Monthly Archives: June 2010

Vince Neil Falls off the Wagon

 

 

Told reporters last
week that he’s been sober for years. With that little detail out of the way, it
was time to start partying THIS week, apparently. Love that barbed wire in the
photo above, btw.

 

By Fred Mills

 

You gotta love those deliberately provocative, mildly
misleading headlines that folks use on the internet to get your attention… at
any rate, cutting to the chase: Billboard.com reports this morning that Motley
Crue’s Vince Neil was busted in Las
Vegas late Sunday evening for DUI. He was pulled over
by police while driving his Lamborghini near the Strip, then was released on
Monday after posting bail. He’s due in court Sept. 27.

 

The mug shot:

 

 

 

His attorney declined to issue a statement yet, and the
Vegas police said they would not be releasing details of the arrest.

 

Billboard.com reports:

 

“In an interview last
week with the Associated Press about a tell-all book due out in September, Neil
said he hadn’t used drugs in 20 years and had stopped abusing alcohol. ‘There’s
just a point in your life where you kind of stop, that’s what happened with me,’
Neil had said. ‘There’s other things in life than just drugs and alcohol.’


“Neil said he admired the sobriety of top performers today. ‘Those are the guys
that are doing it right,’ he said. ‘It’s the ones that self-destruct with the
drugs and alcohol that have gone by the wayside many years ago.'”

 

Apparently there are other things in life than just drugs
and alcohol – for example, there’s “just alcohol”….

 

 

John Lennon’s Back Catalog Overhauled

 

It’s always a great
day when we can drop the word “Beatles” into a new item!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Beatles auteur and solo provocateur John Lennon would have
been 70 on October 9, so naturally that provides some great marketing opps: eight
of Lennon’s classic solo albums and other standout recordings have been
digitally remastered, and while this is hardly the first time the legend’s back
catalogue has been revisited for remastering, these are being promoted as
coming from Lennnon’s “original mixes.”

 

Overseen by Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” campaign
will launch on October 5 with the worldwide release of those eight remastered
studio albums and several newly-compiled titles.

 

Double Fantasy,
1980’s GRAMMY Award winner for Album of the Year, will be presented in a newly
remixed ‘Stripped Down’ version remixed and produced by Yoko Ono and Jack
Douglas, co-producers of the original mix with John Lennon. The new stripped
down version of the album comes in an expanded 2CD and digital edition pairing
the new version with Lennon’s original mix, remastered. 

 

The campaign’s other new collections include:

 

  • A hits compilation in two editions titled Power To The People: The Hits
  • A 4CD set of themed discs titled Gimme
    Some Truth
  • A deluxe 11CD collectors box with the remastered albums, rarities, and
    non-album singles, titled the John Lennon
    Signature Box

 

All of the remastered albums and collections will be
available on CD and for download purchase from all major digital service
providers

 

Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono issued a statement: “In this very
special year, which would have seen my husband and life partner John reach the
age of 70, I hope that this remastering / reissue programme will help bring his
incredible music to a whole new audience. By remastering 121 tracks spanning
his solo career, I hope also that those who are already familiar with John’s
work will find renewed inspiration from his incredible gifts as a songwriter,
musician and vocalist and from his power as a commentator on the human
condition. His lyrics are as relevant today as they were when they were first
written and I can think of no more apposite title for this campaign than those
simple yet direct words ‘Gimme Some Truth’.”

 

The albums have been digitally remastered from Lennon’s
original mixes by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at EMI
Music’s Abbey Road Studios in London and by
George Marino at Avatar Studios in New
York.  All of
the remastered titles will be packaged in digisleeves with replicated original
album art and booklets with photos and new liner notes by British music
journalist Paul Du Noyer. The albums to be reissued are:

 

  • John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
  • Imagine (1971)
  • Some Time In New York City (1972)
  • Mind Games (1973)
  • Walls and Bridges (1974)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975)
  • Double Fantasy Stripped Down (2010) / Double Fantasy (1980)
  • Milk and Honey (1984)

 

YOKO ONO added:  “Double
Fantasy Stripped Down really allows us to focus our attention on John’s amazing
vocals. Technology has advanced so much that, conversely, I wanted to use new
techniques to really frame these amazing songs and John’s voice as simply as
possible. By stripping down some of the instrumentation the power of the songs
shines through with an enhanced clarity. Double Fantasy Stripped Down will be
complemented by the original album in the 2CD format. It was whilst working on
the new version of this album that I was hit hardest emotionally, as this was
the last album John released before his passing.”

