Monthly Archives: June 2009

Sky’s the Limit

Unlike the
millions of fans mourning Michael Jackson, my thoughts are with Sky Saxon. In
this multi-dimensional universe we live in–it is often the obscure and obtuse
moment(s)undocumented by the masses which affects us in the most profound of
ways. Let me explain:

I did’nt discover Sky Saxon
& the Seeds by being the studious record collector I am. I discovered the
Seeds by chance and learned to love them by circumstance. The year was 1967 and
I was living in Lahore West Pakistan(while in the  8th and 9th grade). This was before the area was marred by
muslim terrorism and Taliban bullshit. In those days, Lahore was a
sleepy 3rd world backwater destination and for us American expatriates who lived
there, our Mayberry (minus the conveniences). There was no TV and only a few houses had telephones that didn’t even work half the time. The news was always 3 days old and if you were lucky, your short-wave radio might just might pull in the BBC for a minute or two.
There was no peanut butter or chocolate milkshakes or record stores or sneakers or anything cool. We did have record
players and Akai reel-to-reel tape recorders. And our American  school had 250 kids in grades 1-12. We
were all tuned into the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys, always looking for the next big thing. The only time we heard new
music was in September when the new kids came over there from the states. Our
group hung out at the Jones’ house (they had a pool table)—two very popular brothers who set the scene
for all of us.

 

The Summer of 1967 one of the gang Richard Shaw brought the
2 Seeds albums over to Duke Jones’ house. The Seeds and Web of Sound. These
records became the Jones brothers’ favorite records and they played them ad
nauseum. When we weren’t shooting pool we
were looking at the album jackets for hours. “Do you think you would grow
your hair this long?” I wonder where this photo was taken”? We had arguments
lasting hours what song was better-“Try to Understand” or “Can’t seem to make
you mine”(actually he same song) To us 9th graders the Seeds were Gods.

 

Fast forward to 1974-I was at
Georgetown University and was doing a radio show called “Mystic Eyes.”  Lenny Kaye just released his
compilation Nuggets-and the world was getting their first formal introduction
to garage music. I played the Seeds—and If I may be so bold to say—I was playing “garage music” as a
radio format light years before the thousands who now carry the torch. As a
record collector, I became interested in the post Seeds “Discography” looking
for “Little Richie Marsh doo-wop records” and willing to kill for the rare Seeds
single “Love in a Summer Basket.” My father recently died and his favorite Seeds song was “Faded Picture” which I pulled out and
listened to in his honor.

 

Fast Forward to May 2009. I
am having a dinner at my dear friend and radio co-host of yester-year Dr. Joe
Sasy (the man behind all those Time-Life informercials you see at 3
AM!!) We talked about the upcoming Seeds tour and it was decided the good doctor would buy tickets for the local Birchmere show and my wife Nancy & I would spend the
night there. We all thought-what a great fun way to spend an evening.

Fast
Forward to the evening of June 26-I am bored at home and surfing the
net. I see the headline “Singer Dies from Infection.” Of course I
click the link. A wave of sadness descends over my body. I didn’t know
what to do. I call “Duke” in Utah–a prominent dentist now –and still a
very dear friend. The Secretary say’s “can you hold and I will see if
Dr. Jones can take your call.” In the few seconds that I am waiting I think back to the Dukes’ condom collection–all 120 brands he was so proud of and filled many up and used as lethal water balloons(but’s that’s another
story). Duke jumps on the phone and says, “Hey Herc!” (my 7th grade nickname) how are you?'” I tell him, “I am calling you because something very sad happened today.” What?
“Someone Died” Who? -your not calling me about “Farrah” are you Herc?”
No Duke, Sky Saxon died today.” A noticeable silence come sover the line….. “You know Herc,
he was from Salt lake.” I tell him, I know duke.” ” You know his real name was not
Sky Saxon,” No it was Richie Marsh–and he was probably a Mormon.” “Yeah Herc, Marsh is a well known
Mormon name, the Duke replies. We continued chatting making the same jokes we made in 8th grade. Who would have ever thought we were 56 year old adults?
 

In
conclusion I have to say Sky Saxon’s passing was sad and beginning
of the realization that my Generation is entering the twilight of our
lives. I was very upset with NPRfor not doing even a small
story on Sky. Those holier-than-thou Ivy League  ectomorphs who pride themselves on the unique and forgotten news story–totally dropped the
ball on this and this was a story that begged to be told. Instead, NPR
was indistinguishable from Fox news in their coverage of Michael and Farrah. In their lame coverage of Michael, they even  forgot
to mention the only cool thing Michael ever did was name his kid
Blanket! But then again,  Sky talked to Dogs and played with Father Yod &  Yahowa 13.

