Thursday, December 23, 2004

Happy Holidays

So, I'm off for the holidays now. I may be able to post here and there over the next week, but I won't be back to regular until 2005. So I'll see you then, if not sooner.

A Good Trade

David Byrne wishes he were bald. I am bald, but I wish I were David Byrne.


There is a long article at Lou Reed's website about someone he mentors. Here are the interesting parts:

Towering well over six feet tall, Antony Hegarty, known as Antony, can be an arresting sight to the uninitiated: a bit like an outer-borough beat cop dressed up as an ethereal Cat Power, and singing like Nina Simone. He may not go over in the provinces—but he is just as surely the authentic voice of the city in popular music today, so much more than the “vintage” 70’s sounds that are dominating the current scene.

Just ask Willem Dafoe, who wept when he heard him. Or Lou Reed, his mentor and supporter, who has called him an “heir to the sublime Jimmy Scott.”

The artist and producer Hal Willner introduced Antony to Mr. Reed during an audition as a backup singer on the Poe-inspired album, The Raven.

“I was told that if Lou didn’t like me, I would be escorted out of the studio,” Antony recalled. “He would walk into the back room and I would be escorted out—Hal warned me.”

But Mr. Reed liked him. A lot.

His whole life, he said, he had thought of New York City as an “island of lepers” where he would one day end up—a haven from the rest of the country. He was angry with gays who fought for marriage during the Presidential election and ended up playing into the hands of the conservative right. For him, gay was different, and therefore powerful. As a result, he said, “The gays haven’t really embraced me as a masthead for their agenda, because I’m a little too weird and complicated.”

The cover art on the new album features the first publication of a Peter Hujar photograph of legendary New York transsexual Candy Darling lying on her deathbed in 1974. Since Antony met Mr. Reed, the prickly, leather-clad hipster—who wrote “Candy Says” for Darling in 1969—has become his friend, mentor and collaborator, singing and producing on a stirring new single called “Fistful of Love.”

“And I feel your fist,” quavers Antony, his words punctuated by rising R-and-B horns, “And I know it’s out of love!”

“He’s become my greatest advocate and mentor in a way that I never could have imagined,” said Antony. “There’s isn’t anything he hasn’t been through. He’s really sage in all that stuff. And he cares about me. He’s a man of passion. And he devotes himself to the things he really cares about.”

At a 2002 performance at P.S. 122 in the East Village, Mr. Reed performed the Velvet Underground classic “Candy Says” in public for the very first time—at Antony’s request.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Was Is

The folks at the Vest are working overtime. They just alerted me to this project from Don Was:

Sweet Pea on vocals, David on harp, Don on string bass, Wayne Kramer on guitar, David McMurray on sax and, possibly Randy Jacobs on guitar and Narada Michael Walden on drums. From a forthcoming album that consists of covers of Bob Dylan songs performed in the style of early 50’s Chicago blues.

Go here for a download and more info.

Sting on a Trampoline

I came across an article about the recording of "Every Breath You Take" at (you guessed it) mix online. Here's a fascinating anecdote:

Recording the bass could be frustrating, Padgham says, when Sting wanted to play while jumping on a mini trampoline. “It sounds mad — and I have trouble recalling whether it was during Ghost in the Machine or Synchronicity, because we recorded them 18 months apart at the same place 20 years ago — but what was really annoying was, even at the best of times, with all due respect to Sting, who is a fantastic bass player, he's quite sloppy. If you solo his bass track, there's all sorts of fret noise and bits of dodgy playing. When he was bouncing on the trampoline, it made it even worse. But, of course, if you said, ‘Could you not bounce quite so much, please,’ he'd bounce even more. Nowadays, I'd know to say, ‘Could you bounce more please,’ and he'd probably get off it! With respect to his sound, whether he was bouncing on the trampoline or not, he always used his old Fender jazz bass, and it was never put through an amplifier. I only ever DI'd it, and in those days, it always had a bit of Boss chorus pedal on it, which made the bass sound a little thicker. Then we would overdub a Dutch upright electric double-bass that was nicknamed Brian. It was, ‘Let's put Brian on the track.’ He wouldn't emulate the whole part, just perhaps the first note of the bar.”

This reminds me of a story about the filming of "The Doors." Apparently, Val Kilmer insisted that everyone call him Jim throughout the shooting. Frank Whaley, who played Robbie Krieger, said that instead he called Val Kilmer "Asshole."

Bad Joke

If I were a woman who worked in a carpet store, I'd want my title to be "shag hag."

Bill Walton's Free-Crap Family Christmas and Advanced Athletes

There is an excellent post at Jimmy Page's Sweater Vest about Bill Walton's son, Luke. Apparently, Bill got lots of free stuff from the NBA that he then wrapped up and gave to his kids for presents. There is a priceless example of a box of PowerBars. Check it out.

I've been asked whether atheletes can be Advanced. I think that there is probably Advancement in every field, but it's hard to say. The man behind the Vest (as I will now being calling Jimmy Page's Sweater Vest) points out that Walton hosts some kind of Grateful Dead show on satellite radio--embracing new technology is a sign of Advancement--and gives free crap to his kids for Christmas. Walton also was an innovator as a basketball player, so he could qualify as an Advanced athlete, if there is such a thing. Now that I think about it, John McEnroe has got to be Advanced. Both Walton and McEnroe have rock'n'roll connections, so that must explain it. Something to think about.

Drop and Release

When did records stop being "released" and start being "dropped"? I don't mind, I'm just wondering.

Greatest Hits and Shame

At, there is a list of the best greatest hits records of all time. It's an interesting list: Echo and the Bunnymen come in at number one, and it includes the Cramps and a lot of good, weird bands. There is also a funny quote from Bruce McCullough: "Greatest hits are for housewives and little girls!" I know that a lot of people feel that way, but I like them. I used to be embarrassed to buy them, so I would buy "real" albums instead and never listen to them. Of course with the Apple music store and MP3s in general, I don't have to worry it anymore. But for those of you still buying records at stores, don't be ashamed to buy a greatest hits album. I mean, I love the Walker Brothers and all, but I don't really need to hear their deep cuts.

The Rutles at Home

Here's a little something:

Burbank, CA (December 15, 2004) -- The Rutles are coming! The Rutles are coming! Coming to DVD that is, on March 1, 2005 when Warner Home Video presents the DVD premiere of The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch. From executive producers Lorne Michaels and Eric Idle, this is the highly anticipated sequel to The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. Previously unavailable on video and only seen by fans in exclusive, limited screenings, this hysterical follow-up to Eric Idle's1978 mockumentary about the Beatles reveals the final exploits of The Rutles as they do a reunion tour through America.

