Two years ago to the day I posted Les Rita Mitsouko‘s The No Comprendo. A record that is pure French-weirdo-pop genius. I love this song “Marcia Baila” and tragically it’s not on Comprendo, the only album of theirs that I have. I thought I should share it with you.
My old pal and fellow Fool Jonathan Mudd has a new album! Here are the details straight from J-Mudd himself…
The music is now available through my brand-spanking-new website at http://www.muddmusic.com, where you can sample tracks, download MP3s and (best of all!) purchase the full-length CD.
Truth Lies contains 11 new songs I wrote over the last few years. Please give it a listen—I think you’ll find big melodies, big guitars, big beats…a few bright ideas…and maybe even a couple of happy accidents. Read the rest of this entry »
All together under one (small) roof at the Orange Peel in Asheville…
"One Two (tickets) Oh My God!" We got in to see the Beastie Boys.
How ridiculously lucky can you get? This show was at a club that only holds a little over 900 people. It was announced only a day before tickets went on sale, and week before the show. I started loading the ticket page on a couple different computers right before 4 PM, along with a lot of other people. For the most part the site would not load at all after 4. Then, when it did I would get an error when I tried to buy tickets. About 10 minutes later it started saying “SOLD OUT.” I could not believe it. Took a minute to complain/tweet about it. Then, went back at it. Finally, I got through! And it was NOT sold out. Yes!
I wanted to go pretty bad, and my son Mars even more so. Mary said he got so nervous when I was trying to score tickets he couldn’t watch. He went to play his drums for a bit. That didn’t help my concentration.
I got the tickets. You want a shirt, bring money.
We got there over an hour in advance, and the line was already long. The cool thing is it appears the promoters and club did everything they could to keep it fair, and minimize ticket scalping. You could only buy two. Everybody’s tickets were “will call,” even if you got the few they had at the box office. You had to bring the card you used for the purchase and another picture ID. Once you got your tickets you had to go straight into the club. Despite all that I heard people in line with an extra ticket were getting offered crazy money.
I had no idea Biz Markie was going to be there. He DJ’d for about 20 minutes and it was awesome! He totally owned the crowd. His set went through a ton of old school hip hop from the ’80s and ’90s. And somewhat to my surprise the crowd was extra hip hop literate. The Biz kept fading the mix to let the crowd a capella through lines of Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J, even some Bob Marley, and bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. Massively entertaining. “If you remember that one, I know you’ll remember this…”
Of course, he couldn’t finish without giving us a little from “Just a Friend.” Make SURE to watch this video again.
When the Beastie Boys finally came out it was to Biz Markie doing “The Biz vs. The Nuge” (Check Your Head). Perfect.
And I couldn’t believe they had Money Mark with them. Money Mark’s records get played as much as anything in my collection. He’s been a hero of mine for years. Later in the set Mike D asked Mark to come out from behind the keyboards to play “Mark on the Bus.” Brilliant. (Clip from a different show.)
And what about the Beastie Boys? Well, I don’t how it could have been any better. They were fun, funny and funky. They played everything from their earliest punk stuff to a couple brand new songs with something from just about every record, save for License to Ill. I loved every bit of it, but I was especially glad they did a bunch of their instrumentals like “Pow” and “Ricky’s Theme.”
Mix Master Mike put on an impressive show and really turned it out with a scratching solo to open the encore. They finished strong with “Sabotage” and it was time to go home.
A couple other highlights include AdRock giving the crowd dance lessons for the “Jerry Lewis” and the “Funky Penguin.” He’s got skills. And I’ll never forget Biz Markie joining the band to sing Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.” The Biz took his shirt off and every person in the house pulled out their camera phone to capture the big man going natural.
Back on track with the Ramones. This is a great one. I mentioned a long time ago that I bought Subterranean Jungle (1983) at the same time I got U2’s War. The counter jockey was all about U2 and in my hostile teenage punk rock I mind I took that as slap on the Ramones. Because the Ramones were never going to be huge, but they were special to me, then and now. I’ve outgrown my punk rock defensiveness and the Ramones continued to get respect. Too bad the core three members are not around to see it.
The record opens with a cover, totally manly move, of “Little Bit O’ Soul.” It’s a perfect choice for them and they rock it proper. There’s even another cover, “Time Has Come Today,” on side two. But the originals are even better! My favorites are “Psycho Therapy” and “In the Park.” And then there are some ’60s style pop ditties like “My-My Kind of a Girl” that are both incongruous and killer at the same time. But wait! There goes “Highest Trails Above” playing on my turn table now. Another favorite; it makes me want to grab my guitar. And I’ll mention the album closer “Everytime (sic) I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me think of You” just for the title.
My 12 year old son Mars has been itching to see a real rock show. It seems like most of the shows in town that we’re interested in are not all ages. He’s also been itching to visit a local record store near his school called Harvest Records. Recently he got his mom to take him by the store and he asked a guy there to recommend some local bands. He gave Mars a winner: Bandazian. Not only did Mars like their music he saw a flyer for a live show with them at The Grey Eagle in Asheville this past Friday. It was all he talked about for a week, and I was excited to take him to his first show. It didn’t hurt that I also dig their music.
We got there stupid early because I had to get the kid out of house, he couldn’t wait to leave. So we stood around for a good while until The Humbuckers, a solid country rock outfit came out. After they were done it was Bandazian time! Mars told me more than once “I’m nervous.” He had spent the week immersing himself in their music and playing his drum set along to their CD he bought, In Vacant Fields. (He even emailed the band manager to ask if he could use one of their songs in an animated Lego movie he’s making.) Then we saw the guys setting up. When he saw the drummer he said “I’m so jealous of that guy!” “Why?” “Because he’s really good drummer, he’s in my new favorite band, and he has red jeans!” I feel ya on the red jeans Mars man. I’ve always wanted a pair myself.
