Sunday, June 07, 2009


Graham Nash, who was the mastermind behind the new critically-acclaimed Crosby, Stills & Nash Demos collection, says that he was always aware of the value of the band's early work tapes: "I just realized that our music is what we are, and it's far more important than any of ours individually. And I've always treated it -- not as my children, of course children are much more important -- but as our legacy. And I've always known that these tapes needed to be stored correctly and temperature-controlled and kept in the best shape possible, and it's paid off."

Nash says that he's already thinking ahead to the group's future vault releases and has been digging out some of the more interesting tapes: "I'm listening to my last solo electric tour -- which is very interesting, me and Crosby '93 acoustic, CSNY 1974 stadium tour music, lots of stuff."

The tracklisting to Crosby, Stills & Nash: Demos is: "Marrakesh Express" (1969) by Crosby, Stills & Nash; "Almost Cut My Hair (1969) by David Crosby; "You Don't Have To Cry" (1968) by Stephen Stills; "Deja Vu" (1969) by David Crosby; "Sleep Song (1969) by Graham Nash; "My Love Is A Gentle Thing" (1968) by Stephen Stills; "Be Yourself" (1971) by Graham Nash; "Music Is Love" (1970) by David Crosby, Neil Young & Graham Nash; "Singing Call" (1970) by Stephen Stills; "Long Time Gone" (1968) by David Crosby & Stephen Stills; "Chicago" (1970) by Graham Nash; "Love The One You're With" (1970) by Stephen Stills

Friday, June 05, 2009

How Moonalice Turned One Businessman’s Dream Into a T Bone Burnett-Produced LP

How Moonalice Turned One Businessman’s Dream Into a T Bone Burnett-Produced LP

At a recent Moonalice gig, guitarist and arranger G.E. Smith decided to keep the band on its toes: Out of the blue, he told everyone to start playing Emmylou Harris’ “Crescent City,” which wasn’t on the set list. The bass player, Chubby Wombat Moonalice, was momentarily thrown for a loop. “For the first verse I was fighting the bass the whole way,” he sighs. “Humbling shit happens every night.”

By day, Roger McNamee invests in businesses: His private equity firm, Elevation Partners, has pumped millions of dollars into media companies like Palm and Forbes. But by night or weekend, McNamee is investing in something very different: his long-suppressed desire to rock. Ever since his college days at Yale, McNamee, 52, has played in bands. But starting a decade ago, McNamee took his passion to another level. First he hired former Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady and former Saturday Night Live bandleader Smith to improve the chops of McNamee’s Bay Area band, the Flying Other Brothers. That band gradually morphed into Moonalice, which currently includes Smith, Casady, former Jefferson Starship keyboardist Pete Sears — and, on guitar, bass, and vocals, McNamee.

McNamee’s quest to rock didn’t end there. He assumed the Chubby Wombat Moonalice stage name, grew his hair out, then asked his friend T Bone Burnett to produce the band’s debut album, Moonalice, which has a muted roots-rock sound not unlike that of Robert Plant and Alison Kraus’ Burnett-produced Raising Sand. Bono, one of McNamee’s partners in Elevation, suggested McNamee’s wife Ann sing lead. McNamee also hired classic San Francisco artists like Stanley Mouse to create posters for fictitious Moonalice concerts and paid Jerry Garcia’s former manager Steve Parish to be Moonalice’s tour manager. “This is a fairly unique situation,” says Smith. “I know there are other affluent people who have put some money into a band, but they kept it at that hobby level. This is not a hobby band by any means.”

Since McNamee pays for pretty much everything — musicians, poster artists, a tour bus — he’s accustomed to charges that he’s buying his way into the music business. “Because I had a day job profile, everyone who knew me from that world just assumed I couldn’t possibly be a working musician,” he says. “And initially a lot of musicians were skeptical I was just a dilettante.” To show how serious he is, Moonalice have played over 100 shows around the country, sometimes for as little as a handful of customers. McNamee — who won’t say how much cash he’s put into Moonalice — admits that the band is losing money but says he doesn’t care. “The investment business has almost nothing where you’re in the moment,” he says. “The music business is all about that moment.”

The band has broken ground on the Internet, by rocking the first ever Twittercasts — live broadcasts of their gigs via their Twitter. The band’s sound team records, digitizes and uploads song in real time, then Tweets about its availability.

Burnett, who produced the album for free out of friendship with McNamee, shrugs when the money issue is brought up. Smith admits he became involved for practical reasons: “Work is work.” But like Burnett, he’s been won over by McNamee’s diligence and the larger financial issue: the way McNamee is supporting a network of older musicians, artists and venues alike. (McNamee co-owns San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall.) “Roger’s completely benevolent,” says Burnett. “A lot of musicians have day jobs. He just has a better day job.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Death of the CD-Release Complex

"The Death of the CD-Release Complex"

Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor


In his seminal release Purple Cow, marketer Seth Godin declared, “The Death of the TV-Industrial Complex.” Explaining that, over the past fifty years ever-growing companies had built huge economic engines around the idea of a system that’s going away, because the symbiotic relationship between consumer demand and TV advertising could no longer be relied upon to churn out seemingly endless profits. This process of spreading ideas through interrupting people with ads to get more distribution, to sell more products, which makes you enough profit to interrupt that same person again, was over.

Twenty-seven years ago, a similar system was built when the CD was introduced into the market. Promoted as “perfect sound forever,” music fans were told to trade in their tapes and records for the robustness, durability, and quality that the new format offered. In droves, people would go onto replace their collections. Demand was at an all time high and the Recording Industry boomed. Born into a different world than its predecessors, the great success of the CD would forever change the role that record labels played in people’s lives and how future releases would be promoted.

"These mediums, when utilized together, formed an abstract system
that record labels used influence people..."

Through marketing campaigns that encompassed radio, television, print, and big box retailers, commercial music reached its intended audience of the masses. These mediums, when utilized together, formed an abstract system that record labels used influence people and regulate the flow of culture into their lives. This in turn, has caused previous generations to develop a strong relationship with specific delivery mechanisms and rely on them for new music. Once primed, these mechanisms fired off structured points of interaction that lubricated a single into rotation and stimulated demand for the album.

“What developed,” Yochai Benkler, author of The Wealth of Networks, elaborates, “was a concentrated, commercial industry, based on massive financial investments in advertising, or preference formation, aimed at getting ever-larger crowds to want those recordings that those recording executives had chosen.” With this, the shift from selling music to units began and increasing quarterly earnings to please investors in the short run replaced pleasing fans in the long run. Systematically, as not to compete with each other or confuse the budget of the individual, these recordings were pushed out regardless. Based on whether or not they would sell, rather than the quality of music or the artist’s abilities.

Music for the Masses

Previously, I’ve referred to this abstract system as “The CD-Release Complex.” It is the backbone of the modern Recording Industry, one built around the idea that music fans discover music through the same mediums that records labels use to promote new music. Often times, this resulted in a bond between the mechanism and the individual that grew stronger than their connection to the music that it delivered. Through this, Major Labels learned that they could influence a person’s behavior with a combination of emotions and impulses that had been rejected from awareness of the individual.

"Meanwhile, a huge marketing push, consisting of
guest appearances and interviews would build anticipation..."

Three months before release, reps sent the single to radio stations for promotion. If the record label needed big hit that quarter, favors were exchanged with Disc Jockeys to guarantee extra rotation. Shortly after, they over spent on a music video and shipped it off to MTV. About a couple phone calls and a few more ‘personal favors’ later, elaborate press kits were sent to big media outlets and select music publications. Even though no one had even heard the album, it arrived under the assumption that a favorable review would be given. Meanwhile, a huge marketing push, consisting of guest appearances and interviews would build anticipation and prepare the album for its Tuesday release.

For this process to produce desirable results, it required an individual to be reliant on specific delivery mechanisms. Without reliance, a song isn’t able to as efficiently circulate through the system and grow on the individual in a short period of time. Slowly progressing onward to the next single wherein the artist can begin to develop a relationship and connection to their story. The system is designed to garner a high-level of familiarity and to incrementally expose a person to new music that lands just outside their worldview. Essentially, this amounts to browsing within mediated contexts and when everyone else involved is exposed to the same music it becomes the sociocultural superglue of that generation.

"it becomes clear that we essentially miss the effect of
their structural influence and how it's used to develop
our tastes subtly, over long periods of time..."

Throughout the mechanization of this industry, what used to be “extensions of fan” undoubtedly transformed into the “extensions of man.” In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan proposed that, “The Medium is the [Music]," meaning that the forms of specific delivery mechanisms have embedded themselves into the music, creating a symbiotic relationship by which record labels influence how the music is perceived. When you concentrate on the mechanisms and how they convey commercial culture—rather than on the specific music the record labels have used them deliver—it becomes clear that we essentially miss the effect of their structural influence and how it’s used to develop our tastes subtly, over long periods of time.


Over the past ten years, what the Recording Industry has found out is that The CD-Release Complex stopped working. The artists they throw at pop radio no longer stick and sell the five million copies that were required pay for the other ten attempts that failed. Music fans no longer rely on the mediums that labels use to promote music, because by the time the music actually gets there, it’s not new, it’s just popular. The hardest lesson of all is that fan-artist relationship isn’t a buzz word. It’s the very reasoning behind fans carelessly ‘stealing music’ from artists they have no connection with and believe to be rich.

Contrary to popular belief, the CD isn’t dead. What’s fundamentally changed is the way that we think about how to build sustainable careers and promoting music. For aspiring artists, the question used to be, how do I get on radio, a video on MTV, or a write up in The Rolling Stone? The answer was simple, but the pursuit to actually get signed to a major label wasn’t. Today, the question is: How do I get on that person’s iPod? The problem is that if individual relies on the Internet to find and listen to new music then record labels can’t use multi-million dollar marketing campaigns to help you answer that question.

“We built a huge economic engine around
the idea of this system, and now it’s going away.”

What’s happened, Godin addresses, is that, “We built a huge economic engine around the idea of this system, and now it’s going away.” As we’ve been told, the primary financial troubles that record labels have had are caused through people file-sharing and stealing music that they would have otherwise purchased. It’s not that there isn’t some truth to that statement, because there is. However, I believe that by clinging to that idea we’ve greatly ignored the changes in the media landscape and consumer behavior, which have been far more subtle and sophisticated than anything we could’ve ever imagined.

Bringing me back to the assertion I made in Communization And The Rise Of The Music Fan, that the cultural inversion that professor Mike Wesch speaks of is a perfect example of how the way people interact with music has changed. Music fans are becoming increasingly individual and the more individualized they become, the more they value this sense and want for community or ‘tribe.’ They become more independent yet long for stronger relationships. There is commercialization all around them; therefore, they now seek out music that is real, authentic, and meaningful. With that, one by one music fans have left the complex and it no longer plays as vital of a role in their lives. For up-and-coming generations, they don’t even know what the complex is, because many of the things that created its illusion are already gone.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moonalice - Investment pays off for late-blooming rocker

Investment pays off for late-blooming rocker

Aidin Vaziri, Chronicle Pop Music Critic

Monday, April 13, 2009

Roger McNamee knows what you think.

That he's just some long-haired Silicon Valley billionaire living out a dormant teenage fantasy by hiring the best band money can buy.
View Larger Image

That he simply had to open his wallet to get studio time with T Bone Burnett, the man who swept the Grammys last year for his work on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand."

That chartering private flights and putting up his musicians at four-star hotels in cities where only a dozen people come to the concerts is an indulgence only Bono's business partner could afford.

But McNamee, 52, who sings and plays guitar in the band Moonalice under the lovable alias Chubby Wombat, says you're wrong.

Moonalice, which releases that self-titled premiere album Tuesday, is not only a project that the founder of the private-equity firm Elevation Partners takes as seriously as his investment portfolio, but an experiment he hopes will shake up the way the music industry operates as a whole.

