Monthly Archives: May 2011

Gil Scott-Heron R.I.P. 1949-2011

The black Bob Dylan,
or the godfather of rap? Both, actually.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Legendary musician, poet and spoken-word provocateur Gil
Scott-Heron passed away yesterday at the age of 62 at New York’s St. Luke’s Hospital. No immediate
cause of death has been announced yet, although he had recently returned from Europe and subsequently fell ill. The Associated Press
reported
that a person answering the phone at Scott-Heron’s Manhattan recording company could not
elaborate, noting, “We’re all sort of shattered.” He is survived by a wife and
daughter.

 

By all accounts, the man’s last decade was fraught,
involving arrest and imprisonment on drug possession charges and at least on
one occasion leaving rehab prematurely; it was also rumored that he was HIV
positive. Yet by 2009 and 2010, things seemed to be back on track for
Scott-Heron, and with the February 2010 release of I’m New Here (followed up this year with a remixed version of it, We’re New Here), he once again generated
considerable critical acclaim.

 

Scott-Heron’s influence cannot be overstated: early on, he
was called “the black Bob Dylan” and would eventually be dubbed “the godfather of rap”
thanks to his unique and idiosyncratic blend of music and spoken word – as evidenced
on his classic 1971 hit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” It’s testimony
to the man’s timelessness that that song title eventually entered the lexicon
as a standalone catch-phrase. He crossed over between the rock, jazz and soul
worlds; 1974’s Winter In America,
with keyboardist Brian Jackson, was a hit among aficionados of all three genres.
And while his heyday was in the ‘70s, he continued to perform to appreciative
crowds throughout his life, his music and his lyrics being discovered by successive generations every few years.

 

 



Big Shock: Hendrix Not Murdered!!!

 

Whew. Glad to get that
shit cleared up, yo…

 

By Fred Mills

 

It’s always a fine day when there’s some Jimi
Hendrix news – or non-news, as the case may be – to report, and today is one of
those days. Apparently, it’s also one of “those days” for half the friggin’
music media in the galaxy, too. Let me explain.

 

Copy and paste this phrase into your search engine
of choice:

 

Jimi Hendrix
wasn’t murdered by his manager, says former business partner

 

Notice how you get something like a zillion hits for
that exact group of words! A Hendrix story written yesterday by Joe
Bosso
, of musician-centric website MusicRadar.com, was quickly picked up –
and in many cases, reprinted, excerpted, cannibalized, and even plagiarized – because,
well, after all…. see the first paragraph, above.

 

And people are worried about spam in their email inboxes.
How about that subtler form of spam known as aggregated news? How often have
you been doing a search for one topic or another and found yourself being
sucked down a rabbithole of hyperlinks that ultimately all lead back to the first
story that set you off on the search initially? (Kinda like that Kurt Cobain
unreleased early demos story that some fly-by-night website published last year…)

 

At any rate, here’s our “aggregation” of the Hendrix piece,
since we know you’re itchin’ to find out: In 2009 a former Hendrix roadie,
James “Tappy” Wright, published a memoir titled Rock Roadie in which he claimed that Hendrix’s UK manager Michael
Jeffrey confessed in a drunken rant to have murdered Hendrix by giving him a
bunch of pills and booze. The yarn got a lot of press at the time and no doubt
helped move a bunch of books. So this latest twist has Hendrix’s former US manager, Bob
Levine, saying that Wright’s book is a load of bullshit and that the death was –
as any sane person knows, not counting all of you CIA conspiracy theorists out
there – accidental.

 

See what we mean about a “non-story”? At any rate, here’s
the MusicRadar.com piece
if you have a few minutes you don’t mind wasting….. but far be it for us to jump on the gossip bandwagon.

 

 

 

 

Mastodon Working on Next Album

Selected touring
throughout the summer as well; band’s frontman also set to release two-disc set
of solo material.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The next Mastodon album is in the works for a projected
release sometime later this year, according to a RollingStone.com report. Cut
with producer Mike Elizondo in Atlanta,
the still-unnamed album “sounds pretty different than anything we’ve ever done –
it’s un-comparable,” frontman Brent Hinds is quoted as saying.

 

Meanwhile, Hinds has a 2CD collection of “two separate side
projects” due out June 7 via Rocket Science titled Brent Hinds Presents
Fiend Without A Face/West End Motel
. Rolling Stone describes the release as a “departure
from Mastodon’s heavy metal thunder – Fiend touches upon
whacked-out surf sounds, while Motel is all about boozy poetry.”

 

Mastodon is touring selected European festivals this year as
well as a high-profile appearance July 30 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash. – featuring
Soundgarden, Meat Puppets and Queens of the
Stone Age.

