Archive for January, 2013

Funky New Orleans: The Meters at Mardi Gras

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on January 31, 2013 by 30daysout

Editor’s Note: This is a repost of an item we ran a couple of years ago, reappearing here to help get everyone in that Mardi Gras mood. The links have been updated and the Meters have still not made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Radio used to be magic. When the stars aligned, and the right artist played the right venue and radio was there, it could be just beautiful. Here’s one of those moments: January 1977, at the Showboat Lounge in the Fat City entertainment district of Metairie, which is a suburb of New Orleans. January in New Orleans is carnival season, and WNOE radio in the Crescent City marked the occasion with an hour-long live show by the always incredible Meters.

The band – featuring Art Neville on keyboards and vocals, Zigaboo Modeliste on drums, George Porter Jr. on bass and Leo Nocentelli on guitar (Cyril Neville may or may not have been an official member of the band, and he wasn’t at this gig) – ripped through some of their Mardi Gras anthems and some seriously greasy second-line funk.

In 1977 the Meters were about as big as they were gonna get: they had put out four albums on Warner Bros., they had opened for the Rolling Stones on their big 1975-76 world tour, they played Paul McCartney’s Venus and Mars party on the Queen Mary in 1974 and later in 1977 they were going to appear on “Saturday Night Live.” But here they are, in a small joint doing shout-outs on local radio.  Only in New Orleans, and only in that era.  Unfortunately, later in 1977 the Meters would also break up.

This recording captures one of American music’s great bands, tight as high-tension wire but playing as loose and funky as humanly possible. The recording has amplifier hum as well as that weird FM noise and a really smooth DJ cuts in every once in a while to let you know who dat. There are also a couple of very minor skips and hiccups (toward the end of “Hey Pocky Way”), but nothing can take away from this great music.

As Art Neville says, “It’s Mardi Gras time all the time, as far as we’re concerned.” Cook up some red beans and rice or cue this up in the car … and wonder why these guys aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

MP3: The Meters live at the Showboat Lounge, WNOE-FM, January 1977 (70 minutes)

Song order: “Just Kissed My Baby”/ “Big Chief”/ “Jungle Man”/ “They All Ask’d For You”/ “Hey Pocky Way”/ “People Say”/ “Ain’t No Use”/ “Po Boy Jam” /”Feel Da Groove”

The Original Meters official website

Let’s Get The Meters Into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Facebook page

Video Du Jour: The Beatles

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by 30daysout
beatles_rooftop

The Beatles, atop Apple Studios in 1969. Those were the days.

On this day in January, 44 years ago, The Beatles climbed to the rooftop of Apple Studios in London to give what would be their last public live performance.

The unannounced live show was a bit of a stunt, and an improvised ending to the documentary movie they were filming at the time, Let It Be. The movie was to be a fly-on-the-wall look at the Fabs working in the studio, cranking out songs for the planned Get Back album. What it turned out to be was a look at the world’s most famous rock band deteriorating in front of our eyes.

The rooftop show was a temporarily happy ending – the short set included “Get Back,” with Billy Preston on keyboards, “Don’t Let Me Down,” letitbee“I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909,” a snippet of “Danny Boy,” “Dig A Pony,” then finally another run-through of “Get Back.”

We all know what happened: the cops came up and shut ’em down for making too much noise in the middle of a busy work day. And John Lennon’s signoff  “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition” neatly capped the era for the Beatles.

That quote appeared at the end of the Let It Be album from 1970, released after the group had already broken up. But in reality, the 1969 rooftop concert wasn’t the Beatles’ last work. They eventually got together in the spring and summer of that year to record what would become Abbey Road, arguably their best album.

YouTube: The 1969 rooftop concert (Part 1)

YouTube: The 1969 rooftop concert (Part 2)

Rock & Roll Drama Queens

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2013 by 30daysout
FLEETW

Annie Lebovitz’s (in)famous photo of Fleetwood Mac, back in the day.

This week the music world will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the landmark album Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac. The occasion is marked by the release Tuesday of a super deluxe, three-disc set of the 1977 album that went on to sell more than 40 million copies worldwide.

