Monday, October 31, 2005

Ray Davies Celebrates "Thanksgiving"


Kinks principal Ray Davies will tease his upcoming solo debut with the "Thanksgiving Day" EP, due Nov. 22 via V2. A portion of the proceeds from the collection will benefit New Orleans music education programs. The title track, which will premiere Nov. 15 via iTunes, was inspired by a 1999 Thanksgiving dinner experience with a New England family.

"What struck me was that it was more like the family Christmas I enjoyed as a child growing up in London," Davies says. "Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and even though they throw up their eyes as though it were a chore, family members traditionally gather for a reunion at the house of the oldest relative."

Appropriately, Davies will perform "Thanksgiving Day" on Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." The week after, the artist will play a one-off show in New York, with date and place to be determined.

...Davies' long-awaited solo album, "Other People's Lives," is due Feb. 7 via V2. A live version of another tune from the set, "The Tourist," can be found on a recently released import-only EP of the same name, which is also available via iTunes.
I hope to god that Davies will wear a Pilgrim costume on "Conan." By the way, the more I listen to the Kinks, the more convinced I am of their Advancement. One of their peak performances had to be the time they played a medley of their hits on SNL back in the day. Oh, and wouldn't you like to meet the New England family that reminded Davies of his own? I'm imagining a dad throwing a hi-hat at his son, then the son punching out his brother.

Moby Goes Punk: A Nice Try


Moby is preparing to head into the studio to record a series of punk songs for his next album. While new release dates have been set, a posting on his official website revealed the news. He wrote: "Over the last year I've written lots and lots of punk rock songs, and now I'm going to record them with (drummer) Scott Frassetto. They are definitely in the the fun but very rough camp of punk rock songs."

The dance artist is also working on a separate project under his Voodoo Child alter ego, his first since 2004's 'Baby Monkey'. He added: "The Voodoo Child songs are very melodic and electronic and experimental and not exactly club-classic floor fillers."
Moby really wants people to think that he's Advanced, but I don't buy it. There's just something disingenuous (not the Advanced kind) about him.

Natalie Cole: Extraordinary Machine


Natalie Cole is at work on her next studio album for Verve with producers Dallas Austin and David Munk, Billboard has learned. Expected in the first half of next year, the as-yet-untitled set finds Cole covering songs made famous by the likes of Fiona Apple, Shelby Lynne, Neil Young and Kate Bush. Although Austin was initially on board to produce only a handful of songs for the album, the collaboration went so well that he joined up for the full set.
Is it me, or is that weird group of people for her to cover? I'm all for it, of course, especially the Fiona Apple cover.

Rick Moranis Makes a Country Record

From the New York Times:

[Moranis's] album, "The Agoraphobic Cowboy," 13 sly songs delivered in deadpan style atop some intricate string-playing, went on sale this month. Those who know Mr. Moranis as the bespectacled father of the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" movies, or as Dark Helmet in Mel Brooks's "Spaceballs," or as Bob McKenzie of the dim-bulb Canadian comedy team the McKenzie Brothers, may have a hard time picturing it, and they should: Mr. Moranis is a long way from the rugged, shaggy country look of Alan Jackson or Toby Keith.

"For some reason I just started writing these songs," said Mr. Moranis, 52, who is from Toronto but has lived in New York for 20 years. "And I was singing them to a couple of friends on the phone. After I had three or four, they started saying to me that I should do something with them."

So he did, and the result is an album of original songs that might strike some as mere novelties, others as sublime comic gems. Sure, there are lyrics about booze and babes, but there's an opening track, "Nine More Gallons," whose chorus drops references to Truffaut and Nicholson:

Two more times a lady,

Three more hundred blows,

Four more easy pieces,

Five more days on the road.

Seven more days a week, now,

Eight more lives, a cat,

Nine more gallons and I'll have me a hat.

..."I never thought of this as a parody," he said. "I never thought that I would put on a cowboy hat and a cowboy shirt and ride a rocking horse and pretend to be a character. It just felt like something I wanted to do." And besides, there's precedent. Think "Dang Me" and "Gitarzan."

"Not that I deliberately had Roger Miller or Ray Stevens in my head," he said, "but when those guys were doing their stuff, they were just writing witty, clever, sometimes funny lyrics in the country genre."

...Getting such stuff made into an album required an unconventional approach, and Mr. Moranis found a willing partner in Tony Scherr, a versatile New York musician best known for playing jazz clubs but who works easily in rock and country as well and also has a recording studio in his home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Mr. Moranis met him through Brian Camelio, founder of ArtistShare, which markets CD's exclusively on the Internet (and is offering Mr. Moranis's at

One hint that Mr. Scherr might be the right guy to record Mr. Moranis's quirky music is the centerpiece of his studio: while practically everyone else has gone digital, Mr. Scherr still records on an old eight-track reel-to-reel Otari.

"Yeah, I've got the wood-burning tape machine," Mr. Scherr said, as deadpan as Mr. Moranis's songs. "There's been many albums done on it now that very few people have ever heard," he joked, among them some of his own, like "Coming Around."
It goes on, but I think this might be a good one. Also, when oh when will Mel Brooks make the "Spaceballs" musical?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Touch Me, I'm Sick

I have an incredibly bad cold, so I probably won't be able to blog today. In fact, the cold is so bad, you might want to wash your hands after reading this.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Boise State's "Arbiter": Advanced?

This is from a guy who writes for Boise State's "independent student newspaper," the Arbiter:

As I write this, it’s about 1:20 in the morning. There aren’t enough hours between now and when I’ll have to get up for work, and I’m wondering what to write about when a line from an old Velvet Underground song comes to me. The song, for the terminally curious, is “Rock and Roll,” what the disk jockeys used to call an oldie but a goodie.

I queue up the song in iTunes to give it a listen. There’s Lou Reed out front, nearly forty years younger and way less ironic, leading one of the legendary bands of rock. What strikes me about the song, listening to it for the first time in years, is how joyful it is. When Lou sings, “Her life was saved by rock and roll,” I get the impression that he feels his was, too. It’s an upbeat song, not just in tempo but in message, and I wonder why I don’t hear that kind of sentiment anymore.

It’s a complex idea, salvation. Most of the time, when I hear someone talking about their life being saved, they mean it in a very literal sense. Someone got them into rehab just in time, kept them from driving into a pileup on the interstate, pulled them from an undertow. You know, the stuff of heroism.

...I think what draws me to the song is not just the idea of salvation, but finding joy in it. There’s something better than simply continuing to live, it says; you can just dance to the rock and roll station, and it was (and is) all right. Simple, direct, without a trace of hip self-awareness. I don’t think Lou Reed could sing “Rock and Roll” that way today; I’d bet it would come out self-mocking or a little sad.

When I hear that song or a precious handful of others, though, I can pick up that joy that Lou was singing about way back when (well, the late-60s, anyway). I can bypass the things in my life that aren’t particularly joyful and for a few musical moments, recharge my hope for the day. Three minutes and change – at the right moment _– and I remember joy. How wonderful is that?

It’s no longer fashionable to say this (if it ever was), but in a way, I think rock and roll saved my life, too, and keeps doing it.
While I can't agree with the part about the current Lou Reed--if he were to sing "Rock and Roll" today, it would not be self-mocking or sad, but it would certainly be Advanced, which is sometimes mistaken for being out of touch or pathetic--this is a nice little sentiment. A key element Advancement is having a genuine affection for rock and roll, so it's nice to see that younger people (I assume the writer is younger) have it too. By the way, blue turf is Overt.

Jerry Lee Lewis Kills at Johnny Cash Tribute

From Yahoo!:

Jerry Lee Lewis stole the show from Norah Jones and Kid Rock when the musicians performed at a taping of a Johnny Cash tribute. Lewis teamed with Kid Rock on the Cash classic "I Walk the Line." An upcoming biopic that goes by a similar name and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon will be released in theaters Nov. 18.

...Waiting for stagehands to make adjustments, a few fans yelled out to Lewis to perform his hit "Great Balls of Fire." "I know what you'd like to hear. I know what I'd like to do," said the 70-year-old singer. "They got me down for a little bit lower key."

To entertain the restless crowd, Lewis started in on "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." After a few verses, the stage crew cut him off and the audience booed. It was just a false start, though. Once the cameras were ready, Lewis played the entire song, with the crowd on its feet, clapping and singing along. "I guess that was a take," Lewis said, smiling.

...Also on the show are Sheryl Crow, Coldplay, U2, Brad Paisley and Montgomery Gentry.
I've always said that you can't have a Johnny Cash tribute/TV show/shameless tie-in for a biopic without Coldplay.