"I have never let go of the dream of being in a great band, and I have structured my life for the past 30 years to allow me to pursue that dream," McNamee says, backstage at Don Quixote's nightclub in Felton, just outside of Santa Cruz.

To that end, he's brought in guitarist G.E. Smith, 57, former leader of the "Saturday Night Live" band, and Jack Casady, who made his name playing bass with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. "If this didn't feel worthwhile, I wouldn't do it," Smith says, having just flown in from New York.

There's also pedal-steel guitarist Barry Sless, keyboardist Pete Sears and drummer Jimmy Sanchez, who have individually played with everyone from Rod Stewart to Bonnie Raitt. And there's McNamee's wife, Ann, who plays percussion and provides background vocals.

"We have no children, and we don't play golf," he says. "So we do the band."

Even though he's the only one with a day job, McNamee isn't exactly new to this. Between Moonalice and his former band, the Flying Other Brothers, he estimates he's played 800 shows. He's also put in time as a business adviser to the Grateful Dead and Pearl Jam, while U2 lead singer Bono is a general partner at Elevation.

"The music business sucks," McNamee says, so he's treating Moonalice like one of his many entrepreneurial startups. The business model includes giving away music, videos, posters, even cupcakes, in the hopes of drawing people to the shows. "It's an explicit trade," he says. For those who can't make it, Moonalice is one of the first bands to send out free high-quality MP3 files in real time via Twitter.

"The old deal is over with," Smith shrugs. "So let's try some new stuff."

The songs they make together are heavily indebted to the breezy cosmic-hippie jams of the Dead. McNamee has a modest voice, but watching him in action as Mr. Wombat in his blue jeans and ubiquitous purple T-shirt, you actually believe this is where he belongs, not the boardroom.

"Every musician starts out as a fan," McNamee says. "I'm just a spectacularly late bloomer."

To hear Moonalice's music, go to

E-mail Aidin Vaziri at

This article appeared on page E - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday, April 11, 2009



Out now are two new collections of vintage Grateful Dead gigs. The more expansive of the pair is the nine-disc box set Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings, which features all 72 songs the band performed during their three-night residency at the legendary San Francisco venue on November 9th, 10th, and 11th, 1973.

Highlights on Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings include: "Me & Bobby McGee," "Don't Ease Me In," "China Cat Sunflower," "I Know You Rider," "Here Comes Sunshine," "Greatest Story Ever Told," "Eyes Of The World," "China Doll," "Deal," "Mexicali Blues," "Tennessee Jed," "El Paso," "Uncle John's Band," "Stella Blue," "Truckin'," "Sugar Magnolia," "Casey Jones," "Ramble On Rose," "Loose Lucy," "Weather Report Suite: Prelude/Part I/Part II (Let It Grow)" and "Dark Star."

Also released is To Terrapin: Hartford '77, recorded on May 28th, 1977 at the Hartford Civic Center and featuring the band's classic '70s lineup of Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, and Keith and Donna Godchaux. During the show the band previewed soon-to-be classic tracks from their Terrapin Station album, which was released the following July.

The complete tracklisting for To Terrapin: Hartford '77 is: "Bertha," "Good Lovin'," "Sugaree," "Jack Straw," "Row Jimmy," "New Minglewood Blues," "Candyman," "Passenger," "Brown-Eyed Woman," "Promised Land," "Samson And Delilah," "Tennessee Jed," "Estimated Prophet," "Playing In The Band," "Terrapin Station," "Drums," "Not Fade Away," "Wharf Rat," "Playing In The Band," "One More Saturday Night," and "U.S. Blues."

Mickey Hart takes delight in releasing the Dead's vault tapes and turning fans on to shows that have only existed on less-than-perfect sounding bootlegs: "Oh, it's very exciting because we can revisit all these marvelous moments, you know, and shine it all up, and let the people who have never really heard it really get a chance to savor this music, so it is quite exciting. There's been a lot of demand for it, and we'll keep releasing it as long as the people want it. You know, it just keeps on flowing. There's more demand now for it than ever."

The Dead, featuring Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, along with guitarist Warren Haynes and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, kick off their 22-date tour on April 12th in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Moonalice - Next Live Twittercast - Saturday night 4/11/09 from Redwood City, CA!!!


Back by popular demand!!!

Saturday night's show from the Little Fox in Redwood City will be twittercast live. The procedure will be the same as last Friday. Just follow the band on Twitter for updates and links to songs. It's incredibly easy: just go to and press the follow button.

Leave reality at the door and spend a night with the Tribe!!!

Tom Rush releases first studio album in 35 years

VIENNA, Virginia – Tom Rush says he's the biggest slacker in folk music. It took him 35 years to release his latest CD, "What I Know."

He blames a combination of "sloth," "inertia" and trouble landing a record deal for the long delay.

The 68-year-old Rush was touring most of those years, except for the time he tried farming.

While Rush co-wrote seven of the 15 tracks on the album, he's primarily known for being an interpreter of other artists' music. He was the first to record songs by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Taylor has even credited Rush with his career. But Rush has never become as famous as those whose songs he sings.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Original Beatles digitally remastered

LONDON (Reuters) – The original Beatles catalog has been digitally remastered for the first time and will go on sale in CD format on September 9, the band's record label and company announced Tuesday.

The release will coincide with the launch of "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game, the British quartet's first major leap into the world of digital music.

The catalog will not be available online for the foreseeable future, although the digital remastering is widely seen as bringing that process one step closer.

"Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalog will continue," a statement issued on behalf of record label EMI and Beatles company Apple Corps Ltd said.

"There is no further information available at this time."

Fans of arguably the world's most successful pop band, with album sales of more than 600 million worldwide, are eager for the Beatles to release the catalog online.

The group is one of the few big acts left whose music is not available on Apple Inc's iTunes, but the settlement of a trademark dispute between Apple Inc and Apple Corps Ltd in 2007 was seen as finally clearing the way.

The new collection comprises 12 Beatles albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in Britain, and "Magical Mystery Tour," which became part of the Beatles' core catalog when the CDs were released in 1987.

In addition the collections "Past Masters Vol. I and II" are combined as one title, making up 14 titles overall.

"This will mark the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc," the statement said.

The 14 albums will be available for purchase individually or together in a stereo boxed set.

For the specialist collector, there will be another boxed set called "The Beatles in Mono" which combines all of the Beatles recordings that were mixed for a mono release.

The albums were remastered by a team of engineers at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London over four years using up-to-date recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

Music Review: Young tackles bailouts on new CD

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Writer Scott Bauer, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 54 mins ago

Neil Young, "Fork in the Road" (Reprise)

Give Neil Young credit for following his muse.

Throughout his storied career, Young has never been one to shy away from the idiosyncratic project, whether his fans want to come along or not.

On his latest, the hastily written and recorded "Fork in the Road," Young takes on the hot topics of the day. He sings about electric cars, green energy, bailouts and even his own career.

"I'm a big rock star," Young drolly sings over a thumping blues beat on the title track, the best song on the record. "My sales have tanked, but I still got you. Thanks!"

It's a very funny song. How could it not be when Young starts it off by talking about his pot belly?

Funny, yes. But just because it's funny doesn't mean it can stand alongside Young's best work, or that it will stand the test of time. That's the problem with topical records like "Fork in the Road."

And then there's songs like "Fuel Line" with lyrics extolling the virtues of electric cars that come off as borderline silly: "The awesome power of electricity, stored for you in a giant battery."

"Fork in the Road" takes on the issues of the day much like 2006's "Living With War" did, but only in a kinder, gentler way.

While on the earlier record Young was venting his anger and frustration over President George W. Bush and the Iraq War, on "Fork in the Road" the most vitriol Young hurls is at fat cats on Wall Street.

"There's a bailout coming but it's not for me," Young sings on the title track. "It's for all those creeps watching tickers on TV."

Go get 'em, Neil.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: It only takes one listen to Young spitting out the chorus to "Cough Up the Bucks" to have it stuck in your head for hours. And Young taps into questions that a lot of people are likely having in this time of government bailouts and recession: "Where did all the cash flow? Where did all the money go? Cough up the bucks!"

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Here's the press release:



* * * * *



It's one small step for man, but one giant step for music. Moonalice, the Bay Area act that features musical all-stars including GE Smith and Barry Sless, is going where no band has gone before – a real-time Twitter concert. Always at the forefront of the latest digital developments, Moonalice will post their upcoming CD release show and party on April 3rd at Slim’s in San Francisco at . Immediately following each song during the show, Moonalice’s sound team will take that song's audio, digitize it, upload it and “Tweet” about its availability—all before the group finishes playing the very next song. This is the first time that any artist has broadcast a concert in real time on the Twitter platform.

Twitter CEO Evan Williams says, “We are amazed by all the new ways people are using Twitter and what Moonalice is doing exemplifies this to the core. Twittering a live show is a new and profoundly cool way for a band to reach its fan base and beyond and we hope to see more of this as bands see the value of connecting to their audience in new ways.”

In addition to Smith (Saturday Night Live house band, Hall & Oates, Bob Dylan) and Sless (David Nelson Band, Phil Lesh & Friends), Moonalice includes veteran players Pete Sears (Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship), Ann McNamee (Flying Other Brothers, Ann Atomic), Jimmy Sanchez (Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt), Roger McNamee (Flying Other Brothers) and occasional seventh member Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna).

On April 14th, 2009, Moonalice will release their self-titled debut studio effort. The band entrusted legendary producer T Bone Burnett to help transform the highly regarded Moonalice live act into a gem of studio wizardry. Burnett recently won both “Record of the Year” and “Album of the Year” Grammy Awards for his work on Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand. Listeners are sure to notice the sound quality of Moonalice, due not only to its sterling musicianship and exceptional production, but also because it features Burnett’s innovative new XOΔE (CODE in Greek letters) mastering technology. In addition to the CD, the DVD-V is packed with a high-resolution stereo version (24-bit/96 kHz), as well as optimized MP3, AAC and FLAC formats, plus two music videos. The entire package comes at the price of a regular, single CD.

In addition to their Twitter CD release show, Moonalice is currently racking up the miles on a nationwide 2009 tour (see for full schedule). At every show, the audience receives a free, limited edition poster, as well as local updates to the Moonalice legend. All posters are four-color offset lithographs, created by San Francisco’s finest poster artists.

For more information, visit:

To find Moonalice on Twitter, visit:

# # #


Erik Stein


Monday, March 30, 2009




Bob Weir says that the Dead is hard at work getting the band in shape for their upcoming tour, and digging deep into its back catalogue for the band's first extended trek in five years.

Weir explained that they have been working on material that hasn't been performed live by the band since around the time of their Wake Of The Flood album: "Um, (laughs) well we're trying to bring out as many tunes as we can. We've got 150 tunes that we're working on, I don't know how realistic it is that we'll be able to bring that many out (on the road) -- but we'll do a bunch of 'em. I'm doing tunes that I haven't played in 35 years or so, there are a few of 'em, actually. That said, they'll be all the old favorites. Some that really, I don't know why I dropped them from our repertoire, but they're sort of sitting up for us."




Happy Birthday to Eric Clapton, who turns 64 today (March 30th, 1945)!!! Since his mid-'60s stint in the Yardbirds, through John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and his solo career, Clapton -- who was affectionately dubbed "Slowhand" by his fans -- has come to personify the best in blues-rock guitar.

Last month Clapton teamed up with fellow former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck for a handful of dates in Japan and later this spring will undertake a 14-city tour with former Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood. Clapton says that he doesn't mind reigniting past partnerships as long as they go as smoothly as Cream's 2005 series of concerts did: "Well, we all knew where we were, for one thing. You know, we were kind of in the same place at the same time. I suppose from just having really come full circle in my own life and really enjoying my family and feeling like it would be good to do something worthwhile, not just leave that as a memory. You know, when, when everyone was still available to do it."

