Thursday, September 30, 2004

This Is Why They Invented the DVD

Here is the complete review of the new Gene Simmons DVD at something called pitch.com:

Speaking in Tongues completes Gene Simmons' transition from demon-bat rock god to David Lee Roth-like bag of gas. This 65-minute DVD offers a soulless romp through all things Gene, straining to give his shallow existence a whiff of meaning and importance. It's all everywhere and nowhere at the same time -- a smarmy spoken-word performance in Australia, a self-aggrandizing tour of his gaudy Hollywood mansion, shout-outs from inebriated "celebrities" such as Poison guitarist C.C. Deville, Simmons hamming it up with siliconed Barbie dolls at a video shoot. Throughout, Simmons comes across as an arrogant jerk in serious need of a sense of humor. When he isn't plugging his endless array of products like a carnival huckster, he finds time to dole out condescending advice ("Nobody is allowed to insult you without your permission") that makes Tony Robbins sound like Milton. As with everything Simmons touches, Tongues reeks of cheapness; the production is awash in tacky sound effects, garish visuals, grainy camcorder footage and, worst of all, a laugh track. Not that it needs one -- Tongues draws plenty of inadvertent guffaws on its own.

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Though there is some disagreement in the Advanced community about whether Gene Simmons is Advanced, I have to say that this DVD sounds completely awesome.

When I Cannot Sing My Heart, I Can Only Put Up Pictures of Bare Breasts

According to a story in the Guardian, "[r]esidents of Liverpool - the city that bred her late husband, John Lennon - lodged complaints about her photograph of a naked woman hanging from a war memorial." The picture, which has been taken down, was a large banner across the St. Luke's church. People were upset because "Ono's image, entitled My Mummy Was Beautiful, stood over the steps of the church which was left as a shell after it was hit by Nazi incendiary bombs." She said that the image was a tribute to John Lennon's mother, Julia. Ono is also responsible for "[p]ictures of shaved pubic hair and nipples also appear on billboards on Church Street, in the heart of the city's shopping district."

I can think of no better tribute to someone's mother than a picture of a naked breast draped over a bombed out church/war memorial, though the billboards featuring shaved pubic hair and nipples might be just a tad much.

Yet Another Musical, Johnny Cash Edition

Saw this at mtv.com:

The Man in Black will soon be coming to the Great White Way. Production on "Ring of Fire," a Broadway musical based on the life and times of Johnny Cash, is under way and expected to debut next year.

"Ring of Fire" tells the story Cash's entire life through more than 49 of his songs, from "A Boy Named Sue" to "Folsom Prison Blues." The play is in the early stages of creative development, though a final script has been written by Tony winner Richard Maltby Jr., who will also direct.

"The story is carried through the lyrics of the songs, because he was the icon of American music," said Randy Bloom, general manager of Phoenix Productions, the company that is co-producing "Ring." "Johnny's life was extremely multifaceted; from prison and drug abuse to born-again and obscurity, to stardom and back to obscurity again, and then a resurgence prior to his death."
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I guess.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Two Great Dylan Covers

Go to the essential kitty text to listen to Dylan's very loose covers of "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and "Yesterday." Very good and very Advanced.

And the Award for Most Pointless Greatest Hits Collection Goes to...

Neil Young. Check out the tracks on his "new" collection:

Down by the River
Cowgirl in the Sand
Cinnamon Girl
Helpless
After the Gold Rush
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Southern Man
Ohio
The Needle and the Damage Done
Old Man
Heart of Gold
Like a Hurricane
Comes a Time
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
Rockin' in the Free World
Harvest Moon

NIcely done, Neil Young. Of course, Lou Reed is the master of retread Greatest Hits collections, but this collection is amazingly worthless. I mean Advanced.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hendrix Slays 'Em at Monterey Pop Festival

This is from the Sun Times:

The Beach Boys canceled a headlining appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Jimi Hendrix told the crowd that it had heard the last of what he derisively called "the psychedelic barbershop quartet."
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Ouch! I think that description is perfect.

Bob Dylan in Newsweek

Choice bits from the Bob Dylan interview in newsweek:

"I'm sort of doing what I want to do? I mean not sort of what I want to do, I am doing what I want to do. Or what I believe I was put here to do." He's got six or eight songs toward a new album, and he hopes to finish more before he goes back on the road next month. Then he wants to start re-recording many of his old songs, this time "with the proper structures. A lot of these songs can have, like, a dozen different structures to them. I can't hope to do all that. But I can provide a few things for future generations."

[Rerecording old stuff is classic advanced. Lou Reed is the master of doing that.]

As Dylan sees it, his fame distorted not only his life but his art; he reacted to it with new music calculated to baffle expectations, and he ended up baffling himself. "I didn't know what it was I was really doing. I was going on reputation. Which buys you a certain sum, but you're not in control. And until you gain control, you're never quite sure you're doing the right thing? In my case anyway? So I went for a long time precisely on that fame that we're talking about. But—it was like a bag of wind. I didn't realize it was slipping away until it had slipped away." And how long did this go on? "Artistically speaking, it would have to have begun sometime in Woodstock—not personally, but in a public way—till maybe when that 'Time Out of Mind' record came out." I command myself to keep my mouth shut. He's talking about the 25 years that produced "Blood on the Tracks," "Slow Train Coming," "Shot of Love," "Infidels" and its sublime outtakes....

[I was disapointed to hear him disparage the work that he had done when he was trying to confuse his audience until I read that he was talking about records that everyone loves. Then I understood.]

