Archive for Eric Burdon

WTF: Crazy Cover Versions

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , on July 7, 2012 by 30daysout

We all love cover versions of our favorite rock songs, if only for the fresh perspective the covering artist brings to familiar material. Cover versions are particularly entertaining when they come out of left field – like when an artist jumps genres for material. Remember when Pat Boone covered metal songs? Yeah.

One of our favorites is of course the AOR darlings the Carpenters, covering Klaatu’s “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.” Klaatu was a Canadian prog-rock outfit, and they are perhaps best remembered for a rumor that went out in the 1970s that Klaatu were actually the Beatles recording under a pseudonym. Take one listen to any Klaatu record and you know that’s not true. Nevertheless, they put out “Calling Occupants” in 1976 and the next year popsters Karen and Richard Carpenter covered the song. They had a modest hit out of it, too.

Sebastian Cabot, thinking about Bob Dylan.

There was a time when TV actors made a few bucks by releasing albums with their cracked covers of Dylan, the Beatles, et. al. William Shatner is perhaps best known for doing that, but we’ve included a lesser known actor today – Sebastian Cabot (a British gent who played butlers and such) – doing a Dylan tune.

Country artists taking rock songs to the barnyard is also a disturbing recurring phenomenon. Here we have the great Willie Nelson doing the Beatles from a 2003 comp. Finnish black metal rockers Children of Bodom have a sense of humor; they do covers all the time, including this one of an Eddie Murphy groaner.

Legitimate rockers like those cover versions too, especially when they can totally make ’em over – hence, Pearl Jam doing the death-rock classic “Last Kiss,” John Cale deconstructing Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” and Eric Burdon going totally over the top on a Stones cover.

Don’t have much else to say here, it’s just an excuse to share some of these out-of-the-blue covers. Hope you like ’em – if you don’t, you always have the originals!

MP3: “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft” by the Carpenters

MP3: “Like A Rolling Stone” by Sebastian Cabot

MP3: “One After 909” by Willie Nelson

MP3: “Lola” by the Raincoats

MP3: “Sympathy For The Devil” by Louis Prima

MP3: “Good Vibrations” by Floyd Cramer

MP3: “Party All The Time” by Children of Bodom

MP3: “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam

MP3: “Heartbreak Hotel” by John Cale

MP3: “Creep” by Scala Choir & Kolacny Brothers

MP3: “Paint It Black” by Eric Burdon & the Animals

Video Du Jour: Eric Burdon

Posted in News with tags , on June 5, 2012 by 30daysout

Our buddy from SXSW Eric Burdon (of the Animals) has a new video out, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Burdon and many others appear on the album Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan to celebrate and benefit Amnesty International’s 50th year advocating for human rights.

Google visited Burdon near his home in the desert of Joshua Tree, California, where he and his band offer up a live version of the tune as the sun set behind them. Burdon, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, is set to release his new album ‘Til Your River Runs Dry on Sept. 18.

The album features original tracks written by Burdon including “Bo Diddley Special,” “The River Is Rising,” “Water,” “Wait” and and “Memorial Day.” ABKCO will support the album’s release with an extensive promotion and marketing campaign in conjunction with a full slate of tour dates by Burdon.

Eric Burdon official website

Video Du Jour: Eric Burdon with Brendan Benson at SXSW

Video Du Jour: Brendan Benson with Eric Burdon

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , on March 28, 2012 by 30daysout

Eric Burdon performing at South by San Jose/Gram Parsons Foundation party.

Sorry we keep bringing up our recent trip to Austin, but … you gotta see this. It’s Brendan Benson, the excellent rock singer/songwriter, performing at a party for the Gram Parsons Foundation. Suddenly he introduces Eric Burdon, former lead singer of the Animals – and away they go, on “When I Was Young.” It was one of those performances that literally makes your hair stand up if you are lucky enough to witness it in person. Sorry we couldn’t embed the video, but you can see it at this link:

Video: Eric Burdon and Brendan Benson at Gram Parsons Foundation party, SXSan Jose Austin (corrected link)

Go to the VenueOne home page to see more information about the Gram Parsons Foundation event, which was an unofficial part of SXSW. The entire lineup of acts, including Blitzen Trapper and Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons, will be streamed on April 5.

Eric Burdon home page

Video Du Jour: Bruce Springsteen and Eric Burdon

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

We still have SXSW hangover, so bear with us a few days. In the meantime, here’s one of the highlights of our entire experience: Eric Burdon of the Animals guesting with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, on “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.”

Eric Burdon official website

SXSW Day Three: Up Close and Way Too Personal

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2012 by 30daysout

Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes.