Yes, it’s a “Faded Picture,a picture of my childhood,” RIP Sky.

 

 

Steve Lorber is a founding member of the Rock Institute- an organization started in the 70’s to interdict and stop the export of rare American Rock and Roll records sold and smuggled to Europe. A life-long promoter of cassette technology and is currently working on a diet & philosophy book tentatively titled The Porky From New Yorky’s Guide to Weight Loss and Positive Mental Health.     

 

Exclusive: Warped Tour Debut Report

 

Lineup includes NOFX,
Bad Religion, Guttermouth, Gallows, Thrice, 30!h3 and punk-rockin’ transvestite
Jeffree Star.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Summer’s here, which means the annual Warped Tour must be
headed to a city near you. It kicked off the other night, June 26, in Pomona, Calif.,
and BLURT’s own Scott Dudelson was there.

 

Writes Dudelson, “Despite scorching 95-degree weather,
15,000+ young punks (average age was well under 18), converged on the
fairgrounds to watch 70+ bands perform across the 8 different stages.  While each date on the tour features a
different line-up, this kick off show featured a powerful mix of old-school punks
with credibility, and some interesting acts that were left of the punk
mainstream.”

 

Among those Dudelson caught from the pit: NOFX, Bad
Religion, Guttermouth, Gallows, Thrice, 30!h3 and punk-rockin’ transvestite
Jeffree Star. (Of the latter, Dudelson advises, “If you decide to see Star when
the tour hits your city, be advised that his/her set is not for the faint of
heart or supporters of the far right.”)

 

You can read his full account, and check out exclusive
up-close-and-personal photos, in our concert reviews section.

 

 

 

 

 

Clutch Gets In the, uh, Clutch

 

New album arrives next
week, followed by extensive touring.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Veteran Maryland
noisemakers Clutch are about to drop their ninth studio album, titled Strange Cousins From the West. Produced by Clutch and J. Robbins
at Magpie Cage Studios in Baltimore, the effort is
the first Clutch original to be
released on the band’s own Weathermaker
Music, through RED Distribution.

 

Strange Cousins  will now be available both physically and
digitally through retail on July 14th,
and fans who purchase the new album via iTunes will receive a free bonus track,
an exclusive 10-minute Clutch “up close &
personal”
video documentary, produced by Agent Ogden.

The band is prepping a US Summer tour
with Baroness, kicking off w/ a
special July 3rd appearance at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, NJ w/ Shadows
Fall, and have also just announced a Fall US tour w/ Wino and Revolution Mother, bringing the band to
New York City’s Irving Plaza for two-nights of back to back shows, and their
first dates in the city in support of the band’s new album.

 

Track Listing:

 

Motherless Child
Struck Down

50,000 Unstoppable Watts
Abraham Lincoln
Minotaur

The
Amazing Kreskin

Witchdoctor

Let a Poor Man Be

Freakonomics

Algo Ha Cambiado

Sleestak Lightning

 

Tour Dates:

 

US w/ Baroness and Lionize:


July 3rd Atlantic City, NJ @
House of Blues w/ Shadows Fall and Wino
(* no Baroness or Lionize)
July 9 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
July 10 Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
July 11 Chicago, IL @ Kuma’s
July 12 Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
July 14 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
July 15 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
July 17 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
July 18 Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
July 19 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues Las Vegas
July 20 San Diego, CA @ Cane’s Bar & Grill
July 21 Los Angeles, CA @ House Of Blues
July 22 San Francisco, CA @ Regency Center
July 23 Seattle, WA @ King Cat Theater
July 25 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
July 26 Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater
July 27 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
July 28 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
July 29 Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
July 31 Calgary, AB @ Flames Center
August 1 Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Events Center
August 2 Saskatoon, SK @ Odeon Event Center
August 3 Winnipeg, MB @ Garrick Center
August 5 Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
August 6 Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
August 7 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
August 8 Baltimore, MD @ Sonar

 

US Tour w/ Wino and Revolution Mother:

 

September
9 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Smalls
September 10 Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
September 11 Philadelphia, PA @ The Electric Factory
September 12 Hartford, CT @ The Webster Theater
September 13 Montreal, QC @ Lee Saints
September 15 London, ON @ London Music Hall
September 16 Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
September 18 Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
September 19 Jackson, MS @ Club Fire
September 20 New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
September 22 Mobile, AL @ Soul Kitchen
September 23 Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
September 24 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
September 25 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Orbit Room
September 26 Chicago, IL @ The Metro
September 27 Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
September 29 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
September 30 Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
October 1 Kansas City, MO @ The Beaumont Club
October 2 Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theatre
October 3 Oklahoma City, OK
@ Diamond Ballroom
October 4 Austin, TX
@ Austin City
Limits Music Festival
October 6 Lake Buena Vista, FL
@ House of Blues
October 7 Atlanta, GA
@ Center Stage
October 8 Richmond, VA
@ The National
October 9 New York City, NY
@ Irving Plaza
October 10 New York City, NY
@ Irving Plaza