 

Photos: 2011 Rock On the Range Festival

 

May 21 and 22, Columbus,
Ohio: the heaviest of the heavy
convened (along with no shortage of strippers), and our shutterbug Scotty D
lived to report back to us. Among the performers: KORN, A Perfect Circle, Black Label Society,
Hinder and Puddle of Mudd.  Official website:
RockOnTheRangecom.

 

Photos by Scott Dudelson

 

(above) Jonathan Davis of KORN

 

Alter
Bridge

 

A Perfect
Circle

 

Black Label Society

 

Black Veil Brides

 

(topless stripper. Duh.)

 

(pink monkey crowdsurfing)

 

Damned Things

 

Greek Fire

 

Hinder

 

Puddle of Mudd

 

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

 

Rev Theory

 

Staind

 

Trapt

 

Video Exclusive: New Sam Phillips

“Broken Circle” comes
from her new album, out June 7.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

A little over a year ago we featured songstress Sam Phillips
in an extensive interview (see “It’s Not All In Her Head”), and we’re proud now
to be able to bring you a new video from Phillips. Titled “Broken Circle,” it’s from her new album Solid State which drops June 7 on her
Littlebox Recordings label (pre-order available exclusively through http://www.samphillips.com

 

The
“Broken Circle”
clip is directed by Eric Gorfain and Phillips explains its genesis: “Just a few blocks away from the first street art
exhibit at MOCA in downtown Los
Angeles is an evolving wall of street art. For the music
video, we wanted to document this wall.”

 

That they
certainly did – and the song itself is the perfect soundtrack. Check it out:

 

Sam Phillips – Broken Circle from Sam Phillips on Vimeo.

Legendary DC Band Scream w/New Record

 

Pictured above: Scream
in 1986.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

After nearly 30 years since first emerging from DC’s punk
underground, Scream – the band that gave the world Dave Grohl (you may have
heard of him) – has returned with the release of Scream’s Complete Control Sessions. A seven song EP recorded live
in Grohl’s Studio 606 this past February (with John Lousteau and Scream behind
the board), it picks up where the band’s 1993 swansong, “Fumble” left
off. Known for their incendiary live shows, urgent mix of punk, Bad
Brains/Clash-inspired dub, and rock-and-roll swagger, Scream 2011 features the
original lineup of vocalist Pete Stahl, guitarist Franz Stahl, bassist Skeeter
Thompson, drummer Kent Stax and newcomer guitarist Clint Walsh.

Scream’s Complete Control Session will be the second in a series of studio recordings that air on SideOneDummy
Records co-owners’ nationally syndicated all punk rock “Complete Control
Radio” show. The music will be released on 10″ vinyl and via digital
download on August 16th via SideOneDummy.

 
Scream is currently playing shows in North Carolina
with Corrosion of Conformity and in Washington,
DC with OFF! The band will be
announcing more tour date this summer around the release of the new album.

Head over to the band’s web site to check out a new song and in the studio
video of Scream recording their Complete
Control Session
.

Lingua Musica/Blurt Say: Dehlia Low!

Taped Thursday, May 26
at the Grey Eagle club in Asheville,
NC. Catch the band in concert
tonight at the same venue.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Here’s a good ‘un you should check out: our good buddy and
collaborator Joe Kendrick, of the Lingua Musica web show, interviewing Asheville
American/roots/bluegrass combo Dehlia Low
about their new album Ravens & Crows, about their
intricate and unique sound, and more. Special thanks to Jesse Hamm for the
camera and video action.

 

The album was produced by Travis Book of the Infamous
Stringdusters and is officially released nationwide on Rebel Records on August
2, but if you happen to be in the Asheville
area tonight for their show there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pick up a
copy. Meanwhile, you can find out more about the band and pre-order the CD at
their official website. Tell ‘em BLURT sent ya.

 

The videotaped conversation marks the second in the new
Lingua Musica Interviews series and we’re looking forward to many more in the
very near future. (Go here to see the previous installment, featuring Ryan
Montbleau.) BLURT is a proud co-sponsor of Lingua Musica and you can expect to
see our on-camera participation at various points to boot (you have been
warned). Please visit the LinguaMusicaAlive.com
website
, and meanwhile, check out the video!

 

 

MP3/Video: Awesome New Centro-matic

 

 

Album due June 21. You
will not be disappointed. The video, below, ain’t so shabby either.