Fans of The Rutles will be thrilled at the opportunity to revisit this great band's story, including footage from historic performances, plus interviews with many artists who were inspired by the legendary band including, David Bowie, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Jewel, Gary Shandling, Salman Rushdie, Clint Black, Billy Connolly, Bonnie Raitt, and many more. The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch is packed with special features including extensive deleted scenes, a never-before-seen alternate ending, and a bonus "Easter egg."
Eric Idle is the most Advanced member of Monty Python.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Latino Radiohead

According to, it's Tom Castro. I'm pretty sure the headline writer has no idea that there is a band out there called Radiohead.

"Psycho Killer": Where Alice Cooper and Pete Townshend Meet

There is an interesting article about "Psycho Killer" in my new favorite magazine, mix. Here are some good bits:

Byrne noted many years ago, “‘Psycho Killer’ was written as an exercise with someone else's approach in mind. I had been listening to Alice Cooper — Billion Dollar Babies, I think — and I thought it was really funny stuff. I thought, ‘Hey, I can do this!’ It was sort of an experiment to see if I could write something.

“I thought I would write a song about a very dramatic subject the way [Alice Cooper] does, but from inside the person, playing down the drama. Rather than making it theatrical the way Alice Cooper would, I'd go for what's going on inside the killer's mind, what I imagined he might be thinking. [I have hesitated in the past to include Alice Cooper on this site, but I think he deserves to be here. He might not be truly Advanced, but I think he's close. He has influenced a lot of artists, and he was pretty unique. -JH]

Their reputation spread by word-of-mouth around New York City, and by the middle of 1976, they'd made demo tapes for Beserkley Records, Columbia Records and, at the suggestion of Lou Reed, RCA Records. [I didn't know that. -JH]

“Originally, the ending went on and didn't really do anything — there was none of the feedback; it needed more excitement. So I suggested putting the power chords on, and then I remember saying to David, ‘Just do a wild thing, like the solo in “I Can See For Miles.”’ And he went, ‘Huh? What's that?’ He didn't know The Who or Pete Townshend. I'm saying, ‘Let's get some feedback and go crazy on the end!’ So that was inspired by me telling David to imitate a solo he'd never heard. I probably even picked up a guitar and demonstrated it. David was mostly using a Gibson then, but I think there's some Strat on there as well. Tina was definitely using her Mustang bass.”
Interesting that David Byrne went from a guy who hadn't heard of Pete Townshend to a guy who covers Whitney Houston. That's what becoming Advanced is all about, of course.

Much O-Bliged

Here's the description of "An Intimate Evening With Mary J. Blige" from

"Blige's second live DVD, features guest spots from Elton John and Sting as well as interviews with Jessica Simpson, Lil' Kim and the Osbournes"

Does she do the interviews? Should we be expecting a Marj J. Blige talk show soon? Are the interviews about Mary J. Blige but done by someone else? Are they all friends? Are fans of the Osbournes also fans of Mary J. Blige? What exactly is going on here? I can't figure this one out, but I love it.

Broken Face

According to the Boston Herald, the members of TLC are adamant that they are not trying to "replace" Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. "Nothing has changed. We're not replacing Lisa,'' Thomas told the Associated Press.``We're not looking for a new member.'' The article goes on:

Last month, the pair announced they were launching a search to find a vocalist to perform with them in concert and for one track on TLC's upcoming greatest hits project - a journey that will be the subject of a UPN reality show, "R U The Girl with T-Boz and Chilli.'' Some fans were concerned that Thomas and Watkins were seeking to fill the shoes of Lopes, who died in a car crash in Honduras in 2002. But the duo said they're simply looking for a fan to perform with them for a one-time performance and for a song on the greatest hits project. "We started out with our fans and it's all about our greatest hits,'' Thomas said. "Basically, we are trying to give back to our fans and find one girl and give her a chance of a lifetime, to do one last performance with TLC.''

I would believe that they weren't trying to replace Lopes if the winner of the show weren't named Maria "Middle Nose" Melindez.

Brush With Advancement

In the review of "Pieces (of Ass)" in the New York Post, the writer manages to talk more about himself than the play, which is "a monologue parade about the pains and pressures of being a beautiful woman, as told by pained and pressured beautiful women." But there was something of interest that I can only assume is a complete lie:

I went cliff jumping in Jamaica once during a college spring break, stepping off a dizzying 60-foot ledge into the sea. But the biggest plunge I took that day was on the way to the cliffs.

My buddy Kevin and I stopped at a mini-market, and while he ran inside to buy water and beer, I sat and waited on my idling moped - right next to the single hottest woman I'd ever seen. There she was, a golden-haired goddess sitting on the back of a brawny, bad-ass Harley-Davidson, waiting for her man.

And there's me, on my candy-ass little scooter. Bleak odds, at best. So, naturally, I gave it a shot. "Want to go cliff jumping?" I asked. She smiled and winked. Then Lou Reed came out of the market, got on the bike, gave me a nod and motored away with the girl of my dreams. Lou Reed, I swear to God. It was a Hall of Fame whiff. And so worth it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I'm Set Friedman

This article from is related to Lou Reed so little that I just had to include it. Here it is:

Anne Deborah Secor, a freelance art director in Manhattan, was married yesterday to Stephen Roger Friedman, a management and technology consultant in Manhattan. The Rev. Richard D. Leonard, a Unitarian Universalist minister, officiated at Bayard's, a Manhattan restaurant.

Ms. Secor-Friedman, 46, works on catalogs, product packaging, advertising and publications. She graduated from Sweet Briar College. She is the daughter of Elizabeth K. Secor-Woy of Philadelphia and the late Dr. Robert M. Secor, and is the stepdaughter of James B. Woy. Her father retired as a research chemical engineer for E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, the chemical company in Wilmington. Her mother is a public relations specialist at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Mr. Friedman, 52, specializes in organizing publications departments and in developing and managing computer networks for companies. He is also a bass player who performed in the late 1970's with Lou Reed. In November, he performed at the Earthshack, a coffeehouse in Val-David, Quebec.

He is a son of Emmy J. Friedman of Todt Hill, Staten Island, and the late Lawrence H. Friedman, who were retired and who had owned Stuyvesant Music and We Buy Guitars, both former guitar stores in Manhattan.

The bridegroom's previous marriage ended in divorce.
This surely ranks as one of my most boring posts of all time. But I do hope that this marriage works out for Mr. Friedman.