 

 

Vibe Magazine Shuts Down

Respected R&B
publication’s closure is effective immediately.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The latest casualty of what historians will one day refer to
as The Great Print Magazine Purge of the Early 21st Century is hip-hop/urban
publication Vibe. Founded in 1992 by
Quincy Jones and Time Warner, it was sold to private equity firm The Wicks
Group in 2006 but had suffered steady declines in circulation and ad revenue.

 

According to the New York Times’ Media
Decoder
, Vibe CEO Steve Aaron
earlier today circulated a memo to the staff announcing the magazine’s
shuttering, effective immediately, indicating that efforts to restructure “the
huge debut on our small company” and to find new investors had failed. Wrote
Aaron, “The print advertising collapse hit Vibe hard, especially as key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which
represented the bulk of our top 10 advertisers, have stopped advertising or
gone out of business.”

 

Daily Finance, in
its report, noted
that when reached for comment, the company’s chief financial
officer, Angela Zucconi, said that an official statement would be made
available to the public “by the end of the day. That’s all I can say at this
point.”

 

Meanwhile, RapRadar.com obtained a copy of the Aaron memo
and posted it
to its site. In addition to problems with advertising, Aaron blamed
the magazine’s demise on the recession and on “the collapse of the capital
markets” which made raising money in the current economic climate nearly
impossible. (In recent months, Vibe attempted
a number of cost-cutting measures, including reducing circulation and
frequency, cutting salaries and utilizing a four-day work week.) He also noted Vibe’s numerous achievements over the
years and predicted that it would be remembered as “a shockingly brilliant
content company that everyone can be proud of.”

 

 You can read the memo
in its entirety, below.

 

As several observers have already pointed out, this leaves The Source – long a lightning rod for
controversy and recently going through a bankruptcy – as the last magazine
standing in terms of large-circ hip-hop/R&B publications.

 

***

 

Dear VIBE team:


It is with a heavy heart that I share some tough news, VMG is closing down
effective today, June 30th.

It’s been an 16 incredible years since VIBE’s
inception. There are very few magazines with the richness of history and
breadth of talented visionaries who created the powerful lens in which VIBE viewed and shaped urban music
and culture.

Ever since I first set foot in this courageous company, I’ve regarded myself as
incredibly fortunate to be be involved with this remarkable brand and group of
individuals whose performance has never been nothing short of outstanding. We
finished 2008 in an improved position versus the prior year, and accomplished
so much, including:

    * Editorial Awards
    * Editorial transformation into content dept
    * New Ad accounts being broken
    * The Most Mag Launch
    * Award winning re-design
    * Profitable digital operation
    * VIBE.com growth and improvements and programs such
as  Best Rapper Ever,  #1 Stan, etc
    * Mobile VIBE  launch
    * Micro-site development Mostmag.com to start
off.       
    * V Sessions
    * Improved PR coverage

Unfortunately, over the last several months, a confluence of events has
obviously posed VMG to exceedingly serious challenges.

    * The collapse of the capital markets has impacted us
greatly.  Over the past several months, we have actively pursued
investment resources while working intensively with our bank to find a
solution. But the deal market right now remains very poor and at the end of the
day, the lack of investment resources to restructure the huge debt on our small
company has made this outcome become a reality.

 

    * The print
advertising collapse hit VIBE
hard, especially as key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which represented
the bulk of our top 10 advertisers, have stopped advertising or gone out of
business. It’s also unfortunate that in a recession many companies reduce the
multi-cultural campaigns. These facts, coupled with the continuing decline of
the music industry not to mention the newsstand wholesaler consolidation in
early 2009 all negatively impacted our business in a significant way.


 * The relentless economic situation has depressed our growth initiatives
on the digital front. To be clear, VMG has made significant improvement in this
part of our business, but not at the accelerated pace required to offset the
devastating effects of the most severe recession in our lifetime and the
accompanying print losses.

I want to thank you all for your hard work and commitment, and for all of the
adventures along the way. I’ll miss this place a lot, but I’ll miss you all and
the magic you create.

Vibe will be remembered as a shockingly brilliant content company that everyone
can be proud of and I look forward with great excitement to all of future
endeavors you all pursue.