One of the downsides to having such a long and influential career is that Clapton's current work is always measured against his past successes. He admits that he's easily insulted when people tell him that they prefer his earlier work: "People have said to me, 'Your best work was with Cream.' And I think, 'Oh, well, I know you think you're paying me a huge compliment, but in actual fact, it's kind of, you know, it's a little bit upsetting that you don't care about what I'm doing now.'"

Clapton, who's married with three young daughters at home and an older one from a previous relationship in school, also said that having a stable family and home life keeps him grounded: "I'm hoping, maybe, that there's an evolution going on in my character, which makes it so that I'm just a little bit more accessible -- a little bit more sane -- about the reality of what I need to be, you know, and what my life is composed of these days. I'm married and I have kids, and that, that home thing is actually there, and is actually waiting for me. So it's not so much anxiety about that anymore. Nothing has to be that drastic or dramatic as it used to be."

Clapton kicks off his next set of solo dates May 11th in Dublin. His joint tour with Steve Winwood begins on June 10th in East Rutherford, New Jersey at the Izod Center.

Crosby, Stills & Nash dust off old demos

DETROIT (Billboard) – Early recordings of a dozen Crosby, Stills & Nash tracks -- including favorites such as "Marrakesh Express," "Almost Cut My Hair," "Deja Vu," "Love the One You're With" and "Chicago" -- will be featured on an album of demos due in stores on June 2.

The release of the Rhino Records set, "Crosby, Stills & Nash Demos," coincides with the trio's June 18 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and a brief summer tour of the United States and Europe.

"It's fascinating stuff," Graham Nash, who co-produced the set with Joel Bernstein, told "On some of these songs you really hear us becoming a band, trying out different ideas in our songwriting and singing and harmonies. It really is a time capsule."

The "Demos" version of "Long Time Gone," for instance, features just Crosby and Stills during June of 1968, a few weeks before Nash joined the group. "Marrakesh Express," meanwhile, was recorded four months before CSN's first album came out in 1969. The set also includes: a Crosby solo demo of "Almost Cut My Hair;" a Stills solo take of "My Love is a Gentle Thing" form 1969; Neil Young joining Crosby and Nash on "Music is Love" for Crosby's 1971 solo debut album "If I Could Only Remember My Name;" and demos of three tracks for Nash's 1971 solo debut "Songs For Beginners" -- "Sleep Song," "Be Yourself" and "Chicago."

The full "Demos" track stack included: "Marrakesh Express," "Almost Cut My Hair," "You Don't Have To Cry," "Deja Vu," "Sleep Song," "My Love Is A Gentle Thing," "Be Yourself," "Music Is Love," "Singing Call," "Long Time Gone," "Chicago" and "Love The One You're With."

"Demos" is the latest result from a spate of vault trolling that's produced box sets for Crosby and Nash, a demos collection from Stills and expanded editions of "If I Could Only Remember My Name" and "Songs For Beginners." Stills is currently working on his box set, while CSN is recording an album of covers that's being supervised by Rick Rubin.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Allman Brothers with guest Eric Clapton 3-19-09

Eric Clapton was the special guest at the Allman Brothers Show Thursday 3-19-09 at The Beacon Theater. Below are a couple of links - one to a video of Layla on You Tube and the other for an audio torrent of the entire show.

Disc 1 : 1st Set
01-Little Martha W/ Warren, Derek, Oteil
02-Statesboro Blues
03-Done Somebody Wrong
05-Woman Across The River
06-Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
07-Whippin' Post

Disc 2 : 2nd Set
01-Oncoming Traffic - Gregg Solo
02-Come & Go Blues
03-Good Morning Little Schoolgirl W/ Danny Lewis Keys
04-Key To The Highway W/ Eric Clapton
05-Dreams w/ Eric Clapton
06-Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad W/ Eric Clapton
07-Little Wing W/ Eric Clapton
08-Anyday W/ Eric Clapton & Susan Tedesch
Encore :
09-Layla W/ Eric Clapton & Danny Lewis Keys

ABB w/Clapton

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Woodstock Death Count

Well, the 40th anniversary of Woodstock is coming up this summer. As I said in a prior post, I hope they let the anniversary just quietly pass. But, something tells me that someone is going to see potential $$$ and try to hold a Woodstock 2009 and it will be a f***ed up mess again.

Anyway, I found this article interesting for those of you who remember Woodstock 1969.

This might be a tad morbid, but that’s the way it goes sometimes…

A friend recently sent me an email containing a link to a news story about the death of a 1960s musician. Well, he was probably a musician later in life as well, but was most famous during the ‘60s.

I cranked off a reply that was something along these lines: “Huh. Wonder how many of the original Woodstock performers are dead now? Forty percent?”

Turns out the musician in the article hadn’t even performed at the festival. I was mistaken, but still curious about the Woodstock Death Count. I did some Google searches, and came up with nothing. Nobody, it seemed, was keeping a running tally.

And so, once again, it’s been left to me to crunch the numbers. First it was Deadwood, and now Woodstock. It’s a heavy burden I carry, my friends.

Here are the results of my exhaustive research:
DAY ONE Friday, August 15, 1969

Richie Havens: alive

Swami Satchidananda: dead

Sweetwater: 4 alive, 3 dead
Nancy Nevins: alive
Alex Del Zoppo: alive
Fred Herrera: alive
August Burns: dead
Alan Malarowitz: dead
Elpidio “Pete” Cobian: alive
Albert Moore: dead

Incredible String Band: 4 alive
Mike Heron: alive
Robin Williamson: alive
Christina “Licorice” McKechnie: alive
Rose Simpson: alive

Bert Sommer: dead

Tim Hardin: dead

Ravi Shankar: alive

Melanie: alive

Arlo Guthrie: alive

Joan Baez: alive

19 performers: 13 alive, 6 dead
Death percentage (Day 1): 32%

The first day has taken the biggest hit, percentage-wise. There were only nineteen performers, since the festival didn’t start until Friday evening, but almost a third of them have passed through the big beaded curtain in the sky. Sweetwater alone has three deceased members, and are tied with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band for the most by any band at Woodstock.
DAY TWO Saturday, August 16, 1969

Quill: 5 alive
Jon Cole: alive
Dan Cole: alive
Roger North: alive
Normman Rogers: alive
Phil Thayer: alive

Keef Hartley Band: 4 alive, 1 dead
Keef Hartley: alive
Miller Anderson: alive
Jimmy Jewell: alive
Henry Lowther: alive
Gary Thain: dead

Country Joe McDonald: alive

John Sebastian: alive

Santana: 5 alive, 1 dead
Carlos Santana: alive
Gregg Rolie: alive
Jose “Chepito” Areas: alive
Mike Carabello: alive
Michael Shrieve: alive
David Brown: dead

Canned Heat: 3 alive, 2 dead
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson: dead
Bob “The Bear” Hite: dead
Harvey “The Snake” Mandel: alive
Larry “The Mole” Taylor: alive
Adolpho “Fito” de la Parra: alive

Mountain: 3 alive, 1 dead
Leslie West: alive
Felix Pappalardi: dead
Norman D. Smart II: alive
Steve Knight: alive

Janis Joplin: dead

Grateful Dead: 5 alive, 2 dead
Jerry Garcia: dead
Bob Weir: alive
Bill Kreutzmann: alive
Mickey Hart: alive
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan: dead
Tom Constanten: alive
Phil Lesh: alive

Creedence Clearwater Revival: 3 alive, 1 dead
John Fogerty: alive
Tom Fogerty: dead
Doug “Cosmo” Clifford: alive
Stu Cook: alive

Sly and the Family Stone: 7 alive
Sly Stone: alive
Freddie Stone: alive
Greg Errico: alive
Larry Graham: alive
Jerry Martini: alive
Cynthia Robinson: alive
Rosie Stone: alive

The Who: 2 alive, 2 dead
Roger Daltry: alive
Pete Townshend: alive
John Entwistle: dead
Keith Moon: dead

Jefferson Airplane: 5 alive, 2 dead
Marty Balin: alive
Grace Slick: alive
Paul Kantner: alive
Jorma Kaukonen: alive
Jack Casady: alive
Spencer Dryden: dead
Nicky Hopkins: dead

57 performers: 44 alive, 13 dead
Death percentage (Day 2): 23%

Thirteen performers from the second day are now dead, the biggest number by far. However, a whopping fifty-seven people took the stage on Saturday.

The Who have lost 50% of their members, the highest of any band at the festival. Canned Heat, the Grateful Dead, and the Jefferson Airplane are each down two, as well. But all seven members of Sly and the Family Stone are still kicking. And I find that to be fairly amazing, if you want to know the truth.
DAY THREE Sunday, August 17, 1969

Joe Cocker: alive

Country Joe & The Fish: 5 alive
Country Joe McDonald: alive
Barry “The Fish” Melton: alive
Greg “Duke” Dewey: alive
Mark Kapner: alive
Doug Metzler: alive

Ten Years After: 4 alive
Alvin Lee: alive
Leo Lyons: alive
Chick Churchill: alive
Ric Lee: alive

The Band: 3 alive, 2 dead
Robbie Robertson: alive
Rick Danko: dead
Levon Helm: alive
Garth Hudson: alive
Richard Manuel: dead

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: 9 alive
David Clayton-Thomas: alive
Bobby Colomby: alive
Jim Fielder: alive
Dick Halligan: alive
Jerry Hyman: alive
Steve Katz: alive
Fred Lipsius: alive
Lew Soloff: alive
Chuck Winfield: alive

Johnny Winter: alive

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: 6 alive
David Crosby: alive
Graham Nash: alive
Stephen Stills: alive
Neil Young: alive
Greg Reeves: alive
Dallas Taylor: alive

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: 7 alive, 3 dead
Paul Butterfield: dead
Howard “Buzzy” Feiten: alive
Rod Hicks: alive
Ted Harris: alive
Phillip Wilson: dead
Steve Madaio: alive
Keith Johnson: alive
David Sanborn: alive
Trevor Lawrence: alive
Gene Dinwiddie: dead

Sha-Na-Na: 12 alive
Joe Witkin: alive
Jocko Marcellino: alive
Donald “Donny” York: alive
Rob Leonard: alive
Alan Cooper: alive
Frederick “Dennis” Greene: alive
Dave Garrett: alive
Richard “Ritchie” Joffe: alive
Scott Powell: alive
Henry Gross: alive
Bruce Clarke III: alive
Elliot Cahn: alive

Jimi Hendrix: dead

54 performers: 48 alive, 6 dead
Death percentage (Day 3): 11%

Sha-Na-Na(?!), Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band filled the stage with performers. Why is it necessary to have a dozen people in your band? Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive? In any case, the death percentage for the final day of Woodstock is probably lower than that of my high school graduating class — even though it included high profile artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Rick Danko. Nicely done, Day Three!

And that brings us to the answer of my original question:

130 total performers: 105 alive, 25 dead
Total Woodstock death percentage: 19%

My inner-sensors told me the final number would be much higher; I would’ve bet good money the bottom-line would be closer to 35 or 40 percent. After all, it’s been four decades since the festival took place, and these are… musicians we’re talking about. The fact that only 19% of Woodstock performers have said “Goodnight Tokyo!,” is a pleasant surprise.

I spent considerable time researching this information, and believe it to be accurate. However, if you find an error, please let me know and I’ll fix it. I will attempt to keep a running tally, as well. So, check the Big Pie Chart of Death often!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Woodstock '09! What could possibly go wrong?

Getty Images Rolling Stone reports that there are plans to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival with a pair of free two-day concerts taking place in both New York and Berlin, Germany.

