten more than $50 out of it." Greenfield-Sanders will be signing copies of his book, "XXX" with porn stars Michael Lucas, Chad Hunt and Savanna Samson on Saturday at the Barnes & Noble at 21st Street and Sixth Avenue.

Reed was there because he wrote something for the book, which is the only reason I'll be buying it, I promise.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I Hope They Don't Burn My Blog in the Deep South Now

According to Reuters, John Lennon has been voted the greatest rock 'n' roll icon of all time in a poll conducted by Q music magazine. The number-two icon? Jesus.

Do They Know Who's Playing Bass?

There's a bit at nme.com about Paul McCartney's playing bass on the new Band-Aid single. Here's part of it:

NME.COM was there and spoke to McCartney just after he finished recording the bass part. He said that despite tabloid pressure to record vocals for the song, which is released on November 29, he was only asked to provide bass.

He said: "We’re keeping away from the hullabaloo while we try and get a backing track. I play bass on it, that’s really all I was really asked to do and that’s what I fancied doing. It’s kind of nice to do that.

"And then the national, wonderful press got into ‘Why aren’t you singing? Oh he’s too old!’ and did all that shit. I was like ‘Oh, fuck off!’ So I’ve just done what my producer asked me to do, he’s producing it."

McCartney has been working on his new album with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich....
I didn't know that he is working with Radiohead's producer. That must be Advanced, but I can't quite put my finger on how. Of course, that's the beauty of the theory, isn't it? I also enjoy McCartney use of profanity.

Nick Cave Inches His Way Forward

There is an interview with Nick Cave at salon.com that is quite interesting from the Advanced perspective. Here are some choice bits about the new records, the band, Christianity, etc.:

With the new records, a new band identity has been found. The Bad Seeds sound fleeter, more flexible, less blockishly, Teutonically powerful than they used to be. While, like the Bad Seeds of old, they take some inspiration from industrial and punk, just as much of the band's sound is now drawn from big, glossy '70s rock (the downside of this is when they make use of a horrible group of singers called the London Gospel Choir, who make some songs sound like rejects from "Jesus Christ Superstar"). And violinist Warren Ellis, of the Dirty Three, whose prominence in the Bad Seeds is steadily increasing, brings to this record a new harmonic palette, taking more from Celtic folk music and less from the blues.

[This is very promising. I'll bet that those "Jesus Christ Superstar" rejects are the most Advanced songs on the records.]

The single most significant event in the Bad Seeds' recent evolution was unquestionably the departure last year of Blixa Bargeld, one of the few members who had been there since the beginning. Bargeld was the wildest, the most talented of the bunch, and also the most dedicated to pure, anarchic noise, the most incompatible with Cave's new, kindler, gentler aesthetic.

"He was such a significant presence in my adult life," Cave told me. "That he's not around, there's just a big hole there. At the same time, we were moving towards something that was less ironic in nature, and he was very much about playing the guitar in a non-guitar way. You know, that I have this sort of foreign instrument in my hands, and I'll make the best of it that I can. Whereas, if, in a way, Warren has replaced Blixa to a degree, and filled that hole, Warren doesn't play music in that way. He plays it in the opposite way, without any irony, and with a real love of rock 'n' roll and noise."

[If you follow the Advanced theory, you know that embracing rock'n'roll is one of the earmarks of the Advanced musician. Just as important, irony has no place in an Advanced musician's music. Plus ,Blixa Bargeld is an overt name if I've ever heard one.]

Throughout the 17 songs of "Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre of Orpheus" Cave's poetic voice is unmistakable: weightily rooted in the King James Bible, full of imagery of the American South drawn from both old blues lyrics and Southern writers like Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor, and increasingly informed by modernist poetry (W.H. Auden is a particular favorite). "I try to write in a very deliberate way, with a lot of thought to the way the lines are constructed ... and in an almost outmoded language," Cave said. "That doesn't really happen in rock 'n' roll music, and it shouldn't happen in rock 'n' roll music, but it does in my rock 'n' roll music."

[More rock'n'roll talk. Also, Advanced musicians tend to talk about their latest project in the most exalted language possible.]