With great affection and respect –

Steve Aaron

former CEO of VIBE Media Group

 

 

Q-Tip’s Long-Delayed Kamaal LP to Hit

 

Originally
intended to come out back in 2001.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Q-Tip, of A Tribe Called Quest fame, has his
long-delayed album Kamaal the Abstract,
slated originally for release in 2001, finally arriving September 15th on Battery Records. A musical hybrid, Kamaal was commendably avant-garde at the time of its creation. According to the
label, “it’s even more apropos in 2009; given the dearth of musical merit and
capable MCs in today’s hip-hop, the time is ever-so-right for Tip.”

 

Kamaal
the Abstract
is “an
intensely idiosyncratic and revealing record” with Q-Tip producing he entire
album himself and playing several instruments. “What comes from Kamaal is a daring mélange of soul,
supa-cool jazz, head nodding hip-hop, and organic pop magic in the vein of
Stevie Wonder or Prince.”

 

Among the players: saxophonist Kenny Garrett,
a one-time member of Miles Davis’ ensemble, on the breathy “Abstractionisms,”
and flautist Gary Thomas, another Davis
sideman, on “Do U Dig U.”

 

Kamaal the Abstract still boasts all the earmarks of Q-Tip’s
inimitable mic control. Listen to him blaze through a spiced narrative on “Even
If It Is So.” Or paint vivid images on “Blue Girl.” The album has been re-mixed
and re-mastered for sonic impact, though it retains the original album
artwork.  Neil
Levine SVP/GM of Battery Records is proud to release this buried treasure from
Q-Tip:  “Kamaal the Abstract/Q-Tip
is a true visionary and ahead of his time. These songs sound more contemporary
now than when they were first recorded.”

 

Track Listing:

 

1. Feelin’

2.
Do U Dig U?

3. A
Million Times

4. Blue
Girl

5. Barely
In Love

6. Heels

7. Reverber
For Factory

8. Caring

9. Even If
It’s So

 

 

 

Screw John Mayer, Here’s Cetan Clawson

 

The new guitar whiz
just came to town, pardnuh. Check the video clips below for proof.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

What
better time for the return of the guitar god? No, we don’t mean pussyhounds ‘n’
wannabes like John Mayer – we’re talking Clapton, Hendrix, Blackmore, Iommi,
Beck, Page, Roy Buchanan, Alvin Lee, Pete Townshend… should we go on? Okay
kids, here’s your new BFGP (Best Friend Guitar Player): Detroit’s Cetan Clawson.

 

Clawson has rock star in his DNA and it
shines through in his playing and his individual style. He is a perfect storm
of mind-boggling musical technique, jaw dropping stage presence and a sartorial
flair that rivals that of Prince in his prime. He classifies his style in a way
similar to the video game that has kidnapped pop culture’s often-fickle
attention and places himself within a similar -but not the same- context. “Guitar Hero has combined an
older mix of songs with a new way of presenting them,” he theorizes. “They are
taking classic rock and putting it in a format that newer kids can understand.
That what blues guys do: take old things and make them fresh. They make it new,
not better, but in an original way.”

 

As
kids everywhere rediscover actual playing in both games and on YouTube, and
punk stagnates in a morass of mascara and morality, Clawson doesn’t just commit
heresy by playing leads; he plays them behind his head, behind his back,
left-handed, right-handed, one handed and even with his teeth, boasting a style
that can’t be matched by guitarist nor gamer. “I have one small chip from a
slight mishap before I practiced it a lot,” he says with a laugh. “It takes a
great deal of skill.” Clawson
himself admits that while the game exposes “the kids” to the artistry of the
guitar, he thinks that hours spent playing the game would be better as hours
spent playing the actual instrument.

 

White
Heat
, Clawson’s
debut album hits stores tomorrow; so he celebrated the national release of the
album by recording two new songs with a musical hero in that hotbed of the
blues, Austin, Texas. Growing up, Clawson
idolized the great Stevie Ray Vaughan and his killer backing band, Double
Trouble. Last week drummer Chris Layton produced and played on two new songs
with Cetan and bassist Scott Nelson, well known for his work with Kenny Wayne
Shepherd. Layton
took a break from his packed schedule with the Arc Angels to do sessions with
Cetan and Nelson at Wire Studios (owned by well-known engineer and producer
Stuart Sullivan). Two songs, “Everyday Blues” and “I Wanna Try” were finalized
on June 25th and 26th. Layton is famous for his work with Stevie Ray
Vaughan, Arc Angels (with Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall,Jr), Storyville,
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Buddy Guy. Watch for those to appear soon. Meanwhile,
tell John Mayer to take a hike, courtesy BLURT, if you run into him.