"According to promoter Michael Lang, the New York festival will take place exactly on the 40th anniversary, August 15-16th, while the Berlin event will go down August 22-23rd at an abandoned airport. The exact location for the U.S. festival has not been determined."

Lang is apparently a co-creator of the original Woodstock and had something to do with both the Woodstock '94 and the Woodstock '99 festivals.

It's hard to know how pleased to be about this, considering how the last one turned out (And is that already 10 years ago? Wow.) with all the fires and raping and generally disgusting, doofus-y behaviour (see the tools in the accompanying photo). To be honest I think I might be too scared to go to anything with Woodstock in its name.

On the other hand, while no bands have been named for either festival, RS says organizers reportedly hope to recruit some of the acts that played the original 1969 fest, like the Who, Santana and the Grateful Dead. And those names don't exactly strike fear in the heart, despite the fact that the Who once boasted one of the craziest mickeyfickeys in rock n' roll for a drummer. Being men of a certain age, they've probably calmed down you know? Though no doubt there will be some acts under 50 to balance things out. At the 99 disaster it was artists like Insane Clown Posse, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Limp Bizkit who were accused of inciting the crowd. I hear things weren't helped by shoddy organization, overflowing porta potties or price gouging for water either.

The official Woodstock Website is currently "under construction" and offers no more info.

After the 1999 fiasco, they need to just forget any idea of continuing with this. They are just ruining the "legend" of Woodstock. But then, I'm an old fart too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moonalice Promo Videos

If you have not checked out Moonalice, take a look at this promo video.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009




One of the most eagerly awaited tracks of unreleased Beatles music has leaked online. The nearly 11-minute outtake of 1968's "Revolution 1" as featured on the band's "White Album" -- which served as the bridge between the "slow" album version of the song and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's experimental aural sound collage "Revolution 9" -- has been leaked online and on YouTube.

The song, subtitled "Remix 1 of Take 20" was recorded on June 4th, 1968, and begins with Lennon saying, "Take your knickers off and let's go."

Although most of the YouTube links have been ordered to be taken down featuring the full 11-minute version, you can find a two-part version of the song posted by user KatMak21 or by searching under the words "Beatles Revolution 20."

Several of the more astute Beatles experts have weighed in on the track. Noted author Doug Sulpy, who co-wrote the definitive chronicle of the band's early 1969 sessions in Drugs, Divorce And A Slipping Image -- The Complete, Unauthorized Story Of The Beatles' 'Get Back' Sessions -- told, "It was worth the wait, folks! This is presumably the rough mono mix of Take 20 that John took home with him (after the session). Consequently, it features the various overdubs, tape loops and general chaos that ultimately turned the last half of 'Revolution 1' into 'Revolution 9.' Personally, I think the 'Mama, Dada' voices (previously attributed to Paul McCartney and George Harrison) are John and Yoko."

Sulpy added: "It sounds like John and Yoko simply took the Beatles track and had some fun with it. It's one of the most significant Beatles tracks to appear in years and makes this a must-have (in whatever form you can find it)."

The Beatles returned to the song "Revolution" later on during the "White Album" sessions and taped a faster, harder-edged version of the song titled simply "Revolution." In August 1968 it was the B-Side of "Hey Jude," the Beatles first single on their Apple Records, and went on to peak at Number 12 on the singles charts.

Nearly four decades since their split, and interest still running high on any scrap of unreleased music finding its way to the general public, many fans feel that the Beatles should make their entire vault available for purchase for fans.

Renowned Beatles author Bruce Spizer says that he'd like to see the Beatles' company Apple approve a multi-media definitive edition of each of the group's original albums: "What I would like to see happen is special editions of albums. Such as where you have a Sgt. Pepper's special edition that would be mono, stereo, outtakes, 5.1 surround, videos, promotional tapes - things of that nature. And I would like to see this for the entire Beatles catalog."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck - legendary guitarists and former Yardbirds

There is an excellent recording of this show available via bittorrent. If you want to obtain a copy go to one of the sites listed below. You will need a bittorrent program - like utorrent - and you will have to register (free) at one of the sites before you can download it.


Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck - legendary guitarists and former Yardbirds - performed their first co-headlining concert in Japan at Saitama's Super Arena on Saturday 21 February. This was the first time they have shared a bill as co-headliners in an arena show. The 20,000 people in attendance witnessed an event that lasted between two and a half and three hours.

Like all weekend concerts in Japan, the show started at 5PM. Jeff Beck kicked things off with a 13 song set that included a stunning verion of "A Day In The Life". Other songs performed included "The Pump," "Cause We've Ended As Lovers," "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - Brush With The Blues."

Eric Clapton then took the stage with his band for a 9 song set. It opened with acoustic versions of "Driftin." and "Layla." This was the first time EC "unplugged" Layla in quite some time. His "electric" set included "Tell The Truth" from the Derek and the Dominos era along with blues songs, "Little Queen of Spades", "Before You Accuse Me," and "Crossroads."

The fellow Yardbirds then shared the stage for 7 songs. Their joint set consisted of "You Need Love," "Listen Here - Compared To What," "Here But I'm Gone," "Outside Woman Blues," "Brown Bird," "Wee Wee Baby" and "Want To Take You Higher." The line up for this portion of the concert was EC and his band with Jeff Beck.

One fan in attendance said, "It was a historical night. Jeff tries to draw out all the possibilities from the guitar and Eric tries to express all his feelings with the guitar. It was Jeff's beige vs Eric's light blue stratocaster." Another reported that Jeff's performance was better than his three shows in Tokyo the week before and was even a bit better than EC in their joint set.

Both men spent time in the Yardbirds, one of the key bands in Britain's 1960s blues revival. Beck took over when Clapton departed in March 1965. Clapton left the group as it was moving towards a more commercial sound and he wanted to remain true to his blues roots. The band had a number of chart hits before Jeff Beck left in 1968.

After the Yardbirds, Clapton went from success to success with bands like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, and Derek and the Dominos before launching a solo career that has spanned close to 40 years. Clapton is a triple inductee into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame (The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo performer).

Following the Yardbirds, Beck went on to form The Jeff Beck Group and later Beck, Bogert & Appice. Beck launched his solo career in 1974. His recorded output has touched on many genres including blues-rock, jazz fusion and electronica. Beck was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with the Yardbirds in 1992 and will be inducted as a solo artist at the annual ceremonies on 4 April 2009.

Over the years, the duo have occasionally joined forces on stage. The first - a benefit for Amnesty International - took place in 1981. At that event, called "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball," Clapton and Beck performed "Crossroads," "Further On Up The Road," "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" as well as the all-star finale of "I Shall Be Released". They teamed up again at the 1983 ARMS shows in London (along with fellow Yardbirds alum Jimmy Page) and Clapton's 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas. Jeff Beck and his touring band also performed at Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. In November 2007, Clapton returned the favor by appearing at Beck's concerts at Ronnie Scott's in London.

Jeff Beck wrapped a solo tour of Japan on 19 February in Osaka. Eric Clapton is currently on solo tour in Japan, with shows at Tokyo's Budokan on 24, 25, 27 and 28 February. Clapton and Beck will team up one more time on 22 February at Saitama Super Arena.

Don't forget to check the Winter Tour 2009 Page on for fan reviews!

Eric Clapton & His Band:
Eric Clapton - guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II - guitar, backing vocals
Willie Weeks - bass
Abe Laboriel Jr - drums
Chris Stainton - keyboards
Michelle John - backing vocals
Sharon White - backing vocals

Jeff Beck Band:
Jeff Beck - guitar
Tal Wilkenfeld - bass
Vinnie Colaiuta - drums
David Sancious * - keyboards

* Sancious toured with Clapton in 2001

Original Performance Set List As Printed For Use On Stage:
Songs not performed are noted - two were dropped by Jeff Beck

01. The Pump (Jeff Beck)
02. You Never Know (Jeff Beck)
03. Cause We've Ended As Lovers (Jeff Beck)
04. Stratus (Jeff Beck)
05. Angel (Jeff Beck)
06. Led Boots (Jeff Beck)
07. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - Brush WIth The Blues (Jeff Beck)
08. Solo instrumental by Tal Wilkenfeld with Jeff Beck
09. Blue Wind (Jeff Beck)
10. A Day In The Life (Jeff Beck)
11. Where Were You (Jeff Beck) *dropped and not performed*
12. Big Block (Jeff Beck) *dropped and not performed*
13. Peter Gunn Theme (Jeff Beck)
14. Driftin' (EC - solo acoustic)
15. Layla - unplugged version (EC)
16. Motherless Child (EC)
17. Running On Faith (EC)
18. Tell The Truth (EC)
19. Little Queen Of Spades (EC)
20. Before You Accuse Me (EC)
21. Cocaine (EC)
22. Crossroads (EC)
23. You Need Love (EC and Jeff Beck)
24. Listen Here - Compared To What (EC and Jeff Beck)
25. Here But I'm Gone (EC and Jeff Beck)
26. Outside Woman Blues (EC and Jeff Beck)
27. Brown Bird (EC and Jeff Beck)
28. Wee Wee Baby (EC and Jeff Beck)
29. Want To Take You Higher (EC and Jeff Beck)

The Ten Most Universally Loved Performers

Don't you just love these lists? I agree with most of the choices, but where the **** is Pink Floyd?

The Ten Most Universally Loved Performers

Posted Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:45pm PST by Rob O'Connor in List Of The Day

Now just by claiming that these performers are universally loved means that everyone who doesn't love them will come out and let us all know. But the general point here is that unlike the Grateful Dead who have their loyal followers and their loyal haters, the musicians listed below have all achieved an admirable level of success and don't inspire the same kind of contempt or animosity. Sure, plenty of people may be sick of hearing some of their music, but they don't disrespect it. Just about everyone has at least one Beatles song they like--and even if they're not fans of the group can still admire their accomplishments and acknowledge their abilities.

10) AC/DC: Probably the most arguable on the list, AC/DC excite their audiences with their whiplash power chords and the banshee-howls ignite concertgoers to a frenzy. A great baseball pitcher like Trevor Hoffman has used "Hells Bells" to announce his entry into the game and the group's tough hard rock sound has been assimilated into the culture in ways few would have expected several decades ago when they started. Sure, they're not everyone's cup of preferred tea, but they don't enrage anyone either. If anything, even people who don't like their music seem to get a kick out of watching Angus Young in his schoolboy uniform headbang and moonwalk across the stage. That's entertainment!

9) Led Zeppelin: Since the band played so many different types of music, there's a little something for everyone. And while many people may be tired of them thanks to the excessive radio exposure, the band triumphs with their pure musical skills. Robert Plant may sing a little "high" for some people's tastes, but aside from dogs who are sensitive to such pitches, it doesn't seem to be enough to make people clear the room.

8) Neil Young: Oh, plenty of people don't care for this old croaker. They think his voice is whiny and maybe he plays too loud, but after five decades of public service, people have gotten used to having ol' Neil around and nearly everyone admires the man's energy and dedication to rocking the free world at the going free-market rates.

7) Stevie Wonder: Stevie's talents are undeniable. He comes across as humble and good-natured and you'd have to be a real Scrooge to find fault with the way the man expresses what's in his heart. Does the fact that he's blind elicit a sympathy vote? Perhaps. You can never rule out a certain amount of human empathy. But if his music sounded like he was skinning a cat, people wouldn't care what the man's situation was. They would beg for him to stop. But his music isn't like that yet. (You never know, maybe he'll team up with Trent Reznor next.)

6) Aretha Franklin: Her new hat has won people over for good. But her incredible vocal pipes aside, there has always been a vulnerability to Aretha that has enraptured people and swung them over to her side. She has something that goes beyond the usual charisma of a popular performer. There's a realness there that no amount of studio trickery can hide or replicate. Would the music business have the patience to bring along a talent like hers today? Is there a music business to do such a thing?

