Wednesday, August 31, 2005

John Lydon Can't Hack Bono

I got this from the New York Post:

SEX Pistols singer John Lydon isn't impressed with Bono's political activism. The aging anarchist snarled to "Every time I see Bono in those big fly glasses and tight leather pants I just can't hack it. I can't see that as solving the world's problems. He's crushing his testicles in tight trousers for world peace." Clearly on a roll, Lydon took a shot at another saintly rock royal — Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof. "It was a very shoddy and weak production," Lydon said of Live 8. "And there weren't enough black faces in the show for my liking. I don't don't think it achieved anything. Bob Geldof is too self-serving."
While Lydon is not at all self-serving.

The Who: Hello, McFly

Here's something of interest about the Who, from the BBC:

Rock band The Who are to team up with McFly to record a version of their legendary 1965 hit My Generation to launch HMV's digital download site. The high street music chain, which launches its site on Monday, will be up against rival Virgin which launches its own download service on Friday.

...HMV Digital will provide customers with a choice of paid-for downloads or a monthly subscription service. The company will also create HMV Digital sections in its 200 stores around the UK to offer help to would-be downloaders. "One of the wonderful things about music is the way it spans all generations to bring fans together, whatever their age and background," said Mark Bennett, HMV head of digital. "My Generation is, without doubt, an all-time classic... I can't think of a better iconic anthem for HMV's new download service as it reaches out to existing fans and a new generation of music buyers alike."
Notice he says music "buyers" not "lovers." But at any rate, this is a bit of Advancement for the Who. I'm not the biggest fan (though I'm addicted to "Substitute" right now for some reason), but I guess they make the cut. The real question is, Who is more Advanced? Roger Daltrey or Pete Townshend? Townshend was responsible for "Psychoderelict" (from Wikipedia: Released in 1993, the album's songs tell the story of Ray Highsmith, a burned-out sixties rock star whose manager connives with a press reporter to re-invigorate the musician's career. Their plan: pretend to be a pretty fourteen-year-old girl trying to learn the ropes of singing stardom, sending pornographic photos of herself to him as part of the ruse. Later, they release the photos to the press along with the story, now tagged as the "Highsmith Porno Pen Pal" scandal. All of Highsmith's previous albums have just been re-released, and sales jump), but Daltrey did that "Daltrey Sings Townshend" business, among many, many other things. So it's hard to say.

Carbon/Silicon Sputnik

Here's some news about probably-Advanced-but-I-never-really-liked-the-Clash-though-they-were-"important"-enough-to-be-elibigle-for-Advancement Mick Jones' new project, from

Mick Jones, former Clash guitarist, will take his new band, Carbon/Silicon into the studio next month. Jones, who collaborates with former Generation X/Sigue Sigue Sputnik bassist Tony James, in the four-piece rock'n'roll outfit hasn't released a studio album since F-Punk with Big Audio Dynamite in 1995, will lead his act into an unnamed studio next month to record its first album. No title, track listing or release date has been released. Jones has been a vocal supporter of MP3 file sharing, dedicating a song, "MP Free," to peer-to-peer music discovery. True to his word, the band will post mixes and works in progress on the act's official site,
As I hope you remember, embracing new technology (though MP3 isn't exactly new anymore) is an Advanced trait, and Mick Jones has always been good about that. Plus, he likes his World Music, which is also Advanced. By the way, isn't it time for another (?) Sigue Sigue Sputnik reunion? I'd like to see that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Art Garfunkel: Bust Number Two

Art Garfunkel news from

"Singer Art Garfunkel, who pleaded guilty last year to pot possession in upstate New York, was charged again Sunday after a marijuana cigarette was allegedly found in the ashtray of his car, state police said. The 63-year-old Garfunkel, who lives in Manhattan, was charged after being pulled over for failing to stop his vehicle at a stop sign, the Daily Freeman of Kingston reported today (Aug. 30). Upon approaching Garfunkel's car, a trooper noticed a strong odor of marijuana and a subsequent search turned up a joint in the ashtray, the newspaper reported. He was issued a ticket and is due back in Woodstock Town Court on Sept. 22."

I bet they would have let Paul Simon go.

James Brown Review

Just for fun, from Yahoo!:

In one of Brown's typically large-scale productions, more than 35 people trotted out onstage over the course of Saturday's performance at the Greek Theater. His band, the Soul Generals, naturally was big: three horn players, three drummers, three guitarists and two bass players. Add the three background singers who comprise the Bitter Sweets, frequent soloist Tanya Rae and even a near-inaudible 12-piece string section.

A James Brown show, however, requires extras, and there were plenty of them: two female dancers with sculpted abs and bikini bottoms that advertised "J" and "B" on either cheek, emcee Danny Ray, escort R.J., a woman in a cream dress and dangly diamond earrings who slow-danced with Brown during "Try Me," an official-looking guy who gave a James Brown hand towel to a woman in the front row and even a goofy accountant type who sauntered onstage to dork his way through the finale, "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine."

The 72-year-old Brown might not be as active as he once was onstage, but he still offers a fair share of his patented slide steps, mike-stand acrobatics and hammy staging. It was an exercise in excess, with lots of visuals to enhance his funk foundation: simple, repetitive bass lines; chunks of rhythm guitar; occasional blues interludes; and those familiar J.B. grunts and squeals.

The spare parts of the set list have changed just a little: "Living in America" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," for example, were noticeably missing, while "If I Ruled the World" oddly made the cut, and a Spanish rap and a piece of OutKast's "The Way You Move" also were interjected.
Sounds like a night of good old-fashioned Advancement, especially the Spanish rap and Outkast bit.

New Buzzcocks


"Buzzcocks fans have a nugget of hope to keep them warm this winter: A new album is on its way. The Manchester OG punk unit will release its 'Flat-Pack Philosophy,' tentatively scheduled for a Feburary release. Neither an American nor European contract has been finalized with a record label, so at this point, most release dates are pure speculation."

Is there anything better than pure speculation? If there is, I don't know about it.

Bob Dylan: Don't Think Twice, I'm Advanced

In the New York Times, there is an article by Jon Pareles about how Advanced Bob Dylan is, only Pareles doesn't really know that:

"Has there ever been a rock star as contrary as Bob Dylan? When taken for a folk singer, interpreting traditional songs, he started to write his own. When taken for a topical songwriter who would dutifully put his music behind party-line messages, and praised as the spokesman for a generation, he became an ambiguous, visionary poet instead. And when taken for an acoustic-guitar troubadour who was supposed to cling to old, virtuous rural sounds, he plugged in his guitar, hired a band and sneered oracular electric blues."

Pareles goes on to talk about the new Scorcese documentary and whatnot. There's a pretty funny anecdote about Bob Dylan calling politics trivial as he is awarded some honor having to do with "civil liberties" (that's actually the whole anecdote). Anyway, I'm looking forward to the documentary, and I'm sure I'll be writing a lot about it.

Monday, August 29, 2005



Guided By Voices' New Year's Eve 2004 blow-out at Chicago's Cabaret Metro, which also doubled as the final show of its storied career, will be released on DVD later this fall. The as-yet-untitled DVD is due Nov. 15 via Plexifilm with bonus features to be announced.

As expected, the performance was epic even by GBV's standards, encompassing more than 60 songs from the nooks and crannies of the band's catalog and the myriad side projects of leader Robert Pollard. Appropriately, the show ended with "Don't Stop Now" from GBV's classic 1996 album "Under the Bushes Under the Stars."

In between, a host of past GBV members joined the band on stage, including guitarist Tobin Sprout for "Fourteen Cheerleader Cold Front," bassist James Greer (with Sprout) for "Johnny Appleseed," drummer Don Thrasher for "I Am a Scientist," drummer Jim MacPherson and bassist Greg Demos on "I Drove a Tank" and "Shocker in Gloomtown" and Pollard's brother Jim for "Lethargy."

The show also boasted guest turns from Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster ("I Am a Tree") and former Chavez leader Matt Sweeney ("Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy").
Robert Pollard isn't Advanced, exactly, but he could be if he wanted to be. And maybe he's just so Advanced I don't know that he's Advanced. I missed out on GBV when my music brain was forming (the Replacements, too), so I can never fully grasp what all the fuss is about. I've been assured that this is my loss, and I agree.

Paul McCartney: Very Rich

Here's a story about Paul McCartney's publishing company, from Yahoo!:

Paul McCartney founded MPL Communications, one of the world's biggest privately owned music publishing companies, as the home to his solo compositions following the 1970 breakup of the Beatles.