 

Clawson playing “Star Spangled Banner”
with his teeth, followed by a live clip:

 

 

 


Dead Popstars — Altered Images

Michael Jackson has moon-walked out of the building!
 
Like many other cynical mofo critical critics out there, I’ve got my share of mixed feelings about perhaps our strangest (but no denying talented and entertaining) American icon dying from an apparent longtime addiction to painkillers.  Yes, MJ has to be the strangest.  You want proof?  Try being the proud owner of the following:  Elephant-Man’s bones, hyperbolic oxygen chamber, life-sized androids, exotic jungle animals and children’s amusement-park rides.  Why would a man of 50 have these things in his collection?  The latter items (robots, creatures and kids’ rides) because the guy who most of the world placed on a God-like pedestal was an incredibly lonely, insecure man-child who just wanted to be loved.  He lived in a place called Neverland Ranch where he could fancy himself Peter Pan.  The former items because, let’s face it, he was a freak.
 
When Michael was a mere large-afro’ed, groovy-clothed lad in the Jackson 5, he knocked our sox off working his adult James Brown dance moves and emotionally charged voice.  But by now we’re all aware that the group’s controlling, angry prick of a father brutally beat–and probably molested–a few of his own children, so Michael definitely never had what you’d call an “ideal” childhood.  Fucked-up, at best, from that kind of abuse.  The boy was damaged goods and that’s painfully sad when you really think about it.  His own mother just let this shit happen and will forever live in denial that anything was wrong in her (f’ed up!) “loving, perfect family.”  It’s no wonder why Michael wanted to distance himself from his parents; wouldn’t you?!
 
If the troubled young man had someone looking out for him (Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, etc.) who sought out serious therapy for him, the screwed-up pop idol might not have written or performed so powerfully.  Instead, he took comfort in Demerol and Oxycontin to try to kill the horrors of his life.  But, without those emotional demons–deep anger and sorrow–would his onstage performances and recordings be that intense?  The drugs only temporarily squashed them, but he held on to those demons and used them to fuel the fire in everything upon a stage or studio.
 
I wasn’t a fan of “Thriller” and his disco-era material, but nobody can deny the talent he displayed throughout all his catalog.  I dug the Jackson 5, and a young Michael’s solo recording about a killer rat named “Ben.”  The song was written for the soundtrack of a B-horror movie by the same name.  The heart & soul that the teenaged Jackson sank into this tune dedicated to vermin is beautiful–and poignant enough to’ve made the cut for my wife’s and my wedding CD.  (And check out Crispin Hellion Glover’s video version of the song used to promote the rat-infested remake of “Willard,” the prequel to “Ben.”  It’s definitely not as cool as Jackson’s, but it’s worth your attention).
 
A friend of mine recently posted some of Michael’s mid-1990’s lyrics to a song that speaks volumes–yep, it’s called “Morphine”:

He got flat baby
Kick in the back baby
A heart attack baby
I need your body

A hot kiss honey
He's just a bitch baby
You make me sick baby
So unrelying ...

A hot buzz baby
He's one of us baby
Another drug baby
You so desire

Trust in me Trust in me
Put all your trust in me
Your're doin' morphine

Hoo!

They got place baby
Kicked in the face baby
You hate your race baby
You're just a liar ...

Always to please daddy
Right up and leave daddy
You´re throwing shame daddy
So undesirable

Trust in me Just in me
Put all your trust in me
You're doin' morphine

Go'on babe

Relax
This won´t hurt you
Before I put it in
Close your eyes and count to 10
Don't cry
I won't convert you
There´s no need to dismay
Close your eyes and drift away

Demerol
Demerol
Oh god he's taking Demerol
Demerol
Demerol
Oh god he's taking Demerol

He's tried
Hard to convince her
To be over what he had
Today he wants twice as bad
Don't cry
I won't resent you
Yesterday you had his trust
Today he's taking twice as much

Demerol
Demerol
Oh god he's taking Demerol
Hee-hee-hee
Demerol
Demerol
Oh god he's taking Demerol
Hee
Oooh

OH!!!!! ...

Hoooo! ...

Hoo-Hoo!
I'm going down baby
You're takin' Morphine

Go'on baby!
Hoo!
Hoo!
Morphine!
Do it!
Hoo!
He's takin' morphine
Morphine!
Morphine!!

I know … damn, right?  That’s pretty raw.

