Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year Again – Live with the Doors

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on December 31, 2011 by 30daysout

Jim Morrison – if not the greatest live performer, then certainly the most dangerous.

Putting together the music for my New Year’s Eve is a fun ritual that I always look forward to. But this year I noticed – I always seem to include one or two tunes from the Doors, usually really long live tracks. I’m not here to apologize, that’s how I roll. And now that my kids are old enough to be elsewhere on New Year’s Eve, and my wife is a pathological marathon runner, by the time midnight rolls around I’m usually listening to music all by myself anyway.

We’ve come to know pretty much who are the best live performers in rock – Bruce Springsteen, the Who, the Stones, Paul McCartney, U2, etc. But I would argue to put the Doors right at the top of the list.

That’s rock and roll, bro.

When you go to see a Springsteen show, you know pretty much what you’re gonna get but Bruce tends to keep it lively by throwing a few curveballs into each set. The Stones are sloppy, but they are supposed to be. Where the Boss or McCartney can do something unexpected in a good way, the Doors were always good to do something unexpected … in a bad way.

Jim Morrison could be in the zone one night, then stoned and/or drunk out of his mind the next. He could go from unparalleled showman to surly asshole in a moment, berating the crowd that he so desperately wants to entertain. And it certainly didn’t hurt that Morrison was backed by ace musicians Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore – whatever the Lizard King’s demon du jour may have been, you could always count on the rest of the Doors to keep it mostly musical.

That drama and danger are precisely what make the Doors so exciting – it’s rock and roll, bro. And that’s kind of how you feel on a day like New Year’s Eve: not knowing exactly what the coming months, days, hours and seconds may hold in store.

So, Happy New Year … here’s some live Doors to liven up your dull party! Thanks to the great Willard’s Wormholes for the inspiration, and if any of this intrigues you go to his site for a comprehensive live Doors review.

MP3: “Intro/Who Do You Love?”

MP3: “Back Door Man/Love Hides/Five To One”

MP3: “Break On Through”

MP3: “Petition The Lord With Prayer”

MP3: “When The Music’s Over”

MP3: “Peace Frog”

MP3: “Roadhouse Blues”

MP3: “Celebration Of The Lizard”

MP3: “Gloria”

MP3: “Light My Fire”

MP3: “Love Me Two Times”

MP3: “Moonlight Drive”

MP3: “The End”

Video Du Jour: Arcade Fire

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , on December 29, 2011 by 30daysout

Arcade Fire has become one of the biggest bands around, since their Grammy win for Best Album earlier this year for The Suburbs. They released a new video, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” which features only Regine Chassagne from the band. There’s also an interactive version of the video here … didn’t work so well for me but try your hand at it anyway.

Houston is Mission Control For Out-Of-This-World Radio

Posted in News with tags , , on December 28, 2011 by 30daysout

Now that the space shuttle program is over, NASA recently launched something completely different. Third Rock Radio is an internet radio station “crafted specifically to speak the language of tech-savvy young adults,” as NASA says in its news release. The station plays indie and alternative tunes mostly from new rock albums along with the occasional radio-friendly hit.

The station is being developed and operated at no cost to the government through a Space Act Agreement. Third Rock can be reached by going here and will soon be available through NASA iPhone and Droid mobile applications. NASA is collaborating with Houston-based RFC Media to launch the station, so the new station’s Mission Control is located in Houston.

“Today’s 4G audience craves new music and enjoys finding it,” says Pat Fant, RFC Media co-founder and chief operating officer. Fant is a Houston radio veteran who helped launch Houston’s heritage album rock station, KLOL (101.1 FM), in the 1970s and launched the Buzz format at KTBZ (now at 94.5 FM), in the mid-90s.

“We’ve pulled out the best songs and the deepest tracks from a full spectrum of rock artists across many styles and decades,” says Fant. “NASA features and news items are embedded throughout the programming alongside greetings by celebrity artists.”

Third Rock also will help partner companies fill high-tech job openings in the engineering, science and IT fields. In addition to the NASA Web Portal, the station will be available online in the future at the radio tab of Apple’s iTunes and other sites.

Listen to Third Rock Radio here

Here We Are Again: Happy New Year!

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2011 by 30daysout

Here’s hoping you had a fine 2011 … and that you will experience a great 2012. See you in the new year.

MP3: “Happy New Year Baby” by Johnny Otis & His Orchestra

MP3: “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” by Lee “Scratch” Perry & Sandra Robinson

MP3: “New Year’s Resolution” by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

MP3: “Queer For The New Year” by Blowfly (Not Safe For Work!)

