Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

The Freedom of Music Goes 8-Track

May 27th, 2012

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush - Spirit of Radio.

“If you want,” I said to my son, “you can put some music of your music on for a while.”

He’s 14, quiet in the monosyllabic way unique to teenage boys and has a lovely smile. He flashed it now, half in a laugh.

“No.”

sidebar-3 We were renovating a bathroom/closet and the two of us were putting up the drywall. Born to Run was on, not something he would listen to voluntarily. He’s into rap and modern pop, meaning Beyonce, Usher &tc. Bruce Springsteen is not his thing. Yet he refused my simple request with almost a chuckle.

“Don’t have any rap 8-tracks?” I asked innocently, and his time he did laugh.

“No.”

I bought the 8-track player on eBay about a year ago, and now have a small collection of tapes, also mostly bought on eBay. It was a lark really, buying a piece of obsolete audio equipment that most people couldn’t get rid of fast enough back around 1980. But it was a lark that has come with it’s small pleasures. The fact that, as near as I can tell, a rap album has never been released on 8-track is one of those pleasures.

But there’s more. eBay is full of tapes at any given time and spending half-an-hour nosing through, bidding a dollar here, two there is a bit of fun. More fun is wandering through a used stuff store and stumbling on an otherwise unexpected cache of tapes. Truth is, until you have heard Boston’s first blasting though an 8-track player, as I have after stumbling across it at the Stratford Antique Mall, you just haven’t heard it in all it’s analogue glory.

Pulling out the 8-track and throwing on some classic rock is guaranteed to generate a conversation. Other people my age remember having 8-tracks, haven’t seen them in years, and end up reminiscing about everything from music they haven’t heard since 1978 to the way you had to use a matchbook to lift the tape and keep the audio lined up with the tracks.

A couple of years ago I predicted 8-tracks might make a comeback and while I hate to take credit, even when well deserved, and it hardly qualifies as a real comeback, a noticeable thing has happened. A year ago, one-dollar 8-tracks where common on eBay. Those same 8-tracks now cost $6-8. There’s been a defined spike in the price, which leads one to believe it’s not just me who has discovered 8-tracks.

The good life is in the small pleasures. Discovering a love for 8-tracks after all these years is one of the smallest.


The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod , , , , , ,

The Freedom of Music: Levon Helm

May 20th, 2012

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush - Spirit of Radio.

The Band was, undeniably, one of the great acts of the rock era. A Canadian band with a lone member from Arkansas, they played Toronto’s haunts for years backing up Ronnie Hawkins as The Hawks. Hawkin’s was a taskmaster and a perfectionist. After performing all night, virtually every night, Hawkins would rehearse his band for hours afterwards into the small hours of the morning. sidebar-2

The practice time paid off, and The Hawks became masters of their craft. So much so that when Bob Dylan decided to change rock’n'roll irretrievably by mixing folk and electric blues, he chose the Hawks to be his back up band. The Arkansas boy however, had had enough of the life and, disappointed by the initial response to Bob Dylan’s decision to “go electric,” quit music and went home. Levon Helm left his bandmates to suffer the indignity of being booed and jeered every night, just because Bob Dylan decided to expand his musical horizons.

In 1967, living in Woodstock with Bob Dylan, Rick Danko contacted Helm asking him to rejoin the band. He did and became one of the staple voices of rock music. Music From the Big Pink, released a year later, became one of the most popular and influential albums of the 1960’s, cited by George Harrison as a great album, and Eric Clapton as the reason he left Cream for more rootsy styled music. Helm, for the record, never really left Woodstock again, his popular Midnight Ramble’s, ongoing until his death, took place in his barn/studio at his home in Woodstock.

A few weeks ago, an announcement appeared on Helm’s webpage, signed his wife and daughter. Helm was, it said, “in the final stages of his battle with cancer.” Usually such notices mean you have days to live. In Helm’s case, it was 2 days, as he succumbed to cancer on April 20th. He was 72.

As the post-mortem tributes came in, none summed Helm up better than Bruce Springsteen, who told a New Jersey audience about a week after Helm’s death:

Both his voice and his drumming were so incredibly personal. He had a feel on the drums that just comes out of a certain place that you can’t replicate.