After the news hit, I found out, much to my surprise, that one of my wife’s ex-boyfriends (who runs his own private-jet company) flew MJ to certain destinations.  On hearing of Jackson’s death, he didn’t have flattering words:  “Knew him. Flew him. Scumbag, pedophile, drug addict, alcoholic, freak. Good fucking riddance.  When he shows up way down south, I only hope Lucifer says, ‘Where the fuck is yer nose/wp-content/photos I paid for that!!!!’  Rot in Hell, “Thriller”.”
 
The troubled (was anyone in that family NOT?!) Jackson–like father, like son–was probably laying his hands on small boys and that’s not cool.  Actors Corey Feldman and Macauley Culkin should’ve “beat it” as fast as their little legs could run when Michael took a liking to their cute, boyish looks.  MJ was quoted to say he really loved Culkin’s bee-sting lips–and soon got his own done to resemble the “Home Alone” tyke.  But, no matter what accusations were made involving his “spotted penis,” the millions of adoring fans loved that crazy dude.

What will be the backlash of MJ’s death?  There have been at least a few fathers of small children that I know exclaim, “It’s a very good day.  With Michael Jackson dead, all the children of the world are safe!”  Despite those out there who are pleased that one more (alleged) pedophile is gone, there are a zillion more fans who are cleaning out the Michael Jackson CD sections across the nation, and the globe.  And, sometimes, those people are one and the same: my wife’s ex quickly followed his scathing personal comments about MJ with, “On the other hand, I enjoyed much of his music.”

Musicians like Alien Ant Farm (with their remake of “Smooth Criminal”) and Weird Al Yankovic (with his numerous parodies) will gain another 15 minutes of fame from Jackson’s death.  But is that a bad or good thing?

The bottom line is this: Michael Jackson touched a lot of people’s hearts … and a few people’s parts.    

 

Sky's the Limit

Unlike the
millions of fans mourning Michael Jackson, my thoughts are with Sky Saxon. In
this multi-dimensional universe we live in–it is often the obscure and obtuse
moment(s)undocumented by the masses which affects us in the most profound of
ways. Let me explain:

I did’nt discover Sky Saxon
& the Seeds by being the studious record collector I am. I discovered the
Seeds by chance and learned to love them by circumstance. The year was 1967 and
I was living in Lahore West Pakistan(while in the  8th and 9th grade). This was before the area was marred by
muslim terrorism and Taliban bullshit. In those days, Lahore was a
sleepy 3rd world backwater destination and for us American expatriates who lived
there, our Mayberry (minus the conveniences). There was no TV and only a few houses had telephones that didn’t even work half the time. The news was always 3 days old and if you were lucky, your short-wave radio might just might pull in the BBC for a minute or two.
There was no peanut butter or chocolate milkshakes or record stores or sneakers or anything cool. We did have record
players and Akai reel-to-reel tape recorders. And our American  school had 250 kids in grades 1-12. We
were all tuned into the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys, always looking for the next big thing. The only time we heard new
music was in September when the new kids came over there from the states. Our
group hung out at the Jones’ house (they had a pool table)—two very popular brothers who set the scene
for all of us.

 

The Summer of 1967 one of the gang Richard Shaw brought the
2 Seeds albums over to Duke Jones’ house. The Seeds and Web of Sound. These
records became the Jones brothers’ favorite records and they played them ad
nauseum. When we weren’t shooting pool we
were looking at the album jackets for hours. “Do you think you would grow
your hair this long?” I wonder where this photo was taken”? We had arguments
lasting hours what song was better-“Try to Understand” or “Can’t seem to make
you mine”(actually he same song) To us 9th graders the Seeds were Gods.

 

Fast forward to 1974-I was at
Georgetown University and was doing a radio show called “Mystic Eyes.”  Lenny Kaye just released his
compilation Nuggets-and the world was getting their first formal introduction
to garage music. I played the Seeds—and If I may be so bold to say—I was playing “garage music” as a
radio format light years before the thousands who now carry the torch. As a
record collector, I became interested in the post Seeds “Discography” looking
for “Little Richie Marsh doo-wop records” and willing to kill for the rare Seeds
single “Love in a Summer Basket.” My father recently died and his favorite Seeds song was “Faded Picture” which I pulled out and
listened to in his honor.

 

Fast Forward to May 2009. I
am having a dinner at my dear friend and radio co-host of yester-year Dr. Joe
Sasy (the man behind all those Time-Life informercials you see at 3
AM!!) We talked about the upcoming Seeds tour and it was decided the good doctor would buy tickets for the local Birchmere show and my wife Nancy & I would spend the
night there. We all thought-what a great fun way to spend an evening.

