Friday, November 07, 2008

Val Kilmer: Next Governor of New Mexico?

From the always reliable New York Post gossip section:

SO, as we speak, guess who's gearing up for political office?


Just guess.

You'll never guess.

Val Kilmer.

By cellphone from Bulgaria, he said: "There's sort of a rumor around that I'm maybe thinking about running to be governor of New Mexico? Well, it's sort of true. It's been my home 25 years. I really love my state. Poor, hardworking, decent people - Native Americans, carpenters, artists, expats mixed in with hundreds of the world's smartest physicists at Los Alamos. I've always thought of myself as functioning as a candidate for them.

"The media interests me and it's influenced politicians since the '60s, and I'm approaching this as a worthy serious endeavor. I would be very comfortable in my position as a representative for the people."

Val Kilmer? Who was the lead in "Batman Forever"? Moses in "The Prince of Egypt"? Druggy rocker Jim Morrison in "The Doors"? Ladykiller Val Kilmer? Governor of New Mexico?

"People in the state are being supportive. Our current governor, Bill Richardson, who's hoping to be picked as secretary of state, and whom I've seen down in the dirt helping people you know could never help him in return, and whom I love, had a dinner for me and said not to dismiss the idea. Said I could be a great governor.

"Right now I'm making a movie here. I won't say it's a remake of Hitchcock's '59 oldie 'North by Northwest' because that sounds awful. Let's say it's inspired by that film. Similar plot, espionage, mistaken ID," and here he laughed, "and I'm doing Cary Grant's part which, I guess, is like saying I'm doing a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty.

Needless to say, I'd be happy to endorse him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Led Zeppelin to Tour Without Robert Plant

Couldn't pass this one up:
Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones has confirmed that the band plan to tour without frontman Robert Plant. Jones said he and the group's remaining members – guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer Jason Bonham – “really hope” to return to the road, although he didn't specify when. Last month, Plant said he found the constant speculation around the band's future “frustrating and ridiculous”, and insisted that he “will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin”.

Jones told an audience at a guitar exhibition in Devon last weekend that the band had auditioned singers to take Plant's place. "As you probably know, Jimmy, Jason and I are actually rehearsing and we've had the odd singer come in and have a bash,” egigs quoted Jones as saying. “As soon as we know — which we don't — we will let you know. But we really hope that something is going to happen soon because we really want to do it and we're having a lot of fun, actually, just rehearsing.”

George Michael is the man for the job.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Johnny Rotten: He's a Butter Man Than I

I've been writing about Johnny Rotten for the book and came across this little gem:

They all sell out sooner or later: Remember Johnny Rotten? Punk/anarchist/rocker with the Sex Pistols, a band inexplicably popular 30 years ago? Real name John Lydon?

Well, it took a while, but it turns out that even punk anarchists have bills to pay, so there he is on English TV, wearing a tweed suit in a commercial for Country Life, a brand of butter.

"I've never done anything like this before and never thought I would," he told the Daily Telegraph, "but this ad was made for me and I couldn't resist the opportunity.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Still Here, butMorrissey Is at the NFL Network

Sorry for not posting anything for so long and not saying why. I'm working on a book about an important topic you might be interested in, and that is keeping me too busy to keep the blog going. I will try to do weekly postings from now on, though, starting with this: "Every Day Is Like Sunday" is being used in NFL Network commercials.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Spectacle: Elvis Costello"

I think this is an update on a previous post:
Elvis Costello is to become a fixture on both British and North American screens with his brand new TV show: 'Spectacle: Elvis Costello with,'.

Over the course of 13 episodes, Elvis will chat and perform with some very special guests, including Elton John, Tony Bennett and Lou Reed.

Very special and Advanced! Can't wait.

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Guns N' Roses Song to Debut on Rock Band 2

From the New York Times:

A decade and a half after releasing its previous album, Guns N’ Roses plans to put out a new song in September — on the video game Rock Band 2. MTV expects to announce on Monday that the sequel to its popular Rock Band game will include “Shackler’s Revenge,” a track from the Guns N’ Roses album that has been in the works for more than a decade, said people familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the arrangement has yet to be announced.

The inclusion of the song on a game suggests that the Guns N’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy” will come out this fall, after years of delays. Axl Rose, who has selected replacements for the other original members, has said that the album is finished, but a release date has not been announced.

MTV and Universal Music Group, Guns N’ Roses’ label, declined to comment on the deal.

Guns N’ Roses’ plan to reintroduce its music to the public in a video game underscores how important to the music business games have become — especially Rock Band and Activision’s Guitar Hero series, which allow gamers to play along with songs on instrument-shaped plastic controllers. Rock Band 2 will also include songs from marquee acts like AC/DC and Rush; the game may also feature music by Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan, according to a track listing leaked online.
Every word in this article is Advanced.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Radiohead Camera-Free Video, Plus Footloose Soundtrack Remake

From my new favorite commenter:

More Radiohead advancement!! No cameras were used to make their new music video.

also, someone has recorded a remake of the entire Footloose soundtrack.


Here is some pretty serious Advancement:
The new "supergroup" featuring former VAN HALEN frontman Sammy Hagar, ex-VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS drummer Chad Smith recently began work on material for its debut album. According to Anthony, that music that has so far been completed for the band, tentatively called CHICKENFOOT, is "F--IN' rockin and we hope to be in the studio finishing it up early September so we can get out there and PLAY!"

Smith told The Pulse of Radio he got involved in the project by owning a home near Hagar's place in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. "If you're in Cabo, of course you know Sammy 'cause he's, you know, he rules the joint," he said. "And he's a really nice man, he's a great guy actually. Somehow he's taken a liking to me, and we played in Vegas, and we played some cover songs — we're a good cover band now. He got pretty excited about it and it actually sounded really good. Him and Joe got together up at his place and they wrote like five things together, and we'll see."

Hagar himself spoke about the project in a recent interview, explaining, "We've written eight, nine songs...When people hear the music, it's LED ZEPPELIN. It's as good as that. I know that's a mighty bold statement...We could rival ZEP."

