Monday, February 28, 2005

Morrissey Strikes Again

Morrissey is not Advanced, though he certainly has the stature required of an Advanced artist. However, he is releasing a live record that includes hits from his old band, the Smiths. Releasing seemingly pointless live versions of old songs everyone has heard a million times is an Advanced thing to do, so maybe he will come around to Advancement one day.

Here's the track list for "Morrissey Live at Earl's Court" supplied by

'How Soon Is Now'
'First Of The Gang To Die'
'November Spawned A Monster'
'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice'
'Bigmouth Strikes Again'
'I Like You'
'Redando Beach'
'Let Me Kiss You'
'Munich Air Disaster'
'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'
'The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get'
'Friday Mourning'
'I Have Forgiven Jesus'
'The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores'
'Shoplifters Of The World Unite'
'Irish Blood, English Heart'
'You Know I Couldn't Last'
'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me'

Solomon Burke: Rock'n'Roll Adam

There is a piece on Solomon Burke's new record at He got some help (and some songs) from some Advanced people:

"I knocked this album up a couple of notches," Solomon Burke says of his latest effort, Make Do with What You Got, which hits stores March 1st. The record, the follow-up to the soul legend's high-profile 2002 return Don't Give Up on Me, finds the singer, velvety baritone intact, belting songs by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Hank Williams.

His cover of Williams' high-minded "Wealth Won't Save Your Soul" feels commanding through Burke's husky croon. "I got a chance to express the feeling of Hank Williams like nobody else could in his own country spirit," he says. "And I got a chance to say, 'Gosh, Hank, we miss you.'"

While Don't Give Up felt like an intimate secret, earnest and brooding, Make Do is celebratory and rocking, with organs and electric guitar prominent in the mix. The up-tempo sound is due both to production work by veteran Don Was (the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt) and Burke's survivor mentality.

"When you think of someone like myself -- with five decades in this business, sixty-five years old with twenty-one children and seventy-four grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren -- I've already said [to fans], 'Don't give up on me,'" says the longtime preacher and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer. "And you have to have the faith and strength yourself to say, 'I'm not giving up on me. I'm going to continue.'"
It blows my mind that Solomon Burke is responsible for the existence of 108 people.

Bono Tries to Bug Bush

Here's a litte something for you from

The New York Times has published an open letter written by U2 star Bono, appealing to President George W. Bush to end poverty in Africa. The musician writes to the US President with the hope of 'Ending the poverty that breeds violence' in this week's edition of the metropolis weekly, with the hope that the US can instigate negotiations with Europe to end suffering in the third world county:

"Americans are overtly devout," says Bono, "and yet Europeans, who inhabit a more secular world, give more per capita than Americans to what the Bible calls "the least of these" - the world's poor." "The United States is in 22nd place, last in the class of donor nations. (Add private philanthropy and it's up to 15th.) Europeans see the discrepancy, and they smell hypocrisy."

But other than that, America rocks!

Q and A

I discovered something really great in the comments about my post about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I decided to answer some of for all to see, as I'm not sure people read the comments:

"So I am confused as to why your dislike of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs qualifies as Advancement Theory newsworthy.

I know you've classified the YYYs are overt, but other than venting your personal dislike for them (which is fine, don't get me wrong, it's your blog) and asking to hear why people do like them, I didn't get much out of the post (again, not that I have to get anything out of it, I can try to find a more objective discussion of AT elsewhere, if it exists.)"

I try to limit myself to news that adds to people's understanding of the theory, but I like to add to add to my understanding of things outside the theory because it allows me to make the theory more comprehensive. So occasionally I will write about a band that I don't like with the hope that some helpful reader will make me see the light. I try not to talk bad about bands, and I probably slipped up a little bit on that post.

"I do happen to really like the YYYs. I was at that concert and had a great time. I'm sorry I'm not more of an intellectual so that I could explain to you why I like them, except that I find the songs catchy, I like her voice, I like the lyrics, I like the energy."

That's good enough for me. No one really has to justify why they like a band, otherwise I would have to stop liking Stone Temple Pilots, who I know I should detest.

"... would it be fair say that Advanced is another word for Post-Modern...?"

I don't know enough about postmodernism as it relates to music. When I hear "postmodern" I immediately think "detached," ""ironic," and things like that, and the Advanced Theory is the opposite of those things, with a special distaste for irony. For instance, when Lou Reed celebrates rock'n'roll, he's not commenting on the absurdity of rock'n'roll, he really believes in its transformative powers. His life really was saved by rock'n'roll. In the world of Advancement, the guy who yells "Free Bird" at a Pavement show is having a less authentic and therefore inferior experience to the guy who yells "Free Bird" at a Lynyrd Skynyrd show. The second guy really wants to hear "Free Bird," but the first guy doesn't know what he wants and is left to mock the other guy. So I don't know if that really answers the question, but at least we've cleared up the "Free Bird" question. And I really appreciate your taking the time to write such a thought-provoking comment.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ahmet Ertegun Interview

There is a nice little interview with Ahmet Ertegun at Slate. If you don't know his story, here's a little background:

In 1947, [Ertegun], the 24-year-old son of a distinguished Turkish diplomat, borrowed $10,000 from his dentist and, with his older brother Nesuhi and another friend, formed Atlantic Records. Over the next 50 years, Ertegun would discover, sign, popularize, and/or produce Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding—who called him "Omelette"—Bette Midler, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam and Dave, Cream, the Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, the Coasters, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus, Roberta Flack, the Spinners, the Allman Brothers, Genesis, Foreigner, Pete Townshend, Stevie Nicks, Buffalo Springfield, the Blues Brothers, Tori Amos, and Phil Collins, among others.
The interview includes lots of good stuff about people he played with, his family's relationship with Ataturk, and, of course, what it's like to be played by Booger.

A Trio of Yeahs

As you may know, I really don't care for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. However, when I saw that their show at the Fillmore was on Trio, I decided to watch it to see if maybe I'd missed something. After watching them for about 30 minutes, I find it even harder to understand what there is to like about them. They seemed like amateurs, but not in the good, punk way. For instance, the singer and guitarist bumped into each other when attempting to do a rock move, and at one point she tried to hold the microphone in her ripped stocking to free her arms for a stance of glory. Of course, the microphone fell to the ground with a thud because ripped stockings aren't very strong and microphones are heavy. And they don't appear to have any real songs. I'm not opposed to bands that create an atmosphere instead of writing songs, but they didn't even do that. The drummer is pretty good, but the guitarist just doesn't have the imagination or the chops to carry the sound alone. She had an okay screech, but not too much else. I guess I would say they sounded like Pylon (without the songs) on an off night. If there is someone out there who loves them, I'd love to hear why I'm wrong about this. I prefer to like bands rather than hate them, so you'd be doing me a favor.

Clint Eastwood Makes a Dirty Video

Here's something interesting from newkerala:

Clint Eastwood has inked a deal to lend his voice and likeness to a new video game featuring the 1970s cinema icon Dirty Harry. "This will be an opportunity to satisfy the many requests over the years to continue the Dirty Harry legacy, only now in the video game medium," Zap2It quoted Eastwood as saying to the Hollywood Reporter. "Creating Dirty Harry video games will also introduce this memorable film character to new generations on a medium they appreciate," he said.
I haven't found any updates for the "Bridges of Madison County" video game, but I'll let you know when I do.

Bono Makes a Wish

Here's a little something to start off our day from Yahoo!:

U2 frontman and global activist Bono targeted worldwide poverty in his wishes as he was a recipient of the inaugural TED Prize from the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference.

The three winners were given four months to come up with their wishes, with TED agreeing to spend $100,000 on each winner to help make them come true.

Bono wished Thursday night for the creation of ONE, a social movement he hopes will have more than 1 million Americans fighting worldwide poverty. He also wished to tell people of this movement 1 billion times and wants TED to help connect every hospital, health clinic and school in Ethiopia to the Internet.
What the article doesn't say is that "TED" is actually a magic talking fish.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I Bought 1,000 Shares of Godley and Creme

Want to make money off of David Bowie? James Brown? Casper the Friendly Ghost? Read this, from the Financial Times:

Stockpicking is best left to monkeys with darts and fortune tellers. The way to really make money is to look for the pockets of inefficiency where you can perform a service and charge handsomely for it.

I like the asset-backed lending space because it usually involves significantly higher-than-prime interest rates, and assets backing the coupon payments in the case of a default. I've written here about asset-backed lending in the past and mentioned a few hedge funds that do this sort of lending ranging from subprime auto-finance to life insurance premium financing, to mortgage-backeds. But, more importantly, I just bought an iPod and I've downloaded a special selection of "Fame", "Heroes", and "Rebel, Rebel" by David Bowie, as well as "I Feel Good" by James Brown, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Ashford & Simpson and "Its Your Thing" by the Isley Brothers.

Why those songs? Because they are all assets that have been used to form Pullman Bonds, developed by David Pullman.

Pullman started these with the so-called Bowie Bonds, constructed in 1997 - a $55m deal securitized by the assets from David Bowie's extensive catalog of 25 gold albums and paying a 7.9 per cent interest rate. The bonds are self-liquidating, meaning every year the remaining balance goes lower. Moody's has an investment-grade rating of BBB+ on the bonds.

...What I like about these assets is that they are completely uncorrelated to stocks and even economic cycles. If you hear "Heroes" playing in the background in a department store, someone is getting paid a royalty even though you are hearing that music for free. After that initial Bowie deal, Pullman worked with artists such as James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Ashford & Simpson, and even the estate of John Steinbeck and the creators of cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost (hey, diversification).