Mars brought the CD cover and a marker with him so he could get the drummer’s autograph. When the show was over the drummer and singer/guitarist were standing near us having a conversation. Mars was nervous big time now, but I told him I’ll just let them know we thought the show was great, because it was. He tagged along behind and when we introduced ourselves they could not have been cooler about it. They talked to Mars for a minute and when they found out he had their first album the drummer Kevin said he would grab a copy of the new one for Mars. Well, not only did he give Mars a copy of O Pioneer, he also gave him a hand screened Bandazian poster, numbered and signed by Andrew Findley. Soon to be framed. But wait, there’s more…
Mars with his Bandazian booty
After all this Mars was still nervous about asking Kevin for an autograph. I told Mars “he will think it’s the coolest thing ever if you ask him.” So he asked, and Kevin did act like he appreciated it. He even drew a beard on his picture, because he has big one now, “so you can recognize me.” Then singer Alex Keena walked up and signed it too. It was pretty much a perfect experience, for me as well. These guys have some great poignant songs and the combination of seeing and hearing them live, along with watching my son taking it all in for the first time got me a little choked up. We didn’t stay to see the “headline” band The Poles. There was no way the night was going to any better than it was right then.
Bandazian autographed CD
The video at the top is for the song “Crocodile Tears” and was made by a fan. I’d say that’s a quality fan. Check out Bandazian’s music with the links below.
Oh man was that a pathetically long period of non-posting. I’m pretty sure that’s a record, one that I hope will stand for a long time.
Back to our regularly scheduled program… Ramones, Road to Ruin (1978) was a big artistic leap forward for these guys. Some people like to think all their music is the same, but this record alone is proof against that. Overall it’s a more “melodic” album, with even a strummed pretty ditty called “Questioningly,” which is 100% power-chord-free. And oh yeah, there’s also a cover of the ’60s pop hit co-wrote by Sonny Bono, “Needles and Pins.” My favorite though is “Bad Brain.” That song eventually became the namesake of my all-time favorite band, Bad Brains. It’s true, they named themselves after a Ramones song.
One not-so-pleasant memory about Road to Ruin goes back to my teenage years. My friend John (last name removed to protect the guilty) and I went through a brief, and ultimately painful period of spray painting graffiti at places like our high school. John, being a huge Ramones fan at the time, chose to spray the words “Road to Ruin” on one of our outings.
To make a long story short, we were eventually ratted out, interrogated individually, we confessed, and then got suspended for a week I believe. To minimize the cost of removing the paint and just pay some dues, John and I spent some days over the winter break on our hand and knees with wire brushes and paint stripper trying to clean the bricks and concrete we had vandalized. It sucked. The whole thing sucked. I don’t even know why we did it. We were generally trouble-free kids. It’s one of the few things that I’m embarrassed about, and completely regret it. But there is this that makes me smile… John said that when he was getting grilled about it that the vice principal said in a deadpan way, “Looks like this was your road to ruin, John.” As John put it later, it was like something from a closing scene of Dragnet.
I’ve probably played the Ramones’ Leave Home (1977) 20 times in the last week, which isn’t that hard to do since all of the 14 songs are under three minutes and many are less than two minutes. And the sound is perfect! I’m sure that is due in large part to Ed Stasium‘s work as “engineer.” I didn’t realize he had anything to do with the Ramones until just now, but I did know he has worked on a long list of killer records.
There are many great tunes on here and I think my favorites are “Glad to See You Go” and brilliantly retro-sounding (even for ’77) “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.” It’s as if the Ramones were channeling the Beach Boys.
Ramones - Leave Home back cover
More greatness from genius graphic artist Arturo Vega. I’m sure his contributions have had a lot to do with the continued popularity of the Ramones. This Ramones “seal” is as much a rock and roll icon as the band itself. “Look Out Below.”
Ramones - Leave Home seal detail
(Due to dicog disorganization I originally posted the next picture with the first Ramones record; it belongs to Leave Home.)
Because they’re so good looking someone decided to add another punk rock portrait on the album liner. Nerds? Tough guys? Gang? I wonder what people thought back in the ’70s.
Ramones - Leave Home liner notes
This copy of Leave Home is apparently the third release, and included the song “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.”
Pretty cool picture. This image was from an issue of Punk magazine. I like the minimalist layout and typography, sort of a prototype for some of the album art that Sub-Pop records would have years later. And speaking of minimalist, and cool, 14 songs in less than 30 minutes, and a solid hook in every number? That’s the brilliant self-titled record Ramones (1976). I was never that deep into the band back then, despite buying all the records and seeing them a dozen times, but lately I can’t stop playing the early stuff.
More great, great minimalist art on the back. This one is from Arturo Vega. He eventually did a lot of the Ramones’ artwork. Recognize the eagle? This is perfect.
Want to know what it's like to have brain surgery? Well here's the long version of my experience. Complete with pictures and videos! Read all about the Brain Surgery Experience.
"I'm Heavy Duty!" was my original blog about everything. Now it's about new music, old records, live shows, stories, memorabilia, garage band demos, anything and everything else related to music. Over 500 posts at this Music Blog!
"Heavy Duty Incorporated" is our blog about making things. It can be "art" or clothing or almost anything. If we or our friends make something I like to share it. Craft & Art Blog