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Saturday, June 28, 2008


The question is not why didn't Marillion reach international superstardom; but how did they manage to achieve the success they briefly enjoyed?

By 1980 Prog Rock was not only dead, it was a joke. Yes, Genesis, and ELP had degenerated into veritable crap machines. It could be argued that ELP had never been anything but a veritable crap machine. Only those bands who were only loosely associated with Prog - Pink Floyd, Rush - remained vital. Even the mighty Floyd was beginning to fragment.

So what then, were Marillion thinking in 1979 when they embarked upon an insane journey based on the notion that what the kids really wanted was another Prog band.

Okay, maybe there was a more noble motive, maybe they just decided to play what they felt instead of what was popular. Steve Harris, bassist, band leader, and main composer for Iron Maiden, who was also a big supporter and fan of Marillion, had done the same thing in 1977 when Punk was king and Metal was deemed to have passed on. He fought through the fad, and found a fan base who were indeed waiting for a band just like Iron Maiden to come around.

Most of England's music fans in the early 1980's were thought to have abandoned long hair and technical proficiency in favor of safety pins and synthesizers, and it's certain a great many had, but there were still masses of punters who had not thrown out their Uriah Heep and King Crimson records. This demographic became the Maiden fan base, and in turn, oddly enough, many of them became Marillion fans as well.

The one thing, if there has to be only one, that Marillion did do right, in their initial incarnation at least, was match the flighty self indulgent side of Prog with Big Guitar Riffs. Like King Crimson but without the upper class arty vibe, and much less math. Pink Floyd was an obvious influence on Marillion, searing but lyrical guitar melodies fattened by keyboards and carried along by a powerful rhythm section that chose sympathetic support over bombast.

The vocals, however, were unapologetically Gabriel. I remember reading in Kerrang - again, since Prog was dead and everybody knew it, Marrillion was adopted by the Metal scene like musical orphans - anyway, in an interview in Kerrang, Fish (vocals) was asked about his influences. He refused to answer the question directly, quipping that it should be obvious.

It was.

Fish was no where near the caliber of a singer like Gabriel, much like Stephen Rothery (guitar) was certainly no Dave Gilmour, but, they were very good students. They took the elements of those outstanding performers that they could emulate and concentrated on that.

Fish is a poet who found that Rock was a more than suitable medium in which to work. On the surface Fish was an unlikely Rock Star. A pot-bellied giant who's hairline was quickly receding, Fish got by on an endearing earnestness and a working class ethos in his approach to the traditionally upper class of poetry and Prog Rock. Much like his contemporary Bono, Fish wore his heart on his sleeve without apology, as a badge of honor. Bono did not become cool, cool became Bono. I'm not sure cool ever became Fish, but that was the path he took.

A lot like a Marillion song, this post has already gotten long and I'm just starting to roll.

Formed in 1979 as Silmarillion after the Tolkein book, Marillion proper took shape in 1981 consisting of Fish, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas (bass), Mark Kelly (keys), and Mick Pointer (drums). A television appearance led to a record deal with EMI, and in 1982 the 'Market Square Heroes' single was released.

"I got a golden handshake that nearly broke my arm
I left the ranks of shuffling graveyard people
I got rust upon my hands from the padlocked factory gates
Silent chimneys provide the silent steeples

Cause I'm a Market Square hero gathering the storms to troop
Cause I'm a Market Square hero speeding the beat of the street pulse
Are you following me, are you following me?
Well suffer my pretty children and follow me, follow me"

Whereas the lyrical content of their Prog forefathers was generally high minded hogwash and never really seemed to be about anything, or at least anything that anyone could understand, Fish adapted a anti-establishment vibe akin to Punk bands like The Clash or The Jam to the obligatory overstated prose that in part defines Prog rock.

In 1983 the first full length album, 'A Script For a Jester's Tear', appeared in the bins. Quite inexplicably, EMI was putting a considerable effort into promoting the band. The album appeared in the record store at the Newburg Mall. I remember the cover art beckoning me, but it wasn't until the record was recommended to me by Brian Spears that I bought it.

I was 16 at the time, and the heartbreak that Fish painted on the title track was something I connected to very strongly. All the tracks on that album are strong compositions, albeit somewhat ineptly recorded, again, much like the first Iron Maiden record.

Lots of gigging ensued, including a stint opening for Rush on the east coast leg of their American tour.