So I called Pullman to find out more. How did it start? What's the next step? And how can investors get a hold of his product?

"David Bowie was thinking of selling his masters and I was working with his business manager at the time and we decided it would be in his better interest to securitise the cash flows instead. So now he still owns the masters, the income from the songs are better than ever, and the investors are happy since the principal has gone down every year because these are self-liquidating bonds, plus they got the 7.9 per cent interest they signed up for."

..."James Brown is making more money on "I Feel Good" than when it was a #1 hit in 1965, adjusted for inflation, despite MP3, Napster, filesharing, whatever. There's been a proliferation of outlets for music. Apple sold 4m iPods last year. That's an entire industry of people buying songs online now. The cash flows for the top-charted artists of all time are bigger than ever and that's who we like for these deals. When Moody's downgraded EMI to junk in March, 2004 they only downgraded the Pullman Bonds we put together for David Bowie to BBB+ which is still investment grade. In other words, Bowie's cash flows are rated higher than the record label's cash flows."
Put another dime in the jukebox, baby.

The Lou York Times

Here's a little something from the New York Times:

Lou Reed has organized a public exhibition of photographs portraying New York artists that will be shown beginning today on the digital billboard at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Mr. Reed selected images of painters, poets, musicians, actors and writers from the Magnum Photos collection for the exhibition, which is titled "Genius." It will run through March 1.

Nice title.

Eggs Reunion at North Six

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Eggs, who have reformed for a couple of shows, one in Brooklyn (the one I saw) and one in DC for the 20th anniversary of Teenbeat. Though I was required to stay up way past my bedtime, I was blown away at their performance. You could say that I expected rust but got rock instead. In addition to the usual rock instruments—electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboards—the band made use of the twelve-string electric guitar, trombone, tambourine, and assorted noisemakers without succumbing to gimmickry. Oh, and there was an excellent slide-guitar solo played with what appeared to be a pole that one finds attached to a velvet rope. But this was no private party! All the guys in the band seemed to be having a great time, and they broke the modern-rock code by making an effort to connect with the audience. They also committed the sin of smiling a lot. The songs weren't particularly tight, but I would characterize the music as being loose rather than sloppy. I prefer a little bit of raggedness anyway because it allows me to fill in some blanks. All in all, a great show and I would highly recommend your seeing them when they play at the Teenbeat 20th Anniversary show. One last thing: I think that the reason reunion shows are good, provided that the band really wants to be doing it and is not just desperate, is that it's like a band is covering itself. If you've ever played in a band, you know that there is a different energy to playing someone else's songs than there is playing your own. When you're doing a cover, it doesn't really matter if you mess up or can't hear a certain guitar part. You just have a great time and jump all over the place, whereas when you play your own material, every note is precious, which makes you tighten up. So if your favorite band reforms, go see them! They make be older, balder and fatter, but they're probably have a great time on stage and so will you.

Ummagummaa to Tour UK for Some Reason

According to Brain Damage, the Pink Floyd tribute band Ummagummaa is going on tour in the UK:

The band, whose performances are resulting in a lot of "word of mouth" recommendations, concentrate on the early years of the band's history, including such elements of the liquid light show from the sixties.

"We are aiming to focus our attention on the early albums, and the 'Live at Pompeii' show", says keyboard player Hoagy Davies. "We're covering stuff from "Piper At The Gates of Dawn," "Saucerful Of Secrets," "Ummagumma," of course, "Atom Heart Mother" (the cover of which is used on our posters) and "Meddle." For long-time fans this includes by implication material written by madcap genius Syd Barrett, including "See Emily Play" and "Astronomy Domine."

Hoagy, who has toured worldwide with Soft Machine, Lou Reed, PFM, Keith Emerson, Camel and John Cale, plays all the keyboard parts. He is joined by drummer Geoff Cooper (Broken English/Counterfeit Stones), Ian Ellis on bass (Pete Townshend/Steve Hackett) and guitarist Chris Staines (Steeleye Span/Geno Washington/ASM) on guitar.

"For a band that has sold millions of albums, a lot of fans missed the early years," continues Hoagy. "In many respects it was a defining era, because although Syd Barrett left, the band's style right down to the on stage ambience and light show, was defined in those early years. Also this show is the only representation of The Floyd as they were before becoming the million selling chart band. As in the old days, we take musical chances and try to retain the spontaneity of those early happenings."
If they aren't playing "On the Turning Away," I'm not going.

Todd Rundgren Does Want to Work

According to Yahoo!, Todd Rundgren has signed with Sanctuary, home to Lou Reed and the official label of Advancement. Here's more:

Under the terms of the new pact, Rundgren will give at least one new studio solo album to Sanctuary, whose acts include Morrissey, Robert Plant (news) and Gene Simmons (news); that project likely will be released in fourth-quarter 2006 or early 2007. He also is licensing 13 previous solo album and sets by his band Utopia to the company. There also will be multiple live DVD/CD projects. The first two will be devoted to a spring acoustic tour to be co-headlined by Joe Jackson and a 30th anniversary Utopia tour next year.

Also under the new deal, Rundgren will produce mutually approved Sanctuary recording artists or acts handled by the company's management arm; remix 5.1 audio projects for those artists; act as a senior adviser on digital delivery strategies; and create branded-themed collections from Sanctuary's large catalog. "I am more or less on call for any particular thing in my skill set that is apropos to Sanctuary's business. There really isn't necessarily a limit on it," he said.

Because of the multifaceted nature of the arrangement, Rundgren's deal is not a standard record label contract mandating an advance for delivery of an album and options on future releases. Instead, Rundgren will receive a monthly minimum payment. "It's not intended to be a giant goldmine for me," Rundgren said. "It essentially guarantees me peace of mind, and rent paid, and all those things people who show up at a regular job are guaranteed."
Why do I have the feeling that Sanctuary is going to go bankrupt within a year?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

T. Rex: Born to Boogie

There is some good news for T. Rex fans at

It's been a long time coming for T. Rex fans, but the group's Ringo Starr-directed 1972 film, 'Born To Boogie,' will make its DVD debut in May via Sanctuary. Not only will it be issued as a double-disc set loaded with previously unseen extras, but a double CD will also be released, with audio recently remastered by T. Rex's longtime producer, Tony Visconti.

..."Born To Boogie" faithfully reflected Marc Bolan's vision at the time. While a few bits are quite indulgent (including a tea sipping scene shot in a garden), T. Rex was a mean live act, as evidenced by various clips from a sold-out performance at the cavernous Wembley Empire Pool. Also included is a jam session with one of Bolan's biggest supporters, Elton John, which sees the augmented T. Rex rock through "Tutti Frutti," as well as a version of its teen anthem, "Children of the Revolution."

The new DVD is bolstered with matinee and evening performances shot on March 18, 1972, as well as a pair of documentaries: "Cosmic Rock -- When T. Rex Ruled the World" and "Re-Born To Boogie -- Restoration Doco." Also included are commentaries and deleted scenes. Rolan says the latter "were all found in different locations. Like finding a treasure, it took time but once unearthed, things just kept on coming -- some of the jams and different angles of the two concerts. You can see how the band really starts to jam and hit their high."
Love the title. It's interesting that "boogie" became a word that was associated with disco instead of rock'n'roll. I wonder when that happened.

Something About the Clash

There is an article about the Clash at Slate. Here's a bit of it:

On the Clash's London Calling, the pink-and-green lettering that frames Paul Simonon—red London down the Y axis, green Calling across the X—mimics the "first" rock album, Elvis Presley's 1956 debut. This is not an homage. Where Elvis was holding up his acoustic guitar, shouting blues to the rafters, Simonon has split his legs wide, the better to drive the head of a Fender Precision into the stage at the old Palladium. The Clash were built to smash twilit idols—"no Elvis, no Beatles, no Rolling Stones" had been the band's rallying cry since 1977. The working title for London Calling was "The Last Testament," and it was supposed to stand, according to the band's manager, as the "last rock and roll record."

...Why were the Clash so well-positioned to take punk rock beyond punk rock? This will strike some ears as heresy, but the first reason is simple: The Clash weren't a punk rock band. Joe Strummer had fronted a group called the 101ers, a pub-rock outfit more in the tradition of Dr. Feelgood or Brinsley Schwartz than the New York Dolls or the Stooges. (Before that, he passed himself off as a folkie, demanding to be known simply as "Woody.") His hokey stage bravado, which so blew away his new chum Mick Jones, was based on Strummer's recent study of Bruce Springsteen, who had been headlining at the Hammersmith Odeon. For his part, Mick Jones was an avowed punk, the better to spite his own sweet disposition. Before they became famous, Jones and Chrissie Hynde hung out and wrote music together. She later remembered his creations as "rather dippy love songs."

...Early in the Clash's history, Strummer tossed out some snotty asides from the stage about how A levels (the "Advanced" standardized test often necessary for university entrance in Britain) were a conspiracy, when a girl in the audience shouted, "Your drummer's got them," promptly silencing Strummer, who, as it turns out, had at least one himself. For his part, Mick Jones passed five O levels (the standardized tests British children take in their mid-teens) and attended a demanding grammar school from which he could reasonably have expected a white-collar future.
I've never really understood why people love the Clash so much. I have always felt them to be a little on the phony side (which is why I cherry-picked quotes to support this idea), and their music has never moved me. I have to admit that I haven't listened to the Clash all that much, so maybe there is something to them that I'm just getting.