When Springsteen refers to Helm’s voice as personal, he doesn’t just mean unique, although it was certainly that. Whether he was stretching his voice as in Ophelia, reciting a history lesson as he did in The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down or mock yodeling in Up On Cripple Creek, It felt as though Helm was singing directly to you. His voice had so much soul, every note dripping with that intangible something that made him one of the very special singers.


The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod , , , , , , , ,

Fluffernutter Friday (Formerly Cool for Cats)

May 11th, 2012

Bruce Springsteen (and audience) pays tribute to Levon Helm.

“Both his (Levon Helm’s) voice and his drumming were so incredibly personal. ” Bruce Springsteen: May 2, 2012

Meanwhile George Costanza wants to join the 1%.


Cool For Cats , ,

Cool For Cats Friday

December 9th, 2011

I was planning on doing this in reverse order, but after seeing the first video, I changed my mind and thought it deserved to be first.

Winnipeg teenager Sean Quigley proves that, in spite of what us geezers like to think, the kids are alright. Having a house full of teenagers myself, I can attest that the next generation is not as lost as the damned media often makes them out to be. This may become my favourite version of one of my absolute favourite songs, Christmas or otherwise.

Of course, the classic rock version is Bob Seger, whose interpretation of this song is one of the big reasons I like it so much. Sadly, the only full versions of this video I could find involved extraordinary house light displays, causing my irony meter to explode.

Speaking of Bob Seger, last Friday in New York City an old friend joined him on stage.


Cool For Cats , , ,

Cool for Cats Friday: The Big Man

June 24th, 2011

Clarence Clemons (1942-2011). Live in Toronto, 1984.

And earlier in the week I linked to a picture of Abigail Clancy. Here’s the picture:

abigail-clancy-1280x800-26356


Cool For Cats , , ,

The Freedom of Music: Clarence Clemons (1942-2011)

June 18th, 2011

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush - Spirit of Radio.

I wasn’t always a Bruce Springsteen fan. When The River was released in 1979, I well remember the hype CHUM FM gave the album, and not having a clue what the fuss was about. Where’s the hot guitar solos? Springsteen himself wears a suit vest onstage for gosh sake. All hype, seemed a reasonable response. sidebar-1

It’s not that I disliked, you understand, not really. Born to Run, I would have to admit was a great song. And the other songs I knew, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, Candy’s Room, Prove it All Night and later Hungry Heart, were all good songs. And if I had sat and put it together in that way, thought about his songs, I probably would have been a convert much earlier than I was.

There really was no excuse. Darkness on the Edge of Town is a great album, a work of art as much as any album of the rock era can be called that. I was 15 when Darkness was released in 1978, so I had no excuse. Except, I knew nobody who had it, liked it, talked about it. An album that good, by an artist that good, an artist we all knew just never listened too, and it seems nobody in my high school bought it.

I regret that I didn’t get Springsteen then. I was doing the concert scene by then, and had I seen Springsteen in ‘78, I would have been catching an astounding performer at his absolute peak. Even a few years later, when I had less excuses, I would have been seeing him perform at a level that few others ever do.

The conversion would take a few more years. It began in the middle of the night in 1983. I was working midnights at the local Food City, and had the night off. I stayed up, and when the TV was done for the night, turned on the radio. At 4:30 the DJ said he had tickets to Springsteen’s legendary sidekick and saxophonist, Clarence Clemons, and his band, the Red Bank Rockers at the El Mocambo. I called, got through immediately and had my name put on the list for the show - apparently virtually nobody else was listening at that time. On one days notice, and knowing nobody who was a Springsteen fan, I couldn’t find any takers for the second ticket, so I went by myself.

Upstairs at the El Mocambo was a small place, wider than it is deep with a low ceiling. It holds maybe a hundred people, who sit four each at a table. Rows of table run only 2 or 3 deep, thus about ten across. It is, it must be said, an intimate setting. I took a seat about ten feet from the stage and settled in to see I had no idea what. All I really knew was he played saxophone for Springsteen, and was on that album cover, the one where he’s leaning on Bruce. Hey, I was going to be ten feet away from a man on an album cover, and that was pretty cool. However, I was only ten feet away should it prove to be not very good and I wanted to leave halfway through.

