Archive for August, 2009

James Luther Dickinson, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by 30daysout

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James Luther Dickinson, a musician, producer and patriarch of Southern music, died Sunday after heart bypass surgery.  He was 67.  In the 1980s I worked with this guy, John W. King, who was an A&R guy at Stax Records in Memphis back in the day.  One of his co-workers at Stax was a young Bill Browder, who would later become the country singer T.G. Sheppard.  And one of his good buddies was James Luther Dickinson.

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I Scream, We All Scream

Posted in News with tags , , , , on August 18, 2009 by 30daysout

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While we were in New York City the other day everyone was talking about this new record, “Favorite Recorded Scream,” with 74 brief clips of rock and roll screams, yells, howls and other noises from songs by the Who, the Stooges, the Pixies, Slayer, Bjork and many others.

New York City artist LeRoy Stevens came hatched the idea after hearing “A Change Is Going to Come” by the 1960s soul singer Baby Huey, a song that climaxes in a series of screeches.  So he went to Manhattan record shop clerks and asked them to choose their favorite song scream and to tell him why.  He mashed them up together into a single and then included all of the individual clips and put it on a vinyl LP, retailing for 15 bucks in your finer record shops in NYC and online.

New York Times story on “Favorite Recorded Scream”

Listen to a clip of “Favorite Recorded Scream (Track 1)”

Rock Star Sighting: My dinner with Greg Kihn

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

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Back in 1999 I was doing a radio program called “Radio Healthline” as part of my public relations job at a floudering Houston medical school. I would produce eight one-minute stories, put them on CD, send them to radio stations all over the country, and no one would play them (I don’t know this for sure, but I know if I owned a station, I wouldn’t have). During the summer, I attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Radio Show in Orlando, a weeklong convention consisting of boring panel discussions, plenty of ass kissing and lots of rubber chicken. In an effort to justify my existence, I went around to various networks trying to peddle a product I knew was worthless. I guess I sent that message out to the universe because all I remember was that the the pool was nice and that I came home with the same number of CDs I left with.

 

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Woodstock: 40 Years Out – And Still Tie-Dyed

Posted in News, Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by 30daysout

Woodstock monument

It was the first, and most important, question of the day: just what does one wear to Woodstock?  We were headed to the “Heroes of Woodstock” show Saturday at Bethel Woods Center, on the grounds of the original 1969 Woodstock festival, and we Tie Dyewanted to fit in.  Thinking that a Hawaiian shirt might be a little ostentatious, by the time we got to Woodstock we knew we were wrong.  Because everywhere you looked, there was tie-dye.  Tie-dyed shirts, tie-dyed pants, possibly even a couple of tie-dyed people.   In fact the only thing more plentiful than tie-dye on Saturday was gray hair and body fat.

Saturday’s celebration was a kind of Hippie Halloween, and everyone dressed the part.  If it wasn’t tie-dye, it was a t-shirt from the Woodstock museum or from one of the roadside vendors dotting the highway in Bethel, N.Y.  So where the original Woodstock was a triumph of optimism and idealism, its 40th anniversary was a triumph too – of the capitalism and exploitation that didn’t quite work the first time.  But we hit that note yesterday … on Saturday, Woodstock was big enough for everyone: kids, people from all over the world, countless buzzing news media types and those old hippies who have long since gone to seed.  A good time was bought by all.

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Woodstock Preview: Richie Havens

Posted in News with tags , , on August 14, 2009 by 30daysout
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Richie Havens

Well, here we are in New York’s Hudson Valley just about 30 miles from Bethel, where the Woodstock 40th anniversary festival will take place on Saturday.  The event, called “The Heroes of Woodstock” because it isn’t really sanctioned by the promoters who put on the original festival (and who own the copyright on the Woodstock name), is at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts which is this fancy $100 million entertainment complex built on the grounds of the original festival.

Friday afternoon, they kicked off the weekend’s festivities with a media-only performance by Richie Havens, the performer who kicked off the original Woodstock festival.  He sang “Freedom,” the song he made up on the spot back in 1969.  You can see video of it here – but two caveats: the streaming sucks and before you get to the music you have to listen to some real self-satisified speechifying by rich guy Alan Gerry, a cable TV magnate who bought up Max Yasgur’s original dairy farm and turned it into a really slick amphitheater and museum. 

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It Might Get Loud

Posted in News with tags , , , on August 14, 2009 by 30daysout

A new documentary about three rock guitarists … the trailer makes it look awesome.

More clips available here.  I recommend the fourth one.