I notice that KFC is using "Sweet Home Alabama" in commercials now. That makes a lot of sense.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Muscle Shoals Closes

According to, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, "the Alabama venue where Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon all made classic records, has closed its doors forever." Here's the story:

"It's a sad day in America," says producer, session musician and arranger Al Kooper. "So many great records were made there. The musicians, engineers and the magic of the room made it special."

Muscle Shoals Sound Studios was founded in 1969 in an old Sheffield, Alabama, casket warehouse by musicians Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, David Hood and Jimmy Johnson, who doubled as its famous house band, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (a.k.a. "the Swampers," as immortalized in Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama"). Their first client was Cher, who recorded her 3614 Jackson Highway album there, and named it after the studio's address.

..."It almost brought me to tears when I had to do this," says co-owner Wolf Stephenson, who, along with his two fellow executives of blues/gospel label Malaco Records, purchased the studio from the Rhythm Section members in 1985. "It's heartbreaking."
Sad news.

Artist v. Critic

Here is something funny from

Thankfully for all of us, EMI are not releasing a DVD of the utterly abysmal ‘Tin Machine’. However, in releasing 1993’s ‘Black Tie White Noise’ they’ve far from picked one of his best moments.

What we get is a collage of interviews, performances of various tracks and promo videos. Perhaps the most cringe worthy thing about the DVD is the supposed live performances – filmed in a cheap studio, with unnervingly happy backing singers and Bowie obviously miming along, it treads a fine line of being either laughable or unsettling. Elsewhere, the glossy, and somewhat uneventful promo videos that accompany tracks such as ‘Miracle Goodnight’ and ‘Jump they Say’ are just as mediocre as the songs. In fact, a perturbing thing to come from listening to the music is that it sounds a hell of a lot more dated now than, say, genre-busting material from his Ziggy Stardust or ‘Low’ eras almost twenty years earlier.
It would be interesting to hear David Bowie's perspective on this. I have a feeling that he could prove that the DVD is amazing and essential for any Bowie fan. On a related note, it's interesting that many people tend to dismiss what artists have to say about their own work because they can't be objective, but those same people readily accept the opinions of critics (especially negative opinions) who have biases of their own and are generally far less accomplished than the person they are writing about. That's not necessarily bad, but I think between David Bowie and, I'll take David Bowie.

Must-See Lou Reed

You must, must, must go to Lou Reed's website. Go to the "News" section and look at the pictures fromt the video shoot for, you guessed it, "Take a Walk on the Wild Side." So much leather. So much cola. So much Advancement.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Candy Says Madonna?

Madonna is interested playing a character made famousish by Lou Reed. Here's the story from

...the Queen of Pop has signed up to play Candy Darling, who starred in a series of Andy Warhol's experimental films in the 1960s.She was the inspiration behind the Velvet Underground classic Candy Says and Lou Reed's solo hit Walk On The Wild Side. A source told the paper: "Madonna has been desperate to make a film where she can earn respect for her acting abilities. "She is still trying to shake off the bad publicity from the movie Swept Away. She sees this as her big chance. "She said she would do anything for the part and has agreed to work for free."
Every Advanced musician acts in movies. I think it is because when you are a genius at something (music, for instance) it's just so easy that there is no challenge. That's why you try things that don't come easy, like acting. Madonna couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag, but I applaud her continuing efforts to convince people that it's the bag's fault.

Bob Dylan Likes Math

According to, Bob Dylan isn't so crazy about the current state of rock'n'roll:

"I know there are groups at the top of the charts that are hailed as the saviours of rock'n'roll and all that, but they are amateurs. They don't know where the music comes from," he wrote, adding, “I wouldn't even think about playing music if I was born in these times... I'd probably turn to something like mathematics. That would interest me. Architecture would interest me. Something like that."

Priceless. Most Advanced artists say they love all the new bands who are keeping the rock'n'roll torch burning, but Bob Dylan has apparently moved beyond that. I wouldn't be surprised if next month he appears on a Franz Ferdinand record.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

James Brown: Better Than Quayle?

There is a lengthy review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review of James Brown's new autobiography, "I Feel Good." Here are some interesting parts:

Brown acknowledges his own influences, including Little Richard, who, Brown says, discovered him. Westerns and comic books were also an influence. (Both Muhammad Ali and James Brown were influenced by the theatrics of the wrestler Gorgeous George, but no one has been able to duplicate that majestic peacock strut with which he entered the ring.) Brown traces his rediscovery to his appearance in the movie ''The Blues Brothers.''

...The most surprising news in ''I Feel Good'' might be Brown's revelation that his close friend Hubert Humphrey once mused about making Brown his running mate, a disclosure that is bound to draw snickers.
That would have been really amazing, no?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jose Canseco: Advanced Sports Irritant

Many people have asked me what an Advanced Irritant is. Many people have asked if athletes can be Advanced. Well, Jose Cancesco is both. He is an Advanced Sports Irritant. Here are parts of a review of Canseco's book, from Slate:

Juiced is a mesmerizing book, and not just because Canseco throws off stories like that without a trace of self-regard. Canseco has pulled off the impossible: He has written a giddy testimonial to steroids. Perhaps the fact that he named his alleged co-juicers gulled sportswriters into thinking that Juiced was meant as a confessional. It reads more like a huckster selling long-life elixir at a rural county fair. "Steroids, used correctly, will not only make you stronger and sexier, they will also make you healthier," Canseco crows. "Certain steroids, used in proper combinations, can cure certain diseases. Steroids will give you a better quality of life and also drastically slow down the aging process." Then he helpfully adds, "I'm forty years old, but I look much younger."

Upon reaching the majors, Canseco proclaimed himself the "godfather" of steroids and set about evangelizing their glory to his teammates. "I probably know more about steroids and what steroids can do for the human body than any layman in the world," he boasts. For Canseco, steroids weren't just about padding his home run and RBI totals. Injecting was a near-religious experience. Steroids eased his degenerative disc disease and extended his life: "I needed steroids and growth hormone just to live," he writes. With the zeal of the converted, Canseco credits steroids with helping him avoid temptations, like hard liquor and amphetamines, and notes that the majors are a cleaner, more sober place since the drinking and pill-popping old-timers were replaced by the younger generation of 'roiders.

...In the hundreds of pages devoted to the wonders of steroids, Canseco chronicles a single moment of heartbreak. When his daughter Josie was still an infant, Canseco's estranged second wife Jessica, the Hooters girl, disappeared. He called a friend at "one of the airlines," who managed to track Jessica to Kansas City. When Canseco finally reached her, Jessica said she had left him for another jock: Tony Gonzalez, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. Canseco was grief-stricken. He walked to his bedroom closet and pulled out a Street Sweeper machine gun. Canseco says he used the gun to shoot sharks when he went deep-sea fishing—an image so comic that we'll put it aside for now. Anyway, Canseco had the Street Sweeper and was ready to do himself in when a tiny noise called him forth from despair. "Something had decided that it wasn't my time yet," he writes. Maybe it was his infant daughter. Maybe God. Or maybe—and this is just a hunch—it was the steroids, calling to save their champion.
The reason he is an irritant is that he is willing to say that not only are steroids used by professional athletes but that this is a good thing. The reason he is Advanced is because he shoots sharks when he goes deep-sea fishing and he was an amazing baseball player who attempted to catch a flyball and missed, the ball bonking him on the head and bouncing over the wall for a homerun.

The Killer Kills Again

According to, we can expect a whole lot of, well, I'll let them handle it:

Rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis has drafted some of the biggest names in rock for his first new studio album since 1995. According to his manager Jimmy Ripp, the as-yet-untitled set will feature B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Neil Young, Toby Keith, Robbie Robertson, Kid Rock, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Little Richard, Buddy Guy, Don Henley and Kris Kristofferson.

"It was 20 of the easiest phone calls I ever had to make," Ripp tells Billboard. "Everyone wanted to play with the Killer." The set is expected to be released in late May or early June via DreamWorks Nashville.
Funny, I've never stopped to rate the ease of my phone calls. At any rate, it's high time for a Jerry Lee Lewis revival, I think. He should do a duet with the Killers. Now that would really sell some records.

Eine Kleine Dudemusik

While listening to Prokoviev's "Suite No. 2 I. The Monatgues And Capulets- Andante - Allegro Pesante" (or at least that's what my iTunes calls it), I had one of my $100 ideas: There should be a CD called "Kick-Ass Classical" that would have only really tough and scary classical music. No boring, wimpy stuff allowed. That would be awesome!

Bono Doesn't Bug the Nobel Committee

According to, Bono is among the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize. So are Ravi Shankar, the Pope and Colin Powell. In a press release, Bono said, "Wangari Maathai stole this prize from Geir Lundestad. I'm stealin' it back." The award comes with a prize of 10-million Swedish crowns, which will be slapped down in hundreds. One hundred! Two hundred!

Billy Idol Regenerated


Melodic punk rock troubadour Billy Idol has revealed details of his first new studio album in over 10 years. "Devil's Playground" is set for release on March 22 across the US and is his first with new label Sanctuary: "Enough!" said Idol in a statement, "2005 is the time for an original punk rocker to show his stuff."

The former Generation X rocker, who scored huge hits with 'White Wedding' and 'Dancing With Myself', says he distanced himself from the music business to 'regenerate, get free of myself and make an album for the right reasons."
I would love to know what the "right reasons" are. And you have to appreciate his calling himself the "original punk rocker," even though I'm pretty sure not even he believes it. Does Billy Idol rise to the level of Advancement? I'm not quite sure, but I'm pretty sure that he would say he does. By the way, he is 50 years old.

