Monthly Archives: June 2009

Hey, Some Other Artists Died, Too!

The Germs’ Darby Crash
became a musical  footnote for dying on
the same day John Lennon was shot. Will these musicians suffer a similar fate
for expiring on or in close proximity to Michael Jackson’s death?

 

By Fred Mills

 

With the predictable wall-to-wall media coverage of the
Michael Jackson death still in full swing, and with a number of usually
reliable, otherwise rational music news portals (hello, Pitchfork!) going
hilariously ga-ga with their treatments (it would appear that tokenism is still
alive and well), we at BLURT would like to pause for a moment, take a deep
breath, and remind you that some other artists
passed away over the last week or so, too. None of them even came close to the
level of celebrity that Michael Jackson, for better or worse, enjoyed; but then,
Jackson lived and died in a sorry reality show of his own making, so that’s
probably a good thing for these people, gifted musicians all, and as beloved,
in their own frame of musical reference, as any you’d care to mention. (Plus,
unlike Jackson,
none of them are the music biz equivalents of steroid-scandal baseball player with
asterisks firmly affixed to their permanent records.)

 

 

Sky Saxon: The
Seeds frontman and one of the original archy-tects of the Nuggets garage-rock milieu had the misfortune to die on the same
day as Jackson.
At presstime, the presumption was that it was due to heart failure – just like Jackson. Here’s hoping
that Sky won’t get the Darby Crash/John Lennon treatment and receive a proper
memorial. I can readily imagine Little Steven working up something for his “Underground
Garage” program in the days after Sky’s death. All you rock club deejays out
there could do worse than to follow suit.

 

Tim Krekel: A Kentucky native and
inordinately gifted guitarist (he worked with Billy Swan, Jimmy Buffett and
others) and songwriter (his tunes were covered by everyone from Patty Loveless
and Crystal Gayle to Canned Heat and Jason & the Scorchers), Krekel passed
away at the relatively young age of 58 on Wednesday, June 24, after a bout with
cancer. Fans still have fond memories of seeing Krekel tear it up with his
bands the Sluggers and the Groovebillys.

 

Bob Bogle: I’d
love for a Ventures buff to square off against a Jackson aficionado in a debate over whether
the surf band or the soul star ultimately wielded the greater musical
influence. Guitarist Bogle was inducted along with his bandmates to the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and as a group the Ventures had scores of
top-charting records, selling millions along the way – with nary a sex scandal
or perp walk across the pages of a grocery store tabloid among them. Bogle died
June 14 at the age of 75 from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

 

Nick Holt: The
brother of Morris “Magic Slim” Holt and the bassist for the legendary
Magic Slim & the Teardrops for decades, Holt passed on June 22 (brain
cancer). The Chicago
bluesman also made his mark as a session player, appearing on records by Little
Milton, Sunnyland Slim, Vance Kelly and others. It’s a truism worth remembering
that sometimes the players not necessarily appearing in the spotlight are the ones who keep the whole deal
moving along.

 

Charlie Mariano: The famed alto sax
whiz and Charlie Parker disciple died June 16 from cancer. As with Holt,
Mariano was “just” a sideman at points in his career, but his work with such
legends as Shelly Manne, Stan Kenton, Charles Mingus, Toshiko Akiyoshi
(to whom he was once married) and others helped earn him the title “the dean of
Boston jazz musicians.” Mariano also fronted his own band and in the ‘50s
founded the Jazz Workshop.

 

 

Turn down the CNN volume for a moment or two, won’t you, and
give thanks for these and all the other musicians who’ve made our world just a
little bit brighter. They didn’t need glittery white gloves or big-budget
videos to make their mark – just their native talent.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Aliens Are Landing In Fall

 

Sign to Birdman
records to release Topspin special edition 50 page book; new LP coming soon.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

The Aliens, featuring former membes of the Beta Band, are
creating a special limited-edition 50+page hard cover book, all color, and high
rising book which will also house the record. The book will include drawings, poems,
film stills, photographs, interviews…all done in the standard Alien manor.
This special edition item will be sold through the Birdman website using
Topspin’s Direct-to-fan marketing and distribution platform. Topspin technology
helped power recent indie releases from David Byrne/Brian Eno, Metric, and
re-issues from the Beastie Boys. The book will be available for pre-order in
September.