And while MPL...has certainly focused on McCartney's work, it has grown to represent almost a century of copyrights from the likes of Buddy Holly, Jerry Herman, Frank Loesser, Meredith Willson and Harold Arlen.

MPL's catalog holdings include Nor-Va-Jak (which contains many of Holly's songs), Desilu Music (Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's company), Edwin H. Morris & Co. (a major standards catalog), Meredith Willson Music and Frank Music (which includes songs by Loesser).

"We've been predominantly a catalog company, and catalog is still the cornerstone of the company and will still be in the future since there's no substitute for incredible standards and classic songs that are timeless," says Bill Porricelli, senior VP of promotion and new product development.

"But we felt we needed a new dimension in the last few years, so we signed a couple of staff writers, Russ DeSalvo and Martin Briley, and they've had some good success with us in film projects and various artist covers -- and have added a new dimension to the company."

...MPL is seeking newer means of exposing its catalog besides traditional methods. "Like every publisher, we're taking a more proactive approach to the new media," Porricelli says, "which is very critical. We're in the process of redoing our Web site to make it more user friendly for industry people and fans alike in acquiring information. And you can license MPL material on the Internet. There will be links to our sheet music partners like Hal Leonard, and if you want to buy Paul McCartney CDs, you can do that through the Web site as well."

...MPL for the first time just placed a McCartney song in a TV commercial. "Fine Line" -- the first single from McCartney's album "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard," which bows September 13 via Capitol Records -- is part of a national Lexus campaign that began in late August.

"Having a national spot with Lexus gives us enormous exposure and gets more people aware of the album and tour, which MTV and VH1 simply can't do at this point due to the nature of their programing," says Porricelli, who notes that Lexus is sponsoring McCartney's ensuing U.S. tour."

But MPL also wants to maintain its successful record of placing McCartney catalog copyrights in major films like "Jerry Maguire" ("Junk"), "50 First Dates" ("Another Day") and "The In-Laws" ("Live and Let Die," "I'm Carrying" and "A Love for You").

The company recently produced "Listen to What the Man Said," a 20-song McCartney sampler spanning the writer's entire post-Beatles career up to his last album, 2001's "Driving Rain."

Porricelli says McCartney's catalog has potential beyond placement in film and TV. He points to Jenn Cuneta's dance hit "Come Rain Come Shine," which employed a rare McCartney-authorized usage of "Silly Love Songs" -- with producers Andy & the Lamboy sharing co-writing credit with Paul and Linda McCartney.

"They did a completely new lyric and turned ("Silly Love Songs") into a dance track," Porricelli says. "Paul liked it a lot and gave them authorization to release it. But it's basically 'Silly Love Songs' with a new lyric, so we experiment with new things now and we're much more open to licensing opportunities that make sense."
I'm pretty sure MPL stands for "Money-Printing License."

More on the Nico Movie


TILDA Swinton is to play Andy Warhol's muse Nico in a blockbuster film written by the creators of Bladerunner. Nico was part of the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed. But the price of her fame was heroin addiction and a turbulent private life. Now the story of the German supermodel and singer, whose lovers included a pantheon of rock greats - among them Mick Jagger and Jimmy Hendrix - is to be told on film.

Scots director David Mackenzie, whose erotically charged version of Young Adam, with Ewan McGregor and Swinton, earned him international fame, is expected to begin shooting next year. The Vagabond Films production, budgeted at more than £10m, marks Mackenzie's debut working in the US. The script has been written by Hollywood husband and wife team Jane and David People who penned Bladerunner.

...Mackenzie's agent, Sean Gascoigne, said: "This is a very exciting time for David. Young Adam raised his international profile enormously. "David has been a fan of the Velvet Underground and Nico's music for a long time. He loved the book and the script, and when the opportunity to make a film about Nico came along he jumped at it."

...The film is based on a biography by fellow musician and band member James Young, which starts in Manchester when Berlin-born Nico - real name Christa Paffgen - was at her lowest point in 1982. As a model she had strutted the catwalks in Berlin, Paris and New York, even landing a contract with the Ford Modelling Agency. But in Rome she met Federico Fellini, who gave her first a bit part then a starring role in the classic 1960s' film La Dolce Vita. She moved to New York where Warhol chose her to sing lead vocals with the Velvet Underground.

But after less than three years Nico left, suffering from heroin addiction. It was while in the north-west of England that local promoter Dr Demetrius saw an opportunity, hired musicians to back her and set off on a tour of Italy. This is Nico's last "scene" with keyboard player Young acting as a Rock Boswell, recording the final days of a celebrity in the twilight zone of faded fame.

For the next six years, Nico, Young and the rest of the band performed for often disappointed audiences everywhere from LA to Australia and Prague to Japan, in tours ineptly planned by Demetrius and modified by Nico's need to score drugs.
Once again, I think Tilda Swinton is a fine choice, but I rather enjoyed the performance of the actress who played Nico in "The Door." I thought she did a great job. Ahem.

Friday, August 26, 2005

NFL Opening Kickoff 2005

Here's the lineup from

Good Charlotte and Rihanna have been added to the lineup for a Sept. 8 show at Los Angeles Coliseum as part of the "NFL Opening Kickoff 2005." As previously reported, Kanye West and Maroon 5 will also perform at the show, highlights from which will be broadcast on ABC.

The special will be anchored at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., home to last year's Bowl winning New England Patriots. Green Day and Santana will perform there, with Trisha Yearwood on hand to sing the National Anthem. Immediately afterward, the Patriots will face the Oakland Raiders in the first game of the 2005-2006 season.
This is all fine, but I wonder about the decision to use Courtney Love as a sideline reporter.

Dog Days of Advancement

It has been a slow couple of weeks in the Advanced world. Perhaps the Advanced vacation in August like civilized people. I'll keep searching, though, and hopefully when September rolls around, the Advanced will get back to serious work.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ray Charles Post Office: Junk Mail Only

From Yahoo!:

The warm voice of Ray Charles filled the neighborhood near his recording studio during a ceremony christening a post office in his name.

As Charles' rendition of "America the Beautiful" rang out over speakers, family, friends and associates watched Wednesday as workers unveiled the new Ray Charles Station post office sign.

"My hopes are that the naming of this post office facility is only the first of many tributes [Yes, finally someone has paid tribute to the underrated, underappreciated Ray Charles --jh] for a man who started from nowhere to end up a national treasure and global phenomenon," said Rep. Diane Watson (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., who sponsored the federal bill to rename the post office.
Now isn't it about time for a Kelley Deal post office?

Lou Reed on VH1 Classic

This just in:

"VH1 Classic In Concert" airs on Friday, August 26 at 9:00 PM. The hour-long series showcases live, full-concert performances from some of the greatest names in rock, pop & soul. Up on deck this week: "Lou Reed: Live in

Anyone who is interested in Advancement should see this.

Tolstoy Advanced? (Updated)

I have just come across this quote from Tolstoy that has some application here:

"Once for all [he had written at twenty-five] I must accustom myself to the idea that I am an exceptional being, one who is ahead of his period, and who is by temperament absurd, unsociable and always dissatisfied…. I have been lying to myself in imagining that I have friends, that there were people who understood me. A mistake! I have never met a single man who was morally as good as I am, who has always in every situation been drawn, as I have been, to the good. Who, like me, is always ready to sacrifice everything for this ideal. It is on this account that I find no society in which I feel at home."

As you may know, Tolstoy had a religious conversion later in life, which is something that can happen with the Advanced. Usually it is temporary, or the artist isn't quite as converted as he seems.

Update: Edmund Wilson noted that "in the interests of [Tolstoy's] religion, he denounced his early novels, which had given his public so much pleasure." Advanced.

Jack White: The Real Thing?


JACK WHITE is in line to do his first ever advert – for COCA-COLA – NME.COM can exclusively reveal. Despite none of The White Stripes songs having ever been used in advertising before, White has been in talks with the soft drinks giant to pen a new song for their commercials. It’s also rumoured that the song already exists.

“Coke have been talking to Jack about getting him to write a new song and he’s very interested,” an advertising source told NME on condition of speaking anonymously. Coca-Cola are apparently keen to find a new song which will rival impact of ‘I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke’ which featured in a 1971 advertising campaign.

