Friday Fives – rock star deaths

guitar mandala

Another rock star died today, and by his own hand… again.  It’s time to have the talk.  The big talk.  The one your dad was supposed to have with you when you were 12… but he was afraid to.  So, instead he just told your mom that you two had ‘the talk’ and just bought you a Penthouse from that 7-11 over at 44th & Camelback?  You know, ‘scary Larry worked there overnights?’  Dude was LEGEND, and would sell ciggies and Mickey’s Big Mouth beers to anyone as long as there were no other customers in the store.

Or… am I being too specific?  So let’s just finally have that ‘talk’.  The ‘talk’ about rock stars dying.

ok, let’s get into it, shall we?

steven-adler-and-slash1

Kurt Cobain – do you think Courtney was involved?

No.  I wouldn’t put it past her, though.  I would not be surprised if we found out she was involved.  In this specific situation, though, I think it was all him.  Totally doesn’t mean she wasn’t planning that very second to have him killed.  It’s like the joke my pal Jeff told me about Kennedy’s killing.  There were so many people out for him:  the mob, the Cubans, the Republican hawks who didn’t want him to draw down Vietnam.  So, his point is more ‘who wasn’t trying to kill Kennedy that day?”

Here is the thing, I am kinda obsessed with Courtney.  I am in love her with, and reviled by her.  I have written about her a lot, and I will admit to you I also have a nude photo of her on my phone which is just fantastic.  She defines the term ‘hot mess’, and I also call her lovingly ‘the original Charlie Sheen’.

Is the ’27 Club’ a real thing, or just a perfect example of confirmation bias?

Yes, it’s a real thing.  Now, let me clarify… I am not saying more rock stars die at 27 than normal people.  No.  What I am saying is that when it comes to rock stars dying… there is overwhelming numbers that show it happens at 27 years old.  Believe it or not, I have a whole web site just about this.  I have been fascinated by this since high school.  That was 25 years ago, and it keeps happening.  I never could find a good site that just focused on this phenomenon.  Plus, I truly believe I know more about rock music that most folks alive… so who better than me to tackle it.

It’s called ‘Remember the 27’.  It’s cool, you should check it out if you are a music person.  I take a look at what I consider the top 5 reasons why this might be happening… and then drill down on each one.

What’s your favorite rock star death?  I know that’s a sick question… let me rephrase it ‘what is the most interesting death… to you’?

Brian Jones (from the Rolling Stones)… his death was listed as ‘death by misadventure’.  You don’t know the name, which is a shame.  He wrote their best early stuff – Paint it Black, Ruby Tuesday, Mother’s Little Helper.  He drowned, and everything about it is suspicious… but we’ll likely never know… since it was prolly 50 years ago.  His sacrifice may have been worth it, though… as we have the term ‘death by misadventure‘ in the lexicon now.

What rock star death hit you the hardest?

Initially, as in “I just can’t believe that happened.  I am still waiting for someone to tell him it was a mistake” – Chris Cornell.  Over a lifetime, though, Jerry Garcia.  Thing is, I wasn’t that impacted when it first happened because I was mad at him.  We saw them on their last tour, and it was terrible.  So terrible we walked out, which I had never done at a Dead show before.  Basically, when it happened, I wasn’t even a tiny bit surprised.  However, the sadness has compounded over the years.  I think he was the greatest guitarist we had.

Who is the rock star that you are most surprised isn’t dead?  Difficulty challenge – other than Keith Richards.  Don’t be so obvious, man!

Courtney.  She doesn’t just love drugs, she seems to have a lot of emotional and narcissistic tendencies.  I would bet her mentality about drugs is that they kill weaker people.  She also seems to possess all kinds of impulse control problems.  When she goes, it will be like Weiland.  We won’t be surprised… except for maybe how she lasted as long as she did.  I am pre-mourning her death in anticipation of the inevitable.

also, honorary mention on the ‘how is he still alive’ definitely goes to Slash.

 

Advertisements

Friday Fives – more music because my editor is a lazy bastard

I can say that, right?  I mean… it’s with love.  Plus, it’s about music.  I can hold forth all day long about music… but you poor sucks already know that, don’t you?