Belew Period

There is a nice article about Adrian Belew in the Cincinnati Post. One thing I learned is that he is from Northern Kentucky. Who knew? Anyhow, even though he's played with David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and Talking Heads (among others), his dream is to play with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Isn't that nice?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sinead: How About a Little Reggae?

I wrote a while back that Sinead O'Connor is coming out of retirement to focus on spirtual music. Well, here's the latest about her rebirth, from

Sinead O'Connor, who announced her retirement from the music industry in 2003 after a controversial career, has signed a management contract with Sanctuary and begun work on at least two albums for release in 2005. The records -- including one reggae effort -- will be followed with a tour that will include U.S. dates.

According to her new manager, Danny Heaps, O'Connor will likely team with Jamaican producers Sly and Robbie for the reggae album, while the second album will be "more of a Sinead record." O'Connor has said that at least some of the new material will combine her punk roots with her more newfound spirituality. "I want to at least aim my records at a more spiritualized market," the thirty-eight-year-old singer told Irish music magazine Hotpress, blasting mainstream music as having "all the sincerity of a whore's kiss." While a record deal has yet to be finalized, Heaps is confident that this "will be resolved imminently."

...After six studio albums -- the most recent being 2002's collection of traditional Irish ballads, Sean Nos Nua -- O'Connor announced her retirement from music in 2003. "I seek no longer to be a 'famous' person, and instead I wish to live a 'normal' life," she wrote in a post on her Web site. "My advice to anyone who ever admires a so-called 'celebrity,' if you see them in the street, don't even look at them."

Last September, six months after giving birth to her third child, O'Connor took out a full-page ad in the Irish Examiner to demand privacy and declare her sanity. She posed the question, "If ye think I am so ridiculous, why do ye give me any attention?"
If ye don't want attention, why do ye take out an ad in the paper? I can't wait to hear the reggae album. She rules.

Cocteau Twins Again

According to, the Cocteau Twins are getting back together:

COCTEAU TWINS have confirmed that they will be playing more shows following on from their upcoming COACHELLA appearance. The band will be reforming for the first time since 1996 at the Californian festival on April 30 on a bill which also features Coldplay, New Order and a href=“”>Weezer.

As previously reported on NME.COM, Coachella promoter Paul Tollet was instrumental in booking the band for this year’s event – as he did for Pixies last year.
I really like the Cocteau Twins, though I have never been able to buy one of their albums in a store. I've picked up CDs lots of times, but I never quite make it to the register. I'm ashamed to admit that I think on some level it doesn't seem very manly to buy one of their CDs. Perhaps I'll pick one up when I purchase AC/DC's "Family Jewels." Just kidding.

Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson

Check out this story from

"I've been really inspired to write some country stuff," [Simpson] said. "It would be a lot of fun to step into the Shania Twain type of direction, just for the movie, just for fun. And I'm crossing my fingers to do something with Willie."

That would be Willie Nelson, her co-star who plays Uncle Jesse to her Daisy Duke. Simpson's wish has since come true — her spokesperson has confirmed that the singer will indeed record a duet with the country music legend, whom Simpson calls "absolutely unbelievable." There are no details yet about which song the two will tackle, or when they'll record it.
There's just so much to love here. By the way, I'm sick today, so I don't know how much I can post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

"We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen"

A while back, I wrote that I wondered if teenagers today know anything about the Minutemen. Well, according to, the kids will soon be able to learn all about the band in an upcoming documentary:

Welcome to the Minutemen's world from their birth in 1980 through singer/guitarist D. Boon's tragic death in 1985, a tenure chronicled in the new documentary, "We Jam Econo -- The Story of the Minutemen."

The impetus for the film came when fans Tim Irwin (director) and Keith Schieron (producer) got in contact with ex-Minutemen bassist Mike Watt via his Web site. "They just wrote me an e-mail [and] started talking about it slowly," Watt tells "I was a little cautious. You wonder about people's motivations for doing anything. But I just felt sincerity from them."

Watt's instincts proved correct, as Irwin and Schieron have put together quite a film. The pair tracked down previously unseen live performances and conducted interviews with band members Watt and drummer George Hurley, as well as Henry Rollins, X's John Doe, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, among others. "They even talked to my ma, which was kind of trippy," Watt says with a laugh.

Right before d. boon died (when I was the teenager), the Minutemen opened for R.E.M. in Columbia. I was just a bit too young to go, and I have always lamented that missed opportunity. They are one of those bands that I revere but don't listen to that much. I wonder why that is? Must be all the regret and sadness.

Madonna, Rock'n'Roll Will See You Now

Interesting Madonna news from

[Madonna] is planning a new studio album for late 2005 and, according to sources, is set to take an edgy, rock-influenced direction: "Living in Britain she has become a real fan of Franz Ferdinand," an unnamed source said to The Sun newspaper. "She is close to finishing the new album and there is a real hard rock feel to it."

I have always believed that Madonna is Advanced, but it always bothered me a bit that she hadn't ever fully embraced rock'n'roll (though she has rocked). I'm glad to see I don't have to worry about that. And it is classic Advancement to say that you've been inspired by a currently cool young band and then make music that sounds nothing like that band.

Still Eel

According to an aritcle in chartattack, the Eels (whose lead singer I find supremely punchable) have somehow lured Tom Waits to guest on their new double album. John Sebastian and Peter Buck will also be on the new records. I really don't like that band, but perhaps I haven't given them a chance. Of course, I reserve the right to hate at least a few bands for no good reason.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Janis Fund

Learn all about the Janis Joplin search at Launch:

According to a statement, vocalists across the country will audition to recreate the vocal styling of Joplin, who died in 1970 at age 27. Five finalists will be flown to San Francisco to perform for a panel of judges. The selected Janis-a-like will then headline a world concert tour, performing with bands that played with Joplin including Big Brother & The Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band. The tour will culminate in a star-studded tribute concert in 2006.

"We are excited about bringing Janis and her music to her fans and introduce her style and spirit to future fans as well," Joplin's brother, Michael Joplin, said Friday in a statement.

The estate also announced that Joplin's life will be the subject of a biopic starring pop singer Pink and directed by Penelope Spheeris.
Something tells me that Michael Joplin does not own the rights to Janis Joplin's music.

James Brown and Funky Memories

According to, the highly Advanced James Brown will be playing the Oxygen Festival. Other acts are The Streets, Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Prodigy and Ian Brown "who are all playing the festival at Punchestown Racecourse, Ireland on July 9 and 10." One of my great memories of living in New York was accidentally seeing James Brown in concert. I was in Central Park with a five-year-old kid I used to take care of, and as we were throwing a ball back and forth, I heard music coming from a venue in the park. I thought it sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite make out who it was. After some convincing, the five-year-old consented to go check it out. As we got nearer, I realized that it must be James Brown. Sure enough, it was the Godfather of Soul himself. You needed a ticket to get in, but I could just make out what was happnening onstage. I put the kid on my shoulders so he could get his first glimpse of the legendary James Brown, and I tried to explain to him the significance of it all. He didn't really grasp it, and I'm sure he has forgotten all about it now, but it's still a good memory.

Sixx Sells (But Ask First)

Nikki Sixx has sued Vans. Here's the story from yahoo! news:

A Los Angeles jury has awarded the rocker a legal victory over shoemaker Vans Inc. that could be worth upward of $1 million, according to his lawyer. Sixx contended that the SoCal-based footwear company used an image of the musician without his permission to promote its Tony Trujillo sneaker line last year.

Vans used photos of the Cre's bad-boy bassist and pro skater Trujillo from a San Francisco Skater of the Year award ceremony organized by Thrasher magazine and sponsored by Vans. Then, per the suit, Vans used the pictures for a massive nationwide promotion for a sneaker line bearing Trujillo's name. Ads featuring Sixx palling it up with Trujillo ran in magazines like Blender and FHM and appeared in oversized displays in retail outlets.

On Feb. 9, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found in favor of Sixx on three counts of misappropriation of his right of publicity and false endorsement. "I'm happy, not so much for myself, but for all artists who are unfairly taken advantage of by major corporations," the 46-year-old Sixx in a statement. "I hope this encourages other performers to stand up to those who would exploit them without securing the necessary rights."
Shout at the devil.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Bob Dylan and Religion

There is a very interesting article about Bob Dylan in the Religion and Ethics Weekly. Here are some representative samples:

As he approaches his 64th birthday, one is tempted to speculate that he is also tamed, enjoying a new kind of fame -- that of the establishment. Yet such acceptance -- an honorary Ph.D. from Princeton, a set of Grammys, a Kennedy Center Honors award from President Clinton, among many other accolades after a decade and a half of being dismissed as passé and something of a has-been -- has made Dylan no easier to understand, no easier to parse, and no less compelling a writer, one who both shapes and is shaped by the best and worst of America.

You can pick your badge of honor or outrage. He sang in Mississippi during the civil rights movement, denounced the war in Vietnam, embraced a strident and judgmental Protestant fundamentalism, lauded the poetry of the gay Beat and Buddhist poet Allen Ginsberg, condemned corporate greed, remained silent on Central America, celebrated Zionist nationalism, failed to credit members of the band on one of his major albums, and appeared in a Victoria's Secret lingerie commercial.

...He is the subject of dozens of books and hundreds of academic articles and numerous college courses. Most recently, suggesting the range of treatment Dylan elicits from scholars, literary critic Christopher Ricks has published DYLAN'S VISION OF SIN and New Testament scholar Michael J. Gilmour has written TANGLED UP IN THE BIBLE: BOB DYLAN AND SCRIPTURE.

