Thursday, June 30, 2005

New John Cale

According to, John Cale has a new record coming out:

Former Velvet Underground principal John Cale will release a new album, "Black Acetate," Sept. 12 in the U.K. via EMI. The 13-track set is led by the single "Turn the Lights On," which will hit digital download outlets on Aug. 1. The album is said to be more guitar-driven than its predecessor, last year's acclaimed "HoboSapiens."
I'm sure I mentioned when the album came out, but "HoboSapiens" is a very Advanced title.

Rerun DMC

According to, Run DMC is releasing expanded versions of some old classics:

Three of legendary rap trio Run-D.M.C.'s first four studio albums will be reissued in expanded form Sept. 5 via Arista/Profile/Legacy, has learned. "King of Rock" (1985), "Raising Hell" (1986) and "Tougher Than Leather" (1988) all feature rare and previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Led by such favorites as "You Talk Too Much" and "Rock the House," "King of Rock" began to foreshadow Run-D.M.C.'s eventual explosion into the mainstream, reaching No. 52 on The Billboard 200. The new edition includes the original version of "Slow and Low," later recorded by the Beastie Boys on "Licensed To Ill"; the previously unreleased long version of "Jam-Master Jammin'"; the B-side "Together Forever"; and a version of "King of Rock" recorded at Live Aid in 1985.

The expanded version [of "Raising Hell"] includes five previously unreleased extras: an a cappella version of "My Adidas," the original "Walk This Way" demo, "Lord of Lyrics," a "Raising Hell" tour radio ad and a commercial for "Live at the Apollo."

"Tougher Than Leather" is bolstered by an instrumental version of "Beats to the Rhyme," the demo for "How'd Ya Do It Dee," an unreleased song called "Crack," the seasonal "Christmas in Hollis" and an April 1987 commercial for Penthouse magazine. A liner notes essay by Public Enemy's Chuck D can be found on the group's official Web site.
Whether they're hanging out with Dr. Dre or Dr. Pepper, Run DMC will always have a special place in my heart, also known as my beatbox. And they are also Advanced.

I Want to Know What Love Is

I love that song. It's today's nonguilty guilty pleasure.

U2 in USA Today

There's a longish article about U2 in USA Today. Here's some of it:

"I wince a little at the term 'veteran band,' because we're releasing records as popular and as creatively alive as anything we've ever done," says bassist Adam Clayton, 45. "We still get videos played on MTV. Rolling Stone, which tends to put half-naked ladies on its cover, had a very successful issue with U2 on the cover. (Related story: U2 leads the pack in concert tickets) "These things are not the industry norms. These things make people scratch their heads. It's humbling to be in that position." [He certainly sounds humbled. -jh]

"We are still hungry," says drummer Larry Mullen Jr., 43. "We want the cake, the cream on it, cherries and jam and anything else you have. This is not about playing for our original audience. We are nothing like the Grateful Dead. It's about finding a new audience without disenfranchising the old one."

"We were proud to be inducted [to the rock and roll hall of fame], but our focus is not on the past," says guitarist Edge, who turns 44 in August. "It's an honor, but it's slightly off-kilter at this moment. We're not ready to sit back and reminisce about the golden years. We're determined to still be making great music in this millennium."

Chris Martin of Coldplay, the biggest of many acts shaped by U2, says the band is a career model. "I don't know how they do it," he says. "Just the solidarity of the gang of U2 is really inspiring. There are great lessons there. So many bands I've loved have tripped. They sacked the drummer or did some crazy bad commercial or turned against their audience."

"Early on, we decided to work as a democracy, and we use our votes very wisely," Mullen says. "It's a very transparent process, and it can be brutal, but we get the best out of everyone that way. We made a commitment to each other, to making music that we believe in. Today, it's about ego for a lot of bands: 'I wrote this part' or 'I want a bigger dressing room,' the most childish things you've heard in your life, never musical differences."

Uncharted waters don't necessarily portend rough seas, says Bono, who isn't in a panic over the industry's youth obsession. "It would not surprise me if this album, depending on which songs catch fire, or our next album will be by far our most popular," he says, noting that many of pop's best sellers are adult-oriented. "The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Shania Twain. They made records for people ignored by the music business, which spends 80% of its marketing budget on 15- to 25-year-olds. We have an enormous audience potentially, if we're up to the task."

"If you're interested in pop culture and what's going on, the music just naturally will be relevant," Bono says. "We still make music for virgins.

"I'm always trying to bring myself back to that moment when Bob Dylan and John Lennon woke me up. I'm delighted MTV is taking a risk. They're saying, 'We think U2 can still communicate with our audience.' Even 14-year-olds don't want a diet of candy all the time."

Should its clout and stature start to slide, U2 won't stick around as a comeback cliché, thank you. Says Mullen: "We will put the bullet in our own head before anyone else does."
That's not very Advanced of Mr. Mullen, but I like how frankly U2 talk about building and keeping an audience. Most bands say, "We just want to make music, and we don't mind if a lot of people don't want to buy our records." For most, that is a complete lie, of course, so it's nice to hear U2 tell the truth. This is nothing new for them, of course, but it's still nice.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Public Enemy: Hellfest Freezes Over

According to, Public Enemy will be appearing soon:

Legendary rap act Public Enemy has joined the extensive lineup for Hellfest 2K5, a three-day New Jersey festival that will boast 188 acts, most of which fall in the category of heavy rock music. Described as "a barricade-free, circle pit induced festival," the Aug. 19-21 event at Trenton, N.J.'s Sovereign Bank Arena will feature five stages of music as well as a flea market, tattoo convention and skate park.

With original members Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Professor Griff, the Public Enemy performance is being billed among Hellfest's reunion acts, which also include hardcore groups Youth Of Today, Bold, 108 and Good Clean Fun, upstart punk group Outspoken and metal act Killing Time.
I love how square Billboard can be: "most of which fall in the category of heavy rock music." Tell it to the ear, grandpa!

Franz Ferdinand: Color Us Overt

According to, Franz Ferdinand will not have a title for their second album:

The second record, due in September, will not have a title and will only be recognisable from the band’s debut by a change in colour scheme. Instead of dark brown, orange and cream, the second album will have a black, red and pale green cover. Singer Alex Kapranos explained: “The whole point is that the album doesn’t have a title. We decided quite a while ago that we didn’t want to give any of the albums titles, they were just going to be called ‘Franz Ferdinand’.” He added: “The albums are going to be identified by their colour schemes rather than a title. The contrast of different colours creates a different mood. We experimented with different combinations of colours and this one stuck. At one level they looked good together, and they capture the mood of this record quite well.”
I like Franz Ferdinand, but this no-title policy is very Overt. If they start to Advance, I have a feeling they might change their stance on titles. Or if the second album doesn't do well, my money is on their naming the third (after being pressured by the record company).

Father Knowles Worst

According to contactmusic, one person can be blamed for a lot of Sanctuary Group's financial woes:

Record giant Sanctuary Group has blamed BEYONCE KNOWLES' father MATHEW, who runs the company's urban music division, for a 40 per cent fall in profits and spiralling debt. The world's largest independent label now has a debt burden of $215 million (GBP118 million) and its shares fell nine per cent after the company revealed it planned to sell off assets to lighten the debt.

Sanctuary, which handles artists including LOU REED, MORRISSEY and DESTINY'S CHILD, claims album delays from Knowles' Sanctuary Urban cost the company 1.3 million sales worth $17 million (GBP9.3 million) in the first half of this year (05). The company has shifted the structure of power within Sanctuary Urban to hand other executives control of production. It also plans to cut 10 per cent of its workforce and amalgamate offices.
I had a feeling there would be problems with Sanctuary when they signed that deal with Todd Rundgren. And the Axl thing sounded a bit fishy too. But I hope they'll be okay.

Dylan Doc Debut

According to Yahoo!, the Martin Scorcese documentary about Bob Dylan will go to DVD before it is airs on PBS:

- Martin Scorsese's feature-length biopic of Bob Dylan, "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan," will debut on DVD on Sept. 20, six days before its U.S. broadcast premiere on PBS and U.K. bow on the BBC. On PBS, the film will air Sept. 26 and 27 as part of the "American Masters" series. It also will air Sept. 26 on the BBC's "Arena" program.

The DVD, from Paramount Home Entertainment, will include extensive additional footage and bonus materials. The film focuses on Dylan's life and music from 1961-66 and includes never-before-seen performance footage and interviews with artists and musicians whose lives were intertwined in some way with Dylan during that time.

Scorsese and his crew had access to rare material from the Bob Dylan Archives' film, tape and stills collection, including footage from Murray Lerner's film festival documenting performances at the 1963, '64 and '65 Newport Folk Festivals, outtakes from D.A. Pennebaker's famed 1967 documentary "Don't Look Back" and interviews with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, among others.
Just thought you might like to know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Diane Sawyer's Riding Out Today's Events

According to this, Diane Sawyer has Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen on her iPod. I like this.

U2: Give Us Back Our Pants, Lola!

According to Yahoo!, U2 is suing the pants off someone:

Irish rock group U2 went to court Tuesday to recover 5,000 euros ($6,062) worth of memorabilia -- including a pair of lead singer Bono's trousers -- from a former stylist.

The multi-millionaires, who played to nearly 250,000 fans in three Dublin concerts over the last few days, are suing Lola Cashman for the return of a number of items she says she received as gifts.

Bono rejected Cashman's claim she had been given the articles, including a Stetson hat, a pair of black three-quarter length trousers and earrings worn by him on the band's 1987 Joshua Tree tour and in the 1988 film "Rattle and Hum."

"The stylists would never have asked for them and the band would never have given them," Bono told Dublin's circuit court, adding that while Cashman had a good eye for wardrobe, she had been difficult to work with.