Who is the worst band you’ve ever seen live and why?

Flaming Lips at Red Rocks.  They were opening for someone, I don’t remember.  I was initially very excited to see them.  Wayne Coyne is famous for his great live shows.  Red Rocks is also a magical place that has coaxed amazing performances out of mediocre bands… like Radiohead.  The Flaming Lips were horrible.  I finally realized they are built on kitsch and novelty.  They are not good songwriters, they are not good musicians, and Wayne Coyne is not a good singer.  10 or 15 minutes into their set I have to leave. I went up top to drink and look at the amazing view.

See, if you go up top, the sound is horrible… which is best for the Lips.  It means it is also the quietest up there.  Red Rocks doesn’t put speakers anywhere but the base of a stage.  Normally, this would be fine… were you not on the side of the mountain.  If you are not in the first 30 rows, the sound is terrible.  This is especially true when the wind whips around, which it tends to do on the side of a mountain.

but why were they so bad?  The music just wasn’t compelling on any level.  Not catchy, nor thoughtful.  You know those kids songs Charlie Sheen’s character wrote on 2 and a half men?  It was stuff like ‘who cut the cheese?’.  Yeah, that is Flaming Lips catalog.  Anyone who likes Flaming Lips is a hipster douchebag!  Trust me, it takes one to know one.

But… any concert at Red Rocks can’t be that bad, right?  It’s like how they say a bad day fishing is better than the best day at work?  Well, they weren’t at this show.  To close, Will Rogers never met this band.

Who is the best band you’ve seen live, and why?

Oh golly, I have see a LOT of bands, and a LOT of great bands.  It is almost impossible to pick 1.  So, I’ll pick two.  This answer goes out to Cody in Utah, a month late.  Sorry on that, bud.  James Taylor and Barenaked Ladies.

James Taylor I have been seeing since high school, possibly longer.  For one, and maybe this is a given, he sounds perfect… every time.  80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s… every decade I have seen him he was amazing and crystal clear.  Every show gets the obvious hits.  Here is what people don’t know who haven’t seen him; he is hilarious.  He is a seriously funny and engaging guy.  I have seen comedians live, many of the great ones:  Richard Lewis, Mitch Hedberg, Lewis Black, and Brian Regan.  I have laughed that hard at every single James Taylor show.

Barenaked Ladies have always killed it live.  First time I saw them, it was the ‘Rock Spectacle’ tour, which was a very early greatest hits tour… of sorts.  I wasn’t a big fan, but I Gordon.  The internet wasn’t everywhere yet, so I hadn’t seen clips or read reviews.  After that show, I was amazed.  As everyone knows now, they are amazing live.  Funny and sweet and musical and surprisingly improvisational.

Every show becomes a very unique experience.  It becomes about your city, and current events.  I have seen them 3 or 4 times, and every show was better than the last.  I should have to mention this was all back when Steven Page was with them.  I can tell you every person who has ever seen BNL at any era with Steven Page will tell you it was the best concert they have ever seen.  I agree.

What band has your go to perfect album?

Again, SO many.  How about three?  Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti,  Guns & Roses Appetite for Destruction, and Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream.

What are the best comebacks you know?

The question implies a witty rejoinder, a la ‘the jerk store called’.  In the spirit of the questions leading up to this, I will assume it is a poorly worded question about career comebacks in music.

I have been seeing bands for 30 years now (it starts with the Police in 1983 and Rush in 1985… and keeps going).  One day, ask me about the golden girl I saw at the Rush, and how that kinda changed my life. Hint, it involves boobs and a 13 year old boy. A lot of the acts I have seen were regarded as ‘comebacks’, but never left.  I saw Pearl Jam in 1997, and the critics were calling it their ‘comeback’ tour.  They never went anywhere, never broke up, and never stopped making music.  Same has been said for seeing Page & Plant together, James Taylor, and Paul Simon.  To qualify, we have to count a band who fully broke up before I saw them.  I think these guys broke up a lot.  Heck, they just re-broke up again last fall.  This time, I think it’s for good.  Greg must be in his 70s.