Fast
Forward to the evening of June 26-I am bored at home and surfing the
net. I see the headline “Singer Dies from Infection.” Of course I
click the link. A wave of sadness descends over my body. I didn’t know
what to do. I call “Duke” in Utah–a prominent dentist now –and still a
very dear friend. The Secretary say’s “can you hold and I will see if
Dr. Jones can take your call.” In the few seconds that I am waiting I think back to the Dukes’ condom collection–all 120 brands he was so proud of and filled many up and used as lethal water balloons(but’s that’s another
story). Duke jumps on the phone and says, “Hey Herc!” (my 7th grade nickname) how are you?'” I tell him, “I am calling you because something very sad happened today.” What?
“Someone Died” Who? -your not calling me about “Farrah” are you Herc?”
No Duke, Sky Saxon died today.” A noticeable silence come sover the line….. “You know Herc,
he was from Salt lake.” I tell him, I know duke.” ” You know his real name was not
Sky Saxon,” No it was Richie Marsh–and he was probably a Mormon.” “Yeah Herc, Marsh is a well known
Mormon name, the Duke replies. We continued chatting making the same jokes we made in 8th grade. Who would have ever thought we were 56 year old adults?
 

In
conclusion I have to say Sky Saxon’s passing was sad and beginning
of the realization that my Generation is entering the twilight of our
lives. I was very upset with NPRfor not doing even a small
story on Sky. Those holier-than-thou Ivy League  ectomorphs who pride themselves on the unique and forgotten news story–totally dropped the
ball on this and this was a story that begged to be told. Instead, NPR
was indistinguishable from Fox news in their coverage of Michael and Farrah. In their lame coverage of Michael, they even  forgot
to mention the only cool thing Michael ever did was name his kid
Blanket! But then again,  Sky talked to Dogs and played with Father Yod &  Yahowa 13.

Yes, it’s a “Faded Picture,a picture of my childhood,” RIP Sky.

 

 

Steve Lorber is a founding member of the Rock Institute- an organization started in the 70’s to interdict and stop the export of rare American Rock and Roll records sold and smuggled to Europe. A life-long promoter of cassette technology and is currently working on a diet & philosophy book tentatively titled The Porky From New Yorky’s Guide to Weight Loss and Positive Mental Health.     

 

Jackson Ticketholders: You’ll Be Screwed

Despite promise of
refunds, don’t count on recouping.

 

By Fred Mills

 

That dripping sound you hear? It’s the sound of sweat,
descending from the chin of concert promoter AEG Live, contemplating a
potential loss of $40 million if the stars don’t align in the wake of Michael
Jackson’s unexpected death.

 

$40 mil is an estimate, as reported the other day at
Billboard.biz
, of the combined cost of what AEG paid out to Jackson in his
advance ($10 million) plus production costs incurred thus far on what would
have been a 50-show run by Jackson at London’s O2 Arena. The ultimate tally
will hinge on how much nonappearance insurance will get coughed up, and while
at this point the cause of Jackson’s death is being attributed to cardiac
arrest, the Billboard report points out, citing an unnamed entertainment
insurance industry insider, “if Jackson died from a drug overdose or a
pre-existing condition, the producer could be on the hook for any loss – which
would include any money already sunk into the production, as well as the
considerable cost of refunding consumers for the 750,000 tickets already
purchased. If Jackson signed a contract saying
he would return his advance in the event he didn’t perform, the company could
end up in court with a long line of other Jackson
creditors.”

 

Ah. Those consumers who bought tickets. Let’s shed a few
quick crocodile tears for AEG, then turn our attention to Joe Q. Jacko Fan, who
along with his other 749,00 compatriots, sunk somewhere in the range of $90
million for tix – estimates by Billboard indicate that “premium and VIP
packages and secondary market sales would have boosted the gross to more than
$100 million.”

 

Read the Billboard report first, then surf over to one
published this morning by Britain’s
Telegraph.
Over the weekend a
spokesman for AEG confirmed that as they are legally bound to give refunds, “full
ticket refund information and procedures will be released early next week for
all Michael Jackson This Is It shows.” eBay made a similar statement. All ticketholders are being advised
to hold on to their ticket vouchers or proof of purchase slips (sensible in any
situation) as they will be required to submit documentation of their purchase
in order to get a refund.

 

Secondary ticket sellers, however, were a bit less
forthcoming – to the point of being deliberately vague – regarding their plans
for refunds. Over the years, reports on people attempting to get refunds
following a secondary market purchase haven’t been too encouraging, to say the
least. While the term “ticket reseller” has for some reason taken on a veneer
of respectability of late, let’s call those resellers what they are – scalpers,
and the general policy of scalpers is to take the money and run.