AUSTIN – Perhaps at this junction it might be helpful to briefly summarize the physical nature of the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, so it can serve as a road map of sorts for the stories that will follow today.

SXSW is a four-day (or five, depending on who is doing the counting) conference for anyone interested in music: industry insiders, artists, publicists and fans. “Official” participants have purchased a badge or a wristband that allows one access to various panels, speeches, keynote addresses (like Bruce Springsteen’s talk on Thursday) and exhibits in the Austin Convention Center.

Once each day’s events are complete in the convention center, the night begins as participants spill out onto the streets of Austin to attend music performance “showcases” held in venues in and around the downtown area. This year more than 2,000 bands and acts are participating in the official SXSW, but there’s more.

Ian McLagan and the Bump Band.

Non-official events, employing at least another 2,000 acts, spill out from downtown and reach south on Congress Avenue, one of the city’s top drags; into the neighborhoods of the east side and west into the shopping district. These venues can be miles apart, and because many of these non-official events are free and do not require an official badge or wristband, they attract what could be as many as 200,000 people a day.

So we tell you all this because it’s important to note that Austin is not that big a city (population less than 800,000). So all of these people crawling around this urban anthill not only get in each others’ way, but also into each others’ faces. It’s real life bleeding over into the music, and it’s an experience you cannot have with any other type of festival. Whether you like it or not, you are in the movie and you are in the music.

The other night we walked into the Lucky Lounge in downtown Austin, where many weeks one can experience what we like to call the “World’s Greatest Happy Hour.” That is because there is no cover, and the entertainment just happens to be Ian McLagan and the Bump Band. McLagan, who in a few weeks will become a new member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his bands Small Faces and the Faces, is not only a terrific entertainer but a great, friendly guy.

At one point during our visit McLagan announced the next song as a number from the Faces. “And we’ll dedicate it to … is there anyone named Cindy in the house?” McLagan asked. When no ladies spoke up, we volunteered to be Cindy. McLagan looked over and chuckled, “Ha ha, it’s always a geezer. So this bloke is our Cindy tonight!” And he launched into “Cindy Incidentally.”

A few minutes later, as the Bumpsters stepped off for a smoke break, Mac picked up his pint and said to me, “Thanks, friend, for being part of the show.”

Part of the show … that’s what I’m talking about.

Last night we wandered around and harassed celebrities. The only one worth noting, really, was Mike Judge, the creator and voice behind animated characters like Beavis and Butthead and Hank of “King of the Hill.” We’re doing a short video for your entertainment on our wrapup day, so we asked Judge if he’d like to speak to us briefly.

Jimmy Cliff.

He and his companion paused, and in the time it would have taken to speak to our Flip camera, he told us sincerely, “Sorry, brother.” Then he went to yet another party where he was turned away at the door.

We’re here for the music so let’s get some of that in. We encountered reggae great Jimmy Cliff at the excellent Waterloo Records store – with a two-piece-acoustic-guitar-and-bongo-drum backup, he simply shined with “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” “Sitting In Limbo” and “Wonderful World, Beautiful People.” He updated his classic “Vietnam” into “Afghanistan” and offered up a shimmering cover of “I Can See Clearly Now.” He wrapped the short set with “The Harder They Come” and a singalong “One More.”

A few minutes later we spoke with Jimmy, and asked how he felt helping Bruce Springsteen wreck Austin the night before. “Fantastic,” Cliff said, his voice starting to give way after numerous gigs this week. “I have sung with him before and it has always been fantastic.”

From one legend to another: so we’re leaving the Jimmy Cliff gig to drive a few miles and pick up one of our party. At a stop light, we happen to glance sideways and see at a bus stop none other than Eric Burdon, the now white-haired leader of the Animals! Whoa! So we whip into a parking lot and walk up to him and his wife, Marianna.

We exchange pleasantries and in his inimitable accent, Burdon asks “Do you know where is the mall?” Wha? He needs some new shoes. “Sure, we know where a mall is!” (We didn’t.) But seconds later, one of rock music’s legends and finest voices climbs into the back seat of our car for a trip to the shoe store.

Burdon brought down the house with Bruce Springsteen on Thursday night as he sang a rousing “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” He told us Springsteen learned he was in town, and tweeted Burdon to invite him to sing. He was thoroughly impressed with the organization of Springsteen’s backstage production crew.

Now living in Joshua Tree, California, Burdon said he is working on a book and has completed a new album that was mixed in Texas. He’s shopping around for a distributor. He also gave us a card with a free download of a new song, “An Invitation To the White House (It Was A Dream).” We asked if he ever wanted to visit the White House, and Burdon replied, “No f**ing way! I already have enough aliens in my life!”

