Wednesday, November 02, 2011


The greatest unreleased rock album just had its official release. (Link to the Guardian). I heard one track this afternoon and had to crank it up: the bass guitar line sounded eerily like something Paul McCartney would have played on the "Revolver" sessions. (I keep mixing up the chain of events. Is it Rubber Soul influenced Pet Sounds influenced Revolver influenced Smile influenced Sgt. Pepper?)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Marty On George


Martin Scorsese's documentary on George Harrison, "Living in the material world", will air on HBO next week. The trailer is on YT.

There is, however, no truth to the story that Ingmar Bergman will be directing the definitive Ringo Starr bio-pic.

Monday, September 05, 2011


I was "there" for Live Aid. In front of the television, anyway. And yes, kids - Freddie Mercury was just as larger-than-life then as he seems today. In fact, when he and the band performed "Hammer to Fall" that day in July, I was convinced he was 40-feet tall. Just fire up that YouTube video to see what I am talking about.

After that crazy, exuberant singalong/intro, Freddie exclaims "ALL RIGHT!" and the crowd echoes his exclamation so very faithfully. Freddie looks elated at the crowd's response. It's as if he is congratulating the crowd on their joint performance. This is what they mean when they talk about great performers erasing boundaries between themselves and the audience.

But I am not in the stadium. Not even close. I am fifteen years old, watching this thrilling moment unfold on live TV and I just lose my fucking mind. It's the kind of a moment that makes you want to run to everyone and tell them about this thing you just saw.

Now here I am. I just saw the YouTube video again and I want to tell *everyone* about it. So here they are: Queen, playing Hammer to Fall, at Live Aid. I hope you lose your fucking mind.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm Floating In A Most Peculiar Way

Early psychedelic rock was influenced by children's literature. So it's fun to see "Space Oddity" rendered as a children's book. Lovely stuff, whether or not you are a fan of Bowie or of children's books. (Via MeFi)

Now where's my "Atom Heart Mother" coloring book? (Just sell it with LSD-soaked crayons...)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jerry Lieber

"She said 'I'm gonna mix it up right here in the sink'"

"You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine"

"You're gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion"

Jerry Lieber, R.I.P. Like the greatest of artists, Lieber practiced alchemy: his songwriting transformed the utterly American idiom of rock lyric into a universal language. Only Lieber also invented the rock lyric. ("The warden threw a party in the county jail" - that is terrible law enforcement but what an opening.)

I get the chills just thinking of his discography: Hound Dog, Love Potion #9, Yakety Yak, Stand by me, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Kansas City, Jailhouse Rock...(and browsing around, I learned today that he also wrote "Jackson" and - I couldn't have guessed this one - "Stuck in the middle with you".)

Some obituaries: NYT, Village Voice (page has lots of song videos).

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Dalai Lama: The Rolling Stone Interview

On India's democracy:

"And here, too, I had the opportunity to visit Indian Parliament. I found big contrast. In Indian Parliament, lots of noise. No discipline. This was a clear sign of complete freedom of expression. Indian parliamentarians, they love to criticize their government. So I realized, this is the meaning of democracy — freedom of speech. I was so impressed with the democratic system."

On dialogue:

"Peace will not come from thought or from Buddha. Peace must be built by humans, through action. So that means, whenever we face problem — dialogue. That's the only way."

Finally, His Holiness in full on comedy mode upon being asked whether he will be buried in Potala:

"Most probably, if change comes and it is time to return to Tibet, my body will be preserved there. But it doesn't matter. If the airplane I'm on crashes, then finished! Follow bin Laden!"

The full interview