Category Archives: Humor/comedy

R.E.M. To Mount Reunion Tour Behind RSD “Unplugged” Album

REM 1

Athens giants dub their twin drum setup “a pair of Bills”…

 By Blurt Staff

 A few weeks ago word arrived that late, great alt-rock godfathers R.E.M. would be issuing a special archival title for Record Store Day 2014. To quote Rolling Stone:

 The band will release Unplugged: The Complete 1991 And 2001 Sessions as part of Record Store Day on April 19th. The group is the only band to headline the popular MTV live performance show twice, and will release, alongside complete versions of both concerts, 11 unaired songs. The 4-LP set will initially be released on vinyl before being available on CD and digital outlets on May 20th. The unaired tracks — five from the band’s 1991 set and six from their 2001 show — include tracks from 1998’s Up and 2001’s Reveal, as well as a more somber version of 1987’s “The One I Love.”

 

In that same report bassist Mike Mills told the Stone that no official reunions are in the offing: “We said we’re done and we’re done,” he stated. However, Mills was a guest at the recent BLURT day party in Austin during SXSW as part of The Baseball Project (go here to view a photo of Mills performing), and he let it slip that, in fact, the band is “so goddam excited about these MTV sessions coming to light again, given that we owe our entire career to MTV, not to mention the fact that Downtown Julie Brown was a fuggin’ fox,” they’ve decided to do a short run of concerts in honor of their unprecedented “Unplugged” two-fer.

It will feature the “classic” lineup of Mills, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Bill Berry, along with latterday R.E.M. multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughey (on Mellotron during the fan-fave “King Crimson tribute” segment) and drummer Bill Rieflin (who will help the band fulfill Buck’s longstanding ambition to be “the most kickass Southern Rock band since the Allman Brothers”). “Let’s face it,” said Mills. “Not even Nirvana, Plant & Page or Alice In Chains mustered TWO “Unplugged” appearances. That pretty much says it all.” Indeed it does. Watch a classic clip of R.E.M. on “Unplugged” right here, and below are listed the upcoming tour dates.

    5-17-2014 – Gulf Shores, AL, USA – The Hangout Festival 5-17-2014 Gulf Shores, AL, USA

    The Hangout Festival

    5-24-2014 – Brussels, Belgium – Cirque Royal, Nuits Botanique 5-24-2014 Brussels, Belgium

    Cirque Royal, Nuits Botanique

    5-26-2014 – Edinburgh, Scotland, UK – Usher Hall 5-26-2014 Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

    Usher Hall

    5-27-2014 – Manchester, England, UK – O2 Apollo 5-27-2014 Manchester, England, UK

    O2 Apollo

    5-28-2014 – London, England, UK – O2 Academy Brixton 5-28-2014 London, England, UK

    O2 Academy Brixton

    5-29-2014 – Nottingham, England, UK – Capital FM Arena Nottingham 5-29-2014 Nottingham, England, UK

    Capital FM Arena Nottingham

    5-31-2014 – Dublin, Ireland – Forbidden Fruit Festival 5-31-2014 Dublin, Ireland

    Forbidden Fruit Festival

    6-6-2014 – Ozark, AR, USA – Wakarusa Music Festival 6-6-2014 Ozark, AR, USA

    Wakarusa Music Festival

    6-8-2014 – Austin, TX, USA – X Games Austin, Austin 360 Amphitheater 6-8-2014 Austin, TX, USA

    X Games Austin, Austin 360 Amphitheater

    6-10-2014 – Saint Louis, MO, USA – The Pageant 6-10-2014 Saint Louis, MO, USA

    The Pageant

    6-12-2014 – Detroit, MI, USA – The Fillmore Detroit 6-12-2014 Detroit, MI, USA

    The Fillmore Detroit

    6-14-2014 – Manchester, TN, USA – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

 

Courtney Love Sues Record Label, Nirvana Members, Self

Courtney 2

Chaotic scene on the courthouse steps in Los Angeles.

 By Blurt Staff

 Today in Los Angeles superior court, rocker Courtney Love filed a 2.5 million dollar lawsuit against her former record label (and also home to her late husband Kurt Cobain’s band Nirvana) Universal Music for “looming copyright violation,” specifically citing the recently announced and forthcoming The KDC Tapes box set comprising early pre-Nirvana demos by Cobain that Universal is preparing for release on Record Store Day, April 19. Also named in the lawsuit were the surviving members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, along with heirs to the Cobain estate.

