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Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey Suffers Stroke, In “Stable Condition”

09-23-2017
Chicago, Il.

Above photo taken exclusively for BLURT by Marty Perez at the Sept. 23 Chicago appearance of Filthy Friends.

By Fred Mills

Anybody remotely familiar with BLURT will know that we consider Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M., Minus 5, The Baseball Project, Filthy Friends, etc.) a permanent member of our extended family. We’ve hung out with him numerous times during our SXSW day parties, more recently getting to reconnect with he swung through our home base of Raleigh with The Baseball Project.

So yesterday we received word that Scott had suffered a stroke while on the road. According to a post at the Minus 5 Facebook page by his wife, Mary Winzig:

Scott McCaughey, the ever-smiling, sunglasses-wearing front man of the bands The Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows, and side man to countless bands — including M. Ward, The Baseball Project, Tired Pony, and R.E.M. — suffered a stroke while on a West Coast tour with Alejandro Escovedo. He is in stable condition. Loved by many and a best friend to all, Scott brings a very bright light to the stage. In his ever-changing hats and loud sports coats, Scott exudes such joy while he performs.“Scott McCaughey is one of the unsung heroes of rock n roll. A true believer and one of the most creative people I have ever met.” says guitarist Peter Buck.

The road to recovery will be a long one, and we believe it will come through music. We can’t wait to see him back in action. The collective energy of the entire creative community is powerful enough to overcome this hurdle. With the love and support of all of you, Scott will continue to share his love of music with the world. We promise to provide continued updates and will share any messages of support you want to send with him.

Sent with love from Mary Winzig (wife of Scott McCaughey) and the entire R.E.M. community.

Then earlier today Winzig added the following:

Thanks Y’all for all the kind words, thoughts, prayers, messages, videos, texts, emails & calls. Scott is in a great medical facility & we trust the doctors & hard-working staff implicitly. We have such a long road ahead, but with your love & Scott’s amazing drive and work ethic, we will get there. Being surrounded by caring folks, our family & friends & Y’all — gives us hope beyond messure. Many of you are asking what you can do — and those answers are coming. Sean Nelson wrote a beautiful piece for The Stranger, (Thanks, Sean! Love you) about Scott & there are other ideas as well brewing as well — (gofundme, benefit concerts, etc). We are also getting a PO Box for cards & letters in Portland (Thanks Shari & CB, xo) In this struggle, we are truly learning the definition of “it is not a sprint, it is a marathon.” Thanks to all, put on your favorite record, & everyone embrace the healing power of music in this time. We love you.

An outpouring of expressions of support from fans and peers followed the initial announcement, of course. There’s not much I can add at the moment, other than we’ll keep you updated on Scott’s progress and any of the future plans that Winzig mentions above. Hang in there, brother, we got your back.

Read “The Return of Scott the Hoople,” about McCaughey, elsewhere on the BLURT site.

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young 1953-2017 R.I.P.

 

By Uncle Blurt

The man with the thunder-striking riffs has left the building: AC/DC cofounding guitarist Malcolm Young, who had been suffering from dementia for some time, passed away earlier today, Nov. 18, He was 64. Young reportedly died peacefully at his home surrounded by family.

“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” AC/DC wrote in a statement on Facebook. Malcolm, along with [brother] Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

“As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.” – Angus Young.

Young’s nephew, Stevie, replaced him on the band’s recent tours when it was clear he would not be able to perform anymore.

Neil Young To Release “The Visitor,” Open up His Archives Online

 

By Barbi Martinez

On December 11, the day before his birthday, Neil Young gave his fans an early birthday present with the following announcement at his Facebook page:

Hi there,
December 1st will be a big day for me. The Visitor will be coming to your town. I will be going to my town. You will be able to hear me and see me. My archive will open on that same day, a place you can visit and experience every song I have ever released in the highest quality your machine will allow. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. In the beginning, everything is free.
Lots of Love,
neil

The Visitor will feature Young backed again by Promise of the Real. Note that the vinyl version of the album won’t be available until the first week of January, according to NeilYoung.com; it will reportedly include a digital download, at least for those who preorder the album. Meanwhile, over at the Neil Young Archives website, Young provides additional info about his plans. Scroll near the end of the “note” he wrote for some intriguing details about the proposed audio quality of the online streaming archives – Young, of course, is a notorious stickler for high-end audio quality and had had skirmishes over the years with compact discs, MP3s, and of course streaming itself.