...Chad Smith has been playing with former DEEP PURPLE bassist/singer Glenn Hughes as well as his own jazz combo since the CHILI PEPPERS came off the road last year after touring in support of 2006's "Stadium Arcadium" CD.
Who would've thought that Chad Smith would be the most Advanced Chili Pepper? At any rate, I'm really excited that there's a new band that rivals Led Zeppelin.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Best Radiohead Remix Ever

Been gone on vacation and catching up. Hopefully you will enjoy this remix my brother found here. a little background:

"For an approach that co-opts the hardware of corporate IT, look at how James Houston responded when Radiohead announced a remix contest around their second single, “Nude,” from the “In Rainbows” album. Fans had the opportunity to download the individual instrument tracks, then create their own song, but Houston went many steps further: he programmed a roomful of outdated hard drives and other office equipment to play the song orchestra-like. (Start around 01:15 for the melody)."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980

The New York Times has a bit about a new book on the No Wave scene. Here's the gist:

Of all the strange and short-lived periods in the history of experimental music in New York, no wave is perhaps the strangest and shortest-lived.

Centered on a handful of late-1970s downtown groups like Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, DNA and James Chance’s Contortions, it was a cacophonous, confrontational subgenre of punk rock, Dadaist in style and nihilistic in attitude. It began around 1976, and within four years most of the original bands had broken up.

But every weird rock scene — and every era of New York bohemia — eventually gets its coffee-table book moment. This month Abrams Image is publishing “No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980,” a visual history by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley.

There's a nice little slideshow too.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lou Reed Interview, Australian Style

Every interviewer has to talk about how hard it is to interview Lou Reed:
TO anybody unfamiliar with the stratagems that Lou Reed regularly adopts to unsettle journalists, the scene unfolding in this chic Greenwich Village restaurant would seem pretty weird. Even I, a veteran of four previous encounters with one of rock's most truculent interviewees - and hence no stranger to his bleak stares, sudden interruptions and blank refusals to answer this or that - am confused.

We were scheduled to meet at 12.30pm to talk, over lunch, about Lou Reed's Berlin, a concert movie directed by his friend, artist and film director Julian Schnabel.

After various phone messages to the effect that "Lou is running late", at 3pm a middle-aged stranger walks up to my table, introduces himself as Reed's manager and leads me over to another table on the terrace outside, where he and his client are tucking into their tagliatelle starters. Reed looks up briefly, mumbles something and resumes his conversation with the manager.

Perched beside them, cradling the glass of mineral water that has kept me company for the past two hours, I soon realise there will be no lunch for me today and possibly no proper interview, either.

But enough about the interviewer:
At 66, Reed looks better now than he did for most of his middle years. His bad-hair decade, the 1990s, during which he persisted with a dyed black mullet, is behind him. He is back with a greyer version of the tousled mop he wore in his Velvet Underground days. He has long since kicked all of his bad habits, smoking being the last to go, in 2001; and, thanks to his exercise programs, tai-chi workouts and fastidious eating habits, his lean, slight figure means he can just about get away with the teenage gear he is wearing today: a noisy ensemble of baggy, brilliant-white tracksuit bottoms, orange and green trainers and a khaki windcheater.
But Lou doesn't forget the interviewer:
No sooner has Reed started to recall the conversations he has had through the years with Bob Ezrin - Berlin's producer and arranger, who originally suggested that he weave the songs into "a film for the ear" - than another, more painful memory barges in. Reed fixes me with a fierce stare. "Did you write that review of The Raven" - Reed's last studio album, from 2003 - "which said, 'Don't quit your day job'?"

He stares down my startled denial. "I remember these things. I don't mean to, but people send me this stuff. It's like your great-aunt just loves to see your name in the paper. But anyway... Look at that!"

Reed has just spotted a new Mini Cooper driving past the restaurant. "They're really fun to drive, but you don't wanna be in one for more than an hour. You can't see out the back and you can't move."
Why do you think Reed would be in the back seat of a Mini Cooper for more than hour? Anyway, there's more good stuff, and I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

For Those About to Shop: AC/DC Makes a Deal With Wal-Mart

Hell's bells, I never thought it would happen:
AC/DC's next studio album will be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in the U.S., according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

...AC/DC is one of the few major acts yet to make its music available via Apple's iTunes Music Store. In August 2007, Verizon Wireless snagged the exclusive rights to sell the band's entire back catalog through March 2008, becoming the first and only digital music store to offer AC/DC's content.

I like to get all my rock news from WSJ.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lou Reed at Spoleto

Lou Reed showed up at Spoleto:
We knew Spoleto season was upon us last month when people started phoning in Lou Reed sightings a few days ahead of the opening ceremony, and though the former Velvet Underground frontman accompanied wife Laurie Anderson to her official festival house party Wednesday night, he seems generally to have kept a low profile.

But Anderson and Reed had a surprise planned for the audience Thursday night (the second of Anderson’s three Spoleto shows). News of some kind of special guest reached the newsroom at about 3 p.m., and through some mojo I’ll never understand I wound up with a ticket to what appeared to be an otherwise sold-out Anderson performance at Memminger.

The surprise? Near the end of the show, Anderson announced that it was her 61st birthday and called Reed up on stage for a rendition of “The Lost Art of Conversation.” It turns out this isn’t the first time Reed has joined Anderson for a performance of this song from the Homeland cycle, but for what it’s worth, I thought Reed added an electric growl to the piece as it wore on, and for just a moment the five players transformed the relatively minimalistic score into what seemed like a sudden, queasy, blues-rock hallucination, which isn’t exactly an everyday sound when one of your five instruments is an accordion. It surged and faded, but it seemed spontaneous and surprising.

Thanks for the heads up, Teacherfriend!

Scarlett Johansson Video: Falling Down

I love my Salman (Sal Bass) Rushdie. I think she actually does a nice job on this one. Sounds a bit like Sinead O'Connor or Elisabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Joy Division Zune

From Pitchfork:
Ain't she something? That's the previously reported limited edition Joy Division Microsoft Zune up there, bearing Factory Records design guy Peter Saville's iconic Unknown Pleasures artwork. Though initially set to arrive in conjunction with the DVD release of the Grant Gee-directed Joy Division documentary on June 10, both DVD and Zune now go up for sale June 17.