In March of 1984 Marillion emerged from the studio with 'Fugazi'. Recording their sophomore effort proved to be a difficult process due to the departure of drummer Mick Pointer, who's replacement, the extremely talented Ian Mosely, was secured only after a trying period of auditioning and rejecting numerous drummers. To add insult to injury, the recording of 'Fugazi' was also marred by the circumstances brought about by the great age of computers. Digital audio was rearing it's ugly head, and Marillion got caught trying to straddle the gap. The band would record their tracks at one studio, then the tape would travel by cab to another studio to be dumped into a computer and then mixed. There were many unfortunate setbacks due to working with a technology in its infancy.

The result, in my opinion, is exceptional. The band was not happy with the final product, but they stoically put their disappointment behind them and hit the road, again opening for Rush in America. As their star ascended, so did their budgets. The live show became increasingly more elaborate, more sophisticated lights, multi level stage set, and Fish's propensity for tapping into theatrics in the form of face paint and props.

The live show was captured on tape for a live record, 'Real to Reel', released in November 1984. Featuring selections from their previous releases, 'Real to Reel' also contained 'Cinderella Search', a previously unreleased track that ranks among the bands better compositions.

The band was poised on the brink of breaking big. They had, like U2, been focused on the American market, and the next record would be the bands make or break moment concerning that effort. What did they do? They gambled. They went in both directions. They delivered a record that was simultaneously more accessible, and musically more ambitious.

June of 1985 saw the release of 'Misplaced Childhood', which hit all the marks of a serious Prog record, it was a concept piece with each side a continuous musical entity comprised of interwoven songs, two of which were released as singles: 'Kayleigh', and 'Lavender'. Remarkably 'Kayleigh' became a hit not only in the UK, but in the USA as well. I remember hearing it on the radio while working at the Montgomery Mall that fall. This was new for me, as the music I liked tended to be shunned by radio.

Massive touring followed, the album continued to sell, and everything was great as the band went back into the studio in 1986. Everything except that the band had begun to develop a strained relationship with Fish.

None the less, their fourth studio LP hit the stores in June of 1987. 'Clutching at Straws' was a darker record for a band known for dark records. Exploring themes of alcoholism, life on the road, and the well trod ground of failed relationships, 'Clutching at Straws' did not find as much favor in the marketplace as it's predecessor.

Another tour followed. I caught them at The Ritz in NYC. They were great, the crowd sang along to all the songs, and then, as Fish eluded to on stage that night, he quit the band at the end of the tour.

Thus marks the end of Marillion for Jackson. The band brought on a new singer and have been working steadily ever since. They've recorded many records post Fish, none of which I bought.

Fish has had a semi-successful solo career. I have one of his records. It sounds like him trying to recreate Marillion.

I know none of you care.


Top Ten AC/DC songs:

1) Rock and Roll Singer
2) Highway To Hell
3) Touch Too Much
4) Go Down
5) Riff Raff
6) Rock and Roll Damnation
7) Overdose
8) Down Payment Blues
9) Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be
10) Little Lover

Go ahead, I know what you're going to say, blah blah blah 'Back In Black' blah blah....

Top Ten Aerosmith Songs:

1) Seasons of Wither
2) Uncle Salty
3) Nobody's Fault
4) Lord of the Thighs
5) Last Child
6) Sweet Emotion
7) No More, No More
8) Draw the Line
9) Adam's Apple
10) Mama Kin

Top Ten Live Records

1) UFO - 'Strangers in the Night'
2) Kiss - 'Alive'
3) Motorhead - 'No Sleep 'til Hammersmith'
4) Ted Nugent - 'Double Live Gonzo'
5) Thin Lizzy - 'Live and Dangerous'
6) Aerosmith - 'Live Bootleg'
7) Neil Young - 'Live Rust'
8) Ian Hunter - 'Welcome to the Club'
9) The Band - 'The Last Waltz'
10) Tom Petty - 'Pack Up the Plantation'

Top Ten Stand-Up Comedians

1) Eddie Murphy
2) Steve Martin
3) Eddie Izzard
4) Richard Pryor
5) Gilbert Gottfried
6) Bobcat Goldthwaite
7) George Carlin
8) Chris Rock
9) Dave Chapelle
10) Sam Kinison

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Both NYC Major League Baseball stadiums are being knocked down after this season. It was justified then that I finally managed to see a game at both Yankee Stadium, and Shea Stadium.