TV on the TV

This weekend, I watched the Beach Boys concert movie "Good Vibrations." It was done in 1976 and looks it. Lorne Michaels was involved, and it featured Dan Akroyd and John Belushi dressed as police officers. They arrested Brian Wilson for not using public beaches for surfing and carted him off to the beach. There, the three of them sort of played in the waves. Brian Wilson is extremely fat in the movie. Mike Love is extremely shiny and golden during the perfmorance clips. Al Jardine shows how he is just a country boy and is butted by a goat. Dennis Wilson (a surprisingly good drummer) sings his baffling version of "You Are So Beautiful" while wearing a shirt that reads "No Sweat." He also judges a very amusing beauty contest. Another highlight is the band playing with a choir in some church. Funny how a choir can bring dignity to just about anything. Just about. There is a very seventies moment featuring the "Human Fly," who stands on top of an airliner as it flys through the air. Brian Wilson talks about why he stayed in his room for a few years. He performs onstage, but he is off to the side and barely moves. All in all, it was quite an affair, and I highly recommend it. I watched it on the Ovation channel, which is the home of depressing concerts. I also saw a bit of a movie about a Doors tour in Europe. Sadly, Grace Slick and what's his name with the big head from Jefferson Airplane talked a lot in the beginning. There is a nice moment where Ray Manzarek has to sing all the parts because JIm Morrison was not able to perform. It was in Amsterdam, if you get my drift. Anyway, he sounded perfect. It made me wonder if Jim Morrison actually ever sang. Then I decided he did.

On the Verge of Clarity

A reviewer at the London News Review seems to be on the edge of understanding Advancement:

The great thing about Lou Reed is that just when you think he's written a terrible song you realise he hasn't. I have recently become obsessed by 'How Do You Speak To An Angel?' It is a mini-operatta of wonderfulness. And as scary a song as ever a song could be. (If you talk to the "prettiest girl" as Lou suggests she would run screaming for the nearest policeman, and rightly).

I mention this purely because I have, at some point, to write a review of Marillion's latest album - Marbles - and I have to wind up to it. When you have to say bad things about a wonderful band I find it useful to listen to Lou. One of the greatest musical artists of the last 63 years, and yet he can always jolt you with terribleness. Every time I hear Coney Island Baby I want to commit bloody murder. The man can dip. So, when you are jolted by terribleness, it is always good to come back to Lou, and I have been jolted by terribleness by Marbles. But it's not all terrible - it is very specifically terrible. More soon, when I can pluck up the courage to talk about Marillion in less than glowing tones.
I say he's on the edge because of the first line, "just when you think he's written a terrible song you realise he hasn't." The reviewer seems poised to understand that Lou Reed doesn't make terrible songs. They might seem terrible, but they're not. I can almost gurantee that if the reviewer were to sit down with "Coney Island Baby" with an open mind, he would like it.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Judas Priest Saves the Day

Here's some good Judas Priest news from good ol'

Since vocalist Rob Halford left iconic metal act Judas Priest in 1992, fans held out hope that there would some day be a reunion. In 2003, their wish came true: Halford rejoined the group with news of a summer Ozzfest berth, a planned new studio album and a world tour the following year.

The second prong of the plan is "Angel of Retribution," a new studio album due March 1 via Epic. It's Halford's first album with the band since 1990's "Painkiller" and was produced by Roy Z, who has previously worked on solo albums from Halford and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. The set will be bundled with a concert DVD shot in a bullring in Valencia, Spain.

The five tracks has heard recall the ferocious, full-on metal assault of "Painkiller." The track "Deal With the Devil" is classic Priest, while "Hell Rider," includes a blazing, furious double-guitar attack. The lyrics in "Judas Rising" can be attributed to the group's reunion, though Halford points out that it is also about "the virtues that we believe in," such as being optimistic and fighting for your beliefs. [I wish they would have called this the "Stay Optimistic and Fight for Your Beliefs" tour. -JH]

And while this year marked the 30th anniversary of Judas Priest's first album, "Rocka Rolla," [awesome name -JH] the band doesn't see itself stopping at this point. "Just being as good as we can be, for as long as we can be," is how Downing wants to continue.
One of my all-time favorite jokes that Beavis and Butt-Head told was about Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law." They were very excited when the video came on and gradually became disappointed in the quality of the video. Butt-Head finally says, "Judas Priest rules and all, but this video sucks." If you ever want to experience a similar letdown, watch VH1 Classic. It makes you realize that the bands you liked when you were younger weren't all that great (but you'll love them anyway).

I Always Wanted to Be Larry King

Usually Friday has lots of Advanced news, but not this Friday. Maybe everybody slept in this morning. Tom Waits is going to appear in a movie as a "soothsayer," cementing his status as a Second-Stage-Advanced Weirdo. You can't get much more Overt than playing a soothsayer, unless, of course, you are Advanced. If Tom Waits were merely Advanced, rather than Second-Stage Advanced, he might play, oh, an astronaut in a remake of "2001." I noticed an eerie similarity between Elliot Smith and CSN&(sometimes)Y. The Stray Cats' success seems kind of inevitable in retrospect, but I guess they were a rather unlikely band to make it so big. Brian Setzer is not exactly Advanced, but he's close. I think he was just a bit too derivative to be truly Advanced. Nevertheless, I've always felt sympathetic to him, like I could understand where he was coming from. I also identify with Lindsey Buckingham and John Paul Jones, but I have no idea why. Well, I imagine Mick Jagger should be rolling out of bed just about now, so hopefully we'll get something good in a bit.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Pre–School's Out

There is an interesting article about the early days of the Alice Cooper Group here. I promise, it really is interesting. It involves waking up Frank Zappa and being confused with Al Kooper.

Bob's Bags

There is a pointless article about Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground at But what is interesting to me is this little bit:

Fresh from his success selling lingerie for Victoria's Secret, Bob Dylan is pushing a line of designer bags through his Web site. For $58 you can buy a "Hi Fi Tote bag" a bit more than a foot high and five inches deep. There are three styles, each "actual record covers" from his "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," "Highway 61 Revisited," and "Bringing It All Back Home."

I didn't know he was selling designer bags.

King Solomon Mines (for Advancement)

Here's some Advanced soul news from

Veteran soul vocalist Solomon Burke will release his next album, "Make Do With What You Got," March 1 via Shout! Factory. On the Don Was-produced follow-up to 2002's acclaimed "Don't Give up on Me," Burke interprets songs such as Bob Dylan's "What Good am I?," the Band's "It Makes No Difference," Hank Williams' "Wealth Won't Save Your Soul" and the Rolling Stones' "I Got the Blues."

Among the artists contributing new material to the project are Van Morrison ("At the Crossroads") and Dr. John (the title track).

"Don't Give up on Me" (Fat Possum) revitalized Burke's career, winning him a Grammy for best contemporary blues album. The set featured material by Dylan, Morrison, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, among others.

He just surrounds himself with Advancement, doesn't he? I saw him on David Letterman a long time ago. As I remember, he performed sitting down but brought the house down. Advanced performers always get along well with the Paul Schaffer and his band.

Augeri, Our Love Holds On, Holds On

Apparently Journey will be one of only four other bands to get their on star on the Walk of Fame. To celebrate, they are going to play at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. The line-up will be: Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Steve Augeri (vocals) and Deen Castronovo (drums).

When did Steve Perry start spelling his name with an "i"? And an "Au"?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Police and Incubus


Incubus got a lift from Police drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers last weekend in Los Angeles, when the pair joined the modern rock act for renditions of the Police's "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle" at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas concert.