All 500 copies of this thing come pre-loaded with the film, and the 80-gigabyte devices, dying star charts and all, can be purchased via Zune's website and
I'm reminded of an old SNL game show sketch where a bunch of comedians had to guess what is the deal with a variety of things, and Adam Sandler's response to every one was, "Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?"

Monday, June 02, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inconvenient Truth: The Opera

From the AP:
First it was the film and the book. Now the next stop for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is opera. La Scala officials say the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been commissioned to produce an opera on the international multiformat hit for the 2011 season at the Milan opera house. The composer is currently artistic director of the Arena in Verona.
I always thought there should be an opera based on a PowerPoint presentation, so I'm pretty pleased about this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scarlett Johansson's Album Gets Bad Reviews

From Reuters:
"Anywhere I Lay My Head," a collection of Tom Waits songs recorded by the star of such films as "Match Point," "Lost in Translation" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring," has been described by the actress as "an intimate experience." But numerous reviews of the album complained that Johansson's vocals end up lost in the lush arrangements of producer David Andrew Sitek, the guitarist and keyboardist for the indie rock band TV on the Radio.

For some critics, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"Johansson's voice is unremarkable and her pitch sometimes unsteady; she's a faintly goth Marilyn Manson lost in a sonic fog," wrote Rolling Stone magazine, which gave her a lukewarm 2.5 stars out of five.

Britain's Mojo magazine called the recordings "fussy and forgettable," adding that the decision to begin the album with an instrumental was hardly a vote of confidence in Johansson's vocal abilities.

The disc received a middling "C" grade from Entertainment Weekly magazine, which wrote that her "expressionless voice" was buried "deeply in the druggy ambiance."

And the Washington Post said it was possible to listen to all 40-plus minutes of Johansson's album and "still have no earthly idea what she sounds like."

"The album is ultimately too ethereal for its own good," the Post said. "Every song is like every other song, even the ones that sound different."


She later sang live with the band Jesus and Mary Chain at the Coachella Music Festival in California.

I didn't know about that last part. That's a nice move on the part of Jesus and Mary Chain. Anyhow, don't let those critics get you down Scarlett. They don't know what they're talking about, plus they're jealous of you (or your boyfriend).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

David Bowie Musical

From Contact Music:
David Bowie fans can dust off their glitter trousers as the Thin White Duke is planning a musical theatre version of his hits, a tabloid reports. The Sun says a version of the 1976 cult sci-fi film The Man Who Fell To Earth will be hitting the West End after Bowie gave his permission for work to begin on the project.

According to a source quoted by the newspaper, the involvement of director Peter Schaufuss is what swung the decision. "David has been approached many times with a view of turning his songs into a stage production but he has always said no," the insider said.

"He guards his legacy carefully and didn't want a cheesy show tarnishing it."
He should star in it. That would be quite Advanced.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lou Reed to Host Satellite Radio Show

It was only a matter of time (Reuters):
Rocker Lou Reed is taking a walk on the wild side to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc, where he will host his own weekly show, the company said. Dubbed "Lou Reed's New York Shuffle," the free-form radio show will premiere on Saturday at 7 p.m. EST on Sirius' Disorder channel 70.

"For years, I've always been a fan of eclectic radio, such as FM radio in the past when you could hear stations play widely divergent music, ranging from rock to country to jazz to opera," Reed said in a statement. "We will try to bring Sirius' listeners audio from all parts of the world that covers the whole musical spectrum."

Reed will co-host the show with Hal Willner, who was a musical director on "Berlin," a theatricalized concert version of Reed's 1973 album of the same name. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles on July 18.

That first sentence makes absolutely no sense. In what way is he walking on the wild side to satellite radio? I understand that Lou Reed is a one-hit wonder and all, but he does have other songs, including one that actually mentions satellites! Oh well, still good news.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Neil Diamond: All the Number-One Hit

Neil Diamond's got his first number-one record. Take it away, Reuters:
With "Home Before Dark," Neil Diamond has landed his first chart-topping album. The Columbia release, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, got a big plug when Diamond appeared recently on "American Idol," bolstering its 146,000 first-week U.S. sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The Rick Rubin-produced "Home" is Diamond's biggest debut sales week since SoundScan began tracking in 1991. He first appeared on Billboard's charts in 1966 with "The Feel of Neil Diamond"; the closest he got to No. 1 was with the 1973 soundtrack to "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," which reached No. 2.

You know what would be a great record? A Rick Rubin-produced George Michael album. "Who should Rick Rubin produce next?" could be a fun game.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Joaquin Phoenix Making a Record With Tim Burgess

According to Reuters, it's true:
Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who played Johnny Cash on the big screen, is cutting an album with Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, has learned. But whether the set will be released remains unclear.

"Once he learned guitar, he found that he had quite a lot of demons inside himself that he wanted to expel through music," says Burgess, who has been mixing the record alongside Alan McGee, the Charlatans' manager and former head of U.K. independent label Creation Records.

But it seems that the perfectionism that has brought Phoenix acclaim as an actor could prevent the record from ever seeing the light of day.

This is not actual Advancement because I don't think Phoenix (or Burgess) rises to that level, but he did play somebody Advanced, so I thought I'd tell you about it. One thing I'm not sure about: Is it more Advanced for him to release the record or not?

Monday, May 12, 2008

David Byrne's Musical Building, Neil Young Gets a Spider

Sorry I've been away for a while, but I was busy on a project. But now I'm back so let's take a look at this, from the AP:
Ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne plans to turn a landmark building in Manhattan into a giant musical instrument. State officials say Byrne will create a temporary installation in the Great Hall of the Battery Maritime Building, which is next to the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. The "Playing the Building" installation will include devices attached to ceiling beams, plumbing, electrical conduits and other parts of the structure. Sound will be produced through vibration, making the building function as an instrument.
And here's this, from Reuters:
Iconic singer and songwriter Neil Young has had an honor bestowed upon him that is not received by many musicians -- his own spider. An East Carolina University biologist, Jason Bond, discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and opted to call the arachnid after his favorite musician, Canadian Neil Young, naming it Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

"There are rather strict rules about how you name new species," Bond said in a statement. "As long as these rules are followed you can give a new species just about any name you please. With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice."