Burdon also said he loves Austin, “’cause you don’t see too many f**kin’ cops.”  As we waved him into the shoe store, Eric waved back and said he’d see us again. And we’re pretty sure that will happen.

The legendary Eric Burdon, center, with intrepid 30 Days Out reporters Denny Angelle (left) and George Kovacik.

We got around to catching a set by the heavily hyped Alabama Shakes, led by singer/guitarist Brittany Howard. We can understand why the Shakes are this year’s “buzz” band – Howard is a great singer who howls, growls and purrs her way through some thick and tasty slabs of Southern soul and rock. The songs are simple but tuneful, and the band displays virtuosity without being showy. Although the Shakes’ debut album doesn’t see the light of day until April 10, you can go to their website and download “Hold On,” which is a good representation of their sound.

Our only complaint with the Alabama Shakes: not once did any member of the band speak to the crowd, or even toss a smile in the audience’s direction. Maybe it’s the grueling gig schedule they have during SXSW, or maybe they are just a little overwhelmed by the craziness. But if the Shakes want to graduate from the bars, they may want to work on their bedside manner.

Later in the night, two members of our party found ourselves without a badge or band or any hope of getting into the more-exclusive-than-exclusive showcase by Jack White and members of his Third Man Records roster. We moped around outdoors for what seemed like hours, working every angle we could to get waved inside. We even made friends with members of different bands, some of whom were not performing.  Finally a couple members of the band Pujol came out for a smoke, and one of them took a shine to us.

We’re in! We had to promise Pujol we’d do an interview; you can read it tomorrow maybe here or at our home blog 30 Days Out. Jack White was phenomenal, he played with two different bands – one all-girl, the other all-boy. He rocked material from his new solo album Blunderbuss and touched on every aspect of his career, with songs from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather among others. Mid-set, the junior member of our team texted her terse review: “Holy motherf***ing shit.”

They wouldn’t let anyone take photos, even with a cell phone.  Because we surely would have shared a picture of this: so the music’s over, and we spot this gray-haired gentleman in the back. We walk up, grab him by the shoulder, and Bill Murray turns to face us. “Ghostbusters forever!” is all we could say. He started laughing hysterically, then turned away and left.

There you have it – SXSW with music and a bit of face time with our fellow occupants of Planet Austin. When we leave tomorrow, we’re going to have memories forever and a pocketful of stories nobody will ever believe.

SXSW Day Two: The Big Names Take Over

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by 30daysout

Tom Morello rips it up as the Nightwatchman.

AUSTIN – First off, our apologies today for all the up-and-coming acts that we were supposed to spotlight – Thursday at the South by Southwest music conference, the big names took over.

Everywhere we looked, there seemed to be one superstar or another under foot. We couldn’t help but stumble into a show with a familiar voice or two.

We started the day in a parking lot: namely the front lot of the great independent record store Waterloo Records, celebrating its 3oth anniversary this year by hosting 30 acts for SXSW. First up was Blitzen Trapper, a Portland-based quintet led by the potent combination of frontman/songwriter Eric Earley and keyboardist/guitarist Marty Marquis. Touring behind their latest album American Goldwing, the Trappers offered a mellow Grateful Dead vibe that threatened to become the Dead’s “St. Stephen” on at least four of their songs.

At roughly the same time, Mississippi-born-and-bred Bass Drum of Death commanded one of the four stages at the Spider House, a coffeehouse/night spot near the University of Texas campus. This trio launches a blowtorch rock sound that blows the hair back; they had an awful lot of energy for a bleary-eyed SXSW morning.

Richard Julian and Norah Jones of the Little Willies.

And then, it just seemed the familiar and the famous took over. Back at Waterloo Records, the accomplished chamber country act The Little Willies tuned up their acoustics. In the land of the “Big Willie” (that’s Nelson to you non-Texans) the Little Willies are as adept and entertaining as they come – led by singer/guitarist Richard Julian and guitarist Jim Campilongo, these Willies kick it up a notch with their “chick singer”: Norah Jones.

Jones’ clear-as-tequila vocals, with a hint of Texas twang, poured honey all over country standards like Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City,” as well as Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues.” Then they infused “Jolene,” the Dolly Parton classic, with a ton of smoldering sensuality. Just sublime. In 2002 we saw a still unknown Jones perform in a Starbucks parking lot; a few years and a shelf-load of Grammys later she has traded up her SXSW venue to one with a little more car space. But seriously, Jones gives the Willies a rest Saturday as she previews her newest solo album Little Broken Hearts, a collaboration with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton.

