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I’ve been watching a lot of talk shows the past couple weeks and no matter which way you lean, there is no doubt in my mind that the artists have carefully selected the appropriate songs to play.
Here’s Ryan Adam‘s performance of “Oh My Sweet Carolina” on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. This is for a re-release of his brilliant album, Heartbreaker. The album originally came out in 2000 so he had no idea at the time how much the line “So I went on to Cleveland and I ended up insane” would fit in 2016.
Jenny Lewis’ new band Nice As Fuck make their statement with their songs “Door” The get a nice cheer with the line “And I believe in peace and love” as she pleads “Don’t close the Door”. They add a nice coda with the song “Guns”. singing repeatedly “I don’t want to be afraid, put your guns away”
Here’s case/lang/veirs on Good Morning America asking “Why are the wholesome things the one we make obscene?”
There is also the sledge hammer approach of Prophets of Rage. The band featuring featuring members of Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real,
appeared on Jimmy Kimmel with fists in the air and a sign in the background demanding to “Make America Rage Again”
And of course, there’s Weird Al on Conan spouting his conspiracy theories in the song “Foil”
This blog probably wouldn’t exist if not for my love of Wilco, so I always feel like I need to let the whole world wide web of music lovers know that Wilco is returning with new music.
It’s been a year since their last album Star Wars came out so the announcement of a new album came as a bit of a shock. But I say strike while the iron is hot. They are putting Bob Dylan to the test with what seems like their own version of the Never Ending Tour.
The two singles are acoustic numbers that have the feel of the Tweedy project, Jeff and his son worked on a few years back. It feels like the band is on a porch and just doing an impromptu jam. I don’t want to say the words Yacht Rock but it does have that peaceful, easy feeling going for it. However, as expected Jeff Tweedy says differently.
“I think this record is ‘joyously negative. It’s sad in a lot of ways but not in any that reach a conclusion of doom or hopelessness… I just had a lot of fun being sour about the things that upset me.”
Time will tell if this is the direction for the whole album which will be entitled, Wilco, Schmilco and is to be released on September 9.
“If I Ever Was A Child”
Artwork designed by the mad brain of Spanish cartoonist Joan Cornellà
Part of the appeal of the live performance is that it’s live and when artists are scheduled to go on, they go on stage and perform no matter what is going on in their lives or how they’re feeling. As the saying goes “The Show Must Go On”. If all goes according to plan, the artist has a good show and the audience has a good time. Once in a while though, the artist takes his issues on stage. We can have bad days at work and it’s not usually documented. Artists have a bad day and it’s all there for everyone to see.
Father John Misty had one of those days this weekend in Philadelphia, commented that “Entertainment is stupid“. His rant reminds me of the Cecily Strong Character “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party”
Of course, he’s not the first to lose focus during a show. Here are a few other instances where a performer kind of lost focus on why they are on stage:
Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day does not like the fact that he needs to get off the stage.
The kids might not know this but back in 1991 you could not record a performance. If someone brought a camera it could upset the performer especially if his name is Axl Rose. His tantrum angered fands and ended up causing a riot in St. Louis.
In 2009, Ne-Yo is apparently in a different head space then entertaining fans as he is in tears in the middle of a song and walks off the stage. He later blames it a sinus infection.
Sly Stone has other things on his mind at Coachella in 2010.
Courtney Love doesn’t like the fact that someone is holding up a photo of Kurt Cobain at her show which apparently reminds her of how much she hates Dave Grohl.
As I’ve been going in the spiral of the 70s LA punk rock scene after reading “Under The Big Black Sun“. I see that Frontier Records is still in business and doing the Good Lord’s work of delivering all your punk rock needs.
You can go here and get a number of amazing compilations from Dangerhouse Records. Also, my new/old discovery favorite Black Randy & The Metrosquad has their one album, Pass The Dust, I’m Think I’m Bowie now available for purchase.
The floor was slimy and the air was thick and hot
I hid in a booth and I tried to set up a cot
Some of the movies didn’t make any sense
But you sure can have a lot of fun for 25 cents
I slept in an arcade
I saw some geeks and I saw God
Marilyn Chambers and Big Johnny Wadd
Allen MacDonnell was in there with Rod
I bought a vinyl dog and a big rubber cod
I wore fine clothes and drank mixed drinks
I watched the pope fight Leon Spinks
Joe’s old nip mama was my maid
Fist Face poured amyl like lemonade
There was a dog in 24B
Working undercover for LAPD
I took his paw and he winked at me
He said I’m man’s best friend and I’m off at 3
Dawn came before I got much rest
I stumbled outside and I headed west
I blinked my eyes, I couldn’t see
Everybody there looked naked to me
There are a number of good shows this weekend but the one that stands out is the artist with a long, prolific career. I honestly believe he should be in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. That’s right, I’m talking Weird Al Yankovic. He’s playing two big shows at The Hollywood Bowl.