The song, which was written by advertising team McCann-Erickson, was recorded by the New Seekers and due to its popularity was latterly readapted as the single ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’ and released as a single. Additionally the original coke-endorsing lyrics often featured live in ‘Shakermaker’ on Oasis’ early tours.

To repeat this impact, Coca-Cola have apparently turned to White. “They want a new ‘I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke’ and believe Jack is the only artist who can deliver them something that will be equally timeless,” the source explained. A band source told NME.COM that White had “been in talks” with Coca-Cola, but insisted he was still considering his options: “He’s been asked to do it and is just deciding whether or not it’s a good idea. The White Stripes turned down a Gap advert, so if they did it it’d probably be a case of Jack writing a new song for the commercial.”
As you may remember, selling out (or what people call selling out, I think you're a sellout as soon as you sign a record contract so there's no point in worrying about) is something Advanced people do all the time. Think Lou Reed in those Honda scooter commercials. Anyhow, I'm thinking that Jack White has his eye on Advancement. The White Stripes aren't exactly revolutionary, but they definitely are one of the best bands in the last five years. So will he prove himself Advanced? Things to watch for: going solo, getting a rock-solid veteran drummer, getting a bassist (Latino or African American especially), using synthesizers, and doing new jazzed-up versions of White Stripes songs their fans consider sacred. There are other things to look out for, but that's a good start.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

David Byrne, the Screaming Tree

A little Talking Head news from

The Talking Heads have expanded their eight studio albums with previously unreleased content for their release as DualDiscs. Due Oct. 4 via Rhino, the sets will be packaged together in a white molded plastic box that holds eight jewel cases. Each album has also been remastered by Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison.

The group's 1977 debut, the appropriately named "Talking Heads: 77," will include a 5.1 mix of a previously unreleased acoustic version of "Psycho Killer" and an alternate 5.1 mix of "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town." The DVD side sports a live clip of "Pulled Up" taped in 1978 in Berkeley, Calif., and "I Feel It in My Heart" shot in 1976 at New York's now-defunct the Kitchen.

The follow-up, "More Songs About Buildings and Food," is bolstered by alternate versions of "The Big Country," "I'm Not in Love" and "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel," as well as a "1977 version" of "Stay Hungry." The DVD pulls "Warning Sign" from the aforementioned Berkeley show plus "Found a Job" from a 1978 gig at New York's Entermedia Theatre.

..."Little Creatures" is filled out with previously unreleased early versions of its most notable tracks, "Road to Nowhere" and "And She Was," plus videos for both songs. The 1986 companion to "True Stories," directed by Heads vocalist David Byrne, includes a bonus Pop Staples Vocal Version 5.1 mix of "Papa Legba" and videos for "Wild Wild Life" and "Love for Sale."

The Heads' final studio album, "Naked," tacks on a 5.1 mix of "Sax and Violins" as well as its video and a clip for "Blind."
Sounds like fun. I'm pretty excited about that Pop Staples version of "Papa Legba." I've always like that one. Actually, I think all the cast members' versions in "True Stories" were great. John Goodman, as always, was particularly excellent. Oh, and "Sax and Violins" is an extremely Advanced title for a song. I should add that Britt hates David Byrne. His argument is that if Byrne were 300 pounds, no one would have ever heard of him. Sadly, we'll never know because David Byrne will always be thin and successful, with a full head of hair.

Hunter S. Thompson

I never thought that much of him. He was one of those guys liked in theory but not in practice. A lot of smart people liked him, so I could certainly be wrong about him. In fact, according to this description of the ceremony to shoot his ashes in the sky, maybe he was just too Advanced for me:

"'Spirit in the Sky' blared from a high-wattage sound system as the monument — topped by a spectacular gonzo fist, Thompson’s trademark logo — was unveiled. Spotlights swooped across the darkened skyline, casting fist-shaped shadows on the clouds. Fireworks traced the sky and an 11-piece, kimono-clad Japanese drum band banged away in heart-thumping unison. Finally the cannon roared. The crowd raised champagne glasses and sang along to Lou Reed’s 'Walk on the Wild Side' as Hunter’s ashes floated downward."

Come to think of it, he did wear sunglasses a lot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sinead O'Connor: I and I and Sly (and Robbie)

Here's the latest from

Sinead O'Connor has scheduled her first UK live dates in over three years, with three shows this winter.

The Irish singer/songwriter recently returned to the spotlight after a two-year absence. In 2003, O'Connor declared her music career to be over, saying "I seek no longer to be a 'famous' person, and instead I wish to live a 'normal' life," She also declined several tour options around that time, declaring her daughter Roisin was too young is to be alone for such a long time.

Now, the often-controversial artist is set to return to the live arena with three dates with current producers Sly & Robbie in November. O'Connor is reportly releasing a series of albums in the year ahead, the first being a reggae effort (the follow up to 2002's "Sean Nos Nua"), which was recorded with the seminal production act.
Wouldn't it be great if she put out an amazing record that sold a billion copies? And then toured with the Rolling Stones? And then starred in "Scream 4"?

"The Blue Mask"

Totally rules.

Jimi Hendrix: There's a Demolished House Over Yonder

According to the BBC, Jimi Hendrix's boyhood home is facing demolition (I've written about this before) and the time is near for the wrecking ball:

A judge in the US has refused to extend an order barring the demolition of the boyhood home of guitarist Jimi Hendrix. But plans to turn the Seattle house into a community music centre have been deemed worthwhile, and its owners have been given until 1 September to appeal.

In a long-running dispute, the Hendrix Foundation has said city officials have refused to work with them. The Seattle authorities said deadlines to move or renovate the house have been missed, warranting demolition.

...The foundation's plans for the property include a facility that will offer music lessons, practice rooms and a library of musical instruments.

Its lawyer said in court that officials in the suburb of Renton, where Hendrix is buried, have agreed to allow the house to be moved to a plot there... The judge would not agree to extend the demolition ban until the end of September, because it was impossible to determine how long the deal with Renton would take to be approved.

Hendrix's family said earlier this year that they still hoped a road would be named after him.
I wonder where Paul Allen is in all this. Seems like he would help fix this, but maybe he doesn't approve of the foundation's plan. If things do work out, they should let Hilly Kristal run the community center.

Monday, August 22, 2005

iPod Log Dock

There's not much happening today, so take a look at this amusing picture and story from engadget. That's one big log.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

More Theory Talk

This is from the comment section of the last post. Not everyone reads the comments, so I'll share it with you here:

Question from Henry:
I really enjoy the theory, but this post made me wonder about a few things.

Metal Machine Music seems very overt to me in the same sense as the John Cage silence piece. Does it seem overt to me because it is overt (in the same sense of Radiohead putting a lot of junky robot noises in the background is overt) or is it just so advanced that I can't even begin to approach it for some period of time? (The Russian critic George Starostin, at the end of his review of Metal Machine Music*, says "As I finished this review and, morally exhausted by the effort, went to the fridge to grab a sandwich, I heard the fridge making the exact kind of noises as captured on some of the album's passages. I swear I'm not lying.")

What is the relationship between advancement and commercial success? Isn't the advanced theory predicated on the fact that the public won't accept advanced artists or art because they're not ready for it/them? 'Walk on the Wildside' was a popular song, but seems really overt compared to like Coney Island Baby, which seems to just drip with advancement (at least in my limited understanding, which at this point compares advancement to some sort of ether). I remember a post a few weeks ago about R. Kelly's new closet thing and his Advancement status. How can it be advanced if it sells well at the time of its release?

Side Side Question:

When do Artists become advanced? In the Velvets, Lou was Overt, and the same seems to hold for at least Transformer and Berlin, but I don't understand the theory enough to pinpoint a specific time of advancement. You write "In fact, I would say once you achieve Advancement, everything you do will be Advanced." Well, ok, but what does it take to achieve Advancement? One album, song, Mingus's cat training method? A lot of people in shitty punk bands wear black leather jackets, but I wouldn't say they have the smell of Advancement. Regression, maybe.

Answer from Jason:
"Metal Machine Music" was Overt (though it is sometimes called an Advanced Irritant because it was a response to Reed's popularity), and I don't think that Lou Reed was Advanced just yet. I think it is a gradual thing (to answer your last question first) because to be Advanced, you have to have the potential to be Advanced (be brilliant not just good, be innovative not derivative, change the world of music in the next generation) and also have a long track record of brilliant music. One thing you have to say about "Metal Machine Music" is that it was incredibly audacious and sure to please almost no one, which are signs of Advancement.