 

Power To The People:
The Hits
gathers 15 of Lennon’s most popular songs, and will be available
as a 15-track single-disc and digital package, and as an Experience Edition with additional content.  Both versions will be packaged in digisleeves
with booklets including a new liner note essay by Du Noyer.

 

Gimme Some Truth,
to be packaged in a slipcase with rare photos and a new liner notes essays by American
music journalist and author, Anthony DeCurtis, presents 72 of Lennon’s solo
recordings on four themed CDs:

 

  • ‘Roots’ – John’s rock ‘n’ roll
    roots and influences
  • ‘Working Class Hero’ – John’s
    socio-political songs
  • ‘Woman’ – John’s love songs
  • ‘Borrowed Time’ – John’s songs about life

 

The John Lennon
Signature Box
is a deluxe 11CD and digital collection of the eight
remastered albums, a disc of rare and previously unreleased recordings, and an
EP of Lennon’s non-album singles. The CDs will be housed in digisleeves within
a deluxe box including a collectible limited edition John Lennon art print and
a hardbound book featuring rare photos, artwork, collages, poetry, and new
liner notes by DeCurtis.

 

 

 

 

Report: Yo La Tengo, More @ L-Coast Live

 

With Yo La Tengo, Big Jay McNeely, Orange
Peels and the Mumlers – plus, almost, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy – held in
downtown San Jose
on June 25.

 

By Jud Cost

 

It was pretty
much a reversal of fortune for this year’s Left Coast Live festival in downtown
San Jose.
Especially when compared to last year’s dismal maiden effort that had all the joie de vivre of an alien autopsy. At
least, this year’s Saturday night headliner, Yo La Tengo, was not saddled with
an unworkable 6:00 p.m. starting time, as was Booker T., the 2009 main event.
They’ve closed off an even longer chunk of South 1st Street this year, but the 9:15
time for Yo La Tengo means more hustle and flow on the boulevard and a markedly
more party-like vibe for the 2010 gathering. But you still can’t book a hundred
mostly unknown acts into every tiny joint in town with four walls and a
restroom, wave a magic wand and get instant South By Southwest. And yet,
progress is progress.

 

The Orange
Peels, certainly the Bay Area’s best pop band since the late-70s heyday of the
Rubinoos, were slotted to play what looked like the storage room of a small
Latino art gallery called MACLA. The sound here was brittle enough to shatter
glass, and at the same time booming to the point that all nuance from the OPs’
trademark harmonies and lush melodies was totally lost. It was quite simply the
worst room acoustics I’ve ever heard in 40 years attending rock gigs.

 

Orange Peels
frontman Allen Clapp heartily agreed as he mopped his brow after the set.
“It felt like I was inside a garbage can out there,” he sighed. It
was a shame that Clapp’s intelligent lyrics and the brilliant lead breaks of
new guitarist (and former band drummer) John Moremen were all but inaudible,
trapped in quicksand by the oatmeal-and-tapioca ambience of a room that should
never have been used for live music.

 

With an audience
of only 15 or so who wandered in (and out) before Yo La Tengo  finished its set in the street outside, it
almost felt like the Orange Peels were playing to an empty room. “It’s
really quiet in here. It feels like the come-down lounge,” said Clapp
after one Peels tune that was distorted by the acoustics to the point of
sounding like something by garage-psych heroes the 13th Floor Elevators.

 

The main stage
PA, on the other hand, sounded terrific. San Jose
band the Mumlers opened for Yo La Tengo in fine style at 8:00 p.m. with their South Bay
take on the “freak folk” sound of 
Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Vetiver. The Mumlers have an oddball
lineup that combines tenor sax, trumpet and two kinds of tuba with the angular
lead vocals and occasional fuzzed-out electric guitar of Will Sprott. “I
was gonna do some stage-diving tonight, but it’s a really long way down to the
ground,” mumbled Sprott amiably as he eyeballed the eight-foot drop to the
asphalt below, before breaking into “99 Years Ago,” a bluesy remake
of old chestnut “St. James Infirmary.”

 

“Being a
band from San Jose
has its good nights and its not so good nights,” said Sprott afterwards as
he peddled CDs from the merch table. “The real problem is there just
aren’t enough places to play here.” He also noted that nearby downtown
university San Jose
State is mostly a
commuter college, leaving a relatively small pool of resident students with any
interest in the indie-rock night life.

 

Yo La Tengo
bassist James McNew, lugging an armload of band t-shirts to sell before the
gig, vaguely recalled playing San Jose’s Cactus Club back in the ’80s, the
empty shell of which stares at us from right across the street. The billions of
dollars spent in high-rise, luxury hotels and towering glass and concrete
office buildings since the phoenix-like rise of Silicon
Valley have gone unnoticed. And from this three-block vantage
point, nothing’s really changed in 25 years. Except the five once-thriving rock
clubs have all gone belly-up.