MP3: “New Year’s Resolution” by Donovan

MP3: “Funky New Year” by the Eagles

MP3: “Corrido de Auld Lang Syne” by Little Bobby Rey & Band

MP3: “Sing The Changes” (live) by Paul McCartney

MP3: “The Great Hank” (live) by Robert Earl Keen

MP3: “Party At Ground Zero” by Fishbone

MP3: “My New Year’s Wish For You” by Franklin MacCormack

MP3: “Happy New Year” by ABBA

MP3: “Happy New Year Blues” by Mary Harris

MP3: “Happy New Year” by Lightnin’ Hopkins

MP3: “The End’s Not Near” by Band of Horses

MP3: “Happy New Year” by the Twins

MP3: “Auld Lang Syne” by Chris Isaak

MP3: “New Year”s Eve” by Tom Waits

YouTube: “New Year’s Day” by U2

Ring in the New Year with Coldplay

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on December 26, 2011 by 30daysout

A special episode of the venerable “Austin City Limits” TV series airs Saturday night, featuring Coldplay in a 90-minute program that spotlights a wide selection of the band’s music (including songs from their most recent album Mylo Xyloto) and a countdown to midnight. The episode airs on PBS, Saturday at 11 p.m. EST/PT. Check your local listings.

“Austin City Limits” official website

Coldplay takes the stage at "Austin City Limits" on Dec. 31. (Courtesy of Scott Newton for KLRU)

Merry Christmas from the Sexy Sax Man

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , on December 25, 2011 by 30daysout

The Sexy Sax Man, Sergio Flores, spreads some holiday cheer around the great city of Austin, Texas. The Sexy Sax Man is available for parties, birthdays, bar mitzvahs,  corporate dinners, special events, trade shows and other tasteful affairs.

Sexy Sax Man official website

Happy Holidays from 30 Days Out: Peace On Earth

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2011 by 30daysout


REPOST from 2008 (with slight updating): – I remember when the Apollo 8 astronauts went into space, right before Christmas in 1968. That was a rough year – Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were shot, Vietnam was a bloody stain on the other side of the world. Violence boiled over into the streets. As Christmas week opened, three men in a little metal capsule hurtled through space toward the moon.

The astronauts of Apollo 8 were the first humans earth-riseto reach the orbit of another planetary body. As they streaked across the dark side of the moon on Christmas Eve, they turned on their TV camera. A live audience of millions heard the astronauts read from the Book of Genesis while we saw our bright blue planet rise gracefully above the lunar surface. We looked so fragile, so small – how can we not find a way to live together?

Today we have family and friends in the military, fighting wars on the other side of the world. In nearly every corner of the world, there are people who dream of making war.  In our own country, mistrust and prejudice are alive and well. As we face a new year and new challenges, perhaps we can look at ourselves once again and learn a small lesson from the past.

So on Christmas day, this day of hope and promise, we leave you with Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman’s signoff from that night 40 years ago:  “Good night, good luck, and a Merry Christmas to all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

MP3: “Jingle Bells” by Celia Cruz (con la Sonora Matancera)

MP3: “Navidad” by the Gipsy Kings

MP3: “Jingle Bell Rock” by the Ventures

MP3: “On Christmas Day” by Brian Wilson

MP3: “Natal” by Cesaria Evora

MP3: “Boas Festas” by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso with Eliane Elias

MP3: “The Chanukkah Song” by Neil Diamond

MP3: “In The Quiet Of Christmas Morning” by the Moody Blues

MP3: “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” by the Crystals

MP3: “Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year” (Parts 1 and 2) by James Brown

MP3: “Mambo Santa Mambo” by the Enchanters

MP3: “The Rebel Jesus” by the Chieftains with Jackson Browne

MP3: “Fairytale Of New York” by the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl

MP3:  “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” by the Weavers

MP3: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (demo) by John Lennon


Free holiday downloads!

Free holiday downloads, courtesy of Paste magazine

More free holiday downloads at

Free holiday downloads from the Houston music scene, courtesy of the Houston Press

Best of 2011 free downloads from SPIN magazine

30 Days Out (from Christmas): Merry Christmas to all and to all…Dwight Schrute

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , on December 23, 2011 by 30daysout

I’m going to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra this afternoon, so here is a little preview of “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” as “air-violined and guitared” by the incomparable Dwight Schrute of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. This is funny every time you watch it.

Bah, Humbug! More Worst Christmas Songs Ever

Posted in Christmas with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2011 by 30daysout

We must have been in a hurry to put up our last post on this subject because we missed a whole bunch of holiday stinkers. Here is the rest of our list of the best of the worst Christmas songs of all-time:

“Last Christmas” by Wham

Released in 1984, shortly after we were introduced to George Michael and his white short shorts.

“The Chipmunk Song” by Alvin and the Chipmunks

I thought it was cute in sixth grade, but I heard it the other day and it was a long 2:23.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by GLEE Cast

Like the great Kevin Dorsey used to say on 101 KLOL in Houston…”I just don’t know anymore.”

“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney

I love Paul McCartney, but this song sounds like he got a new Casio for Christmas and had a lot of time to kill.