Beach Boys and Cooper Owen Dispute

You may know how much I love legal disputes involving rock stars. You also may know how much I love the auctioning of rock-star memorabilia. Well, the Beach Boys have given me the best of both worlds. The story from

The Beach Boys are involved in a row with a UK auction house who they have accused of selling memorabilia allegedly stolen from the band. The band say they intend to launch a civil action against Cooper Owen, which is handling the sale of the 28 lots.

They say US police are already investigating the alleged thefts, also intend to sue the person who put the items up for sale and anyone who buys them. The group's label Brother Records Inc said in a statement: "The FBI and Interpol may also become involved in the investigation."

... Auctioneers Cooper Owen said in a statement issued to NME: "The Beach Boys items were purchased more than 20 years ago. (The seller) is claiming full title to the items which he has put up for sale in a public auction. "He is also threatening to sue The Beach Boys' management for any damages that they have done to his reputation by making these last minute claims.

...The sale, due to take place today (October 27), includes...the original arrangement sheets for 'Good Vibrations' and 'God Only Knows'. Collectors are being offered Wilson and co-writer Mike Love's contract for the 1969 Number One hit 'Do It Again' and personal photographs of the band with late Beatle George Harrison. Other items up for sale include original test pressings for their best known hits including 'Fun, Fun, Fun' and 'I Get Around', reports the BBC.
Now I could see why the FBI might get involved in a case like this, but why Interpol? I mean they're a pretty good band and all, but I think that the Police could have handled this by themselves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dead Can Dance: "The Notorious B.I.G. Duets: The Final Chapter"


Some of the biggest names in hip-hop, both dead and alive, have contributed to "The Notorious B.I.G. Duets: The Final Chapter," including Eminem, Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg and Missy Elliott. The 22-track set is due Dec. 20 via Bad Boy and features songs built around unreleased Biggie music. The Jazze Pha-produced first single "Nasty Girl" features Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm. A video for the cut, which goes to U.S. radio outlets on Nov. 14, will be directed by Chris Robinson. As previously reported, another song, "Hold Ya Head," was debuted in late September by AOL Music. It features a sample of the late Bob Marley's "Johnny Was."
Let's see, a Notorious B.I.G. song over a sample of Bob Marley. Why don't they just take the next logical step and make an entire album of new music that features only dead artists? John Bonham on drums, Jimi Hendrix on guitar, John Entwistle on bass, Tupac and Biggie rapping, etc., etc. The next best idea, I guess, would be to find new artists who are still alive and let the dead ones rest in peace. Or is that too crazy?

Once More Into the Blecch

Not much going on today. The Rolling Stones are partnering with Starbucks on a "rarities" CD. All the songs are out there, but some are apparently difficult to find. You'll be relieved to know that a version of "Harlem Shuffle" is on the CD. Ozzy Osbourne is releasing one of those dual discs with a CD on one side and a DVD on the other. On it is his covers of a bunch of weird songs, including "Woman" by John Lennon. I wonder if Sharon Osbourne and Yoko Ono ever compare notes. Oh, and Ashlee Simpson has another number-one album. What, me worry?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rivers Cuomo: Ve Ri Overt

As I've said before, it is impossible for journalists to write about Weezer and not mention that Rivers Cuomo goes to Harvard. (Sour grapes for me?) This article from at least has a good excuse for mentioning it:

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo is heading back to Harvard University in February, with plans to graduate in June with a degree in English, according to a recent chat session on AOL Music. Cuomo returned to Harvard at the beginning of the year after an eight-year-hiatus but has spent the bulk of 2005 recording and touring in support of Weezer's latest Geffen album, "Make Believe."

...During the chat, Cuomo revealed further details about his devotion to meditation as well as his vow of celibacy, which he began June 13, 2003. "I decided to try celibacy because I heard it would help the meditation, and I tried meditation because I heard it would help with the music," he said. "So, it all really comes back to the music."

"Listen to 'Make Believe' and compare it to the previous album, 'Maladroit,'" he continued. "I know I can hear a difference in my singing. My voice just sounds much more sensitive and dynamic now. I also notice a difference in the lyrics. I'm much more open and communicative about my emotions now."
I am almost inclined to say that Cuomo has set his sights on Advancement (assuming he's not lying, or even if he is lying, really), except I don't think Weezer is good enough for him to be eligible for consideration. My gut tells me that he is just being incredibly Overt.

David Lee Roth Has Stern Test Ahead on Morning Program

Advanced Theory enthusiast David Lee Roth will be helping to fill Howard Stern's shoes. This is a fantastic idea, of course, and has the details:

The long wait for Howard Stern's replacement on 27 stations owned by Infinity Broadcasting ended today (Oct. 25). Splitting its morning strategy by regions, the company has named former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth to take over Stern's slot in New York on WXRK-FM and other East Coast markets, while TV personality Adam Carolla will host mornings in Los Angeles on KLSX-FM.

...Roth's show will also air on WBCN-FM Boston (where he cut his broadcasting teeth earlier this year in preparation for the new gig), KLLI-FM Dallas, WYSP-FM Philadelphia and WRKZ-FM Pittsburgh.

...Also joining Infinity's morning lineup is Penn Jillette, one-half of the entertainment duo Penn & Teller. Beginning in January, Jillette will host a one-hour live radio show on Infinity's stations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco (KIFR), Washington, D.C., Detroit, San Diego, Baltimore and Las Vegas.
Is Teller the one who talks? I can never remember.

John Fogerty: Double Fantasy

From Yahoo!:

John Fogerty is back on Fantasy Records. Most music fans would gloss over such a small detail, but for years that simple statement was about as realistic as Neil Armstrong flying back to the moon.

When the California-based record label was sold last year, it ended one of the most famously contentious artist-management relationships in music, freeing the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman to return to the company that distributed his most famous work.

...In an almost impossibly productive period (1968-71) Creedence churned out concise, often socially conscious rock hits like "Proud Mary," "Bad Moon Rising," "Down on the Corner," "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "Green River." That burst of work alone earned Creedence induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Fogerty wrote and sang them all.

Yet Fogerty, now 60, spent years without performing those songs because of bitterness over his feud with former Fantasy owner Saul Zaentz dating to Creedence's messy breakup in the early 1970s.

...Zaentz unsuccessfully sued Fogerty, claiming the songwriter had plagiarized himself because the comeback hit "The Old Man Down the Road" sounded too much like Creedence's "Run Through the Jungle."

...[Fogerty's] current good feelings don't extend to Stu Cook and Doug Clifford, Creedence's other surviving members, whom Fogerty also sued for performing under the banner of Creedence Clearwater Revisited. He compared them to a rattlesnake. "They bit me very badly in the same way that the old folks at Fantasy did," he said. "That hasn't changed, so I will continue to give them a very wide berth."
I think John Fogerty is great, but as I believe I've said before, it might not be that fun to be in a band with him.

Peter Gabriel and the World Cup

From Yahoo!:

He was a progressive rock star in the '70s, an MTV video icon in the '80s and a world music guru for the new millennium. He's also a record producer, songwriter, political activist and musical talent scout. A kind of multi-media artist-rebel -- with many causes. Now Peter Gabriel has a new title -- director of really big sporting extravaganzas.

The world soccer body FIFA has tapped the English musician to organize the opening ceremony for next year's World Cup finals in Germany. The man who only recently became a fan of the game and European champions Liverpool is working on songs for the show in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

"It's like owning a big playpen and someone else is going to pay for it," Gabriel told Reuters in a recent interview. "I'm not going to be playing (soccer)!" he laughed. "But I was asked to get involved. We're writing some of the music and getting involved in some crazy ideas."
I've always wondered whether Peter Gabriel is Advanced. This new project suggests that he might be because embracing popular sports is Advanced (not liking them is Overt, as is liking fringe sports). However, I'm not really if this qualifies as embracing a sport. It's more like putting on a concert that is attached to a sporting event. We'll just have to see how it plays out to make our final judgment. Until then, I applaud the move.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mary J. Blige and Bono: Someone's Been Sleeping in My Bed


Mary J. Blige went straight to the source for her new cover of U2's "One," drafting Bono to join her on vocals. The recording will be found on her upcoming retrospective, "Reminisce," due Dec. 6 via Geffen. The album will also feature the new single "Be Without You" and "MJB Da MVP," which utilizes the Game's "Hate It or Love It" as its musical bed.
Do you remember when R&B singers made their own musical beds? Mary J. Blige is particularly bad about sleeping around, though I still love her.

Franz Ferdinand on SNL

I think Franz Ferdinand is a good band, but is it me or were they incredibly bad on SNL? I was under the impression that they were good live, so I wonder if there was some kind of technical issue or perhaps they had been enjoying themselves a little bit too much in New York. Anyway, it was agonizing for me to watch. I guess they'll just have to comfort themselves with all their money, critical and commercial acclaim, and girls.