Knoxville’s WDVX Mounts 20-yr Celebration This Week

Sold out concert will be broadcast and streamed live . “When I think of WDVX, I think of community radio. I know it stretches a lot further than just the community, but it captures the spirit of the place. It’s much more than just a radio station. It feels like a friend.” Ketch Secor, Old Crow Medicine Show

Notable news comes from the BLURT Tennessee bureau:

 

From its humble origins situated in “The Camper” located in the Fox Inn Campground north of Knoxville, through to its present stature as one of America’s — make that the world’s — foremost authoritative voices for authentic Americana and grassroots music, WDVX has established an enviable niche in the realms of roots music and other indigenous forms of folk, rock, blues and country. Lauded by listeners and artists alike, many of whom received their initial exposure on the station’s airwaves, WDVX has become a true bastion of Americana and traditional music in all its many forms.
To commemorate that remarkable legacy, the station will present the WDVX 20 Year Celebration on November 17, 2017 beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST at the historic Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville. The concert, which is sponsored by Sweet Audrey’s Jazz Club (opening in 2018) and Boyd’s Jig & Reel, will also be broadcast live on WDVX
Darrell Scott, Sam Lewis, David Mayfield, RB Morris, Robinella, Missy Raines, Claire Lynch, Alex Leach, and Jill Andrews are slated to headline the special event and show.
Produced by WDVX, the festivities will also feature a special tribute to the Everly Brothers and great moments from Knoxville’s musical history.
Each portion of the live variety show will be introduced by a WDVX personality, along with a special set focusing specifically on East Tennessee artists, hosted and curated by Cruz Contreras and Sam Quinn, from Knoxville’s own nationally-known band The Black Lillies. In addition, two-time IBMA award winner Phil Leadbetter has gathered many of the leading lights of the Bluegrass world — among them, Claire Lynch, Steve Gulley, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Missy Raines, Paul Brewster, Adam Haynes, Alan Bibey, Alex Leach, and Jason Burleson — for a special performance that promises to be one of many remarkable offerings showcased throughout the evening.

Watch Exploding White Mice Australian Reunion Concert

By Fred Mills

All you fellow Australian indie devotees will remember Adelaide band the Exploding White Mice, who between 1988 and 1994 released four killer studio albums: Brute Force and Ignorance (August 1988), Exploding White Mice (1990), Collateral Damage (1992) and We Walk Alone (1994), plus the brilliant In A Next of Vipers mini-album. The group – originally Paul Gilchrist on vocals, Andy MacQueen on bass guitar, Gerry Barrett on guitar, Craig Rodda on drums and Giles Barrow on rhythm guitar; a number of lineup changes would subsequently take place– were the perfect marriage of punk and hard rock, and many Aussie watchers predicted Hoodoo Gurus-like international success. The band did make significant European inroads, but less so in the US, and eventually split in 1999.

They left behind a legion of fans with long, happy memories, though. I have every one of their records and wouldn’t trade ’em for bars of gold. Go here to watch a live video from back in the day – 1996, with latterday lineup Jeff Stephens lead guitar & vocals, Andy MacQueen bass, Dave Bunney drums, Andy Bunney guitar.

Just recently, on Oct. 12 the band reunited for Adelaide’s ADL Film Festival to mark the film Vive Le Punk, performing at the Producer’s Hotel. Watch the footage, below. As Flat Cap Productions notes, “We recently filmed Exploding White Mice to mark their 25 year reunion show at the Producers bar in Adelaide and here it is in all its glory! It was a lot of fun with a lot people reliving there memories! i would imagine a lot of sore bodies the next day.”

Brand New’s Vocalist Accused of Sexual Misconduct, “Apologizes”

No, the finger’s pointed at YOU guys, asshole.

