Archive for July, 2012

Video Du Jour: Green Day

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on July 31, 2012 by 30daysout

Last November, Green Day sneaked into Austin and played a few “secret” shows at the tiny club Red 7. One of the tunes they played was a new one, “Let Yourself Go.” It’s on the band’s new album ¡Uno!, coming out Sept. 25. That is only the first of a trilogy of albums – ¡Dos! comes out Nov. 13 and ¡Tre! comes out Jan. 15. Or you can buy ’em all in one big box set.

Green Day official website

Video Du Jour: KISS

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , on July 30, 2012 by 30daysout

KISS and Mötley Crüe are on tour this summer … is the world ready for that? Here’s the last part of “Rock and Roll All Nite,” from a few nights ago in Tampa.

Tour info at KISS online

WTF: More Crazy Covers

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2012 by 30daysout

Francoise Hardy

For the sake of an attention-grabbing headline, we call these “crazy covers” and for the most part they’re not crazy at all.

Back in the day it was fairly common practice for even the biggest artists to do covers, because they were cheap and easy to license. And besides – when the songwriters of the day were Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Ray Davies and this cat named Dylan, why not toss in a cover?

So here we have a handful of cover versions, mainly of tunes from the 1960s when the giants listed above still ruled the world. Each cover version sheds a new light on each song, in their own initimable way.

A few of these are kind of sneaky: Clarence Clemons is of course “covering” a song he originally played on as part of the E Street Band. Neil Diamond and Carole King are here “covering” songs that they actually wrote, but were made famous by others.

MP3: “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” by Francoise Hardy (covering The Kinks)

MP3: “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” by Mae West (covering Bob Dylan)

MP3: “Save The Last Dance For Me” by Ike & Tina Turner (covering The Drifters)

MP3: “It’s All Too Much” by My Darling Clementine (covering The Beatles)

MP3: “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Shane McGowan & The Popes (covering Neil Diamond)

MP3: “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” by Buck Owens (covering Bob Dylan)

MP3: “The Rains Came” by the Sir Douglas Quintet (covering Big Sambo)

MP3: “Foxey Lady” by Cee Lo Green (covering Jimi Hendrix)

MP3: “Woodstock” by America (covering Joni Mitchell)

MP3: “I’m A Believer” by Neil Diamond (covering The Monkees)

MP3: “I Can’t Turn You Loose” by Edgar Winter’s White Trash (covering Otis Redding)

MP3: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by Alex Chilton (covering The Rolling Stones)

MP3: “Small Things” by Clarence Clemons (covering Bruce Springsteen)

MP3: “I’m Into Something Good” by Brian Wilson and Carole King (covering Herman’s Hermits)

SXSW Ripples: We’ve Heard Some Of This Before

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on July 26, 2012 by 30daysout

Jimmy Cliff leads the list of SXSW 2012 performers with new music out.

We had a great time at the SXSW event this past March in Austin, we got to meet some fine folks and experience some truly strange times. The coolest thing, though, is all of the music out now that we got a preview of at the conference. Let’s go through some of it:

Jimmy Cliff, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, gave us a taste of his new album Rebirth. It’s his first album in eight years, and certainly a return to form for the reggae master. Produced by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, songs like “One More” and “Ship Is Sailing” embraces Cliff’s classic sound while snapping it right up to date. This album is just one great moment after another: from the righteous “World Upside Down,” to the scathing “Children’s Bread,” to the soulful “Cry No More.” Jimmy hits a peak on his cover of The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton,” which name checks Jimmy Cliff’s own masterpiece The Harder They Come.

YouTube: “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff at Waterloo Records

Norah Jones

We kinda fell in love with Norah Jones (again) at SXSW, when we saw her play with her roots-country band The Little Willies. We didn’t get to see her solo showcase, which previewed her new pop album Little Broken Hearts. While the songs explore the hurt and confusion of a fractured relationship, the sound is dark but very rich. Thank Norah’s co-producer/co-writer Danger Mouse and Norah’s own adventurousness for push-the-envelope gems like “Miriam” and “Happy Pills.”

Let’s call out a fresh talent now: Cory Chisel fronted a band he calls the Wandering Sons at a show for the Gram Parsons Foundation, but most of the players were apparently on loan from Cory’s musician friend Brendan Benson. We did like backup singer-keyboardist Adriel Denae, and she’s prominent on Chisel’s new Old Believers. Hailing from Minnesota, Cory has a winning roots-country sound that isn’t afraid to ride rough and rock out.  “Times Won’t Change” was a crowd favorite, and “This Is How It Goes,” which kicks off the album, has a lovely vocal turn from Adriel. Best of the lot are “I’ve Been Accused” and the rousing come-to-meeting stomper “Over Jordan.” Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons are on tour right now, opening for Norah Jones – we strongly suggest you get out and catch this killer ticket.