I really don't care about baseball. It is fun to go to the ballpark though, but the game is ancillary. I went because in each case it was a good excuse to get together with folks who's company I enjoy, and to eat ballpark food.

I saw the Yankees a few weeks back, and last night I did the Mets thing.

The Yankees weren't very impressive, but the Mets impressed me alright. I was impressed by how much they suck.

I don't remember how the Yankees fared. Not surprising, but I did have a good time with my brothers and my nephew Josh. Josh is always a lot of fun at a sporting event.

The food and beverage situation at Yankee Stadium went well beyond my expectations. All the standard stuff - hot dogs, sausage and peppers sandwiches, a selection of beers - was easily obtained within a short distance from anywhere in the stands, but a small amount of further reconnaissance delivers a food and beverage bonanza zone with a more than satisfying selection of more refined, albeit outrageously expensive menu items along with a wider variety of domestic and imported beers.

Jackson was pleased.

The Mets are awful.
Admittedly I went to the game bearing a grudge. I didn't always hold Baseball in such low regard. When I was twelve, in 1977, I was a Yankee fan. I don't see as how I couldn't have been. On that legendary team was a guy by the name of Willie Randolph, and he was my favorite Yankee. Willie's dismissal last week pissed me off. I understand the turbulent nature of managing a Major League team, but the total lack of regard that he was shown by the Mets is shameful.

In their complete breakdown against Seattle on Tuesday night (0-11), I couldn't see as to how things were any better without Willie.

Again, I didn't really care. I was there to hang out with Jimmy and Big Dave, and consume ballpark food and beverage.

Shea Stadiums roving vendors were everywhere dispensing with the dogs (very good) and brew (Bud Light). It seemed like there were more of them than at Yankee Stadium, but I realized that it was probably due to the lack of fans in the stands.

Like at Yankee Stadium, a brief walk at Shea will take you to a concession upgrade, but it falls well short of the mark set by it's counterpart in The Bronx. I did manage a decent corn dog, but the pizza was tired.

We left in the 6th inning when the score was 0-10.

Both Stadiums were easily accessible via subway. Jackson enjoys the train, more so after drinking. Driving to sporting events blows.

So, in summation, Yankee Stadium fairly well kicks the ass of Shea Stadium.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I found a huge stash of vinyl at a junk shop very near the studio. I'm not going to reveal the location until after I've cleaned it out. Don't worry, I saw a lot of great records that I already have there, so it will still be a rich vein of wax for others to mine.

The fact that it's located so conveniently is amazing enough, but look what I found there.

I recently blogged about Mott The Hoople, and was unable to comment upon their eponymously titled debut LP because I didn't own it.

Not anymore.

Also recently I wrote a Joe Walsh post, in which I mentioned that I did not own a copy of his first post James Gang record, 'Barnstorm'.

That too has changed.

Unbelievable, right?

I also picked up the soundtrack for 'National Lampoon's Lemmings'.
A Woodstock parody featuring pre-SNL John Belushi and Chevy Chase as well Christopher Guest. Belushi's famous Joe Cocker impersonation was developed for this Off-Broadway show.
I scapped up 'Call of the Wild' by Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes.
Peter Tosh's 'Equal Rights'.
Kate Bush, 'Lionheart'.
Commodores Greatest Hits
Warren Zevon, The Envoy
And The Edgar Winter Group, 'They Only Come Out At Night'
......and a few others as well.....

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Clarkie nailed me on this truly offensive omission. A few years back Clarkie, Chuck and I went to the Warsaw in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see Paul Westerberg.

I'm not a huge fan of the solo show. Neil Young does it well, but he also does a second set with a band. I like to see bands. Westerberg proved the exception.

Paul performed a lengthy set of Replacements and Westerberg solo faves all by his lonesome, with only living room furniture joining him on the stage. It was not a 'solo acoustic' set as most of these type of shows are. Paul played some acoustic, but rounded it out with various electric guitars.

It was a great show, he played a ton of tunes, and I ate perogies and kielbasa - a feature found only at the Warsaw.
Toward the end of the show, Paul invited twenty or so audience members to join him onstage, lounge in the living room, and sing along. Clarkie was among them. Dreams do come true.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Do you enjoy professional sports? Do you hate professional sports? Do you enjoy witnessing the very breakdown of a man's soul? If you answered yes to any of these questions you should check out MikeDot's new sports blog, I'm Keith Hernandez.