"Almost every single person on the tour wanted her off the tour," he said, adding that while they were not part of the case he also wanted some 200 Polaroid photographs in her possession returned.
I like that the reporter describes the band as "multi-millionaires," I guess to point out that this is a petty lawsuit. Also, I wonder if Madonna character Lotsa Decasha is based on Lola Cashman. Finally, if Cashman was dressing them on their Joshua Tree tour, they should be suing her for a lot more than 5000 euros.

Gang of Four Does Gang of Four

Here's a Gang of Four update from

Gang Of Four has finalized the track list for its new album, "Whitey's Gift," which features 14 new versions of classic tracks from its back catalog. Due Sept. 20 via V2, the album will also be available with a second disc of remixes from such acts as Hot Hot Heat, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Dandy Warhols, No Doubt's Tony Kanal, Faultline and Ladytron.

...Gang Of Four recently concluded its first spate of touring with its four original members in more than 20 years. The lone upcoming date on its schedule is Sept. 24 at London's Barbican, at which it will perform "Entertainment!" in its entirety.

The band's willingness to offer its music up for remixing to a new generation of artists is striking a chord with longtime fans. "It's a really gracious thing to do," Slint/Papa M principal David Pajo tells
I'm not so sure I'd say it was a "gracious" thing to do. I think it sounds more like a calculated move to get younger people interested in Gang of Four. And that's fine, of course.

Podcast News

There has been an update to iTunes, which includes the addition of a podcast feature. If you go to the podcast home, there is an awesome picture of the godfather of podcasting, Adam Curry. I never thought I'd say it, but I think he may just be Advanced. I guess now I need to put together an Advanced podcast. Update soon.

Bob Dylan: Genius Loves Companies

According to the BBC, Bob Dylan has made an exclusive CD deal with Starbucks:

Dylan: Live at the Gaslight 1962 will feature 10 previously unreleased tracks from New York's Gaslight Cafe, recorded more than 40 years ago. The album will go on sale at Starbucks outlets in the US in August.

...Previously unreleased tracks on the Dylan album will include A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall and Don't Think Twice It's Alright. Starbucks will carry Gaslight exclusively for 18 months - the longest deal of its kind - retailing at a cost of $13.95 (£7.65) at 4,600 US stores.

...It is not the first time Dylan has joined forces with a major corporate company to promote his music. Last year an exclusive compilation CD of his work was sold at lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret.
I can't wait for his next tour of minor-league ballparks with Antigone Rising.

Monday, June 27, 2005

All Yesterday's Parties (Partial Review)

I got the book for my birthday, and I was skimming it this weekend. So far, so horrifying. There's some truly terrible writing in the beginning, but let's hope that the quality will improve as VU gains notoriety. As it is now, it's like reading a bunch of music-blog entries, and we all know how awful that can be.

Peter Gammons Is in Another State of Mind

I was just reading the baseball writer Peter Gammons' column, and I was surpised to read this: "Go buy the soundtrack to 'Lords of Dogtown' just to hear Social Distortion's remake of the Clash classic, 'Death or Glory.'" If it is Advanced for rockers to embrace sports, maybe it's Advanced for sports enthusiasts to embrace rock. Interesting.

The John Lennon Stamp Collection

According to Yahoo!, John Lennon's stamp collection will be on display at the Smithsonian:

Beatles star John Lennon collected stamps as a schoolboy — and the public will soon have a chance to see them. The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum announced Friday it has acquired Lennon's stamp album and plans to display it in October.

..."We're tremendously excited at the prospect of exhibiting John Lennon's boyhood stamp album," curator of philately Wilson Hulme said. "I hope it will inspire new collectors. There are people who think stamp collecting isn't cool, and maybe this will cause them to think twice about that. It just doesn't get cooler than John Lennon."
Mr. Hulme strikes me as the optimistic sort.

Greener Shade of Pale

According to this, there is a dispute about who wrote "Whiter Shade of Pale." So it's off to the courts:

It was always believed that the number, which hit No. 1 in 1967, was written by Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. But Matthew Fisher, the band's keyboard player, claims he co-wrote the classic and wants a share of the copyright - plus some of the cash from 10 million sales. One expert believes it could have made $1.2 million in royalties.

Fed up with watching the song repeatedly topping best-ever polls, as the years turned to decades, he decided to act. Fisher, now 59 and a computer programmer in South London, said: "It's taken me this long to find a firm of specialist lawyers good enough to take up my fight. But I have been advised not to say anything more."

But on Procol Harum's official website, Brooker said: "A Whiter Shade Of Pale was written by Keith Reid and me before Matthew even joined the band. "I am shocked and dismayed that after Matthew had worked with us quite happily over the course of 40 years without him once alleging that his role on A Whiter Shade Of Pale was anything other than as a musician, it is only now that he claims he recalls writing part of it."
Seems like a lot of trouble for $400K minus lawyers' fees (I'm guessing that would be about $399K), but at least he gets to sully a beloved rock classic.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nike in Dischord

According to adrants, Nike's likes Minor Threat:

"Apparently, Nike has taken, without permission, the 1984 album design of Dischord Records artist Minor Threat and turned it into a skateboarding poster for the company's "Major Threat" East Coast Tour. When asked by Pitchfork Media if Nike had obtained permission to mirror the art, Dischord Records said, "No, they stole it and we're not happy about it. Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission. It's disgusting."

I know Nike was wrong and all, but I can't help but find this just a tad bit funny. It's so wrong that it's almost right. But don't do it again, Nike!

Iggy Pop Deriding the Marrakesh Express

Here is some news about some upcoming releases from the Stooges, from

Expanded versions of the Stooges' howling, hard-rocking first two albums are headed for record stores on August 16th. Rhino Records' double-CD deluxe editions of 1969's The Stooges and 1970's Fun House will feature the original album plus a bonus CD of demos and rarities. The bonus disc of the Stooges' eponymous debut contains alternate takes and mixes of classics like "I Wanna Be Your Dog," while its Fun House counterpart also includes two songs, "Lost in the Future" and "Slide (Slidin' the Blues)," that did not appear on the original release.

Formed in 1967, the Stooges were Detroit's gritty response to what singer Iggy Pop calls the "wockety-wickety-wackety-woo" of the hippie movement. "It didn't even rock," he told Rolling Stone in 2003 of the flowery soundtrack to the Summer of Love. "I mean, 'Marrakesh Express?' It may be the worst song ever written."
There were so many songs from that era he could have chosen, I wonder what would make him think of that one in particular. Why not "Deja Vu" or "Almost Cut My Hair," for instance?

Bono: Used to Be Sad, Used to be Shy

According to, Bono has yet another iron in the fire: He's writing a TV comedy. It's about "a man who moves to Las Vegas to play in a show band and will be called A VERSION OF LAS VEGAS." This isn't his first attempt at writing for TV, however. Before he was in U2 he wrote the episode of "Alice" where Mel gets a robot to replace the girls.

"Cavett Show" DVD

According to Yahoo!, the DVD featuring musical performances from the "Cavett Show" will have to be delayed. But for a good reason:

A late thumbs-up from Mick Jagger has forced the distributor of a DVD featuring musical performances from "The Dick Cavett Show" to postpone its release by two weeks to Aug. 16. In addition to segments featuring the likes of David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Janis Joplin and George Harrison, "The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons" will now boast almost 15 minutes of the Rolling Stones.

Jagger has allowed archival label Shout! Factory to include performances of "Brown Sugar" and "Street Fighting Man" -- albeit trimmed to two minutes each -- filmed during a July 25, 1972 performance at Madison Square Garden in New York, and two backstage interviews he did with Cavett.
Well, that was nice of him. I wish Dick Cavett (or someone like him) still had a show. I guess Jimmy Kimmel will have to do...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Electric Ballroom Won't Go Down the Tube

According to, the Electric Ballroom will be sticking around:

It has been reported the Electric Ballroom in Camden, North London - one of the capital's most iconic venues - has been saved from demolition. It was feared that the proposed redevelopment of Camden's tube station would certainly go ahead with the famed venue being demolished.

The Electric ballroom was opened in 1978 and soon became part of the London gigging scene. It was originally the Buffalo Club opened in the mid 1930's used mainly as a social centre for the large number of Irish immigrants who were coming to Britain to make up for the labour shortage during the Second World War.

...An article on the Transport for London website explained the need for the building: 'The new station cannot be built with the Electric Ballroom remaining in situ. The club which takes up a large part of the centre of the triangular site is required for the construction of the new station's lower concourses and escalator shaft. The ballroom spans both phases of the project and therefore needs to be demolished at the beginning of the construction programme.

...However stars such as Nick Cave and Sir Bob Geldof campaigned against the closure of the venue that has seen a host of top acts play over the years including Iggy Pop, the Clash, Joy Division, Madness, U2, The Smiths, Nick Cave, The Pogues, Public Enemy, Supergrass and Oasis.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also stepped in and after a public enquiry, has prevented the development from going ahead under its current scheme. Camden Council were also against the demolition plan, which has left London Underground with a return trip to the planning table.
Gosh, they're civilized.

Donnie Van Zant's Motto

"Life is about family, man. ... you get me and Johnny [his brother] on a stage, it's a circus."

Perry Farrel Ups the Ante

Here's a little more on the new Perry Farrell project from

Perry Farrell will utilize next month's revived Lollapalooza festival to unveil his new music/theater project, Satellite Party. He will be backed by former Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal and percussionist Gabriele Corcos and will play material intended for the group's as-yet-untitled 2006 debut album. "It's about a group of artists; fine artists, filmmakers, street performers and musicians," Farrell tells of the concept. "They hang out and put on these crazy parties. One of the crazy parties turns into a full riot and the guy who organizes them gets hurt and sent to the hospital.

"There, he meets this beautiful night nurse," he continues. "While listening to the radio together in the evenings as he's recuperating, he gets a vast visitation of energy through the radio, which is pretty much an invitation to a satellite party. Their souls leave, as do other souls on earth, because that certain station pulls them up to a party with a galaxy of stars."