By Blurt Staff

Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey was accused in a November 9th Facebook thread of sexual misconduct and he has now “apologized,” according to Rolling Stone. A woman came forth to say that she was 15 in 2002 when Lacey solicited nude photos and asked her to engage in a Skyped masturbation session:

“[Lacey] solicited nudes from me starting when I was 15 and he was 24. Manipulated the hell out of me, demanded specific poses/settings/clothing, demeaned me, and made it clear that my sexuality was the only thing I had to offer,” the woman wrote. “I should’ve known better by then, but he had screwed me up so much psychologically that all I wanted was his approval. It fucked me up to the point that I STILL have nightmares and wakeup in a sweat. I still breakdown and have panic attacks when people play Brand New in a bar.”

Lacey’s response can be read at the band’s Facebook page. in which he discussed sex addiction and cheating behavior. He wrote, in part, by way of a so-called “apology”:

I am sorry for how I have hurt people, mistreated them, lied, and cheated. I am sorry for ignoring the way in which my position, status, and power as a member of a band affected the way people viewed me or their approach to their interactions with me. And I am sorry for how often I have not afforded women the respect, support, or honesty that they deserved, and which is their right. I believe in the equality and autonomy of all, but in my life I have been more of a detriment to these ideals than an advocate.

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Moon/Pierced Arrows’ Fred Cole 1948-2017 R.I.P.

Punk legend was a mainstay of the NW indie rock scene. Above photo exclusively for Blurt by Michael Passman, Austin 2015.

By Fred Mills

We’ve lost another hero – Fred Cole, legendary for his hard-edge trio Dead Moon, and more recently frontman for the Pierced Arrows, passed away Thursday, Nov. 9, at the age of 69. According to Willamette Week, “Cole had been admitted to the hospital last month and treated for bleeding in his liver. While an operation to repair the damage was successful, updates on the Pierced Arrows Facebook page indicated that he was ‘still very ill.’”

Blurt reported in March of 2016 that Cole was in poor enough health to retire from music; health issues began in earnest in 2014 with him having to have emergency heart surgery, at which time his wife and longtime musical foil Toody issued an official statement that read, in part, “It’s just the way it needs to be. The last thing he wants to do is look like a complete parody of himself up there and do anything like fall over. He’s a very proud man, and he doesn’t need it that badly.”

Prior to moving to the Northwest (the Coles were based in Clackamas, Oregon), Fred Cole had been in ‘60s Las Vegas band The Weeds, which became the Lollipop Shoppe. Dead Moon was founded in ’87, with debut LP In The Graveyard being issued the following year on Cole’s own Tombstone label. The group, along with its signature blend of punk/garage and blues/country, would be celebrated by, and an influence upon, the ensuing grunge explosion – Mudhoney in particular championed the group. A healthy discography would follow until the trio broke up in 2006, the Coles going on to form the similar-sounding Pierced Arrows.

The Willamette Week report adds that “on Oct. 5, Portland celebrated “Dead Moon Night” at City Hall, honoring the band’s legacy and contributions to the city’s music culture. Mississippi Records is releasing a new Dead Moon book and record set next year.”

In 2015 and 2017, the Voodoo Doughnut label released a pair of smokin’ Dead Moon albums on LP and CD, Live At Satyricon (live in 1993), and What A Way to See the Old Girl Go (live at the X-Ray Café in ’94). Both are absolutely essential for fans of Cole and Dead Moon. (They can be previewed on Spotify.)

Blurt will have a tribute to Fred Cole shortly. Below, watch a few memorable videos.

VR Video Premiere: Static And Surrender “If Only We Could Sleep”

A 360-degree VR video directed, shot, and edited by Paul Aspuria: Use the onscreen arrows or your mouse to rotate the room and view all the participants.

By Blurt Staff

Every once in a while, paths cross at just the right time, in the right place, and within the right circumstances. Such is the case for San Francisco alternative rock upstarts Static and Surrender—Jeff Campbell [lead vocals, guitar], Adam Schuman [guitar, vocals], and John Schuman [drums]. By 2016, brothers John and Adam had established themselves in popular Bay Area stalwarts such as The Trophy Fire, landing critical acclaim and gigging alongside everyone from Dredg to The Dear Hunter. Within that same scene, Jeff earned recognition by receiving national songwriting awards, shared the stage with titans such as John Mayer, and fronted Pine and Battery, among other acts. One night, a chance encounter between Jeff and Adam paved the way for what would become Static and Surrender.