Elvis Costello in Rolling Stone

There's an interview with Elvis Costello at rollingstone.com. Here's my favorite part:

"I just am rock & roll," he says with a grin on a recent morning in a Manhattan hotel room. "I don't have to protest that hard. A lot of rock & rollers are afraid to do things because they won't look good doing it: 'A rocker wouldn't do that.' I'll put on a suit if I feel like it. It's not about the clothes. It's about here," pointing to his head.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Tom Waits, Human Beatbox

A promising description of Tom Waits's new album from billboard.com:

Known for refusing to conform to any style or structure, Waits is said to have combined everything from funk and Jamaican rhythms to urban and rural blues on "Real Gone." The set features such cuts as the comic, funky and instructional "Metropolitan Guide," the R&B/hip-hop inspired "To of the Hill" (featuring vocal percussion supplied by Waits) and the rock-steady groover "Sins of the Father."
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Plus, Les Claypool plays on the record.

Melbourne Puts AC/DC Back on the Map

According to this, they're renaming a street in Melbourne after AC/DC:

Melbourne, the city where AC/DC traveled down the main street of on a flatbed truck singing 'It's A Long Way To The Top' in 1976, will honour the band on Friday October 1 by renaming Corporation Lane AC/DC Lane.

But This Zimmerman Is

There are a lot of articles about Bob Dylan's new autobiography, but I particularly enjoyed this bit from the NME:

He said that life improved for him in the Eighties. "In my real life I got to do the things that I love the best...Little League games, birthday parties, taking my kids to school, camping trips, boating, rafting, canoeing, fishing...I was living on record royalties."
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I think part of being Advanced is realizing the importance of having a real life. Sure it's fun to live the overt rock'n'roll lifestyle, but that is an empty experience. Settling down is much more fulfilling. And Advanced.

Not All Zimmermans Are Advanced

There is a review of Elvis Costello's new ablum in the Washington Post here. The writer, Shannon Zimmerman seems to be annoyed that he has to review it for some reason. He really lost me with this:

Costello, after all, was the closest the punk era ever came to producing a Bob Dylan, a genuine rock poet who, at his best, was capable of conjuring and dismissing Winston Churchill, apartheid and the National Front in one single, improbably well-turned phrase. His other patented specialty involved setting those phrases to melodies that Abba -- not to mention the Buzzcocks -- would've positively drooled for.

With a pedigree like that, connect-the-dots pop just doesn't get it done. And that goes double for ill-advised forays into Bacharachian la-la land and winsome collaborations with Paul McCartney. Suffice it to say that while Elvis Costello in his prime used to be disgusted, for most of the last two decades he's mostly just seemed confused.
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First of all, he was drooling over Abba's melodies, not the other way around. Second, his condemnation of Costello's collaborations with Bacharach and McCartney strikes me as standard thought-free overt criticism. And to say that Elvis Costello is somehow confused is just silly. He has always known exactly what he was doing.

Update: Apparently, Shannon Zimmerman is a man, not a woman as I originally thought. See what happens when you fire your fact checkers?

High School Student Grapples With Advancement

I was just browsing through the Fairbanks "Daily News-Miner" (as I always do on Monday mornings) when I discovered this review of Lou Reed's recent live album, "Animal Serenade." The reveiw was written by a high school student who is Velvet Underground fan but is a bit confused by Lou Reed's new sound. While acknowledging that Reed is "a legend of rock'n'roll," he says that he was a bit disappointed with the reworking of VU songs. He is annoyed by Fernando Saunders' presence in the band, especially the vocals. But I think this young writer has a future in appreciating advancement. He finds Reed's voice "refreshing" and enjoys the opening of the record where the musicians are introduced while they play a song (introducing the band members during a jam is Advanced). And I was very pleased to read this: "Another very, very cool number is 'How do you think it feels' which has an awesome opening guitar riff that I could jam to all day." Now that is an Advanced thing to say. Good job, Cameron Casper!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Why Wasn't I Invited?

From cnn.com:

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- Michael Jackson, frequently savaged in the tabloid press, was picked apart by more rarified critics as scholars gathered for a conference on the pop star at Yale University. Eighteen scholars from U.S. universities discussed sexual, racial and artistic aspects of Jackson's life and music Thursday and Friday in the first academic meeting to study him.

Jackson "in many ways is the black male crossover artist of the 20th century," said Seth Clark Silberman, who teaches about race and gender at Yale. "He has grown up in front of us, so we have a great investment in him, even though some people today may find his image disturbing." Other universities have hosted conferences about Madonna and other pop stars, Silberman said...

Since his days as a child star, Jackson has made his image increasingly strange and contrary to sexual and racial expectations, Silberman said. Panelists discussed Jackson's plastic surgery and his skin tone change from dark to light (which Jackson says is due to a condition called vitiligo). Todd Gray, who was Jackson's personal photographer for four years, described how Jackson asked him to retouch photos to make him appear lighter-skinned.

Record executives wanted Jackson to appear masculine in photos, while Jackson preferred pictures of himself kissing animals or hugging the Mickey Mouse mascot at Disneyland, Gray said. Jackson often explores racial issues in his music, noted another panelist, Nora Morrison, a graduate student from Harvard University. In the video for "Beat It," she said, Jackson breaks up a fight between a black gang and a white gang, whose members then join in his dance moves.

Megan Burns, who is pursing a master's degree in fine art, said she looks at Jackson as "a self-created piece of art." "He's contributed to the national discussion of race and gender, and that is an invaluable topic for all of us to discuss," she said.
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One thing they forgot to mention: He's advanced.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Michael Jackson

I think he is advanced. He may or may not be guilty of what he has been accused of, but he is obviously mentally ill. However, I have enjoyed every single he has released in his career. I might not have loved them, but they've all been good, and some have been great.