To show how amazing his career has been, I’ll post a well known song by an artist playing this weekend and then post a hit record that Weird Al had around that same time.
1983 Heartbreak Beat
1993 Runaway Train
1992 Smells Like Nirvana
1998 One Week
1996 Amish Paradise
2015 Stressed Out
Back in the 70s before we had access to everything and could hear practically everything ever recorded, you could be brought up to date on all the local happenings in the LA punk scene for the low, low d.i.y. price of 50 cents. Nothing looked like it back then and nothing looks like it now. I can’t imagine in this digital age some kid lovingly writing about their music scene in a physical newspaper. It’s all discussed in the new book “Under The Big Black Sun“. As Tom DeSavia writes:
“The importance of the birth of Slash magazine in May 1977…is immeasurable and cannot be overstated. The Brainchild of Steve Samiof and photographer Melanie Nissen not only brought the exploits of the LA scene to the world…but also helped set forth a style both in imaging and text that would go on to instantly define punk rock for eternity.”
The good news in this digital age is that all 29 issues of Slash Magazine are now available to download and enjoy for FREE by clicking here.
I’m still on my LA Punk kick thanks to Under The Big Black Sun so here are two songs I recently discovered. New to me, new to you.
As Chris Morris writes in his essay regarding the madness in some bands.
“There were certain bands to which I gave a wide berth. One of them was Black Randy and the Metro Squad….by all reports Black Randy was the loosest of cannons who lived out his skeevy lryics; I was somewhat apprehensive about a guy who left go-cups of his own shit as booby traps on nightclub floors-I kept my distance.”
From their cameo appearance in the punk rock classic movie, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains…and yes, that is Diane Lane as Corinne.
As Pleasant Gehman wrote in her essay .
“Everyone visited The Screamers; it was like paying homage to their greatness. I was so obsessed with them that I kept a CIA-like dossier on them in my journal surreptitiously nothing down pertinent facts such as their real names, the people they know (Divine, John Waters, The Ramones, Blondie), and even what they ate…the screaming spike-headed logo that artist Gary Panter created for them became one of the most recognized punk-rock images ever.”
I missed the L.A. Punk movement. Instead I had to settle ten years later for the Paisley scene. Not as cool. I just finished John Doe‘s anthology book “Under The Big Black Sun” that includes essays from many of the people associated with the LA punk scene.
John Doe, Henry Rollins, Jane Wiedlin among many other contribute passages. I loved the way some of the same remembrances were referenced, like the fact that Belinda Carlisle always wore a hefty trash bag cinched at the waist or the crazy happening at the Canterbury apartments.
Of course the best part was learning about the bands, The Germs, The Bags, The Flesheaters and Black Randy and The Metrosquad.
Based on the documentary, Decline of Western Civilization, I always assumed the punk scene was mostly about providing a creative outlet for poverty, anger and violence. This was clearly not the case. Most of the essayists denounced the violence and referenced that it became a problem once the Orange County culture started coming to the scene. There is an essay in the book from Orange County native and TSOL singer Jack Grisham that explains why he perpetrated the violence. It’s easily one of the most shocking essays in the book.
“My violence was ever directed at other punks, My angers was directed at those who said we can’t or we should not…”You could ask me about the backlash from the violence…”You could ask me whether I could ever live vanilla when I had raped and slashed my way through the soft flesh of a rainbow. I apologize for nothing…although I no longer hold to those beliefs, I don’t regret them”
Much of the music is available on a compilation from an extinct pop label called Dangerhouse. It’s streaming on Spotify. I think the music is still thrilling.
If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.
Maybe life is random, but I doubt it.
“Seems like the light at the end of the tunnel may be you.”
“The things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those that got there first.
“Songwriting is a bitch. And then it has puppies”
“Love may be the best driving wheel, but anger is a pretty good second.”
“Well hellfire save matches, fuck a duck and see what hatches!”
Just a few quotes from the famous lips of Steven Tyler. After 40+ years, he’s releasing his first solo record and the title is another quotable quote “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere”. The album is country leaning which if anyone has been paying attention to Aerosmith‘s work in the last 30 years makes perfect sense. “Cryin’ is an obvious country song but so is “Angel” and “Amazing“. The album isn’t going to make anyone forgot Aerosmith, just ask Mick Jagger about how his solo records fared, but it’s a good musical step.