Monday, January 31, 2005
Eno's first four albums ('Here Come the Warm Jets', 'Taking Tiger Mountain', 'Another Green World', and 'Before and After Science') have been recently remasterd (by Eno) and re-released. To even begin to list his credits and legacy would be a daunting task, so I will limit myself to my favorite of his records, 'Here Come the Warm Jets'. Released in 1974 after his departure from Roxy Music, 'Jets' is a musical wonderland. A self described non-musician, Eno makes up for what he lacks with an incredible sense of atmosphere, melody, and humor. It doesn't hurt to have Robert Fripp in your rolodex as well. At first listen, one might think they are hearing the work of a crazy person, but put up against 'The Madcap Laughs', which is the work of a crazy person, Eno's apparent bizzare-ness comes across much more structured, and indeed methodic. 'Baby's On Fire' the one song from this record that I've heard outside of my own Listening Room is enough of a reason to buy this record, but the fun doesn't stop there. If I didn't own all these records already, I'd rush out and get the reissues, so if you don't, you should.
I've done some reaserch; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation is responsible for the induction process. Their mailing address is:
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
You can write them, and I urge you to do so, to implore them to induct those acts that have been passed over. My list so far:
I am going to ask them to impliment some sort of recognition or archive for influential bands and artists that, for lack of sales, won't ever be inducted, but none the less have contributed to the art form in a substanial way, i.e. Captain Beefheart, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Nazareth, Kraftwerk, Bauhaus, Motorhead, Arthur Lee (Love), The Ventures. Please help me build the list, as I'm sure I'll leave some out. I will ask for it to be named for Tony Alva, who's idea it was. I may even use his given name.
Ten years ago I was fortunate enough to get cast in a SUNY Albany production of George Bernard Shaw's play, 'Arms and the Man', and it was then that my appreciation of this literary giant began. Since then I've taken notice of a number of great quotes from George, many of which I will share with you now.
"Fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic."
"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
"Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them."
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
"Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability."
"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place"
"No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition that Paul boldly set it on it's legs again in the name of Jesus."
"All great truths begin as blasphemies."
"All my life affection has been showered upon me, and every forward step I have made has been taken in spite of it."
"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
"The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it."
"Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy."
"Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization."
"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means."
"The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people."
Have I succeeded yet?
Don't ever stay here if you can help it. The food is limited to a few standards that somehow they manage to screw-up. They obviously pre-cook their chicken wings. I don't even want to talk about what passes for bread. To me, how you start your day influences it's outcomes, and a nice blasting shower is a good way to start the day. Let's just say that the mist that meandered out of my shower head was barely sufficient. How does one shampoo if you can't get your hair wet? I have never been to a major U.S. city that did not have a PBS station. I find that extremely telling. They have Jerry Springer though, and The Bachelorette. Things are starting to make sense.....
Well I'm here, I figured I'd check it out. You can see the whole scene from the hotel, Dealy Plaza, the Book Depository (Obviously they need a place to deposit books, since nobody reads them), and the Grassy Knoll. It's very easy to see how it could be done. I don't believe in the single gunman theory. Sue Ellen had to be involved. Kristin could never have made that shot. Alas, J.R. is dead, and the world will never be the same. If you look deep into this, the Magic Bullet theory isn't too far off, I mean didn't J.R. live with a Genie in Cocoa Beach? Years of indentured servitude may have had some affect on the poor thing.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
I've been on the road for close to three weeks now, and while I've been gone Chris has been grinding out the hours installing not only our new G4, but our new Soundcraft console as well. It's no easy task, system integration, snaking cables, and putting up with George. Before George gets insulted I must say he soldered 120 points in one evening - without Flux. Not that I've been sunning myself and eating oysters all day, quite the opposite in fact. Last week I had as many overtime hours as straight time, but that's a good thing too, it means more money to build the dream. When poeple get tired, they get edgy and sensitive. So I wanted to take a moment to salute those who give all they have in persuit of the dream. So raise your glass, take a deep breath, and put in another gruelling week. It's only just begun.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
A Response By Tony Alva
I recieved this via e-mail from Tony Alva in reponse to my Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame blog, I felt it needed to be posted.