The Allman Brothers.  I first saw them in the late 80s.  They had already been broken up and reunited several times by then.  Over the years, I saw them more than any other band, except maybe the Grateful Dead.  I have seen both bands around 20 times.

When I count the Dead above, I am talking about with Jerry Garcia.  Since his passing, I have seen another 20 shows of their very many offshoot bands.  Also saw Bobby and Jerry solo while Jerry was alive.  Still go see Bobby every year.  Going to see him this summer, too.

The Allmans are a unique class of band that got better with age.  They are also a band that thrives live.  I say the same about Iron Maiden.  They not only get better, they get more popular.  Iron Maiden is amazing, and one of two bands I NEVER miss when they come to town (the other is Pearl Jam).  Sorry, since we are talking about great live bands, I had to get in a plug for Iron Maiden.

The radio is on and you are driving down the road, a song comes on. At what moment did you realize “Damn.. I’m getting old”?

HA… I remember the exact moment.  Wifey and I were driving through Northern Arizona on our bi annual trek to see movies.  We were in a car that likely only had a cassette deck, and we were sick of our tapes.  Maybe it was CDs, who knows?  We were searching the radio for anything.  Of course, when you are in the middle of nowhere, you only get county and bible shit.  Why is that?

FINALLY we find a good station.  Prince was on, from his Purple Rain heyday.  We were so pleased with ourselves until the dj came on.  “you’re listening to Northern Arizona’s golden oldies.”.  we listened for another hour.  We knew, and loved, every song.  We were OLD, man.  I swear we were only in our early 30s, if even that.  We are early 40s, now.

* for the record, Wayne did this.  It was cool and all, but clearly a distraction from shitty music.  Prince never had to do this.  Also, he was afraid to get passed back/up.  Reasonable, since Red Rocks is built into the side of a mountain.  Still, though, that woulda been cool.

Friday Fives – the clothes horse edition

1. What is your favourite part of your body and why?

weird question.  I’ll tell you what it isn’t, how about that?  My feet.  They are gross.   No more gross than yours… but just the same… ew.  Oh, I still have a favorite part.  It’s real, and its fantastic.  That’s all i can say, since we are a family organization.  Mostly, though, I don’t much think about myself or my attributes.  Why?  I don’t see me.  You see me, but I am looking at you – not me.  So, I am more interested in how you look than how I look.

2. What is the first thing you look at when you meet someone new?

face, hair, clothes, and if its a girl – boobs.  Can’t help it, America.  It’s a biological imperative.  I am judging you by your appearance.  How together are you?  Are you dressed the same as you did in 8th grade?  A tacky Ed Hardy shirt?  Did you take any effort or pride in your appearance?  I know it’s awful preachy for a guy who could barely dress himself 10 years ago, but these things matter.  Last year, I had a kid come to a job interview wearing a baseball cap.  what the hell is wrong with you people?

3. Do you match your shoes to your outfit/accessories?

My shoes always match my belt.  That is about it.  If I am wearing a tie, it will match my shirt nicely.  Also, if I am wearing a tie, I can guarantee you it is a Garcia tie.  I have about ten, and they are the only kind I ever wear.  It’s my way to stick it to the man, and show my freak power.  I rail against the establishment by wearing designer clothes from old dead heroin addicts.  Not as cool when you say it that way.

4. Do you like getting dressed up or prefer to be casual?

Jeans and a really nice dress shirt – brooks brothers or ralph lauren.  Then, a nice pair of super comfy leather loafers – Doc Martens are the only choice for this.  Allow me to explain – a few months ago I got called out during the super bad Colorado floods.  The Red Cross needed me to pick up a shelter trailer in Castle Rock and take it an hour north to Boulder so we could open some shelters.  I drove around in the floods for 8 hours, and never got to Boulder.  Every road was closed.  Anyhow, I realized after about 6 hours I was in my work dress shoes tromping through rain all night.  I thought they were ruined.  I didn’t even want to look at them.  I was in the middle of a pretty heavy weather emergency.  So, I figured ‘don’t think about it’,  Just get the trailer back to HQ safely and get home to sleep.