Yoko Ono Uses Her Imagination

From Yahoo!:

A solitary white piano at a John Lennon retrospective invites visitors to play the song "Imagine." Curator Emma Lavigne said it was a deliberate effort to make people revisit the song that otherwise "you might hear in a supermarket, doing your shopping."

"The message is still there. This song is still relevant," she said. "I wanted the exhibition to be as alive as possible, so we don't say to ourselves 'he (Lennon) is in a museum.' Because I think he would have hated that." "John Lennon, Unfinished Music," is at Paris' Cite de la Musique for the next eight months.
I remember there was a similar exhibit called "Paranoia's Poison Door" that was devoted to King Crimson and encouraged people to play a marimba version of "21st Century Schizoid Man."

Friday, October 21, 2005

MyTunes: Keep It Simple

As you may know, I put a bunch of my overt music on under the name the Latin Transmitters. One of my songs, "Keep It Simple," is going to be the indie rock track of the day this Sunday. You can hear it by clicking on the badge over there by my links (you don't have to wait until Sunday). I don't usually like to waste your time with this kind of thing, but when your song is one of the 365 best songs in one of the subcategories of a website designed for people who can't get a record deal but are so desperate to be heard they buy their way onto an MP3-hosting site, well, it's your duty to shout about it from the virtual mountaintops. Oh, and the song includes the name Johnny, which is, as you know, the ultimate rock and roll name. Have a nice weekend if you don't hear from me before then.

Chris Martin Outbids Bono


Chris Martin has brought Michael Stipe's lunchbox. The Coldplay man snapped his mentor's sandwich holder at a charity auction on October 16, outbidding Bono for the REM memento. Stipe's aluminium box was one of the lots at auction which raised $51,000 for charity at the Lunchbox Auction Kickoff event. The are now set to be six more lunchbox auctions with The Edge, Bono and David Bowie among those designing items.

"I was really honoured to be a part of the lunchbox auction," Stipe told REMHQ.COM. "The kick-off in New York was great fun and has gotten tremendous response. A lot of the lunchboxes are really beautiful and both FOODBANK FOR NYC and THE LUNCHBOX FUND are excellent organizations with a lot of reach."
When I was a kid, I ate in the cafeteria, so I didn't have a lunchbox. That meant that when I needed to bring my lunch for, say, a field trip, I had to use whatever we had. More often the not, I had to use a Roman Meal bread bag, which I found embarrassing. And now Chris Martin (who is married to Gwyneth Paltrow, by the way, and has sold zillions of records) has Michael Stipe's lunchbox. Darn.

How to Be Advanced, Neil Young Edition

I came across this description of Neil Young's career at "He has been a model of iconoclasm, nearly letting his career implode many, many times—most notably in the early-1980s, when he leaped from punk-approved arena rock to isolationist country to synth-pop to rockabilly, all while supporting Reagan." Now that's some good Advancement right there.

Nelly Plays the Electric Company Game

Now a this is good (from

Nelly has rounded up 14 highlights from his simultaneously released 2004 albums "Sweat" and "Suit" plus a handful of new songs for the appropriately named "Sweatsuit." Due Nov. 22 via Universal, the set is led by the fresh cuts "Grilz" featuring Paul Wall and Ali & Gipp, "Tired" featuring Avery Storm and "Nasty Girl" featuring Diddy, the late Notorious B.I.G. and Jagged Edge.

A video for "Grilz" is expected to be shot in Atlanta in the coming weeks. The Jermaine Dupri-produced track spotlights the trend of rappers outfitting their mouths with "grill pieces," of which Wall has emerged as major proponent. Among the holdovers from "Sweat" and "Suit" are such hits as "Over and Over" featuring Tim McGraw and "My Place," which peaked at No. 3 and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.

..."Suit" and "Sweat" debuted in the top two slots of The Billboard 200 last October. They have sold 4.3 million copies combined in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
There is tons to like here. The original names of the albums are awesome, obviously. Releasing two records at the same time is also wonderful. Rereleasing them together after already selling 4.3 million copies is even better. This is actually quite sound from a marketing standpoint. It is very much like the way catalog companies do business: They put out a catalog, see what sells and doesn't, gets rid of the stuff that doesn't and mixes in new stuff to replace it for the next version of the catalog. Well done, Nelly.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pixies Oral History

Someone sent me this:

The book "Fool the World," an oral history of the Pixies, is now due in the U.S. in March (though it's already out in the U.K.). Written by Josh Frank and Caryn Ganz, it tells the story of the group from the mouths of the bandmembers as well as those around them, such as tour managers, producers, engineers, album designers, label employees and other artists, including Thom Yorke, Beck, Bono, Courtney Love and Perry Farrell.
I think I'll wait until it comes out on Books on Tape.

La Cosa Advancestra

I'm pretty sure that all the Advanced musicians in the world are gathered together in some secret location in Apalachin, New York, plotting their next moves. That's the only way I can explain their complete absence from the news the last few days. Let's hope that they'll come up with something good soon, assuming the Feds don't bust up the summit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dances With Petty

Am I the only one who thought that Tom Petty's character in "The Postman" was a continuation of his role in the "You Got Lucky" video? If you haven't seen the movie, you should block off three hours this weekend to watch it. It will completely alter your point of view about the mail.

Still no Advanced news...

Jonathan Richman of the 21st Century

I was listening to "Astral Plane" by the Modern Lovers just a while ago, and a lightbulb went off over my head: Jonathan Richman should be the frontman of the Doors of the 21st Century (or whatever their new name is). The would be a good backup band for his stuff too, so they could play a set of Modern Lovers and a set of the Doors.

Once again, very little is going on in the Advanced world. Sorry!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Madonna Mia!

It's a slow day in Advancement, so here's something not exactly Advanced from the BBC:

Madonna has admitted that she wrote a grovelling letter to Swedish superstars Abba asking if she could sample their music on her latest single. Gimme Gimme Gimme features on new track Hung Up, only the second time Abba have allowed another act to use their work.

"I had to send my emissary to Stockholm with a letter begging them and telling them how much I love their music," she told Attitude magazine. "They never let anyone sample their music. Thank God they didn't say no."
Would that be Yahweh or Thor?

The Morning Roundup

Not a whole lot to report this morning. Jamie Foxx is finishing up his record, I think. I don't know why he would want to make a record, but it's not right to question a man who has an Oscar and a tattoo on his head. Some outtakes from Elliot Smith have shown up on the web. It would be too heartbreaking to listen to them, I think. The New York Times ran an extremely condescending review of Queen + Paul Rodgers. Apparently the reviewer was the only one in the packed arena that had any sense. It must be nice to be better than everyone else. I wonder why a paper would send someone to review a concert he or she has already rejected on principle? The Times should have just given a free ticket to someone who was excited about the concert and let them write the review. Then it might have actually meant something. After all, do we really need the Times to point out that some people think that it is beneath the dignity of Queen to be touring with Paul Rodgers? They should stick with what they do best: ignoring dance that isn't by established choreographers, chastising themselves, and erasing their presence on the web by charging for content.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Here Lies Love: David Byrne and Norman Cook's Imelda Marcos Musical

From the BBC:

DJ Fatboy Slim and Talking Heads singer David Byrne are writing a musical about former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, to be shown next March. Here Lies Love will examine Mrs Marcos' passion for music and night clubs. Billed as "a timeless story with more contemporary resonances than are comfortable", it will premiere at Australia's Adelaide Festival.

...Mrs Marcos - who now lives in the Philippine capital Manila - is well-known for her huge collection of shoes, which came to symbolise her family's excess.

"She loved the nightlife in all parts of the world, and in New York at Studio 54, so much so that she installed a disco in her NYC townhouse," an Adelaide Festival spokesman said. "It was a non-stop party, featuring politicians, arms dealers, financiers, artists, musicians and the international jet set."

Here Lies Love was the concept of Talking Heads star Byrne, who has written the music with Fatboy Slim, real name Norman Cook. The 90-minute musical will be directed by Marianne Weems, artistic director of New York ensemble The Builders' Association, as "a multimedia extravaganza".
This is an amazing and Advanced idea. Of course, now I'll have to shelve my musical about Marcos ("It's Gotta Be the Shoes"), but I imagine Byrne and Cook will do the idea justice. Go forward with my blessings, you two. I guess now I'll just get to work with my other project: a musical based on the Daily Kos.