 The Cobain tapes, primarily sing-songy ditties performed on ukulele by Cobain when he was around 8 or 9, purportedly feature on several tracks “an unknown additional musician” on “rudimentary percussion,” but to date that unknown individual hasn’t been identified. Love is claiming that it is, in fact, her, and that the tapes are being released without obtaining the proper releases or, for that matter, setting up a schedule of royalty payments.

 “I used to go over to Kurt’s house when we were kids and we’d jam for hours,” said Love, in a press conference held on the courthouse steps. “He only had the one guitar [ukulele] so I basically played the drums for him, on anything that was around—pots, pans, a bookshelf, even his head, hurk hurk hurk hurk! And he’d tape us on this little Wollensak mono deck, but I had no idea he’d save them, or that they would later wind up getting released. While I had initially given my blessings to the project, after I finally heard the tapes I realized that had to be my percussion on them. It sounds just like me—here, let me show you.”

 Love tapped the microphone for a few minutes, then took questions from reporters. Asked about the co-defendants in the suit, it was pointed out that by suing the Cobain estate she was, in effect, suing herself. Love retorted, “Well, I suppose my lawyers will just have to take a deposition because I’ll be on the other side of the courtroom when this lawsuit comes to trial!”

 When it was pointed out that it’s well documented that at the time the tapes were apparently created, she was living in the California Bay Area with her father and the extended family of the Grateful Dead, and that this has been covered extensively in books (some quoting her directly), Love stormed away from the courthouse, shouting obscenities and muttering cryptically about “El Duce will take care of you motherfuckers…”

2nd Weekend of Coachella Cancelled

Coachella2Coachella2

Organizers mum about rumored financial troubles.

 By Blurt Staff

 Festivalgoers eager to kick off the festival season for 2014 got a rude awakening this morning when the annual Coachella festival announced that the second weekend was being cancelled. The event was slated to run April 11-13 and 18-20, but now just the first three days will take place.

 Coachella organizers cited slow ticket sales for the reason, but stressed that the first weekend would go on as planned, with a number of the artists slated to perform April 18-20 now would appear earlier. “The fans did not support it, but continue to embrace the traditional First Weekend event,” said Jeff Trisler, president of Live Nation Northwest. “Message received, lesson learned and we move forward.”

 When it was pointed out that both weekends for Coachella had sold out weeks ago, a spokesman for Coachella cleared his throat and commented, “Technically, yes—but we pool all the funds together, so there actually isn’t a “first” or “second” weekend when we’re talking the ticket sales and money. It all goes into one fund. How do you think we are paying all those astronomical guarantees demanded by Outkast, Arcade Fire and The Replacements anyway?”

 Organizers indicated that refunds for the second weekend would be given out “sometime in early spring of next year after we’ve collected advance ticket sales money for the 2015 Coachella.”

Incoming: Unreleased Corpses Of Folk (Drake, Buckley, Seeger, Harper) LP

Corpss of Folk

Hats off to Arlo Guthrie!

 By Robert Palmer

 Long-rumored, but never confirmed: the one-off collaboration of musical giants that wags once cynically termed “The Corpses Of Folk” has finally been revealed as fact, and it’s headed to stores on May 13 via Vanguard. Corpses Of Folk comprises sessions recorded over (as a press release puts it) “one stoned weekend in Woodstock” in late ’71 and co-produced by Jimmy Page and Arlo Guthrie. The musicians? Bedsit icon Nick Drake, avant-provocateur Tim Buckley, scene godfather Pete Seeger, and reluctant cricketer Roy Harper. The four had convened at the behest of Led Zeppelin’s Page, who’d struck up a friendship with Harper and, after suggesting the off-the-wall summit as a kind of dream date for him, had his manager, Peter Grant, get in touch with the other three.

 Grant used his, er, legendeary powers of persuasion to land Drake, Buckley and Seeger—apparently the long-standing urban legend of Grant’s bodyguard dangling the sickly Drake outside a window by his ankles until he assented is just that, an urban legend (albeit one convincingly circulated by rap impresario Suge Knight)—and voila, a supergroup was born. Sadly, at the time the four principals’ record companies could not come to a contractual agreement despite Page and Grant’s assurances that their label, Swan Song, which would release the album, would see that everyone was fairly compensated. So the sessions were shelved, until now.