5) The Rolling Stones: Oh sure, everyone makes the Geritol or the Viagra jokes and Allen Klein knows they haven't made a decent album in years, but their classics, the albums and singles that made their reputation are pretty much universal anthems now. And more bands have copied the Keith Richards sound if not the Keith Richards lifestyle to suggest that he should do like Oprah, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray and come out with his own magazine and his own line of kitchen supplies. Mick can do make-up.

4) Jimi Hendrix: No matter how poorly his estate has been handled, no matter how many bizarre reissues mutate the man's initial essence, there doesn't seem to be anyone dumb enough to suggest that Hendrix didn't have talent and couldn't play the electric guitar. Sure, some of the fashions look a tad overdone and odd these days and some of the stoned raps from the stage make for a good warning that posterity is not for acidheads, but the actual music silences its potential detractors.

3) Elvis Presley: Now, not everyone loves Elvis, but even those who don't still deal with him better than, say, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Cher and any number of show business veterans. Even all those horrible movies he was in can't generate any true negativity. Pity? Perhaps. Sorrow at the wasted talent? Sure. But Chuck D aside, I haven't heard too many people get down on the man.

2) The Ramones: This really amazes me. Because there was a time when the Ramones were strongly disliked if not outright hated by certain factions of the rock community. But these days kids and their parents and their grandparents and even their great-grandparents all do a "Gabba Gabba Hey!" with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. How can you hate a band that enjoyed being a cartoon? You gonna tell me Fred Flinstone wasn't cool?

1) The Beatles: You might be tired of some of their songs. You might not like some of those tunes. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" doesn't exactly inspire me to be a better person, but the band recorded so much different music that like an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese-American-Italian Buffet there really is something for everyone. People even have their favorite member. And for some it's even Ringo. And he was the drummer and drummers can tell you how little respect they get. Most of them get stuck carrying their own drums!

Monday, February 23, 2009

'Firefall Reunion Live' Celebrates Thirty-Two Years Of Platinum Rock & Roll

'Firefall Reunion Live' Celebrates Thirty-Two Years Of Platinum Rock & Roll

2/23/09 - Denver, Colorado - Classic rock fans worldwide have long awaited 'Firefall Reunion Live.' With one magical concert, Firefall brings back a younger time where melodies rule and musicality soars. Original Firefall members joined the current band, together for twenty years, in front of a sold-out hometown crowd at the Boulder Theater on April 9, 2008 for this memorable and satisfying live performance.

The list of recognizable songs is impressive: "Just Remember I Love You," "Strange Way," "Cinderella," "You Are The Woman‚" "Livin Ain't Livin," "Mexico," "So Long," "Goddbye I Love You" and many others. There’s also the newest Firefall single, "Walk More Softly." Their vocals and musicianship are at an extremely high level; the solos feature spontaneous fiery interaction between lead guitars, sax and flute. One thing is certain, Firefall isn’t just a 'ballads' band, these guys rock!

Firefall burst onto the national and international music scene in 1976 with two platinum and three gold albums in their first three years. They enjoyed saturation radio airplay and toured with the top groups of the day: Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Band, Loggins and Messina, The Allman Brothers Band, REO Speedwagon, Bob Seger, Heart, America and many others. Their sound was a breath of fresh air back in the day and remains so today.

'Firefall Reunion Live' features some of the best music created in the 1970s. The veteran Firefall band members who joined forces that evening are:
JOCK BARTLEY - lead & rhythm guitars, lead & backing vocals (original member)
MARK ANDES - bass guitar and backing vocals (original member)
LARRY BURNETT - lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitars (original member)
DAVID MUSE - sax, flute, keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals (original member)
JOE LALA - congas, timbales, percussion (original member)
STEVEN WEINMEISTER - lead & backing vocals, rhythm & lead guitars
BIL HOPKINS - bass guitar, lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitar
SANDY FICCA - drums, percussion
Original lead singer/songwriter, RICK ROBERTS, was in attendance that night and joined in the celebration, but was unable to perform. 'Firefall Reunion Live' is dedicate d to the original Firefall drummer Michael Clarke, who passed away many years ago.

"We sing and play it 'just like people expect' at all the right times, but then we'll stretch out to expand the songs, exploring new musical territory," says bandleader Jock Bartley. In today's predictable and jaded music business 'Firefall Reunion Live' is a welcome achievement. This CD is vibrant and comforting. It's been a long time in coming.

On Winged Horse Records, 'Firefall Reunion Live' is now available for sale on-line at and CDBaby, in a variety of downloadable forms and in select retail outlets nationwide. In April 2009, two new Firefall DVDs will be released, the 'Firefall Reunion Live' DVD, and also a DVD of rare 1979 concert footage of the Original Firefall in it's heyday. Firefall fans here and abroad are ecstatic. These songs stand up strong today; the band's performance and command is truly exceptional. Which song is your favorite? Which one has special meaning or brings back a flood of memories? All of them! Firefall is alive and well with this long-awaited Reunion Live CD and DVD.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sony's Newest Piece of S***

This is probably not safe for work due to the language in the clip. But it had tears running down my face from laughing so hard.

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood Live From Madison Square Garden DVD and CD

“Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood Live From Madison Square Garden” is set for a spring release. It will be available as a 4 disc set (2 dvds and 2 cds).

It will run as a complete show although the running order is slightly different than on the night.

01. Had To Cry Today
02. Them Changes
03. Forever Man
04. Sleeping In The Ground
05. Presence Of The Lord
06. Glad
07. Well All Right
08. Double Trouble
09. Pearly Queen
10. Tell The Truth
11. No Face No Name No Number
12. After Midnight
13. Split Decision
14. Rambling On My Mind (EC solo acoustic)
15. Georgia On My Mind (SW solo hammond)
16. Little Wing
17. Voodoo Chile
18. Can’t Find My Way Home
19. Dear Mr Fantasy
20. Cocaine

Includes ‘The Road to Madison Square Garden’, an exclusive documentary featuring new interviews with Eric and Steve, together with rare footage and photographs of Cream, Traffic and Blind Faith. ‘Rambling On My Mind’: The final preparation for the three legendary performances highlighted by an acoustic soundcheck performance by Eric of the Robert Johnson standard ‘Rambling On My mind’.

Plus Bonus Performances of ‘Lowdown’, ‘Kind Hearted Blues’ and “Crossroads’.


01. Had To Cry Today

02. Low Down
03. Them Changes

04. Forever Man
05. Sleeping In The Ground
06. Presence Of The Lord

07. Glad
08. Well Alright
09. Double Trouble
10. Pearly Queen

11. Tell The Truth

12. No Face No Name No Number

01. After Midnight
02. Split Decision
03. Rambling On My Mind (EC solo acoustic)
04. Georgia On My Mind (SW solo hammond)
05. Little Wing

06. Voodoo Chile

07. Can’t Find My Way Home

08. Dear Mr Fantasy
09. Cocaine

I'm glad to see this is coming out. Interesting approach to only sell it as a 2 DVD / 2 CD set. Why not sell the DVD separately from the CD? I guess there is more $$ to be made by making everybody buy one higher priced set.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Word Magazine's World: Album Covers

You need to check out this site which shows you where photos for various album covers were taken.

Word Magazine's World: Album Covers

Thursday, February 12, 2009




A year after their pair of critically acclaimed concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden, Eric Clapton and former Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood have announced a 14-city U.S. tour kicking off on June 10th in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Eric Clapton - Steve Winwood dates (subject to change):
June 10 - East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
June 12 - Philadelphia, PA - The Wachovia Center
June 13 - Washington, DC - Verizon Center
June 15 - Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center
June 17 - Chicago, IL - United Center
June 18 - Saint Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
June 20 - Omaha, NE - Qwest Center Omaha
June 21 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
June 23 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
June 24 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
June 26 - Glendale, AZ - Arena
June 27 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
June 29 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
June 30 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl

The Clapton-Winwood Madison Square Garden shows received raves and featured a blend of hits and lesser-known tracks by Blind Faith, Cream, Traffic, Derek and the Dominoes, blues greats, along with their respective solo careers.

Clapton says his desire to play with Winwood began during the Cream days: "If I'd had more power of personality and more authority, I would have insisted that we had a keyboard player, and I would've chosen Steve Winwood. I mean, it kept being a fantasy of mine that Steve would join Cream, but I just didn't feel confident enough to broach the subject. Maybe I did a couple of times, but I think I, maybe I was, it was discounted."

The setlist for the duo's February 28th, 2008 show was:
"Had To Cry Today" (Blind Faith)
"Lowdown Dirty Shame"
"Forever Man" (Clapton) (Clapton & Winwood trading vocals)
"Them Changes" (after Buddy Miles)
"Sleeping In The Ground" (archival Blind Faith track)
"Presence of the Lord" (Blind Faith) (trading vocals)
"Glad" (Traffic)
"Well Alright" (Blind Faith after Buddy Holly)
"Double Trouble" (Clapton, after Otis Rush)
"Pearly Queen" (Traffic)
"Tell the Truth" (Derek and the Dominoes)
"No Face, No Name, No Number" (Traffic)
"After Midnight" (Clapton)
"Split Decision" (Steve Winwood)
Solo acoustic Clapton: "Rambling On My Mind" (Robert Johnson)
Solo Winwood on organ: "Georgia On My Mind"
"Little Wing" (Derek and the Dominoes) (trading vocals)
"Voodoo Chile" (long, slow version) (Jimi Hendrix)
"Can't Find My Way Home" (Blind Faith )
"Dear Mr. Fantasy" (Traffic)
"Crossroads" (Cream)

Last year Clapton appeared on "Dirty City," the first single from Winwood's recent album, Nine Lives. Over the summer, Winwood opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Eric Clapton performs tonight (February 12th) in Osaka, Japan. On February 21st and 22nd he'll team up with fellow blues legend and former Yardbirds alumnus Jeff Beck in Saitama, Japan.




The former headquarters of the Beatles' company Apple Corps. is once again on the market, for a cool $36 million. The London townhouse at 3 Saville Row, which the group bought in 1968 for $725,000, housed the band's personal offices, Apple's basement studios where Let It Be was recorded, along with portions of George Harrison's Living In The Material World and Ringo Starr's Ringo albums, among others.

The Beatles' final performance on January 30th, 1969 took place on the roof of 3 Saville Row.

Apple moved from the Saville Row location in the mid-'70s, although Paul McCartney and brother Mike recorded in the Apple basement studio as late as 1977.

Leigh Thomas, a representative for Kier Property which owns the five-story building which was built in 1735, told "It's being marketed internationally. If someone wants a bit of heritage with a bit of history of the band, then this is the place. I still get goose bumps in here. It's the world's biggest piece of memorabilia."




Yes will release its latest live album, called Symphonic Live, on February 24th. The double disc features the band captured in concert with the European Festival Orchestra, in support of the 2001 Yes studio set Magnification. Rather than replace longtime keyboardist Rick Wakeman with another player, the band -- in one of its riskier moves -- utilized a symphony orchestra in the studio and on the road to tackle Wakeman's complex and legendary parts.

Highlights on the 14-track Symphonic Live include "Close To The Edge," "Long Distance Runaround," "Starship Trooper," "And You And I," "I've Seen All Good People," "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," and "Roundabout," among others.

Looking back, singer Jon Anderson remembers how pivotal a role FM radio played for Yes when the band first got its start: "It was a very interesting time, the beginning of the '70s, because radio was getting its FM radio and people would play longer pieces of music. It wasn't as you say poppy. Progressive rock music -- it was a career all of a sudden."


