Archive for March, 2009

R.I.P. Eddie Bo, New Orleans music legend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 31, 2009 by 30daysout

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A special memorial service is set for April 1 for  New Orleans music legend Eddie Bo, who died recently at the age of 79.  Eddie had some hits of his own, most notably “Check Mr. Popeye” in 1962.  Bo, whose real name was Edwin Joseph Bocage, wrote dozens of other songs including “I’m Wise,” which Little Richard cut as “Slippin’ And Slidin’.”

Eddie was not only a great singer and songwriter, he was a master on the piano and a fine showman.  My wife and I saw him at Tipitina’s (the French Quarter version) some years ago at a free “happy hour.”  We walked in off the street – the music was too irresistible – and sat down for two of the finest hours of music I’ve ever seen.  Keep it funky, Eddie.

MP3: “Check Mr. Popeye”

MP3: “Tell It Like It Is”

MP3: “I’m Wise”

MP3: “Hook And Sling”

MP3: “I Love To Rock N’ Roll”

MP3: “Check Your Bucket”

Billboard magazine article on Eddie Bo

Official Eddie Bo website 

Lost Classics! Shel Silverstein

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by 30daysout

 

Most people probably know Shel Silverstein as that guy who wrote lovable stuff for kids, like the book Where The Sidewalk Ends and A Light In The Attic and The Giving Tree.  If you have kids, you probably read these to them at one point or another.  But your kids have probably never seen some of Shel’s early work – hope not, anyway.

The guy got his start in the 1950s working for Playboy magazine and its founder Hugh Hefner.  Silverstein drew cartoons and wrote poetry for that magazine until the 1970s.  Before he quit the publishing gig, though, Silverstein became a songwriter.  Among the songs he wrote were “The Unicorn,” a 1968 hit for the Irish Rovers that became their most popular song.  Two years later, Johnny Cash rode Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue” all the way to No. 1 and the song earned Silverstein a Grammy Award.

CAUTION: After the jump we feature some of Shel Silverstein’s adult material.  This is NOT for kids!   If you want to read about this author’s work for children, go here or here.  What follows after the jump is NOT FOR KIDS!!!  Whew.

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Guitar Hero: The Future Of Music?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by 30daysout
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Metallica playing Stubb's BBQ at SXSW

Today, the big video game Guitar Hero: Metallica comes out at a store near you.  The game has a playlist of about 49 songs – 28 of them from heavy metal gods Metallica and the rest from artists like Queen, Bob Seger, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Motorhead, and System of a Down. 

The game is expected to sell in the millions – something that new albums don’t do any more.  Even Metallica’s own Death Magnetic, while considered a big hit, has sold just a little more than 1.3 million worldwide since its release last fall.  Back in the day, Michael Jackson used to sell that many in a week.

Old-timers like me should welcome the existence of something like Guitar Hero.  It’s one way to get guitar-hero-metallica-20090223014657981the music out: at Austin’s SXSW music festival/conference last week, Metallica lead singer James Hetfield admitted that drummer Lars Ulrich’s son told him that he likes Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” best on the game.  “And he discovered it on Guitar Hero!” Hetfield said.  A few years ago my son asked about “Anarchy In The U.K.” by the Sex Pistols, which the band remade in 2007 for a Guitar Hero game.  Would these kids have discovered the music  by listening to the radio?  Certainly not.  Could they have stumbled upon them on their own?  Probably not.

While the game is certainly a way for kids to get into new music, some people may argue it’s not real life.  To really be a musician, you have toghaustinlaminate-vertical3 practice (a real instrument), pay your dues.  OK – but it’s like anything else, there’s a point in everyone’s life where you grow up and put down the toys and go outdoors to face life.  As Hetfield said in Austin: “Get off the couch!”  If Guitar Hero puts more real guitars in kids’ hands, and as a result puts more live music in the world, I’m all for it.