This ain't Stinkrock, this is genocide.....


My recent Top Ten post attempted to list the most memorable and notable concerts that I have attended. As I was sure would happen, I missed a few.

Devo at Summer Stage in Central Park, 1996

Great show. Magical. Blogged it.

Tom Petty at Amsterjam, Randall's Island, NYC, 1997.

Tom converted Figo that night.

Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Dead Milkmen at the Academy, NYC, 1990

I'm so glad I caught the Chilis before the onslaught of 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'. The Milkmen were touring 'Metaphysical Graffiti'. Outstanding energy from both bands that night.

Tom Petty at Music Midtown, Atlanta, 1996.

Often when I whip myself up into a frenzy in anticipation of a concert I get let down. This was not such an occasion, and man was I whipped up. During an early number in the set I had the opportunity to talk down an enraged Tony Alva. He was letting some jerk ruin his good time. I explained how he should let it go and enjoy the show. He did. It was a great show to enjoy. Blogged it.

Other notable acts at Music Midtown that year: Joan Jett, John Fogerty, Devo. Keith Urban surprised me with some fine guitar skills, and Def Leppard sounded like crap. Blogged it all: Day One, Day Three.

The Cramps at the Academy, NYC, 1990.

Jackson surfed the crowd. Lux Interior had a close relationship with his privates. Poison Ivy rocked her Gretsch fiercely while maintaining her feminine mystique.

Fishbone at Wetlands, NYC, 1995.

Angelo spent 80% of the show on top of the crowd. The place was packed tighter than any other show I had witnessed, before or since.

The Reverend Horton Heat at the Limelight, NYC, 1992.

Jackson got religion, as well as covered in sweat. I think there's a correlation.

Pink Floyd, Yankee Stadium, 1994.

Along with the Petty shows this is the most glaring omission from my previous post. Maybe because they were such mammoth events that they go beyond mere concert experiences.

In the summer of 1994 I was living in Albany, NY, about to attend the last year of classes of my marathon 10 year undergrad road tour. Eight of us scored Floyd tickets, and Brendan Gallagher loaded us all in his parents family truckster. My roommate at the time and I occupied the way back seat, the one in the station wagon that faces backwards. We had spent the weeks prior amassing an arsenal of intoxicants that would have made Hunter S. Thompson proud. We named our adventure the 'All Drug Olympics'. We had a case of beer, a bottle of Percodan, a quarter ounce of mushrooms, a half ounce of bud, a gram of coke, and a couple a' four or five hits of blotter.

Now, I know my mother will most likely read this, and so will the Legal Diva. They'll most likely shake their heads in disapproval, maybe make the sign of the cross, or even promptly try to block it all out, all of which are reasonable responses. I can only say that it was going to be a long day, we had a number of friends to share with, and that we were very careful about our irresponsible activity.

It's a two and a half hour drive to NYC from Albany. My roommate and I hit the beer and weed immediately. The reefer made it's way around the car, but only three of us were drinking. About 45 minutes outside of NYC we decided that it was time for a couple of caps and stems out of the bag of mushrooms, thus insuring a goodly amount of confusion and chaos when we arrived at Yankee Stadium.

When we got to our seats on the upper deck we took the acid. It was about a half hour before showtime. As you can tell, we put a lot of thought into our schedule, and the planning payed out in glorious sonic and visual gold doubloons.

Floyd travels with a 5.1 P.A. system that worked perfectly for Yankee Stadium, and more pertinently for our seats. We were dead center looking down at what would be the line from second base to home plate where the stage was set up. When the Binson Echo unit deployed by Dave Gilmour pumped the 'whom-whomp-whomp' in a cycle around the speakers which circled the stadium, well, words simply fail to meet the demand.

I couldn't make out any of the band on the stage which seemed a mile away. I didn't need to. Pink Floyd planned for that. The lights and the projection gave us plenty of incredible eye candy to keep us riveted as the music poured over us.

I don't remember doing any of the coke, I think we brought it along mostly because we wanted a lot of variety. I do remember that it was all gone at the end of the show.

After the show it was time for the Percodan. Being confined in a station wagon for two and a half hours with a head full of LSD is not a recipe for a good time. We knew that, and planned accordingly. The Percodan took off the edge as we settled in for the ride home.