One of the most intriguing aspects of Cave's lyric writing is his use of Christian imagery. Modern pop rock songwriting is full of it, but it is usually used for its aesthetic, rather than religious, potency. Cave's use of Christian imagery is different in that he is a believer.

[Being Christian is Advanced. Bob Dylan invented this form of Advancement.]

Cave told me that he does not go to church, and that he is not affiliated with any particular branch of Christianity, but there is no question that his God is a Christian God. When I asked Cave if he had any interest in other religions, or in a broader, non-religious spirituality, he replied, "Oh, a passing, skeptical kind of interest. I'm a hammer-and-nails kind of guy."

[It would be overt to embrace some kind of New Age take on Christianity that embraces all faiths. Being a "hammer-and-nails" guy is not overt.]
I'd also like to add that he has sung with Kylie Minogue, which, if not Advanced, is smart.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

As you know, I applaud David Lee Roth's decision to become a paramedic. Last night I was thinking that it is likely he will have to save the life of someone who was a huge Van Halen fan. It's fun to imagine a fan getting CPR from DLR, coming back to consciousness and realizing that it is DLR that has saved him. I like to imagine him calling his friend and saying something like, "Dude! I OD'ed David Lee Roth saved my life! It was awesome!" The other thing I like to imagine is that same fan regaining consciousness but thinking that he has died and gone to heaven.

Eponymous G.O.A.T.

Well, it looks like "Rolling Stone" is caling Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," the greatest song of all time. In related news, "Spin" magzine is calling "You Spin Me (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive the greatest song ever.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Diamond Dave, Life Saver

As I have "reported" before, David Lee Roth is training to be a paramedic. Here is an update billboard.com:

David Lee Roth, former frontman of storied rock act Van Halen, is taking up a new trade. The 50-year-old singer has been riding for several weeks with a New York ambulance crew in training to become a paramedic, the New York Post reports. "I have been on over 200 individual rides now," said Roth. "Not once has anyone recognized me, which is perfect for me."

Roth spent a decade with Van Halen before embarking on a solo career and briefly reunited with the band for two new songs on a 1996 greatest hits album. He has been riding along with ambulance crews in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn several nights a week. His training seems to be going well. Several weeks ago, Roth saved the life of a heart attack victim in the Bronx by using a defibrillator.

He takes his work so seriously that he did not want publicity so as to not "diminish what I am trying to do here." "You would never know you were dealing with a rock'n'roll guy," said Linda Reissman, Roth's EMS consultant and tutor. "His commitment really is touching. He wants to help people.
This is really impressive to me. Especially that he hasn't done it for a reality show. Kudos to Mr. Roth!

Overt Trick: The Hidden Track

I just got done suffering through "Modern Romance" by the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, and I notice now that there is a "hidden track" at the end of the song. It's time to get rid of this extremely overt trick. There is nothing more annoying than getting one of those songs with a hidden track in your shuffle. It's difficult to fast forward with most players these days, so usually I just skip to the next song. Plus, it's just stupid now that it's been done a million times. If you absolutely have to have an unidentified song on your record, just create a track but don't list it on the cover art and leave it untitled. Why anyone would feel the need to do that I don't know, but at least then we don't have to listen to a minute of silence.

Shiny-Shirt Update II

There is a review of a John Fogerty show in the New York Times. It says that he has a song that sounds like it was inspired by the Ramones, which I find rather interesting. Also, his new album has a pretty advanced title: "Deja Vu All Over Again." But most important, in the picture accompanying the article, he is wearing a shiny shirt. Not as shiny as Lou Reed's shiny shirt, but it is definitely shiny.

Monday, November 15, 2004

New Feature

I'm introducing a new feature to the blog. From time to time, I will reveal that I love a song that I would be embarrassed to love if it weren't for the Advanced Theory. Some might call them guilty pleasures, but I don't have any guilt about loving them.

Today's song: Earth Song by Michael Jackson. Incredibly powerful and great.