 

The backstory:

 
Formed in 2005 these Aliens have history – between them they have been behind
some of the most enthralling British music of the last decade. John Maclean and
Robin Jones where members of the Beta Band. Gordon Anderson was a founding Beta
Band member who went on to record two albums under the Lone Pigeon moniker.

 
In March 07 they released their first album “Astronomy For Dogs” to a hearty round of applause from the critics
scoring 4 & 5 stars across the board – comparisons were along the lines of  imagine The Velvet Underground gone Punk. Woven
from the threads of Anderson’s genuine heartfelt
songs, the Aliens sstart with Anderson.
He brings his acoustic-guitar-and-vocals demos to Maclean and Jones, and
together the three of them crank up their computers and record collections and
work out what breaks, beats, samples, noises and ideas will work best to
(techni) colour-in those song sketches.
 

 

After their release 2007 was a busy year with UK & US
tours & festivals. It ended with a cultural exchange trip to the Congo with Africa Express and Damon Albarn,
playing with some of the most celebrated musicians in Africa
and the West. The trip left the band creatively refreshed, musically
rejuvenated and with a renewed faith in the fact that music is a celebration. With
this new renewed energy they started recording their new album in an isolated,
ramshackle studio in a small Scottish village, self produced the band embraced
their freedom from the major record label machine enabling them to explore each
track with the focus and wilful experimentation upon which they thrive. Luna is the sound of The Aliens fully
realizing their extra-terrestrial musical vision. In September 08 they made a
welcome return with the release of Luna on
their own label Petrock Records. They managed to deliver an album that manages
to outshine their widely acclaimed debut. It’s a mesmeric, psych tinged,
honeycomb folk-pop masterpiece allowed to run free & has been drawing
comparisons to Fink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of
The Moon’
. Meanwhile, the Aliens are always a thrilling proposition live,
expect the unexpected…. it’s an unmissable, fist-in-mouth experience that
showcases the band’s infectious energy and their frontman’s magnetism.

 

 

 

Pixies Announce Doolittle 20th Ann. Tour

 

Floggin’ that massive
box set, too…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their
1989 album Doolittle,
the Pixies – Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering – will
embark on what they’re calling the Doolittle
Tour this fall in the UK
and Europe. It will kick off with two nights
at the Olympia in Dublin, Ireland
on October 1 and 2.  Tickets for all dates (listed below) go on sale this
Friday, July 3 at 9AM; consult the usual overseas ticketing companies
(Ticketmaster, Gigs and Tours, etc.) for ordering details.

 

For the Doolittle Tour, the Pixies will perform all of the
songs from Doolittle and
its related B-sides, including classics such as “Debaser,” “Wave
of Mutilation,” “Here Comes Your Man,” “Hey,” and
“Gouge Away.”

 

“We wanted to do something special for Doolittle’s 20th
anniversary,” said Black Francis, in a statement,  “and we thought his was a good
opportunity to play all of the songs from that album, something we don’t
normally do at a regular gig.”

 

The ultimate Pixies Collector’s Set, Minotaur, will be
ready to ship to purchasers in early October and presales are being taken at www.ainr.com

 

A couple of weeks ago the band played a secret gig at London’s Village
Underground in front of 300 fans. Go HERE for details of the show, including
the full setlist.