Copeland and Summers had not performed on stage together since the Police was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York in early 2003.

"Incubus has been playing various Police songs over the years in concert," says vocalist Brandon Boyd. "We are all huge fans of the band so when it came time to decide on how to make the KROQ show different, nothing seemed more appropriate than asking them to perform with us."

Incubus plans to make a recording of "Roxanne" available for paid download in the coming days on Apple's iTunes Music Store. Proceeds will benefit a 21-year-old KROQ listener of the same name, who recently lost both of her parents and is caring for three young siblings.

Glad to hear she won't have to turn on the red light. (I'm assuming the article is saying the listener's name is Roxanne, though the way it is written, her name could be KROQ or Apple's ITunes Music Store. I wonder if anyone has named their child "Itunes" yet. It would be a good nickname for Gwynnie's baby. Although I'm guessing Apple's nickname is probably Manzana.)

The Godfather of Sold

Here is something interesting from Reuters:

The late Marlon Brando (news) will star in "The Godfather" again, beginning with a trailer for a video game that aired Tuesday on Spike TV's "Video Game Awards 2004" live broadcast.

The game, the latest from Electronic Arts' growing slate of Hollywood licenses, will be based on both Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie and the original novel by Mario Puzo.

EA acquired the rights to use Brando's likeness for the game prior to the actor's death July 1 and is working with Paramount Pictures during the project. The game developer and publisher has not announced deals with any other talent from the film, but the game is not slated to ship until fall 2005.

As I said recently, Marlon Brando was an Advanced actor. I wonder if the object of the game is to kill the character Sofia Coppola played in "Godfather III."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Cheeky Cheese

Check out goldenfiddle, a very amusing blog that has fun with (rather than makes fun of) the world of celebrity hijinx, among other things.

Genius: Ninety-Nine Percent Limitation?

Another stab at explaining Overt vs. Advanced:

As most of you will know, a lot of great moments in rock'n'roll came because some band didn't have any money or time (or both) to record their music the way they wanted, but the limitations ended up inspiring the band or producer to do something better. I'm sure, for instance, the Kingsmen would have jumped at the chance to work in a state-of-the-art studio with an unlimited budget. Of course, then "Louie, Louie" would probably have been just another song. But they recorded live, under one microphone, and the singer had to scream his head off, so you can't understand what he's saying. If people knew he wasn't singing dirty lyrics, I wouldn't be talking about the Kingsmen today. George Martin, however, had no limitations when he worked for the Beatles, and this freedom made his records better. In this example, the Kingsmen are Overt, and George Martin is Advanced. (It's important to remember that Overt does not mean "bad." I love "Louie, Louie.") The Overt thrive when the listener is left to imagine what might be beneath the surface, while the Advanced don't leave anything unearthed. Ironically, it is the Advanced that are harder to understand than the Overt.

Nowhere to Go but Up

There is an interview with Maureen Tucker at Apparently they did a two-part series on playing drums for the Velvet Underground. Here's a bit:

Let’s talk about a couple specific songs. On your Web site, you describe “I’m Waiting For The Man,” and how everybody played so heavily on all four beats.

I love that song. It’s like a train, there’s no stopping it. When we were rehearsing for the ’93 tour, we weren’t three or four bars into it and everybody stopped, like, what the hell’s the matter? I knew what the problem was, but I didn’t say anything at first. But eventually I was like, “Lou, you have to play all down strokes.” He had forgotten that. Just the difference between playing down-up-down-up and playing down-down-down-down was incredible.

This is a good example of how being in a band hampers Advancement. Perhaps there was some new magic to be made with down-up-down-up. But because the band wanted it down-down-down-down, that's the way it went.

Next on "Cribs," Lou Reed

There is an article at about Lou Reed's relationship with a furniture designer. Here are some bits:

Lou Reed first met the furniture designer Jim Zivic nine years ago, when he noticed one of Zivic’s tables advertised in the paper. It was made of wood and steel, and shaped like a piano on top. Reed loved the table, but he wanted a few things changed. “I went to his place and said, ‘Why don’t you put a bottom on that?’ ” says Reed....

For the most part, Reed and Zivic are aesthetically simpatico. “I like leather and steel,” says Reed, holding up a German microphone stand and admiring its many notches and subtle shine. Has he ever shown it to Zivic? “I don’t have to,” he says. “He knows.”

“My aesthetic is pretty masculine,” agrees Zivic. “Lou likes electricity, welding. That’s where he and I meet. It’s this mechanical, electrical, metals stuff that’s so very much a guy thing, with a soft edge here and there.”

The heated granite floor in the living room is covered in large patches of hand-stitched suede. It was originally done in leather, but Reed asked Zivic for something that would feel softer on bare feet. “It’s actually the third attempt,” Zivic says of the rug. “First, we had leather, but it was too slippery and it didn’t let the heat through. Then we were crawling around on the floor for a day and a half trying to design something suede. We were both cutting up swatches for some sort of colorful suede patchwork thing. We were arguing the whole time. I was like, ‘No, that looks like a river,’ and he was like, ‘You don’t know anything, that’s great,’ and I was like, ‘That’s putrid, I won’t do it.’ ” The resolution was solid orange suede that, at $6,000, was far cheaper than something more intricate.

I'd like to point out that Lou Reed is a notoriously tough interview when the subject is music. So if you ever interview him, ask him about his heated granite floor.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Pixies and the Datsuns

So, the Pixies show. The Datsuns opened up and were pretty good. As all opening bands do, they played two songs too long (hey, that might be the name of my autobiography one day). They were thin and wore tight T-shirts, though the lead guitarist wore some kind of denim jumpsuit that Leather Tuscadero would have envied. He was a good guitarist, but unfortunately the lead guitarist for the band that would play next happens to be one of the all-time greats. So rather than linger on the Datsuns for a line too long, let's move on to the Pixies.

Every review talks about their appearance, but who cares about that? They were so good, I couldn't even be jealous. They played just about every song you could hope to hear, they played just the way you'd hope to hear them: loud and fast. There was almost no talk between any songs, yet it didn't make you feel disconnected with them. Everyone in the venue--band, fans, security--wanted to squeezeas much music out of the night as possible. Of course, the Pixies have enough sense not to play too long, so they played about 90 minutes. That is about the outer edge of how long you can enjoy a show when you have to stand, but since it's been so long, it was the right amount to play. They were a bit sloppy from time to time and the sound was not so clear, but it never really mattered. They appeared to be having a good time, so my hope was that it sounded good to them on stage. For the four of you who read this who have never been in a band, the sound on stage is radically different than what the audience hears. So they might have heard everything perfectly for all I know. As I said, though, these things did not matter at all.