Alice and Sheryl Cooper, Lords of Phoenix

I read something interesting here:

Mr and Mrs Alice Cooper will be honoured as one of Arizona's Power Couples at a function in Phoenix in the new year. Sheryl, by profession, is a dancer who has appeared over the years with Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin, George C. Scott and Jackie Gleeson as well as in her husband's shows. In 2003, she opened Destiny Dance International where she teaches classes and works as Artistic Director. Sheryl and Alice have been married for 28 years. They have three children. Their daughter Calico now performs in her mother's former role as the Nurse in the Alice Cooper show. The Coopers also run the Solid Rock Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping youth and teens.

Just passing it along...

Esquire, Friend of Advancement

An article I wrote for "Esquire" is now out on the newsstands (you can also pay for it online). It's in the "Genius" issue, with Bill Murray on the cover, and the article is called "Advancement: The Musical." The magazine has been very good to the Advanced Theory, so why not subscribe today?

"Gregory's Girl"

If you want to watch an odd, sweet movie, rent "Gregory's Girl." I'm writing about it here because the music sounds a lot like Lou Reed's "The Bells" period. And I saw it last night.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Frank Black in Nashville

From billboard.com:

As the Pixies' reunion tour plows ahead, singer/guitarist Frank Black plans to release two albums' worth of material recorded earlier this year in Nashville, with a solo trek to follow. As tipped here this summer, the first release will be titled "Honeycomb" but the second has yet to be named....

The Nashville sessions, which were literally finished days before Black joined his former Pixie bandmates on the road, feature an array of legendary players, including the Band's Levon Helm, Bob Babbitt, Spooner Oldham, Dan Penn, Duane Jarvis and Steve Cropper....

As for the Pixies, the band is currently being followed around by a camera crew for an eventual DVD release. Black hints a possible summer 2005 street date for the set, documenting the reunion tour, as well as backstage interaction between band members.

I think Frank Black has finally embraced being Advanced. Going to Nashville and playing with guys like Oldham, Penn, and Cropper is defiinitely a good thing to do. Very "Rattle and Hum." And speaking of which, it's also a nice move to make a movie about the Pixies reunion tour.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Doo-Wop Update: TV on the Radio

A friend brought to my attention the band TV on the Radio. Apparently they did a doo-wop version of the Pixies' "Mr. Grieves." This is an overt use of doo-wop for sure, and I'll tell you why: If they had done a doo-wop version of a song no one has heard of, that would be advanced. As it is, they are just trying to get people who like the Pixies to listen to them. And it's not that far from saying, "Let's do a punk version of 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.'" This calls for the traditional advanced dismissal, "Real weird." (Whenever someone does something really overt, you just say, "real weird" to show that is it not actually weird. Birtt invented it.) Bring back doo-wop by all means, but leave the Pixies out of it.

Here's something amusing from one of the members of TV on the Radio (from billboard.com):

The members have been moving targets as their fame has evolved. "We've been on tour for like a year-and-a-half," Adebimpe says. "My mom called and said, 'I saw you in Spin magazine,' and I thought 'Why is my mom reading Spin?' -- so maybe that's a sign that we've reached a larger audience.

Yes, when you mother starts reading about your band, you know you've hit the big time!

Shiny-Shirt Update

According to this blog, John Fogerty wore a shiny shirt for the Vote for Change special on Sundance.

The Second Darin

From Reuters:

Not content merely to swing onscreen, Kevin Spacey will bring his interpretation of Bobby Darin's music to the stage of the Wiltern in Los Angeles on Dec. 6. Spacey -- who will perform Darin's repertoire backed by a full orchestra of 20-30 pieces -- will take the show to eight or nine other markets, mainly in December, according to a spokeswoman for the William Morris Agency, which represents the actor. Other engagements have not been finalized.
Sounds bewitching.