As far as commercial success, you can be Advanced and be wildly popular, too, but usually it's an accident. Also, for a "cult figure" like Lou Reed, for him to cultivate a larger audience would disappoint his fans, who in their narrow-mindedness feel like he somehow belongs to them or that it's cooler to like something no one else does. Disappointing your Overt fans is Advanced, so if that means being really commercially successful, then so be it. Usually it doesn't last because somehow disappointing the masses is probably the next step. R. Kelly can't be Advanced yet, but some people seem to be excited about the prospect. I don't know much about his music so I can't say, but I will say that his selling a lot of records doesn't preclude him from being Advanced.

Oh, and just because you wear black leather doesn't mean you're Advanced, but it's not a bad start.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Defending the Theory

I just read an ancient (last December) post: about the theory that was interesting, though it had the theory all wrong. Here's some of the post:

The problem with the theory is it is self-defeating; it asks artists to do what we don't expect them to do in avoiding "overtness" and "predictability," but in doing so becomes predictable in itself--we can now simply think of what an artist would do between these, and that is "advancement."

Better still, the whole idea that an artist would premeditate this decision--or better yet, produce a result "typical" of advancement--is contrary to the idea of the masses simply being too "unadventurous" to "understand" the music. Radiohead doing an album of blues covers wouldn't make any sense, so it fits this theory, but it is hardly more "advanced" than listeners--absurd, perhaps, but not advanced. Blues has already been done and, generally speaking, what is "advanced" hasn't been done, and won't be "understood" for a while--case in point, Lou Reed (and, among others, a lot of what "ambient" music pioneers were doing on various sides of a coin, like Brain Eno with atmospheres, Karl Heinz Stockhausen with electronic music and Miles Davis with instrumental mixtures).

...As such, this theory doesn't work predictively because whatever "advanced" is we SHOULD NOT be able to guess. Radiohead will advance when they release something entirely new to the musical dialogue--not blues, not machine music, not any of this. If someone introducing new ideas to the musical dialogue becomes "predictable," this does not mean they are not advancing their field--some artists are simply expected to continue to breakthrough genres, though the method and is never known until after the breakthrough, and perhaps not appreciated until years afterwards. This allows room for Prince, who was for a while essentially expected to do the unexpected, instead of relegating him to "overtness" or the repetition of non-repetition.

...But it will indeed take HINDSIGHT to understand what music was indeed simply too advanced for its time, and what music was simply ill-conceived and failed to deliver ANY kind of message. We cannot discern this simply by method of formulaic projection; we can easily discern what might be "ahead" of our generation, but as to whether it will connect at all at any time is another matter altogether.

Therefore I MUST say that this "advancement" theory is woefully narrow-minded and simplistic to have anything but comical value. A better version--the understanding that music has as much to do with the listener as it does the audience, and this is subjective without time reference, not linear and a matter of "advanced" and "degenerate," is more suitable to such a subjective form of expression.

This new view allows us room for irony, but not repetition, as being precepts to music which fails to communicate to a contemporary audience but may communicate to future audiences--which is the general shift music has undergone since the combination of harmonies, rhythm, and a written form of music "recording" was introduced by monks in the middle-ages.

Perhaps the most advanced music under the "new" view would be John Cage's 4'33" which is, of course, four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, and is just about the most irony-drenched piece of anything ever thought up.
So here's why this person is wrong: First, he's a little carried away by the Radiohead business. The point of that was that no one would expect Radiohead to make a blues record for the very reason it has been done before. Advanced artists do not what is expected of them nor the opposite of what is expected of them, and the "Radiohead plays the blues" was an attempt to show that to be Advanced they would need to go to some other place besides a straightforward pop album, which would be the opposite. And the hindsight question is all wrong too. You can't predict an Advanced project because it is by definition ahead of its time and so of course it takes hindsight to see it. However, for the truly Advanced like Lou Reed, I can confidently predict that his next record will be Advanced because of his long track record of Advancement. In fact, I would say once you achieve Advancement, everything you do will be Advanced. It won't see that way at the time, but eventually we'll all catch up. Some people think that this is a license for mediocrity, but they don't see how difficult it is to be truly Advanced. And it's not like I'm saying the Advanced are infallible, but on the whole, they are consistently correct about the directions they take. It just doesn't seem that way at the time. After all, they're Advanced. The last thing he writes about Cage proves that he doesn't understand the theory, but Advanced artists have no use for irony because for the most part it is an excuse for saying nothing.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Dolly Parton's New Covers Record

From Yahoo!:

It's almost a given for veteran singers to dust off the American songbook and cut an album of standards. But Dolly Parton does them one better on "Those Were the Days." Not only does she put a country spin on songs such as "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Crimson and Clover" and "Me and Bobby McGee," she gets some of the artists who wrote or popularized the originals to join her. Roger McGuinn, Kris Kristofferson, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Keith Urban, Alison Krauss, Norah Jones, Judy Collins and many others lend their talents.

..."This record I didn't write any of the songs," she says. "I thought, well, I ought to just maybe make the next one all songs I'd written, and I thought what should I call that one — I'll call it `Let Me Compose Myself.' That would be a good title."

...Islam sang and played guitar on his "Where Do the Children Play," then decided against the vocal parts. "He did do a vocal just for me that I'll keep for myself and that I'll always treasure," Parton says. "But he just felt that it was in the wrong key and that he wasn't really complementing it. And he said — probably to flatter me — he did love my version and said every time he came in it was more distracting than adding to it."

..."I'm certainly not into any kind of political thing or protest. People who know me will know I've chosen these songs to really kind of uplift and to give hope, like they were written for at the time," she says.

..."I just felt it was good time to bring a lot of these songs back," she says. "We don't want to be at war, but of course we have to fight if we have to. We don't want to lose our children in war, but of course we do. So we write about it and sing about it, and it kind of helps us relieve our grief and express ourselves."

The '60s theme extends to her current tour, billed as the Vintage Tour. She's performing a half-dozen songs from the new album (due out Oct. 11) as well as her own hits. She dresses in bell bottoms and headbands and pokes fun at the era, cracking, "We went from taking acid to taking antacid" and "We went from BYOB to AARP."

..."The people that really have followed me and that really do look closer and look underneath the big hair and big boobs and big mouth — the artificial look — they really know I'm a serious person about my work and am serious about my songwriting more than anything," she says. "It's the songs that brought me out of the Smokies. It's the songs that started it all."
She is the best. Courtney Love should be made to stay with her 28 days instead of at a rehab center. It would do her more good, I think. I know I wouldn't want to let Dolly down.

Bad News Snoop

Here's some awesome Calvin Broadus news from Yahoo!:

Snoop Dogg's new youth football league is drawing corporate endorsements, talented coaches — and catcalls from long-established teams that are losing players to the entertainer's latest project. Two years ago, Snoop began coaching his son's team in the Orange County Junior All-American Football Conference, luring children from other squads with his star power. Players watched game video inside a tricked-out school bus equipped with DVD players, TV screens and a booming sound system.

The rapper and sometime actor also made personal phone calls to draw in top talent, and last year his Rowland Raiders went undefeated en route to a league championship. They also went on to win the "Snooperbowl," held a day before the Super Bowl, and took home custom-made trophies donated by Tiffany & Co. for their effort.

Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, is taking things to the next level this year, creating his own Southern California league. He lowered fees for joining a team from $175 or more to $100, which covers the cost of cleats and pads. He also loosened residency requirements.

A movie documenting the effort, and titled "Coach Snoop," is reported to be in the works. "It's so easy for a kid to join a gang, to do drugs," Snoop said. "We should make it that easy to be involved in football and academics."

Children and some coaches have flocked to the eight-chapter Snoop Youth Football League, leaving supporters of old leagues dejected and wondering whether they were used.

"I'm mad at Coach Snoop," said 10-year-old Xavier Bernal, a player for the Rowland Raiders. "He was so cool; he told me to play my heart out and to play everything I've got. But now I just want to ask him, why did he take all our players?"
Well, little Xavier, it's like Vince Lombardi once said: "Winning isn't everything, it's the shiznit."

Sly Stone: You Can Leave Your Hat On


The last time the world saw Sly Stone was at his 1993 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. His appearance at the ceremony was a surprise, his speech brief: "See you soon," was all he said. More than a decade has passed since his remark.
On Monday night, however, there was a rare sighting of Sly Stone at Hollywood's Knitting Factory. Stone's little sister Vet was performing with a Sly and the Family Stone tribute band, the Phunk Phamily Affair, in a show to benefit the Los Angeles Braille Institute.