I needn’t have worried. I remember sprinklings of the night. He started and ended with a couple of instrumentals. He brought out a little guy who sang great R&B, and had an on fire band behind him. He played for what must have been close to an hour and a half, but it seemed like ten minutes. And by the last song, Fire, I was dancing on my table, as was everybody else in the place.

I had often heard it said that music has energy, that it could be electric. I had no real idea what that really meant until that night when, like Ben Franklin standing in the storm with his kite, I learnt exactly what that electricity felt like. It was magical. I have said before that I learnt the meaning of the phrase raised the roof that night. The energy was so palpable in that little tiny room it felt like the roof must have moved upward so that the walls wouldn’t blow down.

How sad to hear the Big Man, he was 6’5” and 270 pounds, with the ever present big smile died yesterday, one week after suffering a stroke. He was 69, too young, too talented. I’ve seen Springsteen six times now, seen Clemons absolutely nail that astounding Jungleland solo. Seen him hanging out beside the speakers, like hoods at the drug store, while playing Rosalita. Seen him standing on one edge of the stage, while Bruce was on top of the piano, yet Clemons is the guy who was hard not to look at. I’ve even seen him kiss Springsteen, the singer on his knees after sliding across the stage to where Clarence was playing. But what I’ll always remember is that night 28 years ago when he seemed to come within’ an inch of literally blowing the roof off the El Mocambo. The night I learnt Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t have to come wrapped in loud guitar solos and wailing singers.

No, Rock ‘n’ Roll is good time music, and nobody did good time better than Clarence, the Big Man, Clemons.


Springsteen is still Boss, The Freedom of Music , , , , , , ,

Saturday Fluffernutter: The Legendary Promiscuousness Edition

June 18th, 2011

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorIn the new book “Primetime Propaganda,” Ben Shapiro argues the television industry is overwhelmingly left wing. Not just that, but conservative/Republican’s are blacklisted in the industry. To be sure, if you have enough talent, or enough success before you get discovered as a conservative, and you’re a fiscal conservative with Libertarian social outlook, you can still work. There are two subjects, however, were according to Shapiro, dissent is not tolerated: abortion and gay rights. 39010007_lg

To prove the point, 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan went off reservation on a stand-up performance last month, that is being described as a “homophobic rant.” The hammer is coming down on Morgan, the same way it did on Michael Richards and Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington. Besides being called out by 30-Rock co-star Cheyenne Jackson (ed: who?) and fellow comedian Chris Rock, Morgan is being called to the carpet by his NBC bosses.

“We will always recognize an artist’s freedom to express him or herself, but not when reckless things are said no matter what the context,” said NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt.

Understand, along with the heckler case at the BC Human Rights Commission, that there is now one subject completely and utterly that may not be talked about in any way shape or form.

fluffincolorSad news out of Florida this past weekend.

Bruce Springsteen’s long time sax player and sidekick, Clarence Clemons had a major stroke. Early reports suggested he was paralyzed on the left side of his body. More recent news suggests that Clemons is making “miraculous” progress.

Good luck to the greatest rock and roll saxophonist as he fights his latest health problem.

fluffincolorGene Simmons and his long time common law wife, Shannon Tweed, had a blow out on The Joyce Behar Show this week. Behar was asking Simmons about his legendary promiscuousness, when Simmons made a small joke about it. Tweed stood up offended and took off her microphone, saying “nice.”

Tweed then paced the room while Simmons tried to talk his way out of it, ostensibly blaming Behar for asking the question.

There has been trouble recently between the two, with rumours of a split circulating. On the other hand, their reality TV show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, begins it’s sixth season next Tuesday.

fluffincolorSpeaking of legendary promiscuousness, Hugh Hefner and his affianced, Crystal Harris have split. Five days before the octogenarian and the 24 year old bleached blonde were to tie the knot, Harris broke it off.

“What the hell am I thinking?” she is rumoured to have thought to herself.