Advanced Kinks: One of the Survivors

As you may know, Advanced artists love to sing about and celebrate rock and roll, and they often use characters named Johnny, which is the ultimate rock and roll name. With that in mind, have a look at these Advanced lyrics:

See Johnny Thunder sitting on his motorbike
Riding along the highway,
Rock and Roll songs from the nineteen-fifties
Buzzing around in his brain.
Johnny Thunder he's one of the original bebop generation
And he's got no time for complicated music or too much sophistication.

He's one of the survivors,
The motorbike riders.
You ought to see Johnny Thunder riding down the highway
One of the rock and roll survivors,
Twelve bars flowing through his brain.
He digs Jerry Lee Lewis, Dion and The Belmonts,
And Johnny & The Hurricanes.

He plays Hound Dog, Oh Boy, and Great Balls of Fire
And Boppin' At The High School Hop.
And he's got no time for phonies or posers
'Cos they don't know how to reel and rock.
and he plays Little Egypt and Ooh Poo Pah Doo,
And he plays Poison Ivy and Blue Suede Shoes,
The Hollywood Argyles, Danny & The Juniors,
Dion & The Belmonts, Johnny & The Hurricanes.

He's one of the survivors,
The boppers and the jivers,
Yeah and he rocks all day.
Johnny & The Hurricanes, Johnny & The Hurricanes.

Got my freedom riding along the freeway.
I ride a hundred miles an hour but I don't mess up my D.A.
Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock 'n' roll.
You can't stop rock 'n' rollin' music play.
(repeat last two lines)

Feel those vibrations flow in my brain.
Got my freedom riding down the highway,
Keeps me sane, feel alive,
I'm one of the survivors.

Feel all right.
First gear, second gear, third gear, fourth gear, all right.
Old Johnny Thunder looks a little overweight,
And his sideburns are turning grey.
But he still likes to bebop, boogie and jive
To his worn out seventy-eights.
Johnny Thunder.
He's alright.
He's one of the survivors,
Twelve bars flowing through his brain,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Dion & The Belmonts,
Johnny & The Hurricanes, Johnny & The Hurricanes.
I'm starting to think motorcyles are Advanced now. I'll have to look into it.

Dolly Parton: Don't Shoot the Messenger

From Yahoo!:

On the eve of her 60th birthday, Dolly Parton has the verve, sass and energy of someone 35 years her junior. She is crisscrossing the country on her Vintage tour -- a trek that surrounds the October 11 release of her new album, the self-produced "Those Were the Days." And in her scarce downtime, she is penning the score to the Broadway-bound musical "9 to 5," which is based on the 1980 hit film that starred Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

For the aptly named Vintage tour, the legendary artist performs a mix of Parton classics and songs from the new Sugar Hill Records album, which is a collection of covers from the 1960s and 1970s. But these are not just any old songs. For the most part, they are folk-pop nuggets of a political bent. Originally created during a time of strife and unease, era-defining songs like "Blowin' in the Wind," "Imagine" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" take on contemporary resonance in 2005.

..."For me, these songs are not really political, but more a sign of the times," Parton says. "I see them as songs of hope, songs with strong messages, songs that take on a new relevance today." For Parton, these songs could have been written yesterday. "With everything going on in the world today, these lyrics are right on the money," she says. With a sense of glee, she adds, "And now, I'm the messenger of these songs."
I wonder if it would be possible for Dolly Parton to do something that would make people hate her. I'm pretty sure she could do a record of nothing but gg allin covers and people would find it charming. Especially me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh Yeah, I Forgot

Advancement Theory cofounder Britt Bergman reminded me the other day to pay attention to how amazing Lou Reed's "Transformer" is. And it truly is amazing. Sometimes it's easy to focus on the Advanced stages because they are fun to talk about, but it's important (as far as the theory goes) to remember that just because some older musician does a bunch of ridiculous stuff it doesn't mean he or she is Advanced. It's easy to forget that the reason that the theory came into existence in the first place was to Britt's and my effort to understand why these musicians, and Lou Reed specifically, who had done so much overtly good stuff would make seemingly bad choices all the sudden. We arrived at the conclusion that Lou Reed deserves the benefit of the doubt because he wrote maybe ten (fiteeen? twenty?) songs that would have to be considered among the best rock songs written in the last fifty years. So the next time you think to yourself that Lou Reed is no good, just think about "Perfect Day," "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" and "Satellite of Love." It would be pretty good to have written those three songs in a career, and he did it on one album. It just seems logical to me that he must know what he's doing. That's all.

Mark Cuban on the Future of TV

Advanced sports owner Mark Cuban has a lot of interesting things to say about the video iPod and the deal ABC struck with Apple. It's on his blog. Basically, he makes the case that Bob Iger has saved TV. It is never wise to bet against Mark Cuban (unless it's the NBA playoffs).

Neil Diamond and Rick Rubin Update


Neil Diamond unveils some of the most stripped-down, heartfelt material of his storied career on "12 Songs," due Nov. 8 via Columbia.

...Of a piece with such vintage songs like "And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind," "I Am, I Said," "If I Never Knew Your Name" and "Juliet," the music here finds Diamond's instantly recognizable voice front and center, much in the vein of the "American Recordings" albums [Rick] Rubin made with Johnny Cash in the latter years of his life.

With a nod to the melody of his 1976 song "Beautiful Noise," "Hell Yeah" finds Diamond questioning whether he's made the most of his life: "This crazy life around me / It confuses and confounds me / but it's all the life I've got until I die."

..."12 Songs" features subtle backing by guitarist Smokey Hormel and Mike Campbell, keyboardists Billy Preston, Benmont Tench and Roger Manning Jr., guitarist/upright bassist Jonny Polonsky and percussionist Lenny Castro.

The digipak version of the album will feature the bonus track "Men Are So Easy" plus an alternate version of "Delirious Love" with a guest appearance by Brian Wilson.
I think this has a chance to be normal good (as opposed to Advanced good). It will be interesting to see if Neil Diamond can be embraced without irony. He is a very good songwriter, though I have to say I never quite know what he's talking about. And I'm always on board for projects that involve Mike Campbell, the world's most subtle guitarist. I'm intrigued.

Yet Another Live Lou Reed DVD

From a press release at

Eagle Rock Entertainment, the leading independent source for high quality music audio/visual programming, will release Lou Reed: Live at Montreux 2000, a DVD performance from one of the rock era’s true iconoclasts at Europe’s most prestigious music festival. The release hits stores on November 1.

Here, Reed demonstrates that his combination of thoughtful, affecting lyrics on mortality and dysfunctional relationships and alternately subtle and furious songcraft is as potent as ever. He’s backed by his longtime band: guitarist Mike Rathke, drummer Tony “Thunder” Smith, and bass player, Fernando Saunders. Together, the band makes an incredibly lean, mean springboard for Reed’s often searing guitar solos.

The show is largely comprised of songs from Ecstasy, Reed’s acclaimed 2000 album, although there’s a smattering of tunes from other albums: “Turn to Me” is from 1984’s New Sensations, “Dirty Blvd. “ “Dime Store Mystery” and “Romeo had Juliette“ are culled from 1989’s “New York,” “Smalltown” is from 1990’s Songs for Drella, and “Riptide” and “Set the Twilight Reeling” are from the album named for the latter. And then there’s “Perfect Day,” a song from 1972’s Transformer that gained a new life through the film Trainspotting.

...The novelistic detail of albums like New York, Magic and Loss, and the state of the art recording techniques and finely wrought guitar solos throughout his music render Reed a force to be reckoned with. In 2003, he released The Raven, a complete reworking of Edgar Allan Poe’s horror masterpiece. That same year Reed also released NYC Man - The Collection, a compilation of his greatest hits spanning his days in the Velvet Underground through his current solo material. In 2004, Reed released Animal Serenade, which was recorded live at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Spanish Fly, a DVD of his live concert shot in Spain, was released in 2005.

...Emotion in Action, a double book edition of Lou Reed’s photographs was published in October 2003 by 7L and Gerhard Steidl. Reed is currently working on a new photo book entitled Lou Reed’s New York. Comprising over one hundred of Reed’s photographs of New York, the book is an intimate view of what inspires him and what he sees and encounters on a daily basis.
As most of you know, releasing zillions of live albums and now DVDs featuring the same songs over and over is Advanced. I like this new photography angle, too.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Clapton Autobiography: I Was Born a Poor Black Child...


Rock legend Eric Clapton, now sixty, is set to write his autobiography for Doubleday, due for publication in spring of 2007. The as-yet-untitled book, which will also be issued in audio format by Random House, will be written in collaboration with Christopher Simon Sykes, a close friend of Clapton's since 1967. The book will also coincide with a North American tour and a Warner Brothers release of a complete retrospective box set of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's recordings.
Of course, most of the book will be lifted from Muddy Waters' autobiography.