 Apparently My Morning Jacket’s Jim James obtained a bootleg CDR of the music and was so entranced that he used his estimable clout to bring the project to contemporary fruition. James receives an executive producer credit on the album (as does Grant, who passed away in 1995 but still commands fear and respect in the industry from the grave), and both James and M. Ward reportedly “sweetened” some of the guitar and backing vocal tracks, but the material is otherwise presented in exactly the form it was recorded.

(Apparently there are a number of outtakes from the sessions that will remain in the vaults, including Harper’s version of the blues standard “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” and a Harper original provisionally titled “The Chicken Hawk Waltz.”)

 Oh, and about that band moniker: while Drake, Buckley and Seeger have passed away and Roy Harper is technically still among the living, the name “Corpses Of Folk” took on fresh cachet last Nov. 15 when Harper was charged in England with “unlawful sexual intercourse, indecent assault and gross indecency” regarding allegations about a young girl he’d known between 1975 and 1977. “He’s among the walking dead,” stated a London-based music industry publicist familiar with the case. Harper’s trial has been set for this coming August.

Go here to listen to the Drake-Buckley duet, “Time Has Told Me to Get On Top,” which is, incidentally, the only track to feature Guthrie. He’s on the part-spoken, part-sung backing vocals.

ABERDEEN EVERGREEN: Kurt Cobain Demos Slated for Record Store Day

Kurt wings

The late Nirvana frontman’s rumored childhood demos finally authenticated, coming out on Record Store Day 2014 as The KDC Tapes.

 BY FRED MILLS

A couple of years ago, in a BLURT exclusive report titled “Pre-Nirvana Kurt Cobain Demos Unearthed,” we outlined how a 30-track collection of cassette tapes reportedly dating back to the Nirvana frontman’s childhood had been discovered and were being estimated as being worth “seven figures” or more. Although at the time of the report there was more than a little speculation that it was all a hoax or, at very least, wishful thinking on the you-gotta-believe segment of the Cobain/Nirvana fanbase (and trust us, that is a HUGE segment) we’ve now learned that the tapes have been authenticated and are to be a late-addition to this year’s Record Store Day titles.

Arriving in stores on April 19: a limited-to-1000-copies numbered set of cassettes, titled The KDC Tapes and housed in a deluxe “cigar box” styled packaging and featuring Cobain-derived memorabilia that includes faux-syringes, cigarette packs and snippets of lyrics scribbled on napkins. That will be followed up in June with the non-limited vinyl and CD sets. The artwork is reportedly derived from the recently published photos of the Cobain suicide crime scene.

Kurt scene 1

Kurt scene 4

From our original report, let’s recap:

      A trove of dusty Phillips cassettes purchased by a self-styled “junker” at an Aberdeen, Wash., garage sale have turned out to be early demo recordings by the late Kurt Cobain. It marks the first time since the 2004 Nirvana box set With the Lights Out that heretofore unheard Cobain material has surfaced, and Nirvana experts are hailing the 30-plus tracks – some of them full songs, others just “sketches” – as likely representing the earliest known Cobain material in existence.

      The individual who bought the box of tapes initially got curious when he spotted the initials “KDC” (as in, “Kurt Donald Cobain”) scrawled in black magic marker on the side of each cassette. Upon listening to them he contacted a music industry lawyer, who in turn contacted representatives of Cobain’s estate and Cobain’s record label; the tapes were subsequently verified by noted music producers Jack Endino and Butch Vig (who both worked with Nirvana) as being legitimate. The finder is reportedly now in negotiations to sell the tapes to the estate and label.

      One industry observer estimates the potential value of the tapes as being “in the seven-figure range.”

      Cobain, who was born in 1967 and attended high school in Aberdeen while living there with his mother, apparently recorded them on a vintage 3M Wollensak mono tape deck when he was in elementary school – presumably about the age of 8 or 9, as several of the song titles focus on people and events circa 1974-75: “Nixon Must Die (Or Resign)”; “I Wanna Be Just Like a Weatherman”; “Carlos the Jackal”; “Shazam!”; and the collection’s lone cover, a ukulele version of the Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.”