Interestingly, Harris is on the cover of this months Playboy. In an interview with Ryan Seacrest she said:

For a while I’ve been having second thoughts… I haven’t really been at peace with myself recently.

It’s all about priorities: first, you get on the cover of Playboy, then you find internal peace.

fluffincolorThere’s always one question on the minds of right thinking people: who’s the next Bond girl. It’s one of those issues that affects real lives, and so it is always a going question. Upon announcing the current one, who’s next will inevitably crop up.

So, who’s next?

According to actress Naomie Harris, the next Bond girl will be… Naomie Harris.

elle style awards 6 120208

Please tell me no.

fluffincolorIn March the proiducers of the Broadway musical Spiderman-Man: Turn of the Dark, shut down the show to overhaul the music, storyline and to address safety concerns.

U2’s Bono and The Edge re-wrote their score, and the revamped show premiered this week.

(The show) has become a straightforward children’s entertainment with a mildly suspenseful story, two-dimensional characters, unapologetically bad jokes…

OK, the story rewrite didn’t go so well, what of that reworked score:

The score sounds like a double album of B-sides


Fluffernutter , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Freedom of Music: Bon Jovi Speaks

March 20th, 2011

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush - Spirit of Radio.

Dee Snider, the make-up clad, iron haired singer of Twisted Sister, once remarked during an interview that yes, a lot of his music was downloaded free and illegally off the internet but, ‘twenty years ago I wasn’t making two-and-a-half million dollars a year on ring-tones.’ It was the first, and only time, I heard a classic artist take a good with the bad approach to the internet and music.sidebar-6

iTunes currently shows 80 results when you search ring-tones for Bon Jovi. Pity Jon Bon Jovi never got the ‘take the good with the bad’ memo. During an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times Magazine this week, Bon Jovi rather pessimistically suggested, “Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.”

Oh, I know: context man, provide context. Here’s the whole of the quote:

Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album, and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the album sounded like and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it… God it was a magical time.

I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now, people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ … Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.

In 1986, I was teaching guitar to kids in their homes. Driving from lesson to lesson, I had installed a tape deck in my Chevette, and Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet got a lot of listening time. I bought the itty bitty cassette tape not for the cover, which was puny and unreadable, but for the songs I knew: You Give Love a Bad Name; Livin’ On a Prayer; Wanted, Dead or Alive. At a guess, Bon Jovi got very rich selling cassettes and CDs of this album, considerably less so LP’s, with their magical covers.

When his next album, New Jersey, came out two years later I bought it on LP unheard. Not because the cover was so cool, by then covers where boringly being made for CD size readability, which meant they looked more like a corporate logo than art. No, I bought it because Slippery When Wet was so good. And when I got it home I put my headphones on, turned it up to 10, held the jacket, closed my eyes and got lost in an album.

Then I found myself again. After about three songs it was clear, whatever this was, it was no Slippery When Wet. And those three songs were the hits. Imagine how many songs I would have lasted if I had dropped the needle on Wild is the Wind.

It’s easy to be wistful for the days when Led Zeppelin IV was followed by Houses of the Holy, followed by Physical Graffiti. Or Styx’s Equinox was followed by The Grand Illusion. If you liked the first, you would like the second, yet the second wasn’t just a rehash of the same songs with new words. Those where, as old goats like Bon Jovi like to say, the days my friend.

Of course Jon Bon Jovi didn’t base his buying decisions on last album, he bought based on whether the cover was cool. Buying Born to Run because of that great shot of Bruce and Clarence on the front would have led you to one of the all time great albums (which led to Darkness on the Edge of Town, and The River). The cool spaceship guitar which donned the first Boston album led to 40 minutes of great and original music inside. You could, in fact, rely on the idea that a cool cover meant the band put effort into the album. It wasn’t a perfect way to buy an album, but it was probably reliable about 50% of the time. Try that today and see how many really bad albums you have to wade through to get a gem.

Nobody was ‘holding the jacket, closing there eyes, getting lost in the music by the end of the 1980’s because the hard plastic cases of CDs and cassettes were not conductive to cuddling up to. Bon Jovi, however, never once complained about the romance being taken out of the thing. He made his millions selling CDs and cassettes of formulaic, derivative music to kids who still thought of music as important, and hadn’t caught on that the people making the music thought of it as a commodity.