School of Yawp

There is an article at Yahoo! about a woman who teaches rockers how to scream properly so they won't hurt their vocal cords. I wonder if there is a market for classes on how to windmill your arm without hurting it or how to smash your guitar without hurting yourself. That would be a good one for Krist Novoselic to teach.

Starship Bloopers

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm not so sure that "We Built This City (On Rock and Roll)" is as bad as I once thought. I'm not saying I love it or anything, but I think it's not as bad as people think it is. It's like "Ishtar": Everyone knows it's the worst song ever but they've known it so long that it's hard to separate its reputation from the actual song. Here are the lyrics for your enjoyment:

We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

Say you don’t know me or recognize my face
Say you don’t care who goes to that kind of place
Knee deep in the hoopla sinking in your fight
Too many runaways eating up the night

Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

Someone always playing corporation games
Who cares they’re always changing corporation names
We just want to dance here someone stole the stage
They call us irresponsible write us off the page

Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

It’s just another sunday, in a tired old street
Police have got the choke hold, oh then we just lost the beat

Who counts the money underneath the bar
Who rides the wrecking ball in two rock guitars
Don’t tell us you need us, ’cos we’re the ship of fools
Looking for america, coming through your schools

(I’m looking out over that golden gate bridge
Out on another gorgeous sunny saturday, not seein’ that bumper to bumper traffic)

Don’t you remember (’member)(’member)

(what’s your favorite radio station, in your favorite radio city
The city by the bay, the city that rocks, the city that never sleeps)

Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio, don’t you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Flaming Lips Movie: Mars Ain't the Kind of Place to Shoot a Vid


The Flaming Lips have completed shooting on their feature film "Christmas on Mars," which has been in the works for several years. The movie centers around scientists preparing to celebrate their first Christmas in space. "We transferred it all down to computer land within the last couple of days," Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tells "Now I just have to remember what it is that we were trying to say [laughs]."

"I think it's going to be a great, unique side road to what we've been all along," he continues. "The Flaming Lips' audience has pushed us that way. With a lot of rock bands, maybe the audience would say, 'What are you guys doing?' But with us, it almost feels like, 'Go! Do it! See what happens!' People don't realize how powerful that is, to have people that believe in you and encourage you. The Flaming Lips are living proof that if you believe in people enough, they can do something. This movie is that, in a way."
Of course, people believing in the Bee Gees is how the movie version of "Sgt. Pepper" got made. In other words, "Christmas on Mars" is an amazing idea, and I hope Steve Martin and Peter Frampton are in it.

Pink Floyd: Shine on You Crazy DVD of Your Final Tour

From Yahoo!:

Pink Floyd will release the long-awaited DVD for its concert film "Pulse" in Europe on December 5, and in North America the following day. The project -- handled by EMI in Europe and Columbia Stateside -- was originally released on VHS in 1995 in conjunction with a double-disc CD set of the same name. The film chronicles the band's 1994 tour in support of the album "The Division Bell," which turned out to be its last.

The video was taped during a 14-night run at London's Earl's Court and is highlighted by the first complete performance of the 1973 album "Dark Side of the Moon," which can be found on the second disc. The first disc of the DVD features a blend of older hits ("Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2," "Learning To Fly") and material from "The Division Bell" ("Keep Talking," "Take It Back").

Among the bonus features are the back-screen stage projections for such songs as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," "High Hopes" and the majority of the "Dark Side of the Moon" material, plus videos for "Learning To Fly" and "Take It Back."
If this were a "Twilight Zone" episode, this release would coincide with a pot famine.

Sananda Maitreya: Pop Stars Never Die, They Just Release Their Stuff on the Internet

Here's something kind of interesting from Yahoo!:

"Rock artist Sananda Maitreya releases 6 new songs of his project ‘Angels & Vampires - Volume II’, called Chapter I: ‘The rise of hetero-sapiens’.

* Pretty Baby
* South Side Run
* It’s Just My Pain
* Anesthesia
* Floodwater
* When Night Was Calling

All songs are written, arranged, produced and performed by Sananda Maitreya.

‘Floodwater’ is dedicated to those who have endured the rising tides of indifference: from New Orleans to France to Asia..."

And if you go to his website, you see this:

"WELCOME TO NEW ADVENTURES IN POST MILLENIUM ROCK ! I sincerely hope that you enjoy these recordings as much as I enjoyed making them! Soon we shall begin Volume II and we hope that you enjoy that as well. ANGELS & VAMPIRES – VOLUME I ….which one are you."

In case you don't know, Sananda Maitreya is Terrence Trent D'Arby. Good to know that he's making music again, though he might have lost his mind. Here's what he has to say about his project:

"Angels & Vampires relies quite heavily for its musical support from the four basic food groups of live music: real drums, bass, guitar and keyboards and went with a more intimate and organic sound in order to reintroduce sonic sub tones back into the bodies energy matrix long weakened by compressed digital overload and its over emphasis. Sonic sub tones help to bolster the bodies electromagnetic and sense of overall wellbeing. Angels & Vampires also sought to create a sound base which would provide more emotional space in which the songs might breathe and feel less constricted. I felt that the WildCard project was a little too "studio-orientated", but was what the time and circumstances required. With this project, I wanted it to be less about the studio and more about me and the songs”.

So there you go.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Slowko Ono: This Bird Has Flu

Not much going on today. I saw that Yoko Ono had some unkind remarks about Paul McCartney's songwriting, proving once again you're only as old as you feel. Some early Bob Dylan poetry is up for auction. Apparently it's witty and has some Yiddish references. Madonna has some rabbis upset with her. Apparently her new song isn't witty but has some Kabbalah references. In other news, we're all going to die from bird flu. Let's hope there's more news of Advancement before then, though.

Bill Berry Plays With R.E.M.


The four original members of REM reformed at the weekend (October 8) to perform at the wedding of one of their roadies. The performance marks only the second time Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills have performed with drummer Bill Berry since he left the band in 1997. The four played seven songs at Kingpins Bowl And Brew in Athens, Georgia, at technician Dewitt Burton's wedding.

"It was awesome to look behind me and see Bill on drums," bass player Mills said afterwards. "By the time they got to the first chorus it was packed shoulder-to-shoulder," owner Ed Connolly told . "Nobody really knew it was going to happen. They didn't know if Bill was going to make it, and I don't know if they had a chance to rehearse."

According to Connolly, the group decided to play while the real wedding band were taking a break. Lead singer Stipe toasted the bride and groom during the set and invited requests from the 300-strong crowd. The bride requested 'Begin The Begin' from the 1986 album 'Life's Rich Pageant'.

The set was:

'Sitting Still'
'(Don't Go Back To) Rockville'
'Wolves, Lower'
'Begin The Begin'
'The One I Love'
'Permanent Vacation'
'Radio Free Europe'
Nice choices! And it sounds like the bride likes to rock, but then, what do you expect from the wife of a roadie. I've always wondered why Bill Berry quit altogether. Seems like he would enjoy making albums and letting someone else play drum while he remains in Georgia being a gentleman farmer. Oh well.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Real Frank Black Has Curves


Pixies guitarist/vocalist Frank Black is eyeing an early 2006 release for his second consecutive solo album that has been recorded in Nashville with top session musicians. The artist tells he has about 25 songs to choose from for the upcoming Back Porch/EMI set, which will be the follow-up to this summer's "Honeycomb," which debuted at No. 11 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

"It will either be a lean and mean record with 11 songs on it, or a self-indulgent opus with everything," he says with a laugh. Although the provisional name for the album was "La Sicilian," Black says, "That probably won't be the title."

Black recently completed a second round of recording with such artists as Steve Cropper, Spooner Oldham, David Hood, the Band's Levon Helm, Al Kooper, Buddy Miller and Rich Gilbert, a member of his solo band the Catholics. He also recorded duets on the country oldie "Dirty Old Town" with Marty Brown and Cowboy Jack Clement on the original "Golden Shore," the latter of which he describes as "very James Taylor-ish."

Black has even revived an outtake from "Honeycomb," an old traditional song called "Been All Around the World." The artist says, "Dylan and the Dead have done it. I sort of updated the lyrics and that one is also James Taylor-ish."
Every time I think I've got Frank Black figured out (as far as being Advanced), he throws another curve. One minute he's protecting the legacy of the Pixies, the next he'd doing Dylan and the Dead by way of James Taylor. Could he be among the super-Advanced (so Advanced that you can't even tell he's Advanced)? I'd like to know, but I guess I wouldn't like to know, too.