      According to a source who has heard the material, the tunes are “mostly singalongs” performed on acoustic guitar or the aforementioned ukulele, along with some rudimentary percussion performed by an unknown additional musician,  “There’s nothing there that would really give a blindfold test listener the sense that Cobain would go on to form one of the biggest bands on the planet, although it is worth noting that even at that age you could hear the initial stirrings of his trademark rasp – kinda like any kid sounds after he’s been punched in the throat a couple of times, actually.

      “With that said, however, a few recurring lyrical motifs, somewhat precocious on one level and disturbing on another, do provide ad hoc foreshadowing. At least three songs contain the word ‘vagina,’ each part of some childlike rhyming scheme, one of them being ‘your mama’; and there’s an unusual fixation on firearms too, such as in ‘…Weatherman’ where he sings in a kind of taunting tone of voice, ‘You’ll wish you were dead/ When I point my gun at your head.’ That’s followed by the popping sound of a kid’s cap gun.”

      Genuine historical artifact, or merely a curio for hard-core Cobain and Nirvana fans? With interest in both the artist and the band never having waned since his death in 1994, it’s likely that “The KDC Tapes,” as they’re being referred to in industry circles, will eventually anchor several archival releases: a CD of cherry-picked highlights, a collection of DJ remixes, and the inevitable big-ticket boxed set – possibly even a DVD documentary outlining the finding-of, the cleaning-up-of and the marketing-of the tapes. [Editor’s note: the latter info was obviously premature. See the second paragraph above for the current status of the release.]

      Also likely: the unknown percussionist will turn up wanting his cut of the profits. Already, the Cobain estate has reportedly been contacted by several individuals claiming – rather implausibly, and without credible documentation – to be the percussionist. As Cobain’s mother, Wendy, told a Seattle newspaper reporter, “Kurt really was a surly, unpleasant child to be around, and while he’s been characterized as being the type of musician who didn’t like to play with just anyone, it was actually the other way around – nobody wanted to play with him.

Kurt

As noted above, both Vig and Endino had initially verified the tapes’ existence and likely provenance, but as time went by and the tapes failed to be released, speculation was rampant that it had all been a hoax, and Vig and Endino’s subsequent silence on the matter seemed to justify that conclusion. This week, however, at a press conference at the Universal Music Group’s offices in Los Angeles, the two producers appeared jointly to announce the impending release, implicitly giving their blessings.

“We are pleased and proud to be part of this project,” the pair offered, in a statement. “Kurt impacted our lives in so many ways, this is just our way of ‘giving back’ to the Cobain community.”

In a press release circulated by Universal, it was noted that both the surviving members of Nirvana as well as Cobain’s widow Courtney Love had given their blessings to the project but were not directly involved with the new box set.

Additional reporting can be viewed here. Check out a teaser video trailer for the Cobain box right here.

 

 

Indie Rockers King Of Prussia Booted from Bruno Mars Tour

Prussia

Pop star claims he was “misinformed”; band suggests he “drag his sorry ass over to Google maps.”

 By Blurt Staff

 O, cruel vicissitudes of the music industry.

 Up and coming indie rockers King Of Prussia, who clearly claim Athens, GA, and Barcelona, Spain, as their transcontinental base on the info section of their Facebook page, recently landed a plum gig last week as the opening act on the first leg of pop superstar Bruno Mars’ upcoming European tour. “We are pleased, proud, and downright pleased and proud to land this plum gig on the pop superstar’s tour,” said the band, in a statement issued by their publicity agency, Team Clermont.

 Sadly, over the weekend the band learned that the invitation from the Mars camp had been withdrawn after Mars learned that the group’s members were not, in fact, among Prussian royalty. Apparently Mars had been lining up opening acts with clear connections to the locales in which he intended to tour—boosting his profile by courting the locals, as the theory goes—although to date the strategy had been fraught, to put it mildly.

Bruno

 Recall that for the North Korean leg of Mars late 2013 tour he selected North Korean pop singer Hyon Song Wol as his opener: the tour had to be cancelled when the country’s glorious leader Kim Jong Un executed her, leading to much embarrassment in the Mars camp.

 In a terse comment from Mars’ publicist Doyenne D’éclair, the decision to bump the indie rockers was “entirely due to the fact that the band misrepresented themselves. Had we known that the historic German kingdom of Prussia had effectively not existed since 1932 and removed from world maps as of 1947, we never would have asked them to join the tour.”