 

Yo La Tengo took
the stage to a warm welcome from a crowd of about 350 with usual lead
guitarist/singer Ira Kaplan playing bass, Georgia Hubley on drums and McNew
splattering the crowd with a lumbering, dangerous guitar sound that would seem
more at home on a Melvins record. Of course, that’s one of the best elements of
Yo La Tengo, now 26 years old and weaned on old Velvet Underground albums. You
may think you know what they’re going to play, but there are always plenty of
surprises, both live and on their 12 full-length albums.

 

I haven’t seen
the New Jersey trio, who cut their teeth at
Maxwell’s in Hoboken, since 1992 when My Bloody
Valentine and Buffalo Tom opened for them at the Warfield in San Francisco. But things haven’t changed too
much since then. “Georgia and I are going to sing a duet. Duet, that’s a
technical term,” laughed Kaplan as the band played something mellow off
their most recent longplayer, Popular
Songs
.

 

The evening took
a decidedly weird turn as I hoofed it over to Milano, a dingy nitery with zero
curb appeal, tucked away over on 2nd
Street. As I was thoroughly frisked for weapons at
the door (none found), a car parked around the corner blared out what sounded
like Vietnamese hip hop. Once inside, I instantly felt I’d been transported to
a slightly more polished version of One-Eyed Jack’s, the scary roadhouse from
David Lynch’s TV masterpiece, Twin Peaks, where high school girls were shanghaied to
work as prostitutes.

 

Or maybe it was
the reincarnation of legendary Santa
Clara, Calif. honky
tonk Napredak Hall without the sawdust on the floor. Located somewhere off
Lawrence Station Road, Napredak was the joint high on the tour itinerary of
every ’50s/’60s country & western star, from Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell,
Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce and Faron Young to George Jones, Buck Owens, Merle
Haggard and Johnny Cash. Whatever the vibe, oldtime hipsters, dressed to the
nines, are dancing the bop tonight with their dolled-up ladies to hardcore doo wop
and early ’50s R&B.

 

After a
half-hour teaser set by his backup combo, there he was right in front of me,
Big Jay McNeely, walking around the dance floor hunched-up and blowing the
honkingest tenor sax, ever, into a wireless mic attached to the bell of his
horn. Now 83, this guy has been around so long, he was playing tenor when John
Coltrane was still in the Navy. McNeely’s been making records since the late
’40s and frequently played live dressed up in colorful threads, blowing a horn
illuminated by fluorescent paint while lying flat on his back. He’s billed now
as “the godfather of rock ‘n’ roll saxophone.”

 

McNeely’s
curtailed the onstage gymnastics these days, but his buzzsaw tone, learned from
records by famed tenorman Illinois Jacquet, can still hypnotize the crowd much
like another famous dude in a loud suit, the Pied Piper. McNeely sits with the
audience a spell while still playing his horn, then sings “I Can’t Stop
Loving You” in a barrelhouse baritone.

 

How to top what
I’ve just seen? The only possibility is a nightcap with storied local crazyman,
the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, scheduled for a post-midnight set at First
Street Billiards. “You’re just in time,” mutters the guy at the door
when I inquire whether “the Ledge” and his notorious bugle and
cowbell have made an appearance yet. The last time I saw the man who once cut
“Paralyzed” back in the ’70s, somebody tossed a full bottle of water
onto my wife’s head from a balcony seat.

 

I sidle into the
pool hall just in time to hear an unknown trio of old geezers, dressed in
spike-topped World War I German army helmets, singing the Who’s “My
Generation”… in German. Since I don’t have a helmet of my own I make the
snap decision to call it a night, before I wind up in the ER, myself. It’s been
a helluva trek through the underbelly of San Jose, a center-cut sliced from the
pumping heart of Left Coast Live, a rock festival that may be going somewhere
in spite of itself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAY FOR TODAY: VIDEO GAMES / AARON BURGESS

 

Column #6: Green Day: Rock Band, Super
Mario Galaxy 2, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Toy Story 3, The Sims 3:
Ambitions; plus Nintendo 3DS.