Let's Groove, Broadway-Style

From Reuters:

What do you do with a catalog of hot music? If you're Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, you team with Tony Award-nominated actor/choreographer Maurice Hines (brother of the late Gregory Hines) for a Broadway musical. Taking a cue from Twyla Tharp's use of Billy Joel (news) songs in "Movin' Out," "Hott Feett" will feature EW&F hits as well as White solo material. Hip-hop novelist Heru Ptah is penning the four-act musical.
In related news, Earthwind Moreland played a significant role in the New England Patriot's defeat of the St. Louis Rams.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

DVD of the Beast

Now we're talking. According to billboard.com, Iron Maiden is releasing a DVD of some old concerts and videos. The details:

Iron Maiden looks back at the formative stage of its career on the double-DVD collection "Part 1: The Early Days." Due Nov. 23 via Columbia, the package includes rare and unreleased live footage, TV appearances, five music videos and a new 90-minute documentary dubbed "The Early Days."

Disc one rounds up the long out-of-print 1981 home video "Live at the Rainbow," taped at the London club in December 1980. Forty-five minutes of footage are included from a 1982 show at London's Hammersmith Odeon, while seven tunes are extracted from a 1983 headlining slot at Germany's Rock and Pop Festival.

In addition to the documentary and a rare 1981 TV feature on Maiden from 20th Century Fox, disc two boasts 45 minutes of footage from a 1980 show at London's Ruskin Arms from the band's personal archive. Also featured are performances of "Women in Uniform" and "Running Free" from the U.K. TV show "Top of the Pops" and music videos for such classics as "Run to the Hills" and "Number of the Beast."

Alternate headline to this post: "Run to Best Buy."

The Smiths Take the Stage

I guess it was only a matter of time. According to nme.com, music of the Smiths are going to be used in a musical. Here's the deal:

The Smiths are the latest band to inspire a new musical.... Written by Smiths fans Andrew Wale and Perrin Manzer - who also created ’Jacques Brel’s Anonymous Society’ a few years ago – have promised something tasteful and not at all like a traditional musical.

According to The Independent, the title of the production will be taken from the Smiths track ’Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’ and the show will feature more than 20 songs by the band arranged for a string quartet and sung live by a cast of six. Associate producer Michael Brazier said: "Each song has a life of its own but they are connected by the way the performers behave on stage."

Producers have described the Smiths musical as a "film without a text" and initial plans are more opera than theatre. The show will be neither biographical, nor set to a musical score but evolve through a loose pastiche of scenes linked to each of the songs. Video sequences may also be included.

Brazier added: "It is not a linear story. There will be action going on stage whether its dance or movement or acting without words depends on the scene. Sometimes the song - and what the singer is saying in the song - will be the main line of action. But other times when you are concentrating on the singer, out of the corner of your eye you will be seeing impressionistic goings-on elsewhere on the stage. The significance of that (action) will become clear later. The meaning of these clues will gradually reveal themselves."

Cream Rises, Clapton Still Awful

According to billboard.com, Cream is getting back together to play some shows. I am often asked whether Eric Clapton is advanced. He is not. He is terrible. But Cream was the best thing he was involved in, most likely because he was playing in a group atmosphere where he couldn't give in to his "You Look Wonderful Tonight" urges. The same thing happened with the Police, I think, which is why I think Sting isn't advanced (as many of you know). I'm not much of a fan of the blues, especially the version played by people like Clapton, but taste aside, I don't think that Clapton was ever really ahead of his time or particularly innovative. That is why he can't be advanced, even if you think he is great.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Curiously Strong Phillip Glass

I often write about how I think it is silly to complain that musicians are selling out when they allow their music to be used in a commercial. According to this interview, Phillip Glass agrees with me:

When I asked Philip Glass — composer of operas, symphonies and string quartets — why he wrote music for a pair of Altoids commercials this year, he was incredulous. "I did it for the money!" he answered. "Whaddaya mean, 'Why'd you do it?' You got rocks in your head?"

Here's a little more from the interview:

RS: I'm still wondering about the Altoids.

PG: The thing about television commercials is, they're very quick. They come and go in two or three days, and you make more money than you do for writing a symphony. I've worked in every form of collaborative theater, art, dance that you can imagine. So it wasn't hard for me to do.