...From his first recordings, when he was still apprenticing himself to the folk and blues traditions, religious concerns and moral motifs have permeated the work as they do those musical traditions. Religious and biblical language has been a consistent but always complex and sometimes contradictory element. As he said in a 1963 interview, "There's mystery, magic, truth, and the Bible in great folk music. I can't hope to touch that. But I'm going to try."
I could give you more, but I don't want to bug ya.

Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina: The Evens

There is a review of the Evens, a new project that Ian MacKaye is involved in with Amy Farina, in the Palo Alto Weekly. Here's some of it:

Although the music contains elements of folk, it is not that easy to categorize. MacKaye's voice blends with Farina in a manner somewhat reminiscent of John Doe and Exene Cervenka's vocal copulation in X. MacKaye and Farina do not accompany one another so much as meld together, creating a unified voice for the songs' often political lyrics.

Musically, the guitars chug along like classic Velvet Underground without falling into the trap of rewriting Lou Reed's "Pale Blue Eyes" ad nauseam, a curse that has afflicted many indie bands in the past 25 years. Highlights include the charged "All These Governors," which features memorable drumming from Farina and the inspirational couplet, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut Up!"; the placid "Sara Lee," which may or may not refer to the post-punk bassist who graced several Gang of Four, Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco albums; and "You Won't Feel A Thing," a good, swift kick in the gonads to society's state of complacency.

Most surprising -- to fans of Fugazi's jagged song structures at least -- are the memorable and relatively straightforward melodies, which ensure close listening for each and every minute of the CD. Although subtle enough for background music, The Evens' songs float to the forefront of your consciousness in very little time.

The Evens are definitely recommended to those curious about MacKaye's past works but who have little interest in punk rock. For the rest of us, it is yet another fine entry from a man who has made a career out of doing it his way.
Sounds promising.

Slap Your Grammy Now

I missed the Grammys last night. I had no idea they were on until I saw an article about the show in the newspaper. But I did see the other Ramones movie, which I believe is called "Raw." It was pretty underwhelming because it dealt with them in their later years. For instance, there were clips of Kurt Loder on the "Week in Rock" talking about them, a segment with Gilbert Godfriend pretending to be a Ramone (also from MTV, I think), and an appearance on what appeared to be a local access kids' show hosted by the Charlotte's loud, gay friend on "Sex and the City." The best part, though, was getting to see the video for a Marky Ramone rap song. It was incredible. He also talks about the rap version of "Foxy Lady," featuring Debbie Harry. Now that is Advancement of the highest order. The movie is worth seeing, if only for the rapping.

Friday, February 11, 2005

It's Not TV, It's Nilsson

I've been meaning to say something about this for a long time: Has anyone noticed that the strings in "Everybody's Talkin'" by Harry Nilsson sounds exactly like the music they played before movies on HBO (with the model town)? I'm talking about the part that goes "da da-daa da-daa da da-da-da."

Sinead Back in Business

According to the AP, Sincead O'Connor is coming out of retirement:

Two years ago, O'Connor announced she was retiring to raise her three children. She also disclosed that she was battling a debilitating and painful fatigue illness called fibromyalgia. The magazine Hotpress quoted her as saying she will perform on stage in the next few months at a special appearance in Belfast. O'Connor reportedly said she was already working on material for three different records.

"I want to at least aim my records at a more spiritualized market," she was quoted as saying. "Religious songs with bad words, that's the best way I could describe it," she said. "I've been thinking for years the religious area of music has a huge gap in it. Needs a bit of punky filling."
Forgive me, but mmm...punky filling. Anyway, I don't mind when we people announce their retirements and then come out of retirement. I really don't know how you can "retire" from music anyway. I also like that she refers to it a spiritualized "market." And, of course, as a watcher of Advancement, I'm quite pleased with her wacky religious phase. I wonder what she'll do next. Disco?

You Still Can't Stop Dee Snider: The Real Top Ten

Dee Snider is no fan of the recent British poll that named the top ten rock songs of all time. I'll let Yahoo! News:

"It was getting picked up all over the world as gospel," said Snider, who's known almost as much for his onstage profanity as for his music. "I said, `What are we, wood? Why should we have to sit here and be subjected to some arbitrary ... list out of England?" (You can guess what the ellipses were.) "Let's subject them to my arbitrary ... list."

So he did. WMMR conducted an online poll for several months, and came up with a list long on Metallica and AC/DC, with classic rock and grunge mixed in. "It's a little harder, a little edgier," Snider said.

The Dee Snider list:

1. "Stairway To Heaven" Led Zeppelin

2. "Back In Black" AC/DC

3. "One" Metallica

4. "Freebird" Lynyrd Skynyrd

5. "Sweet Child Of Mine" Guns 'N' Roses

6. "Enter Sandman" Metallica

7. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Nirvana

8. "For Those About To Rock" AC/DC

9. "Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen

10. "Gimme Shelter" The Rolling Stones

This list is surprisingly wimpy, I think. Where is "Master of Puppets"-era Metallica? And "Sweet Child o' Mine" is fine, but "Welcome to the Jungle" rocks much harder. And "Smells Like Teen Spirit"? I would have chosen one of Boston's better songs.

Advanced Song

It doesn't get any better than "Looking for Love" from "The Bells" by Lou Reed. That's one wailing sax, I tell you.

Wouldn't It Be Nascar?

From Yahoo! news:

A star-studded group of entertainers, including country music star Clint Black and Beach Boys great Brian Wilson , will highlight the "Nextel Tribute to America," the prerace extravaganza for the Daytona 500. Joining them Feb. 20 will be recording artists John Ondrasik and Five for Fighting, and singer/actress Vanessa Williams.

The group joins a long list of the famous people — led by President George W. Bush — who have participated in prerace festivities. Others are Ben Affleck , LeAnn Rimes, Whoopi Goldberg , John Travolta , Mariah Carey, Clarence Thomas , Terry Bradshaw and Jim Kelly.
Who among us doesn't love the Nextel Tribute to America? It's interesting that Brian Wilson will be there. This seems more like a Mike Love kind of thing.

Queen Reunion Update


QUEEN guitarist BRIAN MAY insists the prospect of the band playing their first shows in nearly 20 years is “more exciting than scary”. The reformed rockers will start a tour on March 28, with former Free and Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers taking the place of Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.

Queen And Paul Rodgers, as they are billed, will kick off with a preview show at London Brixton Academy before embarking on a massive arena tour of Europe. The addition of Rodgers came about after he performed with guitarist May at the Fender Stratocaster 50th Anniversary show in London in September. As well as Queen classics, the supergroup will perform songs from Rodgers’ back catalogue like ‘All Right Now’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love’.
I hope they do "Radiocative" by the Firm! I have to say that this is a very intriguing combination because I Paul Rodgers is so different from Freddie Mercury. But I guess that's the idea.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Tibet House Benefit

There is a description of the Tibet House Benefit at Here's some:

Ray Davies jammed with the Black Keys, Nellie McKay harmonized with Trey Anastasio and Philip Glass tickled the ivories behind Lou Reed last night (Feb. 9) at the 15th annual Tibet House Benefit concert at New York's Carnegie Hall. The event aims to raise awareness of Tibet's occupation by China and to celebrate the country's unique cultural and spiritual heritage.

Davies played piano and sang harmony vocals on the Keys' cover of the Kinks' "Act Nice and Gentle," which appeared on their 2004 Fat Possum album, "Rubber Factory." "When I wrote this song, I don't think these guys were on the planet," Davies joked beforehand.

"Most people come to this hall and play their big hits, but I'm going to play some of my flops for you," Davies said before his own set, but the Kinks mastermind brought down the house with a five-song medley from the maligned 1968 concept album "The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society": "The Village Green," "Picture Book," "Animal Farm," "Do You Remember Walter?" and "Johnny Thunder."

The artist drafted the crowd for loud sing-a-long versions of "Sunny Afternoon" and "Lola," backed by Patti Smith Band members Lenny Kaye (guitar), Tony Shanahan (bass) and Jay Dee Daugherty (drums). Davies is at work on his first proper solo studio album, which could see the light of day by the end of 2005.

...Longtime Tibet House artistic director Glass joined in on piano for Reed's "Perfect Day," his lone solo song of the evening. Earlier, Anastasio cranked out guitar solos during Chocolate Genius' Marc Anthony Thompson's three-song set, which featured string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks.
Some pretty good Advancement for such an Overt (but worthy, of course) cause. I think "Perfect Day" is taking over for "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" as Lou Reed's go-to song. I'm verey glad to see that Davies did a medley and "Lola." Plus it's always great when a legend sings along with an upstart who covered one of his songs.

Antony and Lou Reed's Fervent Paean

There is a review of "I Am a Bird Now," the new CD by Antony and the Johnsons at Eye Weekly. In it, there is a description of Lou Reed's contribution to the album:

"Reed is one of four celeb guest vocalists on I Am a Bird Now, which for all its hushed grandeur, is more extroverted than Antony's earlier recordings. The Reed collaboration, 'Fistful of Love,' is almost a rocker, albeit one that yokes together Reed's whinnying guitar, a Memphis-soul-style horn section and Antony's fervent paean to the emotional solace provided by masturbation."

Sounds like it's going to be a big, big hit. On Lou Reed's website, there is a version of "Candy Says" that I believe features Antony. Check out the Jukebox, track 3. It's pretty darn good.