News Channel 15 Concerned About Sinead O'Connor's Sanity

From News Channel 15 in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

Sinead O'Connor has taken out a full-page ad to proclaim her sanity. The former pop star claims in the Irish Examiner newspaper ad that she's "consistently ridiculed" and "called mad." She asks "not be bashed and called crazy and laughed at" when she sings or speaks. The two-thousand-word essay also asks "If ye all think I am such a crazy person why do ye use me to sell your papers?" During her career, O'Connor specialized in attention-seeking stunts. In 1992, she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul on "Saturday Night Live." She also refused to allow the National Anthem to be played at her concerts in the U-S.
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Why this would be included on the News Channel 15 website is really beyond me. I mean, if ye all think there's a reason, I'd like to hear it.

I really like Sinead O'Connor's music, especially "Mandinka," though I have no idea what it is about.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Jung, Paramahansa Yogananda, Beards, and Vests

Some bits of an interview with David Johansen:

"I'd been reading The Portable Jung," famed New York Dolls frontman David Johansen explains. "If you accept his theory of development, you take everything you've been doing and throw it all away every twelve years or so, to keep yourself interested in life. People who get into that 'Been there, done that' mindset are looking at life as a system that can be used up, but there's so much to know, so much to do, especially in music and the arts. The Jungian thing is to keep an open mind about things. I thought it would be fun to fool around with Syl and Arthur again, and I said, 'Okay, I'll do it.'"

Even if the Dolls' intentions are good, there's still the danger of tainting the band's "legacy," such as it is. "A lot of people ask me how I feel about doing the old Dolls songs," Johansen admits. "And when I look back, the first time I started thinking about that was when I was walking up onto the stage. It all happened so fast -- the rehearsals, the trip to England -- that I never had a thought about doing the show. I just went up there and wailed into the mic, and it all came back to me. Paramahansa Yogananda has a saying: 'Every day can be the best day of your life.' And that's the way it turned out."

The concerts have drawn rave reviews from critics, many praising the Dolls' still-palpable energy. Not too band for a bunch of geezers (well, okay, two geezers) approaching sixty. "Despite my misspent youth, I'm in the best shape of my life," Johansen says. "I'm constantly surprised by my endurance. I haven't put it to the test in a while, 'cause in the last band [the Harry Smiths, which explored the acoustic roots of American folk and blues] I was sitting on a stool with a guitar and a beard. Now I'm shaved -- except for some impressive muttonchops -- and jumping around on stage like a man two years younger than I am. Age is an odd thing. Turns out we're impervious to it. When I was a kid and looked at someone my age, he was likely to be a tired-looking, baldheaded father who wore a vest."
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Advanced people usually describe their latest work in grandiose terms. In this interview, Johansen manages to bring up Jung and Paramahansa Yogananda when talking about a New York Dolls reunion. I want to hear more about the difference between a man who wears a beard and one who wears a vest.

I'd like to add that everyone at my wedding formed a conga line when "Hot, Hot, Hot" came on, and it was wonderful fun.

The Two Most Advanced Instruments

The guitar without a headstock and the stand-up electric bass (Lou Reed has used both, of course). The key-tar is not advanced because there is no chance of its being taken seriously.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

This Is CCR

Another funny headline at cnn.com:

"John Fogerty is happy with himself"

While My DVD Gently Weeps

Something odd from reuters:

Capitol Records on Tuesday said it will soon release a new DVD with performances by George Harrison as well as archival footage featuring the ex-Beatle talking about his solo career and formation of his label, Dark Horse Records.

The 75-minute DVD, included in Capitol's recently released Harrison boxed set, "The Dark Horse Years, 1976-1992," will be released individually in the United States on Nov. 2.

The film sports seven music videos for such tracks as "Got My Mind Set on You" and "When We Was Fab" and four live clips from Harrison's 1991 Japanese tour with Eric Clapton ("Taxman," "Cloud 9," "Devil's Radio" and "Cheer Down").

Also included are three extracts of Harrison performing in the 1986 Madonna film "Shanghai Surprise" and studio clips of the artist dueting with Vicki Brown on the title song. Elsewhere, Harrison discusses his solo career and the motivation for forming his Dark Horse label.
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I'm interested in the motivation for creating this DVD. I can't imagine anyone wanting this thing, but I do love my "When We Was Fab."

I Don't Know Who Dan Hicks Is

I read this at rollingstone.com:

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks' new album Selected Shorts boasts contributions from Hicks' fellow iconoclasts Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Van Dyke Parks and head Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes. Set for release October 26th, the thirteen-track concoction of jazz, swing and folk features the veteran Hicks backed by a band composed of legendary drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan) and original Hot Licks violinist Sid Page, as well as some female call-and-response provided by the Lickettes.

The follow-up to 2000's Beatin' the Heat -- which featured Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Brian Setzer and Rickie Lee Jones -- Selected Shorts is just the tenth LP of new material in Hicks' thirty-five-year recording career, a deliberate pace he's happy to maintain. "I used to pick up my guitar and write songs every day," he says. "I don't really do that much now."
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This gentleman keeps some extremely advanced company. Time for some research.

The Who's Who of Advancement

From billboard.com:

In related news, Who vocalist Roger Daltrey will join David Crosby, former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts, E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren and Poison's Bret Michaels at the fourth Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. The event will be held Feb. 17-21 in Los Angeles.
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I used to think that Roger Daltrey was not advanced and that Pete Townshend was. But now I'm not so sure because Daltrey does a lot of advanced things, like taking part in a Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp with Bret Michaels, for instance. Pete Townshend can get rather overt sometimes, but then again, he made that album about the robot, so who knows?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sting Again

I'm listening to "Message in a Bottle" right now, which brings me back to the old question: What's the deal with Sting? No matter how much I try to understand, he just eludes me. I do believe that Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland made him a lot better than he would have been without them. But the songs he wrote really were amazing. Yet, the songs he writes now are just so unbelievably bland. Is he advanced? Is he awful? Who knows? I can usually tell in my gut whether someone is advanced, but not Sting. If only I didn't love the Police so much, I could just dismiss Sting. But they were way too good and original for me not to figure out what the deal is. I think what I need to do is listen to tons and tons of Sting's solo work and make up my mind once and for all. Anything for science, I guess.