I must thank Brendan for being the designated driver. Okay, he might have had a puff or two, but he laid off the heavy stuff and provided us with a truly great adventure.

Jackson does not recommend cross platform drug use. On this occasion we had strict rules of consumption, and we had spent a great deal of time training for the event.

It was, of course, a blast. A once in a lifetime event.


Misanthrope came through huge with floor seats for himself, Tony Alva, and I at the Iron Maiden show at Madison Square Garden Sunday night.

Tony and I spent the afternoon listening to selections of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal from my vinyl collection while knocking back beers and grilling chicken.

We met up with Misanthrope and Hazmat for some pre-show libations at Tempest Bar across from MSG. Our casual drinking cost us two and a half Maiden tunes, as the band went on promptly at eight o'clock. We missed 'Aces High', 'Two Minutes to Midnight', and half of 'Revelations'. I was more bummed about missing part of 'Revelations' that the other two.

Iron Maiden were in fine form. They played great, and for over two hours. Even a P.A. snafu during 'Powerslave' which left the band stranded for ten minutes didn't phase them. They brought out a soccer ball and booted it about until they sound came back on, then they picked up where they left off.

Maiden is such a talented band. Across the board, all amazing players.

The real star of the show, however, was the set design. Just fucking brilliant. Huge backdrops featuring various stages of Eddie, beautifully lit. Outstanding pyro and, of course, robotic Eddies.

I was a bit let down by the set list, as I knew I would be. They played almost all of 'Powerslave', quite a bit off of 'Somewhere In Time' and other more recent numbers leaving very little room for selections from their first five records. The records I like. Hey, I understand. Just because I didn't buy any of their post '84 records doesn't mean nobody did, quite the opposite in fact, and those fans deserve to hear that stuff. They did play 'Number of the Beast' and 'Run to the Hills'. They closed with 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', but they gave us nothing from 'Killers', and only 'Iron Maiden' from the debut.

I'm fine with all that. I had a great time.

The Scorpions did a better job of making me feel 15 again, but Maiden kicked ass and then some for two hours and a hell of a lot of 16th notes.


Mathdude has created a new blog dedicated to our youth at West Point and all the hijinks that made the Skateboard Gang legendary.

I'll be posting a lot over there.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


An amazing man and his mad scheme to break free of the ass-fucking of Big Oil.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I remember reading, years ago, that in response to Kurt Cobain's suicide Perry Ferrel said that Kurt should have just put out a bad album.

As crass as that may sound, it is actually sage wisdom. The problem is that it seems the wrong people took note, and what's worse, they didn't stop at one.

What is up with Pearl Jam? One stellar mother-fucker of a debut, and then turd followed by turd. Well, okay, maybe 'turd' is too strong, but it seems that Pearl Jam has tried very hard to not write hit songs ever since their second album.

And Radiohead. What are they doing? I don't get it. They are obviously capable of writing outstanding tunes, but after 'OK Computer' it seems they too have made a concerted effort to avoid releasing anything remotely accessible.

Ironically, Kurt's suicide note quoted Neil Young, who along with Lou Reed invented the concept of the head scratching release in order to relieve industry pressure.

"People tell us that we play too loud
But they don't know what our music's about
We never listen to the record company man
They try to screw us and ruin our band.

That's why we don't wanna be good
That's why we don't wanna be good
We're prisoners of rock and roll.

When were jammin' in our old garage
The girls come over and it sure gets hot
We don't wanna be watered down
Takin' orders from record company clowns.

That's why we don't wanna be good
That's why we don't wanna be good
We're prisoners of rock and roll."

- Neil Young, 'Prisoners of Rock and Roll'

Just a thought.......

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Top Ten Movies Tony Alva And I Watched In Endless Rotation In The Mid Eighties

1) Apocalypse Now

2) The Man With Two Brains

3) The Road Warrior

4) The Killing Fields

5) Trading Places

6) Apocalypse Now

7) The Road Warrior

8) The Man With Two Brains

9) Apocalypse Now

10) Apocalypse Now

Top Ten Television Shows Tony Alva And I Watched In 1985-6

1-10) The Rockford Files

Top Eleven Concerts Jackson Has Attended

1) UFO - Limelight, NYC, 1995

2) U2 - Capital Center, Md, 1985

3) Bowie - Roseland, NYC, 1996

4) Peter Gabriel - Capital Center, 1986

5) Kiss - Madison Square Garden, NYC, 1979

6) Stevie Ray Vaughn - Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie NY, 1989