We’ve all heard the album many times, almost as many times  as we have also heard the soap opera that went on as the album was being recorded. Producer Ken Caillat told us a little about the intrigue, but apparently that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Apparently the best rock and roll is created when there’s tension, pressure and drama. Abbey Road, some of the Beatles’ greatest music, came together when the four members of the band could supposedly barely stand to be in the same room with each other. Elvis Presley’s finest hour came during his late 1960s “comeback,” dramatically righting a career that had become a series of horrible movies and bland soundtracks.

Rockers have had their share of hard times and downright tragedy, just like all of our other beloved entertainers. So let’s slap on a vintage vinyl copy of Rumours, and while it’s popping and ticking away, come with us down memory lane:

David Bowie is gay – Forty one years ago this month, David Bowie shocked no one when he announced to Melody Maker: “I’m gay and I always have been.” Well, probably the shocking part was that he had already been married to a woman.

Nevertheless, the announcement gave Bowie’s career new life. His album at the time, Hunky Dory, became a hit, and “Changes” would appear on the U.S. Billboard charts while “Starman” went to the top 10 in England. Later in 1972, Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, also a hit and a critics’ favorite to this day. He’d close out the year with the single “John, I’m Only Dancing,” with homosexual overtones that would prevent its release in the United States.

Four years later, Bowie would confess to Playboy that he is really bisexual. At that point, very few people cared about his sexual orientation any more.

YouTube: David Bowie with “Oh You Pretty Things”

Eric Clapton is a heroin addict – Perhaps insecure about his abilities as a guitar player (despite the graffiti “Clapton Is God”) Eric Clapton became a serious drug addict in the late 1960s. Heroin was his drug of choice, and in his autobiography Clapton says when he wrote “Layla” to woo Patti Boyd from her then-husband George Harrison he was spending about $16,000 a week on the stuff.

Patti, in her own autobiography, remembers that when she finally hooked up with Clapton he kicked heroin by becoming an alcoholic. “He began in the morning and drank all day until four o’clock when Roger Forrester, his minder and later his manager, made him stop,” she writes. Clapton also dabbled in cocaine and hallucinogens along the way.

Clapton eventually cleaned himself up, long after he’d left Patti Boyd/Harrison/Clapton. He had some real tragedy in his life in 1991 when his four-year-old son (with another wife) fell out of an open window and was killed. Clapton channeled his grief into the hit song “Tears In Heaven,” which earned three Grammy Awards.

YouTube: Eric Clapton with “Cocaine”

Jerry Lee Lewis marries his cousin – In 1957, piano-pounding wild man Jerry Lee Lewis had already been married twice. He married his second wife before the divorce from his first was final, so it shouldn’t have been a shock if he married his third wife before the second divorce was also final.

Nobody noticed – because the Killer married Myra Brown, his third cousin! Who was only 13 years old! Both husband and wife downplayed it, saying it was pretty common in the part of the country they were from. Well, hardly anyone else saw it their way; it became a huge scandal in the U.S. and Europe and pretty much shut down Jerry Lee’s career.

Lewis would manage a bit of a comeback in the late 1960s-early 1970s as a country music performer. He and Myra would divorce in 1970. Lewis, still alive today at age 77, will always be remembered for his wild, unrepentant attitude and his “cradle robbing.”

For the record, when asked about his fellow Memphis musician’s troubles back then, Elvis Presley reportedly said if the two were truly in love, then getting married was all right with him. Of course, Elvis would later fall in love with a 14-year-old girl … but that’s another story.

YouTube: Jerry Lee Lewis with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”

Jim Morrison’s penis – Perhaps the greatest rock and roll drama queen was Jim Morrison, front man of The Doors. He was no stranger to run-ins with the law, but his most (in)famous arrest came in 1969, in Miami.

Visibly intoxicated during the concert, Morrison asked the crowd “You didn’t come here for music, did you?” He continued to rant and finally asked, “You want to see my cock?”  Ray Manzarek recalls that Morrison did some little peek-a-boo striptease thing with a bandana or something, and supposedly Mr. Mojo’s Risin’ was indeed seen.

At any rate, he was not charged until three weeks later, only after the incident became a huge media scandal. Morrison was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior (a felony with a maximum three-year sentence), indecent exposure, public drunkenness and such. After a lengthy and much publicized trial in 1970, Morrison was found guilty and sentenced to six months of hard labor on one charge, and 60 days of hard labor on another charge.