Roy Orbison has his own spider too! But the question is, where is John Entwhistle's?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lou Reed Gets Married, Plays Music, Likes Tai Chi

From Contact Music:
Veteran rocker LOU REED has reportedly married his longtime partner LAURIE ANDERSON in a secret ceremony in Colorado earlier this month (12Apr08). The couple, who have lived together since 1995, was recently spotted celebrating in New York with drinks and dessert at the East Village, New York townhouse of photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Sanders made the Grammy-winning documentary Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart about the musician in 1999.
Guests at the gathering included filmmaker Julian Schnabel and Law + Order: Special Victims Unit star Richard Belzer, reports New York gossip column PageSix.
And he's playing shows too (Washington Post):

Lou Reed called his most famous live album "Rock n Roll Animal," but the title was kind of a joke even then, in 1974. The unofficial poet laureate of New York City is one of the least-pandering rockers ever, and his complete absorption in the music gives him a paradoxical charm: Like all icons of existential cool, he seems truly not to care whether you like him or not.

Take Tuesday night's powerful but maddeningly brief show at the 9:30 club. The majority of the mere dozen songs performed were mid-'80s-and-later album cuts, with only "Sweet Jane" (disposed of early in the set) and "Perfect Day" among Reed's "hits." He might have rolled his eyes introducing the Velvet Underground curio "I'm Sticking With You" ("This was in 'Juno,' that's why we're doing it") but you just never know with this guy.

Finally, if you're planning to interview Lou Reed, here's some advice (Style Weekly):
“Talk to Lou about playing music, manipulating sound [guitar feedback], the power of focusing your energy. He’s really into tai chi — that Chinese, slow motion exercise stuff,” he writes. “I got lucky when I talked with him, he didn’t get pissed off once in the entire eight-or-so minutes. Even invited me backstage, which was later withdrawn by his management, the bastards. Good luck!”

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Daily Collegian Gets It

Nice little article about Lou Reed in the Daily Collegian:
Lou Reed is sort of an art snob. He was trained by poet Delmore Schwartz, whom most of us have never heard of, and he writes soundtracks to films about obscure Nelson Algren novels that never come to fruition. He records Top 20 hits, grows disenfranchised and releases double albums of distortion. He puts out brilliant rock operas, stylized renditions of the works of Poe and, more recently, meditation music inspired by the Hudson River. Lou Reed isn't appealing to your tastes, and that's what makes him appealing.
Couldn't have said it better myself. There's other good stuff here, so read the article. Don't worry, it's short, and while little will be new to you, it is the rare article about Reed where the writer seems to actually understand the subject.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Peter Gabriel Recommendation Engine, Bill Cosby Does Hip-Hop, Neil Diamond to Tour, and Other Things

Busy day yesterday.

Digital Music News:
Peter Gabriel is now unwrapping a beta version of a multimedia filtering and discovery engine. The destination, called The Filter (, is currently in private beta, though a small group of journalists are being briefed on the concept. Music is a critical component of the offering, though Gabriel is pushing a vision that includes multiple forms of media.

USA Today:
Bill Cosby's path has taken him from pudding pops to hip hop. The 70-year-old has recorded a hip-hop CD set for release next month. Cosby Narratives Vol. 1: State of Emergency blends the comedian's concepts and stories with a hip-hop, pop and jazz soundtrack.

"I do not rap on any of these things," Cosby told The Associated Press Monday. "I wouldn't know how to fix my mouth to say some of the words." What Cosby does know, though, is that the hip-hop music he hears is profane and degrading. His album is "the opposite of what I think is the profanity for no particular reason, the misogyny for no particular reason. It really looks at the frustration and the anger that a young man may have," he said.

Neil Diamond, who is releasing a new album next month and embarking on a new tour this summer, says both projects mark the best — and hardest work — of his career.

This is the most technically challenging show that I've ever done," Diamond told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday. Diamond said: "This record represents a giant step in my evolution as a writer and a recording artist ... you will see I've gone deeper. It was more painful to write this — maybe the most difficult album I've ever written, and maybe my best."

Live Daily:
Veteran singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen will launch his first tour in 15 years next month with a round of dates in the Canadian performer's native country.The recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will kick off the run May 11 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, with multiple nights in many locations during the May/June outing, including a five-night engagement (4/12-13, 15-17) in Halifax, Nova Scotia....

Cohen will be backed on the trek by a full band that includes bassist Roscoe Beck, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Neil Larsen, guitarists Bob Metzger and Javier Mas, stringed instrumentalist Christine Wu, drummer Rafael Gayol and multi-instrumentalist Dino Soldo.

A live album featuring Willie Nelson and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, titled Two Men With the Blues, will be released on June 10 by Blue Note Records, a jazz label. Mickey Raphael, Nelson's longtime harmonica player, also appears on the album, along with Marsalis' band. Nelson and Marsalis recorded their concert at Lincoln Center in New York City in January 2007.

I'm told that the Neil Diamond record actually is amazing, by the way. And Leonard Cohen's band is classic Advancement. Finally, my son has been sick the last few nights, and I began to wonder why do I all of the sudden turn into the woman who played Steve Martin's mom in the jerk when trying to soothe him by singing?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Eminem to Perform for Nelson Mandela

According to dlisted, it's true:
When you think of Nelson Mandela, you automatically think of Eminem. Em will take the stage at Mandela's 90th...count 'em....90th Birthday party. WTF! Come to think of it, I can see Mandela dropping it like it's hot to "Lose Yourself." The Sun reports that Em has been confirmed to make his comeback at Mandela's party. I hope it's fat Eminem that takes the stage.

An inside source said, "We’re amazed to have Eminem on board. We wanted some of the greatest artists from recent times and Eminem was on the list."

Let me guess, Vanilla Ice wasn't available because he's in jail.

I'm also hoping Mandela and Eminem do a duet to "Ebony and Ivory."
I have one question: did a 1980s robot write those jokes?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dave Stewart's Rock Fabulous Orchestra

From a press release:
One of the most prolific artists in the past two decades, Dave Stewart, will embark on a full-scale North American tour this August. Billed as Dave Stewart and His 30-Piece Rock Fabulous Orchestra the show will include songs from Stewart's vast catalog of classic hits performed in one-of-a-kind arrangements. In addition to smash-hits from Eurythmics such as "Sweet Dreams" and "Here Comes the Rain Again," the songbook includes timeless tracks penned by Stewart including Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More," No Doubt's "Underneath It All," Mick Jagger's Golden Globe-winning "Old Habits Die Hard" and Celine Dion's recent chart-topper "Taking Chances," only to name a few.