"You're right again, they ought to get caught up somehow. Yep, UFO and Naz will
probably be visitors to the hall vs features, but I think there's an outside
chance for Thin Lizzy. They had a few hits, and on a grand scale, stood out as
more unique against the other two mentioned.
I don't know if The Hall has this as part of it's charter, but I think it has a
responsibility in the historical preservation realm. They should devote some
resources to ensuring that influential bands like Naz, UFO, and Thin Lizzy be
archived for research at a minimum. For example, Randy Rhodes was heavily
influenced by George Nelson. In 50 years, kids will still be clamoring over
Randy's guitar playing I'm sure (he sure as hell better be in The Hall at some
point), but George Nelson's records will no longer be available, or very hard to
find if they're not already. Historically, I think we got lucky with the blues
in that white America embraced the art form early enough to capture for archival
purposes much of the music's lineage. T-Bone Burnett is actively trying to do
the same for bluegrass since many of the great players are old as dirt and the
origins/influences of much of this music will be lost unless someone goes out
and captures first hand accounts of where it came from.
As for what you and I call Hard Rock, others lump it into Metal and little
distinction is made. We can easily identify the two styles while others can't.
Worst still, many cannot tell the difference between UFO and Poison. As time
goes on, it becomes easier for novices to make the distinction, but perceived
relevance starts to wane.
We should write a book on this subject Theo. Why doesn't The Hall put us on the
selection committee? What's the matter with them? We rule!" -Tony Alva
Monday, January 24, 2005
I blogged about the use of fruit in the persuit of herbal refreshment last week, but in truth that's strictly entry level. True Road Dogs know about THE WORD. Every hotel room has a Bible, and in the back of every Bible you will find a few blank pages of a thinner bond than the rest, not quite rolling paper thin, but thin enough. If you have used THE WORD, then you qualify for True Road Dog status.
My brother posted a rather severe attack on Mr. Bush and friends last week, and though I agree with him in the sense that I do not trust these people and think that they are inherently evil, I do think that some of the comments on that post were fairly on point. What is needed in these times is an attitude of compromise, which both sides seem to believe the other is incapable of. I agree with Fred that the Bush administration is out for capitulation, not compromise, but I see that attitude on our side as well. I believe John Kerry would have done a fine job, but I accept that he lost, just like I accept that the Jets lost last week. I don't like it, but it happened. What needs to happen is a looking forward to next season. Last night I watched some local L.A. news magazine program on TV, and The Governator was being interviewed. I, like many other east coast liberals, thought that Arnie was a joke. I have changed my mind. I found him to be direct, thoughtful, and above all conscious of the division, and willing to do something about it. Much like another Republican that I respect, Sen. John McCain, Arnie is interested in compromise. He said he wanted to work with Democrats, not in spite of them. When asked who his 'Leadership' role models were, he replied, "Nelson Mandela, Mikael Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, and John F. Kennedy". Three out of four is pretty good. His reasoning was that these people affected change in a positive way, and were not afraid of unpopular decision making. Making the hard but right decision. I couldn't give a rat's ass about the Constitutional provision that currently blocks Arnie's ability to run for the big office. (As I've said, I'm no Nationalist. Hitler was a Nationalist, and so is Mr. Bush.) The fact is, neither could Arnie. He said he's too busy working on this movie to worry about the next. Here, Here Mr. S. So, like Arnie, let's get on with it, do our thing, try to be friends, and when we can't, try to be nice. Lead by example, do the right thing, and hope that next time we can get somebody in there who can repair the damage done.
There was a joke going arond back in the late eighties; "What has nine arms and sucks - Def Leppard". Well, there was a time when they had ten arms and were great. Briefly. The story of Def Leppard is as tragic as they come, and with respect to the family of the late Steve Clark, and Rick Allen's departed arm, for the most part, they became a symbol of all that was wrong with Hard Rock in the mid to late eighties. Over indulgence and greed took the place of integrity and balls. In 1981 Def Leppard released their second album, High N' Dry. It's exactly what a Hard Rock album should be, chock full of riffs and attitude, Gibsons and Marshalls, the good stuff. I played this record for Andy Rock about a year ago, and he took to it like a baby to tits. It amazes me that this classic record has become lost in the wash of time. "High N' Dry (Saturday Night)", "Let It Go", "Another Hit And Run", "You Got Me Runnin", and the breakout hit "Bringin' On The Heartache" are the highlights, but the whole album satisfies much the way contemporary releases like "Highway to Hell', "Blizard of Ozz", and "Brittish Steel" do. This is TRUEROCK, as Andy calls it, and I couldn't agree more. If you like your Rock served up with groove, melody, and a good amount of crunch, then put away 'Hysteria' and 'Pyromania' and slap this pup in the disc player, i-pod, or better yet, on your turnatable. Oh yeah, serve with beer.