At Lollapalooza, Farrell will present "excerpts" from the full story, which on record will feature contributions from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and John Frusciante, the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, Farrell's former Porno For Pyros bandmate Peter DiStefano and electronica outfit Hybrid, which features New Order bassist Peter Hook. "The music is a hybrid," Farrell says. "It combines elements of house with hip-hop and rock. Then, you twist it a little bit with theater."
I think this one falls into the unbearably Advanced category, and I can't wait to hear it. Billboard also says that he is going to sing three acoustic songs ("People Are Strange," "Touch Me" and "The Crystal Ship") with the Doors Of The 21st Century for the new VH1 series "Decades Rock." This guy's good.

Blur: Boys Who Sue Boys

According to, Blur would play Live 8 if only they weren't in the process of suing each other:

"Bassist ALEX JAMES was desperate to reunite BLUR for the upcoming LIVE 8 gig in London - but instead of rocking out together, they are suing each other. The Britpop hitmakers are at the centre of a bitter legal spat, and James is devastated their relationship has descended into hostility. He says, 'We're suing each other. It's a shame really. I thought we might all get together again for Live 8 and try and save the world but no.' However, James' bandmate DAMON ALBARN has expressed his disdain for the predominantly white line-up at the concert, recently scathing, 'Why is the bill so damn Anglo-Saxon?'"

I had no idea that he was an anti-Anglo-Saxite.

Fancy Corgan

I have a feeling that Billy Corgan might not be the best guy to be in a band with.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Advancement Anniversary

Well, it's the one-year anniversary of the blog (and my birthday). It's been a good year for the theory, which has been featured in print in Esquire, online at London News Review and, and on the air in Ecuador. The blog gets about 2,000 unique visits a month, which is kind of astounding, even though most people found me looking for hair supplies. I appreciate all the people who read the blog, and I am particularly grateful to those of you who read regularly, including some who were nice enough to email me. Hopefully the blog will continue to find new readers and the theory will continue to spread.

Thanks to everyone, and keep on advancing.


Brian Wilson Rocks Out Like Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones

There is an article at Salon about Brian Wilson. Here's some of it:

S: What kind of piano do you have at home?

BW: I have a piano that's called a Yamaha piano. [I love that answer. -jh]

S: And Paul McCartney is your favorite of the Beatles?

BW: Oh yes. He's written so many songs, it can make your head swim. If you listened to the whole Beatles catalog in one sitting, you'd wind up feeling dizzy. That's how good he is at music. He can make you feel dizzy.

S: Do you listen to much classical music?

BW: Are you Jewish?

S: No ... Why do you ask?

BW: Just asking! No reason.

S: OK. Do you listen to much classical music?

I listen to Bach, and that's it. You know that album "Switched-On Bach"? I love that. I love it!!

S: Are you making a new record?

BW: Yeah, we just finished a Christmas record. And after that, we're going to do rock 'n' roll. Rock 'n' roll music.

S: The Rolling Stones kind?

BW: It'll be like the Rolling Stones. And it will also be influenced by Phil Spector's records. I think I can make a good rock 'n' roll album.

S: Are you writing the lyrics?

BW: No, I work with a friend named Steve.

S: What sorts of things does he write about?

BW: He writes about "you" and "me." "You, me" kind of songs. "I love you," "you caress me," "you make me feel good," that kind of thing. They make me feel good.

S: Do you think the music you're writing now is as good as "Smile" or "Pet Sounds"?

Yeah, the stuff we're doing is just as good as "Smile," and it's better than "Pet Sounds." And it's rock 'n' roll. And I think rock 'n' roll is the best bet for us to do now. I could record an album of ballads -- you know what I mean, "Brian Wilson Sings Ballads" -- but I'd rather go with "Brian Wilson Rocks Out Like Phil Spector," you know what I mean? Rock 'n' roll. [Begins clapping and singing about rock 'n' roll.]
Just about all of his answers are Advanced. It is especially Advanced for him to say that what he is doing now is better than "Pet Sounds" and to clap his hands and sing about rock'n'roll. I have mixed feelings about some of Brian Wilson's music, but I love his attitude.

Ry Cooder: Talkin' Baseball

This morning, I came across something kind of interesting in the New Yorker:

"Ry Cooder released an album, a song cycle called 'Chávez Ravine,' about the Mexican-American neighborhood in Los Angeles whose residents were evicted in the fifties to make way for Dodger Stadium. (The Dodgers, of course, went to L.A. because they had failed to get their dream stadium, a Buckminster Fuller dome, built in Brooklyn.) Cooder’s album, which, in the spirit of his 'Buena Vista Social Club' project, features old musicians from East L.A., chronicles this buried bit of Angeleno history from the point of view of participants real and imagined: the public-housing official and HUAC victim Frank Wilkinson, the power broker and red-baiter Fritz Burns, a demolition man, a zoot-suiter, a parking attendant’s ghost. There is also a 'space vato'—a space dude—who, hearing some pachuco pop on the radio of his spaceship, touches down in Chávez Ravine, looking for fun."

I don't know if this is Advanced or Overt, but it sounds like a really terrible idea that I would really love.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Joy Hater of the Day

I'm going to start a new feature that point out Overt people who hate joy and decide that it is important to rain on everyone's parade. They like to say that "SNL" isn't as good as it used to be, "Jaws" and "Star Wars" ruined Hollywood, TV is a waste of time, Michael Jordan should have never played for Washington, etc. Today's Joy Hater is Sam Anderson of Slate, who feels that "Spamalot" didn't deserve to win a Tony for best musical. Here are some choice joy-hating quotes:

"Spamalot is the Anti-Python; it systematically reverses everything that made the original funny."

"Camelot becomes a glittering Las Vegas casino. This might have been original comedic territory around the time of King Arthur, but now it's just tedious."

"The real Python would be mocking the mocking of Spam, not building an expensive production in its name, coordinated with special tie-in packaging by Hormel." [He knows better what the real Python is than all the living members of Monty Python, who approved the show -jh]

"Though Spamalot's creator, Eric Idle, has earned a spot in Comedy Heaven for his Python days (most memorably for his composition and chipper performance of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" in The Life of Brian), he is much less funny outside the group's strict system of checks and balances—even his jokey "exposure" of his own exploitation (he has called tours "Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python" and "The Greedy Bastard Tour") is more irritating than funny."

"The original Python was a creative force that chewed up whatever medium tried to contain it—a Broadway show in that spirit could only exist off-off-off-Broadway, under an awning somewhere and would probably never find its way to the main stage." [Once again, he knows best, not actual Monty Python members. -jh]

"As a Python fan, I wanted to love Spamalot, but it wouldn't let me." [Sounds like he wanted to hate it to me. -jh]

And there's lots more, but I don't want to bum you out. Of course "Spamalot" isn't going to be as great as the original show, but so what? Everybody seems to like it, and it makes people happy. It is legitimate to review the show negatively if you don't like it, but this guy acts like Eric Idle and Monty Python owes him something. Ironically, Anderson writes that Eric Idle "has earned a spot in Comedy Heaven for his Python days (most memorably for his composition and chipper performance of 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life')." It doesn't sound like he's taken the lyrics to that song to heart. So if life's getting you down, Mr. Anderson, just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving and revolving at 900 miles an hour. It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned, the sun that is the source of all our power. I know that always makes me feel better.

Frank Black: Back to Nashville

According to, Frank Black has a lot of plans:

Frank Black is eyeing an early 2006 release for an album recorded late last year in Nashville, where he also recorded his upcoming solo project, "Honeycomb." As previously reported, that album is due July 19 via Back Porch/Narada, and features such guests as keyboardist Spooner Oldham, guitarist Steve Cropper and drummer Billy Block. The second Nashville-reared set, which is as-yet-untitled and not earmarked for a label, has already been mixed. But Black tells, "I decided I want to redo some vocals and I want to write a few more songs to maybe add to it."

"I wasn't really thinking in terms of, 'this is the follow-up album' [to 'Honeycomb']," Black continues. "It was sort of like, let's do another session and see what happens. Most of it was recorded in one night, like a midnight to 6 p.m. the next day all-nighter kind of thing." Among the artists who participated in the sessions are the Band's Levon Helm, Free/Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, the Small Faces' Ian McLagan, the Funk Brothers' Bob Babbitt, Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson and Mark T. Jordan. "We're bringing you a high celebrity list," Black jokes.
He also talks about a possible PIxies album, about which he is caustically optimistic.

Cell Indulgent

I just got a tip that Crazy Frog wears a leather jacket.

Eric Clapton Is Not a Good Friend

According to, Eric Clapton is doing a cover of George Harrison's "Love Comes to Everyone" on his upcoming record. Really, hasn't he done enough to George Harrison?

Steve Earle a Marxist?

According to Yahoo!, some Alaskans don't like Steve Earle:

"...Earle's appearance at the Southeast Alaska State Fair in Haines is drawing protest. Earle has been the subject of angry letters and paid newspaper commentary in the Chilkat Valley News since early May. Letter writers have complained that Earle's music has un-American or Marxist undertones. Some have said he's not right for the nonprofit family fair in Haines, and have called for a boycott."

North to the future!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Richard Hell: "Spurts"

According to, there is a new Richard Hell retrospective coming out:

Rhino Records will release Spurts: The Richard Hell Story on August 2nd, a twenty-one-track overview of Hell's career in pioneering New York bands Television, the Heartbreakers and the Voidoids. "I've wanted to compile these songs for a long time," says Hell. "Now I can walk away and not look back." The set features remastered versions of all released material, the unreleased tracks "Blank Generation (Live)" and 2004's "She'll Be Coming (For Dennis Cooper)," as well as Hell's own remixes of his songs.

