Once again, I’ve got nothing.

29 03 2010

I’m listening to a lot of music but I don’t feel like I’ve got anything of interest to say about it a the moment.

I think I’m engrossed in Holy Week .

Who knows?


Wyman, Mason spot on about music games

11 09 2009

Bill Wyman and Nick Mason talk about their dislike of music video games, and they both make the same point with which I happen to strongly agree.  Instead of spending hundreds of dollars and who knows how many hours to play fake instruments, why not learn how to actually play real music on your own instrument?

Just because it’s good enough for The Beatles doesn’t mean it’s good enough for everyone.

In an interview with the BBC, ex-Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman expressed his general displeasure with music games, claiming they distracted kids from rocking properly.

“It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble” he told the BBC. “It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument. I think it’s a pity so I’m not really keen on that kind of stuff.”

Interestingly, Wyman’s mini-tirade came during a break from a recording session at the legendary Abbey Road studios, where the longtime Stones member was laying down tracks for a charitable Beatles cover song. Anticipated music game The Beatles: Rock Band launches this week.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was also on hand and offered a few no-so-gentle words of his own.

“It irritates me having watched my kids do it,” he said of playing music video games. “If they spent as much time practicing the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they’d be damn good by now.”

The two join the likes of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, The White Stripes’ Jack White and the one and only Prince as some of music video gaming’s most famous critics.

However, Wyman’s griping is a bit bizarre considering that the Stones have appeared in both Guitar Hero and Rock Band before, including the just-released five-song Rolling Stone Track pack for Guitar Hero. He also seems to be missing the fact that music games can turn people on to playing real-world music.


Fab(ulous) covers

9 07 2009

More than their haircuts, the suits, the Ed Sullivan Show, the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or even “Beatlemania” in general, the Beatles, in my estimation, are known for writing an incredible amount of mind blowing original material.  Even early on in their recording careers, John and Paul, and to a much lesser extent George, put together enough original material to round out their first few albums and make a handful of chart-smashing singles.  They even had enough songs left over to give to up-and-comers like the Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.

Still, from 1962 to 1964, the Beatles were still something of a cover band.  Instead of doing what many in the pop world did regularly, i.e. playing canned tunes written especially for them, the Fabs did what they did in their club days: they played the rock and roll they loved.

To say I’m a fan of their original material would be an understatement of staggering proportions.  But I really love a lot of their cover songs, too.   I’ve been listening to the Capitol Years Vol. 1 lately, really paying close attention to their execution of others’ music.  Perhaps I’m being unfair to the original recording artists — after all, how do you compete against the best band in the world, even with your own material? — but I love the way the Beatles treated most of that work.

This is my list of the 10 best Beatles cover, with the names of the songs’ writers.  I’ve culled this list only from original, official EMI/Capitol releases, set aside recordings from Hamburg or even the sanctioned BBC discs.

  • Slow Down – Larry Williams
  • Matchbox – Carl Perkins
  • Roll Over Beethoven — Chuck Berry
  • Leave My Kitten Alone – Little Willie John, Titus Turner, James McDougal
  • Twist & Shout -Phil Medly, Bert Russell
  • Long Tall Sally – Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell, Richard Penniman
  • Rock N’ Roll Music – Chuck Berry
  • Words of Love – Buddy Holly
  • Baby It’s You  –  Burt Bacharach, Mack David, Barney Williams
  • Anna (Go To Him) – Arthur Alexander

Oh the irony

1 07 2009

Given the name of this blog it may be a bit ironic that I’m currently on the phone with customer service, complaining about the volume of the music at my gym/fitness center.

Great TV theme songs

20 04 2009

At nights when I can’t sleep, I think about ridiculous themes and topics.   The one that kept me up last night was great TV theme songs.  All these, in my opinion, are songs that are good independent of (or in spite of in some cases) the TV shows to which they were connected.

I’m thinking of these themes more as songs and less as nostalgia bits, but if you enjoy them because they take you down memory lane, that’s cool.

Barney Miller — Gotta love that fat, funky bass line.