"This isn't so much a look back but a new beginning," said Stewart. "When stuff has been put away for a while and you dust it off, you often see something you've never seen before. And before you know it, you're on the road with a 30-piece orchestra!" I have a great band as well as an orchestra and some amazing female voices to sing with me.

In August, Stewart's company Weapons of Mass Entertainment and Surfdog Records will be releasing an album consisting of new fresh rejuvenated versions of his most celebrated material with the full orchestra. The aptly titled "Dave Stewart Songbook, Vol. 1" will be accompanied by a hard-cover, glossy book of the same title. The book will include a chapter dedicated to each song with the story behind the music and stunning photos of his collaborators during the recording sessions, most of which were taken by Stewart himself.

Beyond his music legacy, Stewart and his company Weapons of Mass Entertainment have been at the forefront of innovation linking creative ideas to a host of projects in film, television, books theatre and new media. Stewart was recently hired as a consultant for Nokia, the world's largest cellphone company, where he was given the unique title of "Change Agent," charged with ensuring the artists' point of view is represented in the "new world" and creating new content business paradigms for the entertainment industry. A recent Washington Post article hailed Stewart's innovation in this arena, calling him "a man who vows to drop a 'neutron bomb' on the current entertainment distribution model."

Stewart is described by Bob Dylan as "a fearless innovator" and he has built up a repertoire of remarkable songs that have been performed by some of the most influential musicians of our time. In 1999, Dave Stewart along with his Eurythmics partner, Annie Lennox, were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brit Awards after having sold over 75 million albums.
Is Dave Stewart Advanced? All I know is that is stock is rising.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nick Cave Still Independent

Nick Cave recently received some kind of honor at something called the Plug Independent Music Awards. Here's what he had to say about it (Village Voice):
"To be honest, I wondered what the fuck we were doing there," Cave, 50, says the next day at his midtown hotel. "I don't want to be ungrateful, but I've never been concerned with independent music being more 'worthy' than mainstream music, whatever kind of inverted snobbery that is." Dressed in his signature slim black suit, Cave explains, between spoonfuls of chicken soup, that he accepted the Impact Award for his career arc at the urging of Anti-Records. In the run-up to the release of the Bad Seeds' 14th album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, his label figured it couldn't hurt to remind a select group of American music appreciators that Cave is a veteran of alternative sounds.
A lot of complexity here. He's showing his independence by rejecting the importance of independent music at an indendpendent music awards ceremony that his record company encouraged him to attend to remind people that he's been independent for a long time.

Whatever, I would love to see him in concert.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bob Dylan Wins Pulitzer

From AP:
Thanks to Bob Dylan, rock 'n' roll has finally broken through the Pulitzer wall.

Dylan, the most acclaimed and influential songwriter of the past half century, who more than anyone brought rock from the streets to the lecture hall, received an honorary Pulitzer Prize on Monday, cited for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

It was the first time Pulitzer judges, who have long favored classical music, and, more recently, jazz, awarded an art form once dismissed as barbaric, even subversive.


Dylan's victory doesn't mean that the Pulitzers have forgotten classical composers. The competitive prize for music was given to David Lang's "The Little Match Girl Passion," which opened last fall at Carnegie Hall, where Dylan has also performed.

"Bob Dylan is the most frequently played artist in my household so the idea that I am honored at the same time as Bob Dylan, that is humbling," Lang told the AP.

Long after most of his contemporaries either died, left the business or held on by the ties of nostalgia, Dylan continues to tour almost continuously and release highly regarded CDs, most recently "Modern Times." Fans, critics and academics have obsessed over his lyrics — even digging through his garbage for clues — since the mid-1960s, when such protest anthems as "Blowin' in the Wind" made Dylan a poet and prophet for a rebellious generation.

His songs include countless biblical references and he has claimed Chekhov, Walt Whitman and Jack Kerouac as influences. His memoir, "Chronicles, Volume One," received a National Book Critics Circle nomination in 2005 and is widely acknowledged as the rare celebrity book that can be treated as literature.

According to publisher Simon & Schuster, Dylan is working on a second volume of memoirs. No release date has been set.

Remember about 20 years ago when Dylan was washed up?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Critic Rips Ripped Reznor's Riffs

Not really "rips," but the critic is definitely struggling with Trent Reznor's latest attempt to be considered Advanced. Here's the story (
There's a fine line between genius and madness.Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor has usually walked on the genius side of that line during his career as an industrial noise-maker, thanks to albums like "The Downward Spiral," and "The Fragile." "Ghosts I-IV," may make some wonder whether he's walked off the deep end.
Some of it is minimalistic and ambient, not far from the trips Brian Eno staged decades ago on albums like "Music For Airports," while plenty of other moments find Reznor and his current assemblage of collaborators shifting moods and textures into that dark industrial territory that offers noise, distortion, banging percussion, chaos and churning aggression.

Starting with the hushed piano tones of "1," and the searching-for-an-airport feel of the artfully atmospheric "2," Reznor takes the listener on a harried excursion. Some of it is just plain bizarre, like the crushing "4," and some of it is coolness exemplified like the sparse blend of piano and percussion on "9." Sometimes NIN totally lock into an actual groove, such as the throbbing, buzzing noise-fest of "14."

That's the great Adrian Belew playing guitar in the latter track. He contributes to several selections on the recording, which is also augmented by guest musicians Alessandro Cortini and Brian Viglione.
Closing, as it opened, with delicate piano, "Ghosts I-IV," has moments of madness, mayhem and beauty, but there's also a sense of self-indulgence running through a double CD set that easily - very easily - could have been trimmed in half and come out stronger.

I don't know if Reznor really is Advanced (I never really got into NIN), but he certainly is being criticized as if he were. Regardless, he is extremely buff, and no critic can take that away from him.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Heeeeeeere's Elvis

From the Hollywood Reporter:
British rocker Elvis Costello will host a talk show for Sundance Channel, beginning later this year, the cable channel said Wednesday.