Apple, and by extension Steve Jobs, didn’t invent the MP3 player, they just designed one that customers preferred. They didn’t invent the MP3, or downloading music, they found a viable way to commodify downloading MP3’s, putting money back in the pocket of the artists. If Bon Jovi isn’t doing as well selling MP3s as he did CDs and cassettes, maybe it’s because in that time his band went from one of the better, but still one of, the hair metal bands that all sounded much the same to a Kid Rock imitator with a sensible hair cut.

Runaway was a crappy song long before people started paying $1.29 for a 30 second ring-tone. That’s what killed music.


The Freedom of Music , , , , , , , ,

Happy 70th Birthday

March 17th, 2011

Bruce Springsteen tells the story from the stage. After a gig, a young Bruce and sidekick Steve Van Zandt are walking the Asbury Park beach late one summer night. clemons1Walking towards them is a huge guy, dark, frightening looking guy. There’s nobody else on the beach, and as tension mounts they realize, he’s carrying a…a…a… saxophone!

Thus goes the story of how Bruce met the guy who would be his on stage foil for the next forty years (and counting).

A former football player, Clarence Clemons said in his autobiography, Big Man, that he had stuck with Springsteen all these years because he loves his music. It’s not hard to argue a large reason that music is so lovable is the linebacker with the saxophone.

Happy 70th Birthday Clarence Clemons, for being the Big Man, and for that solo in Jungleland. Never has a saxophone felt so at home in rock and roll.

Birthday Wishes , ,

The Freedom of Music: Dancing In The Dark

January 30th, 2011

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush - Spirit of Radio.

Dec 31, 2010 6:25 PM
This shall be one long lonely night.

The above was written on the Facebook wall of somebody I’m close enough to be bothered by it. It wasn’t serious, not a cry for help or a desolate person in desperate need of company. But left alone on new years, she felt a little saddened by it.

sidebar-1I didn’t have a wild and crazy new years eve myself, although I was out among friends. A few drinks, some nice finger food to nibble on and the conversation of a couple of good friends. Did I drink? Why yes you honour. Much? No, not very much at all. Which perhaps explains how, at around noon on New Years Day, I was working out.

I put Bruce Springsteen’s Live at Hyde Park, a Christmas present, in the DVD player to work out with. As it was playing, Dancing in the Dark came on:

Message keeps getting clearer,
Radio’s on and I’m moving around the place.
I check my look in the mirror,
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.
Man I ain’t getting’ nowhere, just sittin’ in a dump like this
There’s something happenin’ somewhere, baby I just know there is.

Stay on the streets of this town, they’ll be carvin’ you up all night.
They say you gotta stay hungry, hey baby! I’m just about starving’ tonight.
I’m dying for some action, I’m sick of sittin’ round here trying to write this book,
I need a love reaction, c’mon baby give me just one look.

Springsteen has always had that one line, that phrase that could express so much. The intensity and passion of Born to Run, summed up in:

I wanna die with you Wendy on the street tonight,
In an everlasting kiss.

The sadness of The River:

And for my nineteenth birthday,
I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We went down to the courthouse,
And the judge put it all to rest.
No wedding day smile, no walk down the aisle,
No flowers no wedding dress.

You kind of know that’s not going to be a happy song.

But Dancing in the Dark was always different. It was the pop song, the song Courtney Cox danced to. It meant, well, nothing much.

In fact, it may have meant something very much more. During recording of Born in the USA, Springsteen’s manager and producer Jon Landau sent him home one night with a simple instruction: the album is good to great but it needs a hit. It needs a radio song. Go home and write it.

He did. Interesting then that he references writing so prominently in Dancing in the Dark:

I’m dying for some action,
I’m sick of sittin’ round here trying to write this book,
I need a Love reaction…

Suppose you change the word book for song, and it’s not hard to imagine you are looking into Bruce Springsteen’s very heart at that moment. It seems light enough, until…

“This shall be one long lonely night.”

It’s the knowledge that someone you love is lonely that changes the song. It becomes not a dance song, but a sad song with a happy face.

