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Month: June 2009

New Tunes: Ted Russell Kamp

I would call playing bass for Shooter Jennings a pretty cool gig. Touring the country, laying down the bass lines for Shooter’s rowdy rockin’ brand of country. But does Ted Russell Kamp rest on his laurels? Helll nooo. His brain’s a buzzing with all sorts of cool tunes, and he’s been busy in his Southern California headquarters recording his own albums, writing his own songs, and making some extra scratch as an in-demand session player.

Poor Man’s Paradise
looks like Ted’s 5th studio album (based on his AllMusic discography). Truth be told, a few of the songs are a tad cliche for my tastes (“Just a Yesterday Away”, “Let the Rain Fall Down”). But the strong ones make up for it. Leading the pack is this slow burner of a tune – “Let Love Do The Rest”. A song for a dark night, driving home from a tavern in the rain, thinking about that person who’s just out of reach.

Give me a Hammond B3 and a forlorn ballad and I’m a happy man.

Listen: Let Love Do The Rest (mp3)

Buy: Poor Mans Paradise

Visit: Ted’s Official Site | MySpace

Bruce Joins the Gaslight Anthem at Glastonbury

Fist clenching, goosebump inducing stuff!! The Boss joined the Gaslight Anthem onstage at Glastonbury. This 2 minute clip is enough to get me revved up! Gahhhhrrrr!!!

[dailymotion id=x9q0wq]

And I just read that Bruce opened his set with an acoustic version of Joe Strummer’s “Coma Girl”. This is too much!!

The Friday Five: June 26, 2009

Goodnight Peter Pan

Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

Today my shuffle is a celebration of the King of Pop and the memories tied to his music, I encourage you all to share your five today whether they be related to Michael Jackson or not…

The Jackson 5 – “ABC” (mp3) (from Greatest Hits, 1971)

This brings to mind watching the Jackson 5 cartoons with my little brother.

Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (from Thriller, 1982)

I remember watching Clash of the Titans at my Aunt & Uncle’s house followed by my first viewing of the classic video.

Michael Jackson – “Human Nature” (from Thriller, 1982)

Like much of his music, this brings me back to summers spent playing outside, clutching my little red AM radio, devouring all the music of the day.

The Jackson 5 – “The Love You Save” (mp3) (from Greatest Hits, 1971)

One of the first bass lines I ever bothered to sit down and actually learn note for note.

Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror” (from Bad, 1987)

My memory of this song changed forever yesterday. Upon hearing the news it was this song that came rushing to me. It bears repeating that despite it all, Michael cared with a child like innocence for the troubled of the world. This is what I will cherish. This as well as his music is what I will share with my children. The legacy of the artist who tried to change the world, and who, to some degree, succeeded.

What’s getting you through the day?

RIP Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

Pete’s Thoughts

My first memory of seeing Michael Jackson was May of 1983. I was 12 years old, and a 7th grader at Jerstad Junior High in Racine, Wisconsin. My drama teacher, Mrs. Mottl, wheeled in a TV and VCR one day, excited to show the class a video of Michael Jackson dancing and singing on the ‘Motown 25’ television special. It had aired just a night or two before (May 16, 1983).

The whole class sat awestruck as we watched Michael kick, dip, glide and stride across the stage – and of course – watching him moonwalk across a stage for the very first time. It was a defining moment in his already storied career, and certainly the same for those watching him. Michael was truly one of a kind, the ultimate performer, and I am very much saddened tonight as I write this.

It’s not that I’ve been a huge fan of Michael Jackson (as a lot of you know, I’ve spent most of my life obsessed with the music of Prince). But I always enjoyed his music, and admired his showmanship, and the undeniable force and presence he was in popular music.

Michael Jackson, to people my age, is our Elvis. He’s our John Lennon. His impact on the world of entertainment and popular culture is certainly on a par with Elvis and John. We grew up with him.

Yes, Michael had his problems. The last 10-15 years of Michael’s life were filled with tragedy, bizarre behavior, and deplorable accusations.  But tonight, I think back to Michael Jackson the entertainer – the amazing young talent moonwalking across that Motown 25 stage.