John Cale and Charlie Brown

There is a nice article about John Cale at washingtonpost.com. Here's something that I found amusing:

"Things" is a song of seduction that touches on warfare, geography, Warren Zevon, language and even Charlie Brown -- good grief.
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John Cale stays on the overt side, but I think he's more advanced than people realize.

Monday, September 20, 2004

An Extremely Depressing Question

CNN.com asks, "Who will replace Phish?"

Give Broadway a Chance

According to some radio station in Houston, there is a John Lennon musical on the way:

A musical about the life of former Beatle John Lennon is set to open on New York's Broadway next summer, in time for the 25th anniversary of his murder. The show, titled Lennon and written and directed by TV veteran Don Scardino, will mainly include post-Beatles songs such as "Imagine," "Give Peace a Chance" and "Whatever Gets You Through The Night."
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If Yoko is involved, this is advanced. If not, this guy Don Scardino is a bit of a crumb-bum.

Tres Advanced Hombres

For a lesson in advancement, please go to zztop.com, then check out the pictures of the band through the years. The advancement is truly amazing.

Streets Hassle

From NME.com:

The video for THE STREETS' new single has been banned due to its explicit content.

The video for ’Blinded By The Lights’ depicts frontman Mike Skinner taking drugs at a wedding, where he is left battered and bruised after a fight.

It also features a friend of Skinner receiving oral sex and filming in the incident with his mobile phone.
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Doesn't get much more overt than this.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I'm So Overt, I'm So Goddamn Overt

From billboard.com:

Punk-era New York music icons Patti Smith and Television have made plans to share a stage for the first time since 1977. The artists will perform Oct. 2 at Gotham's Roseland Ballroom.

The date is significant for Smith, as it is the 135th anniversary of the birth of spiritual/political leader Mahatma Gandhi, to whom she pays tribute on her latest album, "Trampin'," released in April via Columbia.
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That last bit is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

In Praise of Lou

Lou Reed's "Sad Song" makes me feel sad.

Nils Lofgren

I don't know much about him, other than his playing guitar in the E Street Band, but I was interested to read this review of his album "Nils" at allmusic.com. It's long, but worth a read:

"No Mercy," with special effects recorded at Madison Square Garden, has the sentiment of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer." The double entendre being the rock musician oftentimes works on the same stage as the fighter, of course, punching away in the ring of life. Nils Lofgren is a veteran who has performed with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and so many others, working here with producer Bob Ezrin who helped create Pink Floyd's The Wall. As with any great artist, Ezrin brings in his various contacts which color the recordings he makes, insuring a product that is as much the producer's as it is Nils Lofgren's. Dick Wagner co-wrote the hits "Only Women Bleed" and "You And Me" with Alice Cooper. Their "I Never Cry" gets a sequel of sorts as Wagner rejoins his former singer Lou Reed to compose "I'll Cry Tomorrow" -- Ezrin also brought Reed in to co-write some of the Kiss album The Elder, and all these recordings share a thread which is worth noting. With backing vocals and a big sound, "I'll Cry Tomorrow" is smooth and blends in nicely with this collection. Randy Newman's "Baltimore," with solid drumming by Alan Schwartzberg and a great hook, gets six minutes plus to play out. It's is fun to hear Newman's work put in this setting. Wagner and Lofgren write the semi-acoustic pop "Shine Silently," with a charming vocals by Nils. It, and the Lou Reed/Nils Lofgren song "I Found Her," are the two best tracks on the album. "I Found Her" sounds like '60s pop that neither Lou or Nils have been affiliated with, truly unique for both artists. It is more sugary than "Sunday Morning" by the Velvet Underground, bringing that side of Reed out when he was a staff songwriter for Pickwick. "A Fool Like Me," also written by the duo, has more pop sensibilities than Reed's work on some of his own recordings during this period -- his three titles with Nils Lofgren here are a good addition to his songbook. "You're So Easy" is a Wagner/Ezrin/Lofgren composition. The dancey beat, elegant guitars, and clearcut chorus make it a fun track. With a different feel from the Ezrin produced disc by guitar hero Steve Hunter who performed with Dick Wagner in both Lou Reed and Alice Cooper's bands -- Hunter and Wagner having reunited in 2000 for about six dates, and continuing to work together -- Lofgren seems to bring out something different in Ezrin's approach to working with another guitar master.

Just What I've Always Wanted

From Bob Dylan's website:

Win a Baseball Signed By Bob Dylan And Willie Nelson ! Only at The-IRD.com

Bob Dylan is on tour with special guest Willie Nelson, travelling to U.S Minor League baseball parks across the country! To celebrate, The-IRD.com is offering you the chance to win a baseball signed by both Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson! This rare prize is brought to you by www.The-IRD.com *The Independent Record Store Directory*
Visit The-IRD for details.

Nice Try, Green Day Part II

Here is a description of a performance of Green Day's "rock opera" from NME:

A sold out crowd of several thousand fans packed the city’s Henry Fonda Music Box Theatre as the group introduced their concept record with the help of additional instrumentalists and costumed women.

Dressed in short senorita outfits and cropped black wigs, two women provided a card reading ‘Act 1,’ shortly before 8.30PM local time. Green Day then came out launching straight into the album opening cut, ’American Idiot’.

During 'American Idiot’s 60-minute, 21-song airing, the Northern California outfit were joined at times by two additional guitarists, a backing vocalist, a piano player, saxophonist, trumpeter and a percussionist, although some of the artists doubled up. The performance also featured flashing lights, dropping banners, and confetti explosions.

