Archive for Roger Waters

Old Guys and Rock & Roll

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2012 by 30daysout

Paul McCartney, at age 70, is a textbook example of how old guys can still rock.

It used to be very true that rock and roll was not made by old people. “Old” used to mean people over age 30. So what happened?

Bob Dylan (age 71) just released Tempest to glowing reviews – it should appear on the upper reaches of the Billboard album charts in a few days, but probably not at No. 1. Paul McCartney (age 70) is currently performing close to three-hour sets on his “On The Run” tour, which began last summer in New York City. Roger Waters (age 69) and Rod Stewart (age 67) are also touring, while relative youngster Bruce Springsteen (age 62) can’t be dragged off a stage for anything.

Paul Simon (age 70), Crosby, Stills & Nash (average age 69) and the Beach Boys (average age 70) have live DVDs and/or CDs from recent tours. Van Morrison (age 67) is about to release his 34th studio album, Born To Sing: No Plan B, in early October. Mark Knopfler (age 63) and ZZ Top (average age 60) have strong new albums out, Neil Young (age 66) is readying a new album and tour, and the Rolling Stones (average age 68) keep threatening to do something to celebrate their 50th anniversary. And you can’t stop Willie Nelson (age 79)!

So what gives? Is there something in the water?

Well, pretty much all of these guys mentioned above are big draws on the concert circuit so one can cynically say that the lure of the big bucks is enough to get these codgers out of their rockers. Nobody makes money off albums any more, so each of these acts will go on the road to support an album if they haven’t already. Hell, Dylan’s been touring constantly since the early 1980s.

You think maybe it’s an indication that music being produced today somehow doesn’t measure up to those classics of the past? Perhaps – nothing sends concertgoers to the restrooms/beer vendors faster than “a new song off our latest album.” Even superstars like McCartney and Dylan know better than to populate their concerts with new material.

And it’s tempting to say worthless stuff like “do you think we’ll be paying to see Bon Iver or Green Day live in 15 years?” Because unless you are a total idiot, you know the answer is yes. It may not be Bon Iver or Green Day specifically, but it could be that Weezer reunion or the surviving members of Mumford and Sons or the remnants of Radiohead.

Because it’s not necessarily about who is playing, but what they’re playing. It’s rock and roll, and despite what smartasses over the years keep saying, it’s not dead.

It’s pretty damn old, and it’s not pretty (take a close look at the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone). But rock and roll is still alive because we want it to be. The footsoldiers of rock and roll are sticking around because we want them to – the audience changes more than the artists, and as we discover new acts we like, we also go back and appreciate the past. My kids know more about the Beatles and the Stones and the Who than I ever did, when I was a teenager and those boys had brand-new songs on the radio every day.

Women seem to know better, they know when it’s time to fade away – although you can make a pretty good case for rockers like Joan Jett and Bonnie Raitt being here for quite a while. Pop artists are another thing entirely: Madonna has well overstayed her welcome and the decline of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, et. al. won’t be pretty.

Perhaps it’s best just not to think about these things. We’re all going to get to the end of the trail – literally and figuratively – one day. Rock and roll is here to distract us from that brutal truth, to keep us dancing until we can’t any more.

So. The Rolling Stones may tour next year? Don’t know about you, but I’m gonna buy a ticket. For a few hours, I’m gonna be young again.

Why Pink Floyd?

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on October 2, 2011 by 30daysout

Unauthorized photo from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame showing part of the Pink Floyd "The Wall" exhibit

Don’t know about you, but I spent most of this past weekend listening to Pink Floyd. I admit it, I bought into the hype of the new “Why Pink Floyd?” campaign that started last week with a massive re-release program encompassing remastered CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, SACD, an array of digital formats, viral marketing, iPhone Apps and a brand-new single-album ‘Best Of’ collection. Kind of like the Beatles remastering onslaught from a couple of years ago.

Guess the boys stopped bickering long enough to agree on stuff like a remastered Dark Side of the Moon in two different versions: a two-CD “Experience” set, and a six-disc “Immersion” edition.  You can read about all of the different versions here.

It would be great if we could look forward to a tour with the surviving Pink Floyd members (founder Syd Barrett died in 2006, keyboardist Richard Wright passed in 2008) but Roger Waters and David Gilmour have made it very clear they can’t stand each other. Roger Waters is currently touring with his version of The Wall and he promises to come back for more U.S. dates in 2012; David Gilmour tours fitfully and when he does he leans heavily on Pink Floyd material – so who knows? there may be some kind of grand finale to all this.