 

By Fred Mills

 

As previously announced, Centro-matic will release Candidate
Waltz
on June 21. You can keep your eyes peeled for a BLURT feature on the
band in which interviewer John Schacht probes the ever-restless mind of Will
Johnson. Among the bon mots from WJ:

 

Working long distance
with the band members, who live in various cities:
“It’s kind of cool that
after all these years of friendship we can still finish each other’s sentences and
read each other’s minds, even electronically.”

 

Stripping the sonics
back for the new album:
“It was fun to try and exercise that kind of
discipline and not just go for the big-loud-wall-of-guitars-thing all the time.
It’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but for our band it definitely took
us into some new territories, which made us really happy.”

 

Bringing the music to
the masses:
“When we go in and put our heads down and we are on our own in
a quiet setting and able to commit our music to tape, it’s still kind of an old
school, very spiritual and very familiar way of making our music. But when we
walk out of the studio door and realize it’s 2011 instead of 1998, we
immediately have to start conjuring new ideas and new ways to hopefully make
people aware of our music.”

 

The band is offering a free MP3 download of “Only In My
Double Mind” – right here.

 

And then check out the new video:

 

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

Wednesday 06/22 The Basement Nashville, TN*

Thursday 06/23 – The Earl Atlanta, GA*

Friday 06/24 – AthFest
Athens, GA

Saturday 06/25 – Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC*

Sunday 06/26 – DC9 Washingtion,
DC*

Tuesday 06/28 – North Star Bar Philadelphia, PA*

Wednesday 06/29 – Great Scott Cambridge, MA*

Thursday 06/30 – The Mercury Lounge New York, NY*

Friday 07/01 –
Mohawk Place Buffalo, NY*

Saturday 07/02 – Cleveland
Beachland Tavern Cleveland, OH*

Sunday 07/03 – Schubas
Chicago, IL*

Tuesday 07/05  – Off Broadway St. Louis, MO*

Thursday 07/07 – Dan’s Silverleaf
Denton, TX*

Friday 07/08 – Fitzgerald’s Houston, TX*

Saturday 07/09 – The Mohawk Austin, TX*

 

* Dates with Sarah Jaffe www.sarahjaffe.com.

 

 

 

 

Zombie, Mason, Whitesnake Sue Universal Music Group

 

Don’t make this man
above angry. All because of that doggone rapper Eminem – such a troublemaker!

 

 

By Fred Mills

 

As expected, more fallout from the Eminem-Universal Music
Group lawsuit, this time involving quite a disparate cast of characters:
goth/metal king Rob Zombie, his band White Zombie, ‘80s hairspray metal combo
Whitesnake, and ‘70s classic rocker Dave Mason have joined forces in a
class-action lawsuit against UMG alleging they are owed considerable sums of
money for sales of digital downloads and ringtones.

 

Recall that not long ago a US Appeals court ruled against UMG and held that digital downloads count as “licenses”
as opposed to straightforward “sales” and thus quality the rights-holders to
the songs (in this instance, Eminem) for a higher royalty rate – typically 50%
as opposed to 15%. The US Supreme Court subsequently refused to hear UMG’s
appeal, leaving the lower appeals court’s ruling to stand. Then this past April
the estate of Rick James
filed a class-action suit against UMG; the suit has
yet to be litigated.

 

The New York Times is reporting that
Zombie, Whitesnake and Mason’s suit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court
(San Francisco),
alleges “their record company violated their contracts by counting a digital
download as a sale instead of a licensing, which would result in a
substantially higher royalty… The class-action suit accuses Universal, the
world’s largest music company, of unfair business practices by knowingly
miscalculating royalties. The suit claims the label ‘analyzed internally the financial
consequences of its misconduct and cast it in terms of the additional profit to
be made by UMG by avoiding its contractual obligations.'”

 

The amount UMG might have to cough up should the suit proceed and be won by
the plaintiffs is estimated to be in the area of “tens of millions of dollars
or more each year.”

 

UMB, not surprisingly, issued a statement pledging to “vigorously defend”
against the lawsuit, which the label deems to have “serious flaws and
weaknesses.”

 

Uh-huh. Like we suggested at the top, industry observers have been
predicting for months that a wave of lawsuits would come in the aftermath of
the Eminem case
. Some artists, such as Cheap Trick,
have apparently already settled out of court with their labels; another prominent artist filing a suit against its label was the Allman Brothers.

 

That stampeding
sound you hear in the distance? It’s thousands of lawyers, galloping to their
fax machines, preparing to send out documents to their clients and to their
clients’ labels….

SF JAZZ Center Breaks Ground

 

Improvisational legends and SF
JAZZ donors brave the elements in San
Francisco groundbreaking for new concert hall.