 

By Aaron Burgess

 

 

Green
Day: Rock Band

Platforms: Xbox
360, PlayStation 3

Developer: Harmonix / Publisher: MTV Games

ESRB
Rating:
T

 

Offer up the Beatles on one end and Green Day on the other,
and odds are good that many current-generation rock fans would have a hard time
picking favorites. (Don’t snigger, pop purists.) So it’s fitting that, for its
second band-themed Rock Band game,
Harmonix has followed up the Fab Four (last year’s mega-popular The
Beatles: Rock Band
) with a game devoted entirely to the Dookie-spawning American Idiot savants. Though less cinematic-and surreal, for that
matter-in scope than its Beatles counterpart, Green Day: Rock Band is everything a fan of the Bay Area trio could
want and then some: 47 playable songs’ worth of classics spanning Green Day’s
evolution from punk brats to stadium-packing, generation-crossing icons.
Unfortunately, for those of us who remember the band before 1994’s breakout Dookie, the set list for Green Day: Rock Band skips the Lookout!
Records era where Green Day not only cut their teeth, but also wrote some of
their catchiest three-minute tunes. (Read
here for more
.) Dookie, 2004’s American Idiot and 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown appear
in their entirety, however, with a smattering of hits from 1995’s Insomniac, 1997’s Nimrod and 2000’s Warning bookending the three albums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gameplay loosely mirrors the storyteller formula of The Beatles: Rock Band, following Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool from their salad days (via the fictional
punk venue The Warehouse) to real-life locales both large (the National Bowl in
Milton Keynes, England) and small (the Fox Theatre in Oakland, California).
Likewise, in addition to standard guitar, bass and drums playability, the
fun-but-tricky three-part harmonies and Career achievements also follow those
of The Beatles: Rock Band, with
troves of MTV archival footage (Green Day, after all, are nothing if not
products of the MTV era) available for the unlocking. Ironically, the games’
similarities tend to magnify the areas where Green Day: Rock Band doesn’t quite meet The Beatles version: fewer
venues, less song diversity, a reliance on realistic visuals where fantasy
would tell a better story (Green Day did, after all, did ride two concept
albums all the way to Broadway).
But if you’re looking for similar levels of pop smarts with a mega-dose of
adrenaline to drive them home-well, you had to see this coming, but welcome to
paradise.  

 

Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Platform: Wii

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo

ESRB
Rating:
E

 

Maybe it’s because of the world in which it lands-a realm of
co-op shooters, rock-band simulators and grave, hyper-realistic realms where faux
physics supplant our own in all manner of settings-but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the rare videogame that truly feels like a game. If that sounds a bit heady, know
that there’s nothing brain-bending about the game itself-with its objectives
set across multiple wacky 3D planets, SMG2 feels like the logical sequel to 2007’s fun, frivolous adventure starring everyone’s
favorite Italian plumber. (No offense, Luigi.) But it’s the Zen-like simplicity
and childlike sense of wonder with which Nintendo approaches this platformer
that makes it such a standout-that, and the addition of Yoshi, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

Available as a power-up (one of many such boosts to Mario’s
mojo this time out), the lovable, long-tongued dinosaur makes for a delightful
addition to Super Mario Galaxy 2-but
really, he’s as much a symbol of everything that’s right with the game. Bowser,
his captured Princess Peach and a map that takes you further toward them are
the primary catalysts for action, while the incredibly designed levels that
comprise the map are the reasons you’ll lose yourself in the quest. Long,
challenging and beautifully framed no matter which dimension (2D or 3D) you’re
experiencing it through, Super Mario
Galaxy 2
tests your preconceptions about platformer games while holding you
to the basic platformer premise. Even memory (with warm tinges, both visual and
musical, of Mario games dating back to the Nintendo 64 days) plays a role in
how you experience SMG2-and by the
time you finish it, you’ll have carved a new space in your memory bank for this
one.

 

Rating: 9/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Platform: PSP

Developer: Kojima Productions / Publisher: Konami

ESRB Rating: T

 

It’s ironic that you can only get Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker on Sony’s smallest system.
Infinitely playable, the handheld-only game from MGS series mastermind Hideo Kojima offers huge
potential whether you’re playing it in linear fashion or experiencing the
countless side missions offered as detours. Picking up where Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops left off, the 1970s-era prequel
puts a full-sized console adventure-gorgeous graphics and all-in the palm of
your hand.

 

 

 

 

 

You’re transported, via one of many comic-book-style cutscenes,
into a storyline where Naked Snake,
a.k.a. Big Boss, is leading the private mercenary unit Soldiers without Borders
when fate intervenes to send him on an emotionally riveting mercenary mission
of his own. Stealth and strategy remain key tactics for fighting your way
through Peace Walker, but the
integration of deep RPG elements expands the way you interact with everything
from weapons (which you can develop and upgrade) to enemies. You can develop
your own army by literally plucking soldiers from the field and sending them (this
time via balloon harness) back to your Mother Base for training. Just make sure
you also have some real friends (up to four in co-op mode) along for the ride.
You’ll need all the help you get to make it through Peace Walker‘s more daunting boss battles.