Factory Made: David Byrne's "Fargfabriken"


When musician David Byrne says he is going to "play a factory" in Stockholm, he is not planning a gig at a trendy new venue, but talking literally. The Talking Heads founder has turned a disused paint factory by the Stockholm waterside into a giant musical instrument, constructed around an old wooden pump organ with its entrails ripped out and replaced with wires and pipes.

"The public can just come in and sit down and play what they like," he said this weekend while the installation at "Fargfabriken" ("The Paint Factory") was being set up. "Playing the Building" is not a Byrne concert but a hands-on art installation that runs until mid-November. The organ's keys and stops are linked to dozens of clear plastic tubes that pump air through the factory vents to make a range of whistle noises, bang hammers that clank against hollow iron pillars and start four engines ranged on the roof.

The resulting cacophony is deafening and the factory, which dates from 1889 and once produced guns, combine harvesters and more recently paint, briefly sounds like it has been granted a new lease of industrial life.
I wish David Byrne would have a stupid, uninteresting idea for a change. I'm exhausted from admiring him so much.

MyTunes Song of the Week

As you may know, I put a bunch of my music on, so I'm linking to a different song each Monday. This week's song is "Satellite Without a Planet," a song that is very loosely based on Fatboy Slim. Hear it here. All the songs there are just me sitting in my apartment, so don't expect super production values...

An Example of the Advanced Theory

It's been a while since I've written about my personal relationship with the Theory, so I thought I share this with you: In high school, Britt (the cofounder of the Theory) and I used to listen to "Rock and Roll Animal" for laughs. We could not believe how terrible it was. Not terrible, actually, just ridiculous. In particular, "White Light/White Heat," with its thumping bass and rocking solos, was over-the-top stupid. Or so I thought. I was conditioned to expect the Velvet Underground version of Lou Reed, so I couldn't relate at all to what he was trying to do in "Rock and Roll Animal" and rejected it as cheesy. Later, however, I absolutely loved it, but ironically. I thought that he knew how ridiculous it was to jazz it up with fancy musicians and Southern Rock riffs, and so he did it for laughs or just to make people mad. Now I understand that it isn't ridiculous at all, and that the "Rock and Roll Animal" version of "White Light/White Heat" is much more interesting than if he had tried to reproduce the Velvet Underground version. This is how it works with the music of Advanced musicians: You hate it and feel betrayed, you think it's a joke, then later (usually much later), you love it and wish the stuff the musician was doing today sounded more like the stuff that you originally hated.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Elvis Costello Opera Update

From Yahoo!:

When Elvis Costello was asked three years ago by Denmark's Royal Theater to write an opera about Hans Christian Andersen, his first thought was, "Why didn't they choose a Danish composer? Then I recalled that Andersen belongs to the world," Costello said. On Saturday, his work "The Secret Arias" — based on Andersen's unrequited yearning for Swedish soprano Jenny Lind — will debut at Copenhagen's new waterfront opera house, with Costello himself playing two lead roles.

...His story tells a three-way drama between Andersen, Lind — nicknamed the "Swedish Nightingale" — and her American impresario, P.T. Barnum, who brought Lind to New York for her first U.S. concert tour in 1850. "The songs will tell a story that I have imagined existing between the lines of Andersen's biography and some of his most famous tales," Costello told reporters this week. "They speak of a misfit's love for an unattainable woman and a struggle between a huckster and someone who composes music in secret."

...Costello, revealing few details about his work, said it was a traditional opera, but with some exceptions. "We will not have a symphonic orchestra," he said. Instead, four musicians will accompany Costello and Stille at the opera's main stage, which can seat as many as 1,700 people. Costello said he was inspired by Andersen's way of expression, adding that "many translations of (Andersen's) works miss the really good elements, the macabre, the weird and the social critique."

...Kasper Holten, the Royal Theater's 32-year-old opera director, said asking Costello to write an opera was a way to bring a broader repertoire to the $406 million opera house, instead of merely focusing on the big classics.
I believe that $406 million was a bigger factor in asking him than the universal ownership of Hans Christian Andersen. Regardless, this is Advanced.

Here We Are Now, So What?

I was watching some show or other about rock music, and the topic of Kurt Cobain's role as "voice of a generation" came up. A journalist, who was sitting next to a stack of records so we would know that he is a journalist with a stack of records, said something to the effect of, "This was a bold statement. I mean, 'Here we are now, entertain us.'" Then he didn't say anything and just sort of nodded his head in awe as if he didn't need to elaborate on why the quoted line was so bold and significant. Cobain may or may not have been the voice of a generation, but I can't stand it when people make that kind of a claim without anything to back it up. I think his lyrics were for the most part stupid (but contagious!) and his solos were worse, but NIrvana was definitely significant. (I'm nodding my head in awe.)

Gigantic II: The Future of the Pixies


What will happen afterward [playing in Japan] is anybody's guess, but guitarist/vocalist Frank Black tells the group will hopefully begin gathering potential material for its first studio album since 1991's "Trompe le Monde."

"I think there are some band members extremely keen to start making a record and there are others who are more cautious because they don't want to mess with the legacy," Black says. "They may be afraid that if we make a mediocre record that it will still come out, because the money has been spent. That's fair enough."

For now though, Black offers, "We've decided there is nothing to talk about unless there's some actual songs on the table. In our spare time we'll start to compile some demos, and if they start to sound good, we'll do something."

"Kim reminded [guitarist] Joey [Santiago] she liked my song and maybe she'd do a lyric on top of it, which is fine, because I've written lyrics for it like three times and have never really been satisfied with it," Black admits. "'Gigantic' part two is in the works! And it's going to be bigger and better than the first one!"
Obviously the Pixies and Frank Black in particular are not Advanced (even though they are one of the greatest bands ever). Otherwise he wouldn't be worried about the legacy of the band. One sign of Advancement is an artist's willingness to destroy his or her legacy, if only to build a new one. That's why Bob Dylan and Lou Reed are always reworking their classics, even though it pisses off people who think that the songs are sacred and shouldn't be altered (as if they owned the songs more than the artist). Anyway, I hope the Pixies do make another record if they've got the material.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Get Your Own Wax Beatle Head

From the BBC:

Three wax heads of The Beatles, made for Madame Tussauds and used on the cover of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, are to be auctioned. Auctioneers Cooper Owen expect the busts of John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison to fetch up to £80,000 when they are sold later this month. Also included in the sale is a waxwork head of Sir Paul McCartney that was not used in the album cover photo shoot. A bust of actress Diana Dors that was on the album cover is also being sold. "The auction provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of definitive cultural history," a Cooper Owen spokesman said.
It would be fun to burn them and imagine you were watching a horror film about a lunatic fan who imprisons the Beatles, chops off their heads, and then sets the house on fire. Or could you put display them in some kind of memorabilia room.

Jesus and Mary Chain Reunite, Sort Of


The Jesus And Mary Chain, who split acrimoniously in 1998, are to reunite on a new single. Brothers Jim and William Reid called time on their legendary and hugely influential band after a huge onstage bust-up in LA back in 1998, but now they have both contributed to different sides of a new split single.

Jim Reid's 'Song For A Secret' is backed with Sister Vanilla's 'Can't Stop The Rock', which was written and produced by William Reid and the brothers' younger sibling, Linda . The single is released by Transistor Records on October 17.
Break out the cough syrup!

Leonard Cohen Lawsuit Update

From the New York Times:

[Leonard] Cohen, 71, filed suit against his longtime personal manager, Kelley Lynch, accusing her of stealing more than $5 million over the past dozen years, including five years he spent at a Zen Buddhist retreat. Mr. Cohen is also suing his former tax lawyer, Richard A. Westin, accusing him of mismanaging money Mr. Cohen had set aside as a retirement fund. Mr. Cohen is also seeking damages from Neal Greenberg, his investment adviser from 1997 to 2004, who the singer said allowed Ms. Lynch to steal millions by not telling him what was going on.

... Mr. Cohen hired Ms. Lynch, an assistant to his lawyer and manager, to oversee his personal affairs after the manager, Martin Machat, died in 1988. She eventually assumed more responsibility for Mr. Cohen's career and became his manager.

...The money at issue in the lawsuit came from two transactions orchestrated by Ms. Lynch. The first was the 1997 sale of Mr. Cohen's publishing company, Stranger Music, to Sony; the other deal, also with Sony, involved the 2001 sale of Mr. Cohen's future royalties from Mr. Cohen's 127-song catalog, which includes often-covered classics like "Bird on a Wire" and "Suzanne."

...In 1993, Mr. Cohen took a break from recording and touring and decamped to the Mount Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles, where he remained for five years. According to Mr. Cohen's complaint, Ms. Lynch, upset over a loss of income because the singer's career was on hiatus, began to drain money from three charitable trusts established with the Sony profits.