...with Spurts, Hell has had the opportunity to revisit the renegade sounds that made his name. "The way we sounded together in the Seventies, as well as on Destiny Street -- I never thought of it as being influential, because it was too eccentric," Hell told Rolling Stone. "But now for the first time, I'm hearing things that sound like they were influenced by those records: the new wave of garage rock and 'art rock.' I'm way into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, for instance . . . I can hear us in many of these bands."
I can't decide if that is an Overt or Advanced thing to say. On the one hand, it would seem beneath him to glom on to a band like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But on the other, it's Advanced to say you like bands of the moment, especially ones that sound like your earlier work. I think I'm torn because there is a trace of feigned humility. Advanced artists usually just say something like "I was great and influential and the only good bands these days are the ones who sound like I did when I was young." Or they say something like "I wish I had been as good as the Strokes," and they are totally serious. Richard Hell seems to be straddling the line of Advancement and Overtness. But then again, if he's truly Advanced, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

"Nico - Sphinx on Ice"

I came aross this little nugget while looking at "Germany's Top Five" in Deutsche Welle:

"Discover the world of Nico in a new opera premiering in Dresden, 'Nico - Sphinx on Ice.' Based on a book by Werner Fritsch, the show details the life of pop star Nico. Born Christa Päffge, Nico was one of the most colourful postwar characters, modeling for Coco Chanel, acting in Frederico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, hanging around with Andy Warhol and singing with Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground. The production, at the Semper Opera, also doesn't exclude her love for Jim Morrison, as it has her review her own life."

Now the question is: Where do you find an opera singer willing to sing like Nico?

Larry King Celebrates Billy Graham With Pat Boone


Pat Boone is celebrating -- and dropping the curtain on -- his five-decade recording career by issuing five albums in five different genres. Bono, James Brown and LeAnn Rimes lead the diverse group of artists joining the seventy-one-year-old crooner.

...Glory Train [Boone's gospel record] features "Thank You, Billy Graham," a star-studded tribute to the longtime evangelist, featuring an introduction from Bono, a spoken-word part from Larry King and artists like Rimes, Michael McDonald and Kenny Rogers trading verses.
Larry King will appear on anything.

Bono: I'm a Rock Star

There's a fairly interesting article about Bono's evolution in the Sunday Herald online. For our purposes, here's the money quote:

"Bono had re-invented himself as an identikit rock star: 'I had Elvis Presley’s leather jacket, Jim Morrison’s leather pants, Lou Reed’s fly shades, Jerry Lee Lewis’s boots, Gene Vincent’s limp.'"

This is, of course, referring to the time when Bono was flirting with Advancement. I don't think he quite got there because there was still a layer of irony in his act, but it was a great try. The article is by someone who has known Bono for a long time, so he seems to have some insight, though you always have to be suspicious of journalists who say they are friends with rock stars, even if they have known them for a long time.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Madonna: I Told You So

A while back I wrote that Madonna's new record was said to be influenced by Franz Ferdinand and other cool and current rock acts. I also wrote that there was almost no chance that this was true. Finally, I wrote that saying you are influenced by the latest music, then making music that sounds nothing like it is perhaps Advanced. Well, on Madonna's website, the news of her new album goes a little something like this:

"Madonna's new album is expected to be released late November this year. We can confirm that the album will be an all-dance record!"

I like this.

Siouxsie Sioux: Anything Men Can Do, Icon Do Better

According to BBC News, Siouxsie Sioux has been honored by "Mojo." Let's take a look:

The Siouxsie and the Banshees singer took its Icon award in a readers' vote. Paul Weller took the songwriter award, The Magic Numbers were named best new act and rock band Gang of Four took the inspiration prize in a London ceremony. Madness took the Hall of Fame award. Mojo editor-in-chief Phil Alexander said: "This was an amazing night which brought together real musical heroes."

...Led Zeppelin star Jimmy Page, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, U2 guitarist The Edge and Sinead O'Connor were among the musicians to present prizes in the Porchester Hall ceremony on Thursday. Sioux won the Icon award for her "spectacular career on a global scale", also beating the late Mark Bolan and ex-Sex Pistols star John Lydon in the process.

Accepting her award, she struck a customary defiant note when she complained about the lack of women among the winners. "I'm the token female winner," the 48-year-old said. "I think we need a few more women up here."
Not to mention more Native Americans.

NBC's "Hit Me Baby..."

There isn't much going on in the Advanced world this morning, but I thought I'd check in anyway to talk about one thing that isn't Advanced: the NBC show Hit Me Baby One More Time. It features bands that have been out of the limelight for a while playing one of their greatest hits then has them play their interpretation of a recent hit by someone else. I started watching for a couple of minutes and was of course sucked in for a half hour. The show I saw had Cameo, Sophie B. Hawkins, Howard Jones, Irene Cara, and Wang Chung. They all sounded fine, and the audience was sort of like a "Price Is Right" audience (just happy to be at a TV-show taping), so the response was wildly enthusiastic. The host is some guy who looks to be about 6'7" and might be from the UK. Like most reality TV (and I guess it isn't exactly a reality show, but it feels that way), it is a strangely compelling trainwreck, but it has a uniquely weird feel. Avoid it at all costs.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ric Ocasek: He's Got Nexterday

According to Advanced-looking Weezer-geezer (just kidding) Ric Ocasek has a new solo album coming out:

Former Cars leader Ric Ocasek will release his first solo album in eight years this fall. Due Sept. 27 on his own Inverse label via Sanctuary [of course], "Nexterday" will include such tracks as "I'm Thinking," "In a Little Bit" and "Don't Lose Me." Ocasek's last solo effort, 1997's "Troublizing," was co-produced by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and featured contributions from Melissa Auf Der Maur and Bad Religion's Brian Baker. Late last year, the artist linked with Sanctuary after previously serving as a senior VP of A&R at Elektra.
"Nexterday" is an Advanced title. Also, I wonder how a workig musician who also works for a record label as a VP of A&R handles himself. Does he screw himself out of royalites? Does he refuse to release a record but hold onto the masters just in case? It seems like it would be a little like playing yourself in checkers. (Incidentally, "Playing Myself at Checkers...and Losing" is going to be the name of my second autobiography.)

Davies Love

According to, Ray Davies has a new deal:

Kinks leader Ray Davies has signed with V2, which will on Sept. 6 release his long-in-the-works, as-yet-untitled solo debut. A spokesperson says the track list has not been confirmed, but Davies has been performing a number of new tunes in recent live shows, including "The Morning After" and "The Tourist."

"I've done lots of songs, but whether they're any good is another matter," Davies told the U.K.'s Independent newspaper last fall. "All the songs are different, but they're all about me, which is quite worrying when you think about it."
Well, then, let's not think about it. Usually an Advanced artist would say that his newest project is the best thing ever, but I'll let this one slide.

PIxies at Newport With Donuts, Books, and Tennis

Here's something from

The Pixies will unplug for the first time in their career later this summer at Rhode Island's Newport Folk Festival. The group will anchor the Aug. 6 bill for the long-running event, which famously saw Bob Dylan abandon acoustic performances in favor of a set that featured electric guitar in 1965.

...The following night, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, M. Ward, Kasey Chambers, Buddy Miller, Old Crow Medicine Show and Jim Lauderdale will take the Dunkin Donuts-sponsored main stage.

Among the acts set to perform on the Borders-sponsored second stage throughout the festival are Kaki King, Odetta, Teddy Thompson, Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell, and Jane Siberry. On Aug. 5, Arlo Guthrie and Nanci Griffith will play an affiliated show at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
You have to love a folk festival sponsored by gigantic corporations, especially ones like Dunkin Donuts and Borders that stomp out the little guy. And I wonder if Arlo Guthrie and Nancie Griffith will get in a set or two of mixed doubles. I'd like to see them take on John Prine and Lucinda Williams.

Shirley Bassey Auction

According to, Shirley Bassey's furniture is for sale:

DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY has thrilled fans by selling off the entire contents of her luxury London apartment for charity - because she wants to make a fresh start in Monaco. The flamboyant Welsh singer's furniture, which boasted a predominantly leopard-skin theme, reached a staggering $36,000 (GBP20,000) in total at Rosebery's auction house in the English capital.

But auctioneer DAVID HOLMES was embarrassed to let many of her items be sold off for far less than expected - including an impressive antique cabinet worth $1500 (GBP800) which was sold for just GBP220 (GBP121). He says, "I can't believe it, when Dame Shirley phones I'll make sure I'm not in."
If you'd like to see something spectacular, you should watch Bassey sing "I Want to Know What Love Is." It is unbelievable.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Jimmy Buffet: SIM City

According to Mobiletracker (cellphone news and reviews), Jimmy Buffet's phone was stolen, so some rather important people might have to change their numbers:

"Musician Jimmy Buffet recently lost his Sony Ericsson phone, which although was returned, was missing its SIM card. Busboy Jason Martin was in possession of the phone when the Secret Service found it. Why the Secret Service? The phone's SIM card had contact info for both Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Other celebrities with numbers that may have to change include actors George Clooney, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford as well as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates."

There is a lot of interesting stuff in this article. First of all, I'm assuming the Secret Service found the busboy using the implanted GPS in the phone. It's always nice to know the government can find you immediately if it really wants to. Second, how many nonfamous people who have their cellphones stolen get them back? Third, how many famous friends has Bill Gates bought anyway? Fourth, and most important, is Jimmy Buffet the most powerful man in the world?

David Lee Roth: Highly Advanced

There is an article here where David Lee Roth explains that "much of his style and energy came from fury over anti-Semitism and an urge to crush Jewish stereotypes." Here are some other choice quote from the highly Advanced Mr. Roth:

"Be different," he urges. "Keep it separate. Every neighborhood’s got something to contribute, so let’s not mash it all together, let’s not shop at Beige R Us. No, I want a bagel in the morning and Chinese food at lunch, and I’d like a Russian to teach me chess, and I want a Mexican to make me tacos. And there should be a black guy on bass." [As you may remember, embracing international culture is Advanced, and most Advanced Artists have an African-American bass player. -jh]

"My whole show is based on something between the guy in Led Zeppelin and chief of the village at Club Med," Roth says later on the bus. "Somewhere between 'and she’s buying a stairway to heaven...’ and 'don’t forget, two-for-one happy hour, five till February. Welcome to Diamond Dave’s tiki bunker!’ Ha ha ha ha ha ha! It’s Spider-Man meets Groucho Marx. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

"There’s not a lot of Jewish action figures," says Roth. "Heroes for little Jewish kids are very few and far between, when it comes to belligerent enthusiasm, a confrontational red-meat approach. I’m a highly literate slut. I dig only intellectual smut."