 

Rating: 9/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy
Story 3

Platforms: Xbox
360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, DS, PC

Developer: Avalanche
Productions / Publisher: Disney Interactive
Studios

ESRB
Rating:
E10+

 

You know what to expect from most licensed kids’ videogame
tie-ins before you even crack the shrinkwrap: predictable storylines, simple
challenges and a handful of minigames to help justify the sticker price. However,
just as Toy Story 3 is no mere kids’
movie, the film’s videogame twin isn’t your run-of-the-mill 3D platformer with
a simplified control scheme and seemingly endless string of collectable items.
That’s not to say you won’t find both elements in Toy Story 3, just that once you clobber the game’s eight relatively
easy levels, you still have a whole other videogame to explore.

 

 

 

 

 

Playing as Woody, Jessie or Buzz Lightyear, you run, jump,
chase and object-gather your way through a story mode whose colorful,
action-packed settings play off scenes from the movie. Then, well, you’re
done-at which point it’s time to crack the lid on the game’s Toy Box mode,
which itself is worth the price of admission. The open-world adventure lets you
customize an entire Old West toy town to your liking, embarking in literally
hundreds of side adventures along the way-and, perhaps more importantly, out of
the way. Complete missions to earn gold. Herd cattle or corral townspeople into
buildings of your own silly creation. Or, heck, simply roam through the
sandbox, move stuff around and see how many boundaries you can push. Much like
the experience of play itself, Toy Story
3
‘s Toy Box is alive with possibilities.

 

Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sims 3: Ambitions

Platform: PC

Developer: The Sims Studio / Publisher: Electronic Arts

ESRB
Rating:
T

 

Anyone who’s played a version of The Sims knows that, just as in the real world, work is part of
your pint-sized avatars’ daily lives. Until now, however, your Sims simply
donned their work attire and headed off to do whatever it was they did all day-but
with The Sims 3: Ambitions, you can
experience a veritable “take your creator to work day” that

 

 

 

 

The expansion pack for 2009’s The Sims
3
expands on your ability to choose a Sim’s career by tacking an actual
profession-and its attendant tasks, challenges, hobbies and war stories-onto
it. It’s a subtle difference, but it makes for huge possibilities and,
particularly in the roles of ghost hunter, firefighter and private
investigator, some curious dramatic twists. No matter what your lot in (fake)
life, though-doctor, stylist and architectural designer are among the other
options-you’ll find hours’ worth of adventures to expand your world. Here’s
hoping EA similarly expands the available careers, because the potential here
is just, well, ambitious.

 

Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

Moving
in Stereo: Nintendo 3DS

 

Goodbye, fourth wall. It’s like we never knew you. At least
that’s expected to be the reaction next year when Nintendo succeeds its DS
handheld with the 3DS, which will deliver 3D graphics without the need for
glasses. The system will, thankfully, be backward-compatible with your existing
DS and DSiWare titles, and there’s talk that several major movie studios are
working with Nintendo to bring 3D movies to the 3Ds’ 3.53″ stereoscopic
top screen. (The bottom is a 3.02″ touch panel.) Of course, that’s just
the basic visual experience-the 3DS also features beefed-up wireless capability
(including hardware that “talks” with other 3Dses while your system
is asleep) and three cameras for recording your own real-life action. Yeah,
that’s right: three. One for you, and two facing the outside world so you can
capture it in stereo, too.

 

Check out the details, complete with some excellent teaser
video, at Nintendo’s 3DS site.

 

***

 

Our game guru, Aaron
Burgess, lives digitally but dreams in analog down in Round Rock, Texas. Contact him at first2letters@gmail.com  / AIM: First2Letters

 

 

R.E.M.’s Buck Records w/Decemberists

 

Series of photos
unveiled yesterday show Buck in studio with Meloy & Co., playing guitar,
mandolin and other gear.

 

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

Esteemed ‘80s college rock site (term used loosely) Slicing
Up Eyeballs is reporting on the newly unveiled “photographic evidence” of
R.E.M.’s Peter Buck sitting in with The Decemberists earlier this month. Apparently
a new Tucker Martine-produced album from Colin Meloy & Co. is slated for a
Feb. 2011 release on Capitol, and the Martine connection (he worked not long
ago with R.E.M. on demos) plus Buck’s NW proximity made the collaboration a
no-brainer.