Bowie Comes Alive

I happened to catch a few moments of a David Bowie concert from his "Glass Spider" tour, and I was really impressed with how Advanced his band was. I particularly loved that Peter Frampton played guitar for him. The concert was on the Trio network, TV's home for Advancement.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Sued

According to CNN, the Rock and Hall of Fame doesn't care for the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here are the details (inluding the silly opener):

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is all shook up -- or as they might say in Yiddish, all "verklempt" (upset) -- over the name for a virtual museum celebrating the Jewish contribution to rock music. The Cleveland-based museum has asked a federal judge to stop two journalists and a radio company executive from putting up a Web site called the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, saying the site will infringe on the original's trademark name and that the public would confuse the two.

But the people behind the Web site said they cannot understand why the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame is making such a big deal over their plans to celebrate the exploits of such diverse talents as Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, some of the Ramones, Lou Reed and Elvis Presley's tailor, "Nudie" Cohen.

...Regan Fay, a lawyer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has attracted 5.5 million visitors since opening in 1995, said calling something the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was going to confuse people.

"I don't think people would know the difference (between the two). We have a lot of Jewish rock and rollers in the Hall of Fame. ... It's like saying the Jewish Oscars or the Jewish Football Hall of Fame," he said.

"It is a well-known trademark principal that putting your name in front of another name is a trademark infringement, like you can't call something a Jewish McDonald's because then people would think it is McDonald's that is kosher," he added.
I know exactly how they feel. A lot of people confused my site with the "Greek-Cypriot Advanced Theory Blog" until I had it shut down.

Biowillie Update

While I was at the gym today, I saw a promo for a feature that the CBS Evening News is going to run about Willie Nelson's biofuel. Oh, so that's what they're calling it these days.

Joe Strummer: I Think I Can, I Think I Can

According to, Joe Strummer is getting a train named after him. Here's the story:

"The train, simply named Joe Strummer, will be unveiled on February 12 at Bristol Temple Meads station in recognition of the late Clash singer. Strummer died in December 2002, aged 50. The locomotive is a Class 47 diesel, a designed in 1962 and after being named, will work in East Anglia."

I like this.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hit Factory Retires to Florida

This is sort of old news, but if it's good enough for the BBC it's good enough for me:

The New York music studio where John Lennon spent his final hours is to close next month. The Hit Factory, which opened 37 years ago, has played host to some of the biggest stars in music, including Paul Simon, Madonna and David Bowie. However, the rise in digital recording has affected business at the studio, which is relocating to smaller premises in Miami. Lennon recorded his final album "Double Fantasy" at the studio in 1979.

...The studio was founded by Jerry Ragovoy in 1968. In 1975 it was sold to fellow producer Edward Germano, who turned it into a 100,000 square foot studio with seven recording rooms and live mastering suites. His first client was Stevie Wonder, who recorded part of his classic album "Songs In The Key Of Life" there.

Other well-known albums to be recorded or partially recorded at the studio include Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA," the Rolling Stones' "Emotional Rescue" and Paul Simon's "Graceland."
That studio really lived up to its name. Maybe I should have recorded my music there instead of "The Songs No One Will Hear Factory." I guess it's too late now.

Wu-Tang Manual: RZA Deep, Mountain High

Read all about "The Wu-Tang Manual" at Here's a bit:

Wu-Tang Clan principal RZA says he always viewed music biographies as a "post-career type of thing," but the offer to detail the guiding philosophies behind the pioneering Staten Island-based hip-hop collective was one he couldn't refuse. Such is the bulk of the content in the 243-page "The Wu-Tang Manual," out now via Riverhead Books, which RZA assembled with journalist Chris Norris.

The book dives into the "key themes of the Wu-Tang universe," specifically martial arts, spirituality and how the glorification of organized crime on Staten Island shaped the persona of the fledgling group, which also features the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, GZA, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa.

Also included are annotated lyrics for such classic Wu tracks as "Protect Ya Neck" and "C.R.E.A.M.," thumbnail sketches of the core members and RZA's detailed descriptions of the Wu-Tang creative process in the studio, on stage and outside of the public eye.
This was supposed to be done a long time ago, but I'm sure it will be fascinating. Much better than "The Third Eye Blind Manual."

Alice Cooper: The Jimmy Buffet of Shock Rock

I've been meaning to link to Alice Cooper's restaurant, Alice Cooper's Town. Apparently it is where "Rock & Jock Meet in a big way! Alice Cooper's Town is a Bar & Grill Entertainment experience unlike any other. A place where you can catch the big game with friends or rock out to live music!" I saw a feature about this place on the Food Network. The waiters and bartenders paint their faces like Alice Cooper, which I'm sure they love doing. Also, he is notorious for surprise visits to the kitchen because he wants to make sure that the food is up to his standards at all times. No more Mr. Nice Guy indeed!

Bob Dylan: American Master

Here's an update on the Martin Scrocese film about Bob Dylan for PBS (it's from the Witchita Eagle):

For an artist who for so long cultivated mystery as part of his poetic persona and sidestepped straight answers in the few interviews he gave, like the "song and dance man" he purported to be, it's now time to set the record straight for Bob Dylan.

Following his critically lauded and briskly selling autobiography "Chronicles, Vol. 1," Dylan has opened up his considerable vaults of little-seen road films, performance videos and home movies -- as well as a freewheeling 10-hour interview with his manager -- for a two-part "American Masters" this summer, directed by no less than Martin Scorsese.

..."I'd like to create the story -- to find the story, first of all -- and then play it out the way I think it's right," Scorsese told reporters at the TV Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles in January. "I'm looking out for clarity. I'm looking out for the understanding of how mercurially an artist like this develops. And in a way, it's better I don't speak (with Dylan). It's better I just deal with the material.

"I feel the freedom that way, in making it that way, but I want to bring something that I can to it without being influenced in any way," said Scorsese, who has been nominated for an Academy Award as best director for "The Aviator."

...A short clip shows some extraordinary performances -- a marvelous piece of film from a Newport Folk Festival workshop stage, playing around on Dylan's 1965 tour, and putting on reporters at any number of news conferences.
Scorcese wanted to show Dylan's trip to Vermont when he discussed farm life and maple sugaring with some lesbians, but that has been cut.

Monday, February 07, 2005

David Byrne: Still Not Bald

There is an article at ("The First Art Newspaper on the Net!") about David Byrne's clever use of PowerPoint.

Hamlet and Ketchup

I don't know why I just thought of this, but there is a great scene in "Grease 2" where Michelle Pfeiffer and the secret Cool Rider (Maxwell Caulfield) discuss "Hamlet" over burgers and french fries. The conversations alternates between the play and their meal, with each of them getting confused about which topic they are talking about. Of course, what they are really doing is falling in love. In my view, the scene makes the whole production worthwhile.

Don't pretend that you haven't seen--and loved--"Grease 2."

Shine On You Crazy Laser Show

There is a nice little article in the New York Times about the Pink Floyd laser light show. It's been around now for four decades. Here's how it began:

In 1970 a California Institute of Technology professor asked [Ivan] Dryer, then a young Los Angeles-area filmmaker, to record her laser demonstrations on film. Mr. Dryer became hooked, spending the next three years developing his technique as a "laserist" for films and on tour with Alice Cooper. His dream was to put on a laser show set to music at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, an idea that was repeatedly rejected by the city-owned planetarium until November 1973, when Mr. Dryer's company, Laser Images Inc., was given four Monday nights as a trial run. The shows sold out for weeks.

There were 12 recorded songs played during Laserium I, as the initial performances were called, with music from artists ranging from the Rolling Stones to Johann Strauss. On the set list there were also two Pink Floyd songs, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and "Echoes," both from albums that neither sold well in the United States nor produced any hits.

And yet the music immediately connected with the laser audiences, Mr. Dryer said. "When I first heard their music I thought it was perfect for the kind of thing we were doing," he added. "It was instrumental largely, and we were looking for something that was not widely known."

What did soon become widely known was the laser show's success, and planetariums across the United States approached Mr. Dryer about building more laser machines. It was an arrangement that some later bemoaned, he said, remembering that several museums with planetariums did not take kindly to the shows' fans. "They were called 'the wrong element,' " he said. "It was always an uneasy marriage."
It's hard to imagine a world in which there were no Pink Floyd laser light shows.

Super Bowl, Florida

I thought Paul McCartney's voice was surprisingly good last night. It's been a long time since I've heard him hit the high notes with such strength. And "Live and Let Die" rocked me as it always does. I'm not sure what the Statue of Liberty has to do with "Hey Jude," but oh well. The people at my house got a kick out of McCartney's thanking the Super Bowl as if it were a town he was visiting.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ivy Irony

Is it possible to write a story about Weezer without mentioning that Rivers Cuomo is going to Harvard? Damn! Now I've done it.

Joan Jett's Super Bowl Pick

This is it: "Philadelphia. I was born in Philly, and I don't like Tom Brady's politics. 35-28."

Go to for other famous people's picks, including the former San Diego Chicken.

Solo Joe

According to hot-sauce tycoon and sometime Aerosmith lead guitarist has a solo project coming out:

The long-awaited solo album from Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry will see the light of day in the spring. The self-titled set, due May 3 via Columbia, boasts 11 original songs (including two instrumentals) and covers of the Doors' "The Crystal Ship" and Woody Guthrie's "Vigilante Man."
I would really love to hear his version of "The Crystal Ship."

Pops and Buzzes: Making Your iPod Sound Good

There is an article at Slate about "an audiophile find[ing] happiness with an iPod."

Loretta Lynn: Country Wise

There is a good story about Loretta Lynn's collaboration with Jack White in USA Today, and it is filled with lots of good quotes:

"His [White's] mind-set is where mine started," she says. "He loved the way I sing, and he wanted to record me. I said, 'great.' I figured it would work or it wouldn't. And if it didn't, I'd just do the record over again."