In case you want to buy something you haven’t bought two or three times before (I happen to own Dark Side of the Moon in formats including regular LP, Half Speed Mastered LP, 8-track tape, cassette tape, CD, remastered anniversary CD and most likely one of the new remastered versions) – Best Buy in the States has an exclusive six-track “sampler” that includes a couple tracks that won’t appear for a while.

In addition to remastered versions of the familiar “Money,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” the sampler features an alternate version of “Have A Cigar” with Gilmour/Waters singing (instead of Roy Harper) and a full-band demo of “Another Brick In The Wall.” Best Buy offers the sampler online, but  international buyers will need a U.S. address to get it delivered to, as Best Buy won’t ship abroad.

So enjoy Pink Floyd this week … I will offer you something not available in the campaign, the four selections played by a reunited Pink Floyd at Live 8 in 2005.

MP3: “Speak To Me/Breathe/Breathe (Reprise)”

MP3: “Money”

MP3: “Wish You Were Here”

MP3: “Comfortably Numb”

Pink Floyd official website

 

Best Nude Album Covers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by 30daysout

Last week we featured our opinion of the worst nude album covers. This week here are some of the best…This post contains nudity, all photos after the jump are NSFW.

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“Whipped Cream & Other Delights” – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass – Hands down the best cover of all time.

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Lost Classics! Andy Fairweather-Low

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , on June 18, 2008 by 30daysout

Andy Fairweather-Low, a British guitarist and singer, got his start as a U.K. teen idol in the pop band Amen Corner.  The group had a brush with the British Top 40 in the late 1960s but in 1970 Fairweather-Low went underground.  Nothing was heard from him until 1974 and his first solo album, Spider Jiving.  A triumph of straight-ahead rock and roll, Spider Jiving sounded like a sober Faces, good-time music that gets under your skin.

This little lost classic combines scruffy English pub rock with some American soul horn blasts, all tied together by Fairweather-Low’s husky singing voice.  This shaggy-dog album yielded one hit, “Reggae Tune,” which landed in the U.K. Top 10.

Over the years Andy Fairweather-Low has become widely known as a backing guitarist for Roger Waters, Bill Wyman and especially Eric Clapton.  He has been a part of Clapton’s band since 1992, and he has also appeared on George Harrison’s Live In Japan (1992) and sang backup on the Who’s Who Are You (1978).   This month, Fairweather-Low released a greatest hits album in Britian, The Low Rider – The Very Best of Andy Fairweather-Low

MP3: “Spider Jiving”

MP3: “Reggae Tune”

MP3: “Keep On Rocking”

Andy Fairweather-Low official website

Rock Moment: Pink Floyd Reunion, 2005

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on June 10, 2008 by 30daysout

 

After years of saying “never,” Pink Floyd’s classic lineup reunited June 12, 2005, at the Live 8 charity event in London.  Roger Waters, who acrimoniously quit the band in 1984, seemed quite genuinely thrilled to be onstage again with David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason.   After the monster success the band achieved in the 1970s, the others began to resent Waters’ dictatorial control of Pink Floyd.  Nevertheless, after he left to go solo Mason and Gilmour successfully sued to regain control of the Pink Floyd name and successfully mounted a couple of world tours. 

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Live: Roger Waters, Houston

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on May 5, 2008 by 30daysout

This guy I sorta know was going to Roger Waters’ concert Sunday night (May 4) in Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.  He was going to call or e-mail with a short review, and of course, he’s nowhere to be found.  I really wanted to go, I just couldn’t get there.  So I’m going to wing it.

This is only one of four U.S. performances that Waters has scheduled.  The first half of his show he plays some of his solo stuff and Pink Floyd songs that he wrote.  The second half, he performs the entire Dark Side of the Moon album and encores with a handful of Floyd’s best, including “Another Brick In the Wall” and “Comfortably Numb.”  Somewhere in the middle (during “Sheep”) he releases a flying pig and everyone gets off to that.

Because Waters apparently hates the rest of the Pink Floyd band members (and they hate him), it looks like there won’t be a reunion tour any time soon.  Roger Waters live is probably the next best thing.  He relies on a crack band to fill in all the rest of the Floyd parts (Waters plays bass and some guitar, so they fill in a lot).  Think of it this way: Waters live is to Pink Floyd like Brian Wilson live is to the Beach Boys.  You ain’t gonna get the old lineup, you get one guy (who wrote all the stuff) and a faithful facsimile of the music. 

Compare this 2006 performance of “Comfortably Numb” with David Gilmour’s version, in the radio post from earlier today.

MP3: Mother by Roger Waters (live)

MP3: Comfortably Numb by Roger Waters (live)

UPDATE: You can go here to download 43 minutes of live Roger Waters from the Coachella festival, held April 23-25 in California.