‘American Idiot’ is the band’s most ambitious collection to date, a ‘Tommy’-style rock opera and barbed attack on post-war on terror America. Billie Joe Armstrong told MTV: "The record has a storyline throughout it that follows a character by the name of Jesus Of Suburbia. It’s about him coming of age and the growing pains that are involved in it and seeing if he makes the right choices or the wrong choices or whatever choices that come to him.
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As I mentioned in an earlier post ("Making the Band"), if you want to have an Advanced band, you need female backup singers, a saxophonist, a keyboard player and someone playing "percussion." I applaud Green Day for trying their best, but they just will never be able to be advanced.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I Love My Calendar Lou

There is a great Lou Reed calendar at Lou Reed's website. The name of the photographer is advanced: Mick Rock.

Hey Bud, Let's Read Bob Dylan's Book

That has to be my absolute worst headline ever. Anyway, according to a very reliable source who is also a daddy, Sean Penn will be reading for the audiobook version of the Bob Dylan autobiography.

Weakened Update

Wow! There is really nothing going on in the advanced world today. The best I could come up with is a story about how John Fogerty is upset at himself at not learning how to play guitar as well as Chet Atkins. Perhaps something interesting will happen later...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bacharach: Straight Outta Compton

Advanced artists embrace hip-hop. So I was very interested in this piece at vh1.com:

Following in the footsteps of Eminem — just much later in his career — 76-year-old songwriter/producer Burt Bacharach is turning to Dr. Dre to bring some edge to his music. So far, Dre has supplied the beats to three tracks on Bacharach's next album, which is due in 2005.

It's a challenging, freeing feeling to take an existing format — like these rigid, four-bar loops — and to see what you can write on top of it," Bacharach told the Denver Post over the weekend. "It's hard and challenging too, because it does have some restrictions."

His new project came about when his label in England, where he is more widely considered an icon, approached him about doing a "cutting-edge record."

"I had got together with Dre about a year and a half ago and talked about doing something for the album that we never did," Bacharach said. "Then he gave me the loops, and when I decided to do this album for Sony England, it seemed a natural fit."
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A natural fit, indeed.

"Rolling Stone" Doesn't Get It

From an article at rollingstone.com about "Live at Max's Kansas City: The Velvet Underground":

It's not a documentary of that last night; rather the album is arranged (by Reed and Geoff Haslam) into a fast and slow side. Why is a mystery to me–a bit of variety would've made an easier flowing record.
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I always love it when somebody thinks they no better than an advanced artist.

The Age of Video Violence

From applelinks:

Remember Graphsim, the company that brought us excellent games such as Red Faction, Summoner and F/A-18 Korea Gold? They'll soon be taking to the Mac skies once again with F/A-18 Operation Iraqi Freedom, due to ship in early october.

Mac pilots will jump into the cockpit of the Navy/Marine workhorse fighting machine, the F/A-18 Hornet, and fly the most prolific carrier-based aircraft in the Coalition arsenal. Load up with precision guided munitions and bring the forces of freedom to bear on the Iraqi regime of terror. Personally, I'd prefer to bring "Voices of Freemdom," [sic] the Lou Reed song, to bear on the Iraqi regime of terror, as I think the Iraqi citizens could better benefit from some good music than from death and destruction, but I can't imagine that would be as much fun to play on the computer.
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This person sounds advanced.

Most Advanced President: Jimmy Carter

There is something interesting at rollingstone.com about Willie Nelson and Jimmy Carter. Here are some choice bits:

While Carter was in the White House from 1977 until 1981, Nelson occasionally slept over. The two would discuss music and politics, and then Nelson would slip away to smoke pot on the roof....

The former president also half-jokingly credits Nelson's music with helping him govern. "When I was in trouble in the White House or when I wanted to have some deep thoughts, I had a very high quality hi-fi player, and the number one thing I played was Willie Nelson songs," Carter says. "All the good things I did as president, all the mistakes I made -- you can blame half of that on Willie."

Bjork Channels Todd Rundgren

There is an excellent article on slate.com about a record that Todd Rundgren did called "A Capella," which is, naturally, songs without instruments. Here's a little something:

With all the predictable approbation MedĂșlla [Bjorks new record] has received, it's worth noting that Todd Rundgren performed the same "all vocals, all the time" experiment on his album A Cappella in 1985. The mid-'80s were an antediluvian era for recording, yet Rundgren, using time-honored overdub techniques, crude sample machines, and nothing but his voice, created a lush, gorgeous record that rivals MedĂșlla for its mad-scientist invention and ambition.
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I'm pretty sure that Todd Rundgren is advanced, but I don't know quite enough about his work to say for sure.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Venti Lou

I heard "Rock and Roll" by the Velvet Underground when I got my coffee from Starbucks today. I've heard that song so many times that I usually skip it when I'm listening at home or on my headphones. But then it comes on at a Starbucks, and it sounds like the best thing I've ever heard. Say what you will about Starbucks, but they make a strong cup of coffee, and they play VU for the masses. Didn't Brian Eno once say that everyone who bought a VU record opened up a coffee shop?

Modestly Lou

Lou Reed has joined the lineup for the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in California. According to billboard.com, the event is "curated" by Modest Mouse. That's kind of like Charles Dickens doing a reading at an event curated by D.H. Lawrence called "Great Expectations."

You Can Grow Your Own Grapes

According to the always-advanced Wine Spectator, Mick Fleetwood is coming out with his own wine. He says that in his earlier, wilder days he was big beer drinker, but "singer-songwriter Al Stewart, known for his hit 'Year of the Cat,' helped Fleetwood along the path to wine appreciation." It is advanced when rockers get involved in the food business, especially if Al Stewart somehow plays a part.