When I got home, my shoes were FINE.  How could they be fine?  Well, they were Doc Martens. It was a regular commercial for those shoes after what we went through.   AND… most importantly, those shoes are super comfortable.

5. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought for yourself?

probably sunglasses.  That is my one vanity.  I have no hair or jewerly, so its the only way I can adorn myself.  Keep in mind, I am basically blind.  So, these sunglasses have to be prescription.  So, a nice pair of comfy and cool prescription sunglasses cost around $500.

However, it’s worth it.  I look great.

Mostly, though, I am not a clothes horse.  I wear nice fitted dress shirts, but everything else is generally costco or old navy.  I rarely even shop.  Generally, I am at Coscto for dog food.  While I am there, I look at their jeans.   Or… if I am at the outlet shops I am usually tracking dog or camping stuff.  BUT – while there – always check out the brooks brothers outlet, and the Polo outlet.  At any point in time, everything on my body doesn’t total near $100.  Even my Doc Maartens are from the Outlet stores.

Friday Fives

iTunes Five

1. What song do you play the most?

‘All in All’ by Toad the Wet Sprocket.  It’s on ‘in Light Syrup’, and it will change your life.  Funny, it only made the outtake album after they broke up.  It is triumphant. Btw, in case you are a fan or casual listener… they are somewhat back together, and still gig as Toad.  I can’t say enough good things about this band.  They are under-rated, and under the radar.  Some of the best music of the ’90s.

2. What song do you play the least?

Anything by Kiss.  Oh my god do I hate Kiss.  Last year, Brian,  Ginther, and I all swapped hard drives to trade music.  Result?  I have, like, 6 Kiss albums.  I am pissed, and everyone is a suspect.  Even though my iPod is only 1/3rd full, I removed all the Kiss immediately.  Ok, I did keep Beth.  That song is dope, but don’t tell anyone I like it.  It’s like digging ‘Glee’.  Just keep that a secret, broseph!

Listening to Kiss is like taking a Bon Jovi album, and removing what little musicality there is.  Then, make sure it is poorly engineered.  After that, replace every single lyric with an overt reference to sex, as written by a 9 yeawr old.  Then, you have Kiss.  I’d rather listen to dance music, and that just hurt to type.

3. What’s the last song you added?

A lecture from Scott Berkun.  I am reading a really cool book from him right now.  Details over here.  But, that isn’t a song, is it?  So, the real question is what is the last music I bought.  Probably Brandi Carlile’s new disc.  Her album ‘the Story’ is amazing.  Five Stars.

4. What’s your favorite playlist?

* caution > monster tangent alert

I put together an annual Christmas Rock list, but I am really using Pandora for everything now.  I just discovered Pandora two days ago, and it is a game changer. I am not even using my iPod anymore.  I had heard about Pandora for years.  I knew it took your music and gave you similar music you would like.  Well, that idea kinda offended me.  See, I don’t need ANYONE telling me what I would like.  Plus, I have everything… so what can Pandora do for me?   didn’t need Pandora.  I thought it was beneath me as a master musicologist.  I was wrong.

Pandora just got loaded onto my Roku box (through Netflix) so I loaded it.  It asked me what I wanted and I said ‘Jerry Garcia’.  So, now is plays Jerry Garcia bootlegs, bluegrass band music, Grateful Dead (live and studio), Bobby Weir solo, the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, early Dylan, the Band.  What can I say?  Oh, and it played the Beatles.  How the hell did they get the rights to the Beatles?  Seriously, that shit is better protected than Fort Knox.  I bought three of those Beatles re-master releases this fall, and I don’t think I am technically allowed to listen to them.   Apple records is kind of evil.  ‘All You Need is Love”?  My ass, these guys are more litigious than Scientology. Anyhow… it was 100% correct, and I didn’t have a LOT of this stuff.  It was right, I was wrong.  Go ahead and mark the day and date on that sentence.  You don’t get to see it often.