I think "Gigantic" was maybe the best song of the night in terms of performance and sound quality, but everything was great. It appeared as though they played the songs that were from the "Trompe Le Monde" era a little more crisply, but the older songs were more ferocious. Because of the nature of their songs--fast, strange rhythms, complex backup singing--it felt like the wheels might come off from time to time. But that added to the energy, I think. Joey Santiago made all the lead guitarists of the last ten years look like chumps. Everything he plays is complements perfectly what is going on with the rest of the band. David Lovering makes up great drum parts, though I got the sense that he rushes things a bit. But I don't have to play guitar along with what he's playing, so it was fine with me. Kim Deal smiled a lot. Her voice got lost from time to time, but I have even more respect for her bass playing than I already had (A lot). It was a shame that I couldn't hear her voice more because it is so interesting next to Frank Black's. Of course, everyone sang her parts with her, especially during "Where Is My Mind?" and she seemed genuinely happy about that. I kept feeling that the band was very grateful for the audience's appreciation of their music. It's so interesting to hear music that has meant so much in my life over the years. My whole life flashed before my eyes, and, since it was the Pixies, it flashed really quickly. It made me miss a lot of people but in the pleasant way, rather than the painful way.

Frank Black's voice is astounding. I don't understand how he can scream like that every night. It occurs to me now that his screaming melodic and vicious at the same, a lot like Joey Santiago's guitar playing. His songwriting makes a joke of all the comparisons between the Pixies and all the bands that have been influenced by them. I was glad to see him getting along with Kim Deal on stage. Playing with people you hate is possible, but it sure is nice to like the people you're on stage with. At the end of the show, before the encores, they all walked around the stage and waved to everyone and seemed, again, very grateful. I hope to write more about this experience, but I must run now.

"Weird" Al and the Funniest Joke of All Time

What I love about "Weird" Al is that his band could hold its own with any band it parodies. They are extraordinary musicians, and their polka medleys are brilliant. But the best joke ever is In "Living With a Hernia," his parody of James Brown's "Living in America," when he screams "I feel bad" instead of "I feel good." It doesn't get any dumber--or more awesome--than that. Here are the lyrics to the whole song:

Help me out

All I do is grunt and groan
Hurts me to walk anywhere
Went to see my physician, Dr. Jones
He took my trousers off, told me to cough
Doctor says there ain't nothin' to discuss
He tells me any day I might have to wear a truss

Living with a hernia, ow
All the time, such aggravation
Living with a hernia
Gonna be my ruination
Living with a hernia
Got to have an operation
Feel so old, ow

Too much bad pain
Good God, drives me insane
Can't run, barely crawl
Got a bulge in my intestinal wall

Walk real funny, bless my soul
Can't play tennis and it's hard to bowl
You can't even do the splits now
Say it
Better call it quits now
Now I'm sick of all this dancin' anyhow

Living with a hernia
Hurts me bad in a tender location
Living with a hernia
Had enough humiliation
Living with a hernia, yow
Got to have an operation

Ow, I live with a hernia
Can't get up, can't bend over
Now I live with a hernia

Wait a minute
You may not be familiar with the common types
Of hernias that you could get
So just settle down, let me clue you in

There's incomplete (incomplete)
Epigastric (epigastric)
Bladder, huh (bladder)
Strangulated (strangulated
Lumbar hernia (lumbar hernia)
Richter's hernia (Richter's hernia)
Obstructed (obstructed)
Inguinal and Direct

Living with a hernia
I said it's causin' me such irritation
Living with a hernia
Have to have my medication
Living with a hernia

Yeah, I feel bad

Queen Is All Right Now


Queen is reforming and is planning a European tour next year with former Bad Company and Free lead singer Paul Rodgers. "I won't go into more details right now, but, barring accidents, Queen and Paul Rodgers will be on the road, pretty much for sure, around April 2005," guitarist Brian May wrote on his official Web site.

"It really all came about because of the Fender 50th Anniversary gig that I did with Paul Rodgers," he continued. "We were both so amazed at the chemistry that was going on in 'All Right Now' that suddenly it seems blindingly obvious that there was 'something happening here.'" According to Queen's official Web site, the shows will feature both Queen and Rodgers material.

May said the last two or three weeks have been spent discussing venues as well as material both Queen and Rodgers may approach in concert. "Suddenly the Queen Phoenix is rising from the again from the ashes, and will take precedence over everything in our lives," he added.

This is interesting in the context of Brian May's quote about the band not needing to play the songs themselves anymore. At any rate, this is awesome news.

Advanced Actors

I got an email from a reader who asked me to talk more about Advanced actors. Here's what I told him:

I don't know enough about acting to comment with much authority about which ones are true geniuses. Without identifying someone as a true genius, it would be hard for me to label them as Advanced. Marlon Brando was most likely Advanced. I think that Philip Seymour Hoffman (whom Chuck mentioned in his Esquire article) is a really great actor, and he has appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson/Coen Brothers types of projects. So for me to consider him Advanced, someone who knows a lot more about acting than I would have to prove to me that he is a genius. Then Hoffman would have to appear in movies that are seemingly out of character but not in a way that I could predict. Some big-budget action film or a sequel or something like that, but not that because that would be doing the opposite of what is expected, which is not Advanced.

So, that's my story. I guess in a perfect world this blog would have people writing about paiting, sculpture, acting (stage and film), poetry, fiction, and so on. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about all that to have an opinion about Advancement in those fields. So we're stuck with music for now.

Queen Musical (Update)

Here's a report from a friend of mine:

I saw a short performance of the Queen musical on German TV this past Saturday. Besides having the (very staid) Germans rocking in their seats (even the Burgermeister of Nuremberg was stomping and clapping to We Will Rock You), Brian May gave a brief interview at the end in which he said, among other things, that the cast was so good that they didn't even need the Queen members any more to do the music.

Part of being Advanced is always saying that other people playing your music is better than playing it yourself.

My Pixies show review is coming in a bit. There's a lot to process, and my mind is a bit rattled this morning.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Defining Moment

There is a review of a Pixies show at the In it, the reviewer says, "Tuesday night a bustling blend of college students and aging hipsters danced in the aisles and unleashed myriad standing ovations." First of all, why bash aging hipsters at a Pixies concert? Who else would be there, and what's wrong with getting old? Do I sound defensive enough? But let's take a moment to look at "myriad" just for fun. Here's what the folks at have to say:

Pronunciation: 'mir-E-&d
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek myriad-, myrias, from myrioi countless, ten thousand
1 : ten thousand
2 : a great number (a myriad of ideas)
usage Recent criticism of the use of myriad as a noun, both in the plural form myriads and in the phrase a myriad of, seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective. As the entries here show, however, the noun is in fact the older form, dating to the 16th century. The noun myriad has appeared in the works of such writers as Milton (plural myriads) and Thoreau (a myriad of), and it continues to occur frequently in reputable English. There is no reason to avoid it.