...Mr. Cohen said he had not suspected that his money was depleted until October 2004, when an informant tipped off his daughter, Lorca Cohen. "Every month my investment manager, an old friend of Ms. Lynch's, and a successful trader, sent me a report that my savings were safe, intact, even flourishing," Mr. Cohen said, referring to Mr. Greenberg. He says that Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Westin, whom Mr. Lynch had hired to help minimize taxes on the two Sony deals, charged Mr. Cohen $4 million in unnecessary transaction costs.

While Mr. Cohen awaits the outcome of the various lawsuits, he said, he has started to sell his assets and has taken out a mortgage on his house. "There is a great sense of family solidarity, and we are all working hard to keep the ship afloat," he said. "My son said: 'Dad, do whatever you have to do, but don't do it for us. We've had a great life, and we can take care of ourselves.' "
I haven't heard anything this depressing since the last time I listened to "The Future" by Leonard Cohen. But I imagine this will work out all right for him, and he and Trent Reznor will be sipping martinis poolside in no time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

John Lennon: Philatel Be the Day

From Yahoo!:

Beatle John Lennon produced lots of popular albums in his career. The one that is probably least known is going on display Thursday. It's his stamp album. The album, purchased in June by the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum, will remain on display at least until April 10. "Somewhere along the line, people started thinking of stamp collecting as somewhat stodgy. That's what has made John Lennon's stamp album so much fun, John Lennon could never be described as stodgy," said the museum's curator, Wilson Hulme.

Lennon would have been 65 on Sunday. The museum plans an open house in the afternoon for people to view the album and celebrate the music of Lennon and the Beatles. The collection was begun by Stanley Parkes, Lennon's older cousin, who later gave it to the future Beatle when Lennon was 9 years old. Lennon replaced Parkes's name and address on the album's flyleaf with his own signature and the address of the home he shared with his aunt, Mary Smith, and her husband, George. Expressing his budding artistic talent, Lennon drew beards and mustaches in blue ink on the likenesses of British monarchs, including Queen Victoria and King George VI, on the album's title page.
I think I might have written about this before, but I really wanted to stamp this story into your memory.

John Densmore Keeps the Doors out of Ads

From the L.A. Times:

Once, back when rock 'n' roll still seemed dangerous, [John] Densmore was the drummer for the Doors, the band with dark hits such as "Light My Fire" and "People Are Strange." That band more or less went into the grave with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1971, but, like all top classic-rock franchises, it now has the chance to exploit a lucrative afterlife in television commercials. Offers keep coming in, such as the $15 million dangled by Cadillac last year to lease the song "Break On Through (to the Other Side)" to hawk its luxury SUVs.

To the surprise of the corporation and the chagrin of his former bandmates, Densmore vetoed the idea. He said he did the same when Apple Computer called with a $4-million offer, and every time "some deodorant company wants to use 'Light My Fire.' " The reason? Prepare to get a lump in your throat — or to roll your eyes.

"People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music," Densmore said. "I've had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn't commit suicide because of this music…. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That's not for rent."

...Densmore relented once. Back in the 1970s, he agreed to let "Riders on the Storm" be used to sell Pirelli Tires in a TV spot in England. When he saw it he was sick. "I gave every cent to charity. Jim's ghost was in my ear, and I felt terrible. If I needed proof that it was the wrong thing to do, I got it."

..."We're all getting older," said [Ray] Manzarek, the band's eldest member, now 66. "We should, the three of us, be playing these songs because, hey, the end is always near. Morrison was a poet, and above all, a poet wants his words heard." Perhaps more years of life would have changed his view, but in 1969 it was quite clear that the poet of the Doors did not want to be a pitchman.

...If Densmore is a dinosaur, he is not the last surviving one. Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles continue to say no to commercials. So do Neil Young and Carlos Santana. But all of them still pull in concert revenues that make that choice far easier. Densmore himself points out that if he were poor he might make a different choice.

But his stance against commercialization has won a chorus of support from the true believers of rock. In the Nation, Tom Waits wrote a letter in praise of Densmore: Corporations "suck the life and meaning from the songs and impregnate them with promises of a better life with their product. Eventually, artists will be going onstage like race-car drivers covered in hundreds of logos."
As you may know, I don't think there's anything wrong with allowing your music to be used in commercials because there's not much difference between letting Sony Records make money off your music than GE make money off it. But I think Densmore is doing what he thinks is right for himself, and that's great. I don't think this is an ego thing or anything like that. It just sounds like he has enough money to afford dignity (or his idea of it, anyway).

U2 Takes Over Conan


In his 12 years in charge of booking musical guests on Conan O'Brien's "Late Night," Jim Pitt always listed U2 and Johnny Cash as the dream artists he'd tried but never succeeded in getting. He lost his chance with the late Cash, but the U2 dream is coming true [Oct. 7] in a major way.

O'Brien will turn over his entire show to the band, which is in New York for seven sold-out engagements at Madison Square Garden. "We were able to offer them something to feel enough like an event for them to do the show," Pitt said. "It's basically 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien,' the U2 edition."

...O'Brien is a big U2 fan, and made a personal connection by talking at length with Bono during breaks in rehearsals for the band's "Saturday Night Live" appearance last season, Pitt said. It may be a nervous time for Bono, who is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in trying to ease Third World poverty. People who watch the Nobel closely list the lead singer as one of the favorites. The winner is expected to be named Friday.

The band is expected to perform three songs and be interviewed by O'Brien, but Pitt is not pushing for any material in particular. "When U2 decides they want to come on the show for an hour, you don't get too picky about what they play," he said.
This is so John and Yoko on the "Mike Douglas Show." I think Bono is all-around great, but I think he'll need a much bigger hat if he wins the Nobel Peace Prize, if you catch my drift.

Gang of Four and the "Dead Sea Scrolls"

From Slate:

In an early Ian McEwan short story, a novelist struggles with the follow-up to her acclaimed best seller. The tale has a grotesque psychological twist when the writer's lover discovers that the manuscript the writer has been working on is actually a painstakingly composed, word-for-word repeat of the debut. This isn't precisely what post-punk legend Gang of Four has done on Return the Gift, the first release by the group's original lineup since 1981, but it's not far off. Instead of recording an album of new material like most reformed bands do, they've rerecorded 14 Gang of Four classics cherry-picked from albums such as Entertainment!, Solid Gold, and Songs of the Free.

It's hard to think of a precedent in rock history for Return—essentially, a band recording its own tribute album. The decision has bemused many Gang of Four fans, who wonder why the band didn't just put out a compilation of the definitive versions. Some see Return as proof that the group's reformation was purely opportunistic, an attempt to reap the rewards of post-punk's ultrahip status these last couple of years. The renaissance has involved a swarm of new bands—from the Rapture and Radio Four to Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand—drawing heavily on the Gang's jagged and minimalist punk-funk. Surely, the argument goes, if the group really felt it had a relevant contribution to make beyond being a nostalgia act, it would write an album of new material.

But there are other ways of looking at Return the Gift. The title itself hints that the whole project might be an oblique commentary on retro culture's "eternal returns." That kind of meta-rock gesture was always Gang of Four's signature. When the band formed in 1977, singer Jon King and guitarist Andy Gill were enrolled in the University of Leeds' fine art department, then a hotbed of conceptualism and leftist critiques of institutionalized art. Absorbing this sensibility and bolstering it with extracurricular immersion in Marxist theorists like Gramsci, Gang of Four approached every aspect of their "intervention" in pop culture—songwriting, album packaging, interviews, internal band relations—in the spirit of demystification.

...For this die-hard fan, Return is a curious listening experience, with something of the eeriness of that Ian McEwan story about the blocked writer. You can't help wondering what it must have felt like for the band members, laboring away at remaking songs they'd laid down definitively long ago. On the new version of "Love Like Anthrax," Gill adds some self-reflexive lines about the project to his original spoken-word critique of pop's fixation on love songs. He describes Return as an "an exercise in archaeology," an attempt to find out where their heads were at in those heady post-punk days. When quizzed about the project, both King and Allen refer to the original recordings as "Dead Sea Scrolls" that they could call upon when memory failed. Aged 7, I wanted to be an archaeologist because I thought it was all about stumbling on Mayan temples in the jungle. Then I lost interest when I went to a dig and saw how tedious sifting for pottery shards actually was. Return isn't dreary (it could hardly be, given that the songs are among the most dynamic and structurally inventive rock songs of the last 30 years), but it never quite ignites because of the contradictions that brought the record into existence. These new versions seem to exist neither in 1979 nor 2005, but in a peculiar limbo of nontime, the undefined space of "retro" itself.
I guess so. But I just think it is just a way to make some money in a way that makes them feel a little less icky than putting out a Greatest Hits record and also doesn't challenge them to top their old stuff as much as if they made something completely new. And that's fine, of course, but it's not as interesting as the writer pretends it is. He's just making excuses for a band he really loves, which is something the Advanced Theory Blog frowns on.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rubettes v. Rubettes

From the BBC:

Two versions of British glam band The Rubettes have gone to court over claims that one is being falsely promoted. A court ruling in 1999 saw the band, whose 1974 single Sugar Baby Love made number one, split in two, with singer Alan Williams leading one of the bands.