"Spectacle: Elvis Costello With . . .," which will be executive produced by Elton John, will also air on CTV in Canada and Channel 4 in the U.K.

The series will feature everything from intimate one-on-ones with legendary performers and notable newcomers to thematic panel discussions, with a variety of performance elements, Sundance said.
This is a fine idea, but I wonder who came up with the idea. I can't imagine Elvis Costello lying in bed one night and saying, "You know, Elton, I think I'd like to do a talk show." But that's Advancement for you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Quick Tour

Very little going on in the Advanced World the last few days, which is lucky because I was busy picking spaghetti from my spaghetti trees. R.E.M. is getting a lot of positive reviews for their new album, though not everyone is happy with it. The Rolling Stones concert movie debuts Friday, I think, at IMAX theaters. Bjork's in 3D. Rush is planning a new album. 311 and Snoop Dogg are touring together (I'm down with that). Radiohead is letting people remix their single, which might amuse Todd Rundgren, who did that years ago. So in honor of that, let's watch him sing "Hello, It's Me" from YouTube, a lazy blogger's best friend:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Video: Salt in My Tears by Martin Briley

I haven't heard this song since I saw on MTV when it still played nothing but videos. Speaking of which...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dr. Pepper and Guns N' Roses

I'm not sure where to file this (Reuters):
Many have tried, but so far nobody has been able to pry the decade-in-the-works Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" from the hands of lone remaining original member Axl Rose. Now, Dr Pepper thinks it's up to the challenge. The soft drink company says it will give a free can of Dr Pepper to "everyone in America" (excluding ex-Guns members Slash and Buckethead) if "Chinese Democracy" arrives anytime during the calendar year 2008.

Rose responded on his band's web site ( that the band was "surprised and very happy to have the support of Dr Pepper." But the offer did not prompt him to rise to the challenge.

I love that response from Axl so much I can barely contain myself. Who knew he was a Pepper? Not giving a can to Buckethead is a sweet move, but I think Slash should get one. And Izzy, obviously.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rod Stewart Panties, Baby Bibs, Etc.

Thanks to mediabistro for this:
Rod Stewart and his licensing firm, Signatures Network, are either complete geniuses or utterly lost when it comes to promoting their brand. We recently checked out his online store to see what his newly launched clothing line offers.

A trip though the Rod Stewart Online Store revealed the following items:

  • You know this means, don't you? It means that for the first time a singer can get his own panties thrown on stage. Ooh la la!
  • Fleetwood Crow?

    This is kind of funny (from Billboard via Reuters via Yahoo):
    Sheryl Crow's recent claim that she would be working with Fleetwood Mac surprised a lot of people -- including the members of the classic rock group. Crow, 46, who's friendly with Mac's Stevie Nicks, told the AOL music website earlier this month that she and the band "definitely have plans for collaborating in the future, and we'll see what happens."

    "I think we were all a little surprised (Crow) was announcing that to the world with such certainty," Fleetwood Mac principal Lindsey Buckingham, 58, told with a laugh.

    It's really not that funny, but the headline in the story makes you think it is. It sounds like they had talked to her about being a "foil" to Stevie Nicks but nothing had been decided. I think Tom Petty would be a better foil, and I've always wanted to hear Michael Stipe and Stevie Nicks sing together, but I guess Sheryl Crow would be fine. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I have definite plans for collaborating with Brian Eno in the future.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Elvis Costello: Future Retro

    Here's something interesting from Yahoo/Billboard/Reuters:
    Elvis Costello's next solo studio album, curiously dubbed "Momofuku," will arrive April 22, and plans are for the set to be released only on vinyl, with a digital download code included in the package.
    The confusing thing is that a vinyl release would normally be Overt, but including a download code should probably be Advanced. I'm inclined to say that this is Advanced because of the title of the record, but I'll wait to judge until I hear the music. The only problem is that I don't have a turntable that is download-ready.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Boston to Tour

    From a press release:
    The legendary band BOSTON will headline the outdoor festival at Marina Parkon Friday, June 6 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, at one of the Canadian stops of the Great Race 2008. The 'round-the-globe motor sports event will be making a pit stop in Thunder Bay as a part of its centennial anniversary. The show kicks off a summer of stadium, concert and festival dates that will span the United States and Canada.

    BOSTON will be bringing two new recruits on tour this year. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Sweet, veteran Stryper frontman will both sing and trade riffs with Gary and Tom on guitar. Unexpected phenomenon Tommy DeCarlo, the fan that posted his BOSTON covers on his page and ended up on stage, will also be belting out the classics that skyrocketed the band to worldwide fame.

    Many remember where they were when they first heard "More Than a Feeling" or "Hitch a Ride" on the airwaves back in 1976. BOSTON's self-titled first album has sold over 17 million copies to date, and was the highest selling debut of all time. It remains a rock classic, and has seen a resurgence in sales after it was remastered by Scholz, along with their second album, "Don't Look Back," in 2006. "Amanda," off 1986's Third Stage, shot to the top of the charts and held a record-breaking stay at #1, in spite of being the only hit single that year not accompanied by a TV video.

    With over 30 million albums sold worldwide, hits like "Peace of Mind," "Smokin'," and "Rock and Roll Band" are still as ubiquitous on rock and roll radio as they were when they were new. Coinciding with the summer tour is a fully re-mastered Greatest Hits CD (Sony Legacy.) Lead-off singles from all five BOSTON albums will be included, as well as new photos from throughout the years and liner notes written by Tom Scholz.

    BOSTON will be performing many of their classics, including some fan favorites that have not been on the set lists for many years. For complete show itinerary updates, band bios and photos, visit

    That's no way to treat the "nicest guy in rock'n'roll." I mean, I'm okay with the MySpace guy, but Stryper? Even I can't get behind that.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    All Dave, Toda La Noche

    Since we're talking Diamond Dave, why not a little "Yankee Rose" in Spanish?

    Thanks to the wondrous Philco Bros.

    VIdeo: David Lee Roth "Runnin' With The Devil" Vocal Track

    Thanks glassesface!