I have always tried to avoid it myself. I never really could get into Milton or Thoreau. But really the reason for this post is to inform you that I found out today that I am going to see the Pixies on Sunday. Expect a review of the show Monday.

Friday Night Lizzights

According to, "Snoop Dogg will star in and executive produce a feature based on his real-life experience of coaching his son's youth football team." Here's what Snoop had to say:

"This film is about how I learned to be a good father through coaching," Snoop Dogg said. "It's also about life lessons learned on and off the field. But most importantly during the football season, if you aren't wearing a helmet, get the f*** away from me. Football first; everything else second."

"I'm just really excited to work with Snoop," says producer Todd Lieberman. "I have been a fan for a long time, and this is actually based on his life and a very inspirational story, so I can't wait to get into it. It's the story of what Snoop did himself. In his real life as in the movie, like any regular overworked father, he put aside his whole career to coach his kid's football team. They won 13 straight games and won the Super Bowl."
Does he ever fail at anything? I think the tagline of the movie should be, "If you aren't wearing a helmet, get the f*** away from me."

Radiohead Is a Sad Salvation

I had a lot of thoughts about Radiohead, but I lost the momentum, so this is what we're left with: They are a good band, but they try just a little too hard to be interesting. Listening to their music can really be exhausting, I find. I wonder if all the noises and tricks are just their way of covering up an insecurity they have about their songwriting ability. I hope not, because I think they can write really good songs in the traditional sense.

I think, too, that they don't fully incorporate their influences into their own sound. Instead, they put big chunks of parts of other band's sounds into songs that are otherwise fairly original. I often find myself hearing U2 or even Pink Floyd. The best example is "Creep," which sounds like "The Air That I Breathe" by the Hollies with Joey Santiago on lead guitar. Of course, that is a obviously a winning formula. You can also find bits of Eric Carmen and Harry Nilsson from time to time.

I haven't thought this through much, so I'm sure there are Radiohead fans who would think I'm full of it were they to read this. But that's what the comments section is for, I guess.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Back to Back Black

There is a review of Frank Black's double CD at It's by a great friend of the Advanced Theory Blog, Andrew Beaujon, and I'd like to share a bit with you:

This double CD’s first volume is easy enough to understand. It’s a collection of demos by Charles Thompson, who later became Black Francis and later became Frank Black. It was recorded in 1987, the day before his band the Pixies went into the studio to make their first record, Come on Pilgrim. And for the type of fan who names his dog Crackity Jones, that will be recommendation enough....

Disc Two requires more explaining. So as not to leave fans who bought the demos feeling “a bit ripped-off,” Thompson says in the liner notes, he teamed up with the eclectic British trumpet-and-MIDI duo Two Pale Boys (best known for their work with David Thomas of Pere Ubu, a major Francis forebear) to re-record a passel of Pixies classics.... Perhaps a better motivation is indicated by the lyrics to “I’ve Been Tired,” in which a young Thompson expresses a desire to emulate a certain recording artist whose compulsive tinkering with his back catalog makes George Lucas seem like a preservationist. “I wanna be a singer like Lou Reed,” Thompson panted on that track. For better or worse, he got his wish.
Needless to say, I think it's for better.

Producer Was a Rolling Stone

According to, the Rolling Stones are working with Don Was (in Paris, of course). I believe Was falls into the Advanced-producer category that I have been thinking about. Another is Jeff Lynne. Rick Ruben, too, I think. Anyway, he's a bit of the article:

Was describes the Stones' new music as considerably different from their recent releases. "Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] are writing songs together in a collaborative fashion that probably hasn't been seen since the late '60s," he says. "I would say that longtime fans of the Rolling Stones will be thrilled with these results, and new fans will understand why they're the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world."

Was recalls sessions in which Jagger and Richards composed spontaneously, sometimes with Richards playing bass and Jagger on drums. "He's a great drummer," Was confides. "He's also playing a lot of guitar, and he's a really good guitar player. He's been playing bass on some things, [and] Keith is playing bass on some things. They're just great -- there's a reason that they've been the Rolling Stones for so long.

"And they can do it four times a day, every day," Was says of the pair's writing sessions, "and they're really good songs. I've never seen anything like it."

"It's not done," Was adds. "We can still f*** it up a thousand different ways, you know? But what I'm hearing now is very much in the great Stones tradition."

Was has been active throughout 2004, producing the Stones' two-disc "Live Licks" set released last month, as well as upcoming albums by Solomon Burke, Jessie Coulter and Kris Kristofferson, the latter recorded specifically for release in a surround-sound format.

Whenever someone talks about the current project of an Advanced act, it is always described as harking back to the band's glory days. It is also customary to describe it in lofty terms, even though when you actually hear the record, it sounds like the same old stuff. Well, it does to those who are not Advanced.

Tribute to Robert J Expanded, Clapton Still Awful

According to, Eric Clapton "has expanded his tribute to blues legend Robert Johnson with a DVD featuring five tracks not on the original studio release 'Me and Mr Johnson'. The DVD will feature 'Sweet Home Chicago', 'Terraplane Blues', 'From Four Until Late', 'Stones In My Passway' and a song he had previously record in the 70's 'Rambling On My Mind.' " Good to see Clapton continuing the long tradition of white musicians making money off of African American musicians. Plus, Robert Johnson's music has a haunting, mystical quality, whereas Clapton is only mystical in his badness. Though his music certainly has haunted me in his ubiquity.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Blogging Inspired by the Blogging of Atrios

There is an article at the about music that is inspired by, but not actually in, movies. Apparently there is a woman that has put out a record inspired by "The Da Vinci Code," but the movie hasn't been made yet. She hopes that the filmmakers (Ron Howard and his gang) will consider her music for the movie. I'm sure their lawyers will be contacting her immediately! On a related note, a record company that I "ran" with some friends once put out a single with a song called "Titanic," labeled as "music inspired by the music inspired by the motion picture 'Titanic.' " We avoided litigation by never getting around to releasing the single. Or renewing our P.O. Box. They can't sue you if they can't find you!

Beatles on Broadway: Update

This just in from

Two unheard John Lennon songs are to feature in a new musical about the The Beatles’s life.

Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono has given permission for ‘India, India’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Lose You’ to be included in a new Broadway production.

‘India, India’ was written when the Beatles visited India in 1968, while ‘I Don’t Want To Lose You’ was intended for The Beatles’ Anthology in 1995, but an electronic glitch made it impossible to include, reports the BBC.

The as-yet-untitled musical will debut at New York’s Broadhurst Theatre on July 7, after a world premiere in San Francisco on April 12.

In my mind, I've already got a ticket.