 

One expert subsequently warned fans that if they encounter
any problems obtaining refunds they most likely would have to contact their
credit card companies. As anyone who’s ever had to file a disputed credit card
charge claim knows, the procedure can be a royal pain in the ass, one that can
drag on for months, and in some instances the red tape still winds up leaving
you holding the bag. Caveat emptor.

 

Meanwhile, as all this is going on, nobody has raised the
issue of ticketing fees and service charges. Cast your memory back to this past
February when the Langerado Festival, set for March 6-8, was cancelled due to
sluggish ticket sales. Refunds were offered – “minus the included order processing fees,” as a notation in the
official cancellation notice on the Langerado website indicated. Depending on
the event and the promoter, those fees – which you rarely find out the total until
the final step of the check-out process when ordering tickets – can sometimes
add up to as much as 10% of the face value.

 

My prediction: AEG will pull a similar stunt, issuing
refunds for the full face value but not for any fees that accrued with the
original transaction. (No doubt they can do it legally as well, with the info
having appeared somewhere in the fine print of that transaction.) Let’s say the
fees were as low as ten dollars: do the math – 750,000 tickets times $10 equals
$7,500,000. Well, it’s not quite $40 mil, but it’ll still help AEG just a tad.
And you, gentle consumer, get screwed by the big guys once again.

 

Well, that’s my prediction at least. My advice? Sell your
unused tickets on eBay, of course! As everyone knows, pristine tickets from
Elvis Presley concerts that got cancelled in the wake of his death are
considered big collector’s items. Industry watchers are already predicting a
similar scenario for Jackson,
and that a lot of fans will also hang on to their tix for sentimental reasons. It
will all hinge on how many physical tickets were actually issued, of course; reportedly,
the actual artifacts hadn’t yet been mailed for many of those 50 shows. So who
knows exactly how many tickets are out there right now in the hands of punters,
and ultimately how many will wind up in the “collector’s item” category?

 

This hasn’t stopped an enterprising soul for listing on eBay
what has to be one of the most esoteric Jackson
collectibles ever: an official Ticketmaster email confirming cancellation of a Jackson London show. A Montreal-based
seller has it listed as Buy It Now for a whopping $1.00 (“more than 10
available,” har har har) with the listing reading thusly:

 

“Up for grabs: email sent by
Ticketmaster confirming the cancellation of the Michael Jackson show at
the O2 in London.
This is a collector’s item. It explains show was cancelled with a sympathy
message and what to do to get full refund for tickets. This
item will be emailed to you as soon as payment is received.”

 

Hey, don’t you just love the free enterprise system? Oh, and by the way:
how many of you out there have already booked air fare to London? Checked the cost of cancelling or
changing an international flight any time lately, hmmm?

 

 

 UPDATE (6/30):

CNN is reporting this morning that AEG
will be offering fans the choice between a refund or a “souvenir
commemorative ticket” featuring one of eight holographic designs. With
original prices starting at $105… wow, we’re not even gonna go there.
That ticking sound you hear? It’s the sound of AEG’s accountants
feverishly tapping away on their calculators, hoping that the “chump
factor” will kick in heavily among the Jackson fan base. If that
happens, you can also kiss  goodbye any heavy eBay profits you might
have been calculatiing in your own mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy-ass Blurt Mag’s 1st of 2 Covers

 

We just couldn’t help
ourselves…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Around the time you’re reading this the Fall 2009 issue of
BLURT is hitting newsstands and mailboxes. As a special treat, and a strategic
move designed to utterly confuse harried newsstand and bookstore clerks
arranging magazines on their shelves, we decided to present the magazine with
alternate covers. On the main front cover, Sonic Youth; on the rear, Regina
Spektor. (Readers are encouraged to write in and let us know which they like
best.)

 

As outlined in our free bi-weekly email newsletter (going
out today, in fact – sign up for it elsewhere on our homepage), this second
print edition of Blurt – counting our
digital-only issues, the 7th overall – features, in addition to
Sonic Youth and Spektor, Iggy Pop, Prefuse 73, Patterson Hood (of the Drive-By
Truckers), Mandy Moore, Wye Oak, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, Rodriguez, King
Khan & the Shrines, country cult artist Larry Jon Wilson, the return of
punk legends Flipper, porn queen Sasha Grey – and why the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame has finally become completely irrelevant. There’s also a special fashion
section with profiles and retro-themed photos of a slew of musical femme fatales, among them Spektor, Maria
Taylor, Rye Rye and Metric’s Emily Haines.

 

Obviously we’re proud of the magazine, but we sincerely hope
that it offers a wealth of musical comfort food for everyone – maybe even some
quality summertime on-the-beach reading, to boot. We also offer subscriptions to Blurt so you don’t miss an issue.