YouTube: Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons “This Is How It Goes/I’ve Been Accused” on “Late Night With David Letterman”

We took some of Austin’s awesome Hey Cupcake! pastries to PUJOL because they are so cool, they are great rockers and frontman Daniel Pujol helped us get in to see Jack White’s showcase. Be that as it may, PUJOL’s first full-length LP United States of Being is a fine effort, front-loaded with rockers like “DIY2K” and “Providence.” Don’t miss “Black Rabbit,” Daniel’s tribute to his real-life pet, and “Each And Every Day,” which would be a radio hit if such a thing still existed.

YouTube: “Black Rabbit” by PUJOL

We gotta give some love to our friend and SXSW regular Alejandro Escovedo, for his rockin’ new album Big Station. Al played some of the most popular gigs at SXSW this year, nearly shutting down traffic on South Congress when he played in the parking lot of the San Jose Hotel and opening a show at ACL Live for some guy named Springsteen. Also, a shout out to Hacienda, who we saw at the San Jose in 2011; they have a new out too. It’s called Shakedown, and it’s produced by Black Keys guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach.

YouTube: Hacienda sizzle reel for Shakedown

Finally, a couple of faves from past years at SXSW … We caught The Gaslight Anthem under a tent in a parking lot in 2007, and since then they’ve carved out a great rock and roll niche for themselves. Their new album is Handwritten and it’s chock full of rockers (the great “Howl”) and passion (the title cut).

And if you missed our interview with rock royalty Michael Des Barres, you should not pass up on Carnaby Street, his new album. It’s our favorite album of the summer – with the blistering title track, the soul rockin’ “Forgive Me,” and Texas steamy “Hot And Sticky” you can’t go wrong. Mike and his expert band sound a bit like Rod Stewart fronting the Rolling Stones, and on “My Baby Saved My Ass” they manage to out-rock even those geriatric superstars. If you like your rock and roll old school and below the belt, Des Barres is the man for you.

YouTube: “Obsession” by Michael Des Barres at SXSW 2010

Video Du Jour: The Le Roi Brothers

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by 30daysout

There’s even a dance floor at the Güero’s outdoor stage – that’s Steve Doerr behind the dancers, and Grady Pinkerton on the right.

In Austin over the weekend to visit the college student, we killed some time down on the South Congress drag and dropped by Güero’s Taco Bar. The outdoor patio on a Saturday night is cozy and inviting, and those misting devices everywhere kept us all really cool.

But the coolest thing was the opportunity to catch up with the Le Roi Brothers, an Austin rock and roll fixture since the early 1980s. They played for free at Güero’s, and there were many in the crowd experiencing the Le Rois’ roots-rockabilly for the very first time. We’ve loved the LeRois since 1984, when we caught ’em in a small club in San Antonio.

Weathering personnel turnovers and tragedy, the Le Rois have over the years become an Austin tradition. One of the main reasons is that Steve Doerr, the founding member/lead guitarist/singer, is such a nice guy. He dropped by our table after the Le Rois called it a night and we had a great chat about the “old days.”

Steve’s brother Joe is still in the band, he just had a family thing on Saturday. So, apparently is drummer Mike Buck – Buck was one of the Fabulous Thunderbirds before he was a Le Roi Brother and he’s played with many different Austin artists over the years.

Buck (who is one of the co-owners of Antone’s Record Shop in town) was also absent Saturday; he had a gig with his wife Eve Monsees. Eve is of course the “Eve” of Eve and the Exiles, and we were lucky to have the Exiles’ hot guitarist Grady Pinkerton also sitting in the Le Rois on Saturday.

When my wife and I caught some Le Roi Brothers shows in the 1980s we were dating; on Saturday we had our kids in tow. So it was kind of like family night at Güero’s.

Here’s “Pretty Little Lights Of Town,” an Austin classic (from 1985)!

The Le Roi Brothers Facebook page

And for good measure, let’s include “Ain’t I’m A Dog,” with Joe and Steve Doerr on vocals from 2009 at the Continental Club.

Radio Daze: Rock Hype on the Airwaves

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2012 by 30daysout

Back in the day, radio was the only way to get out the word about a new album. Of course, it helped that disc jockeys actually played songs from a new album – but record labels wanted to rack up sales right out of the box. And movies too – what better way to get the word out to the “kids” than through that boss, groovy local radio station?