Then we traded up venues ourselves, this time to Threadgills’ restaurant which stands on the hallowed ground of the beloved Armadillo World Headquarters. The Armadillo was razed in 1980 but Threadgills offers a cozy little beer garden which hosted a private party for New West Records, the indie/Americana label based in L.A., Austin and Athens, Ga.

We caught part of a set by The Mastersons, the Texas duo that’s been backing Steve Earle, and a spacey set by Ponderosa, whose music reminds me of a cowboy riding his horse off a precipice and floating off into space. Then came the headliner, Tom Morello in his guise as the Nightwatchman, who packed an electrifying jolt of jagged rock and militant populism.

Bruce Springsteen and Eric Burdon.

Fists pumped along to his aggressive anthems “Whatever It Takes” and “Union Town,” then Morello unleashed his guitar pyrotechnics on a fiery version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad.” Citing the 100th birth year of folk pioneer Woody Guthrie, Morello invited a shy Shooter Jennings onstage to romp through an acoustic singalong of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Caught for a few minutes before his set, Morello explained how “This Land Is Your Land” is more relevant than ever as the Occupy movement has given people in this country a new voice. “I got in last night, checked in to my hotel and was actually in bed when I got a phone call,” he said. “They were going to have a flash mob for Occupy Austin and they wanted me to be a part of it.” So Morello jumped out of bed and within minutes was out on the street.

“Put your cameras and phones away,” he shouted from Threadgills’ stage, “and live in the moment!” He then invited everyone to join him onstage and so we did – for a rousing singalong of “World Wide Rebel Songs.” Leaving the crowd rocked and sated, he hopped into a car for his next gig about a mile away.

That would be the big Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show at brand-new ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Earlier in the day, Springsteen gave a classroom lecture on the history and the inspiration of rock and roll; last night he gave a demonstration that was so epic that the lucky few who witnessed it in person are still in disbelief.

Thundering into “We Take Care Of Our Own,’ Springsteen leaned heavily on tunes from his new album Wrecking Ball before wheeling out a dazzling list of guest performers: Morello for “Death To My Hometown” and “Jack Of All Trades,” as well as yet another awesome version of “Ghost Of Tom Joad.” Reggae great Jimmy Cliff joined Bruce for “Many Rivers To Cross” and two more, other guests who crossed the stage included Texas music legends Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo, New York boy Garland Jeffreys and three members of Arcade Fire.

But the greatest guest spot, and a towering highlight among many, was a guest appearance by the Animals’ Eric Burdon. Where Springsteen only talked about the Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” at his keynote, Burdon tore into the song with a ferocity that belied his age (70 years old).

Meanwhile, out in the streets, the young and the hopeful were lugging their instruments from gig to gig, one band even played on a school bus while it tooled around in the traffic. Inside the ACL Live theater, Bruce Springsteen gave life to a brilliant past while just steps away many others were breathing life and fire into a new future.

We’re editing our photos as fast as we can, and posting them to our special SXSW Flickr account. Go there and take a look!

Interstellar Transmissions, playing on the move.

With Tom Morello, onstage for "World Wide Rebel Songs."

SXSW Day One: The Class, and the Craziness

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by 30daysout

Ladies and gentlemen, Eric Burdon!

AUSTIN – There is nothing gradual or tentative about the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference; you jump in and either start swimming madly or you just drown. We tried to make a schedule for Wednesday, the first full day of the music madness, but it stayed folded in a pocket for the duration. We saw more than one couple frantically flipping through the Austin Chronicle or an official SXSW book (like a large catalog, really) for guidance, and looking more and more drowned by the minute.

Polly Parsons

Just get the sneakers workin’, and we did – to discover a swell group, A Classic Education. With a swirling and darting style reminiscent of the Smiths, this unit charmed a small crowd in a small bar. People came in for the free booze, and they left with sweet melodies ringing in their ears.

We flitted from venue to venue until we decided to make a stand in the parking lot of the colorful San Jose Hotel, to enjoy a musical lineup and help launch the Gram Parsons Foundation. Organized by Gram’s daughter Polly, who is now an Austin resident, the Foundation aims to support musicians and artists worldwide with addiction and recovery services. Wednesday’s party at the ever-popular South by San Jose event was a swell way to announce the Foundation’s good work.

Gram, who envisioned a mix of rock, folk, blues and country as “Cosmic American Music,” surely smiled on the offerings of Poor Moon, comprising Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes, Crystal Skulls) and brothers Ian and Peter Murray (The Christmas Cards). While certainly adept instrumentally – Wescott and one of the Murrays bounced continuously between xylophone, guitar, keyboards and various percussion – and vocally, Poor Moon’s songs lacked a bit of focus and foundation. While the Fleet Foxes’-styled harmonies were beautiful, we wanted a hook or two to hang our hats on.

