Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Heavy – The Glorious Dead

I saw The Heavy on Late Night with David Letterman last night. Man did they whip up a frenzy with their 12 person ensemble. I never saw Dave Letterman so enthusiastic for an act on the show in my life. He asked them to do an encore just like he did when they first appeared on the show in 2010.

The lead singer Kelvin Swaby was nearly out of breath in a cold sweat but  he and the group happily obliged with “How You Like Me Now?”.  (Could that porkpie hat be any smaller? ;)) Kelvin even got Dave in the act for some call and response by putting his arm around him and asking him, “How You Like Me Now?”, Dave responded, “I Love You”, which was great fun to see.

Check out The Heavy they are boss.

We like you just fine 🙂

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Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono Launch Artists Against Fracking

Artist Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon attend the launch of "Artists Against Fracking", an activist partnership project opposed to hydraulic fracking, at a press conference in New York.

Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono have launched a coalition, Artists Against Fracking.  A vital cause for our planet and its citizens.

Please watch this video to learn why we should be concerned about the dangers fracking for natural gas poses us all.

The aim of Artists Against Fracking is simple yet inevitable.

OUR AIM IS FOR THE WORLD TO EMBRACE SUSTAINABLE LIVING AND DEVELOP RENEWABLE ENERGIES THROUGH ECONOMICALLY-VIABLE ALTERNATIVES TO FOSSIL FUEL.

Let’s all get in league with Artists Against Fracking Now! Power to the People, Right On!

Letter from Yoko Ono to Governor Andrew M Cuomo, 56th Governor of New York State, 4th July 2012.

Dear Governor Cuomo,

This is July 4th, an important day for all of us to think of our beautiful country and be proud of it. Strange, I did not think that I would end up writing this letter to you today, but that’s how it’s working out.

I want to ask you a question. How Green Is Our Valley? I’ve been in this country since 1935, and for the most part loved every minute of it. When the youth of today talk about this country as if it was theirs, I have an urge to say – listen, kiddo, it’s not yours yet! It belongs to people like me and my generation who fought hard to make this a beautiful and healthy country. What did we do? We went through a lot…The San Francisco earthquake, the second World War, the detention of Japanese Americans, Korea, Vietnam, Black Tuesday, the list goes on. Through thick and thin, we never lost the love we have for this beautiful, beautiful country. Why? Because of the American idealism: justice for all! There’s not another country in the world that was built on such idealism.

Right now, some people are trying to make easy money, and meanwhile ruin this country’s future, by a thing called ‘fracking.’ It is clear to everybody in this city, and certainly most everyone in the state, that by doing this our beautiful natural green valleys of New York will be devastated and ruined forever. Nothing is worth doing that.

It will immediately make the pure water we have now in this state become dirty and poisonous. Many adults and many children will get cancer. The ones who have means will get out of the State. There could even be a string of class actions suits against the State of New York and its agencies. New Yorkers will only be too glad to join in the demand for reparations. The heavy legal cases will go on until the next century and more.

There is another scenario available to us. We, under the wise decision by you, our Governor, can get together to protect the State and even the whole country from being ruined. Like what the governor of Vermont, our next door State has done: leading America into a sustainable future based on renewable energy.

Our Governor, and possibly the future President of the United States, we are counting on you. You will only have to say “no more fracking in our State.” That’s all. It’s as simple as that. We will then make this State and the city connected to it, into a model of sustainability, with technologies and policies to produce clean energy and live in an enlightened land. Many wealthy people who are now thinking to flee from the potential disaster, will come back to join our model of a future for the world to visit and perhaps emulate.

We need your wisdom and leadership to make this happen. Please say YES to life, and NO to Fracking. Thank you.

A proud resident of New York State,

Yoko Ono Lennon
New York City
4th July 2012

IMAGINE PEACE © 2011 Yoko Ono

CSN 2012

Crosby, Stills and Nash are incorporating multimedia more by filming their live concerts. Last month they released, CSN 2012 on DVD/CD and Blu-Ray/CD. I’m thinking the positive results Crosby-Nash achieved with their Crosby-Nash: In Concert (which we saw filmed) prompted CSN to release more concert video packaging.

I have seen various permeation’s of the band, hybrid and solo over the years,  Crosby, Stills and Nash, Crosby-Nash, Stephen Stills, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Neil Young (with Crazy Horse). Each was an exciting and warm experience. I just love how soothing their harmonies are.