 

A series of photos (including the one above, which depicts
Buck, Chris Funk and Meloy) taken by Scott McCaughey (R.E.M., Minus 5, Young
Fresh Fellows, etc.) appeared yesterday at the R.E.M. website and were
subsequently picked up by Slicking Up Eyeballs. They were taken during a
recording session in a barn near Portland.

 

 

 

One Lousy Lay: “Every Rose” Book

 

Are you looking for a
man, or looking for the patience to wade through 320 pages of stupidity? Or
both? Good luck!

 

By A.D. Amorosi

 

Not being too terribly adverse to dating columns (especially
on a site so smartly cranky as Nerve.com) I didn’t think a humorous book with a
rockist theme from “Miss Information” would be bad.

 

That said, if Every
Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Field Guide to Guys
(Tarcher/Penguin),
written by Erin Bradley and illustrated by Heather Bradley, were a romantic interlude,
it’d be one lousy lay.

 

Having zip to do with awesome Bret Michaels’ tawdriest
ballad, ERHIT, is a gals-eye-view at
lovesick relationships through the lens (chapter headings) of the pop
continuum. At first, it’s a harmless read where you get to code the people in
your life and find their rock-punk-hop correlative. If you meet an older man
who loves shopping for the finer     
things and hates showing up alone to tony office functions (as opposed
to theater events) you’ve met a “Mr. Big Stuff” (think Mark McGrath – really?!)
in Bradley’s estimation –  as opposed to
a decider, a “Father Figure” (who’d be, in Bradley’s eyes, a Bruce or, yup, an
Ozzy).

 

From that standpoint, you’ll find a slew of occasionally
clever, even insightful, quizzes and true life renditions of love’s slipperiest
slopes and how to find them.

 

Most of the time, though, you don’t find enough to fun or
fact or relatable escapades to warrant reading even the shortest paragraphs.

 

s he a “Boy with a Thorn in his Side” ( a cuddling mope), a
“Mr. Roboto” (icy nerd) or a “Johnny B. Goode” (political on social networks)?
Are you a woman who is more apt to love a sex god (I guess) Mötley Crüe manqué,
or are you laid back enough to get with a Beastie Boy?

 

And do you have the time or patience to go through all this
stupidity? That’ll truly let you in on what kind of person you’re dating –
something for another book entirely.

 

 

 

 

 

All Right Then & All Right Now: Free

 

With the
recently released
Free Forever double-DVD,
the British rock and roll Wild Bunch is offered up for reappraisal for both the
older and younger generation. All hail the late, great guitarist Paul Kossoff.

 

By Rick Allen

 

Free’s Paul Kossoff was a wonder of a guitarist. A
demon when it came to tone and vibrato, Kossoff would have changed the way the
whole book was written had he lived another decade or two beyond his 25th birthday. With “The Voice” Paul Rodgers on vocals and a rhythm section-Andy
Fraser on bass and Simon Kirke on drums- to rival Jones and Bonham, out of all
the great late-’60s/early-‘70s British blues-rock acts, Free channeled the true
blues spirit like no other – as evidenced on the recently-issued 2-DVD Free Forever (Eagle Rock Entertainment; www.eaglerockent.com).

 

But internal strife, substance abuse and a bad
break or two meant that they couldn’t sustain the momentum generated by their
hit “All Right Now” (still a classic rock radio staple) and they became one of
the great “what if” stories in rock and roll.  Perhaps Free’s greatest asset after Rodgers’
voice and Kossoff’s guitar is the natural enthusiasm and controlled abandon with
which they made music. They seemed like four guys who would have been just as
happy playing in a pub for fifty people as for tens of thousands as they did at
their famous Isle of Wight show, one of their
highest moments some video of which is included in this set.  Except for Fraser, who could be a bit of a
dandy (and in recent years came out of
the closet, not that that factoid is necessarily relevant, but still…  – Fact Checking Ed.)
they looked like
they were four guys who got up, put on whatever was clean, and went to work. In
the interview section of the DVD we find they did just that, usually performing
in the same clothes they wore driving to the gig.

 

This set collects pretty much all of the available
footage of the band so there is a little padding, including four versions of
“All Right Now” and three of “Mr. Big.” Several other songs come around twice
but each take has something to recommend it (though the silent concert footage
that takes up a good part of one disc is definitely a fans only feature). The
live audio of their Isle of Wight show is less
so, and might as well have been released separately as a CD, since only part of
the concert was captured on film. There are two edits of that footage and the
rest of the audio is played over candid snapshots, publicity photos and shots
of ticket stubs and other memorabilia. It’s great to listen to but for viewing,
once around will probably do.