Yes launched the current leg of its In The Present tour on Monday night (February 9th) in Houston, Texas at the House Of Blues. The current touring lineup includes bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman -- son of legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Temporary lead vocalist Benoit David is filling in for Anderson, who is suffering from respiratory failure due to chronic asthma.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dave Mason at Best Buy Stores

I just found out about this and thought I would share in case Dave Mason comes to a store near you. If you want to see the setlist or hear one of the shows, go here


Here is the scoop on this tour. Dave is being sponsored by JBL/Harmon Karden and Best Buy. he has a new cd which is quite good and he is doing 30-40 minute sets as well as radio stops from town to town. Right now this is a midwest based (ill, ohio, in, michigna, etc) tour but their are plans to take it to the east coast as well. Shows have been drawing anywhere from 75-150 people.

Tuesday, February 10
6 p.m.
Gratiot, MI

Thursday, February 12
6 p.m.
East Lansing, MI

Saturday, February 14
3 p.m.
Orland Park, IL

Tuesday, February 17
6 p.m.
Rockford, IL

Thursday, February 19
6 p.m.
West Madison, WI

Saturday, February 21
6 p.m.
Southridge, WI

Tuesday, February 24
6 p.m.
Iowa City, IA

Thursday, February 26
6 p.m.
Roseville, MN

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dewey Martin, 1940-2009

Dewey Martin, 1940-2009
Posted: 06:28 PM ET

Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times have reported Dewey Martin, best known as drummer for Buffalo Springfield, has died at 68.

According to the RS obituary, Martin was praised by Neil Young as “a sensitive drummer. … He can feel the music — you don’t have to tell him.” He sang lead on “Good Time Boy” (from Springfield’s terrific second album, “Buffalo Springfield Again”) and background vocals on the group’s only Top 10 hit, “For What It’s Worth.”

According to the L.A. Times, he died Saturday. Cause of death is believed to be natural causes.

– From news reports

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Problem with Ryan Seacrest

I don't know who Bill McMahon is, but he is spot on with this observation on his blog...

The Problem with Ryan Seacrest
Bill McMahon

"On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is a microcosm of what's wrong with radio right now. The problem has nothing to do with the show being created in Hollywood and syndicated to local radio stations across the country. The trouble is the show's content. It's ordinary, average, and forgettable. Mindless, soulless, lowest common denominator stuff the media, including most cookie cutter morning radio shows, are saturated with -- vacuous interviews with celebrities hyping their latest projects, a steady stream of superficial celebrity news and Hollywood gossip clipped from the pages of People, Us, and The National Enquirer and read breathlessly with much manufactured enthusiasm and amazement by Ryan and his cohorts. This is sad stuff.

Here's what's really scary. In the past few months, "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" has spread to approximately 140 markets, including most of the 50 largest cities in America. How did this happen? The show has no record of ratings success. The content is no different and no better than the average local radio morning show. Okay, Ryan gets more and better celebrity guests, but who cares. There's absolutely nothing special about his interviews -- no intimacy and no revelations. Listeners can get the same information by reading the press release for the new movie, CD, book, or other project the celebrity guest is hyping. Make no mistake about it; these are not Howard Stern-like interviews. There are no surprises in Ryan's fawning and shallow conversations. The show is not live, but that probably doesn't matter given its content. It's just a bunch of unoriginal recycled bits from Ryan's morning show in Los Angeles, which by the way, is not even the highest rated show on KIIS FM. So, what's going on here? Why is this show spreading? It's definitely not a virus.

"On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" exists for two primary reasons neither of which has anything to do with what comes out of a radio’s speakers or making radio listeners’ lives better. First, Ryan Seacrest is famous -- not for extraordinary talent, not for producing amazing radio content, not for producing stellar Arbitron numbers. Ryan Seacrest is famous for being the host of American Idol. Ryan Seacrest is famous for his boyish good looks. Ryan Seacrest is famous for hanging out with Simon Cowell. Second, "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is cheap programming -- a money-saving alternative to paying local personalities in 140 markets. So radio station operators blinded by fame and celebrity and driven by the need to reduce expenses are programming this drivel. Yikes!

Radio is in deep doo doo right now. Radio needs to create relevant and original content to survive. Radio needs rebels, mavericks, characters, passionate artists and innovators. Radio needs people to challenge the status quo not perpetuate it. "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is the status quo -- a very ordinary and average version of it. Exactly what radio doesn't need right now.

Radio is headed for extinction if things don't change quickly. How did it come to this? Lee Abrams provided some pretty good answers in a recent interview conducted by Al Peterson at NTS MediaOnline. Here's what Lee had to say about the radio business and the source of great ideas. "Radio was one of the last great bastions of creative thinking. There were no rulebooks, you could come up with a new format idea in your basement, take it out and try it somewhere, and if it worked you were in business. Unfortunately the radio business, which was once a place with very few rules, evolved into a business with a whole lot of rules.... all great ideas start emotionally then you use science to determine whether or not you're full of it. In most big media today everything starts scientifically and the whole emotional component gets left out entirely."

Lee's description of how radio's best programming ideas came to be and where great ideas begin sounds remarkably like what's happening on the Internet today. All kinds of goofy original ideas are being created. There is lots of experimentation going on. People are creating stuff in basements and garages all over the world and putting it out there in cyberspace to see if it flies.

This is exactly how many of radio's most successful formats and shows came to be. Rush Limbaugh created the show he wanted to listen to -- a show reflective of his ideals, his values and beliefs -- a show that broke the rules and challenged the status quo. He discovered there were lots of listeners just like him who were looking for a place to hang out and connect with like-minded people who shared their conservative values. Howard Stern created the show he wanted to listen to. Lee Abrams created a format with the music he wanted to hear. Both discovered lots of listeners just like them who liked what they liked.

Now radio creates stuff for some mythical target audience defined by simplistic and superficial research. No one breaks the rules or challenges the status quo. There's no experimentation. No risk taking. No new ideas. No innovation.

There is lots of cloning and copying. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern wannabes trying to duplicate everything these originals do. Nearly every morning show has a boy and a girl. Most are obsessed with presenting "pop culture" defined by superficial and sensational celebrity news and Hollywood gossip delivered by the girl. They talk about the same current events and news stories. Try finding a radio morning show this time of year that isn't talking about American Idol. Yes it's the top-rated show on television, but it's watched in less than 20% of homes with TVs. Radio morning shows across the dial and around the country use the same show prep services for their inspiration. Formats, music, and imaging -- all the stuff of radio programming -- have become fully homogenized at a time when the real world -- fueled by abundant entertainment and information choices made available by technology and the Internet -- has become anything but homogenized.

The problem with "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" and far too much of the programming heard on the radio these days is that it's not distinctive, it's not relevant, and it's not essential to listeners because it doesn't make their lives better. That's why mobile phones, iPods, and computers are far more important in people's lives than radios.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kelly Clarkson says she "could never be a lesbian"

This is posted for a laugh. Just read the sentence and think about it....

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Singer Kelly Clarkson, currently at the top of the U.S. pop charts, said on Tuesday she was not a lesbian but sometimes wished she was because "often times men are very hard for me."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Nash offers "Reflections," gets busy with CSN

Nash offers "Reflections," gets busy with CSN

By Gary Graff Gary Graff – Mon Feb 2, 6:08 pm ET

DETROIT (Billboard) – As his "Reflections" box set is released Tuesday (February 3), Graham Nash is already busy with a number of other projects -- including a new Crosby, Stills & Nash covers album the trio is making with producer Rick Rubin.

"I just had David and Stephen at my house in Hawaii for 10 days, and I've heard glimpses of some really great stuff," Nash told But he doesn't want to reveal the songs they're working on "until we've sat down in front of Rick and played him all the stuff we have for the record."

That will happen in mid-February. "We'll go see Rick Rubin and play it all for him. If he thinks we're ready, we'll probably go into the studio within a week and get to work," he said.

Nash -- who performs Monday night (February 2) at a show to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Buddy Holly's last concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa -- said that CSN plans to tour this year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their first album.

He's also starting work on a Stills box set, which he predicts will exceed the three-disc length of his own "Reflections" and Crosby's "Voyage" in 2006, which Nash co-produced.

"Stephen's box set is going to be much more difficult to put together because of the volume of music," Nash noted. "He was a recording fool. He would stay in (the studio) for days and record lots and lots of things."

That includes a tape of Stills jamming with Jimi Hendrix. Of that material, Nash said that he and Stills will determine "if there's enough to make a separate disc."

Concurrently, Nash is working on a Crosby Nash live disc from acoustic shows in 1993, and a benefit album for the Children's Defense Fund consisting of hit songs for which he and Crosby sang backup.

As for "Reflections" -- which features four unreleased songs and a wealth of unreleased mixes amidst its 64 tracks -- Nash said the project "was a little difficult for me, because I pride myself on not looking back and ... being much more interested in the song we're writing now and the show I'm gonna do in a week. But I was forced to look back at my musical life, and it was very interesting. Seeing all that stuff and what I wrote about emotions and love and tears and laughter and anger, it was quite a journey. I came away with the feeling that I might be worth a s--t."


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck will team up for a pair of gigs at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on February 21st and 22nd, according to Rolling Stone. Similar to Clapton's brief run with Steve Winwood at New York's Madison Square Garden last February, the team-up is being limited to only two shows, with no word on a possible tour for the two bluesman. Both guitarists will forever be linked together through their early association with the Yardbirds, with Beck having replaced Clapton, who left the group in 1965 to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and eventually Cream.

Jeff Beck has worked with numerous music legends throughout his career, but unlike the other Yardbirds guitarists -- Clapton and Jimmy Page -- he never found the right combination of bandmates to spur him into wider popularity. He says that he doesn't mind being thought of as a music snob for having very specific tastes: "People will tend to think that really, really, trashy, awful music is music if they're not exposed to anything else and that's bad. I come from a whole different era long before all this stuff was about so I have to tread very carefully not to look as if we're a push button brigade, which we're not at all. My band are very highly skilled players and we wouldn't trade that for the world."

Clapton and Beck teamed up in 2004 and 2007 at Crossroads Guitar Festivals, as well as their old stomping ground at Ronnie Scott's Club in London during Beck's 2007 run there.

Beck kicks off his first shows of the year on January 23rd in Perth, Australia. Clapton kicks off his tour of Japan on February 12th in Osaka.


Chris Squire says that the current lineup of Yes will probably be heading into the studio this year. Yes is currently on a break from their 40th anniversary In The Present tour which includes Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman -- the son of legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Fronting the band is temporary lead vocalist Benoit David who's filling in for Jon Anderson, who is suffering from respiratory failure due to chronic asthma.

Just before the New Year, Squire said that it was looking more and more likely that the band would be heading into the studio: "Yeah, well we've been talking about that today. We're going to definitely look into making some new music next year, and y'know, with this lineup, and yeah... we're looking at that."

Squire says that he pushed for the band to incorporate new music into the current set lists: "One of the things that I wanted to do on this tour, as well -- as there was going to be a difference in our whole presentation -- was to do some new material. And Steve Howe is also playing some new instrumental pieces. He does his solos which are new for him to present. And yes, so I had this song called 'Aliens Are Only Us From The Future,' and it's now become part of 'The Fish' section of the show."


David Crosby says that Crosby, Stills, and Nash might be covering the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones for their upcoming album, to be produced by Rick Rubin. Crosby told, "One of the interesting things was that they said they'd like to hear us do other people's songs that we wish we'd written. (Rubin) said, 'There's Joni (Mitchell), James (Taylor), the Beatles: contemporaries of yours who I know you admire. I'd like you to pick a bunch of songs.' So we've been going through that process with Rick, and he's pretty smart about songs."

Crosby added, "We're going to pick and learn some songs. I can't say which ones are going to make the final list, but we have about 30. There's all the people you might expect: some Jackson Browne... there's a whole s***load of records that we love and think are brilliant. I don't know how Rick works yet, but I certainly know how we work, so I'm presuming there'll be some pretty harmonies."