I float back in time to 1969 when the folk rock supergroup first appeared. Their classic first album has never been bettered

I’m thankful for a recorded concert of Crosby, Stills and Nash from their 2012 tour. When I want to hear and see them live again they are as close as my video entertainment system. 🙂

More insight into Love This Giant

 

Keeping the home fires burning until Love This Giant drops on September 11, 2012. We literally can’t wait to see David Byrne and St. Vincent perform live at The Beacon Theatre on September 26, 2012.

 

Yeasayer – Intriguing Sci-Fi Aroma

Yeasayer is now a major blip on my music/technology radar screen. What took me so long, right 😉 In case you didn’t know they are an experimental rock band from Brooklyn, NY. Yeasayer just released their third album, Fragrant World  on August 20th. I have delved further into that recording (as well as albums one and two) today.

What captured my specific interest is Yeasayer’s innate sense of music melody set against the textured backdrop of technology setting compelling precedents. I liked what Angela Watercutter reveals further about their recording techniques in the article,” Yeasayer’s New Album Turns Crazy Sounds into Lush Songs“, found in the latest issue of Wired Magazine.

I don’t profess to understand an instrument like Maschine from Groove Productions. The more I research the convergence of music and technology I get closer to what is being used to produce the sounds, “the beats”.

“That became the basis for a lot of the sound; it replaced a lot of old samplers that we had,” band member Chris Keating says. “It also became a real cornerstone for live stuff.”

Here is the new stage setting they are using at their live stuff shows 🙂

Famous Album Covers Created With My Socks

I think this is novel and speaks to the creativity within someone’s psyche. Thanks Matt for putting me on to this artistic Tumblr site.

Famous Album Covers Created With My Socks

 

This is my favorite album cover thus far.

Don McLean – Tapestry

I reached into the recesses of the music of our heart to reconnect with Don McLean and his début recording Tapestry (MediaArts – October 1970). I can recall hearing Don McLean’s Tapestry being played on WNEW-FM by Scott Muni on weekday afternoons in the fall of 1970. I own the MediaArts vinyl LP Scottso would spin on the airwaves.

Tapestry is a treasure chest filled with song gems all penned by Don McLean.  The song that exhibits Don McLean’s clairvoyance prognosticating the future is the title track, “Tapestry”.  The last two lines sum up where the fate of civilization is today with the greed of oil and gas baron’s (and the consumer) laying ruin to our planet.

Every thread of creation is held in position 
by still other strands of things living. 
In an earthly tapestry hung from the skyline 
of smoldering cities so gray and so vulgar, 
as not to be satisfied with their own negativity 
but needing to touch all the living as well. 

Every breeze that blows kindly is one crystal breath 
we exhale on the blue diamond heaven. 
As gentle to touch as the hands of the healer. 
As soft as farewells whispered over the coffin. 
We’re poisoned by venom with each breath we take, 
from the brown sulfur chimney and the black highway snake. 

Every dawn that breaks golden is held in suspension 
like the yoke of the egg in albumen. 
Where the birth and the death of unseen generations 
are interdependent in vast orchestration 
and painted in colors of tapestry thread. 
When the dying are born and the living are dead. 

Every pulse of your heartbeat is one liquid moment 
that flows through the veins of your being. 
Like a river of life flowing on since creation. 
Approaching the sea with each new generation. 
You’re now just a stagnant and rancid disgrace 
that is rapidly drowning the whole human race. 

Every fish that swims silent, every bird that flies freely, 
every doe that steps softly. 
Every crisp leaf that falls, all the flowers that grow 
on this colorful tapestry, somehow they know. 
That if man is allowed to destroy all we need. 
He will soon have to pay with his life, for his greed.

© Copyright 1969, 1972 by MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC. and THE BENNY BIRD CO, INC.
All Rights Controlled and Administered by MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC.
International Copyright Secured. All Rights reserved
MCA Music Publishing

We saw Don McLean in concert on September 21, 1975 at Stamford Catholic High School. I was covering the event as a music reporter for The Entertainer a Fairfield County, Connecticut entertainment weekly newspaper. Don McLean did two shows that night. He was brilliant. My fondest memory of the night was watching him joust with reporters and radio/television station staff at the press conference between shows about “American Pie”. His press agent asked that people refrain from asking questions about American Pie. He said Don McLean was tired of answering that question. But several reporters didn’t heed that request and they really irked Don McLean. He rebuffed them with class and dignity, yet put them in their place. I respected Don McLean too much to make that mistake.