Is it me, or has blogging mellowed considerably since those fateful events in early November? It saddens me to think that it was all election driven. Blogging has been a great outlet for me, as it has my brother. I miss all the back and forth. Where's Hue? Better yet, where's Hector?
So, we wrapped 'The Wall', artwork and all, it's all over but the assembly. During the many months of working on that project other titles were thrown out for the 'next cover record' project. During my absence, work has begun on 'Moving Pictures'. I am certainly behind this project, as it's an album that I love, and I'm certain that Chris, Rob, and Dave will be able to do it justice, but my question is; where does that leave me? I don't posses the chops to play bass or guitar on this record, and vocally, though I'd love a shot at 'Camera Eye', I feel that not only could Chris do better, it's already being handled in my absence. So, my next question is; what's the next one gonna be? It would be great if I could get Chris and Rob into doing a record more along the lines of my tastes and abilities, something I could feel more a part of as an artist. Taking in Chris' tastes and sensibilities, I think I might be able to rope him into a Neil Young record. Likely choices would be 'Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere', 'After The Gold Rush', 'On The Beach', or 'Rust Never Sleeps'. I know that I could get Tony Alva into doing the Stones 'Sticky Fingers', and given Tony's voice and knowledge of that record, Chris might be lured in that direction as well. Given the number of artists we've worked with I could probably get some guys interested in doing a Ramones record. I'd be into doing any of the first five, 'Ramones', 'Leave Home' (with 'Carbona Not Glue'), 'Rocket To Russia' (probably my first choice), 'Road To Ruin', or 'End Of The Century' (probably my last choice). Being that I'm looking at a stretch of time when I won't be working when I get back next week, maybe I can get the ball rolling on this.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
We're watching the Eagles/Falcons game in our work room, and I really don't care who wins. In my mind I should be seeing Big Blue on the field, but alas, I'm not. As far as the next game goes, Pittsburgh/New England, well that's a horse of a different color. The Steelers HAVE to win. If not, then I have no choice than to accept the fact that the 'New Age' has begun, and our society is being run by a close knit group of wealthy individuals who have been running things since the middle-ages. The Patriots go hand in hand with the Bush-Cheney folks. I watched the Coronation, and I listened to his address. I heard both speeches. I heard the literal one, the one 'every-man' heard, and I heard the sub-text too. Freedom means commerce, God means control, he laid it all out if you listened close. They are in control now, and it happened the way it was prophesised; we invited them in. Go Steelers!
It goes like this; you wak up early and go down to the work room where coffee and crump is provided. You drink the crappy coffe, eat the crappy crump, and then a few hours later you decide to go up to your room to take a nice private dump, BUT, invariably that's the exact time the Housemaid is cleaning your room. I have chosen to wait her out over going public.
I have mentioned here before how disappointed I am with the Rock andRoll Hall of Fame and their omissions. I will repeat my cry of outrage that Black Sabbath have been consistently snubbed since 1994 when they first became eligible.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has been eligible since 1998. I realize that these two bands have never been critically acclaimed, but since when do critics buy records? Sweet Home Alabama is an anthem - like it or not. Skynyrd is a cultural force, and we've all felt the room change when that riff starts and Ronnie says 'Turn it up". It's a crime on that account alone, not to mention 'Simple Man', 'The Ballad Of Curtis Lowe', 'Tuesday's Gone'. Even the staples - 'Saturday Night Special', 'They Call The Breeze', 'That Smell' - the effect of Skynyrd is best summed up by Dan Baird, formerly of the Georgia Satellites, on his first solo effort, 'Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired'. During the song 'Dixie Beauderaunt' the main character, Dixie, wins a Wet T-Shirt contest because instead of dancing to Twisted Sister, she told the DJ "Gimme Three Steps, mister!"