So they worked up little spots to play on the hip-cool radio station in your town. Nowadays, with traditional terrestrial radio pretty much dead, these old radio spots are fodder for CD re-releases.  Let’s queue up a bunch and spin ’em!

MP3: The Monkees Present radio promo (The Monkees)

MP3: Live Dead radio promo (The Grateful Dead)

MP3: Help movie promo (The Beatles)

MP3: Cahoots radio promo (The Band)

MP3: Sweetheart of the Rodeo radio promo (The Byrds)

MP3: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere radio promo (Neil Young)

MP3: I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! radio promo (Janis Joplin)

MP3: Head movie promos (The Monkees)

MP3: Electric Warrior radio promo (T. Rex)

MP3: Aqualung radio promo (Jethro Tull)

MP3: Ballad of Easy Rider radio promo (The Byrds)

MP3: Easy Rider movie promo

(More Than) 40 Years Out: Tranquility Base Here

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2012 by 30daysout

Buzz Aldrin on the moon, 1969.

On this day in 1969, man set foot on the moon for the very first time. Looking at the photographs the astronauts shot that day, the moon seems like a fairly peaceful place. In fact, they called the landing site “Tranquility Base.”

Back on Earth, things weren’t so tranquil. Americans marched on Washington, D.C., to protest our involvement in the Vietnam War. The story of the My Lai massacre, where women and children were lined up in a ditch and shot, broke in the news. British troops were deployed to try and calm tensions in Northern Ireland. And so on.

It seemed like, on that one Sunday afternoon and evening, everything and everyone in the world just kind of stopped – if only for a few minutes, while two humans kicked up dust on the lunar surface. Many of us watched the shadowy figures on TV, live and in glorious grainy black and white.

Probably nobody really stopped what they were doing, but a teenager in Texas back then thought it would have been really cool if they did. And if we would have paid attention for a while, maybe we would have stopped fighting and yelling long enough share a little bit of wonder and pride in human accomplishment.

For just a minute or two … then we could get right back to killing each other. Which is what happened anyway.

Maybe one day we’ll go back to the moon, but many people will tell you there are infinitely more important ways to spend our time and money. And I suppose they are right. Still, somebody is going to get back there eventually. Tranquility Base will always be there, ready and waiting for us to start dreaming again.

MP3: “Moonlight” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

MP3: “Yellow Moon” (live) by the Neville Brothers

MP3: “Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins” by The Byrds

MP3: “Silver Moon” by Michael Nesmith & the First National Band

MP3: “Halo ‘Round The Moon” by Steve Earle

MP3: “Moon Dawg” by The Beach Boys

MP3: “Man On The Moon” by R.E.M.

MP3: “Moonlight Drive” (live) by The Doors

MP3: “Armstrong” by John Stewart

MP3: “Blue Moon” by Elvis Presley

MP3: “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” by Los Lobos

MP3: “Bark At The Moon” by Ozzy Osbourne

MP3: “Mountains Of The Moon” (live) by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “Brain Damage/Eclipse” by Pink Floyd

A Rock and Roll Remembrance: Luke Mondello

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by 30daysout

Luke Mondello (d. 2012) was a familiar face around the music scene in Southeast Texas.

Editor’s Note: In the late 1960s-early 1970s, the humid bottom corner of Texas known as the Golden Triangle served as a greenhouse that grew rock and roll. Janis Joplin escaped to Austin, Johnny and Edgar Winter woodshedded with the blues and local heroes like Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois could still be heard at the corner drive-in.

Of all the souls from that era who drifted through our lives, Luke Mondello was pure rock and roll. He lived for the music – and as the years piled into decades he managed to make it his career. Luke got his start by pointing his camera at musicians for the underground Golden Triangle Free Press, and later in life he often photographed people at music venues around the Beaumont-Port Arthur region.

Mondello died this past May, and our friend Harvey Kahn – formerly the editor/mastermind behind the Golden Triangle Free Press – offers a remembrance of our friend and classmate Luke Mondello.

by Harvey M. Kahn

(San Bernadino, California)

When I got stranded in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1973, one of the first persons I was fortunate enough to stumble into was Luke Mondello, a stocky, gravelly voiced, gentle soul.

Luke was an ambassador of Southern Rock music and could rattle off names faster than Billy Gibbons’ guitar pickin’. I had never heard of ZZ Top at the time but Luke filled me in. How he used to see the group in 1969 at a teenage night club outside of Port Arthur. How the group befriended him and perhaps, Luke was ZZ Top’s first fan before they were ZZ Top. I believe Luke had a photo book filled with Polaroids of ZZ Top from the late 1960s.