"Jewish kids take a paperback to the beach instead of a football," he says, half-approvingly. Roth might take a paperback, but he’d also persuade a dozen blondes in bikinis to join him and then shoot a raunchy music video when he wasn’t reading. If he still had the spendthrift budget of his Van Halen days, he says he’d have a Portuguese teacher on one bus, a kung fu teacher on another bus, and a chess tutor stashed somewhere else.
The great thing is that I believe him. I understand his autobiography is a great read, by the way.

Misleading Headline

"Talking Heads Stick Necks Out on Jackson." When I went here to see what the story is about, I was very disappointed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Antigone Rising

Just kidding.

Kathy Valentine Go-Goes Solo

Here's something from

"Go-Go's bassist Kathy Valentine switches to guitar and takes center stage on vocals for 'Light Years,' her solo debut. The album will be released Sept. 6 via the artist's All for One Music imprint via Redeye Distribution, has learned. Valentine is flanked on the project by former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, former Guns N' Roses axeman Gilby Clarke and in-demand session musician Craig Ross, as well as Attractions drummer Pete Thomas and Blondie drummer Clem Burke."

I don't know if the album will be any good, but I love her choice of musicians, especially Åce, of course.

Dylan Archive

You can listen to lots of performances and "rare recordings" of Bob Dylan here. Here's what Salon had to say about it:

I've spent the last hour ignoring my aversion to streaming audio and listening to Real Audio streams of Bob Dylan live performances from the impressive archive on his Web page. The selections stretch all the way back to 1961, but the emphasis is on recent performances, and the ones from the last few months are the most confounding and intriguing. Dylan seems to have temporarily given up on melody -- check out the 10-minute-long version of "Visions of Johanna" sung almost entirely on two notes -- to focus on tone (rasping and hollow, like the ghost of Tom Waits) and, above all, on phrasing. As he demonstrated so extraordinarily on "Love and Theft," Dylan has become ever more nimble and virtuosic in his phrasing, ducking and weaving and pirouetting around the beat with effortless grace and complete control. It's dazzling, and like nothing else I've ever heard.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Missing Dylan, Finding Religion

According to this, the BBC is searching for Bob Dylan's acting debut, which they apparently lost:

The BBC has launched a worldwide search for a lost 1960s television drama which featured the acting debut of Bob Dylan, the musical hero of a generation. Producers on Arena, the corporation's flagship arts programme, hope that one of the star's huge army of fans will have a copy of The Madhouse on Castle Street, which was aired just once, in 1963.

...The programme, which features Dylan's first televised performance of Blowin' in the Wind is now classified as missing by the BBC. Arena wants to include the film, which also starred David Warner, in a series to celebrate Dylan's life and work. The series, to be broadcast this year, will also feature a two-part documentary by Martin Scorsese, the American film director who is a fan.

Anthony Wall, Arena's editor, told The Sunday Telegraph: "The programme is not in any archive and we are hoping that someone out there will have a copy. There is a huge market for Dylan memorabilia so we may stand a chance. "All we have is the script and part of the soundtrack. For us the play is the Holy Grail of missing film."

...Mr Wall has spoken to three people who have vivid memories of watching the film. They describe the star's musical performance, which also includes a rendition of Ballad of the Gliding Swan, as "life changing". Mr Wall said: "The drama itself was very Pinteresque, like many programmes popular at the time. Millions of people would tune in and then wonder what it was all about at the bus stop the next day.

"Dylan, perhaps not surprisingly, played a folk singer who spent most of his time sat on a flight of stairs. . . and commented on the ongoing action through songs and dialogue. "I think Dylan expected to have a much larger part but I think he could not handle the dialogue. It is my understanding that this was the very first time he sang Blowin' in the Wind on television."
I don't know if this qualifies as a Holy Grail. A Dead Sea Scrolls maybe, but not a Holy Grail.

Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship

Here's something interesting from 95.7 KEZJ:

Country legend Willie Nelson is being honored in Texas with a new medical professorship. The singer and his wife, Annie, have raised over $250,000 for a stem cell research program at the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and are being rewarded for their charity efforts. The first Annie & Willie Nelson Professorship will be presented to Dr. Eric Olson, who heads up the university's molecular biology department.
Dr. Eric Olson: officially the World's Coolest Molecular Biologist.

Pink Floyd Reunite

According to Pink Floyd is getting back together:

Pink Floyd's classic lineup of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright will perform for the first time in more than 20 years at the London Live 8 concert. The event, which aims to increase world awareness of African debt and hunger issues, will be held July 2 at the city's Hyde Park.

Pink Floyd has not performed live since the 1994 tour in support of its last studio album, "The Division Bell." Waters has not been a part of the band since 1983, and his dealings with Gilmour have been rancorous in the ensuing years. Waters even sued Gilmour, unsuccessfully, for touring under the Pink Floyd name without him following the band's initial split after the album "The Final Cut."

"Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world," Gilmour writes on Pink Floyd's official Web site. "It's crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention, then it's got to be worthwhile."
I wonder what percentage of David Gilmour's GPP (Gross Personal Product) goes to starving nations. Whatever the case, it should be fun to see how this all plays out. I'm guessing they're laying the foundation for a reunion tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Wish You Were Here." Much of the proceeds will be going to starving nations, I'm sure.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Bob Dylan Article

There is a funny article about Bob Dylan in the New York Times. It's basically about how Advanced he is, though the writer might not know it:

Mr. Dylan may be in the final phase of his long and iconoclastic life as a star, and for it he has chosen a very long and very iconoclastic tour: 1,700 shows and counting, beginning in 1988. Caught in an artistic crisis then, he decided to defibrillate his career and go back on the road. Accompanied by a small combo, he reintroduced himself to fans, sporting a lean energy and a commitment to exploring his nonpareil song catalog. He shows no signs of slowing down, though he has lately replaced the guitar he has played for more than 45 years with a keyboard, causing speculation that back problems might be responsible for the switch. (Through Mr. Dylan's publicist at Columbia Records, his management said playing keyboards was "just his musical preference" and declined to comment otherwise for this article.) Mr. Dylan has turned his act into one of the weirdest road shows in rock. He rarely speaks to the crowd, and when he does, his remarks are often gnomic throwaways. ("I had a big brass bed, but I sold it!") He plays some of his best-known songs, but often in contrarian, almost unrecognizable versions....

Like I said, it's all about Advancement.

Friday, June 10, 2005

What About Bob Mould?

Here is some Bob Mould news from

After the tour in support of his 1998 solo album, "The Last Dog and Pony Show," Bob Mould was prepared to never hit the road with a full band again. But the former Husker Du/Sugar leader will return to full rock glory during the fall tour in support of his upcoming album, "Body of Song," due July 26 via Yep Roc.

...As previously reported, Mould will be backed on the road by Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, bassist Jason Narducci and keyboardist Richard Morel, also Mould's cohort in the electronica-heavy project Blowoff.

Mould promises the set lists will feature material from throughout his career as a solo artist and with Husker Du and Sugar. "I will play stuff from all eras for the first time with people," he tells, adding that fans can expect to hear such tracks as Sugar's "Changes" and Mould's "Lost Zoloft." "I'm sort of taking ownership back of my songs."

...Before the fall tour, Mould and Morel are hoping to finish their debut Blowoff album for an early 2006 release. The duo DJs twice a month at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club and has been incorporating an ever-growing catalog of original music into the proceedings.

"We have an album finished, but I think we can do better," Mould says. "I think we need to write four more good songs. There's some stuff that is house-y and some stuff that is rock. There's some breezy, '60s pop and some darker, downtempo things. It's all over the place. There's a lot of guitars and a lot of double vocals. Everything is 50/50 as far as writing. No outside collaborators."

Mould is particularly enthusiastic about the tracks "Hormone Love" ("Rich had a sketch for a real rock song and I totally pounded it into a big, Sugar-y type of thing") and "Overload" ("That easily could have made 'Body of Song. It has a house-y beat but it has some real blues-y, Joni Mitchell guitar going on").
I'm not familiar with Blowoff, but it is time to consider Bob Mould as a candidate for Advancement. He's taking back ownership of songs he wrote with a band (Advanced), he DJs (Advanced), he has an electronica-heavy side project (very Advanced). I'm going to have to say that Bob Mould is Advanced.

What About Karl Lagerfeld?

I was reading a little thing about the "Karl Lagerfeld diet" at Slate, when it occurred to me that Karl might be an Advanced Fashion Designer. (You'll have to scroll down for the picture that made me think this.)

Steve Cropper in Songwriters' Hall

Here's some good news about Steve Cropper from Yahoo!:

"To have these songs last as long as they have is really overwhelming," Cropper told The Associated Press before the ceremony. "It's still exciting to me. To me, there's nothing more exciting than a song you wrote and produced in the studio being played on the radio." Besides Cropper, other inductees included John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Richard and Robert Sherman, and Bill Withers. Smokey Robinson, a previous inductee, was picked to get the Johnny Mercer Award, while relative newcomer Alicia Keys was selected for the Starlight Award, given to accomplished young songwriters.

