Saturday, January 16, 2010


I have been massively busy with musical projects over the past few months, so the 4 of you people who ever looked at my blog are probably not on the tips of your toes waiting for my next post but I will try and keep this thing out of the cyber graveyard from now on. I promise! A lot is going on musically in the world and SF and i will be on top of it shortly.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Mother Hips

Quickly, The Mother Hips' new record "Pacific Dust" came out on Tuesday and it's sounding pritty heavy and sweet. you can preview 4 songs here at A tour will begin of the Pacific Coast and some select dates in Austin and New York in Nov-Dec. Help support these guys who have been through more ups and downs than any other independent Rock & Roll band in California has in the past 18 years that I can think of.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Future Is Unwritten (2007) dir. by Julien Temple

Oddly, Joe Strummer has only become an important influence on me in about the last nine or ten years. Being 29 I doubt that that is very unusual for someone my age. But the influence that I've taken from him in that time has not been of the musical sort. The Clash first touched me at age 14 - also not so unusual- and that was my introduction to him. Their music reached me far before I really had any grasp of what the man behind the voice represented. Of course what I thought I knew turned out to be right. That he was a truly righteous man with a genuine care for the world and the people in it. Especially those directly within earshot of his music. But what I didn't know, turned out to shape this man, in my eyes, into something of a personal hero.

Julien Temple's documentary is a bit confusing -albeit offbeat and original- but with the subject matter at hand and accessibility to those who knew Strummer best, it's kind of hard to make bad. Some of the heads interviewed are instantly recognizable and obvious (Bono, Johnny Depp) where as others go un-named and unknown (if you don't know, that is). The story is split into three parts, pre-Clash, Clash, and post Clash. A lot of information came up that I had not previously know which left me a bit shocked. One example being that he had a brother who had committed suicide after having turned into a sort of Nazi. And Strummer's having to ID the body leaving a profound effect on him. It was also news to me that an opening band for his group the 101'ers, The Sex Pistols, completely flipped his mind and what his musical and personal path would ultimately be from then on.

From busking hippie to to righteous troubadour, one thing is apparent in this whole story: That while I admire his personal beliefs (ok, ok, aside from that brief stint of techno championing) and his impenetrable integrity, he was no saint. Like anybody he made a few adversaries and had some regrets. But unlike everybody he persisted through depression, breakups, alcoholism, exhaustion and what must have been truly the most baffling of all revelations: That he was no longer a star. But of course that didn't phase him in the end. He remained a positive and humble man and played the music he loved right up to his untimely death in December of 2002. This film is a celebration of a man who has seen it all from dingy clubs to massive stadiums. From musical and creative exile, to back behind the mic and touring the world on his own. The feel of the movie is literally that of campfire stories about a good buddy who no longer can sing along and who those he touched will continue to miss. He was a persons person and never acted above his audience or fans which in itself is a rare thing in the filthy depths of the music industry.

Also of interest might be Dick Rude's documentary "let's Rock Again" from 2004 which chronicles the twilight years of his life with his last band The Mescaleros. A scene where he's handing out handwritten fliers to unassuming passer's is both heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Hard to believe, really, but John Lennon's 69th birthday would have been yesterday. Words just won't do.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stop Breathin'...NOW!

On September 15, 2009, Brooklyn Vegan reported that Pavement are scheduled to perform multiple benefit show dates in New York City's Central Park beginning on September 21, 2010. Official statements by the band, label, venue and promoter were released on September 17, 2009 confirming the reunion. The announcement included one concert in Central Park and the promise of a tour, but said that the reunion may only be a one-off event. It said, "Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion." Tickets for the first Central Park concert sold out in two minutes, leading to the announcement of three more shows at the same venue.

Really guys!? REALLY?! Well fuck yeah then! We all heard the rumors swell up and then die again via Malkmus' relentless sarcasm. But now, alas, it is true and yours truly may finally get to see the band that was the soundtrack basically for my teenage formative years. And one of the only bands that stuck with me (or anyone else really) from that era of music. That is, assuming they make it to the west coast...

Sorry to anyone who reads this - or doesn't anymore - for the lack of posts and this page resembling some sort of Rock & Roll Obituary. I will keep up when I can from now on

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jim Dickinson - Nov 15th, 1941 - Aug 15th 2009

The world lost another legendary music man last Saturday with the passing of Jim Dickinson. He was an infamous Memphis man. He played piano with the Atlantic rhythm section (not to be confused with the "actual band") and backed artists like Aretha and the like in the early 70's. Him being there in Muscle Shoals led to a guest appearance on The Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers" on "Wild Horses". Such stories are pretty trite when trying to describe a guy like Jim Dickinson. He had a wild personality that carried on that Sun Records legacy with him as he brought energy and inspiration to sessions that he produced for Big Star, The Replacements and many many more.