Frank Black Chills Out

There is a nice little interview with Frank Black at rolllingstone.com. Here is a bit that amused me:

RS: Last year you told us that a reunion would happen only if you were "penniless or a family member needed a kidney transplant." What has changed?

FB: I got a little bit older, a little more chill. I went to the psychiatrist and got some chill pills.




Monday, September 13, 2004

What a Concept

Aimee Mann is working on a concept album. She's not advanced (actually, she is downright overt), but I always like to mention any new concept albums out there that aren't prog rock. I assume there are still prog-rock albums being released these days. Anyway, from rollingstone.com:

Aimee Mann's fifth solo album, King of the Jailhouse, will pick up where 2002's Lost in Space left off. "The last record was about addiction, and this record is about recovery," says the Oscar-nominated artist. "It takes place in the early Seventies just before the end of the Vietnam War. There's two people dating, and the guy gets sent over to Vietnam briefly and comes back and has a drug problem."
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Dude.

Too Advanced? I'll Be the Judge of That

There was an article this weekend in the NY Times about "Smile," the album that Brian Wilson said was supposed to be "a teenage symphony to God." In the article he says, "It was finally ready to be finished, ready to be accepted.... We thought it was too advanced for people at that time. We think people are now ready to understand where it was coming from. Back then, no one was ready for it." In earlier interview he said, "I thought it was too weird, I thought it was too druggie influenced, I thought the audience wouldn't get it." So he says it was too advanced, but it sounds to me like it was too overt. Brian Wilson wrote much better music when he was channeling the Four Preps and collaborating with Mike Love. When I listen to "Heroes and Villains," for instance, it just sounds like a good Beach Boys song that loses its momentum because Wilson needed to show his genius. The break in the action on that song is really nothing more than the psychedelic breakdown that every amateur songwriter puts in instead of a real bridge. But Brian Wilson had better singers and musicians than your average guy, so the breakdowns sound pretty decent. But they are just as pointless.

B-52s for Sale

From billboard.com:

The B-52s have recorded a cover of the Beatles' "Paperback Writer" for a Buick TV commercial that begins airing Sept. 19 in the United States.
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Advanced.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Elvis Costello in USA Today

Here are some good quotes from an Elvis Costello interview in USA Today:

On his new record:
Costello and his band, The Imposters, will unveil The Delivery Man, a narrative-based song cycle conceived on "that place on the road where soul and country meet." Delivery Man also features vocals by Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams.

Costello already had the songs and the title character, inspired by a true story he had alluded to in an earlier song, Hidden Shame, written for Johnny Cash. "He's an enigmatic presence who comes to this small town. He carries the secret of having committed murder as a child, though it's not stated anywhere on the record."

On his genre hopping:
"My vocation is to follow my curiosity and my passion," he says. "I have no other responsibility — none to the record company, none to the audience, certainly none to critics. If I disappoint someone who expects something different, they can just buy one of my other records — or wait for the next one."
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I love that he has an album that sounds like a concept record, especially one that has elements of soul and country. He is, after all, a British white guy.

Paul Westerberg

There's an article about Paul Westerberg's new record, "Folker," at billboard. I think he is advanced, though I missed out on the Replacements because I was little young (and on the other side of town) when they were big in Columbia, SC, where I grew up. He has certainly put out some baffling music, and if the Replacements were as great as people I respect think they are, he qualifies.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

MJ and MJ

I was looking at the track list for Michael Jackson's new box set and came across something I'd never heard of: a song called "State of Shock," featuring the Jacksons with Mick Jagger. That's something I need to hear.

Nick Cave Learns the Figure Four

From a press release:

This weekend, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are on target to make an impact on the top 40 with "Nature Boy" - a uniquely Cave-esque love song, replete with gorgeously dark motifs and an upbeat sound.  It's in stores now on CD and 7" and comes backed with the exclusive B-side "She's Leaving You".
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Interesting that they call a Nick Cave song Cave-esque. I really like Nick Cave a lot, but he's not exactly advanced, though doing a duet with Kylie Minogue was a good move.

Roll Out the Double Barrel

From allhiphop.com:

Aspiring piano players can now hone their skills by playing the music of Tupac Shakur, courtesy of The Tupac Shakur Collection, a sheet music song book for piano/vocal/chords that spans his entire career. The release of the sheet music comes on the eve of the eighth anniversary of Shakur, who was gunned down in 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Titles in the book include such hits as “California Love,” “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” “Dear Mama,” “How Do You Want It” and others. In addition to sheet music for 15 of Shakur’s top songs, the 84-page book also includes the lyrics to the late rapper’s songs as well. The collection is also approved by his mother, Afeni Shakur.
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This brought to my mind the scenes on "Happy Days" where the Cunninghams got together around the piano for singalongs.

Kill "Kill Your Idols"

There's a new book called "Kill Your Idols" where, according to its subtitle, “A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics.” I'm all for challenging the conventional wisdom, but it seems that the whole point is simply to be contrary. I'm sure I'd agree with some of the essays, especially the one that questions whether "Pet Sounds" is really all that great, but the project seems pointless. In fact, I'll call it overt, because all the book does is says the opposite of what most people say, which is the essence of overtness. It would be much more advanced to love all the albums that are torn down in this book.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Advancement Takes a Holiday

Nothing much is going on in the advanced world today. Since I can't find anything yet, you might enjoy reading reviews of Lou Reed's (or any advanced artist) records on Amazon. It's a lot of fun to read them sorted worst to best or vice versa. Hopefully there will be some advanced news later this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Most Advanced Member of the Clash

Nick Sheppard, who played guitar in the Ramones musical "Gabba Gabba Hey!"