Pulling up in front of the club on a four-wheel Harley, Sly was whisked upstairs to the VIP room where, ironically, he went unnoticed by the roomful of mostly blind musicians who were guests of the club that night. Keeping his motorcycle helmet on throughout, Sly smiled widely as he watched the ten-piece perform a scorching ninety-minute set featuring Stone hits "Dance to the Music" and "Hot Fun in the Summertime."
Now that is some first-rate Advancement!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hellfest: The Devil Is in the Details

Here's something interesting from Yahoo!/Reuters/Billboard:

The Hellfest music festival, scheduled for this weekend in Trenton, N.J., has been canceled due to concerns over whether organizers' insurance policy was adequate to cover the event. Organizers blame the move on "unreasonable demands" made on them at the last minute by Sovereign Bank Arena, which was to host the three-day event beginning Friday.

Among the acts confirmed to appear were Public Enemy, Killswitch Engage, Anti-Flag, the Misfits and Hatebreed. Refunds will be available from the Sovereign Bank Arena box office. "It was going to be a great event and it had a lot of potential," arena general manager Eric Cuthbertson told the Trentonian newspaper. "Unfortunately the event promoters failed to comply with the contractible obligation of the arena's lease agreement. They failed to meet schedules and deadlines which forced us into a corner where we had to cancel the event."

Helllfest organizer Shawn Vander Pohel told the paper that this year's insurance policy was identical to the one used for the past five Hellfests and that the arena "found some loophole" allowing them to cancel the show.
Finally, after all the people he's fooled with loopholes, the Devil gets a taste of his own medicine. Satan made be the prince of the netherworld, but his festival was no match for Sovereign Bank Arena.

Germs Biopic


"The idea came to me after film school," director Rodger Grossman tells "I was thinking, 'What would be the most personal film I could possibly make?' And I thought something about punk rock would be not just a movie that speaks to what I'm about, but also really territory that hadn't been accurately depicted. And [it] needed [to be] a movie that was true and real and let people see what an amazing and exciting world punk is."

With the aid of ex-Germs guitarist Pat Smear, Crash's family and others close to the late '70s/early '80s Hollywood punk scene, Grossman first began assembling what would become "What We Do Is Secret" nearly 10 years ago. But the director admits the extended process was a blessing in disguise, as he conducted "thousands of hours of original interviews," and was able to find an actor he feels did a masterful job capturing Crash on film -- Shane West, who is best known as Dr. Ray Barnett on "E.R."

"[West] got so close to being Darby that it actually freaked out a lot of the scenesters that came by the set," Grossman says. "He committed to doing this role in a way that I've never seen an actor commit to do anything. He read all the books that Darby read. He got blue contacts and prosthetic teeth permanently affixed to his, which had to be 'chipped out' so his teeth were more like Darby's."

...In addition to West's role as Crash, the rest of the Germs were portrayed by Rick Gonzalez (as Smear), Bijou Phillips (bassist Lorna Doom) and Lukas Haas (drummer Don Bolles). Also appearing in the film is "Wildboyz" co-star Chris Pontius as singer Black Randy and Tina Majorino ("Napoleon Dynamite") as Crash's best friend, Michelle.

...the movie does not cover Crash's entire life. "Darby had a 'five-year plan' -- to become a legend," Grossman says. "And after that, he committed suicide. We start the movie in high school with Darby, who was then 'Paul,' and Pat Smear, who was than 'George,' with Darby telling Pat about his 'five-year plan.' And the movie traces [those] five years."
This sounds good, but I hope it doesn't glamorize Crash's desire to die young so he can become a legend. We've lost enough people this way, so there's no reason to inspire any more.

Ministry: Just Another Oldies Act

Here's something from

Ministry will mark its 25th anniversary as a band with a greatest-hits package. The pioneering industrial act hits the quarter-century mark this year with a 16-track best-of package, Rantology, due Sept. 27 from Sanctuary. It follows up last year’s House of the Mole (Sanctuary) (read Aversion’s review), and features retooled versions of Ministry staples such as “Stigmata,” “N.W.O.” and “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” While “Every Day is Halloween” is, as expected, ignored, Al Jourgansen and pals dish out a new track, “The Great Satan,” because they’re good like that. Or, as a neat way to promote the next Ministry album, on which it’s scheduled to appear. Take your pick.
Bear with me: Ministry has been around 25 years, which means they are old. One of their notable songs is "Jesus Built My Hotrod." When old people drive, they drive slowly, their heads are barely visible, and they often forget to turn off their blinker after a turn. Therefore, I have an image of Al Jourgensen and the folks in Ministry still driving the hotrod in question, but it is going 25 miles an hour, all you can see is the top of their cowboy hats, and the blinker is on. Hilarious, no?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Devo Record?

Here's some Devo news from

The past five years have seen an exponentially growing interest in Devo. The group, which formed in Akron, Ohio, in 1972, has ratched up its performance schedule increase from one live show in 2001 to 17 in 2005. Three new DVDs have been issued in the last 18 months, and the group's music is appearing with increasing frequency in commercials and movies such as "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" and "Raising Helen."

What's more, Devo's skewed musical sensibilities have taken root in breakthrough acts like the Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Interpol. Buoyed by this awareness, founding bassist Jerry Casale feels that for the first time in 15 years, the time is right for a new Devo album to be written and recorded, even going as far as to mention Alan Moulder (U2, Nine Inch Nails) as a possible candidate to produce the material.

"Devo has a unique sound and has written about unique topics," Casale told backstage after the group's sold-out Aug. 6 show in Los Angeles. "But we feel like right now, it is now or never for us." The group's last new studio set was 1990's "Smooth Noodle Maps," which failed to dent The Billboard 200.

...One sticking point is the willing participation of Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh, the driving force, with Casale, behind the group's material. Since the mid '90s, Mothersbaugh has become an in-demand soundtrack producer and is busy with myriad other projects, meaning he'd have to go out of his way to clear his schedule for a Devo album.
As you could probably guess, I'm all for their making a new album, with or without Mothersbaugh. It would maybe be more Advanced without him (or would that be De-vanced?), but I would prefer it if the sum-bitch could clear a month somewhere to record with his old pals.

Gang of Four: "Return the Gift" Is Solid-Gold Entertainment!

Here's a Gang of Four update from

Gang Of Four's influence over scores of rock acts that came in its wake is on display more than ever on "Return the Gift," an album of 14 new re-recordings due Oct. 11 via V2. Originally dubbed "Whitey's Gift" and penciled in for a Sept. 20 North American release, it comprises the U.K. quartet's first new recordings with its original members in more than 20 years.

"Return the Gift" focuses on material from the group's first two seminal albums (1979's "Entertainment!" and 1981's "Solid Gold"). But beyond a clearer mix and a slight deepening of singer Jon King's voice, Gang Of Four remains nearly identical to the band that crafted those albums, still wielding the same caustic sound best heard on "Natural's Not in It," "Not Great Men" and "Damaged Goods."

The group also puts a charge into the sparse funk of "I Love a Man in Uniform" and "We Live As We Dream, Alone," both drawn from the 1982 album "Songs of the Free."

...Meanwhile, Gang Of Four will return to the road this fall, beginning Sept. 18 in Hamburg, Germany. The trek will reach North America Sept. 29 in Providence, R.I., and will run through an Oct. 21 show in Anaheim, Calif. As previously reported, the band will also perform at the first Across the Narrows Festival on Oct. 1 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
I'm glad they are able to capitalize on the resurgence of their style of music. By the way, I haven't been posting much because I'm working on a project that has been taking most of my time and energy. But I'll be done soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Leonard Cohen Sues His Business Manager

According to, Leonard Cohen is having some trouble with his business manager:

Leonard Cohen sued his longtime business manager yesterday (Aug. 15) for allegedly defrauding the famed singer/songwriter of at least $5 million.

The complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks damages for alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, professional negligence and other claims against Kelley Lynch. Tax lawyer Richard Westin was also named as a defendant for allegedly mismanaging Cohen's retirement funds.

..."This civil action is another case of a tragedy that has become all too familiar in the music industry -- a business manager and professional advisers exploit an immensely talented artist's loyalty and trust through greed, self-dealing, concealment, knowing misrepresentation and reckless disregard for professional fiduciary duties," according to the complaint filed by plaintiff's attorney Scott Edelman.