Wednesday Morning, 11:59

Things are slow again today. No news in the Advanced world so far. I managed to slip in a Lou Reed reference in my work, which is always entertaining. A Shania Twain album has sold more than 20 million dollars. I guess Mutt Lang knows what he's doing after all. But if you've heard "Pyromania," you know that already. Maybe there is an Advanced producer category to be established. Immediately jumping to mind is George Martin, who worked with Celine Dion and had Jim Carrey sing "I Am the Walrus." I've been listening to a lot of Internet these days, and I wonder why Depeche Mode is always on? I don't know what people see in that band.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Damn Activist Judges

From (read all the way to the last line because skipping to it will make it less funny):

If a shareholder lawsuit against the Mondavi Corporation isn't settled in the next two weeks, it will likely be decided by a judge at a Dec. 20 hearing, just two days before Mondavi shareholders are due to vote on a proposed buyout by beverage giant Constellation Brands.

Connecticut-based Bamboo Partners' class-action lawsuit against the Robert Mondavi Corporation and its board of directors shot forward Monday, with lawyers ordered to work at a frenzied pace gathering information and deposing witnesses to meet the Dec. 20 hearing deadline.

Bamboo Partners also clarified its case, filing a revised claim against the Mondavi Corporation that detailed what they say is a breach of the board of directors' duties to shareholders. They're asking a judge to order the $1.36 billion sale to Constellation stopped unless the Mondavi Corporation takes steps to ensure shareholders are treated fairly under the articles of incorporation and obtain the highest possible price per share.

"Essentially we're saying the deal should not close until it's made equal," said Jeff Westerman, a Bamboo Partners attorney based in Los Angeles.

The suit was filed after Mondavi received a $1.3 billion buyout offer from New York-based Constellation, but before the company ultimately accepted an offer sweetened to $1.36 billion. Bamboo Partners was selected at a Nov. 9 hearing to be the lead representative of shareholders. Attorneys for the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, who filed a similar case against Mondavi, have appealed the designation of Bamboo Partners as lead plaintiff to the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Lawyers representing the Mondavi Corporation and Constellation attended a Monday afternoon hearing where the two sides laid out their cases in front of Napa County Judge W. Scott Snowden. The judge took advantage of the absence of a court reporter to quote extensively from Bob Dylan songs.

Tom Waits as Martin Mulls

In 1976 and 1977, Tom Waits toured with Martin Mull. Whatever happened to that grand old tradition of having comics open for musicians? Like when Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees.


Go here to see "Lou Reed's 'The Raven' Net Version." Willem Defoe is the narrator. Of course, the best interpretation of "The Raven" was by Dan Castellaneta.

Cheech and Chong

According to, Tommy Chong will be appearing in "The Marijuana-logues," which is a stoner version of "The Vagina Monologues." That is some fairly Advanced business. He recently got out of jail for selling drug paraphernalia, though he considers himself something of a political prisoner. Apparently, he had a deal working that would give him house arrest, but it fell through when he said that his bongs were the only WMD Bush found. So he spent some time in minimum-security prison. But here is the best news of all, and I'll turn it over to the article:

Since the arrest, he's been drug-free, a condition of his parole. It doesn't really bother him. "Because of my age, I can't party with the big guys anyway," he says. "I haven't seriously smoked pot in years."

Nonetheless, he's sure to enliven "The Marijuana-Logues," for which he'll provide some new material. In the spring, he and Marin are scheduled to start shooting another Cheech & Chong movie, "Grumpy Old Stoners."

That is the most Advanced name I can think of for a Cheech and Chong reunion movie.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Joshua Trio

I watched a show on Trio (rapidly developing as the new home for Advanced music) that was basically a long advertisement for their greatest-hits record from a while back (1990-2000). U2 as a group flirts with Advancement, but as I have said, it seems as though an artist needs to go solo to be fully Advanced. Within the group, though, I think the Edge might be the most Advanced of them all. In the show, he says something like, "Rock'n'roll, Marshall stacks, turn it up loud, that's me." I was also impressed by his various looks during the nineties, especially his gay biker look and his many cowboy hats. (An aside: I'm thinking that cowboy hats might just be one of those accessories that can be either Advanced or Overt, depending on who is wearing them. Bob Dylan wears one these days. He also has a pencil-thin mustache. A unironic mustache is a sign of Advancement.) Anyway, the show included all the members talking about how awesome U2 is and how bands that stay away from bigness are pansies. (That's a paraphrase.)

Trio also shows Lou Reed in concert from time to time. It is from the era where he made the mullet the most important hairstyle in Advanced rock'n'roll and his bass player used a standup electric. I haven't seen it, but it borders on intolerably Advanced, according to Britt.

P.S. I think there is a U2 cover band called the Joshua Trio. I thank them for their inspiration.

Synergistic Blues, Part Seventeen

Dana Stevens at slate has an interesting theory about why Bob Dylan appeared on "60 Minutes":

So why was Dylan doing his first interview in nearly twenty years? The answer may lie in something Steve Kroft told viewers at the top of the hour, before the Dylan segment aired: Dylan's new autobiography, Chronicles: Volume One, is published by Simon and Schuster, which, like CBS, is owned by Viacom. Earlier this year, 60 Minutes took heat for failing to tack on a similar disclaimer after an interview with Richard Clarke about the publication of his new book, also with Simon and Schuster. The newsmagazine has featured recent stories on Viacom properties like Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle, as well as Jim Carrey, whose upcoming film Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events comes from Paramount, another Viacom company. Was this uninspired interview just another compulsory stop on the press junket?

I would say that sounds about right. But, then again, maybe Bob Dylan always wanted to meet Ed Bradley.

Rainy Days and Mondays

It's a rainy day and it's Monday, which must mean I'm doubly down. What's worse is that nothing is going on in the world of Advancement. Billy Idol is coming out with a new record, which is promising. I missed the Bob Dylan interview on "60 Minutes" and foolishly forgot to set the recorder. Unless the interview is next week, in which case, forget that. I've got some thoughts about Elvis that I hope to share a little later. For now, I'll just say that he made the only truly cool Christmas song, "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" (I think that's the title). I remember when the Honeydrippers--Advanced, by the way--covered that song on "SNL," and it really knocked me out. Really great backup singing. There are other good Christmas songs, of course, but none of them rise to the level of "cool," a word that I'm sort of embarrassed to use, though it perfectly describes what I'm talking about. And this blog is not the place to be embarrassed, so what the heck.

Anyway, hopefully I'll have more for you this afternoon.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Rockabilly Shakespeare (Update: You Are Number Six)

A professor at East Tennessee State University researched Shakespeare's ties with country music. Go here to read all about it. What caught my eye was this:

"He also discovered instances of country music artists performing Shakespeare, including Jerry Lee Lewis playing Iago in a stage production in the late '60s."

Who knew?

Update: Jerry Lee Lewis was Iago in "Catch My Soul," a musical (what else) produced by Jack Good. It was later turned into a movie directed by Patrick "The Prisoner" McGoohan. Richie Havens played Othello. Man, I love the Internet!