...Cropper, a member of Booker T & the MGs and an integral part of the Stax Records legacy, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But he said the songwriters' honor was special. "From my point of view," he said, "I look at this as almost as the Academy Awards of the music industry. It's more about your work and what you've done, rather than whether you've had a hot year."
I can't think of anyone who deserves this more than Steve Cropper. In related news, I've got a copy of the Frank Black record "Honeycomb." I'm not sure what I think yet, but will say that it is fascinating to hear how Cropper (all of them really) manages to assert his style without taking away the focus from the song. I'm sure he has plenty of ego, but it is not apparent in his playing at all. Imagine what someone else of Cropper's stature, say Eric Clapton, would do if he were to guest on a Frank Black record. I hate to think about it.

Extra Wild Side

According to the Christian Science Monitor, there's a new movie based on "Walk on the Wild Side." Guess what it's called:

"Wild Side"
France is the setting, city vs. country is the central theme, and an illegal Russian immigrant, a transsexual, and a French Arab are the main characters. Shot by the gifted Agnes Godard, the drama was apparently inspired by "Walk on the Wild Side," the Lou Reed rock hit. But the primary impression is lots of moping and mooning, plus a song at the beginning with some of the worst lyrics you've ever heard. In French with subtitles.
Sign me up!

Singing Eno

You can here a song from Brian Eno's new album at Slate. There's also a picture of Rik Ruben without sunglasses as a bonus.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Off-Topic: [((R x D + V) x F) + S]/A.

There is an article at about a team of British scientists headed by a molecular neurobiologist/stand-up comic who have come up with a formula for successful sitcoms:

There are long-standing golden rules for sitcom, but our findings bring them down to this single equation," Dr. Helen Pilcher, who led the research, tells the Guardian newspaper. "The formula shows why some programs fail to make the grade whilst others make us laugh time and time again." The study was commissioned by UKTV Gold, a satellite channel in the United Kingdom. Pilcher and her team analyzed two decades' worth of British comedies and came up with a formula that looks like this: [((R x D + V) x F) + S]/A. Pilcher explains to the paper:

"Comedic value is determined by multiplying the recognizability of the main character (R) by their delusions of grandeur (D). This is added to the verbal wit of the script (V), and the total is multiplied by the amount someone falls over or suffers a physical injury (F). "The difference in social status between the highest- and lowest-ranking characters (S) is added, and finally the total is divided by the success of any scheme or stratagem in the show (A). Each term in the formula is assigned a value up to a maximum of 10 to give an overall scientific score."

To establish a baseline for the formula, Pilcher's team applied it to the BBC medical drama "Casualty" and came up with a total of 5.5, figuring no comedy would score lower than that. None did, although a 2001 BBC2 show called "'Orrible" was close at 6.5, the lowest score among those tested. The long-running show "Only Fools and Horses" scored the best, coming out with a total of 696. "The Office" was next at 678, and two other shows familiar to American viewers, "Fawlty Towers" and "Blackadder," also made the top five.

The bottom five includes the BBC's "According to Bex," which could be bad news for CBS. The network's midseason comedy "Everything I Know About Men," about a woman (Jenna Elfman) trying to make sense of the men in her life, is an Americanized version of the show.
Well, usually American versions of good British shows are bad, so maybe an American version of a bad British show will be good. Not bloody likely!

Coldplay: Love/Hate

As you many remember, there was an article recently in the NY Times that said, "Coldplay is admired by everyone - everyone except me." Well, now there is an article at called "Why Does Everyone Hate Coldplay?" I guess that Times article must have been pretty influential.

Bono: The Most Influential Man in Show Biz

Here's what Bono's up to these days according to Yahoo!:

Irish rock star Bono challenged EU leaders on Thursday to forget national politics and open their wallets to boost development aid for Africa and stop thousands dying every day in "stupid poverty."

"The message to EU leaders is: don't blow it. This kind of momentum doesn't come every year," the U2 frontman, a leading campaigner for debt relief, told a news conference at European Union headquarters in Brussels. "Put down your national flags, look up from the numbers and look to the future," he said, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. He drew a rare round of applause from a packed press room, which Barroso and his commissioners often struggle to fill.

...Bono, wearing a suit and tie with his trademark sunglasses, let flash his skepticism at that political promise. There was a "long way from politicians signing checks to cashing them," he said. Some states were far better than others. Scandinavia, particularly Denmark, was a shining example when it came to giving aid, whereas his own homeland -- Ireland -- appeared to be lagging despite its new wealth, he said. And Germany, Europe's largest economy, needed to make good on its aid pledge and come up with hard cash, Bono said.

...Barroso quoted a Bono song to explain why the EU should rise to the development aid challenge despite its political crisis after the rejection of the European constitution by French and Dutch voters. "Don't worry baby. It's gonna be alright. Uncertainty can be a guiding light," the Commission chief said.
Then he said, "Bono stole this issue from politicians, now we're stealing it back!"

Lou's Views in the U.S.

Want to look as Advanced as Lou Reed? Well, Lou's Views (sunglasses) are currently being sold in New York at Massimo Bizzochi (433 west 14th Street). Apparently, they weren't available in the U.S. until now. I'll see you on 14th street!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Neil Young and Jonathan Demme

According to ol' reliable, Neil Young is making a concert movie with Jonathan Demme:

Although details are still under wraps, singer/songwriter Neil Young will be the subject of a concert film to be taped in August at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, has learned. The as-yet-untitled project will be directed by Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs," "Philadelphia"). As previously reported, Young has been recording a new album in Nashville with such collaborators as keyboardist Spooner Oldham, pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith and drummer Carl Himmel. A release date for the set is unconfirmed.
I'm hoping the concert will feature an all-rockabilly version of "Greendale." Maybe with a little reggae thrown in.

Elvis Costello and Twisted Sister Releases

According to, Advanced Soccer Fan Elvis Costello's appearnce on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz" show on National Public Radio will be released July 12 on CD via Concord. The CD will feature "Almost Blue," "I'm in the Mood Again," "My Funny Valentine," "The Very Thought of You," "Gloomy Sunday" (with Costello on guitar) and "They Didn't Believe Me." When not singing, Costello talks with McPartland about his songwriting influences but not his love for sport and disdain for fans. Meanwhile, also according to, Twisted Sister's August 2003 performance at Germany's Wacken Open Air Festival will be released on DVD June 28 via Eagle Rock. Featured are performances of "Burn in Hell," "The Price," "I Wanna Rock" and "We're Not Gonna Take It." The DVD also inlcudes "candid documentary chronicling the veteran rock act's reunion. 'It shows how we grew on a personal level and realized how special the band is and how we appreciate each other more now,' guitarist JJ French says." Isn't that nice?

"Rock & Rule" on DVD

According to, "Rock & Rule" has been released on DVD:

Like Heavy Metal, Rock & Rule plays out in a dark, grim, decaying world full of evil and raucous music, but it has clear heroes and goofy comic relief, so it isn’t quite as gloomy as Metal overall. It also tones down the violence and sexuality from an R to a hard PG. Apparently Nelvana staked its future on the success of this one project, which took four years and many stops and starts to reach completion. All I can say is they must have been mad. Heavy Metal itself was a dud in theaters, and it comes as little surprise that Rock & Rule barely reached them. A shame really, because it truly is an interesting experience.

Our story takes place in the distant, dark future, where the planet’s only remaining residents are human/animal hybrids. In sleepy Ohmtown, legendary but seriously creepy musician Mok is laboring to complete a device that will allow him to open a portal to another dimension and bring across a monstrous demon. Why is not clear, but I suppose everyone needs a hobby. The last component is a special voice, and he has been scouring concerts near and far to find it. Across town cocky young guitarist Ohmar argues over whose songs to play with Angel, his beautiful and compassionate band mate and girlfriend. He leads off the show with one of his tunes, but when this falls flat Angel launches into one of hers, and a disgusted Ohmar storms off. It receives a much warmer reception from Mok, who happens to be in the audience and is sure hers is the voice he needs. After the show Ohmar and Angel kiss and make up, and when Angel receives an invitation to Mok’s mansion the band goes to check it out. Ohmar is contemptuous of the whole setup, but hallucinogenic crystals entrance him and band mates Stretch and Dizzy while Mok tries to recruit Angel for his mysterious project. She refuses to leave her band, so he simply kidnaps her and makes off in a blimp for the subtly named Nuke York to try his plan at a massive concert. The band sets off to find her, while Angel, having stumbled on the terrible truth, does her best to thwart Mok’s scheme.

...There isn’t much action to speak of in the film, and most of the attempts at comedy are derailed by the film’s pervasive creepiness and flat deliveries. There is a good running gag with a Disney-like, gruff police officer who keeps trying to arrest the band only to have them steal his car from under his nose. Mok’s corporate oversight software amusingly frets that the pestilence and famine resulting from unleashing an omnipotent demon on the world might possibly tarnish his image. In a scene that may have inspired Beavis and Butthead, one of Mok’s goons watches a cartoon in which a psychotic Beavis-like character torments cows.

...Naturally the soundtrack figures very large in the film, and to my surprise I enjoyed it, mostly. Angel’s great pop rock theme “Send Love Through” from Blondie’s Deborah Harry may be a little cheesy, but it’s so uplifting I didn’t mind. Ohmar gets a couple of fun hard rockers from Cheap Trick. Earth, Wind, and Fire delivers a passable funky dance song, and Lou Reed and Iggy Pop provide Mok with glam rock and punk numbers, which I found rather dreary. Perhaps that was the idea. The score is extremely early 80s in character, very electronic and ominous. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it and Blade Runner fans should too.
Animated "Blade Runner" for rock nerds featuring Lou Reed, Cheap Trick and Earth, Wind & Fire? Count me in (out).

"Back in Black": For 42-Million Eyes Only

According to Undercover, AC/DC's "Back In Black" has now sold 21 million sales in the USA, making it the ffth biggest selling album of all-time in America. I know some people feel like Brian Johnson is sort of Roger Moore to Bon Scott's Sean Connery, but it's hard to argue with 21 million.