When I first told Luke that I had some experience as a reporter, he started bugging me about starting an underground music newspaper. Luke knew the owner of the old Wine Shop Tavern out on Gulfway in Port Arthur- a mild guy named David Herd who agreed to front $175 and the use of a car to start the newspaper.

Luke coaxed Herd into hiring me as the janitor at the Wine Shop. The Golden Triangle Free Press was very crudely off the ground. Some of Luke’s former classmates from Thomas Jefferson High helped with articles and graphics: Tom the artist, Wizard, Denny Angelle and others.

Luke took all the photos – exclusives of Johnny Winter jamming at Chick Powell’s garage apartment on 8th Street. Edgar Winter at home in Beaumont. The G.G. Shinn and Jerry La Croix reunion with the Boogie Kings in 1974 at the Pelican Club in Vinton, Louisiana. We snuck in to the Sparkle Paradise in Bridge City to take pictures and interview Clifton Chenier.

Luke Mondello (far right) in the Thomas Jefferson Class of 1973 yearbook – this is kinda how he looked when he covered ‘wok-and-woll’ for the Golden Triangle Free Press.

Luke went to Austin in 1974 and covered the first Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic. Then to Lake Charles for ZZ Top, and to Shreveport for Montrose. Luke had a 1970 black Lincoln Town Car when he drove to Houston for pictures of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1975.

Luke and myself were both terribly naive, which nearly led to us being killed on more than one occasion. The first time was when he lined up a photo shoot and interview with Lightnin’ Hopkins at Effie’s Go-Go in Beaumont. Well, Luke lined it up with Effie but not with Lightnin’, who was not very happy at all about a photographer and reporter barging into his dressing room. Hopkins proceeded to go into a loud tirade about how rude we were. Hopkins told us to “get the hell out of here.” I looked behind me and Luke was already gone. We did go back later and got the photos and story and Hopkins bought us two Pearl beers each.

Another quagmire came when Luke set me up with an appointment for an interview with Mike Joplin to discuss his sister, Janis. I don’t remember if Luke was there, but I met Joplin at Casey’s Lounge, located on Twin City highway near Beaumont. We were shooting a game of pool and all of a sudden the owner Casey came out with pistols in both hands. He pointed them at me and said he didn’t like a reporter at his bar without first clearing it with him. I left and never, ever got to talk to Mike Joplin.

Luke also introduced me to musician and historian Julian La Croix, and guitarist Billy Oubrey. He introduced me to former ranked boxers, Vic Graffio, Paul Jorgenson and Bubba Busceme. If it wasn’t for Luke I wouldn’t have stayed in Port Arthur. His mother and aunt made me feel like part of their family. I was invited for holidays and dinners, to the point where I could never pay them back.

Luke arranged for us to cover a Cosmic Cowboy Concert in 1974 at Hofheinz Pavilion – a benefit for Houston independent radio KPFT-FM. The lineup included Asleep At the Wheel, Michael Murphy, Doug Sahm, Spanky McFarland, Willie Nelson, Kinky Friedman and others who at the time only Luke knew about.

Luke had carte blanche for photo access and took about 360 shots. But someone stole Luke’s camera bag with all the film. I lost my composure and on the way out of the crowded arena after the show, Luke bumped into me and I burned a massive cigarette hole in Mrs. Hofheinz’s chiffon dress. She didn’t realize it and we squeezed out the door without telling her. Luke and I were both mad about the lost photos and we didn’t speak a word on the drive back to Port Arthur.

I never talked to Luke again after I moved back to California in 1975. I never forgot about him and his family but I selfishly never made the extra effort to stay in contact. A few cards over the years. That’s why it bothered me deeply when I again tried to find Luke and only found his obituary. Without a doubt, Luke Mondello could get that difficult photo and is a first ballot member of heaven’s rock and roll hall of fame.

Video Du Jour: Little Feat

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on July 18, 2012 by 30daysout

Let’s keep the groove movin’ today with a new one from the venerable Little Feat – “Rooster Rag,” the title track from their first album in nine years.

You can see that’s keyboard ace Bill Payne doing the lead vocals, and nice to see Paul Barrere on guitar, Kenny Gradney on bass and the redoubtable Fred Tackett on mandolin and backing vocals.

Little Feat official web site (free download of “Rooster Rag”)

Video Du Jour: Willie Nelson

Posted in Rock Moment with tags on July 17, 2012 by 30daysout

Last month we got to see the great Willie Nelson play live at the Free Press Summer Fest in Houston. Lo and behold, his new video for the song “Roll Me Up (And Smoke Me)” was filmed at that very same fest.

Willie Nelson official website