 

A touching encapsulation of Kossoff’s downward
spiral featuring childhood photos is handled the same way. To see Kossoff as a
chubby, smiling but sad-eyed little kid is to recognize some of the reasons
behind the drug and alcohol abuse that led to his early death. Overweight kids
don’t always grow out of the sense of isolation and insecurity, the scars that
come with being that way. Even as a fairly normal weight adult, with his pink
skin and red beard Kossoff looks like an overgrown gnome, softer and less
sexually lethal than the criminally thin Fraser and Rodgers.

 

That said, when Kossoff plays, there’s a look of
anguished ecstasy on his face, his mouth forming words but his guitar doing the
speaking, screaming, wailing.

 

It’s magnificent to see and hear, and it does much
to illustrate the greatness of the band. Watching Free it’s hard not to feel
that they made rock and roll music the way it was meant to sound, taking its
blues roots and developing them along natural lines.

 

Among the extras are interviews with the surviving
members of the band and two rather odd videos from Fraser’s post-free solo
career in which he comes across somewhat like a pumped-up, bare-chested hipper
version of Peter Allen (…ahem… see above.
– Archival Ed.)
not quite what you would expect from a founding member of a
band as down to earth as Free but, you know, chacun a son gout and all that.

 

The package might have had a better flow if it had
been edited down to a single disc, but better too much than too little. (You got that right, sir. Free was one of the
greats, and I saw ‘em in concert myself.  – Fanboy Ed.)
With Free Forever we have a welcome retrospective of a rock and roll
Wild Bunch that held out as long as they could against the slick plastic disco/haircut
band/drum machine horrors that were already beginning to infect popular music. It
was all right then and it’s all right now.

 

 

 

All Right Then & All Right Now: Free

 

With the
recently released
Free Forever double-DVD,
the British rock and roll Wild Bunch is offered up for reappraisal for both the
older and younger generation. All hail the late, great guitarist Paul Kossoff.

 

By Rick Allen

 

Free’s Paul Kossoff was a wonder of a guitarist. A
demon when it came to tone and vibrato, Kossoff would have changed the way the
whole book was written had he lived another decade or two beyond his 25th birthday. With “The Voice” Paul Rodgers on vocals and a rhythm section-Andy
Fraser on bass and Simon Kirke on drums- to rival Jones and Bonham, out of all
the great late-’60s/early-‘70s British blues-rock acts, Free channeled the true
blues spirit like no other – as evidenced on the recently-issued 2-DVD Free Forever (Eagle Rock Entertainment; www.eaglerockent.com).

 

But internal strife, substance abuse and a bad
break or two meant that they couldn’t sustain the momentum generated by their
hit “All Right Now” (still a classic rock radio staple) and they became one of
the great “what if” stories in rock and roll.  Perhaps Free’s greatest asset after Rodgers’
voice and Kossoff’s guitar is the natural enthusiasm and controlled abandon with
which they made music. They seemed like four guys who would have been just as
happy playing in a pub for fifty people as for tens of thousands as they did at
their famous Isle of Wight show, one of their
highest moments some video of which is included in this set.  Except for Fraser, who could be a bit of a
dandy (and in recent years came out of
the closet, not that that factoid is necessarily relevant, but still…  – Fact Checking Ed.)
they looked like
they were four guys who got up, put on whatever was clean, and went to work. In
the interview section of the DVD we find they did just that, usually performing
in the same clothes they wore driving to the gig.

 

This set collects pretty much all of the available
footage of the band so there is a little padding, including four versions of
“All Right Now” and three of “Mr. Big.” Several other songs come around twice
but each take has something to recommend it (though the silent concert footage
that takes up a good part of one disc is definitely a fans only feature). The
live audio of their Isle of Wight show is less
so, and might as well have been released separately as a CD, since only part of
the concert was captured on film. There are two edits of that footage and the
rest of the audio is played over candid snapshots, publicity photos and shots
of ticket stubs and other memorabilia. It’s great to listen to but for viewing,
once around will probably do.

 

A touching encapsulation of Kossoff’s downward
spiral featuring childhood photos is handled the same way. To see Kossoff as a
chubby, smiling but sad-eyed little kid is to recognize some of the reasons
behind the drug and alcohol abuse that led to his early death. Overweight kids
don’t always grow out of the sense of isolation and insecurity, the scars that
come with being that way. Even as a fairly normal weight adult, with his pink
skin and red beard Kossoff looks like an overgrown gnome, softer and less
sexually lethal than the criminally thin Fraser and Rodgers.