Side note: Next weekend Metallica is going to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  As I mentioned above, the hard rockers played a “surprise” free show at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin last weekend during SXSW and it was a hoot.  Big names like Metallica, Kanye West and others really isn’t what SXSW is all about – it’s about unsigned and under-the-radar acts getting their music out to larger audiences – but headliners don’t hurt.  The conference seems to be evolving into a free-for-all music festival and if it does, that would be great.  Because most of it is free – no $250 tickets for standing a mile away in a field (Bonnaroo) or even $75 a day for sweating your ass off and hearing music from a mile away (Austin City Limits festival).  We stood about that far away from Metallica – and the sound was perfect.  SXSW is turning into a true “people’s festival,” and I wonder when the bottom-line guys are going to figure out how to put a price tag on it.

MP3: “Creeping Death” by Metallica (live at Stubb’s BBQ)

Metallica official website (with links to Guitar Hero game)

Review: “The Hazards of Love,” The Decemberists

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on March 25, 2009 by 30daysout

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After the Decemberists’ big breakthrough album The Crane Wife (2006) I liked this band, but thought they were kinda pretentious.  That notion is reinforced in spades with The Hazards Of Love, a new 17-song cycle that this Oregon-based band previewed in its entirety at SXSW.  Lead singer/songwriter Colin Meloy is the northwestern Van Dyke Parks: his lyrics are verbally dense and sometimes a little too thickly literary.  On the new album, he tells the story of a girl and her lover who happens to have the power to shape-shift.  I dunno, it was kind of hard to follow in a literal sense but the music is gorgeous: I’d give the Best Supporting Actress award to singer Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, who energetically sings the part of the evil queen on this album.  Another female singer, Becky Stark (of the band Lavender Diamond) sings the lead part and Meloy’s familiar singing is the backbone of the concept.  At times I thought I was listening to Led Zeppelin (“The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid”) or Fairport Convention (“The Hazards Of Love 3″/Revenge”) or even King Crimson (“The Queen’s Rebuke”), but that’s actually a good thing.  And the album rocks, in places:  like “The Abduction of Margaret” and “The Rake’s Song.”  And “Margaret” is a lot like past Decemberists efforts, allowing a sort of bookmark for novice listeners.   So enjoy this throwback of a rock album like you would any other progressive rock effort – spark the bong and ponder the pompous profundity of The Hazards Of Love.

MP3: “The Abduction Of Margaret”

Stream the entire album live from SXSW on NPR Radio

The Decemberists official website

SXSW Report: One Last Look Back

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2009 by 30daysout
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Orange Is In under the trees at Guero's

Like we always do, we sort of just gave out around 7 p.m. on Saturday.  And that’s just when SXSW reaches its fever peak.  But ah, it was a good time once again.  Here’s a notebook of some of our favorite moments and observations from the weekend:

Why Didn’t We Think Of This Then?Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, doing a promo for Best Buy’s musical instrument section, initially was at a loss for something entertaining to do.  We should’a asked them to set up Guitar Hero!  How would the ex-Pistol have done with the remake of “Anarchy In The U.K.”?  Well, punk rock karaoke with Jones on guitar turned out to be pretty good entertainment.

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It's also kind of rude to photograph musicians from behind!

Rude Assholes:  Everywhere you go at SXSW there’s a line.  There was even a line to wash your hands in the men’s room at Threadgill’s.  But there’s a certain behavior that is particularly infuriating – we’re in line to grab a slice of pizza at Home Slice, and after the two chicks ahead of us we’re next.  Until … the two chicks greet their friends and after a few hugs the visitors are magically part of the line.  So in a span of five seconds, we’ve gone from third in line to ninth.  And no matter what you say, they just ignore you.  Like you are the asshole. 

Best Behavior Award No. 1:  My son was chillin’ at Jo’s Coffee Shop Friday night when a stranger approached him.  “Can I use your cell phone?” he asked.  “I left mine in a cab.”  The guy called his own phone and somehow that helped him retrieve it.  The next day my son received a text: “Thanks for helping me get back my cell phone.”