    Runnin' With Advancement

    Nothing to report on today, so I just want to take a moment to reflect on the genius of the lyric "I found the simple life ain't so simple" and the brilliance of the delivery of "You better find yourself a friend, my friend."

    Hopefully something great will happen today so I can write about it tomorrow. Story of my life...

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    David Byrne's Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

    David Byrne has put together a little something for bands, record companies, and people like me, I guess. It talks about the "changing" landscape of the music business. As usual, he has many, many interesting things to say. So many that I will forget about that and just show you the charts, amateurishly arranged. (Go to Imperiumi for the whole story.)

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    SXSW: Lou Reed Down on MP3s, Zoo Animals

    As you probably know, the Advanced embrace technology. So that's why this article from Reuters surprised me:
    Lou Reed is lashing out at new modes of audio technology, saying that "people have got to demand a higher standard" than current MP3 music files. The edgy rocker delivered the keynote speech at the South By Southwest Music Festival + Conference, which is underway in Austin, Texas.


    In typically glib and dry-witted form throughout the wide-ranging 55-minute conversation, the bespectacled Reed bemoaned the current state of audio and other digital technologies, noting that "it's like the technology is taking us backwards. It's making it easier to make things worse.

    "Here's our song reduced to a pin drop -- what, what, what?!" Reed explained. "It's like if no one knows any better or doesn't care, it's gonna stay on a really, really low level and people who like good sound are gonna be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal."

    He goes on to talk about hope for a better technology, so I guess he's just Advanced beyond MP3s and is ready for the next thing. One last bit:

    During the session, Reed said he plans to stage the "Berlin" shows in Europe this summer but not in the United States. The "Berlin" concert concept "wasn't an audition to do more of these things" with any of his other albums, though he said 1992's "Magic and Loss" and 1978's "Street Hassle" would be good candidates if he did want to try it again.

    Please, please do "Street Hassle"! And one last thing from his talk, this from the Dallas News:

    "I have a B.A. in dope. I have a Ph.D. in soul."


    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    More on Advancement

    It should be noted that not just any musician can be Advanced, even if they were once great and then seemingly "lost it." There are prerequisites:

    • You must have been an innovator in your youth
    • You must have had a career longer than fifteen years
    • You must have alienated your original fans
    • You must be completely nonironic
    • You must be unpredictable

    This last point deserves some extra attention.

    Advanced Artists are unpredictable because they make decisions that are truly unexpected rather than simply the opposite of what is expected. For instance, if Bob Dylan says that he would never feature a sax solo in a song of his, it wouldn't be Advanced for him to change his mind and get David Sanborn to sit in on a session (though the Advanced do like David Sanborn). His doing a Victoria's Secret commercial, however, was Advanced. Extremely Advanced. This is true because in the first example, Dylan fans would be able to explain away the sax solo as just another example of his rebelliousness. But the commercial, as Dylan could have easily predicted, saddened his fans and gave his critics another excuse to mourn the further decline of the Voice of a Generation. In reality, this was not some sort of Galilean recanting, but another step in Dylan's own Advanced continuum. Of course being Advanced, Dylan was going to do the commercial regardless of how it would be perceived.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Video: Lou Reed Inducts Leonard Cohen Into Rock Hall of Fame

    Here's a comment from a YouTuber about this clip:
    That was probably the most boring induction into the Hall of Fame, but then again it's Leonard Cohen being inducted by Lou Reed, so that in itself is a yawn fest.

    But I prefer Mark's comment:
    cough *Lou Reed wearing a leather suit* cough

    Here's the clip:

    Bauhaus Reunion

    From NPR, for some reason:

    In 2005, the band decided to get together due to what Ash calls "irresistible offers from large corporations," in the form of the promoter of the Coachella music festival. The band's drummer, Kevin Haskins, recalls, "I think a band just dropped out, and I think he thought, 'Oh, there's no way they're going to do it.' ... Give it a go ... and, you know, it was a really good offer."


    [O]n the new album, Go Away White, there are moments when that old chemistry reignites. The record's opening track is a pretty un-Bauhaus-sounding, almost jaunty rock tune with a Taxman bass line called "Too Much 21st Century." From there, the band settles comfortably and effectively into its familiar, spare, rock-in-a-minor-key gloom grooves. Unfortunately, in the second half, the songs start to dissolve into slow, maudlin, melodramatic self-indulgence.

    Ash says the record was written and recorded in only 18 days: "This was us four in one big room, for want of a better word, jamming until the magic started happening."

    But the magic didn't last very long. Says Ash, "There were conflicts in the studio, big time, I'm not going to deny that, and it sort of broke the band up. I think the old term is 'musical differences.' "

    There's lots of good Advanced stuff here (selling out, reunions, "Taxman" bass lines), but they kind of blew it there in that last bit. I guess we'll have to wait for another "really good offer" to get Bauhaus back together again.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    R.E.M. to Debut Album on iLike

    From digital music news:
    R.E.M. will soon debut their next album exclusively on iLike, according to information confirmed this morning. The release, Accelerate, will be streamed on the Facebook application starting March 24th, ahead of a formal in-store of April 1st.

    The band, carried by Warner Music Group, currently boasts an iLike friend total of 299,000. That is likely to increase following the exclusive stream, a major win for the application. R.E.M., which first gained fame in a decidedly non-digital era, carries a fan base that is probably less familiar with the iLike application.
    I hope iLike it.

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Andrew W.K. and the McLaughlin Group: Oh!

    Stereogum has the story:
    Nowadays The McLaughlin Group is working on a whole other level. The crazy analogies, the bald faced aggression -- it's not simple discourse anymore. The McLaughlin Group is operating on a level that is bigger than just words. That's why Fair Game is thrilled to welcome songwriter and rock star Andrew W. K., who was so inspired by Mclaughlin's artistry -- his poetry -- that he's used it as the basis for a new rock song.
    Stereogum of course has the MP3. I'd like to hear Andrew W.K. do a song based on the poetry of Andrew Dice Clay.

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Lou Reed Takes Berlin Out on Tour

    Lou Reed is taking Berlin to Europe (antiMUSIC):

    Lou Reed returns to Europe this June to perform the entirety of his 1973 landmark album. The European dates will see Reed performing with a 30-piece ensemble including his band, a string and horn section and a children's choir.