It Might Get Loud official website

The music of “One Tree Hill”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by 30daysout

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As season 5 ends, Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) is sitting in the airport, he picks up his phone, and says “I have two tickets to Vegas, do you want to get married?” Three girls; Lindsey (Michaela McManus), Brooke (Sophia Bush), and Peyton (Hilarie Burton) all say hello and then the screen fades to black. I figure I’ll find out what happens the next day. However, instead of going to season 6, SoapNet goes back to season 1, leaving me hanging.

I know you’re probably shaking your head, or thinking I’m a big fan of candelabras, but we all have our guilty pleasures, and One Tree Hill happens to be mine. Yes, I tape it every day and watch it every night. Not only is the show entertaining, but the producers and the music coordinators are really tuned into some good indie music. Like I said in a post earlier this year, if it wasn’t for shows like One Tree Hill, I never would have come across most, if not all, of these bands.

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30 Days Out Interview: Steve Christensen, “Townes” engineer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by 30daysout

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Last week my band, Orange Is In, was recording drums for our latest project at Rogers Recording in Houston when I stumbled upon some cool information about our engineer Steve Christensen. Steve has worked with Destiny’s Child, Jermaine Dupri, Ray Wylie Hubbard and countless others who have passed through Houston’s legendary Sugar Hill Studios. He also worked on our first two records and is not only a great engineer, but also a great guy.

During a break, we decided to go to Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys to pick up a sandwich. If you’re ever in Houston, I suggest you get the “Original.” It’s filledtownes300 with salami, ham and lots of relish, but I digress. Anyway, we’re talking and Steve proceeds to tell me that he worked on Steve Earle’s latest and greatest disc, Townes. Pleasantly surprised, I asked him if he would answer a few questions about his whirlwind trip to the Big Apple and the making of, in my opinion, the best album of the year.

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Woodstock Update

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by 30daysout

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UPDATE: We’re taking a few days off while we travel to Bethel for the big Woodstock event August 15.  We hope to post a report early Sunday – come back then, or while away the time with some of these reposts.

Nobody is going to be caught short this time around – the 40th anniversary of Woodstock offers plenty of opportunity for promoters and performers to make a few bucks.  Which I guess is only fair, because many of them took a bath in 1969.  Michael Lang, one of the festival’s promoters, has a new book The Road To Woodstock which he’s been promoting.  In one interview, he recalled that the festival wasn’t known only as “Woodstock Music and Art Fair” at first – it was “An Aquarian Exposition.”  Woodstock, New York (about 50 miles to the northeast of where the festival was actually staged), was founded as an art colony in the early 1900s, and today it’s still home to musicians, writers and artists.  The “Aquarian Festival” was supposed to be in the real Woodstock, but they wound up moving it at the last minute to White Lake near Bethel.  You can see more about The Road To Woodstock here.

Lang’s plans for a Woodstock anniversary event in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have been cancelled.  He originally envisioned an “official” Woodstock 40th anniversary in New York City, in September.  But all plans for that have been dropped, because of a lack of investors.

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Although he’s the headliner at the Woodstock 40th anniversary on the original grounds (August 15 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts), Levon Helm apparently won’t sing.  A note on his website says: “Due to his rigorous performance schedule, coupled with dozens of interviews with the press & media, Levon has overtaxed his voice.  He’s been advised by professionals to be on vocal rest for the next several weeks.  Levon will play drums and mandolin at all shows, but the vocal duties will be handled by the members of his band including his daughter, Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Brian Mitchell and, when in town, Jimmy Vivino (from the Tonight Show band).”  That’s a drag.

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By The Time We All Get To Woodstock

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by 30daysout

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By the time I got to Woodstock it was already over.  I went to my very first rock concerts in 1969, and some of the artists mentioned from the stage the incredible groovy far-out gas that was something called Woodstock.  In October 1969 they booked this thing called a “Rock Jubilee” in Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum, featuring the Byrds, Poco, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.  It was supposed to end around 6 p.m., but it went to about 10 and they finally yanked the plug on the Airplane.  Before they did that, Grace Slick from the stage said about Woodstock: “It was a gas, man.  Wish you could have been there.”

Well.  I was about 14 years old so I couldn’t have gotten there on my own, anyway.  Cut to 1970, just about one year later: I’m in 10th grade at Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Texas.  One day in September, Janis Joplin (TJ grad ’60) visited the school with a few friends.  They just decided to drop in just before the lunchtime bell.  She had come back to Port Arthur for her 10th year class reunion, and she took the opportunity to visit and show her friends the place, and possibly to show the locals how famous she was.

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