(I originally called this post "For 21-Million Eyes Only, but that wouldn't be right, I guess.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Led Zeppelin: Car Talk

I think for the first time in my life, I noticed the lyrics to "Trampled Under Foot." While Robert Plant says he's talking about love, it seems to me he's talking about cars. Take a look for yourself:

Greased and slicked down fine, groovy leather trim
I like the way you hold the road, mama, it ain't no sin

Trouble-free transmission, puncture will explode
Mama, let me pump your gas, mama, let me do it all

Dig that heavy metal underneath your hood
Baby, I could work all night, believe I've got the perfect tools

A model built for comfort, really built with style
Specialist tradition, mama, let me feast my eyes

Factory air-conditioned, heat begins to rise
Guaranteed to run for hours, mama it's a perfect size

Groovin' on the freeway, gauge is on the red
Gun down on my gasoline, I believe I'm gonna crack a head.

Come to me for service every hundred miles
Baby, let me check your points, fix your overdrive

Fully automatic, comes in any size
Makes me wonder what I did, before we synchronized

Feather-light suspension, coils just couldn't hold
I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors

Oh, I can't stop talkin' about love.
I hate to say it, but those lyrics come from the darkest depths of Mordor. The song still rocks, though.

Margaritaville on Sirius (Update)

Here's something that was sent to me:

SIRIUS  Satellite  Radio  will  debut Radio Margaritaville, its new commercial-free music  channel,  with  a special live broadcast of Jimmy Buffett's concert  performance  from  the Nissan Pavillion in Bristow, Virginia on June 15th. The new channel launches with a concert  pre-show  broadcast  at 7:30 pm ET, followed by the concert at 8 pm ET.

Radio Margaritaville launched as an Internet-only radio channel  in 1998 with a Jimmy Buffett concert broadcast  from  this  same  location. Now, for the first time, Jimmy Buffett fans  across  America  can  hear Radio Margaritaville in their cars, on their boats and on the  go by  becoming SIRIUS subscribers.
Jimmy Buffet is an amazing businessman. But the partnership I'm waiting for is Yahoo/Sirius. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure that out.

Rush Guitarist Sues Hotel

According to Yahoo!, Rush's guitarist is suing a hotel:

Two months after cutting a plea deal with Naples, Florida, prosecutors that spared him jail time for his part in a 2003 hotel brawl, the musician has filed a lawsuit against the local Ritz-Carlton, its security director and three sheriff's deputies.

The 33-count federal suit, filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Fort Meyers on behalf of Lifeson (real name Alex Zivojinovich), son Justin Zivojinovich and daughter-in-law Michelle Zivojinovich, accused the defendants of violating the family's civil rights by using excessive force during a New Year's Eve bash that led to their arrest.

The fracas started when Justin Zivojinovich got up on stage during the house band's set break to serenade his wife. Security guards in turn tried to hustle him off the stage. At that point, Lifeson rushed to his son's defense and, per the incident report, pushed a sheriff's deputy down a hotel stairwell. Officers eventually used a stun gun to subdue him.

But according to court documents obtained by the Naples Daily News, Lifeson discounts the law enforcement version of events. His lawsuit claims the three Collier County deputies who responded to the scene applied "illegal and unjustified force" that was "excessive" and caused Justin "severe discomfort and pain."

....While witness accounts have differed on how events went down, at least one former Ritz employee seems to back the Lifeson clan's claims. "It was extreme police brutality," the staffer told the Daily News. "The whole time all this was going down, I'm thinking, 'God, what did these people do? It must have been something really bad.' It just bothered me."
I've always thougth it must stink being that guy because Rush is just about the only band where the bassist and the drummer are more famous than the guitarist. If Geddy Lee's son wanted to serenade his wife, you better believe the Ritz would let him.

Monday, June 06, 2005

George Clinton Gets His Masters

According to, George Clinton has won back the master recordings for four of his records:

In a ruling Thursday, June 2, 2005, District Court Judge Manuel L. Real returned to George Clinton possession of four master recordings. Recorded by Clinton under the Funkadelic name in the late 70's, the respected musician now has sole possession of "Hardcore Jollies," "One Nation Under A Groove," "Uncle Jam Wants You" and "The Electric Spanking of War Babies." Judge Real remarked that Clinton had been defrauded of his creative works by the complicity of former employees, a member of his former management team and his lawyers.
I'm glad he wasn't defrauded by the guy who wore the diapers on stage. I don't think I could have taken that.


If you ever want to be rocked (as I am being right now), listen to "Battle Themes" from the Flash Gordon soundtrack by Queen. Trust me, it's as good as you remember.

Iggy Pop's Lust for Shuffleboard and Other Favorites

There was a poll taken at Slate about "favorite examples of incongruous advertising soundtracks. (This was in response to GE's use of the mining folk song 'Sixteen Tons'—in an ad that touts the wonders of coal.)" Here are some of the favorites (Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' use of "Lust for Life" was the most popular):

"Kahlua and Pepsi both used the Rolling Stones' 'Brown Sugar' for an ad. They had to clip out pretty much the whole song—except for the words 'brown sugar'—because the song is about crazy-wild interracial sex with slaves. The song isn't borderline offensive, it's actually offensive (which isn't to say I don't love it), which is why the Stones' best business strategy is that people can't really understand Mick Jagger."

"I have to nominate Applebees' 'Take this steak and top it' ads. Since the source of the jingle is 'Take This Job and Shove It'—and the 'shove it' is short for 'shove it up your ass'—it's a horrible choice. Applebees wants to shove a steak up my ass?"

"The most egregious pairing would seem to be the use of 'Look What They Done to My Song, Ma' to sell Oatmeal Raisin Crisp. They changed the words to: 'Look what they done to my oatmeal.' I noticed this irony even as a child when I first heard it. (Eons ago—the '70s?)"

"My favorite: The NFL's use of Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' in a Super Bowl ad for itself. The ad: A montage of home movies and official films shows fans enjoying the thrills of the sport with Reed's song about heroin and suicide playing in the background."

"Using the Beatles' 'Taxman' for H&R Block seems a bit strange. The song vilifies the taxman, but the commercial identifies the taxman as ... an H&R Block accountant near you! Maybe not what George Harrison had in mind?"

"When Nissan redesigned the Maxima in 2000 or so, the commercials consisted of the car tearing across a desert (or salt flat, something that flies up in an impressive whirlwind behind the tires) to the sound of Pete Townshend's power chords from the Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again.' So a redesign of your typical reliable Japanese midsize sedan with nothing overly exciting about it gets introduced by 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.' Yeah, that gets me excited about the new car. The irony: About a year later I bought a 2001 Maxima. What can I say? It's reliable and drives really nice."
That's good stuff.

The Case Against the Case Against Coldplay

There is a very annoying article in the New York Times about Coldplay. Here's a sample:

THERE'S nothing wrong with self-pity. As a spur to songwriting, it's right up there with lust, anger and greed, and probably better than the remaining deadly sins. There's nothing wrong, either, with striving for musical grandeur, using every bit of skill and studio illusion to create a sound large enough to get lost in. Male sensitivity, a quality that's under siege in a pop culture full of unrepentant bullying and machismo, shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, no matter how risible it can be in practice. And building a sound on the lessons of past bands is virtually unavoidable. But put them all together and they add up to Coldplay, the most insufferable band of the decade.

...Clearly, Coldplay is beloved: by moony high school girls and their solace-seeking parents, by hip-hop producers who sample its rich instrumental sounds and by emo rockers who admire Chris Martin's heart-on-sleeve lyrics. The band emanates good intentions, from Mr. Martin's political statements to lyrics insisting on its own benevolence. Coldplay is admired by everyone - everyone except me.

...As Coldplay's music has grown more colossal, its lyrics have quietly made a shift on "X&Y." On previous albums, Mr. Martin sang mostly in the first person, confessing to private vulnerabilities. This time, he sings a lot about "you": a lover, a brother, a random acquaintance. He has a lot of pronouncements and advice for all of them: "You just want somebody listening to what you say," and "Every step that you take could be your biggest mistake," and "Maybe you'll get what you wanted, maybe you'll stumble upon it" and "You don't have to be alone." It's supposed to be compassionate, empathetic, magnanimous, inspirational. But when the music swells up once more with tremolo guitars and chiming keyboards, and Mr. Martin's voice breaks for the umpteenth time, it sounds like hokum to me.
"Coldplay is admired by everyone - everyone except me"? Talk about self-pity, not to mention arrogance. He's saying that he is smarter than everyone else because he alone thinks Coldplay is hokum. I'm all for taking contrary positions, but this is just silly. Not everyone loves the band, and some people think that when Mr. Martin's voice breaks for the umpeenth time, it sounds like hokum, but they love it anyway. And how brave is it to take on Coldplay? Who will the writer take on next? Olivia Newton-John?

Music for Robots: Power to the People

There is an article in the New York Times about how blogs (and Music for Robots in particular) are giving unknown bands exposure:

"[L]ast year, J. P. Connolly, a science teacher in Brooklyn, heard a song by one of his students, a rail-thin 15-year-old named Oliver Ignatius, who is the lead singer for a band called the Hysterics. Mr. Connolly, who had bonded with his student over independent music, loved Mr. Ignatius's song and posted it on Music for Robots, an influential blog he helps run. That's where Joseph Patel, an MTV News producer and regular reader of the blog, heard the song. He also loved it, and decided to put the Hysterics on the air, despite the fact that they had done little more than practice in drummer Geoff Turbeville's parents' bedroom. After the segment was broadcast on MTV, Music for Robots ( found itself with a new audience: teenage girls, who had come to declare their love for the Hysterics. The band is now in talks with a major label."

This is great, but this story is certainly an anomaly. Blogs or no, there will always be lucky bands who get heard by someone who is influential, but I don't think there will be a replacement anytime soon for working really hard for a really long time at being a band. Of course, that doesn't mean you should send your music to Music for Robots, but you should also be lining up a Monday night gig at that club that lets anyone play and having parties at your practice space.