According to the suit, Lynch was Cohen's business manager for about 17 years until he fired her in October for allegedly taking money out of his personal and investment accounts. It was alleged that the amounts taken were far in excess of the 15% management compensation that Lynch was entitled to receive.

The fraud allegedly started while Cohen was taking time away from his career to focus on his spiritual life at the Mount Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles.
Which just goes to show you that attending the spiritual side of life is always a mistake, especially for rich people.

Swinton to Play Nico

According to Dark Horizons, it's true:

"Asylum" and "Young Adam" director David Mackenzie has selected Tilda Swinton to play Nico in his upcoming biopic from a script by David and Janet Peoples (Blade Runner) according to Suicide Girls. Nico (born Christa Paffgen) was a fashion model, actress, and composer. She is best known as the female lead vocalist (along with male lead Lou Reed) on the 1967 debut album by the American rock and roll band, The Velvet Underground.
This is a great choice. I think she is a great actress, but I wonder if she'll be able to handle the singing.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bill Clinton Collection

Here's something from

Fans of former President Bill Clinton will soon be able to enjoy some of his favorite recordings in the comfort of their own home. "The Bill Clinton Collection: Selections From the Clinton Music Room," the first of several planned albums, tilts toward such jazz classics as John Coltrane's "My One and Only Love," Miles Davis' "My Funny Valentine" and Zoot Sims' "Summertime."

Clinton also chose such inspirational recordings as Mahalia Jackson's "Precious Lord" and Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)." Evangelical singer Mickey Mangum, a longtime Clinton friend, is represented by his version of "In the Presence of Jehovah."

But will there be any party music on future compilations? "President Clinton hasn't picked the songs yet for the subsequent albums," says Clinton Foundation president Skip Rutherford, "but in all likelihood there will be [some R&B and rock included] because he likes a wide variety of music."
Bill Clinton was perhaps our first Advanced president. There are a lot of examples of his Advancement, but you don't need to know much more than this: Lou Reed played at the White House when Clinton was president.

New Echo and the Bunnymen

According to, Ian McCullough is proud of the new Echo and the Bunnymen record, "Siberia":

"It's a masterpiece!" McCulloch says of the new Bunnymen effort, slated for release September 20th. "It's not supposed to happen to a band at this point, but it's the most complete album we've ever made." McCulloch isn't alone in that opinion. Producer Hugh Jones, who worked on the Liverpool group's 1981 sophomore set, Heaven Up Here, as well as recordings by the Teardrop Explodes, Simple Minds and Del Amitri, calls Siberia the best work he's ever done.

Recalling both the post-punk psychedelia of the Bunnymen's influential debut, Crocodiles, and the dramatic Euro-balladry of 1984's Ocean Rain, the new album "is everything I need to say, lyrically and melodically," McCulloch explains, "and everything [guitarist] Will [Sergeant] needs to do, as well."

After hearing Sergeant instantly craft the guitar riff for "Everything Kills You," a soaring track McCulloch calls "the most crystalized, pure Bunnymen moment since 'The Killing Moon,'" the singer says his appreciation of the partnership deepened. "I hate him for it, because I'm like, 'It took me two years to come up with this, and you just pop in and do your bit!'" McCulloch says. "But that's why Will's so great."

The duo's differences have also been resolved by the sense that the Bunnymen are a band once again. Bassist Pete Wilkinson and drummer Simon Finley, who have been touring with the group and appeared on McCulloch's 2003 solo outing, Slideling, both play significant roles on the new album. "It's like we're a really great football team," McCulloch says.

...In November, after they tour the U.K., the Bunnymen will come to the U.S., and McCulloch is eager to play the new album live. "It makes you cry, it makes you tap your toes, it makes you wanna break a chair over someone's head," he says. "People can't ask for more."
All of this sounds like an Advanced artist talking (especially the boasting and the football-team quote), but Echo and the Bunnymen just don't quite cut it. They just weren't good or influential enough to be worthy of Advanced status. But I still love "Lips Like Sugar."

"Extraordinary Machine" Release Date Announced

I've been following the "Extraordinary Machine" story for quite some time, and, according to the New York Times, the album is finally coming out:

Fiona Apple, the smoky-voiced singer whose unreleased third album turned into a cause célèbre for her fervent fans and was leaked online, has recorded new versions of its songs and plans to release the album on Oct. 4, according to people involved with the recording.

The album, "Extraordinary Machine," is the Grammy-winning artist's first studio CD in six years, and is likely to be one of the industry's most closely watched albums at the start of the preholiday rush. The CD may also place Ms. Apple and her label, Epic Records, in the unusual position of watching how fans and critics judge her new release against the leaked versions of her earlier recordings of the same songs. The 12-song CD includes nine new versions of material that had circulated on unlicensed Internet file-swapping networks, two previously leaked songs and one brand-new one, "Parting Gift."

The label is wasting little time in tapping fans' curiosity. Epic plans today to reveal a new version of Ms. Apple's Web site, on which fans can hear two of the album's songs, "Parting Gift" and the rerecorded "O' Sailor." The latter will also be available for listening at, the online social network. Tomorrow major online music services plan to begin selling "O' Sailor" as a single, and Apple's iTunes music service is expected to offer an exclusive bundle of the two songs for $1.98.

Mike Elizondo, the album's producer, said most of the songs sound "radically different" from the earlier, leaked renditions, which Ms. Apple had made with the producer Jon Brion. Mr. Elizondo said that he had listened to the earlier cuts, but "once we headed off in our direction I didn't go back to reference them."

"Everything was done from scratch," he added.

Only time will tell whether that will turn out to be a shrewd move. The leaked version of the album earned favorable reviews from critics. Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times in April, called - it "an oddball gem." On the other hand, the songs never became as popular online as other bootleg sensations, like "The Grey Album," the celebrated - and unauthorized - compilation of songs pairing Jay-Z's raps with the Beatles' melodies that circulated online last year. To many, the muted response online suggested that Epic and Ms. Apple were right to continue polishing the material. In an e-mail message yesterday, Ms. Apple said: "Now that my album is finally finished, I am very, very excited to have people hear what we did. I am so proud of it, and of all of us who worked on it."
All I have to say is that it never took Leo Sayer six years to finish an album.

John Lennon Musical Opens: Aieeeee Caramba

Here's the review from the New York Times:

In the immortal words of Yoko Ono, "Aieeeee!" A fierce primal scream - of the kind Ms. Ono is famous for as a performance and recording artist - is surely the healthiest response to the agony of "Lennon," the jerry-built musical shrine that opened last night at the Broadhurst Theater.

...This drippy version of his life, written and directed with equal clunkiness by Don Scardino and featuring a Muzak-alized assortment of Lennon's non-"Beatles" songs, suggests that he was just a little lost boy looking for love in all the wrong places until he found Ms. Ono and discovered his inner adult. When his adoring fans and a hitherto tame press turned on him in the late-1960's, Lennon told a journalist that his public had never seen him clearly to begin with, that even when he was a schoolboy, those who actually knew him never "thought of me as cuddly."

Yet cuddly is how Lennon (who is portrayed by five actors) emerges here, like a pocket-size elf doll who delivers encouraging mantras of self-help and good will when you scratch his tummy. "We're all one," "Love is the answer," "Be real" - these and other Lennonisms are projected in repeated succession on a screen before the show begins. Little that follows goes beyond such fortune-cookie wisdom.

"Lennon" is the latest in the bland crop of shows known as jukebox musicals that have been spreading over Broadway like kudzu, from the mega-hit "Mamma Mia!" (the Abba musical) to the super-flop "Good Vibrations" (Beach Boys). "Lennon" fits the jukebox mold, with its regulation lineup of perky, puppyish performers and brimming quota of recognizable songs, delivered with lots of volume and little dancing.

...Mr. Scardino and Ms. Ono (whose name appears in large type in the credits, where she is accorded "special thanks") have said that using five actors to portray Lennon reflects the idea that the man meant different things to different people. Yet instead of making Lennon seem multifaceted and multiform, this device turns him into a one-size-fits-all alter ego to the world.

The subtext, to borrow from a Dr. Pepper commercial of years ago, is something like "I'm a Lennon/ You're a Lennon/ He's a Lennon/ She's a Lennon/ Wouldn't you like to be a Lennon too?"