That's a Big Guitar

From the Ramones website,

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame asked Marky [Ramone] to design a special guitar for a charity auction. The guitar is approx. 8 FT tall and intended for display purposes.... The Hall of Famer will autograph the guitar when he participates in the auction in Cleveland, Ohio on November 5th, for the wonderful charity The United Way.
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I'm glad they mentioned that the eight-foot-tall guitar was for display purposes, not for playing.

Welcome to, and Rage Against, the Machine

From Reuters:

Former Pink Floyd mainman Roger Waters released two new songs, both inspired by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq sites), via online download outlets Tuesday.

"To Kill The Child" and "Leaving Beirut" have been available for streaming on Waters' official website since Friday. They are now on sale at through iTunes, SonyConnect, Napster, Walmart.com and other digital stores.

Waters said he began work on the tunes "immediately after the invasion of Iraq." In "To Kill the Child," he targets a litany of corporations, while "Leaving Beirut" takes aim at both President Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair.

It has been more than a decade since Waters' last solo album of original material, 1992's Columbia set "Amused To Death." In 2002, he contributed a demo of "Flickering Flame" and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" to the internationally released compilation of his post-Floyd career, "Flickering Flame: The Solo Years, Vol. 1."
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I always have enjoyed the Rage Against the Machine model of protest (making millions of dollars selling a product peddled by a huge corporation). Apparently, Roger Waters does too. I wonder if Wal-Mart or Sony are included in the "litany of corporations"?

Madonna Sticks It to the Chechen Terrorists

From AP:

Madonna drew massive applause from a sold-out crowd at Paris' Bercy stadium when she dedicated a cover version of John Lennon's peace ode "Imagine" to the Russian hostage crisis.... As video images of war and children were broadcast behind her on giant screens, the 46-year-old pop diva urged fans to think about what happened in Russia and about Lennon's lyrics.
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The picture that appears next to this story is Madonna kissing Britney Spears.

Ad-vanced

I found a rather interesting article about advertising on a PR website. Unsurprisingly, the writer doesn't believe that musicians who appear in advertisements are doing anything shameful. I believe that, too, of course, because once you've mad any money as musician and especially if you get signed, you've already sold out. He points out that almost everything they do is an advertisement for someone--amplifier companies, guitar makers, radio stations, magazines, and so on--so it's pretty silly for them to claim that they don't do advertising. This paragraph caught my eye:

Ads and entertainment go hand-in-wallet in many other ways, some pretty strange. In music alone, we have all wondered about Bob Dylan's "Love Sick" in Victoria's Secret commercials (not to mention Mr. D himself smirking between shots of the lovely bodies wearing the lingerie). But don't overlook Keith Richards in the "Cover Girl" ad while "Honky Tonk Women" plays, or Willie Nelson's "Red Headed Stranger" in the Herbal Essence spot, or Iggy Pop's liquor/drug/sex-soaked "Lust for Life" blasting throughout the Royal Caribbean commercials. (Love to work with the Account Executive who was able to sell that concept!)
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There's a lot of advancement in that paragraph. And I, too, have always wondered how they sold "Lust for Life" as a cruise-ship theme song. Assuming he's getting the royalties, Iggy Pop must laugh everytime he gets one of those checks.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Labor Day

I'm off for Labor Day, so I won't be getting to the blog until Tuesday.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

David Byrne: Bold as Love

From the Denver Post:

[David] Byrne's touring with an ensemble "heavy on the percussion and heavy on the lovely, sensuous stringy sounds."

"I'm pushing it as far as I can go," he said. "A lot of people don't know what to expect. They ask, 'Does this mean that David Byrne is doing Muzak versions of his own songs?' It's not really that. It's pretty out there, but it also sounds really beautiful."

One of the recent challenges is a cover he and his band are working out. He was sure they would have it down by Colorado, so fans in Denver, Boulder and Aspen should keep their ears open to hear the former Head tackling Hendrix.

"We're working on a pretty obscure Hendrix song that I think is going to be beautiful, but it's really tough."
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I really like David Byrne's attitude about music. It seems like he can find good in just about anything, and he doesn't care what people might think. Or so it appears to me. It's pretty bold covering Jimi Hendrix, after all.

Blonde Wig on Blonde Wig

I was talking about Bob Dylan with Britt today, and he brought up something that I hadn't heard before: He said that he saw Bob Dylan performing while wearing a blond wig. There was no explanation as to why he was wearing this wig, and he did all his songs normally. I've had some trouble finding evidence of this, but I did find something on a fans' website:

Dylan and Co. made a rare appearance in this town Tuesday night and from my vantage point along the rail right in front of Bob I saw my first show with Stu Kimball replacing Fuzzy. Since the show is basically outside, except for the fences, soundcheck was visible and audible, although security people didtheir best to keep people from hangin out, repeatedly tellin folks you cant stand/sit there. Bob could be seen onstage playin guitar for soundcheck with his black skullcap, and what looked like a blond wig?
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That is mighty peculiar.

Bob Dylan Musical (Update)

From Backstage:

Dylan-Tharp Project: Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan reportedly wanted his oeuvre to be theatricalized in the same way Billy Joel's works were in Movin' Out. So Mr. Bojangles went right to the source: Movin' director-choreographer Twyla Tharp. She is currently working on a project incorporating Dylan's repertoire.
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Awesome.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Ozzy or Ozzn't He?

From the Belfast Telegraph:

[Ozzy Osbourne] is one of 20 leading musicians who have been invited to nominate their heroes for the compilation of a songwriters' Hall of Fame. Lennon and McCartney, said Osbourne, were the "f***ing catalyst for me to get into music". He added: "To me, they're the Mozarts of our time. The Beatles were the only band in rock 'n' roll history to go from a f***ing boy band to a psychedelic rock band."
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Ozzy is in the Alice Cooper school of advanced rockers. He has always cited the Beatles as the reason that he got into music, even before he was advanced. (Of course, some people feel that the Beatles never advanced beyond being a boy band.) I have always found that interesting, considering the music he has made in his career. Also, I think the "Bark at the Moon" video is fantastic.