After the press conference Don McLean signed 8×10 black and white photos for us. Don McLean was the first musician autograph I secured in my now extensive music autograph collection. We exchanged some nice pleasantries about his first album, Tapestry which he humbled and honored to discuss.

I’ll never forget that I ended up walking and talking with him on his way back to the stage in the gym from the press conference in the science room. He smiled and began to played the bridge of Tapestry on his guitar for me as we walked together. It was a charismatic feeling to hear him playing that song acoustic, finger picked as it echoed in the hallway. I thanked him for playing that choice, he smiled warmly, shook my hand and said enjoy the show. His second set that night was stronger than the first. He featured music from the LP, Homeless Brother  as I learned about the folk singer/protest connection he had with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

John Cage – Where The Heart Beats

I find myself drawn to the existence of John Cage. Every so often I intersect with a mystical force in music that raises my consciousness to an exciting new level. John Cage’s indeterminacy in music is gaining traction in the music of our heart.

I happened upon a book in Barnes & Noble by Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats about John Cage. I found myself spellbound by the author’s elocution coupled with her tri-balanced design that forms a strong foundation of purpose. John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists called to me with a profound sense of peace and wisdom. I have to acquire this book to gain insight into the artist and person, John Cage. This book materializes as a key marker in the quest of achieving the creative process.

Bob Seger and The Last Heard – East Side Story

My son surprised me with a Bob Seger video on my Facebook wall that I have never seen or heard before today. The song is called, “East Side Story” and it was released in January 1966 on Hideout Records. Seger made his television début performing this song on the show Swingin’ Time, hosted by Robin Seymour.

Seger recalls: “They liked what I wrote, which was ‘East Side Story.’ But they didn’t like the way the Underdogs did it. So we recorded it ourselves, and then Doug and I went our own ways. I started my own band.”[2]

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The Last Heard (1966 – Late 1967?) was:

*Bob Seger (V, K, G)
*Carl Lagassa (G)
*Dan Honaker (B) – (Bob Seger System)
*Pep Perrine (D) – (Bob Seger System)

I’m convinced that Bob Seger (and bandmate) were influenced fashion wise (and more) by Donovan.

The Last Heard was one step before I discovered The Bob Seger System in 1969 on Capitol Records with my favorite hit by Bob Seger, “Ramblin Gamblin Man”.

File:Ramblin' Gamblin' Man.jpg

ZZ Top – La Futura

I’m getting that buzz that tells me there is real excitement a brew for ZZ Top rock music fans everywhere.

ZZ Top, that little ‘ol band from Texas, is releasing their next album, La Futura, on September 11, 2012. This will be their first new studio recording in nine years. The secret sauce of La Futura is the collaboration synergy with Rick Rubin and Billy Gibbons producing. Rick Rubin has such a midas touch in the studio.

I first heard ZZ Top as a college FM disk jockey at WNHU-FM 88.7 in West Haven, Ct. I was minoring in music at the University of New Haven in 1973. The radio station had a playlist and ZZ Top Tres Hombres was on heavy rotation that summer. “La Grange” was the track I played to death on my afternoon show as well as the song “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers“.

I sense that same level of enthusiasm escalating for La Futura. I listened to Texicali the prelude EP to La Futura today. I love the alliance between Rick Rubin and ZZ Top. I was hoping Rick Rubin would help ZZ Top unearth some extra sonic techniques. Rick Rubin has an incredible ear for musical risk and innovation. My ears were rewarded by some great stuff on that EP. Rick Rubin gets musicians to think outside the box, to further reinvent themselves.  The guitar technique on  “I Gotsta Get Paid,”  with that flipped completely around tremolo effect rocks you intently.

A lot of producers would have the drummer come in on Monday, then they’d call the bass player in on Tuesday, the guitar player would show up on Wednesday and maybe the singer on Thursday,” says ZZ Top guitar king Billy Gibbons. “When we got together with Rick Rubin, he said, ‘My idea of ZZ Top is three guys playing together at the same time with the red light turned on.’ That sounded just right to us.”