...Chart-toppers like "Give Peace a Chance" and "Instant Karma" are accorded the full, painful love-in treatment à la "Hair." (Daisies are distributed during "Give Peace a Chance.") But while the songs' musical hooks may still dig into your memory, the image of the man who wrote them is likely to feel fuzzier after the show than it did before.

At the end, a clip from Mr. Lennon and Ms. Ono's video of his song "Imagine" is shown. And there before you is the real John Lennon - lean-faced, thin-lipped, cryptic, shyly exhibitionist. It says everything about the vapid "Lennon" that your instinctive response to this complex apparition is, "Who is that man anyway, and what is he doing here?"
I can't believe I invested a million bucks in this thing. I told them they should have cast Leo Sayer as Lennon, but they just wouldn't listen.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Elvis Costello and Crow T. Robot

Here's something about Elvis Costello's upcoming DVD, from

Originally expected earlier this year, the DVD "The Right Spectacle: The Very Best of Elvis Costello -- The Videos" will arrive Sept. 6 in the United Kingdom via demonVision. A North American release date has not yet been finalized for the project, which rounds up all of the artist's classic promo clips plus a wealth of rare European TV appearances.

Of perhaps most interest to fans is the fact that Costello provides commentary for each of the 27 videos, including such early MTV favorites as "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding" and "Everyday I Write the Book."

But securing the artist's services for the project nearly didn't happen, according to DVD producer Sophie Coolbaugh. "Elvis was completely booked up last summer and no matter how we looked at his schedule, there was no way he could spare us a few hours," she tells "We had given up on the idea when the call came late on a Thursday afternoon -- we could have him for a couple of hours on the following Sunday in New York."

Due to short notice, the producers were forced to rent a studio without air conditioning "on a muggy September evening," Coolbaugh recalls. "Elvis had not dabbled in the art of the DVD audio commentary before, and he took to it like a fish takes to water. It is both witty and interesting, and definitely a key highlight of the disc."

Coolbaugh delighted in "finding bits and pieces that we knew no one had seen in over 20 years, if at all," including an extra song from a 1983 performance on the U.K. show "The Tube" and clips from Holland's Pink Pop Festival ("fabulous pink suit").

However, one classic piece of film eluded "The Right Spectacle." Says Coolbaugh: "The master of Elvis' first-ever TV appearance [performing 'Alison' for 'Granada Reports' in July 1977] has gone missing sometime between 1977 and now. It was very, very lucky that the producers of [the show] 'So It Goes' lifted a clip from it for their show later that year, so the excerpt we have on the disc is the only surviving clip from [Costello's] TV debut."
I don't know why this particular piece of news makes me think of it, but was "MST3K" ahead of its time or what?

Hocico: Compassion, Rage and Whatnot

I checked out to look into the Mexican-Goth question. I read about a band called Hocico, who are from Mexico City. Here's what it says at Metropolis Records:

"Racso Agroyam and Erk Aicrag, two angry survivors of the physical and mental violence rising daily on the streets of Mexico City, emerged in 1993 as Hocico, a hard-electro act that lashes out against the deteriorating human spirit with compassion and rage."

Prior to forming Hocico, Rasco and Erk along with some friends, were experimenting with a project called Ninera Degenerada in 1989. The act, immature at best, utilized portasound keyboards, homemade distortion, tape samplers, and homemade instruments. In 1992, Rasco and Erk left the project and began forming the concept that was to become Hocico (originally called Hocico de Perro). Finally in 1993, the duo were able to acquire professional equipment and fully begin to accomplish what they set out to do. Three demo tapes followed, 1994's Misuse, Abuse, and Accident, Autoagresion Persistente, and 1996's Triste Desprecio, which finally brought them to the attention of the Opcion Sonica label. Hocico's first album, Odio Bajo el Alma, was released in 1997.

Countless releases later, Hocico caught the eye of Metropolis Records who is set to release their newest album for North America in 2002. Signos De Aberracion is their most advanced and sonically diverse album to date. Constantly exploring new musical concepts, Hocico create dark and aggressive sounds: nightmarish atmospheres, classical landscapes, and driving beats charged with adrenaline and fury. They channel the violence, isolation, and social misconduct of Mexico City into their music to exhibit what society has wronged - letting the music speak for itself.

Hocico returned in 2003 to deliver an exquisite masterpiece to fans of electronic music. Already an undisputed leader in the dark electro scene movement, the Mexican duo played countless sold out shows around the globe in support of their successful 2002 album, Signos de Aberracion. Now just in time for Hocico's 10 year anniversary, the new EP Disidencia Inquebrante is a return to and re-invention of their past audio imagery. Hard, brutal, and demonic like electronics crash among distorted Spanish vocals to create an eerie "evil" feeling in the music. Disidencia Inquebrante also includes the long awaited track "Ladykiller" (which is already a concert favourite), and their first smash hit "Silent Wrath" with vocals!

The Mexican hardfloor-electro-legend conjures up its most versatile release to date with 2004's Wrack and Ruin. Unlike most, Hocico has the ability to set their hate and aggression to music that hits the listener like an onslaught of raw adrenaline. Building upon the strong points of their previous releases, Hocico has made Wrack and Ruin a musical horror-trip that will enthrall listeners with the intensity of a deadly storm. From the floor-filling "Born (To be Hated)," to the potential club hit "Spirits of Crime," and the dark ambient "Oracion Nocturno," the album manages to convey the vibrant energy of the duo's excessive live performances. It is no false pretense to say that this will be THE harsh electro-release of the year, which will further cement Hocico's well-earned place at the top of their game.

"Hocico is our way of living and of thinking, it is the way in which we see the behavior of the world, and how hope, deception and hate maintain a constant fight inside the human conscience." -- Hocico
It must be exhausting to be full-on Goth. I admire those folks for the dedication.

Bauhaus Officially Reunite

According to Pollstar, Bauhaus has decided to officially reunite: "[T]hey are now planning on accompanying their newest tour dates with an album. In July, lead vocalist Peter Murphy told BBC 6 that he had been 'working on reforming the band for the last year. It's come to the point now that we are going to tour here in the winter and do a world tour and an album.' This would be their first album since 1983's Burning From The Inside. The tour will start in Mexico City on October 16, followed by show in Guadalajara, Mexico the next day. November 11 - 12 will be spent in New York's brand new Nokia Theatre Times Square." I wonder if there is a big Goth culture in Mexico. I think I'll look into it...

Elvis: Viva Vienna

According to Yahoo!, Elvis Week in Vienna is coming soon:

Vienna's Hilton becomes the Heartbreak Hotel on Monday, when "Elvis Week" — seven days of live music, memorabilia and screenings of Elvis Presley films — kicks off for those who love him in Europe, where he never gave a concert. The festival coincides with the 28th anniversary of Presley's death on Aug. 16, 1977. But it underscores the singer's huge popularity in Austria, Germany and other countries where he's still got fans all shook up.

"For me, he was the only unique entertainer in the world," said organizer Wolfgang Hahn, who runs Elvis4You, a new shop in downtown Vienna that sells Elvis music, memorabilia and trinkets. "My mission is to tell people in Central Europe how good he really was."

...Harald Molan, a 23-year-old Vienna university student, calls himself "a medium to huge fan." "It's no different than someone who's crazy about Mozart, who has been dead for even longer," he said. "At least there's footage of Elvis on video, which you don't have if you like Mozart."

Bill Murray: The Cat's Meow

This is a bit off the topic, but Bill Murray is in negotiations to be the voice of Garfield in the upcoming sequel. I'm not sure who will be directing, but I don't think it will be Jim Jarmusch. He's too busy with the sequel to "Coalminer's Daughter."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Paul McCartney: Watch It, Busker

According to, Paul McCartney doesn't mind making money:

The former BEATLE is famed for his business brain and insists if his record isn't commercially successful, he will have failed because it means people don't want to listen to his music. And he hates the way money-making music is frowned up, because to him it serves as a symbol of achievement.

He says, "I don't know anyone who makes records who doesn't want them to sell. Sell has become a bit of a dirty word. OK - forget the money, you want people to have them. Or else you wouldn't do music, you'd just be a busker.
Or a blogger, I'm sorry to say.

CBGB Legal Reprieve

According to, CBGB is living to charge $6 for a bottle of Bud Light another day:

"NEW YORK’s legendary punk venue CBGB has been given a last-minute legal reprieve in its battle against closure. The club... is involved in a legal dispute with its landlord over $91,000 in unpaid rent increases.