 

Tour Dates (all October):

 

 

 1 Olympia,  Dublin, Ireland

 2 Olympia,  Dublin, Ireland

 4 SECC – Hall 4, Glasgow, Scotland

 6 Brixton Academy, London, England

 7 Brixton Academy, London, England

 8 Brixton Academy, London, England

 9 Brixton Academy, London, England

11 Jahrhunderhalle, Frankfurt, Germany

13 Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Holland   

14 Forest National, Brussels, Belgium

15 Zenith, Paris, France

 

 

 

Living Colour Mounts Comeback

 

New album, tour set for
September.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Living Colour will release their first new studio album
in five years entitled The Chair In The Doorway on September 15 via
Megaforce Records. The NYC rock band originally exploded out of CBGB’s in the
late ’80s, landing all over MTV, graced the cover of Rolling Stone and
played stadium stages around the world with their Grammy Award-winning,
multi-platinum debut album Vivid.

 

Original members Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Will Calhoun and
(since 1993) Doug Wimbish gathered at Sono Studios outside of Prague in The
Czech Republic during the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 to write and record
what would become The Chair In The Doorway. The results stretch from
the modern soul anthem “Behind The Sun” to the politically-charged,
heavy rock of “DecaDance” to the sacred steel blues of “Bless
Those.” The artwork for The Chair In The Doorway was compiled
from thousands of contest entries by fans from around the world.

“We feel like this is the best record we’ve made yet and we couldn’t be
more excited to be releasing it with the legendary Megaforce Records,”
said guitarist Vernon Reid, in a press release.  “Some of our
favorite bands were or are Megaforce artists, Metallica, Bad Brains, Anthrax,
Black Crowes, so it’s an honor to be part of a label with a great legacy.”

Living Colour will announce plans for a world tour shortly. With dates set to
begin in September, it will include their first North American tour in four
years along with performances in South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

Having helped to pave the way for a number of contemporary African-American
artists to follow in their wake, ranging from Rage Against The Machine to Lenny
Kravitz to Ben Harper, with a multi-dimensional sound that drew equally from
Jimi Hendrix, Bad Brains, Talking Heads and Ornette Coleman, the success of
Living Colour broke down the color barriers in rock music. Guitarist and
founding member Vernon Reid also founded the Black Rock Coalition to use his
influence to further this cause.

Discovered by Mick Jagger who produced their first demo and later offered them
an opening slot with The Rolling Stones, Living Colour would go on to create a
repertoire that includes a multitude of classic songs, including “Cult Of
Personality,” “Elvis Is Dead,” “Open Letter To A
Landlord,” “Glamour Boys” and “Love Rears Its Ugly
Head.”

Track listing:

1. Burned Bridges
2. The Chair         
3. DecaDance   
4. Young Man    
5. 
Method             

6.  Behind The Sun
7.  Bless Those
8.  Hard Times  
9.  Taught Me
10. Out Of Mind     
11. Not Tomorrow

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Crazy-ass Blurt Mag’s 2nd 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.

 

 

 

Now Playing June 2009

Not unlike the rest of the world, Outlandos HQ has had Michael Jackson on perpetual replay. RIP the King.

1. Michael Jackson, Thriller

thriller

I’d forgotten what a monster album this was. I’d also forgotten []

A Triple-A radio programming veteran, Kate has served as Music Director of the Loft at XM, Midday Host at WYEP, Evening Host at both WNCS and WUIN, as well as Content Supervisor for Pump Audio. Currently, she’s the CEO of Outlandos Music, a new-music discovery service for grown-ups. Kate has been nationally recognized for her ardent presentation of music and her ability to champion talented, compelling artists.

Yesterday’s Ring

Yesterday’s Ring

The divide between hardcore punk bands and acoustic cradling country crooners is growing narrower nowadays.  Avail’s Tim Barry, Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and even Social Distortion’s Mike Ness have all added a little Highwaymen outlaw vibe to their solo records of late.

Yesterday’s Ring, comprised of a handful of members from Montreal’s hardcore heroes the Sainte Catherines, prove even Canadian’s aren’t immune to power of the twang and a good drinking song.

Yesterday’s Ring, lead by singer Hugo Mudie have just released their third full length (and first for Suburban Home Records) “Diamonds in the Ditch”.
Hugo was kind enough to answer some questions recently about the new record, the future of the Sainte Catherines and why punk rockers can’t say no to country records.