Williams claims the other version, led by original member Bill Hurd, have used his photo in their promotion and were falsely promoted as the original band. Hurd has counter-claimed and both sides have claimed breach of contract. The case is expected to last three days and both sides are claiming damages.

...The Rubettes were formed in London in 1973 from a collection of leading session musicians and singers by Polydor Records. Sugar Baby Love was the band's debut single and went on to sell eight million copies internationally, reaching number 37 in the US chart. Other UK hits included Tonight, Jukebox Jive and I Can Do It.
Call me a Rubettes purist, but if Alan Williams and Bill Hurd aren't onstage together, it's just not the Rubettes. I just wish the Rubettes would just get back to doing what they do best: being the Rubettes. That way Rubettes fans don't have to be split into the Williams Rubettes and the Hurd Rubettes. We Rubettes fans just want to see the Rubettes together as the one true Rubettes.

Wyrd Sister Lawsuit


A Canadian folk trio have launched a suit against members of Radiohead, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Warner Brothers Entertainment Canada and Warner Brothers Records for trademark infringement. Winnipeg female act The Wyrd Sisters have launched the suit in response to characters used in the new Harry Potter film, which originally bore the same name as the band. According to press reports J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire' originally featured a band of rock 'n'roll wizards, played by Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead's Phil Selway and Johnny Greenwood, that went by the same name.

The Wyrd Sisters singer Kim Baryluk explains their reason for filing the lawsuit:

"[Harry Potter] is so much more huge than us in their reach that we'll go out on tour a month after the movie comes out - and we'll go all over to Australia, to New Zealand - and people will wonder who are these strange people stealing the Harry Potter name?"

She adds the band were originally approached in June this year with a view to using the name, with Warner originally offering $5,000, and then $50,000 to share the name. "Do you know what I've spent on the band in the past 10 years?" she adds "In the last 10 years I've spent more than a million dollars. Offering me $50,000 is more than an insult."

Warner Music refused to comment at this stage, although added in a statement that they had no intention of using the band name after the Canadian act declined their offer. Radiohead's manager added the following statement:

"(Johnny and Phil) were asked to be in the film to be The Wyrd Sisters, which is what J.K. Rowling called the band and then there's this (Canadian) band called The Wyrd Sisters, so now they can't be called The Wyrd Sisters."

"The (Canadian) Wyrd Sisters are just trying to sue them for namesake. The whole story is just a couple of people in a band trying to get some money."
Shouldn't Shakespeare be suing all these people?

Diamond Dave Hits the Road

What's Advanced Theory appreciator David Lee Roth up to these days? has the answer:

Flamboyant rocker David Lee Roth, who hasn't released an album of original material in seven years, continues to work the road nonetheless. The former Van Halen frontman has unveiled a handful of November tour dates that currently begin with a Nov. 11 performance in St. Petersburg, FL. Details appear below.

Fans of classic Van Halen will likely have plenty to feast their ears on at Roth's shows; in recent years, the singer's set list has consisted almost entirely of material from the six albums he released with the band between 1978 and 1984.

Roth's most recent album of original solo material is 1998's "DLR Band." A covers-heavy collection titled "Diamond Dave"--Roth's nickname--followed in 2003. The set includes Roth's renditions of The Doors' "Soul Kitchen," The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," Jimi Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9," The Hombres' "Let It All Hang Out," The Steve Miller Band's "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma," and three Savoy Brown cuts: "You Got the Blues, Not Me," "Made Up My Mind" and "Stay While the Night Is Young."
I can't believe I still haven't heard his version of "Tomorrow Never Knows." It doesn't get much more Advanced than that.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Little Richard Stiffed by Macon Businessmen, Woooo!

Here's an odd story from

Concertgoers won't have to pay for a Little Richard concert in the singer's hometown. But who will? Macon Mayor Jack Ellis announced the concert Friday. He asked local business leaders -- including the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce -- to pick up the estimated $75,000 tab for Saturday's (Oct. 8) event, the chamber's president said.

But business leaders say they haven't been given enough time to come up with the money. Mike Ford, who heads the city's NewTown revitalization effort, said he wasn't approached until Wednesday about the concert.

Ron Wildman, a city spokesman, said the mayor was disappointed that the business groups aren't "stepping up to the plate since they've been using Little Richard now for several years to promote Macon and he's not charged them one dime."
I'll bet they could come up with the money for Pat Boone in a snap. But here's the question: What's the $75K for? I mean good golly, that's a lot of money to put on a concert in a small town like Macon. Oh well, I guess the town can help it, the town can't help it.

Tom Verlaine: 2good 2be 4gotten

According to, Tom Verlaine has not one but two new records on the way: "Neither album has a title or firm release date, but Thrill Jockey has tentatively penciled in an April release date for the first of two releases. That album will feature rock’n’roll close to that of Television. The second album will be another of Verlaine’s instrumental albums." It's never a mistake to release two records at the same time.

R. Kelly: The DL on the DVD


R. Kelly's multi-faceted musical drama "Trapped in the Closet" will be revealed in full on the DVD "Trapped in the Closet Chapters 1-12." The film is due Nov. 1 via Jive and tacks on seven new chapters to the saga, the first five of which were released on Kelly's latest Jive album, "TP3: Reloaded." The DVD will also include a documentary about the ever-evolving song plus Kelly's running commentary and behind-the-scenes clips.
R. Kelly has made a very strong case for himself as an Advanced R&B singer. I cannot advise you strongly enough to buy this DVD. There are no words to describe how awesome the whole "Trapped in the Closet" thing is.

Blogger, Promote Thyself

I figure since I went through all the trouble of writing music, recording it, then posting at, why not promote it a little? But don't worry, I'll only link to a song once a week on Monday mornings. I hope you enjoy today's number, "I Can't Say." It's a just a little song about a guy who prefers to remain anonymous. Go here to listen (just click on the song). I believe you have to register, but it's free and relatively painless. Also, the site is pretty interesting, and there is even good music there, too. I recommend it.

Ric Ocasek: Nexterday Once More

The tall Ric Ocasek played a show at CBGB. From

This fifty-minute set was a rare sighting; Ocasek has not performed live since a brief 1997 tour on behalf of his solo effort, Troublizing. Yet the rigorous consistency of his vision -- punchy songs with twin roots in garage-punk classicism and future-machine music; detached, telegrammatic verse about intense connections, sung with dry menace -- was evident in everything he played, regardless of vintage. Backed by three members of New York noise-pop band the Hong Kong -- guitarist Harold Griffin, bassist Ted Casterline and drummer Aaron Carroll -- Ocasek stripped the Cars hits "Magic," "You Might Think" and "My Best Friend's Girl" down to the bar-band-in-an-art-gallery minimalism I remember from the early Cars and solo demos Ocasek played for me one night in the early Eighties, during an interview at his home studio in Boston.

Much of Nexterday finds Ocasek back in black, building on the shadow rock of his original inspirations: the Velvet Underground, Suicide. At CBGB (where Suicide vocalist Alan Vega was in the house), "Crackpot," "Bottom Dollar" and "Don't Lose Me" sounded like they had only been written and recorded a short drive from 1984's Heartbeat City, minus the keyboards and vocal harmonies. Ocasek dedicated the slow, mourning stomp "Silver" "to my old friend Ben" -- the Cars' singer-bassist Benjamin Orr, who died of cancer in 2000. Later, he paid further tribute by playing the sublime "Drive," Orr's greatest vocal moment for the Cars, with Hong Kong vocalist Catherine Culpepper at the mike, putting a woman's spin on the hurt and protectiveness in Ocasek's lyrics.

With fiendish symmetry, Ocasek ended with the beginning: "Good Times Roll," the song that opened the first Cars album. Then he strolled off, without an encore, so that the Hong Kong -- who are signed to Inverse and have their Ocasek-produced, full-length debut coming early next year -- could play their own set. This is a short tour; Ocasek has one more confirmed date, at Harper's Ferry in Allston, Massachusetts, on October 10th. But it's good to see him come out of the garage, even for a short ride.
I like the move of having a backup band whose success will have an impact on him. Using your own music to promote another band is synergy at its best.