One of the best things a composer can do is to make a living in the music world. A quick, easy way is to get a commercial. But it's a hard world to break into. There are professional jingle writers, and you're up against them. You need to know what you're doing. It doesn't come up very much for me.
Part of Advancement is finding value in everything, so I find it interesting that Phillip Glass would find it difficult to compete with jingle writers.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Human Highway

That's the name of a movie directed by Neil Young. Here's a little something about it from imdb.com:

"The new owner of a roadside diner stuck in a town built around an always leaking nuclear power plant plans to torch the place to collect insurance. However, an assortment of bizare characters and weird events (such as spaceships flying around) gets in his way."

Well, that sounds wonderful. But there's more. Devo is in it. Here's a user comment:

"I'm watching this movie in anticipation of catching my two favorite actors, Dean Stockwell & Dennis Hopper, in a couple of offbeat roles....but wait, is that Devo? And who is the weird character in the doll's mask? And why is the art direction so...arty? And Neil Young, with buck teeth and thick glasses, acting like a kid brother of Jerry Lewis....hold on, this ain't no offbeat movie - this movie is so OFF the beat, it's incredibly hip! I couldn't stop watching the damn thing....yep, Neil is really singing "Tonight" from West Side Story while wiping the windshield, 'cause, you see, Russ Tamblyn is his buddy, and, oh forget it.....Then, to find out Dean Stockwell and Russ Tamblyn helped write this production...and, what, you say Stockwell directed it? I'm in love. And I will never put down Neil Young, either."

I think I'm going to have to sit down one night and watch this movie, "Get Crazy," and "Masked and Anonymous." It would be the most Advanced movie-watching I've done since going to see the Spice Girls movie and "Blues Brothers 2000" back-to-back.

Tougher Than Leather

As many of you know, the traditional outfit of the Advanced musician is a black leather jacket, dark sunglasses, and long hair in the back. Well, it looks like there is something new in Advanced clothing: the shiny shirt. This is a new development, so I haven't been able to verify how important the shiny shirt is or will be, but I can link you to this picture of Lou Reed wearing a shiny shirt. You can see it here. I'm not sure what the material is, but it does look shiny. Perhaps it is shiny leather?

More to come, I hope.

Friday, November 05, 2004

You Can't Stop Dee Snyder

Well, Dee Snyder has a musical coming out. I found out about it here. Here's a description of the musical, which is called "Van Helsing's Curse":

[It is] an elaborate goth stage show about an ancient evil force set loose in a town.

The music, a mash of classical riffs from Chopin to Grieg plus well-known horror-film themes ("The Omen," "The Exorcist"), is played with heavy-metal gravitas and volume. Snider, 49, came up with the idea three years ago after seeing a Christmas show by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Because of the show's size (18 musicians) and expense, "Van Helsing's Curse" is being performed only once in each of three venues. (Already performed on Long Island, N.Y., and the Philadelphia area, the play was also onstage Friday in Royal Oak.) But Snider thinks the project, suitable for ages 7 to 70, has enormous potential as a seasonal franchise.

"One of the casinos just saw a clip and wants to talk about putting it into Vegas next October," he enthuses.

"Six Flags is talking about doing a 20-minute version every hour on the hour. Plus there'll be touring companies, licensing entities. ..."

Dee Snyder is not advanced, but he is one of those people that advanced people can really enjoy. He has done a lot of things that would qualify him for advancement (dressing like a woman, "You Can't Stop Rock and Roll," the videos), but Twisted Sister just doesn't make the cutoff. Call him a B-List Advanced Rocker. In any case, it takes a pretty special hard rocker to brag that they want his musical at Six Flags.

Doo-Wop Advanced?

There is an interview with Lou Reed at lacitybeat.com. Nothing much in it that is surprising. He does mention doo-wop as a big influence. You can tell that from some of the Velvet Underground stuff, but I think I'm going to start listening for more doo-wop in his other work. I'm also going to look into the connection between doo-wop and advancement. I think there might just be something there.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Sage Parenting Advice From John Lee Hooker

In "Boogie Chillen," I find it pretty moving when the father tells the mother to "let that boy boogie woogie. It's in him. It's got to come out."

Ono Numero Uno

According to the scotsman.com, Yoko One is number one on the dance charts:

Yoko Ono has topped the US dance charts with a record backing gay marriage. The 71-year-old widow of John Lennon recorded Every Man Has A Man Who Loves Him to voice her support for the controversial issue. It is a new version of Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him, which she recorded nearly 25 years ago. Ono has also recorded a lesbian version of the song.