"I knew Jack was a rock 'n' roll singer, but that never made me nervous. Nothing much can scare me anymore."

"I know Nashville, and so now I live 77 miles outside Nashville toward Memphis. They always say they're looking for real country, and they didn't have sense enough to see it. I think people are hungry for a song they can sing along with."

"People take two years to make an album that's so polished and overdone that the spark is gone. Go in with a four-piece band and finish up in two days."

"My husband said I could sing, but I never thought I could sing that good," she says. "But I could write stuff that was real and bring it across. What I couldn't say to my husband, I'd write. My life is an open book."

...Would she remarry? "Maybe, if I ever found someone that I love, but I don't think that will ever happen. It might. I'm not going to waste no time worrying about it."

"If you stop and look back, you're not going to go anywhere," she says. "You can't look around and see what everyone else is doing. I'm going to mind my own business and keep moving."
Can't argue with that. I hear she's still fantastic live, by the way.

Overfed, Long-Haired Leaping Gnome Writes a Hollywood Movie

Eric Burdon (of the Animals) is working on a screenplay "based on a portion of his recent autobiography." You can find the story at and read a bit here:

"Some producers in LA read a chapter of my book and liked it a lot. They thought it would be a good movie" Burdon tells Undercover News. Although sourced from Burdon's book, Eric says the plot won't be about him. "It is about the music industry. It is about how the industry is it's own worst enemy and how they turned their back on technology hoping the internet would go away".

...He is also amazed on how the music industry has now become big business. "When you sit down and sum up what it costs to see The Stones and Madonna now, its $300 for a ticket, you pay for your t-shirt, you drive there and park" he says. "It can be $1000 to see a band for a night. Gimme a break! I saw the Stones for 10 shillings. Let's not forget where rhythm and blues came from".
London, right?

Vinyl Fling

There is an article at about the growth in the record industry. That's real records made of vinyl. This ties in nicely with the Quantegy story.

More on Quantegy

There is a story about Quantegy's (and analog's) demise at Lou Reed is sad to see it go:

A milestone in the history of recorded music was marked on New Year's Eve when Quantegy, the last company in the U.S. to manufacture the magnetic tape used for studio analog recording, shut its doors.

Analog recording has fallen by the wayside since the mid-Nineties, when faster, cheaper digital recording and editing programs such as Pro Tools became the norm. Still, die-hards -- including Neil Young, Jackson Browne and producer Rick Rubin -- swear by the natural sound of analog. "Digital has gotten really good, but it's never going to be analog," says Lou Reed. "People who want a vintage sound are going to have a problem."

...As the news spread, analog tape reels hit eBay, and tape vendors were besieged with phone calls. ATR Services, which makes and services analog gear, has plans to launch a line of tape by summer. "There's still a solid base of customers for analog," says Michael Spitz, ATR's owner. "But any company making it needs to realize it's not the de facto recording choice anymore."
I believe that there is a difference between analog and digital, though everything is converted to digital anyway, so the difference, while still evident, is not as pronounced. I think the people who are freaking out have probably just been confronted with their mortality.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It Was Much Better Than "Cats"

Generally, I try to celebrate things I like rather than mock the things I don't. So I'll leave it up to the New York Times to destroy "Good Vibrations":

Even those who believe everything on this planet is here for a purpose may at first have trouble justifying the existence of "Good Vibrations," the singing headache that opened last night at the Eugene O'Neill Theater.

But audience members strong enough to sit through this rickety jukebox of a show, which manages to purge all catchiness from the surpassingly catchy hits of the Beach Boys, will discover that the production does have a reason to be, and a noble one: "Good Vibrations" sacrifices itself, night after night and with considerable anguish, to make all other musicals on Broadway look good.
And it just gets worse from there.

Great Moments in the History of Terrible Drumming

Pay attention sometime to the drums on Rod Stewart's "Maggie Me." I'm not sure who plays on the record (Carmine Appice?), but whoever it is, he made some really odd decisions. The drums are loud, plodding, and don't fit with the atmosphere of the song at all. I hope this doesn't ruin the song for you if you like it.

Oddish-Pairing News From Australia

According to, Blondie and the Doors will be appearing together in Australia:

Although members of both bands have known each other for years, this will be the first time they have worked together. "I've known Ray Manzerek for a long time" Blondie's Chris Stein tells Undercover News. "We used to hang out in the old days. "Also Ian Astbury, I just to hang out with him about 10 years ago. He's a good character".

While Blondie and the Doors have never played on the same show before, some bright DJ in the UK came up with the idea of mixing two of their songs together. "There was a mash-up of 'Rapture' and 'Riders on the Storm'. That was really great" Chris says.

That track was called 'Rapture Riders'. It took The Doors 'Riders On The Storm' and throws it at the dancefloor with Blondie's 'Rapture' in an extended club dub mix. It became a hit in Australia and the UK.
Also according to, Nick Cave has done a cover of Neil Young's "Scattered." I'd like to go to Australia. I understand it is summer there, which is nice, but it would be more Advanced if it were spring or fall (you know, not the opposite season).

James Brown: Get on the Good Book, Part Two

There is a review of the James Brown's new autobigorahpy at the New York Times. It is described as "uneven but occasionally jaw-dropping." Here is some more:

...Mr. Brown's remarkable journey - from poverty in the Deep South to the chitlin' circuit to stardom to arrest to state laurels to arrest again, with pungent detours along the way - is only as absurd as the backdrop against which it takes place. As a reminder of this greater absurdity, Mr. Brown keeps with him a heavy set of shackles and chains that he bought in Africa. His life and accomplishments deserve a proper biography, and his many brushes with the law, beginning in 1949, when he was sent to a Georgia reform school at age 16 for petty theft, and continuing at least up until last year, when he pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic violence, call for a juicy tell-all.

Mr. Brown's self-made genius and self-destructive behavior make a grand American narrative, filled with impossible triumph, unlikely haberdashery and indestructible funk, all forged in the racial cauldron of the last century. He performed on national television to calm potential rioters after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then alienated black audiences a few years later by supporting Richard Nixon. He danced for pennies and nickels as a poor child in Augusta, Ga., then built a musical empire that included airplanes and radio stations, only to lose it all to tax, legal and marital problems.

"I Feel Good," Mr. Brown's second stab at an autobiography after "The Godfather of Soul" in 1986, touches on each of these moments, attributing most of his troubles to racism and racial conspiracies, including government use of "reverse X-rays or something" to spy on him through his television. The book is porous enough that some readers may even appreciate its 37-page introduction by Marc Eliot, which fills in some of the who-what-wheres of Mr. Brown's 71 years.

But at its best the book works as gnostic commentary on the action. Mr. Brown is nobody's easy fix. "Remember the 'Segregation before, segregation now, segregation forever!' speech he made?" he writes about George C. Wallace, the late governor of Alabama. "He, too, became another of my best friends." (The other "best friend" was Lester Maddox, a segregationist and former governor of Georgia.) As with his music, Mr. Brown's literary métier is not exposition but transcendence and gall.
Needless to say, James Brown is very Advanced. Also, calling his book "I Feel Good" is pretty funny. The man knows business, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Klaus Nomi: "The Nomi Song"

There is a review of "The Nomi Song" at the

Framed with bits of It Came From Outer Space (1953), Andrew Horn's portrait of Klaus Nomi (1944-83) takes for granted the notion of this no-wave performance artist as an inexplicable alien.

Nomi's white pancake makeup, black bee-stung lips, alarmingly sculpted coiffure, and severely, albeit hilariously, geometric outfits suggested a constructivist Pierrot or a Weimar android or perhaps an imploded, one-person version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A trained countertenor, the German-born Nomi sang pop songs as if they were grand opera. His affect, however, was blatantly artificial. Smiling sweetly, Nomi widened his eyes and cocked his head, emphasizing his performance with the herky-jerky movements of an enchanted marionette. His was a persona that astonished Club 57 hipsters and ordinary citizens alike. Spotting this uniquely stylized creature on the street, one scene survivor recalls, "People said 'What is that?'—not 'Who is that?' "

Horn's previous documentary, East Side Story, an essay on Communist musicals, was itself a sort of musical, and The Nomi Song is correspondingly generous with Nomi performances—including his trademark covers of material originally made famous by Lou Christie and Marlene Dietrich. Horn several times repeats the ecstatic purity of Nomi's 1978 star-is-born debut, when he stunned the downtown audience that had filled Irving Plaza for Ann Magnuson's "new wave vaudeville" show with his falsetto aria. The Nomi Song is better at evoking a particular bohemia than at getting inside its subject's head. (This humanoid music box was, somebody says, "one of the loneliest persons on earth.")

Still, although more wistful than campy, The Nomi Song is not without a certain showbiz drama, supplied mainly by the story of the star's not quite making it. Nomi appeared with David Bowie on Saturday Night Live in late 1979 and, soon after, opened (disastrously) for Twisted Sister in New Jersey. The artist returned to Europe, where—fronting a more commercial band—he enjoyed wider success, if only briefly. As much as anyone in the early '80s, Nomi was ready-made for MTV crossover. But as an early AIDS casualty, he would be part of another, less fortunate vanguard....
Klaus Nomi was incredibly Overt, obviously, but I'll never forget seeing him for the first time in "Urgh! A Music War." At a time when just about everyone wanted to be weird, he was the weirdest.

Reissue, Repackage, Recork

Elvis wine coming to U.K. Here's the story from

A selection of wines bearing late rock 'n' roll legend ELVIS PRESLEY's image are due to hit UK stores this year (05). The wines titled KING CAB, JAILHOUSE RED and BLUE SUEDE CHARDONNAY have already had huge success in America and feature a picture of the singer on their labels.