I’m still numb, like a lot of you. It doesn’t seem real, does it? It’s hard to even fathom right now that Michael Jackson is no longer with us in this life.

Truly a dark day. May you rest in peace, Michael.

Michael’s Thoughts:

It’s hours later and I’m still a bit stunned. Rather than write the words that will be written over and over in the coming weeks and months, I will say that the Michael I will choose to remember is the man that brought us all joy through his music, his dance, his passion and his desire to leave the world a little bit better than he came into it. I will celebrate his work and his legacy. Pray for his children and his family as they weather the days ahead. Celebrate his life and legacy… dance and sing, not out of sadness, but in honor of all the good he brought this world.

I’m Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

North South East and West: The Church @ the Varsity in Minneapolis

The Church
Varsity Theater in Minneapolis
June 21st

“I’m ready!” my friend Steve exclaimed loudly after taking a bong hit whilst standing on his head. It was the dead of winter in Minnesota in early 1988. Steve, my roommate Matt and I were about to listen to the new album by the Church entitled Starfish– purchased only hours earlier.

Steve had been into the Church way before I had. When I first met him in the fall of 1982, he had already worn out his copy of The Blurred Crusade…a drippingly wonderful psychedelic chestnut reminiscent of late 60s jangly guitar water colours. I’ll never forget the first time he played “You Took” for me. Talk about a shovel to the head stunner of a track.

As we sat blissfully stoned in the dead nut cold of 1988 and listened to what would be the biggest album the Church would ever make, we were in heaven. Starfish is  a gorgeous piece of music that will always stand the test of time. A few months later, Steve and several of his friends went to see the Church when they came to town. For whatever reason, I didn’t go. It was probably a girl.

As the years went on, I followed the Church as they made album after album. I always dug every one. They came to Minneapolis many times and I just never got around to seeing them. That’s just how it is sometimes with bands. So when my friend Brian called me up and asked, “Hey, do you want to see the Church on Sunday?” I knew that God had sent me a message.

Still basking in my last trip to the Varsity for Doves, Brian and I walked in to the theater to find a very sparse crowd. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised given our state population’s reticence to go anywhere other than the cabin or the chair in front of the TV but…MAN…did many people in Minneapolis miss a great show.

They opened with “Tantalized” from Heyday -letting us know straight from the start that this was going to be seriously tight. Drifting between new and old material, focusing on their quite good new album Untitled #23, The Church brought us all on a galactic journey that soothed my mind and heart with cosmic dust. “You Took” was loud and amazing. I thought of Steve’s grinning face, of course, as he watched me dig it for the first time 27 years ago. “A Month of Sundays” was gorgeous. “After Everything” was quite sad but exceptional. “Deadman’s Hand” and “Pangea,” both from the new record, stood up against any song from Starfish.

They closed the set proper with “Under the Milky Way” and “Reptile” which sounded so lovely and beautiful that any regret I had had about never seeing them vanished in thin air. My mind drifted back to the Elm Street apartments in 1988 and without so much as a drop of alcohol or a puff of smoke, I felt marvelously high.

Check out The Church’s latest album, Untitled #23:

Web SiteThe Church

The Church is playing next on…..

JUN 24 WED THE INTERSECTION * GRAND RAPIDS, MI
JUN 25 THU THE MAGIC BAG * FERNDALE, MI
JUN 26 FRI BEACHLAND BALLROOM * CLEVELAND, OH
JUN 27 SAT REX THEATRE * PITTSBURGH, PA
JUN 28 SUN THE STATE THEATRE * FALLS CHURCH, VA
JUN 30 TUE RAM’S HEAD ONSTAGE * ANNAPOLIS, MD
JUL 1 WED THE TROCADERO * PHILADELPHIA, PA
JUL 2 THU SHOWCASE LIVE * FOXBOROUGH, MA
JUL 3 FRI TUPELO MUSIC HALL * LONDONDERRY, NH
JUL 7 – TRALF MUSIC HALL *BUFFALO, NY
JUL 8 WED IRVING PLAZA * NEW YORK, NY
JUL 9 THU THE RIDGEFIELD PLAYHOUSE * RIDGEFIELD, CT
JUL 10 FRI SWYER THEATRE * ALBANY, NY
JUL 11 SAT – CISCO OTTAWA BLUESFEST
JUL 12 SUN – IMPERIAL THEATRE, QUEBEC CITY.