Friday, June 03, 2005

You Rock, Hungary Pays

According to Yahoo!, Hungary's culture ministry is going to help pop, jazz and folk bands:

Among the key points in the program presented by Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and Culture Minister Andras Bozoki were financial incentives for music clubs hosting live music and the sponsorship of radio and television shows broadcasting Hungarian pop music. "I hope there will be a Renaissance in Hungarian pop music in the coming years," Gyurcsany said.

Hungarian pop and jazz musicians often complain that while the government spends considerable sums subsidizing classical music and other artistic activities, so called "light music" has been largely shut out of state sponsorship. Other parts of the program, which is expected to cost some 450 million forints (US$2.2 million, euro1.8 million), were the promotion of international tours by Hungarian bands, funds to help amateur bands make recordings, and 20-year loans partly financed by the state for municipalities wishing to set up youth clubs where live music can be performed.
If only there were someone around to give me a couple million forints when I was starting out, I might have been a success. I wonder if it's too late for me to become a Hungarian citizen...

Interpol Killed the Video Star

According to, Interpol doesn't like videos:

INTERPOL have sensationally snubbed the video art-form – because they find the process tiring. For ‘Narc’, the next US single to be taken from their second album ‘Antics’, they’ve not even made one at all. Talking to MTV News, guitarist Daniel Kessler explained the snub: “We’ve made some videos that we all stand by, and they are good videos,” he said, “but it takes a lot out of you. It’s a lot of repetitive things, doing it over and over again.”

I thought doing the same thing over and over again was what Interpol does best. (meow) It is extremely Overt not to make videos.

Pete Townshend: Only I Can Tarnish My Image

According to Yahoo!, Pete Townshend isn't crazy about the documentary about the Who that Murray Lerner is making:

A press release issued by Lerner and Spitfire last week hyped My Generation: Who's Still Who as the "definitive and authorized record of one of the most influential and highly regarded rock groups of the 20th century." It also stated that both Townshend and Who frontmant Roger Daltrey agreed to provide archival materials and music from their catalogue for the feature film, which is slated to hit theaters sometime in 2006.

"Roger, Pete and all of us are very proud to be working with Murray Lerner," said Bill Curbishley, whose company Trinifold Management manages the Who. "Our ambition is that this film will have all the epic qualities, energies and excitement of a great Who album. We have assembled a great team and look forward to getting to work."

All, that is, except for Townshend.

In a May 28 diary entry on, the 60-year-old guitarist took issue with the press release, denying that he was a producer on the flick and stating that the real "driving force" behind My Generation was Daltrey, the Who's managers and Spitfire honcho Nigel Sinclair. Townshend also lashed out at Lerner for "trying to create some controversy" after hearing the director lay out his vision for the documentary in a recent interview.

...Apparently worried the Who's history will play out like a soap opera-like production, Townshend threatened to withhold Lerner's access to the band's recordings unless the filmmaker focus more on the music. "I am the one in the Who family who writes science fiction musicals and operas, and my music--Who music--is not a commodity I will make unconditionally available to filmmakers. My entire mission is to preserve the integrity of Who music, and I'd rather offer it to sell soap than have it turned into a 'soap' by Lerner," said the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer..
Does anyone remember the Jiffy Lube commercial's use of "I Can See for Miles"? It changed the words to "I can drive for miles."

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Jeff Baxter: National Security Doobie Brother

Here's some more info about Jeff Baxter's role in the "War on Terror" (it comes from the Wall Street Journal):

Jeff Baxter played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has made an even bigger transition: Mr. Baxter, who goes by the nickname "Skunk," has become one of the national-security world's well-known counterterrorism experts.

...Mr. Baxter, who joined his first band when he was 11, began studying journalism at Boston University, but dropped out after a year in 1969 to begin working with Ultimate Spinach, a short-lived Boston psychedelic rock band. He moved to California a short time later and became one of the six original members of the avant-garde rock group Steely Dan. He quit the band in 1974 and joined the Doobie Brothers, helping to remake its sound into a commercially appealing mix of funk and jazzy pop. Mr. Baxter left the group in 1979 after a long tour in support of its most popular album, "Minute by Minute."

His defense work began in the 1980s, when it occurred to him that much of the hardware and software being developed for military use, like data-compression algorithms and large-capacity storage devices, could also be used for recording music. Mr. Baxter's next-door neighbor, a retired engineer who worked on the Pentagon's Sidewinder missile program, bought him a subscription to an aviation magazine, and he was soon reading a range of military-related publications.

Mr. Baxter began wondering whether existing military systems could be adapted to meet future threats they weren't designed to address, a heretical concept for most defense thinkers. In his spare time, he wrote a five-page paper on a primitive Tandy computer that proposed converting the military's Aegis program, a ship-based antiplane system, into a rudimentary missile-defense system.

On a whim, he gave the paper to a friend from California, Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. To Mr. Baxter's surprise, the congressman took it seriously, and the idea proved to be prescient: Aegis missile-defense systems have done well in tests, and the Navy says it will equip at least one ship with the antimissile system by the end of the year.

"Skunk really blew my mind with that report," Mr. Rohrabacher says. "He was talking over my head half the time, and the fact that he was a rock star who had basically learned it all on his own was mind-boggling."

...These days, Mr. Baxter finds himself with a growing pile of job offers from Pentagon officials and defense contractors hoping he can help them anticipate terrorist tactics and strategies. Mr. Baxter is working on a solo album and continues to do lucrative studio work, most recently on tribute albums to Pink Floyd and Aerosmith, but he spends more and more time doing defense work. He says he earns a "good, comfortable, six-figure income," and in 2004 made more money from defense consulting than from music.

Mr. Baxter's friends in Congress and the Pentagon say they take him seriously as a defense thinker but concede that his celebrity past carries its own advantages. During a trip to Manila with Mr. Baxter in 1998, Mr. Rohrabacher was having a hard time winning permission to fly over a number of contested islands until he brought Mr. Baxter to a meeting with the then-Philippine president, Joseph Estrada. Mr. Estrada immediately put one of his government's few C-130 transport planes at the two men's disposal. "He's apparently just a huge Doobie Brothers fan," Mr. Rohrabacher says.
Who isn't?

Aerosmith: We Ought to Be in Pictures

Here's something from MTV:

"[Aerosmith's] literary agent is currently shopping a proposal to New York publishers to do a photographic history called 'Aero/Vison,' which would capture Aerosmith's emergence as rock icons, spanning their early years in high school and garage bands to headlining Madison Square Garden and beyond. The photos will come from the archives of private collectors, record labels and the portfolios of famous photographers, while the text (about 25,000 words' worth) will come from the bandmembers themselves, as they tell their story in their own voices, according to the proposal."

Just as long as they don't record an album featuring their versions from the Great American Songbook, I'm okay with whatever they do.

Tom Waits: Not-So-Small Change

According to Yahoo!, Tom Waits might be getting short-changed on digital downloads:

Third Story Music, a Los Angeles-based music publishing firm and the successor to the production company that managed singer-songwriter Tom Waits early in his career, has filed a federal suit against Warner Music Group, alleging that Waits has been shortchanged on the sale of digital downloads. The action, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles on Tuesday, stems from 1972 and 1977 contracts signed by Third Story principal Herb Cohen and Warner-owned Asylum Records regarding Waits' services.

According to the suit, under the terms of the two contracts, Waits was entitled to royalties of either 25% or 50% from revenues derived from third-party licenses. Third Story maintains that digital music downloads constitute a form of third-party license, and that Waits is entitled to payment at that level. In 2003-04 royalty statements to Third Story, WMG computed royalties from Waits' digital download sales at the same (and much lower) rate as royalties from the sale of physical product. Under the terms of the '70s Asylum contracts regarding album sales, Waits would be entitled to either 9% or 13% of the 67 cents received by WMG from each 99-cent download. The action says that in February, Third Story sent a formal notice questioning the accuracy of royalty statements to WMG. The music company replied in March that downloads "are sold to customers such as iTunes and just as physical product is sold to...Best Buy and Virgin."
I hate to say it, but I think WMG is correct about this. By the way, I love Tom Waits, but I can't stand the song "In the Neighborhood." Especially when he says, "Well, the eggs chase the bacon..." It just sickens me for some reason.

Kraftwerk in New York

There is a review of a Kraftwerk show in the New York Times. Here is some of it:

There's something mildly hilarious in the fact that Kraftwerk, the pioneering German electronic group, is about to release a live album: "Minimum-Maximum" (Astralwerks), due Tuesday. Performing at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday night as part of a brief American tour, playing the songs from the live album, Kraftwerk tried, as usual, to appear as un-live as possible.

True to its fascination with technology's impact on people, Kraftwerk has billed itself as "the man-machine" since the 1970's. When Kraftwerk started, it made music on limited, recalcitrant synthesizers and tinny electronic drums, but in the analog era it played its music by hand. Digital synthesizers (and sequencers and computers) have allowed Kraftwerk to automate.

On stage, much of its music was apparently recorded, with each note perfectly timed to the video on a screen behind the band. The four members stood at identical keyboards with laptop screens that largely hid how, or whether, their hands were moving, and they stayed as impassive as possible. Although Ralf Hütter did move his lips to sing, at any given moment, for all the audience knew, half the band members could have been watching DVD's on their laptop screens.

...While the band stood still, Kraftwerk's music and videos supplied the motion. The videos dwarfed the band members in grids, words, numbers and images of velocity, while the band's demeanor fulfilled the lyrics from a 1978 song: "We are the robots." For that song, "The Robots," Kraftwerk's members were replaced on stage by mechanized torsos that rotated and gestured. While all concert performances are mechanical to the degree that they repeat well-rehearsed music (and sometimes stage patter as well), Kraftwerk had its own wry twist. Its robots were far more demonstrative than the band itself.
If I may quote Mel Allen, How about that!?