Prussia map

 Mars concerts originally slated for the cities of Silesia and East Frisia have been cancelled and are expected to be rescheduled for this summer.

 Meanwhile, the band King of Prussia and their touring mates Case Conrad are touring the U.S. Upcoming dates can be found right here.

Rock Hall Acknowledges KISS Snub, Greenlights Multi-member Induction

Kiss

Six, and possibly 8, musicians now set to perform and the grand gala.

 By Blurt Staff

 Ending a standoff and a war of words that threatened to undermine the very foundation upon which the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame was built, Rock Hall organizers have decided that at this year’s induction ceremony, both the original AND current members of KISS will be able to take part. Recall that when this year’s inductees were announced it was only going to be Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley being honored, but Simmons and Stanley insisted that the two musicians currently holding down the “Cat” and “Spaceman” positions in the band, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, also deserved recognition. The Rock Hall initially said no, leading the band to announce they wouldn’t necessarily boycott the even but they would not perform.

 “We recognize the achievements of Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace,” the Rock Hall announced, in a press release, “but now strongly feel that Tommy and Eric have a rightful place in history as well. We look forward to finding out who ‘those other guys’ are that filled in during the early ‘90s, too.”

 Simmons, characteristically, gloated at the news, appearing on Howard Stern’s radio show and announcing that a “The Rock Hall is finally sucking my dick and I plan to splooge all over its fat bald head.” He added that all six musicians “and maybe 8, if we can remember who those other guys were that filled in during the early ‘90s” will appear onstage for a medley of classic KISS hits.

 Rock critic Dave Marsh, a voting member of the Rock Hall and longtime critic of KISS, cast the lone dissenting vote, saying in a statement, KISS “added not the slightest musical value to rock.”

Below, watch the band perform their ode to the Motor City, “Detroit Rock City.”

Courtney Love Says She Has Found Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

Courtney

Allegedly used slide rule, compass and Ouija Board.

 By Uncle Blurt

 Your ol’ uncle, he likes himself a goddam smart gal—the kind that can whip him in two back to back games of checkers then turn around and whip up a big batch of Brunswick stew in time for supper. So color me “smitten” with Courtney Love: As Stereogum is reporting, the Hole frontwoman is vying to be the smartest person in the room, having reportedly solved the mystery of the missing Malaysian airplane.

 Here’s the deal, per Stereogum:

 Concerned citizens worldwide can use the website Tomnod to search for MH370 from home, and now one Courtney Love Cobain claims she found the plane using images from the site. Early this morning Love tweeted, “I’m no expert but up close this does look like a plane and an oil slick,” along with a link to satellite footage of some waters near Pulau Perek, where the plane was last tracked before its transponder stopped working. In her response to Twitter user @DR24, she sent an annotated image indicating that some white, blurry water in the bottom right corner might be the plane underwater and darker patches of water across the top of the image might be oil in the water. As you can see in the image above, she included visual aids…[Love tweeted, in part:] check it out @DR24 #MH370 and its like a mile away Pulau Perak, where they “last” tracked it pic.twitter.com/tqavAe4zIL

 Case closed. Now about the Lindbergh baby, Amelia Earhart, and Jimmy Hoffa, Courts….

 

The Evolution of Music Delivery Formats

EMusic formats

Yeah, but what about those 4-track cart-tapes that preceded 8-tracks?!?

By Uncle Blurt

Someone sent the above diagram to me, and while there was no artist credit included, it sure seems like the perfect thing to share with you, my patient little droogies. After all, Record Store Day 2014 titles are starting to be announced…

Ian Rubbish, er, Fred Armisen To Be Seth Meyers’ “Late Night” Bandleader

Fred+Armisen

Good news: “Fred will curate and lead the band, and continue to run it even when he’s off shooting Portlandia.” Armisen is pictured above.

 By Blurt Staff

 It’s Anarchy In The Late Night TV time! Snotty Brit-punk Ian Rubbish, known far and wide as Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live and Portlandia, has been tapped to be the musical foil to SNL’s Seth Meyers when the latter takes over the Late Night With… show on NBC, starting on Feb. 24. As bandleader, Armisen will helm what Meyers is calling “The 8G Band” and you can see a photo of the Meyers-Armisen crew below. (Via Los Angeles Times.)

 Seth Meyers

 Meanwhile, we have no doubt that Armisen’s alter-ego Rubbish will turn up from time to time…

Ian rubbish