 

That said, when Kossoff plays, there’s a look of
anguished ecstasy on his face, his mouth forming words but his guitar doing the
speaking, screaming, wailing.

 

It’s magnificent to see and hear, and it does much
to illustrate the greatness of the band. Watching Free it’s hard not to feel
that they made rock and roll music the way it was meant to sound, taking its
blues roots and developing them along natural lines.

 

Among the extras are interviews with the surviving
members of the band and two rather odd videos from Fraser’s post-free solo
career in which he comes across somewhat like a pumped-up, bare-chested hipper
version of Peter Allen (…ahem… see above.
– Archival Ed.)
not quite what you would expect from a founding member of a
band as down to earth as Free but, you know, chacun a son gout and all that.

 

The package might have had a better flow if it had
been edited down to a single disc, but better too much than too little. (You got that right, sir. Free was one of the
greats, and I saw ‘em in concert myself.  – Fanboy Ed.)
With Free Forever we have a welcome retrospective of a rock and roll
Wild Bunch that held out as long as they could against the slick plastic disco/haircut
band/drum machine horrors that were already beginning to infect popular music. It
was all right then and it’s all right now.

 

 

 

Kinks Peter Quaife 1943-2010 R.I.P.

 

Bassist’s powerhouse
low end helped create the original Kinks sound.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Peter Quaife, a cofounding member and original bassist of
the Kinks, passed away on Wednesday, June 23, reportedly due to kidney failure.
He’d been diagnosed with renal disease in 1998 and had been on dialysis
treatment. The musician (above, left) was 66.

 

Quaife had left the Kinks in ’69 after a five year run that
he himself admitted had its highs and lows – plenty of them lows. However, as
the BBC reports
, he was still immensely proud of “his work on the band’s
landmark Village Green Preservation
Society
album. ‘Making that album was the high point of my career,’ he told
Jukebox magazine in 2006. ‘For me it
represents the only real album made by the Kinks… in which we all contributed
something.'”

 

After his departure from the group he attempted to continue
his musical career but eventually opted to go into graphic design and in recent
years had been living in Denmark.
Over the years there had been many recurring rumors about a full Kinks reunion,
but the only time he performed again specifically with the Davies brothers was
during the encores of a Kinks concert in ’81 in Canada. The Kinks were inducted
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and he also took part in the big
induction ceremony jam.

 

 

 

Blue Rags’ Woody Wood w/Solo Rec

 

Strong contender for “busiest and most prolific
musician in NC,” indeed.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

If you’re from the Asheville, NC, area you
already know the name Aaron “Woody” Wood – he literally pops
up every other week in some incarnation or another, from his roots/power trio
(Hollywood Red) and Led Zep covers combo (Custard Pie) to assorted solo outings
and even the occasional reunion gig with the mighty Blue Rags, who were signed
to Sub Pop back in the ‘90s and were hugely influential on the Tarheel music
scene. (Their fans were thrilled when they decided to get back together a few
years ago, and the old chemistry apparently remained, so Blue Rags spotting has
become a bit of a local pastime.) And the guy has a musical background that is
as diverse as it can get.

 

 

His earliest memories are of making the rounds in the bluegrass
circuit with his father A.L. Wood, often sitting on stage with Bill Monroe and
the Stanley Brothers. He’s dabbled in every genre from folk to rock to blues. He’s
had the opportunity to share the stage with R.L. Burnside to Leon Russel. to
Sara Evans to Carlos Santana as well as a slew of New Orleans finest.

 

 

He’s currently embarking on a new venture, funding a solo project on
his own, having recently polished off a 5-song EP at Asheville’s
Echo Mountain studios by tapping the
grassroots potential of fan-funding via Kickstarter.com. His plans are to now
make a complete full-length via Kickstarter
, with the usual array of donation
tiers ranging from downloads and specially created merch to having him record a
special cover song just for you and having him perform at a private party for
you.

 

 

(A special tier will be offered for local fans, that will get you a
copy of the full album as well as an invite to a house show/pool party
featuring Aaron Wood, Jason Krekel and a few more musicians THIS WEEKEND on the
4th of July. Food, drink, pool, yard games and 40 ft slip and slide will be
provided. Space is limited for this tier so sign up early. Go to
Kickstarter.com for details.)

 

 

The gifted guitarist and songwriter really is a regional treasure,
so check him out – he’s got the Blurt seal of approval. There are several spots
on the web you can hear his tunes and find out more – the first link below
features those five recently recorded songs, in fact.

 

 

http://www.aaronwoodmusic.com/

 

 

http://www.woodywoodmusic.com/

 

 

http://www.myspace.com/woodywood33