So, I loaded a Pearl Jam list (those are my two favorite bands, see).  It is possibly even better.  Even though I have everything studio album PJ has, Pandora plays their live cuts.  Remember, for the last ten years, Pearl Jam has released every single concert they have played.  So, there are thousands of soundboard bootlegs out there I could never collect.   Also, it picked similar bands I would like:  Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, and solo Eddie Vedder stuff.   Yeah, they are dead on with those.

Now, what is cool is that my new cell phone (the Palm Pre) also has Pandora on it.  So, at work and in my truck, I used to plug my iPod to listen to music.  No longer.  I plug my cell phone into my computer and truck speakers.  I stream the Pandora wherever I go.  When I get home, I throw Pandora on the home stereo system through the Roku.  This is the really good quality, because it beams it through the whole home theatre system.  Pandora does all this for free, too.  I was so smitten, though, that I bought the upgrade.

I also made some other stations:  Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Metallica, and Bob Dylan.  However, the Jerry and Pearl Jam channels are so good… I haven’t been able to stray.  I listened to the Jerry Garcia channel for 9 hours at my desk yesterday, and did the same with Pearl Jam today.  On the PJ channel, they are even throwing down ‘Temple of the Dog’.  That is some deep catalogue dopeness.  Temple of the Dog is Pearl Jam playing with Soundgarden before either band formally existed.  It is disgusting good, find ‘Hunger Strike’.

5. What kind of iPod (or MP3 player) do you have?

My iPod is pretty new, but is a ‘classic’ design.  It is a 120 gig repository of yumminess.  To be fair, though, I really use my Palm Pre for almost everything.  I loaded about 12 really good albums on the memory card, and I have Pandora for everything else.

* seriously, I do NOT watch Glee.  Anyone who says otherwise gets punched straight in the babymaker.  Got it, buster?  Don’t even joke about that.

Friday Fives

Well, Les Paul died and I am bummed.  In honor of Les Paul, we are just gonna talk guitars today.  It’s my main passion, and life’s work.  Cool?  Let’s start with the ‘Les Paul’ you all know.  It is a solid body electric guitar he invented for Gibson.  Let’s back up.  Les Paul invented the solid body electric guitar.  In short, Les Paul invented the electric guitar.  Seriously.

1.       Who is your favorite guitarist?

Jerry Garcia.  Not just my personal favorite, but I believe the best rock guitarist ever.  Yes, better than Hendrix, Page, and Stevie Ray.

.
2.       Most guitarists are in one of two camps:  Stratocaster, or Les Paul – you?

with all due respect to the late great Les Paul, I am a Strat guy.  Do you have any idea how goddamn heavy those Les Paul’s are?  In the business, it was known as the ‘the log’.  No joke!  I have written a good deal about that right here.


3.       If you could have any guitar, what would it be?

a specific guitar?  Jerry’s tiger.  In general, one of those 50th Anniversary strats.  Oh sweet lord, it is hot.  Lemme tell what I would do with it.  First, put on a rosewood fretboard.  Then, I would get rid of this kahler shit and put a Floyd Rose trem on there.  Ah hell, I have not used a whammy bar in 20 years (I refuse to)… so I should just man up and buy a hard tail.

4.       Really, what is the deal with Glenn Beck?

I wonder about that.  I used to listen to him years ago on the radio.  He was great, and really funny.  Never partisan, just funny observational stuff.  Then, climate change became a hot topic and he became a big denier.  That is when I lost respect for him.  Hell, even Bush and Cheney have acknowledged climate change.  Then, CNN gave Beck a tv stop and he just turned into an over emotive right wing nut job.  Total shame.  Dude used to be great on daytime radio.  I listened almost every day at lunch and never even knew he was a Repub.  He was just funny and good.


5.       So, just how many guitars do you have?

hmmn, lots.  Maybe ten.  Let’s count.  I have three electrics, two bass guitars, three regular acoustics and a 12 string acoustic on top of that.  Also have a ukulele and two guitar hero guitars.  I think that is all of them.  Oh wait, there is also the BC Rich ST3 with the broken neck.  I didn’t set out to collect them, but I can’t stop now.  So, send in your guitars now, America.  I will take care of them.  Here is a pic of most of them, maybe all.

P1000395