It should be noted that Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand chose Lou Reed as his favorite songwriter in this survey.

Iggy or Iggn't He?

Iggy Pop opened up for Madonna at Slane Castle near Dublin this weekend. I think he is advanced, but he is only a minor advanced figure. He has made some great music, but he seems sort of like Lou Reed and David Bowie's kid brother to me.

One of the Most Advanced Things I've Ever Heard

Go here to hear Dee Dee Ramone/King rap (scroll down to Wednesday's entry). It is truly incredible.

Leon Redbone

I don't know if he is advanced or not, but Leon Redbone certainly deserves a mention. I came across this today, and here are some of the highlights:

"Most dedication on the part of a traveling musician is involved with staying aware of time and space." -- Leon Redbone

His early career gained momentum when Bob Dylan, in a Rolling Stone interview, mentioned that if he were ever to start a label, Redbone would be the first artist he wanted to record.

Ever the character and personality, Redbone has popularized elements of our pop culture, including advertising jingles like Anheuser Busch's "This Bud's For You."

He's acted in the offbeat feature film "Candy Mountain," provided the television theme songs to "Mr. Belvedere" and "Harry and The Hendersons" and had a memorable guest role as a quixotic, guitar-wielding guardian to the character Corky on ABC's critically acclaimed series "Life Goes On."

More recently, New York choreographer Eliot Feld performed "Paper Tiger," a ballet around 11 of Redbone's signature songs. And Redbone was the voice of a snowman in the movie "Elf."

The last time Redbone he was in the area, he recalls, an audience member brought him a sack of fresh farm cherries.He remembers how delicious they were and keeping in mind that the best ones are firm, he encourages anyone who is like minded to bring him another sack of those wonderful California cherries.

About stage performance, Redbone says,"There are two methods, one is to run out on stage and basically let loose and communicate with the audience on a personal level. The other one is to completely ignore the entire situation and try to concentrate on what it is you are doing and at the same time, not dwell on it, disconnect from your physical surroundings, which is contrary to performing. So I don't know if performing is necessarily a good definition for what I do.It may be closer to a sance [sic] than anything else."
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As I have said in the past, the Advanced Theory is mysterious even to me, so some artists will seem advanced even though they don't meet the usual criteria. I think Leon Redbone probably falls into the new category "advanced overt," but I can't prove it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Sean Penn, Elvis Costello and Harry Dean Stanton?

From Star Magazine:

On the September premiere of [CBS's hit comedy, "Two and a Half Men"], Sean Penn, Elvis Costello and Harry Dean Stanton will be playing themselves.
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Why would those three want to be on this show? Why would the producers of the show want Harry Dean Stanton? What connects Harry Dean Stanton and Sean Penn to Elvis Costello? Does Elvis Costello like the show? I find this whole thing baffling.

I'm Eighteen and I Cook It

Please check out the last name in this news item from mtv news:

Britney Spears and her mother, Lynne, have contributed a family recipe for seafood pasta to celebrity cookbook "Star Palate," which benefits the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. "Both Britney and I are committed to doing whatever we can to help further research for this devastating disease, and were honored to support this project in a significant way," the singer's mother said in a statement. The book, which will hit shelves in October, will also include how-to's from Tori Amos, Anastacia, Billy Joel and Alice Cooper...."

Twisted Sister

Again, from billboard.com:

Veteran hard rock act Twisted Sister has re-recorded its iconic 1984 album, "Stay Hungry," and will release it Oct. 5 via Eagle Rock.... [T]he new edition sports seven cuts that did not make the final cut for the original album. "[These are] obscure songs from our club days but never officially recorded then," says guitarist Jay Jay French of the extra tracks. "These songs were meant to be included on 'Stay Hungry' but were never finished."

"Even the cover art is now the way we wanted it," French adds. "It shows us as five starving musicians in street clothes in a tenement sitting at a table to represent where we came from, and the ghostly looking image of us in our stage clothes behind that shot represents what we imagined we could achieve."
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I'm not going to tell you that Twisted Swister is advanced (though they do have a song called "You Can't Stop Rock and Roll," which is currently in my exercise mix), but this is pretty amazing.

Paul Simon and Brian Eno

From billboard.com:

[Paul] Simon is at work on a new studio album with producer Brian Eno, his first since 2000's "You're the One."
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Not sure what to make of this. Brian Eno is a part of the advanced world, though I don't think he's exactly advanced himself. Paul Simon is not exactly advanced either, though his band is satisfyingly multicultural. It will be interesting what these two will cook up.

How Does Advanced Play in Iowa?

There's a pretty funny review of a recent Bob Dylan concert from the Iowa State Daily here. I particularly enjoyed this:

Through the whole show, he stood at a keyboard on the left side of the stage, facing stage right and never directly acknowledging the screaming, beer-waving masses below him. He crossed center stage only twice, once to introduce his band -- which he did facing them, not the audience -- and again at the end of his set. In this final address, Dylan, flanked by his band, turned to the crowd but stood motionless and expressionless, as if waiting to be identified in a police lineup. After a few seconds, he walked off without a farewell.
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I find his playing keyboards instead of the guitar very advanced. Not facing the audience while introducing the band is pretty good, too.

Walk This Way...to Historic Fenway Park

From rollingtone.com:

AEROSMITH frontman STEVEN TYLER has lent his voice to an innovative walking tour of Boston. The tour, called Boston: City of Rebels and Dreamers, is a cell phone-guided endeavor. Tyler will narrate the trek through city highlights including Fenway Park and the site of the Boston Massacre. Participants dial a phone number upon arrival at the location to hear Tyler's commentary.
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I wonder if he does any scatting during the tour.