Maybe in these overly scrutinized times, a band whose symbol is the Rebel Flag of the Confederacy is likely to be snubbed, but aren't we talking about Rock an Roll here? When Rock has to be PC -it's done. Tom Petty is in the Hall, and he has used the Stars and Bars as a backdrop during his live shows. Tom hangs out with Bob Dylan, Gary Rossington doesn't. So, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is like the Oscars and the Grammys and all the rest - a glorified King and Queen of the hop. Your contribution is not as important as how you dress and who you hang with.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Motorhead's 'Ace of Spades' is the album that made Lemmy a legend, and it's in my top 10 for damn sure. Part of the reason is the song 'We Are The Road Crew'. I loved this song when I was a teenager, mostly because of the riff, which was one of the first things I could play on guitar. Nowdays, I spend about three to four months (on average) on the road every year, and this song pops into me cerebellum regularly, so I'd like to share it's plain but apt lyric with you.
Another town another place,
Another girl, another face,
Another truck, another race,
I'm eating junk, feeling bad,
Another night, I'm going mad,
My woman's leaving, I feel sad,
But I just love the life I lead,
Another beer is what I need,
Another gig my ears bleed,
We Are The Road Crew
Another town I've left behind,
Another drink completely blind,
Another hotel I can't find,
Another backstage pass for you,
Another tube of super glue,
Another border to get through,
I'm driving like a maniac,
Drive my way to hell and back,
Another room a case to pack,
We Are The Road Crew
Another hotel we can burn,
Another screw, another turn,
Another Europe map to learn,
Another truckstop on the way,
Another game I learn to play,
Another word I learn to say,
Another bloody customs post,
Another fucking foreign coast,
Another set of scars to boast,
We Are The Road Crew
All my adult life, ever since my adolescence, I wanted to be in a touring Rock band. I've been in plenty of bands, played hundreds of shows, but never got the chance to take it on the road. I have managed to find 'the life' as we call it, and I do tours, sleep in hotels, drink too much, eat shitty food, sleep very little, wake up disortiented, and as Jackson Browne said: "I get up, and do it again...ah yeah." Because I DO love the life I lead, and another beer IS what I need.
"That's Right!" - Lemmy
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I've been in Stamford CT since Saturday morning. Not much to say about Stamford. I used to live nearby, and have fond memories of that time, but it has nothing to do with geography, and everything to do with family. My neice was born here, and since she's wonderful, I'll lay off on the Stamford slagging. My brother managed a video store here, and he woked with Dennis Dunaway of the Alice Cooper band, so that's cool. I had dinner with him, a highlite of my tenure on the planet - a bit sad though, he was obviously damaged by his time with Alice, both physically and emotionally. Meeting one's heroes is a losing proposition, you'll most likely be let down in some way. I'm staying at what I have come to know as the worst Marriott in the world. The staff is awful, food horrible, weather...well that's not their fault. It is damn cold though, I've forgotten how cold it get's here on the coast of the Long Island Sound, and soon enough I will forget again, as I'm L.A. bound again. Yep, back to the Bonaventure, after a brief stop in Brooklyn to see the new SoundCraft console we just obtained for our studio. This traveling does have a number of up-sides. I won't have seen my Baby for a month and a half, which sucks, but hey, I got a SoundCraft mixing desk - made in England! In the world of Audio that's like having an Italian motor-cycle. Bragging rights for sure. Next? Maybe some Neve strips? Focusrite? Anybody know where a guy can get a Fairchild cheap? Tony, don't answer that - you'll just fill up my inbox with links to E-bay.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Last night I hooked up with a friend of mine who's working for the travel staff that we work in conjunction with on these Big Pharma meetings. (BTW, Michael Moore was spotted near our hotel two days ago, instructions have been issued to not talk to any large man in a baseball cap.) I met this individual, my freind, when I was here a year and a half ago at the Century Plaza, and we bonded in the usual way, over weed. When I travel for work, I don't carry. It's bad business. Inevitably, we sniff out the local audio crew, or find a local park where gentlemen of leisure can be found, nine out of ten times a bag can be had. (Salt Lake was a bust, go figure. ) Anyway, my friend and I got together, made a pipe out of an apple - you can't