BRIAN PECK, SIGNATURE WINES' vice president, says, "We realise people buy the wines for the novelty of Elvis being on the label. "But we put good wine in there as well so that once they have tried them customers come back. "People are really taking to them."
"Jailhouse Red" sounds like it could be something else. Something really scary. Anyway, it's good to see someone is making some money off of Elvis for a change.

More Kid Rock: Here Come the ABC's

According to, They Might Be Giants has a new CD/DVD coming out. You know, for kids:

They Might Be Giants head to the land of painting penguins and flying letter V's in two weeks, when they issue the CD/DVD Here Come the ABC's!, the band's second effort aimed squarely at youngsters. Disney Sound/Walt Disney Records will release the follow-up to the band's acclaimed 2002 children's effort, No!, on February 15th. This time around though, the group will add a DVD to the package (in most outlets), showcasing their alphabet songs through a host of animation, illustration and puppetry.

...Flansburgh and TMBG co-founder John Linnell began working on the project a year ago, drafting songs about the alphabet and letter formations in spelling. In creating cuts such as "The Vowel Family" and "E Eats Everything," the band used their own intuition and knowledge in drafting kid-appropriate material.

"We don't do focus groups, and we don't have educational consultants," Flansburgh says. "I'm sure an educator will look at it and say this is a slightly uninformed effort, but it's really as much to entertain kids directly as anything else. When I was in my twenties, I actually worked in educational stuff for kids. The main thing I picked up was that, as an industry, it's incredibly mediocre. People are more afraid of being wrong than they are of being lame."

..."The thing that's nice about doing kid stuff for us is it's completely outside of the rock culture," he says. "I don't feel like They Might Be Giants has ever been relevant or irrelevant. We've always enjoyed the status of your alternative to the general mainstream culture. Whether that's Soundgarden or Rod Stewart, if it's all too much, we're here over on the left waiting for you, and that's a nice place to be."
These guys are proof that "Overt" does not mean "bad." They are proudly Overt (as you can tell by that last quote), which, really, makes them not so Overt, in a way. I'm sure you understand.

Mark Twain Knew

I was just reminded of a quote from Mark Twain that I think has a place here: "Wagner's music is better than it sounds."

Numero and CCM on CNN

I've just come across a story at about Numero, a label that is trying to rescue worthy music from obscurity. Here's a bit:

[Ken] Shipley, a former A&R manager for funky-artsy (David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Bootsy Collins) label Rykodisc, is digging.

There are hundreds of records out there -- old singles and albums -- that have never gotten the proper attention, he believes. He's trying to give them an outlet.

He and his business partner, Tom Lunt, started Numero with that intent. So far, the company has released three CDs: "Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label," a compilation of soul music from a Columbus, Ohio, record company; "Camino Del Sol" by Antena, a reissue of a 1982 LP by an obscure French group; and "Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label," a compilation of songs -- some of which were remastered from battered 45s and cassettes about to go to the city dump -- from a South Side Chicago label run out of what the liner notes call "a musical commune."

...Numero isn't the only one. Other small reissue labels, noting the majors' lack of interest in semi-obscure artists, have marched into the breach.

"The majors can't be bothered with that [kind of material]," Gordon Anderson, senior vice-president and general manager of Collectors' Choice Music, told The Hollywood Reporter.

CCM has reissued records by Terry Melcher, Sonny Bono and Andrew Gold. "That means there's a lot of catalog out there to be leveraged." Indeed, though the majors have long dominated pop music, there used to be plenty of room for small independents and offbeat releases.

In the '50s and '60s, when pop music was a singles medium dominated by Top Forty radio stations, local disc jockeys would occasionally take chances with regional artists signed to small labels.... Sometimes those disc jockeys could create a national hit. In 1966, a DJ in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, discovered a copy of Tommy James and the Shondells' "Hanky Panky" -- which the band had recorded three years earlier for a tiny Michigan label -- in a used-record bin and started playing it.

The ensuing frenzy prompted James to form a new Shondells, since his original band had broken up. Meanwhile, the rights to the recording were purchased by the much larger Roulette Records, and eventually the once-forgotten song hit No. 1.
It goes on to talk about various regional labels from the old days and how rescuing forgotten but good music is terrific karmically. I can go along with that.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Speakerboxx Office

Here is some news about Outkast's movie, from

Details of OUTKAST’S next project, a full-length feature film, have emerged. The Atlanta duo are currently working with their long-time video director Bryan Barber on the HBO-produced movie, which should be released mid-June.... "I had this idea in my mind for two years and wrote the film loosely based on my life and wrote their parts loosely based on some of our experiences together," Barber explained. "Basically, Dre and Big Boi have coinciding stories.

"Big Boi's in a love triangle and has to choose between his dream of being a businessman and his family. Dre's is more of a tragic love story. He falls in love with someone from out of town, which motivates him to follow his dream."

..."They mostly rap in it," explained Barber. "There are some new tracks and OutKast songs I think should have been released as singles."

Despite this the director insists the film will not be a modern rap flick, but will be set in the middle of last century. "It's not really a hip-hop movie at all, it just happens to have two major hip-hop stars in it," he explained. "It's more of a 1930s musical. I took some of the music from OutKast and set it in that time. That's one of the things I set out to do. I was trying to make a statement on how music from today could have been music from the 1930s."
Sounds a bit like "Chicago" meets "Disorderlies." I like it.

Beck a Scientologist?

As you may know, many Advanced artists have gone through weird religious phases. If you believe Exposing the Con, Beck already has that part covered. The guy who runs the website, which compares Scientology to a "19th century seedy carnival side show," apparently wants to expose the group as a not-so-wonderful cult. The article about Beck is called "The Secret Life of Beck Hansen - A Guide for the Professional Journalist," and it is supposed to help writers ask Beck questions about his beliefs. At the end it says, "If you interview Beck Hansen you will probably be monitored and may have to agree not to discuss his controversial personal life. Keep the following in mind:

1. Beck is relatively uneducated. He has just an eighth grade education, and most of this education seems to have been in Scientology schools. He most likely has never had conventional education in science or health. This is by cult design, because a lack of education makes a victim easier to manipulate.

2. Beck is likely unaware of much of the "wog" world around him. Scientologists are typically discouraged from watching television or reading the newspaper. Many have installed on their computers supposedly innocent software provided to them by the COS that blocks a long list of key words, names, and websites. Their e-mails and web surfing may be monitored. Beck will most likely not be able to discuss the elections, the war, or the economy. He may never even have voted. A cult member is taught that his primary purpose in life is to raise money for the cult, and in Beck's case, as a Scientologist, to 'clear' the planet-in other words, recruit everyone into Scientology."

And it goes on and on. It's all kind of creepy really, kind of like a anticult cult. I think the guy wants to protect Beck from Scientology, but I think he would settle for using Beck to expose Scientology. Either way, "Odelay" sure was a good record, and "Sexx Laws" is a really great song and video.

(Thanks to for the link.)

Glenn Danzig: Darling of Classical Music

Danzig news from the excellently named

Legendary dark metal artist Glenn Danzig and his band Danzig will kick off a month-long North American tour on February 18 in St. Louis, MO wrapping up in Anaheim, CA on March 15 (full itinerary below). The 19-date trek will feature Glenn Danzig/vocals, Tommy Victor/guitars, Jerry Montano/bass, and Johnny Kelly/drums, and is in support of Danzig's latest album, "Circle Of Snakes," released in September 2004. Type O Negative's Kelly drummed for Danzig on previous European tours, but this will be his first full U.S. tour with the band.

"Circle Of Snakes," Danzig's ninth album, features several cryptic tunes that are psychological in nature, tunes that allude to the struggle between the good and evil within us all, and is a return to the simplistic brutality of the group's 1988 self-titled debut. "Circle Of Snakes" Is introspective and challenges the listener to bring a part of himself to it, to interpret its meaning. As Danzig said, "Life is a constant battle, surviving daily life and the battle within yourself."

In addition to the release of "Circle Of Snakes" and the winter U.S. Tour dates, Danzig has completed "Black Aria II," the follow up to 1993's "Black Aria" which reached the #1 position on Billboard's Classical chart. "Black Aria II" focuses on Lilith, a mythical figure and Eve's predecessor as the first wife of Adam who has come to symbolize female independence andrebellion. It is said that Lilith was banished to the desert, had sex with demons, brought plagues to the Earth, and, taking on the form of a serpent, seduced Eve to eat the fateful apple. "Black Aria II" was produced by Danzig. An early summer 2005 release on Danzig's Evilive label is expected.

Danzig is also in the process of writing the screenplay for a film adaptation of "Gerouge," one of the comic book titles distributed by his Verotik publishing company; the film will mark his feature film directorial debut. "Gerouge" takes place in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, and word is that it will be "full of zombies, snake rituals, and some of the most gruesome scenes ever put on film." Rainstorm Productions is producing the feature, no release date has been set.
Every single thing in this article is completely awesome. I had no idea that Glenn Danzig (I love it when they use his full name because his first name doesn't really sound all that evil) was a classical-music star. It reminds me of something a stoner friend of Britt's said during a conversation about Jimi Hendrix. He said, "Jimi Hendrix wasn't just a musician. He was a com-PO-er," with an emphasis on the "PO." That was a really dumb thing to say, but I guess it wouldn't be wrong to say it about Glenn Danzig. Who knew?

Jethro Tull: Very Popular

According to, Jethro Tull has sold more than 60 million records. That is astounding. Especially since every one of them was bought by a guy.