When the Born in the USA album came out, there was a fair bit of remark about Springsteen’s appearance. A once gaunt, skinny, weak looking kid (well, young man), he was now muscular, built up on weights. Meanwhile his foil, The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, had also hit the weights, adding bulk, losing fat. Springsteen gained weight, it was reported, Clemons lost. It seems unremarkable, except:

I check my look in the mirror,
I wanna change my clothes my hair my face.

Again you ask yourself, was Springsteen giving us a peek into his very darkest place, at 120 beats per minute of happy synthesizer pop?

And again you remember the words of Jon Landau: “go home and write a hit song.” Not a carefully crafted examination of your psyche. Not a scream for help. A pop song. So Springsteen did, all the while leaving a song that 25 years and hundreds of listens later, there was still something there to be discovered.

“That’s why,” as Clemons said in his recent autobiography, Big Man , “he’s the boss.”


Springsteen is still Boss, The Freedom of Music , , , , , , ,

Cool for Cats Friday

November 19th, 2010

There was once a time when Bruce Springsteen wasn’t a filthy rich socialist. He was, simply put, a brilliant musician and performer - period.

How good? The songs Fire and Because the Night got cut from Darkness at the Edge of Town good. Here’s a live video of Because the Night from 1978.


Springsteen is still Boss , ,

The Freedom of Music: Independent Record Store Day

April 18th, 2010

freedom-of-music-header

One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush - Spirit of Radio.

Yesterday was Independent Record Store Day. Did you miss it? Are you, at this moment, slapping your forehead because you forgot all about it? Not likely. More like your saying to yourself, “there’s an independent record store day?” Why, yes there is, it’s a promotional event by some players in the music industry, and is significant because a number of artists supported the idea, and got behind it. sidebar-1

Of course, if you go the right websites, are on the right mailing lists, you knew about it. And quite a few people go to those websites, subscribe to those mailing lists. At Other Music in New York City, they lined up around the block to get in. Easy for them, you might think. They still have record stores in New York. While it’s true New York has everything, including a street with two chess shops across the road from each other and a peanut butter restaurant, you didn’t have to be in Manhattan to enjoy Record Store Day. Chances were there was someplace within a short enough drive. Out here in Cambridge, I had four or five options nearby, more than ten if I was willing to put in an hours driving.

Why, on the other hand, would you want to attend Independent Record Store Day? Why stand in line on Saturday to shop at a store that was there Friday, and still will be, presumably, Monday. The reason is that, as I mentioned earlier, a number of artists got behind the idea. Real, artists, significant artists, with long histories in the music world, released new material specifically for this event. We aren’t talking a new Lady Gaga video here, although she may have done so. How about a new Rolling Stones single, only on vinyl? The song, Plundered My Soul, is a find from the vaults. A lost song from the Exile on Main St. sessions, Plundered My Soul is a great rocker. Proof that The Rolling Stones were once a great band, especially considering Plunder My Soul didn’t make the final cut.

Plunder My Soul singles, which sadly were gone by the time I got off my lazy ass and wandered over to Encore Records, are already selling on eBay in the $30 to $60 range . As an aside, the Kitchener Record claims there was also a line-up at Encore Records at opening time. They did have a number of the items specially released for Record Store Day. A number of vinyl albums, Jeff Beck’s new one, and John Hiatt’s newest for example. Myself, I picked up two 10” singles, a new, Bruce Springsteen and a Them Crooked Vultures picture disk.

imgp4279

The Springsteen features two previously released tracks, but tracks that have never been out in a physical format before. Both have gotten the iTunes treatment, but the limited edition 10” is just for Record Store Day. The A side, Wrecking Ball, was recorded and written specifically for his 2009 Giant’s Stadium concerts. Giant’s Stadium will go under the wrecking ball itself. The song itself, according to Pitchfork upon it’s iTunes release,  is:

dedicated to the big building, New Jersey, living, dying, turning 60, and trying to hold onto memories in the age of parking lots.