She said: “It’s nice to know that so many people love this song. This is a victory not just for me but for all Americans who are against the administration’s decision to ban gay marriage.”

I'm thinking this one might be a Pyhrric victory.

Elton John Takes a Job Away From a Struggling TV Writer

If you are depressed about the U.S. election, here is something to cheer you up:

Elton John (news) is making his first foray into series television by developing an ABC comedy about an aging rock superstar and the people around him, Daily Variety reported in its Thursday edition. The flamboyant musician told the Hollywood trade paper that the as-yet-untitled show would not be based on himself but rather a mix of other fellow pop icons like Rod Stewart (news), Mick Jagger (news), Freddie Mercury (news) and David Bowie (news).

"It's not about me, but about everybody we've encountered over the past 30 years," it quoted him as saying. "We've met every star and seen every misbehavior. And it's about the people around the star, who have to put up with them. It's an upmarket 'Spinal Tap." Daily Variety said John's longtime business manager Bob Halley came up with the basic concept about three years ago, and his boss warmed to the idea. Songwriter Bruce Roberts, producer Michael Edelstein and "Sex and the City" screenwriter Cindy Chupack eventually entered the mix.

A full history is being developed for the rock star character -- including music spanning the '70s, '80s, '90s and today. John has already written a song for the project, "Him and Us," which will appear on his 43rd album "Peachtree Road," due in U.S. stores on Tuesday.
Obviously, that show will be amazing. For the three weeks it will be on before it gets canceled. I'd like to add that I can't believe that Elton John has 43 made albums. Incidentally, there are also 43 Peachtree Roads in Atlanta.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I Love the Dead

From billboard.com:

Eminem has produced 12 songs based around previously unreleased verses from late rapper Tupac Shakur for the album "Loyal to the Game," Billboard.com has learned. Due Dec. 14 via Amaru/Interscope, the 16-track set will be the seventh album of Shakur's music released since he was shot and killed in 1996.

Although a full track list has not been finalized, the album will include guest appearances from such hip-hop superstars as 50 Cent, Jadakiss and Lloyd Banks, as well as Nate Dogg, Eminem protege Obie Trice, Outlawz, Sleepy Brown, Young Buck and Ronald Isley.
Enough already.

U2, CSI, and Skip Stevenson

I read something interesting here. It's about U2:

"To promote their new record, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which drops Nov. 23, the Irish foursome will pull musical guest duty on NBC's Saturday Night Live later this month. And, in an even more novel strategy, the band is teaming with CBS' runaway hit CSI to will roll out tracks from the album over the next few weeks, E! Online has confirmed."

Of course, this isn't the first time they've done something like this. "An Cat Dubh" premiered on "Real People."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

"The Bells" Toll for Thee

I just can't get enough of Lou Reed's "The Bells" these days. If you want to understand advancement, you must have this record. Here are the lyrics of the song "Disco Mystic":

Disco, disco mystic
Disco, disco mystic
Disco, disco mystic

... repeat

The song is four and a half minutes long and is a masterpiece of advancement.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Reed Sells Sancutary

From Lou Reed's website:

Lou Reed is pleased to announce that he has now signed a worldwide recording deal with Sancutary Records. Says Sanctuary CEO Merck Mercuriadis, “There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe Lou Reed's importance to our culture, but if I had to pick one it would be "dangerous; today it is an honour to welcome Lou Reed to the Sanctuary family. We look forward to pushing the envelope with him through this next important chapter of his evolution as an artist.” Lou Reed is expected to start working on his Sanctuary Records debut in 2005.

I can't wait.

Triple Neck, Triple Awesome

There is a nice little article here about the triple-neck guitar. The writer, Peter rojas, talks about how it thrived in the prog era, went away during the punk days (and because they are "huge, heavy, expensive and utterly pointless") and came back with David Lee Roth's "Skyscraper" video. I'm always going to love needless innovations on guitars, so I'm going to have to call the triple-neck guitar semi-Advanced.