Happy Days — No, I’m not talking about the theme song made the show.  That was a trite piece of garbage.  Some of you may not remember but for the first season of the show, Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock,” an early rock masterpiece.  The clips in the show intro fit the spirit of the song, almost as if it were a video.

Batman — This song is one of the first songs kids try to learn when they get a guitar.  The show was campy, but cool.  The song has been covered by a number of bands, including respectable outfits like The Jam.

The Dukes of Hazzard — When I was 7, there wasn’t a cooler show on TV than the “Dukes of Hazzard.”  It was brilliant.  At 37 the show seems…well…embarrassing.  But theme song, sung by country legend Waylon Jennings, is still cool.  Had it not had such a strong connection to the show, it would have stood on its own as a solid country hit.

WKRP in Cincinnati (outro or closing theme) — That song rocked!  One of the best parts about it, though, was that the lyrics were completely and utterly uintelligable.  I’m not even sure they were sung in English.  Maybe they weren’t “lyrics” at all but simply grunts and groans.  This youtube video nails that.

Miami Vice — Because we were dorks, my good buddy, Mark, and I got together as many Friday evenings as we could for a year or two to watch “Miami Vice.”  Awesome stuff!  We so badly wanted to be Don Johnson that you could almost taste the mousse if you stood close enough to us.  Jan Hammer’s theme song was unquestionably cool…in our minds.  We drove around blasting it from the boom box on his front seat.  Man, we ate a lot of C batteries listening to that soundtrack.

The Munsters — I couldn’t tell you whether the deep brass instrument is some sort of tuba or a saxophone (maybe a tenor sax) but it make a one-of-a-kind sound.  The guitar was a brilliant bit of surf rock.  Too bad I couldn’t find a good copy of the original theme; this appears to be a remake.

Twilight Zone — Some of my funnest memories as a young kid were of staying up entirely too late to watch “Twilight Zone” re-runs with my Uncle Bob.  That show scared the crap out of me when I was a little guy, but it’s probably my all-time favorite TV series.  Everyone knows the eerie theme song.  It’s the little tune we hum or whistle when someone does or says something completely bizarre. I love it so much, I’m giving you the show intro, with Rod Serling’s voice over, and the theme music (instrumental.)

I’m a genius too

19 02 2009

Murry Wilson’s meddling in the lives of his sons, and his recorded intrusion during the “Help Me Rhonda” sessions, are legendary.  Anyone that has followed the Beach Boys knows what a control freak Murry was.

I’ve heard this recording a number of times, but putting it with a puppet show is a stroke of brilliance.  Enjoy.

Video Flashback: Frida’s “I Know There’s Something Going On”

3 02 2009

6th grade.  My tennis shoe-roller skates were packed and ready to roll.  Jimmy, who was already a ladies’ man at 12, showed me how to feather my hair and helped me clean up as best as I could.  He had Jordache Jeans and a cool Members Only shirt and jacket.   I was probably wearing worn corduroys and a USMC t-shirt, the same outfit I wore 3 times a week.

We headed down to Skateland West in Westland, Michigan, for an afternoon of roller skating.  I suppose I was interested enough in girls that I wanted their attention, but I think I was more impressed in what Jimmy would think of me should a girl show some interest.  If I hadn’t been going there with Jimmy, my focus would have probably been on skating, which I liked.

Videos were still something of a novelty at that time.  No one in our town had cable so MTV had not reached us.  We saw videos on a big projection screen when we went skating.  The video that stands out on this particular trip was “I Know There’s Something Going On” by Frida, born Anni-Frid Lyngstad, the raven-haired former one-fourth of Abba.

I was pretty innocent in those days, but I was alert enough to catch the sexual undertones of the song.  The video seemed kind of risque, though I wouldn’t have used that word as an 11 year old.  Whether it was the song, the video or both, that few minutes in time nearly 30 years ago seered into my brain.

I saw the video once (until years later when I found it on youtube) and heard the song dozens of times on the radio.  It was (or seemed to be) a big hit at the time, but it’s not one of those songs that has found its way into the rotation of stations that play 80’s music.   Maybe this blog will start a revival. *wink*