call yourself a true Road Dog unless you've used this trick - and then he took me on a tour of our environs. We started by looking out our windows. I'm on the 29th floor of the Bonaventure, and I have an incredible view of Hollywood, but my friend pointed out all the downtown architecture that I had been looking past, the philharmonics, the 'Dragnet' building, the modern art museum, all very cool stuff. What I liked best though, was the interior design of the Bonaventure. It's something that one must experience, the concentric circles, the Bauhaus influence combined with the post modern 'cement' look. We discussed the natural fractals, and the various lighting effects that are created through the design of the building. It's no wonder why this hotel has been used in so many movies, 'In The Line Of Fire', 'True Lies', 'Forget Paris', and others including, I believe, 'Cheech And Chong's Nice Dreams' - the hotel does not advertise this last one, but I recognize it from the scene where Cheech is hanging naked off the outside elevators. I think I'm overdue on a 'Nice Dreams' blog. Anyway, I leave for Stamford CT tomorrow, and I have a few free hours, so my plan is to actually leave the hotel today, as I've been her for six days and have not made it past the curb. (My first night, last Friday, I went out to dinner with my boss and a freind of his in Burbank, I had never been there, I don't think I'll return.) Wish me luck.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Not in the way that Randy Newman does, not like a resident, but I am fond of this city. I think it stems from the fact that everywhere I go, I'm somehow reminded of a Warren Zevon song. Gower Avenue, Trader Vic's, Ensenada, Echo Park, Alvarado Street, Mullholland Drive, L'Ermitage, the list goes on. And then there's those Hollywood nights in those Hollywood hills. I mean I practically feel like an Eagle, or at least somebody who might have been in Jackson Browne's band. I can feel that Cali sound, I feel it on my skin when the sun shines, I can smell the music in the air. It's in the tree lined streets, and the post modern architecture of the houses in the hills. It makes me feel good, and I think that's what that sound was all about. Feelin' good. Fortunately for me, not only can I check out any time I like, but I can leave as well.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
In 1981, I was in New York City becoming a Naturalized Citizen (I was born outside of the US), and my parents were kind enough to take me shopping afterward. I walked into a record shop on 8th street and saw a record on display. The cover was of a man’s crotch adorned in leather and studs. I couldn’t help myself, I had to buy it. The album, of course, was Motley Crüe’s ‘Too Fast For Love’. I brought it home, and it spoke to me. I played it for my friends, and at first nobody else much cared for it. I liked the blend of pop, metal, and punk, and before too long, it seemed everybody was a Crüe fan. The album of course is horribly recorded. We played it at Olive’s on Thursday night during one of Andy Rock’s vinyl nights behind the bar. I guess I’m used to the god awful tones on the record, because although I know they suck complete ass, it doesn’t bother me too much. I can laugh it off and still dig the riffs and melodies. I’m sure Chris would rather plunge a rusty fork in his eye than listen to this record, and that’s understandable. He can listen to the Yes ‘Union’ album which has good tone, but awful lyrics and banal melodies; I prefer the old Crüe. I’d take ‘Close To The Edge’ over any Crüe record, but that’s a whole other blog.
The lobby bar at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles can be seen from my workroom on the second floor. During a smoke break I noticed that THE BIG GAME was on. I had nearly forgotten about football, being deep under THE GRID. THE BIG GAME was already in Overtime when I found a spare moment to check it out. I felt for the Chargers’ rookie kicker, who missed an easy Field Goal, but not enough. What surprised me most was the number of Jet fans here in LA. When the Jets’ kicker got his chance, he made the best of it, twice, due to a deftly placed time-out on the part of the Chargers. The place exploded. Then I went back to work.
My buddy Chan is a big Elvis fan, he’s even got a ‘TCB’ tattoo. I can appreciate that, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I don’t have any Elvis records, but his early ones were revolutionary, at least in the sense that they changed the world. As Chan says; Elvis taught white folk where the two and the four were. Well today is his birthday, at least here in LA it’s still his birthday, so I’m wishing him a happy one. Do they have Dilaudid in Heaven?
Elvis: "Jerry Lee, They say I play the Devils music."
Jerry Lee: "Hell Elvis, you ARE the Devil."