But he never went to prison – the sentence was still on appeal when Morrison died in Paris in 1971.

YouTube: Jim Morrison’s arrest coverage from 1969

Video Du Jour (Part Deux): Al Jardine & The Beach Boys

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on January 24, 2013 by 30daysout

Al Jardine of The Beach Boys released his solo album A Postcard from California in 2011, but it was released as a physical CD last year. And since then, of course, Al went on to tour with the reunited Beach Boys for a 50th anniversary celebration.

And after the tour was over Jardine, along with Brian Wilson and David Marks, was unceremoniously dumped from the group by Mike Love (or came to the end of their contract, depending on who you believe).Al Jardine

Anyhow, Al’s offering up a new video for the song “Don’t Fight The Sea,” which has an interesting history. Jardine wrote the environmentally conscious song years ago, and had begun recording vocals.

He had recordings of the late Beach Boys guitarist/singer Carl Wilson doing the song, and when he started work on his solo album he solicited the surviving Beach Boys to add their vocals to it as well.

“Don’t Fight The Sea” was released in 2011 as a charity single to help victims of the earthquake in Japan that year. This video has stunning photography and has won the Best Video award at The Blue Ocean Film Festival.

Al Jardine official web site

Video Du Jour: Bob Mould

Posted in News with tags , , on January 24, 2013 by 30daysout

Go behind the scenes with alt-rock icon Bob Mould as he tapes “Austin City Limits.”  Bob Mould’s “Austin City Limits” episode airs Jan. 26 on PBS stations (check listings for time and channel).

Also appearing on the episode is Delta Spirit, the California roots outfit.

Austin City Limits official web site

Classic Blues Joint Antone’s To Switch Location

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by 30daysout
antones

Antone’s in its current location at 5th and Lavaca in Austin, Texas.

Antone’s, the fabled Austin, Texas, blues and rock club that’s been in business more than 37 years, will move from its current location into a new, more customer friendly spot this April.

This will be the fourth move in the history of the club, which opened in 1975 on Austin’s Sixth Street. It was the first live music club on that street, which has now become the heart of Austin’s lively music scene.

antoneslogo_poster

Yes, that’s Clifford Antone.

The club’s Frank Hendrix said Antone’s current downtown location has discouraged customers due to traffic and lack of parking. Last year, Hendrix relocated both Emo’s and the Beauty Ballroom to larger spaces on East Riverside, about three miles from downtown.

Club owners are considering five possible sites, with some in the downtown area, others on the east side. The club will finalize relocation plans by the end of January and will make the move after the SXSW music festival in March.

By establishing his club in downtown Austin, Clifford Antone gave the region’s musicians a place to call home. He helped jump start the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, among others, and featured legendary blues artists like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Clifton Chenier in extended multi-night stands at the club.

Antone died in 2006 with the club, as well as a record store and label, continuing the tradition with his name. No musical mecca to Austin is complete unless you visit the iconic Antone’s. It will be rich with history and soul, no matter where it opens its doors this spring.

This iconic shot of Jimmie Vaughan of the Fabulous Thunderbirds was shot at Antone’s in 1980, by the great Art Meripol.

MP3: “Down At Antone’s” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds

Antone’s Home of the Blues club official website

Art Meripol’s Concert Photography Blog

Video Du Jour: Richie Havens

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on January 21, 2013 by 30daysout

It’s an important today in America: not only is it Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrating the life and achievements of the civil rights leader, it’s also the ceremonial inauguration of President Barack Obama.

People in this country disagree about a lot of things, including President Obama. That comes with the territory, which is freedom. Freedom to speak your mind, freedom to make the choices you want to make, freedom to disagree with just about anyone if you wish. We cherish our freedom, and we are proud of it.

Sometimes we take it too far, and use our freedom to intrude upon other people’s freedom. Today’s inauguration will just underscore what we already know: we have to keep working at it, maybe one day we’ll get this freedom thing right.

Today is also Richie Havens’ birthday, so let’s share an appropriate song that Richie played a long time ago. It’s a little short on meaningful lyrics but long on feeling.