“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley

Elvis sounds fine and the song is not horrible, but the background singers kill it.

“Dominick the Donkey”

Anyone have Tony Soprano’s number? Maybe he can whack the stronzo who wrote this scoreggia.

“Step Into Christmas” by Elton John

This one never did anything for me. Sounds like a throwaway that was turned into a Christmas tune.

“Toyland” by Doris Day

Heard this for the first time this morning and it will be the last.

“The 12 Days of Christmas” by The Sinatra Family

I can picture rich people sitting around the tree singing this version as the help serves them another cup of egg nog.

30 Days Out Interview: Tommy Farese, vocalist, The Kings of Christmas

Posted in Christmas with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by 30daysout

I bought tickets in September for my family’s annual trek to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra here in Houston. Although the band has changed slightly from year to year, there are a few mainstays that we expect to see. The guy who tops the list is vocalist Tommy Farese, who sings “Ornament” and “This Christmas Day” from the multi-platinum Christmas Eve and Other Stories collection, and acts as the MC. Come to find out, Farese (as well as many other “mainstays”) is not with the band anymore. He was let go in June. So we decided to give him a ring and find out what happened with TSO as well as talk about his new project, The Kings of Christmas, a band consisting of former TSO members Guy LeMonnier, Anthony Gaynor and Maxx Mann.

30 Days Out: What happened with your dismissal from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?

TF: A bunch of guys who were with TSO, and left TSO for whatever reason, decided they were going to do a record and they asked me if I had any songs that I could contribute. So I wrote a couple of songs and TSO got wind of it and that was their reasoning for letting me go. I ended up joining the guys in The Kings of Christmas shortly afterwards.

30 Days Out: Was there something in the TSO contract that said you could not write for other people?

TF: No, there was nothing like that for me, but obviously that was their reasoning, I don’t know if that was the real reason, but it was a reason.

30 Days Out: Did you have any idea that they were thinking of letting you go?

TF: There were no problems, I think Paulie (creator, producer, composer Paul O’Neill) just wanted to bring in younger, prettier people. Lets face it, I’m an old saloon singer, so I guess he was looking to the future and he wanted to bring in some younger talent to get some more longevity out of the show. I would imagine that was the real reason, but I really have no idea.

30 Days Out: It seems like you were not the only one who was let go by TSO…

TF: Yeah, he pretty much cleaned house this year. All the singers over the years are gone, with the exception of a couple on the East Coast tour, but I guess it was to be expected. You don’t expect it when it happens, but it’s just one of those things.

30 Days Out: Do you miss it?

TF: Of course I do. The memories, and the way it used to be, how could I not miss it? It was probably the greatest time of my life.

30 Days Out: Your close friend, guitarist and musical director Al Pitrelli, is still with the band.  How has your dismissal affected your relationship?

TF: I haven’t spoken to Al, but I would imagine we are still fine. He’s been a little busy, so I would guess when he gets back off the road, if he ever gets off the road. As soon as they are done with this tour he goes right back out with the spring tour and start rehearsals for that. You know, Al and I are like brothers so to me it’s always going to be good.

30 Days Out: There has been a bit of confusion on Facebook and other sites about your new venture The Kings of Christmas. Tell me what is going on with that project?

TF: We had a difference of opinion. When I was officially let go from TSO and joined the group I felt that we should just concentrate on the new record, make it the best it can be. I told the guys we shouldn’t concentrate on gigs right now because that takes a lot of planning, a lot goes into it to do it right. So I didn’t see anyway it could happen and two (Gaynor and LeMonnier) out of the three other guys agreed with me.

30 Days Out: So what ended up happening?

TF: By the time November rolled around our record wasn’t even done yet. I told them again that the gig thing wasn’t working and that we had to cancel the gigs we had booked. If it had been done in June or July we would have had time to put a band together, rehearse and get everything together. There’s an old saying in the business “you can cancel a gig and people will eventually forgive you and come back, but if you put on a bad show they will never forget it.” I made the call, Maxx didn’t agree, the booking agent working with us went against our will when we told him we wanted to cancel and backed Maxx and went out and did the shows anyway. It was just a difference of opinion.

30 Days Out: What are the future plans for The Kings of Christmas?

TF: We are going to go back in the studio and record some more stuff. We plan to re-release the new record next year with additional tracks and re-mixed versions of some of the tracks on there now because there are a couple of things we would like to change. We wanted to get it out this year and create a bit of a buzz for the band. Next year we’ll have a full-fledged tour done the right way. It won’t on a grand scale like TSO is now, but more like it was when we first started out playing more intimate venues with good music and a great story.

– George Kovacik

Tommy Farese Official Website

The Kings of Christmas Official Website

The Kings of Christmas Facebook page

Preview and purchase “The Kings of Christmas: 365 Days A Year” at CD Baby