Randomly Hilarious Quote No. 1:  “Are you sure that’s a dude?”

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Other Lives, in the hot sun

Weather Reports: “We’re not used to the heat” from Telekinesis singer/drummer Michael Lerner.  “Make sure you use sunscreen,” from Other Lives cellist Jenny Hsu.  It was a sunny 76 degrees that day.  Come visit Texas in August!

Science Lesson:  Sound drops off the farther away you get from its source.  For every two feet you move away, the sound becomes only one quarter as loud.  If you increase that distance to eight feet, then you will only hear 1/64th as loud.  Unless of course you’re Metallica at Stubb’s BBQ, in which case people can hear perfectly a full city block away.

Best Behavior Award No. 2:  Like every other band playing in Austin, Orange Is In sold CDs and t-shirts at their gig.  But unlike other bands, after the show was over lead singer George Kovacik picked up the unsold CDs and distributed them for free. 

Stupid Question No. 1:  “Who used to be in the Sex Pistols?”

Stupid Question No. 2:  “Are you supposed to be someone famous?”

The Most Amazing Thing I Saw All Weekend:  At the poorly publicized Steve Jones Best Buy store appearance, Michael Des Barres inexplicably showed up too.   Most people had no idea who he is but some guy nevertheless produced a Detective vinyl LP for Des Barres to autograph.

Most Rockin’ Band We Saw: The Hold Steady, hands down.  We also heard many raves about The Mother Hips, too.

MP3: “Run Towards The Warmth Of The Sun” by Orange Is In

MP3: “Coast Of Carolina” by Telekinesis

MP3: “End Of The Year” by Other Lives

MP3: “Mission In Vain” by the Mother Hips

SXSW Report: Folk and Metal

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2009 by 30daysout

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Madness, indeed.  The weather can’t be more perfect, and the crowds cannot be any larger.  Chicks with boots are everywhere, so are hipsters in black skinny jeans and those haircuts found in the special section of the picture book.  More than 1,600 bands (acts) are performing this weekend, and any effort you make to take as much of in as you can is eventually pathetic.

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Telekinesis

Our highlights so far include this nifty band from Seattle, Telekinesis, which has a sort of Death Cab for Cutie pop sound.  They did one song, “Tokyo,” which plants its sharp little hooks in your fleshy parts.  We saw them at the great Home Slice Pizza and had a slice, too.

That showcase is just one of the many, many free things you can do at SXSW.  In fact these day parties or side parties easily outnumber the so-called “official” events and are much more fun.  Our buddy Ken Shane is a fully accredited member of the press, and although he’s weary from catching bands and schlepping all over town, he’s also going to hear speakers as part of the music conference.

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“Orange Is In” to perform at SXSW

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2009 by 30daysout

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Our resident house band, Orange Is In, will plug in and play at Guero’s Taco Bar, 1412 S. Congress, this Saturday, March 21 at 1:30 p.m. This is one of those *free* day parties that are being thrown all over town.  In other words, you don’t need one of those funny SXSW badges to get in. The showcase was put together by Pete Lippincott, leader of the band Pete Simple, who will also be playing at 6:45 p.m.

According to my partner on this blog, the day parties are a hell of a lot more fun than the official SXSW showcases and South Congress apparently is the place to be.  Right down the street from Guero’s (which I’m told has great tacos) is Jo’s Coffee Shop (Alejandro Escovedo will be playing this venue on Friday night), an ice cream place and a pizza joint, all with live bands. The legendary Continental Club is also right next door and will also be throwing a day party featuring Mojo Nixon and pancakes.

So if you’re in Austin on Saturday, come by and say hello. The boys from Orange Is In would love to say hello and share a taco or ten.

Orange Is In MySpace Page

SXSW Official Website

SXSW Report: Counting Down!