David Crosby says the sense of brotherhood he shares with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash is evidenced by how they sing together: "There's a kinship there, and you can hear it in how we work with each other, what we do with our voices. It's sort of like aerobatic stunt flyers flying formation, and doing stunts together -- kinda tricky stuff. It's just a bond, a natural bond."

Rick Rubin has worked throughout the years with Tom Petty, Donovan, Johnny Cash, and most recently produced Neil Diamond's first-ever Number One album, Home Before Dark. No release date has been announced for the Rick Rubin-CSN album.

Last year, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young released the live album Deja Vu Live with Neil Young. The last CSN album was 1994's After The Storm, which peaked at a disappointing Number 98 on The Billboard 200.

Neil Young fans upset that he is releasing a new album

Here we go again........

Neil Young fans upset that he is releasing a new album

Old Shakey's musical commentary on the financial crisis is apparently so bad his most devoted fans are rooting for the record company not to release it

Sean Michaels

Neil Young's Fork In the Road ... Fans fear it's even worse than Greendale. Photograph: Getty

Neil Young has announced the release of a new album, and no one could be more distressed than his fans.

For months now, Young obsessives have been awaiting the release of Archives Volume 1 – a vast library of early recordings, in the form of 10 Blu-ray discs. This week, however, reports have emerged that an album of new Neil Young material – called Fork In the Road – will pre-empt Archives, pushing its February release back into spring.

Often, this would call for celebration. Who needs old material when you are being offered shiny, new songs by a music legend? Alas, that's not what Neil Young's fans seem to be thinking. They have heard these new songs – on Young's recent tour, or in a new viral video – and let's just say they don't like them very much.

"Would a record company actually listen to this garbage and then agree to release it?" asked one fan at the popular Thrasher's Wheat site. "At some point, they're going to have to take a stand – right? I'm actually rooting for the record company here."

With Fork In the Road, Young seems to be exploring three things – dirty blues, direct lyrics, and his LincVolt electric car project. That all sounds well and good until you hear the opening lyrics of the title track.

"Got a pot belly," Young sings, "It's not too big / Gets in my way / When I'm driving my rig."

The video – clearly a webcam recording of Old Shakey chomping on an apple, mouthing along, cotton buds in his ears – doesn't inspire much confidence. A few minutes in, he sings about blogging. Later in the video he plays air guitar as a flat-screen TV seems to be repossessed. Commentary on the financial crisis? Maybe. Revelatory rock music? Says a fan of his for the past 20 years: "This new stuff is simply the most tired music I've ever heard from Neil."

Neil Young's spokesperson confirmed to Rolling Stone that the "timeliness of the subject matter" on Fork In the Road meant that it would be released soon, probably postponing Archives and the highly anticipated lost album Toast. "It seems logical," the spokesperson said, "but that hasn't been confirmed yet."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Neil Young unleashes raw power at New York show

By Lavinia Jones Wright Lavinia Jones Wright – Thu Dec 18, 5:58 am ET

NEW YORK (Billboard) – As strange as it is to see a band with its own huge live draw play an opening set, Wilco were the perfect choice to prime the crowd at Madison Square Garden on Monday for Neil Young.

In fact, watching Jeff Tweedy and company cruise through their abbreviated set (a breakneck nine songs that left the crowd palpably desperate for more) illustrated the fact that they could very well become the Neil Young of a younger generation.

Their songs are intricately written but still accessible, their live shows are raucous and they reference early rock and country without stealing from it. After a playing a set filled with incredible songs like "Jesus Etc.," "I'm the Man Who Loves You," and "Spiders (Kidsmoke)," there were still dozens of others in their catalog that the audience was dying to hear.

The floor of the Garden was almost completely cleared of seats to accommodate a standing audience, and the thousand fans who were devoted enough to stand for four hours straight were rewarded with an experience so intimate it seemed unreal. When Young finally took the stage in a paint-splattered blazer and Frank Zappa t-shirt, diving immediately into a fuzzed-out, energized of "Love and Only Love," it felt like being transported back in time to a crowded club.

Young, 63, clearly has no intention of resting on his laurels. Besides blasting through noisy, wild and achingly sincere versions of classics like "Cinnamon Girl," "The Needle and the Damage Done," "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold," Young packed the set with recent and brand new tracks like "Off The Road," "Hit the Road and Go To Town," and "Get Behind the Wheel." He even egged the crowd on to make a big stink about his newer songs because his new record label executives were in the audience.

Pure fearlessness poured out of Young's signature gigantic Magnatone cabinet as he leaned on his whammy bar, distorting the tunes in the style for which he's become famous. He tore into "Rockin' in the Free World" before the encore, leaving the audience to wonder what was left to finish the show. He then defiantly returned to the stage to howl through "A Day in the Life," a track even the Beatles never played live (and Paul McCartney flubbed when he tried to do it this summer). Young finished the song in a swirl of noise, angrily ripping strings from his guitar and grinding them together for maximum chaos.

Between the nostalgic and mournful vocal harmonies of his '60s and '70s hits and the ear-bleeding (not to mention politically charged) shows he puts on in the 21st century, Young seems to have done the impossible: capture the zeitgeist of two generations.

I don't usually do this, but if you want to hear the final New York show in all of its one of the links. You will need a bit torrent program and an account at one of the sites. Take your pick.....both recordings are very good audience recordings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whatever Happened to Stu Nunnery???

If you remember the classic song "Isle of Debris" on.

Stu Nunnery - 35 Years On: The Interview

November 3, 2008

If you’ve never heard of Stu Nunnery, you’re probably not alone, but it would be your loss. Nunnery is a singer/songwriter who released one self-titled album on the short-lived Evolution label in 1973. The nine-song LP showcased a heady talent, playing a mix of folk-rock that fans of Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot and Jackson Browne should connect with immediately. Yet, Nunnery sounded like no one else. And if you’ve never heard him, read and listen on, for there’s plenty of great music to discover here.

I first learned of Nunnery when I found his album amid tens of thousands of old, dusty LPs in a St. Paul, MN, building, whose lower floor was serving as a used record store. That same day, I discovered another singer/songwriter (Jimmie Spheeris) who comes up in this interview, as well. I plunked down $1 for Nunnery’s album and left not expecting much. I got home, dropped the needle on Side 1 and after about 20 seconds of hearing the lead cut, “Isle Of Debris,” I was thinking, “How has this been hidden for so long?” Later, I found out this was his only record and one could only hear it on vinyl. How could this album languish in obscurity and never find its way to compact disc? Why didn’t he release more albums? As I was to find out, truth is crazily stranger than fiction. Nunnery’s story is one you just have to read for yourself.

You released one album in 1973 and then seemed to disappear. What happened?

First off, I always appreciate hearing from someone who had picked up my first and only album. It’s funny, at this point in life I’m getting a lot more calls [about my music] than I got many many years ago.

My story is a simple one. I did one album in 1973-74. Over the next couple of years, two of the cuts from that album - “Madelaine” and “Sally From Syracuse” - reached the Top 100 on the American charts. And in 1976 - after I had left the company I was with - “Lady It\’s Time To Go,” which is on the flip side of the album, became the #1 Record in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil. And it was my recording of it, sold to a label called Copacabana Records, which was part of the RCA stable. And in 1976, I got a phone call after I had left the record company I was with, telling me I was a big star in South America, and, “Can you come down here and perform?”

Well, I could barely eat back in 1976 - I was still [playing] in small clubs. And I never saw a dime for that #1 Record down there in South America. In fact for all of 1976, my English-speaking record was the 57th-best-selling record down there, which is really bizarre.

You didn’t receive any royalties?
I also never received anything from the album that I did do, which sold fairly well. I had a lot of turntable hits around the world: I had a turntable hit in South Africa, Australia, England and Canada. In addition to the two records on the Top 100 American charts, “Lady It\’s Time To Go,” was recorded by B.J. Thomas, and Nicky Hopkins, if you can believe that - the former keyboard player for the Rolling Stones. So there was a lot of attention; I did some concerts. The label I was with - it was Evolution Records: part of the Longines-Wittnauer watch company’s series of companies. They went out of business in ‘74/’75, I guess.

After that, I went back to the Berkshires, where I lived. I was living in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts when my first album came out. After that and the first album came out, I went back to the Berkshires and continued playing in clubs. And I received a call from a woman, who was in the fashion industry but very interested in the music industry. She found me through somebody, and for a time became my manager. She represented me to John Hammond, at Columbia Records, and I was signed to Epic Records in 1976. I went into the studio in New York and cut four records, four sides. I was then sent to California to redo one side and to cut a few more sides. I was told, at the time, that one of the records, which I had done, was going to be the theme at the CBS Convention that year. Soon after I got a call [saying] that Epic Records was going to move into disco, and I was asked if I would consider being a disco artist. [laughs] I was 26 at the time and quite full of myself - I thought I knew what I was doing - and I said, “Absolutely not.”

And then the thought was, back then, that they were going to put some supergroup together. And some names of people you know from other groups that were not functioning at the time - they were going to put us together. I was going to be the lead singer and the writer, and they thought that was a great idea. Well, that kind of fell apart as well, and Epic really became more of an R&B and disco label. And I left CBS Records in early 1977, without having anything released. I had recorded, I think, five or six sides - at least half an album - and nothing was released. Walking out the door of CBS, though - I was living in New York at the time; this was ‘77, I had moved down to New York. Friends of mine ran jingle houses in New York City, and they were kind of the feeder companies for advertising firms that wrote radio and television jingles. A woman that I knew, who liked my music, asked me if I would consider coming in and writing jingles. And given that I didn’t have a recording contract at the time, I said, “Sure. Why not?”

How did jingle writing go?

Well, it turned out to be a very lucrative profession, and the first four or five things that I wrote became national campaigns. I sang solo on a number of campaigns, for GMC Trucks, cars, sodas - all kinds of things - and made very nice money for about two or three years. I was actually starting to study acting and dance in New York, and I figured I was going to be a triple threat on Broadway - in addition to being a recording artist - because I continued to seek a recording contract with other companies in New York. Then in April of 1978 is when everything… the day the music died. I stood up off a bed after a nap - after a recording session - and an explosion happened in the left side of my head. It was not a stroke. Thirty years later, it appears to have been probably a rupture or breakage of a blood vessel. And it immediately filled up my ear chamber, and I was 40 percent deaf in 24 hours on the left side. While there was no diagnosis in the polytomography - they take an X-ray of your ear - it did not show a tumor. Nonetheless, I was 40 percent gone in 24 hours. I had terrible vertigo and dizziness for a long time.

I continued to record in New York City, doing jingles and things, but I was beginning to miss-pitch, because my tonal discrimination had been distorted in the left ear. When you’re in the studio and recording, of course, you’re wearing a headset. And in one ear you’re trying to hear yourself, and in the other you’re trying to hear the band. Well, now I only had one ear to work with. It became obvious to me that things were not going as well, but I still continued to pursue music. And in 1981, while painting my apartment, I had the exact same explosion in my right ear. By then, it was gone. I had almost no hearing at all. I had terrible vertigo and tinnitus in both ears - it was over. And I was 31.

What I did immediately - after seeing all the doctors I could see… I went out to the House Ear Institute in California, and I had a well-known ENT [ear, nose and throat specialist] here in New York. They were trying all kinds of things; they were putting me on steroids, thinking it was some kind of auto-immune thing. They weren’t sure what had happened, but it was very rare that it would be bilateral like that.