Cory Chisel, left, and Brendan Benson

Ask, and ye shall receive: in the form of Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons, who came out blistering with a sweet blend of country and rock. Cory has it all: great songs, an engaging style and, in his own words, “the best-looking band anywhere.” From Wisconsin, Chisel’s heartland rock is best spotlighted on his debut album Death Won’t Send A Letter, which he recorded with members of the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather and My Morning Jacket. Cory promises a sophomore release this summer, but in the meantime he and his crack touring unit have captured many hearts early on at SXSW.

Brendan Benson, himself a part-time Raconteur, stepped up next and he delivered with some deft heartland rock. At one point he said “I can’t believe I’m saying this but, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Eric Burdon!” And there he was – former lead singer of the Animals, resplendent in black and white (hair), electrifying the crowd with “When I Was Young.” Burdon’s appearance was like a thumb in a light socket, but at two songs, all too brief.

Eric Burdon

We plunged ahead into the dark, and downtown Austin, only to stumble upon our old buddy and Houston homie Al Staehely and his band the Explosives. Staehely and his brother John (also present in the Explosives) were replacement members of the 1970s version of the seminal California prog/psychedelic rockers Spirit. At age 66, Al is in fine voice and John squeezed out some fiery leads on guitar. After working the crowd into a lather, Al said “let’s do a couple from Spirit” and launched into a rockin’ cover of Randy California’s “I Got A Line On You.”

Al Staehely, who in the daytime is an entertainment lawyer in Houston, told us he had virtually retired from performing in 1985 when his son Christian was born. “I figured I should be a full-time lawyer, and only played at home,” he said. “Really, it was Freddie Krc (former drummer for Jerry Jeff Walker and leader of the Freddie Steady 5) who got me started again. We would do a gig here and there and finally I just jumped back in all the way … it’s a lot of fun.”

What a way to rock us out of the evening. Today, we’re headed over to catch a keynote address by one Mr. Bruce Springsteen, who made his presence known Wednesday by jumping onstage with Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely and Garland Jeffreys for four songs. Later on this evening, Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform at the spankin’ new ACL Live venue, just across the river from the hallowed ground of the old Armadillo World Headquarters where Bruce made his first Austin splash back in 1974.

Nice shoes Al. Wait, are those really shoes?

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: More Psychedelic Relics!

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by 30daysout

This has been a busy week – we apologize for the gap in posts but we plan to ride this thing into Record Store Day tomorrow and beyond.  I had some ideas for this week’s posts scribbled on a scrap somewhere and I’ve lost it … so let’s freestyle with a couple of personal faves from the psychedelic daze.

One of my all-time favorite bands from those fuzzy days of yore is Spirit, the California rockers led by guitarist Randy California and master singer/songwriter Jay Ferguson.  Formed in 1967, Spirit was the American answer to Brit rockers Traffic (Steve Winwood) – their music encompassed rock, pop, folk, blues, classical and jazz.  Best known for their hits “Animal Zoo” and “I Got A Line On You,” as well as the classic Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970), the band was certainly one of the best of their era.

In 1968, French film director Jacques Demy asked Spirit to write and record a soundtrack to his movie Model Shop.  Demy was seeking to make a film that captured the “vibe” of Los Angeles, and after seeing Spirit perform in a local club he decided they would be the perfect musical counterpoint for his movie.  In Ferguson and California, Spirit had two strong songwriters but they rarely collaborated – except on the Model Shop soundtrack.

The band’s jazz leanings come to the fore on “Eventide” and a few other songs.  In fact, most of the songs cut for the soundtrack were instrumentals, only “Green Gorilla” and “Now Or Anywhere” have vocals by Ferguson.  When the movie was finally released in 1969 it was a flop, so the soundtrack album release was scrapped.  Because Spirit cut the soundtrack between sessions for their second and third albums, there’s a bit of continuity – two outtakes from The Family That Plays Together (1968) – “Fog” and “Now or Anywhere” – turn up on the soundtrack.

And later in 1969, some material for Clear came from the unreleased soundtrack.  For example, “Model Shop II” became the title song and “Song for Lola” was used as part of “Ice”.  Nevertheless, a lot of the material here remained unheard until 2005, when Sundazed Records got their hands on a set of  long-lost master tapes and reassembled the soundtrack for a CD release.

MP3: “Now or Anywhere” by Spirit

MP3: “Eventide” by Spirit

MP3: “Song For Lola” by Spirit

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