Posted in SXSW on March 16, 2009 by 30daysout

sxswWell, the big event begins this week in Austin and we’re ready.  Even though the “official” music doesn’t start until Wednesday or so, some folks we know are heading down early in order to get their bearings and hammer out a plan.

Because, you see, you can’t do the SXSW music festival without a plan. That would involve figuring out who you absolutely MUST see, and who you can see if you can’t get to your favorites (which is always a distinct possibility).  This year, the big name that jumps out at most of us would be The Decemberists, who are promising to track their entire upcoming new album The Hazards Of Love on Wednesday night.  The lines should be long outside of Stubb’s Barbecue, but don’t fear – you can listen to the entire show live on National Public Radio or stream it from their website.  Otherwise, The Hazards of Love will be available on Tuesday.

MP3: “The Rake’s Song” by the Decemberists

Another act we want to see is Black Joe Lewis, an Austin-based blues and R&B artist.  He just put out the EP Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, with an eight-piece horn-heavy unit, and Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! also with the Honeybears.  He’s playing multiple dates at SXSW, including a free in-store at Waterloo Records.

MP3: “Bitch, I Love You” by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

The farther you get from the “official” stuff at SXSW the more fun you have.  There are literally hundreds of side and day parties, most of ‘em free and freewheeling.  One of the best side events each year is the Mess With Texas event in Waterloo Park on Saturday; this year the headliners will be the Black Lips and the classic L.A. punk band The Circle Jerks

MP3: “World Up My Ass” by the Circle Jerks

And one of my must-see bands is Magic Christian, a San Francisco band that could be called a supergroup.  The band features  Cyril Jordan (Flamin Groovies), Eddie Munoz (the Plimsouls) and Clem Burke (Blondie), and they play a combination of 1960s garage rock and 1980s power pop. 

MP3: “All The Stars” by Magic Christian

So, we’re ready for the madness and hopefully we will file some posts from Austin in coming days.  See you there!

Official SXSW music schedule

Austin Chronicle list of unofficial side and day parties

Friday is Boss’ Day: Will The Boss show up at SXSW?

Posted in Bruce Springsteen, SXSW with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2009 by 30daysout

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This is the SXSW version of our Boss’ Day report, and today we will attempt to create some wildly unsubstantiated rumors with our blatant fabrications.  In other (shorter) words, April Fool’s a few weeks early.

So anyway … Bruce Springsteen has never shown up at SXSW, the industry’s biggest music conference, but hey, there is a first time for everything.  Little Steven is speaking at this year’s conference, Alejandro Escovedo and The Hold Steady are playing, and the Working On A Dream Tour is set to kick off April 1 … so rumors are flying all around that The Boss is going to make the trek to Central Texas and do something.  (Not really.  Don’t send angry e-mails, OK?)  Some scenarios:

1. He is the “special guest” listed on the flier for the Little Steven’s Underground Garage Friday day party at Antone’s, where he performs a rousing version of “Outlaw Pete” with Joe Ely and Little Steven.

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Review: “Ready For The Flood,” Mark Olson & Gary Louris

Posted in Review, SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2009 by 30daysout

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This pair of excellent singer/songwriters founded Americana giants the Jayhawks way back in 1985 and this album is the first recorded collabosxsw1ration between the two since Olson left that band in 1995.  Ready For The Flood is a mostly acoustic album, putting the salt-and-pepper harmony of the two singers front and center.  Songs like “The Rose Society” and “Bicycle” are closest to the trademark Jayhawks sound, but the duo really stretch for some nice ballads, including “Saturday Morning On Sunday Street.”  At times, the songs evoke a Peter, Paul and Mary-Simon & Garfunkel 1960′s folk vibe and the program touches also on a little gospel and bluegrass.  This would be a nice album for a Sunday morning with coffee and the newspaper.

Mark Olson and Gary Louris will appear at SXSW in Austin, on Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Jo’s Coffee Shop.  They will also appear on KGSR radio, Thursday at noon. 

MP3: “Bicycle”

Mark Olson and Gary Louris on MySpace

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