They wasted no time and entered a Berkeley, CA studio with producer Jim Greer [The Rondo Brothers, Foster the People,) to bring their ideas to life. They also quickly caught the attention of Los Angeles based Funzalo Records label head Mike Lembo, who flew to San Francisco to see them live and immediately liked what he heard.

In advance of their upcoming full-length Static and Surrender, the band has joined forces with Blurt to give a sneak peek of what’s to come in the form of a single song release and new video for the song “If Only We Could Sleep” Brought to life in a 360-degree VR format, the song showcases the band’s depth and
dynamics.

“Lyrically, I wrote that song when I was struggling with insomnia,” recalls frontman Campbell. “It was around the time of the election, and there was a lot of negativity popping up. The climate brought out the worst in people. That negativity drives some of us so crazy we can’t sleep. The video reflects the nightmare.”

More info, tour dates, and more at the band’s official website.

 

Watch New Sharon Jones Video “Call On God”

New album Soul of a Woman out Nov. 17.

From Daptone Records:

Sharon Jones wrote “Call on God” in the late 1970’s for E.L. Fields’ Gospel Wonders, a choir she sang with throughout most of her life at the Universal Church of God in New York City.

This original recording with the Dap-Kings dates to early 2007 during sessions for the album ‘100 Days, 100 Nights’. Just like on the song “Answer Me” from that album, Sharon played all the piano and sang her parts live with the band, providing very specific direction of exactly how she wanted the music to sound. Though she always provided input on all her songs, it wasn’t common for Sharon to take full charge of the arrangements like she did on these two gospel tracks. It was so inspiring for the band that they made a pact to record an entire gospel album with her at the helm. “Call on God” was put aside to be included on that eventual gospel album – but sadly, the project was never completed.

On December 18th, 2016, Pastor Margot Fields, E.L.’s widow, presided over Sharon’s memorial service in Brooklyn which was attended by several of the original members of the Gospel Wonders who had come in from different parts of the country to help celebrate Sharon’s life. Together again, they performed a moving tribute to Sharon as part of the service. After the service, Bosco Mann and the Dap-Kings invited the singers, all great friends of Sharon’s, back to the Daptone House of Soul studios in Bushwick to finish “Call on God” with them. At the studio, the members of the choir put on headphones and heard Sharon’s voice singing the song she wrote for them three decades earlier. Sharon always wanted to add background vocals to the song and she would have been happy to know that her old friends had come through to sing with her one final time.

Arcade Fire Taking a Critical Beating for Not Filling Arenas?

File Under: Kicking ‘em While They’re Down Dept.

By Barbi Martinez

Sundry music media outlets are licking their lips from barely-contained schadenfreude at the news that the current North American tour by Arcade Fire isn’t going as well as the band or its promoter might like. The band’s presumed sin? All those quirky/aggravating promotional stunts that accompanied the rollout of the Everything Now album.

As The Globe And Mail reports:

“Blame it on the new album or the marketing campaign for it, or on ticket prices and the popularity of rock music in 2017. Whatever the case, Arcade Fire is struggling to fill arenas on its North American tour. Just 4,263 fans showed up for the Canadian band’s Quebec City show, 4,004 in Tampa, 5,614 in Austin, Tex., and 5,051 in Dallas, Billboard and Pollstar boxscore figures show. All of the venues have a capacity to seat roughly 10,000 to 20,000 people.”

The publication did not, however, that “the group has played to larger crowds in some cities, including Los Angeles and New York. It also added a second show at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (which takes place on Saturday).”

Among numerous websites and blogs, Stereogum was very quick to jump in the report, drafting the following 24-pt. headline: “Arcade Fire Reportedly Playing To Half-Empty Arenas On Current TourWrote Peter Helmen, “Arcade Fire’s new album Everything Now didn’t get the warmest critical reception, and it seems that their tour in support of it isn’t getting the biggest fan turnout.”