 

By Jud
Cost / Photos by Jenifer Cost

 

Surrounded
by tons of smashed concrete, twisted girders, broken brick and the heavy
machinery that demolished the two auto body shops that once stood here, an
oasis of sanity, fenced off from the industrial rubble, has attracted about 100
invited guests for a much-anticipated celebration at 4:00 in the afternoon.
It’s the May 17 groundbreaking ceremony for the SF JAZZ Center, a
state-of-the-art, 700-seat permanent home for San Francisco’s
wildly successful jazz festival to be erected in the Hayes Valley
neighborhood at the corner of Fell and Franklin Streets. Of the $60 million
needed for the project’s completion, $46 million is now in the bank.

 

 

Just as
another round of late-spring rain begins to fall, San Francisco’s Bourbon Kings
Brass Band (pictured above, who,
unlike Tony Bennett, left their heart in old New Orleans) begin to wail on a Crescent
City-style trad number. It doesn’t take long for the nine-piece outfit – two
tenor saxes, two trombones, a trumpet, a cornet, a tuba, a snare drum and a bass
drum-to switch gears and dig into Sonny Rollins’ post-bop classic
“Oleo.” The crowd, as instructed, has brought festive, brightly
colored umbrellas and a few Mardi Gras beads to twirl and shake at the Bourbon
Kings as they high-step it through the mud puddles as if they were marching
down South Rampart Street.

 

The foul
weather this afternoon has no effect on the beaming Srinija Srinivasan, current
chair of the SF JAZZ board of directors. “This will be the first structure
of its kind anywhere in the country, a stand-alone facility dedicated
specifically to jazz,” she says. “When Randall spoke to the board
about finally getting construction under way, he was literally moved to tears.
We’ve all been working on this for so long. But Randall is the one with the
persistence, almost the damn craziness, to pull it off.”

 

 

“Randall”
is SF JAZZ’s Executive Artistic Director Randall Kline (pictured above, with the author), the man whose missionary zeal and passion for what has been called
“America’s
greatest cultural achievement” founded this non-profit jazz festival in
1983. SF Jazz today, with a spring and a fall season that almost overlap,
embraces all facets of creative, improvisational music in over 100 concerts a
year. From the rhythm & blues of Solomon Burke, the Portuguese fado of Ana
Moura and the tropicalia of Caetano Veloso, to the classic raga of Ravi
Shankar, the  country gems of Rosanne
Cash and the bossa nova of Joao Gilberto, SF JAZZ has something for every
taste.

 

Of
course, the surviving heroes from jazz’s golden age abound here, as well:
Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Ahmad Jamal, Archie Shepp, Etta James, Pharoah
Sanders, Randy Weston, Cecil Taylor, Dave Brubeck, Kenny Burrell, Lee Konitz,
Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner, along with the Rushmore-like icons of Ornette
Coleman and Sonny Rollins have all played the festival in recent years.

 

Up until
now, SF JAZZ has used multiple venues spread throughout the City: Herbst
Theatre, the Masonic Auditorium, Davies Symphony Hall, the Palace of Fine Arts
and many others. With its permanent home to be completed by  the fall of 2012, scheduling the mammoth
event should become somewhat easier.

 

SF JAZZ
membership director Barrett Shaver foresees the new facility as having a broad,
inclusive policy towards its use. “We want this place to be open year-round,
every night if possible,” he says. Randall Kline agrees heartily,
envisioning artists being able to spend three or four nights in the Mark
Cavagnero-designed showplace rather than play a one-nighter in a larger hall.
“Without the musicians, none of this would be possible,” adds Kline,
almost drowned out by an emergency police siren. “If Ornette Coleman wants
to play here for a month – great!”

 

 

Legendary
vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson (above,
with family members)
speaks movingly to the crowd, jammed together even
tighter under a plastic marquee as the rain gets heavier. “I remember so
many things: playing the Jazz Workshop in North Beach
and the Both/And on Divisadero, where I first met my wife, selling tickets
there at the time. I had just come from New
York and thought I was big stuff, but she’d never
heard of me. When I played Keystone Korner in North Beach,
opening for (stand-up comedian) Professor Irwin Corey, he said to the crowd,
‘Who’s Bobby Hutcherson?’ And my young son piped up and said, ‘He’s my
Dad.'”

 

John
Handy (pictured below),  a mainstay of the Bay Area jazz scene even
before his potent alto sax first swapped titanic passages with tenor saxman
Booker Ervin in Charles Mingus’ landmark band more than 50 years ago, is
visibly moved afterwards at the prospect of a permanent home for SF JAZZ.
“It’s going to be amazing what will take place here,” he says.
“And remember, remember… this is all happening right here-in America.”