Peter Piper / Take Me To The Mardi Gras

Show of hands: who knows the genesis of the bell & percussion groove of Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper”?

I stumbled on it tonight. I was listening to Afrika Bambaata’s radio show on Sirius Backspin on the way home from work today. He was playing short clips of some of his favorites from back in the day. He played a minute or so of “Nautilus” by Bob James. Nice funky, jazzy little groove. I went on to Blip.fm to track it down. Didn’t find it, but I did see “Take Me To The Mardis Gras”.

I clicked it, and – lo & behold – the source of “Peter Piper”! The song itself was written by Paul Simon, released a year earlier (1973) on Simon’s ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon‘. Bob James added that memorable percussion and his own flair to the song on 1974’s Two.

Bob James has to be flattered, but I also think he’d be pissed to know that people go their lifetimes not knowing that his creation is the backbone of one of the classics of early hip-hop.

Bob James / “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” (Blip.fm) from 1974’s Two

Bruised Orange – Anger Management with John Prine

Some days are better than others. And when I find myself with my patience thinning (way too frequently as I get older, it seems), I always think of the chorus of this John Prine song…

You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,
throw your hands in the air, say “What does it matter?”
but it don’t do no good to get angry,
so help me I know

The sage advice of John Prine. What good does it really do to raise your voice? To pound your fist? To yell an expletive that your neighbors can probably hear from the street? With reality slapping you in the face every day – bills, a family to support, short tempered kids (where’d they get THAT from?), stupid drivers – well, it’s hard not to lose your cool.

And when I feel it coming on, I always try to take myself to this John Prine song..

For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter.
You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
wrapped up in a trap of your very own
chain of sorrow.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Put everything into perspective. And don’t sweat the small stuff.
Stay cool, peeps.

John PrineBruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) [mp3]

From Bruised Orange

Take a look at this 1980 Soundstage special, with John driving around his hometown in Illinois, telling the story behind the song…

Bruce Meets Band of Horses

Not only did Bonnaroo bring together two of my favorites in the form of a Phish-Springsteen collaboration, but, as it turned out, Bruce also found time to catch Sunday’s set by Band of Horses. And as you can see from some brand new pics posted to BoH’s blog, Bruce hung around to meet Ben Bridwell and the band afterward. Thanks and props to Christopher Wilson Photography for capturing the moment!

My musical universes continue to converge.

Check out Band of Horses Tour blog with more pics of the encounter, and a bunch of others from Bonnaroo.

By the way – if you’re a Boss fan wondering about Band of Horses, check out this Amoeba in-store video for a good intro.

Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson Photography

Back…Further Back

Towards the end of last summer, in my usual cock and balls shaft worship of each and every issue of NME, I downloaded the “Track of the Week” for August 4, 2008. More often than not, NME’s track of the week is a little clubbie, a lot indie avant garde emo shoe gazing and just alright. On that particular week, however, I knew I was beginning yet another sacred quest. Because the song I downloaded on that day, my friends, was absolutely spectacular.

I love following a UK band when they first start out. I’ve done it with so many groups and have a ton of fond memories. I recall the day back in 2000 when I purchased the “Yellow” single by Coldplay and then proceded to hyper frantically playing it for anyone who would listen. And then to watch them just blow up….so unbelievably cool! Hell,  I think I was the first kid on my block to buy the “Supersonic” single by Oasis back in 1994. So when I first heard “Make This Work” by  Magistrates, I felt that feeling…of nostalgia for a time that I had not yet experienced.

Though, I knew there was something remotely familiar about the song, and when I went to their MySpace site my deja vu was quite understandable. The Essex lads bill themselves as being a cross between Prince and The Talking Heads. First of all….what a combination. And second…they actually sound exactly like that! Quite a feat indeed.

They have spent the better part of the last nine months in the studio and last month released their second single, “Heartbreak”…also a corker. And, if you live in the UK, Magistrates are slated to open up for mother fucking Blur (!) at a series of shows this summer.

I am getting that same feeling that I got when I heard “Yellow.”