We Gotta Get Out of This Chorus

Isn't it such a bummer when the chorus of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" kicks in? The verse is so nice and moody, then it builds, but the chorus so whimpy. The same thing could have happened with "Light My Fire," but they did a good job of masking the weak chord progression. It's often difficult to come up with a chorus or a bridge that lives up to the rest of the song. I like the way they used to handle it at Stax: They just lifted parts they liked from other songs and tacked them on to their own. Of course, usually they wrote the other song, too, but for another act.

Stevie Wonder

According to, Stevie Wonder has a new album coming out. It's called "A Time 2 Love" and it "will be Wonder's first studio set since 1995's 'Conversation Peace,' which debuted at No. 16 on The Billboard 200." 'I didn't mean for that to happen,' he says of the amount of time that elapsed between projects. 'On the other hand, it wasn't a panic-mode situation, either, where we've got to do this or we're going to have a problem up in here.' "

I'll be anxious to hear some of that because he Advanced. Don't think he's Advanced? Well listen to this:

"After 'Time' is released, Wonder says he has 'three immediate goals': a 'jazz album with harmonica,' a gospel album and a musical."

Please note goals one and three.

Dumb vs. Smart

As I sit here being rocked by "Don't Look Back" by Boston, I wonder why I tend to laugh at myself when I'm listening to classic-rock songs but not when I'm listening to "modern" rock. It seems like people have a tendency to think of bands like Boston and Journey as great, but essentially dumb, whereas bands like Franz Ferdinand or Stereolab are smart. I wonder if that is because the classic-rock groups tend to deal with universal topics in a straightforward manner while the "modern" rock bands keep a distance from the subjects, whatever they may be. Is it a question of sophistication? You don't get much more sophisticated musically than Journey, but are the lyrics to "Faithfully" silly? I know that song moves me more than anything by the White Stripes, yet I tend to think of those bands in entirely separate categories. The White Stripes somehow have more legitimacy in my mind, even though when I'm honest with myself, I'd rather hear Journey in general. So I guess it's kind of dumb of me to think that the smart bands are better than the dumb ones. The best bands, I guess, are the ones who pull off dumb rock but still appear smart.


There is a story in the op-ed section of the NY Times about how Columbia records almost missed out on "Like a Rolling Stone." Apparently, sales and marketing at the record company weren't too pleased with rock'n'roll, plus the song was too long, so the record was stuck in limbo. But a fan of the record (and the writer of the piece), took an acetate to a club for the DJ to play, and everyone loved it, including important DJs. As the writer tells it, he saved the company from making a huge mistake.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Getting Technical

Well, I just linked you to an article about Supertramp, and something tells me you might not do that. So I'm going to link you to the same website, and you can learn about how David Bowie made "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars." The website is very technical, but it tells you a lot about how different artists got their sound. It's really pretty fascinating.

What I Love About the Internet

While I was on the treadmill this morning, "The Logical Song" by Supertramp came on. I have always wondered if that bleeping sound near the end was a Mattel football game, so when I got to work I looked it up and found that the sound was indeed a Mattel football game that belonged to an engineer who was working in a studio nearby. If you want to learn more about "The Logical Song" and Supertramp in general, go here. When I visited there, I learned some fascinating things. I had no idea that they were initally funded by a Swiss millionaire and their guitar amps were miked with Neumann U87s.

Twenty-First Century Schizoid Manzerek

I have recently begun to think that Ray Manzarek might be Advanced. In light of that, here's something I read at

The Doors of the 21st Century have been confirmed for the Melbourne International Music Festival in February 2005. Ian Astbury, former lead singer of the Cult, is the vocalist for Doors of the 21st Century, taking the part of original singer Jim Morrison. The band once featured former Police drummer who replaced original drummer John Densmore who could not continue to perform with the band because of ill health. He found out he was out of the band after reading it in Billboard. He sued the band. Copeland lasted just one month and also sued the band, this time for $1million.

I hadn't heard about the lawsuits. Being involved in acrimonious legal proceedings is a good sign of Advancement. And it is always good to boot out original members, especially without telling them (Page/Plant). Ray Manzerek has always seemed pretty awful to me, but I'm finally coming around to his way of thinking.

Stewart Copeland's involvement in the band is pretty Advanced, by the way.

Appearing on News Magazines Blues, Part Eighteen

Bob Dylan will be appearing on "60 Minutes" this weekend. I wonder when people will stop referring to interviews with him as "rare."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Brothers and Sisters

One other thing about Lou's recommendations: It just occurred to me recently that there might be a connection between "Sister Ray" and Brother Ray (including heroin). Funny how that kind of thing can slip right past you. It's sort of like my missing the joke "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" for about 32 years. Maybe I'm just dumb?

Lou Reed Bleeps

I stopped by Lou Reed's website and saw this:

Lou Recommends:
What the Bleep Do We Know
Brother Ray by Ray Charles and David Ritz
Chronicles, Vol.1 by Bob Dylan
Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew

I haven't heard anything about this Bleep business, so I did a little research. Here's what Roger Ebert had to say about the movie:

Among the experts on the screen, I wrote, "only one seemed to make perfect sense to me. This was a pretty, plumpish blond woman with clear blue eyes, who looked the camera straight in the eye, seemed wise and sane, and said that although the questions might be physical, the answers were likely to be metaphysical. Since we can't by definition understand life and the world, we might as well choose a useful way of pretending to."

This woman, I later learned, was the psychic JZ Knight, who channels a 35,000-year-old mystical sage from the lost continent of Atlantis. Still later, a letter to the Answer Man from an actual physicist, Rubin Safaya, informed me: "The individuals who are quoted are pretty far from qualified experts on the field of quantum mechanics."

The film is what it is, a group of people trying to explain the nature of reality. The confusion comes if you think they are discussing physics, when in fact they are discussing metaphysics. There is nothing wrong with having a belief system and using it to fashion your worldview; the error comes in ascribing scientific truth to what is by definition a matter of faith.

The argument between Darwinians and Creationists is similar: Darwinians use science, Creationists use faith. "Creationist science" is laughed at by reputable scientists because it tries to use its easily refuted "science" to explain a belief that grows from and depends entirely on faith. By the same token, although the Ramtha School may indeed have valuable insights into the nature of reality, it is misleading to present them as science.

So that's what Mr. Ebert had to say.

Go here for more bleep stuff. While you're there, you can find out how to "spend a day with the Seattle IONS Community and Dr. Fred Alan Wolf! Using the basic principles of physics as outlined in his new book, "The Yoga of Time Travel," you will see how your experiences in time are created from a sub-space time realm."

None of this makes any sense to me, but one has to defer to the judgment of the Advanced.

You Make Me Feel Like Blogging

I haven't been able to post anything this morning because there were technical problems with the blog. Now that I am back on, I can can tell you that I prefer Leo Sayer's work to Sting's solo material.