CBGB proprietor, Hilly Kristal, said that it was all down to a book-keeping mix-up, but the Bowery Residents’ Committee, who own the building, were fighting to have him evicted. Civil court judge Joan Kenney refused the eviction petition on Wednesday (August 10), recalling how the neighbourhood had suffered from 'destitution, degradation and substance abuse' before the club opened in 1973.

'CBGB has proven itself worthy of being recognized as a landmark,' she said, and argued that it would be unfair to allow the eviction, as the landlords had not noticed money was owed to them for four years."

Joan Kenney rules.

Mick Jagger on Bush: Don't Hate the Playa, Hate the Game

According to an article at CNN, the new Rolling Stones song "Sweet Neo Con" isn't aimed at President Bush:

"It is not really aimed at anyone," Jagger said on the entertainment-news show's ["Extra"] Wednesday edition. "It's not aimed, personally aimed, at President Bush. It wouldn't be called 'Sweet Neo Con' if it was."

...There is no mention of Bush or Iraq. But it does refer to military contractor Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Cheney and has been awarded key Iraq contracts, and the rising price of gasoline. "How come you're so wrong? My sweet neo-con, where's the money gone, in the Pentagon," goes one refrain.

The song also includes the line: "It's liberty for all, democracy's our style, unless you are against us, then it's prison without trial." "It is certainly very critical of certain policies of the administration, but so what! Lots of people are critical," Jagger told "Extra."
That settles that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Little Something

Lou Reed give the Pulse of the Twin Cities its quote of the week. And here it is: “Never listen to your old stuff. If you do that, then you're not a musician anymore, you're just a self-satisfied nostalgic idiot who's not interested in inventing anything.” You hear that, Boy George?

Nothing Doing

I'm back from my vacation, but it seems like Advanced newsmakers are still on theirs. Nothing is happening at all, and I mean nothing. But I'm sure things will pick up soon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"The Wall" Tribute: Up in Smoke

Here's something from

Several veteran rock artists have teamed to record a track-by-track tribute to Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Due Sept. 27 via the Cleopatra Records' Purple Pyramid imprint, "Back Against the Wall" boasts the participation of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, the Doors' Robby Krieger and Yes' Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire and Steve Howe.

Another former Yes alum, Billy Sherwood, produced the tribute, which also features King Crimson's Adrian Belew and Tony Levin, ELP's Keith Emerson, Styx's Tommy Shaw and Toto's Steve Lukather, as well as actor Malcolm McDowell, who provides spoken dialogue.
Yet another great idea found in the chamber of the bong.

The Cover of the Rolling Stones

I may be crazy, but I think the Rolling Stones' new album cover looks kind of cool. (Just click on the image to see a bigger view.) It has sort of an "Aftermath" feel.

Rolling Stones on MNF

I hear from the Daily News that the Rolling Stones are getting involved with Monday Night Football:

"The Rolling Stones are jumping into bed with ABC and the NFL for a season-long tie-in with 'Monday Night Football.' As part of the deal, the Stones will be a segment on the 'NFL Opening Kickoff 2005,' a now annual concert, set to air Sept. 8 on ABC. A clip of the aging rockers performing will be included in the one-hour 'Kickoff 2005,' a show that airs before the start of the NFL season. Also, as part of the deal, ABC's telecasts will include music and footage of the Stones - led by Mick Jagger - in promotional campaigns and in-game highlight packages."

I was hoping for Haircut 100, but I guess this will have to do.

Back From Jamaica

Well, I'm back in New York, trying to get caught up at work and life. Thanks to Andrew Beaujon for filling in for me. Three cheers for him. I've got a lot of non-blog business to take care of, but expect some new posts a little later in the day. It's good to be back.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Hello Yogyakarta!

Still Andrew writing:

Jeez, Jason must be recovering from a wild night drinking at Valentino's last night, so I guess I'll give him a hand and let his faithful readers know about big news in the world of Advancement, or Regression, depending on your view of things. (If you're a lawyer, or an Indonesian rock fan, I could see this being very welcome news.)

From a press release that more or less speaks for itself:

Steven Adler and Tracii Guns will be playing shows in Asia later this month. The band is called "Guns N' Roses Revisited"
and features, in addition to Steven and Tracii, Sheldon Mandrake of Love Planet (Lead Vocals), Keri Kelli of Adler's Appetite (Rhythm Guitar) and Robbie Crane (Bass). Sheldon is recording the debut album for his solo project Love Planet later in the year after recently signing a worldwide deal with Reality Entertainment. In addition to Steven Adler also being a member of Love Planet, the album will feature some very special guest appearances.

The dates are:

  • JAKARTA, 24 August 2005 @ Tennis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta
  • MALANG, 26 August 2005 @ Velodrome / Stadion Gajayana Malang
  • BALI, 28 August 2005 (A Mild Live Soundrenaline) @ Pulau Serangan, Bali
  • YOGYAKARTA, 30 August 2005 @ Stadion Mandala Krida, Yogyakarta
  • MEDAN, 1 September 2005 @ Selecta Royal Ballroom Lt. 5, Medan
  • SINGAPORE, 3 September 2005 @ Singapore Expo
  • MANILA (Philippines), 5 September 2005 @ Araneta Colliseum"

You gotta love a rocker named Sheldon Mandrake.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Elton to Live 8: Drop Dead!

Sir Elton John has dissed Live 8, calling it an "anti-climax," and who's to say he doesn't know from those? I mean, what else would you call every single record he's put out since Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy ?

I suspect he may have been a bit happier with the day had he not been stuck with man only famous to publicists for a sloppy duet (and who's to say he doesn't know from sloppy duets?) and had Madonna and Pink Floyd not ABSOLUTELY KICKED HIS ASS. Though it must be said that having Pink Floyd kick your ass can be quite pleasurable under the right circumstances.

It's spreading...

Good gosh, somebody I haven't gotten drunk with before has written something postulating Advancement in a recording artist. I can't tell you how happy this is gonna make Jason (who I'm not; this is still Andrew guest-posting).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

No reply at all

Still Andrew writing: Britt Bergman, one of the inventors of the Advanced theory, can't get no respect in the Advanced Foundation (the ultrasecret Advancement email discussion group) these days. All he wants is for us to talk about some of our favorite band names and why. And he's getting what he calls the "Phil Collins treatment"—i.e., no reply at all. (I keep meaning to email him some but then I remember that I have all six episodes of "Dancing With the Stars" on tape and I get all distracted and end up doing nothing.) Britt mentions Foreigner as a particularly hilarious name for a rock group, something you couldn't get away with these days. On the other hand, what else are you gonna call someone from a different country? "Differently nationalitied"? Other ideas: Golden Earring for not meaning anything, and the Eagles for being desperately generic.

Make Britt happy and mention some band names in the comment field and why they're funny. Here's mine: Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds--why'd Joe Frank get both his names in there?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Am I nuts...

...or do Lily Taylor and Lily Tomlin kind of look like each other?

Guest blogging=advanced?

Hi, Andrew Beaujon here, filling in for the remarkable Mr. Hartley as he works up the nerve to try to score weed from his busboys at Sandals (careful of the tall one; he's a narc). I'd like to thank Jason for trusting me with his blog for this week, and I hope I can do a tenth a good of a job as him in helping us all work toward a theory of cultural advancement.

In that spirit, I'd like to start off with a list of people I suspect may be advanced, even if Jason might not agree.

  • Darius Rucker

    • Hootie's singer made a solo album called The Return of Mongo Slade. Making an album about the return of a character who never existed is incredibly advanced. Also although he seems to have a very clear idea of what his audience expects of him otherwise, the press release for the new Hootie album describes his voice as the band's "secret weapon." Which is promising.

  • Fred Durst

    • Is still known as a "rocker" even though no one seems interested in his "rock band" at this point (cf. Henry Rollins, Courtney Love)
    • Appeared on a miniseries
    • Really embraced MP3 technology
    • The track listing for Limp Bizkit's most recent album, with the echt advanced title The Unquestionable Truth Pt. 1 (there's a Pt. 2 of The Truth?), is as follows:
      "The Propaganda"
      "The Truth"
      "The Priest"
      "The Key"
      "The Channel"
      "The Story"
      "The Surrender"

  • R.Kelly

    • Don't think this one needs further explanation

I look forward to reading your comments. Especially Bob's.