B side is a live version of Ghost of Tom Joad from 2008.

crooked-vultures-in-redThe real treat of my day, the real keeper, is the Them Crooked Vultures 10” picture disc. In case you haven’t been keeping track, Them Crooked Vultures is a new “super group,” with Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, Foo Fighters frontman, and ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl back on the drums, and Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme on guitar and vocals. They are loud, brash, ballsy and real, real good. Their imagery, various drawings of a humanoid with a vulture head, is always excellent. Displayed in a Crooked Vultures red see through envelope, the picture disc is an excellent piece. The disc contains an album cut Mind Eraser, No Chaser, and a new live song, Hwy 1 on side one, and an interview on side two.

Over all Independent Record Store Day seems to have been a success, both for the stores that took part, and for me personally. It is simply great to be buying a new song, on vinyl, by some favourite artists, at a favourite record store. What more could a music fan ask for?


The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday Fluffernutter

November 21st, 2009

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolor“Hello, Ohio!” With those two words, Bruce Springsteen dropped jaws throughout The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michiganmelissa-glick-warhol-fluff-for-web. After several references to Ohio, Springsteen’s guitar player and sidekick Steve Van Zandt corrected him.

It’s “Every front man’s nightmare,” Springsteen told the audience apologetically.

fluffincolorKings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill, 30, married singer Jessie Baylin last weekend in Brentwood. Followill, one of three brothers in the Kings of Leon, met the country singer at the Bonoroo festival n 2006. Congratulations to the happy couple.

fluffincolorNineteen year old country superstar Taylor Swift appears to have a boyfriend, 17 year old Twilight actor Taylor Lautner. No word on how serious the relationship is, but should marriage be in their future nobody in the wedding party, we are guessing, will be wearing off the rack.

fluffincolorTwilight: New Moon opened this weekend to abysmal reviews, of which the target teenage girl audience could care less. Expect it to be a blockbuster, regardless of what Kevin Williamson thought of it. Next week Saturday Fluffernutter will have a review in brief for those who are holding off until At Home in Hespeler has given a verdict.

Fluffernutter , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy 60th Birthday…

September 23rd, 2009

Bruce Springsteen could get the AHIH Birthday nod because of 35 years of quality rock ‘n’ roll and leave it at that. I could offer best wishes on his 60th for turning the Fender Telecaster into a rock ‘n’ roll instrument, synonymous in rock ‘n’ roll circles with Bruce Springsteen much like Jimmy Page and his Les Paul.bruce_springsteen_3

On the other hand, in 1974 Bruce Springsteen set out to record the greatest rock album ever, and almost succeeded (arguably did) with the release of Born to Run. Three years later he released his most artistically complete work, Darkness on the Edge of Town, leaving possibly the two best songs (Fire and Because The Night, the former become a hit for The Pointer Sisters; the latter for Patti Smith) on the cutting room floor. He also wrote one of those songs that may never go away, Blinded By The Light, made what it is by Manfred Mann. Surely that’s enough for birthday wishes on his 60th.

Maybe I’d say happy birthday because he performed two of the three best concerts I have ever seen, first in 1984, just before he was to achieve superstardom. Dancing in the Dark was on the radio, Courtney Cox dancing on MTV, her first flirtation with fame. The second time was almost 30 years later, in 2003. Performing from a new album, the 50-something Springsteen stepped up for 2 1/2 hours. If a reformed Led Zeppelin hadn’t upended the “best concert I’ve ever seen” listing in 2007, I could say with absolute confidence they would have been the two best shows I have ever seen.

Someone else, I might offer wishes because he wrote the following lines:

brucespringsteenIf dreams came true aww wouldn’t that be nice…

I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul…

The street’s on fire in a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
Man, the poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all,
They just stand back and let it all be…

I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote.
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest…

We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school…

But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company…

On another day I might suggest the guitar solo in Prove it All Night is worthy o, the bass line in Fire, the passionately strained vocals on Born to Run suggest the recipient was worthy.

Truth is, I can’t narrow down Bruce Springsteen’s contributions to one lick, one line, one song, one album. His career has produced a body of work that can only be called significant, much of it among the best in rock’n'roll.

So Happy 60th Birthday Bruce Springsteen, because of the years of wonder you have given me, and because even after all these years, rock ‘n’ roll still seems important to you.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Springsteen is still Boss