Prior to this band, you were known more for a harder punk rock sound. What made you decide to play alternative country?
We still play in our punk band the Sainte Catherines. We started to enjoy listening to softer music while on the road with the Sainte Catherines. Our old drummer really liked country and he kind of turned us on to it. It was perfect for driving through the south of the states.
 
So you haven’t always had country music influences?
No I think it started around the year 2000 while on tour with the Sainte Catherines. But growing up my mom was a big fan of Kenny Rogers and John Denver and my dad was a into Springsteen and Dylan…I guess I got it from them also.

Do you approach writing songs for Yesterday’s Ring any differently than the way you write and record Sainte Catherines’ records? 
Yes, definitely. The Sainte Catherines is more of a collaborative effort. Yesterday’s Ring is a band, but it’s written more in the songwriter tradition, where someone from the band comes up with a song and we work around it.

There are actually a lot of punk rockers who have started writing more country and folk-influenced records (Tim Barry, Chuck Reagan, Frank Turner, etc.). What is so appealing about this type of music that it attracts so many former punks?
It’s simple and heartfelt like punk rock but it’s not so fucking loud (ha).

Are the audiences any different or the same punks who came to see you with the Sainte Catherines?
There are more girls at Yesterday’s Ring shows and more NOFX fans at Sainte Catherines shows.

Do you still plan on writing and recording more albums with the Sainte Catherines?
We just started writing a new record for the Sainte Catherines. We are really excited about it. I think it’s gonna be a lot catchier and rock than previous records.

What music have you been listening to lately?
Colin Moore, John Prine, K’Naan, Steve Earle, Dirty Tricks, Koriass and Lake Of Stew.

 

Yesterday's Ring

Yesterday’s Ring

The divide between hardcore punk bands and acoustic cradling country crooners is growing narrower nowadays.  Avail’s Tim Barry, Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and even Social Distortion’s Mike Ness have all added a little Highwaymen outlaw vibe to their solo records of late.

Yesterday’s Ring, comprised of a handful of members from Montreal’s hardcore heroes the Sainte Catherines, prove even Canadian’s aren’t immune to power of the twang and a good drinking song.

Yesterday’s Ring, lead by singer Hugo Mudie have just released their third full length (and first for Suburban Home Records) “Diamonds in the Ditch”.
Hugo was kind enough to answer some questions recently about the new record, the future of the Sainte Catherines and why punk rockers can’t say no to country records.

Prior to this band, you were known more for a harder punk rock sound. What made you decide to play alternative country?
We still play in our punk band the Sainte Catherines. We started to enjoy listening to softer music while on the road with the Sainte Catherines. Our old drummer really liked country and he kind of turned us on to it. It was perfect for driving through the south of the states.
 
So you haven’t always had country music influences?
No I think it started around the year 2000 while on tour with the Sainte Catherines. But growing up my mom was a big fan of Kenny Rogers and John Denver and my dad was a into Springsteen and Dylan…I guess I got it from them also.

Do you approach writing songs for Yesterday’s Ring any differently than the way you write and record Sainte Catherines’ records? 
Yes, definitely. The Sainte Catherines is more of a collaborative effort. Yesterday’s Ring is a band, but it’s written more in the songwriter tradition, where someone from the band comes up with a song and we work around it.

There are actually a lot of punk rockers who have started writing more country and folk-influenced records (Tim Barry, Chuck Reagan, Frank Turner, etc.). What is so appealing about this type of music that it attracts so many former punks?
It’s simple and heartfelt like punk rock but it’s not so fucking loud (ha).

Are the audiences any different or the same punks who came to see you with the Sainte Catherines?
There are more girls at Yesterday’s Ring shows and more NOFX fans at Sainte Catherines shows.

Do you still plan on writing and recording more albums with the Sainte Catherines?
We just started writing a new record for the Sainte Catherines. We are really excited about it. I think it’s gonna be a lot catchier and rock than previous records.

What music have you been listening to lately?
Colin Moore, John Prine, K’Naan, Steve Earle, Dirty Tricks, Koriass and Lake Of Stew.