    The European tour starts June 23rd in Cork, followed by dates in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Belgium and Spain. Due to popular demand for this prestigious show, Berlin will make a special return visit to Brussels and Paris.

    Reed will perform three dates in the UK, including the prestigious London Royal Albert Hall on June 30th. He will also perform 'Berlin' at the Edinburgh Playhouse on June 25th, followed by the Nottingham Opera House on June 26th.

    'Berlin' 2008 European Dates:

    June 23 Cork Marquee
    June 24 Belfast Waterfront
    June 25 Edinburgh Playhouse
    June 26 Nottingham Royal Centre
    June 28 Paris Salle Pleyel
    June 30 London Royal Albert Hall
    July 03 Munich Philharmonie
    July 06 Hamburg CCH - Congress Centrum
    July 07 Copenhagen Opera House
    July 09 Stockholm Annexet
    July 11 Tallin Saku Arena (Estonia)
    July 12 Latvia Riga Arena
    July 14 Warsaw Towar
    July 16 Brussels Bozar
    July 19 Lisbon Campo Pequeno
    July 20 Loule Moinumento Dujarte Pacheco
    July 21 Malaga Terral Festival
    July 22 Madrid Conde Duque
    July 25 Girona Portaferrada Festival
    July 26 Benidorm Bullring

    I knew I should have booked my Estonia trip for July!

    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    EMI to Reissue David Bowie in Desperate Ploy

    Maybe not desperate, but here's the story (The Times online) so you can judge for yourself:
    David Bowie and Pink Floyd albums will be targeted by EMI’s revamped catalogues and compilations division to try to develop new sources of growth in the struggling British music major.

    The idea is to develop the success that EMI has had in repackaging music from the Beatles and Queen and build on a business that EMI said accounted for as much a third of its overall recorded music sales, and somewhat more of its profits.

    In an sign of the importance that Terra Firma, EMI’s owner, attaches to reviving the corporate back catalogue, the private equity group has put Stephen Alexander in charge of the division. He is a close colleague of Guy Hands, the private equity group’s boss.

    Mr Alexander, on his first day in the job, said that EMI had “not unversally applied” the treatment that it had given to the Beatles. “If you look at the recordings of David Bowie, it’s not clear that we have done them anything like justice,” he said.

    The article goes on to say that it might be hard to convince Bowie to allow them to rerelease familiar material, but Advanced Artists usually embrace this strategy. And as you'll see here, there is a real dearth of David Bowie CDs out there.

    But what I'd like to know is what EMI is going to do with Tin Machine.

    Monday, March 03, 2008


    The period before an artist becomes Advanced is called the "Overt" stage. It is called this because during this period the artist is trying to be innovative (or "weird" in Advanced parlance) in an obvious way. A good example of this would be David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust days. It doesn't take much imagination to recognize that a guy in kabuki makeup with shaved eyebrows wants to be seen as weird. (Of course there were hints of Advancement in his Overtness: you can't help but appreciate a space-alien rocker playing an acoustic twelve-string onstage, plus the music happened to be fantastic.) But what were we to make of the cover of "Dancing in the Streets" he did with Mick Jagger? Was that weird? If so, what kind of weirdness was it? What was he hoping to accomplish? Your guess is nearly as good as mine.

    Please don't misunderstand: Overt does not mean "bad." It just means that the artist hasn't Advanced yet. No one could ever say The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was bad, but it was definitely Overt. All Advanced Artists go through an Overt period, and it is during this period when they make their groundbreaking, brilliant music. In other words, the music is great, it's just not Advanced. So when I say that Radiohead are Overt, I don't mean that they aren't any good. They are, and if they split up, Thom Yorke could become Advanced. But if that never happens and they just keep making interesting music they will be one of the all-time-great Overt bands.

    One final thing about Overtness: There are plenty of Overt artists, but just because you're Overt doesn't mean you can become Advanced. You have to be Overt and great, too, and for at least fifteen years. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs could make music for 50 years and never be Advanced because her band just isn't good enough (plus she misbehaved at my karaoke show).

    Friday, February 29, 2008

    Rock Town Hall

    Just found a site (sent a link in the comments actually) that you might enjoy: Rock Town Hall. I've preselected the Lou Reed search results, but please explore the rest of the site. There's some good stuff there, including a great picture of a very Advanced looking Mark Knopfler.

    So What Is Advancement?

    I haven't done something like this for a while, so for our new readers, let's get you up to speed:

    What is Advancement?

    It is basically the opposite of the theory expressed by Sick Boy in Trainspotting: “Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed.” (Ironically, he told this to Renton, who Advances in the movie by renouncing drugs and "choosing life.") The Advanced Theory says that Sick Boy had it all wrong, that Bowie and Reed hadn't mysteriously lost “it,” they just changed “it” to something that is harder to appreciate. And since change is scary to most of us, we declare that the problem is with the artist and not us.

    Of course it is difficult for anyone to accept that Mistrial represented artistic progress from Transformer or that "All For Love," Sting's collaboration with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, could be more advanced than "Roxanne." (It's difficult for me too.) But a great artist is great because he challenges himself and his audience rather than doing what is comfortable. Artistically, "All For Love" was more exciting for Sting than writing another "Roxanne." And what could be more challenging than doing a song you know your fans will hate just on principle?

    Finding these kinds of challenges is essential to the Advanced because it is relatively easy for them to write great songs (in the traditional, non-Advanced sense) because songwriting comes naturally to them. This is not limited to Advanced musicians of course. Late in his life Tolstoy got more satisfaction from making mediocre shoes than writing sublime novels. To Tolstoy, the challenge of driving a nail into a sole without breaking it was more stimulating than writing the greatest novel of all time. After all, he did the latter twice.

    Before the Advanced had to look to Honda or Rod Stewart for inspiration, the challenge of breaking through to an audience was enough to motivate them to write music. As they aged, though, they began to understand that catering to an audience is limiting. Some reacted by making music designed especially to make the audience mad. But this is ultimately just as limiting because it is still allowing someone other than the artist to dictate what the art will be. So eventually instead of trying to please or infuriate others, they make music that they find interesting, regardless of how people might feel about it. And that's when true Advancement begins.