Jim was involved in music right up until his death and stayed surprisingly relevant and in demand making up to date albums with bands including Mudhoney and more in the past decade. He is another link in the chain that may well seem to be broken or faded if not for the fact that his two sons carry on the Dickinson name with The North Mississippi All Stars and with Luther, who is now a full time member of the Black Crowes as well. R.I.P. Jim


Friday, August 14, 2009

Les Paul (June 9, 1915 - August 13, 2009)

The many talents of the late Les Paul are probably some of the most underrated in the world of music. And by that I mean ALL music. His innovations in guitars and on recording equipment almost single handily changed the worlds of guitar driven music and all music recording in general. The inventions that he made are mind blowing. I'd have a hard time explaining to you how important this man was in so little words so you can read about him here.

I'll just say that he invented the overdub and his guitar inventions eventually spawned the Les Paul model guitar seen to the right here with Paul McCartney and played by just about every professional guitar player at least once over the past 50 years. Everyone from Guns & Roses' Slash to George Harrison to Jimi Page.

The legacy he left was undeniable and he was also a very influential guitar player inspiring many musicians behind him aside from his inventing. Aside from pioneering a guitar style that became popular for it's surf reverb and echo as well as unmatched technical dexterity. he also could be found in New York City playing weekly well into his 90's. His songwriting and partnership with his wife Mary Ford also spawned many top 40 hits in the late 40's and 50's.

He will be missed for sure and anyone who loves any music owes a debt of gratitude to this genius of the music world.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What DID The Doctor Order?

DR HOOK & THE MEDICINE SHOW: Best of Musikladen

There are words to describe what goes on here in 1974 on the German music television show Musikladen but you must see, first hand, for yourself what kind of freakish carnival ride this band was at that time. So entertaining - I'm even gonna assume for non fans or for those who have never heard of this band -on first viewing that I watched it 3 times in a row at first in absolute shock and awe at what exactly I was seeing.

All I'm gonna say is that these guys - all of them - were on something. I've had various discussions with other viewers and ultimately what it probably comes down to is that they were really, really drunk and on LSD. Possibly cocaine was involved but at that point, what's the difference.

That aside, the band was on fire. Probably a result of touring hard at that time. What's remarkable is that nothing looks planned here. Its chaotic madness but with rare precision from a band that resembles every rock and roll cliche or vision I've had of a band that are no strangers to indulgence. Most of the songs were written by the inimitable Shel Silverstein which lends perfectly to the imagery that this crazed bunch of lunatics were unleashing.

I know that top 5's and 10's lists can be spotty at best but I'd put this way at the top of the list of live concert material that I've seen in my years. I'd probably watch it over most other rock DVDs out there. It's short and sweet, massively entertaining and and a good time will be had by all. Even if you just know them by the Cover of The Rolling Stone song. Even if you've never heard of them at all. And even if you don't enjoy the music here, the sight of these guys doing thier thing will grab you. See it. You will not be dissapointed. I probably won't say that about many things.

Random News

Saw a 6 piece rocksteady band last night at the Hotel Utah. Thumbs waaaaaaaaaay fucking down for that place these days. What the fuck happened to the charming bartenders and friendly staff there. Not to mention that at $4.50 a beer it's a wonder anyone there was drunk. This spot has become a haven for 9to5-ers to"cut loose" after a hard day in the cubicle and it's quite uncomfortable if you know what I mean. Anyways... I got off track. The band was called The Titan Ups and they were great. It was rocksteady with a punk edge, teetering on the brink of completely losing it at any minute. But alas they didn't. Vocalist Bob Reed (Overwhelming Colorfast, Oranger) is a staggering presence and who knew he had the pipes for this sort of thing. A friend mentioned that it may be his calling and I agree. They have no website, no record, no nothin, just a killer live set (that was cut short by a 9 piece funk band?!) and a great energy. Which makes me like them even more because there's no hidden agenda.

Sonic Youth is playing the Independent on monday The 3rd following thier show on sunday at the Fox Theater in Oakland. While this closely resembles a wet dream, I won't see you there because apparently it sold out in about -5 seconds. Try your luck with a sneak in if you so dare. I happen to be crippled right now so I'm not very sly. Not that I condone sneaking in anywhere or anything like that.

Flakes and Th Losin Streaks tonight at El Rio as posted below and I will be there.

Also some very strange news: Black Francis is playing next Saturday and Sunday at the Hotel Utah (uuggghhh) which I only discovered after seeing a flier on the wall! lots of shit happening next weekend but I may revisit that dump on Sunday to catch this if I can stomach it again. So mad at the Utah right now!

Saturday the 8th: Gris Gris with Spindrift at Great American Music Hall. Enough said there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back from the Garage

This Saturday! The Flakes return to El Rio With Sacramento's Th' Losin Streaks. Glad to see these guys both rocking again.

Speaking of good to see ya again. SF psych dears Gris Gris are fooling no one with their "last shows" and "broken up"-isms anymore and will be playing next Friday the 6th at The Great American Music Hall. That combo of band and venue is likely to be synergy of the best kind and shouldn't be missed.