Three years later, I started losing my sight. Both retinas detached while I was driving home from a business trip. In 1983, with no music career, I decided to try and take care of my health - I became food crazy, basically, foods and health. And my hearing was improving enough in ‘83-’84, that I thought, “Maybe I could do this [music] again.” The interesting part of the story is that I took some of the money that I had made doing jingles, which was considerable, and I hired a producer friend of mine and went into the studio to cut four more tracks, probably late ’82/early ’83. They were excellent tracks but never got released because my hearing was essentially gone soon after that. But if you can imagine, my band was Paul Shaffer on piano; Lawrence Juber, from Wings, was my guitar player; Allan Schwartzberg was the drummer; Jimmy Malin, who passed away several years ago, was percussion; and Will Lee was on bass. These were friends of my producer, Bert Dovo. We were able to put together this very hot band to do a couple of tracks, and the four tracks were done but the songs were never released. So, I still have that music, and, in fact, I still have a lot of old music on tape of some things I’m thinking of doing.

In late 1984, I went to work for a natural food company and worked on the road for seven years. I was a sales manager for a natural food company in the Midwest, but I worked from Maine to Washington D.C., and literally was on the road three weeks out of four. In addition to selling food, I was also telling my story.

How would you compare the music you did with that band to your first record?

The biggest frustration for me is that I’ve never been able to evolve from that first album. Now, I always got good responses to the music back then, and when I listen to it now I cringe, because you think of all the things that you could do now. The other thing, I believe, is that what I can do vocally right now is far superior to what I could do back then - of course, I haven’t recorded in 30 years. So the frustration is that I don’t know how it would have evolved. The four songs I cut, I think, were definitely an evolution from where I was at that point - not that much different, but I think I started to develop a style. But it never progressed beyond that because I didn’t record after that period of time.

And one thing I want to make clear, because we hear a lot about musicians losing their hearing because of noise: As much as I would have liked to believe that that was the problem, there were several other factors that were never really eliminated that were involved here. Noise certainly could have exacerbated it, but most noise-related hearing loss takes the top off. I’d had this bizarre hearing loss that killed much of the lower tones. It was in part done either because of the blood vessels bursting or this auto-immune response - it really destroyed that [ability to hear lower tones]. I can hear about a third of the keyboard properly. The rest of it, I hear the over-rings, or I hear the third or the seventh; I don’t hear the dominant. So in trying to sing again - I can sit at the piano and sing and play, for the most part, pretty much on key. But if I were to try and sing live with a band, it would be nuts. I couldn’t do it.

You couldn’t focus or key in on anything.

Yeah. There would be too much interference, and my ears couldn’t translate it all - and I had perfect pitch. For me now, because I still have tinnitus in both ears, I already have musical tones in my ears that play 24 hours a day. So, hearing those, then hearing a keyboard and six other instruments and trying to find my voice in the middle of that would be pretty impossible.

At the same time, because of technology right now, I think it’s very possible that I could go into the studio - or even sit at my computer - I could probably record again. In fact, your call and other calls I’ve gotten over the last couple of years - I miss it very much. The thing I miss most - this is a nice long weekend - I’d love to sit in a club somewhere and sing for a couple of hours. But I couldn’t do it, because even with me just playing piano I couldn’t guarantee I would be on pitch the whole time. It would literally be, “What would you do if I sang out of key? Would you stand up and walk out on me?” [laughs] Well I think people would, you know?

That said, I could probably in a controlled situation and with technology that could adjust anything that’s not right, I could probably record again. But I could never go out and perform live again. So, I’m thinking with the Internet and everything, “Why not record an album and release it and sell it online?” If the music is good and people love it, and do that. So what if I can’t perform live?

There’s a lot to be said for playing music just for the joy of it, regardless of whether you ever play live.

You’re absolutely right. I would do it just ‘cause I enjoy it. But it is time consuming, and I do have enough music that I’ve already written that I can go in and just do that and not have to spend a lot of time writing new songs. But the one thing I’m trying not to do is assume that I can go back to that. Rather, I would say that’s another aspect of my life - it’s another part of my creative life. Now I write and speak and do a lot of other things that I enjoy very much. Music could be a nice piece of that. The music thing - your call and other people’s call tell me that it’s still there, and I still sing everyday - that would be a nice thing to do. My friend Don Puluse, who was a well-known recording engineer, recently retired, is still around and not far from me, in Boston. There’s probably ways we could put those things together. We’re not at that point, but given the technology I think that’s a possibility.

Let me ask you a question. What attracted you to my record? And it’s funny that you mention Jimmie Spheeris, because you’re not the only one… Jimmie Spheeris’ [first record Isle Of View] and mine, I think, came out about the same time.

Yeah, I bought that Jimmie Spheeris album and yours on the same day back in the early ‘90s. I was in this used record shop in St. Paul, MN, called The Landfill. I had never heard of either of you, but I bought both because they looked interesting and I recognized some of the session players that worked with you. I listened to the records and was blown away. I remember thinking, “Why haven’t I heard this before?” Who is Jimmie Spheeris? Who is Stu Nunnery? Your record label, Evolution, was one I didn’t know.

Did you know Neil Harbus?


Neil Harbus was the artist on that label before I was signed, and he was produced by Neil Portnow, head of NARAS [National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences] now. Neil was a good friend, too…

How did you find me recently? Did you Google me?

I’ve been trying online to find you or some info about you for probably seven or so years. But no success. Right now, I’m looking at an online acoustic guitar forum, and somebody wrote - this is in 2001 - “Anyone know how to play ‘Isle Of Debris’ by Stu Nunnery?’ Then he follows it up with, “Anyone ever heard of Stu Nunnery… besides me?” Then, an answer comes four years later: “If you’d like to chat, I was a hired musician that played with Stu Nunnery in about 1974/1975, or around there. I always considered him one of the most talented writer/composers that just didn’t make it.” He signs it as “Jack .”

Oh. That’s interesting. He was my bass player after I had left… his name is Jack Okolowicz. That’s right. I saw that, and Jack and I communicated about a year ago. He was my bass player between [my time with] Evolution Records and CBS Records - around 1974-75 when I was playing live.

Another thing: I’ve watched for 30 years as my records and sheet music have been sold all over the world by peddlers everywhere, and, of course, I haven’t seen a dime from that either. All the music that I did, I never saw one dime, which might sound like many other’s stories. I still have the tapes. I still own all that stuff and could re-release it tomorrow, and, frankly, I’m thinking about it. It’s intriguing to me.

Let’s talk about a few songs from your album. The lead-off “Isle Of Debris” is a classic.

Rock Classic, at KSHE in St. Louis used to play it… it’s funny because my ex-wife is from St. Louis; I have friends in St. Louis. For some reason that song really stuck out there. Best story: We had been trying to download my music from the Web, and we’ve only found two songs. The songs were actually put to videos created by amateur video makers. If you go onto and search for Stu Nunnery, you’ll find videos for “Lady It\’s Time To Go” and “Isle Of Debris.” Two people - one in St. Louis and one in Brazil - apparently put their own videos to them. I’m wondering if people who are seeing those videos are saying, “Is this Stu Nunnery’s video of this song?” Or do they get that it’s Youtube?

A couple years ago, I was googling myself and saw an advertisement for Stu Nunnery’s first and second album. I never did a second album. I couldn’t find it again, but I’m wondering, did somebody record me playing live in a number of different places and cobble together some kind of an album? I don’t know.

Is “Sally From Syracuse” autobiographical?

[laughs] I think anybody that says any song is not autobiographical to some degree is a liar. It’s one of the adages of good writers to write about what you know. It was really inspired by a trip in the early ‘70s to see a friend in Syracuse, NY, with my wife, at the time. It was my blue period, when I was writing songs, and it just came to me. In many instances some songs write themselves. Well, this one pretty much did. And it was actually the song that got me my first recording contract. It had become a hit at country stations in New York City, where there are lawyers - I can’t remember the station there, but they used to get requests from lawyers all the time to play the song. [laughs] Which I thought was great. Autobiographical? No, not to the degree of detail, but inspired by a real event. I was interviewed soon after that - I went up to Syracuse, actually, I was asked to sing “The National Anthem” at a Syracuse football game, which I did not do. And then I got very disparaging letters from women in Syracuse, who thought that I was a sexist idiot. When I had to remind them that this was about a woman who took charge, not me, I threatened that my next record was going to be “Eunice From Utica.” [laughs]

The album arrangements are very interesting, and you had a great cast of backing players.

They were very interesting arrangements and were done by Paul Griffin - wonderful stuff. And if you look at the people who played on my album: “Buzzy” Feiten [bass], Hugh McCracken [guitar], Elliot Randall, the guitarist who did [Steely Dan’s] “Reelin’ In The Years,” Rick Marotta [drums], David Spinozza [guitar], John Tropea [guitar] - wonderful musicians - Eric Weisberg [fiddle]. He had just come off “Dueling Banjos.” And we had [fiddler] Kenny Kosek - just some great folks on this album, and they did a very good job. When I listen to it and hear all this great music around me, I realize how much I would have loved to be in that atmosphere again and again and again. It would have matured my music even more. I was still shooting pretty much from the hip on that first album.

Have you been approached by any labels wanting to reissue your album on compact disc? It never got a CD release, and it can be challenging to find a good vinyl copy.

I am now thinking about doing something with it. Maybe the thing to do, instead of going in to redo it - because how many times have you heard an album and said, “Shit. That’s not as good as the original.” I’ve heard James Taylor recut his songs, and sometimes they haven’t been as good as the originals. Or Gordon Lightfoot, who was one of my heroes back in those days, would recut some of his songs, but they didn’t have the same soul as the originals. Maybe not mess with the originals?

You mentioned earlier that you still sing everyday. How much, if any, songwriting did you carry on with?

Just before I lost my hearing I got into more - I’m not going to say spiritual music, but more music with some meaning to it. In fact, a couple songs that I wrote I’d very much like to release. I think they’re very strong songs as well. They’ve had that kind of soul to it, that I was moving toward. More global, universal-type stuff. I tend to write that way. In fact, a couple songs on my album - “Roads,” the very last song; “Isle Of Debris” - people always asked, “Where did that come from?” You know, they were kind of like cautionary tales, and here I was 25 years of age. Where did that come from? I have no idea. [laughs] But clearly that was part of my soul that was being expressed, and I think more of that would have come out. At the same time, I was good at writing clever songs and up-tempo things and love songs. I’ve written some jazz and other things, so I think there’s a lot there that could be done. Who knows, I may be sitting right here in front of my computer someday and composing, finding the software I need and working with a couple old bandmates, and putting some things together online.

I would think the pull would be strong to get back to writing.

Probably the main reason I didn’t go back into music was that I had no context after 1983. Since 1983, I have not heard anything that has been recorded. Yes, I’ve heard it on the radio, but I don’t know what key it’s in; I don’t know what the melody line is; I don’t know the chords; and I can barely make out the lyrics. So, I have no context for what contemporary music sounds like.

You’ve been frozen in a musical time capsule.

I think that’s true, but songwriters are from Mars anyway. [laughs] My job as a writer is to channel whatever comes through me and create some form. But I know that that form may not be contemporary sounding. It may be something that I’m holding onto or connected to. I have no context for what music’s been like for almost 30 years. I think I would get more out of reading lyrics, so if all I did was read lyrics of top songs for the last couple years, perhaps I could learn. But I’ve always been a good lyric writer, so I’m not sure that I would learn anything, because I’ve never had any reluctance or hesitation to what I could or would say. I’ve always tried to say something a little bit differently.

I’ve been a musical virgin for the last 30 years. I don’t know what Sting sounds like; I don’t know what Madonna sounds like; I didn’t hear any of Michael Jackson’s newer stuff. I have no context, so I couldn’t be derivative! [laughs]

{Stu Nunnery is the director of the Rhode Island Center for Agricultural Promotion and Education (RICAPE). You can read more about his work and the Center’s mission at Special thanks to Stu for sharing his story and letting me post his music. Let’s hope his album will get a long-overdue re-release very soon.}

Written by TW