7) Keith Richards & The Replacements - Meadowlands, 1989

8) Aerosmith - Orange County Fairgrounds, NY, 1984

9) Kix - Hammerjacks, Baltimore Md, 1986

10) Van Halen - Boston Garden, 1980

11) The Georgia Satellites - The Chance, Poughkeepsie NY, 1988

That was tough. Yes, I've seen the Stones, twice, yes they were great. Just not as great as these. I've seen the Ramones five times, but they always seemed to be trying to get through the set as fast as possible. REM at the Meadowlands on the 'Green' tour was a great show. Maiden at the Mid Hudson Civic Center in 1984 was notable. Rod took me to see Dylan with Dead and Tom Petty. I saw the Dead again at MSG with Gulo and they did 'Terrapin'. The Scorpions at MSG in '83 was mindblowing, but they opened for Rainbow who blew ass farts and thusly compromised the event. (Mathdude? Crunch-mobile?) Fred took me to see John Lee Hooker in the late eighties, and it had a profound effect on me. Buddy Guy on his birthday at his club in Chicago was indescribable, but it wasn't so much of a concert as a jam session. Every Alice Cooper Halloween show I saw (5) was beyond compare. It would be unfair to all other acts to do so. He is simply in a class of his own.

There have been many memorable concerts. Tony Alva and I, on a whim, went to see Nazareth and Foghat at the Chance. When we got there we found out that Nazareth had cancelled and we got Hot Tuna instead. Hot Tuna was not a suitable replacement in our eyes, and to make matters worse, the drummer was the only original Foghat member on stage that night. I got bounced out of a Ramones show at the Bayou in DC for po-going by a jar head. Milkyum and I lost our hearing at a Blackfoot show at the Mid Hudson Civic Center. We stood right in front of the PA. Also at the Mid Hudson Civic Center Milkyum and I got beat by a 'scalper' and were forced to sell our studded wrist bands and belts in orer to come up with 20 bucks to bribe the backstage door guard. We made the show.

There is one show that ranks above all others in it's impact. It might not have been the greatest performance, but at the time you could not have persuaded me otherwise. It wasn't the first, that was Atlanta Rhythm Section earlier that same year (1979), but it was the first arena show, and more importantly I think, it was the first show I saw outside the restrictive society of the military. I lived at West Point, and though it was great to have a venue like Ike Hall where notable rock bands played (REO, UFO, The Kinks, Joan Jett, The Pretenders....), it was still West Point, and the place was filled with Cadets. Not a great many joints got passed around at Ike Hall shows.

In the summer of 1979, after dropping our brother Rod off at the Citadel for the famous $900.00 haircut, the family stopped off in the DC area to visit friends. Parental friends. Fred must have been bored stiff. He looked in the local paper for something to do and found that Nazareth and Frank Marino (Mahagony Rush) were playing at the Capital Center that night. I suppose my folks had been drinking because he conned them into letting him take the car, and me, to the show.

This is where life went color for me. My eyes had been opened. Life would never be the same.

Thanks Fred.

Thank you too Rod, you took one for the team, AND you beat us home.


White label

I caught White Label, the former Four Fellas, at the Bitter End last night. Along with the name change, they have added a new member, Taliana Katz, who sings, plays bass, and plays guitar. She's a real asset. She nailed 'Baba O'Reilly'. The whole band, Max Fried on guitar, Will Balsam on key boards, Ben Irving on guitar and vocals, and Josh Wilson on drums, have improved a great deal since I saw them last. It's always a blast watching them play the same songs I cut me teeth on over twenty years ago.

After that I jumped on the L train to Williamsburg for the ViaSkyway show at Zebulon.

Incorporating the Golden Record into the set raised the question of horns. George brought aboard a trio of Sax players, who with only one day of rehearsal totally brought the ViaSkyway live experience to a crazy and wonderful new place.

It was also the first full band gig with JB aboard lending her sweet and inspiring vocals. George and JB have worked hard on blending their voices and it showed.

I think they'll be playing again soon. I'll let you know.


"They stayed with me for five days at my house in Athens.
When they left, there were beer bottles and records out of the jackets
everywhere. As their van was pulling away, they stopped and Paul rolled down the
window and said, "Uh, Peter? You might want to throw everything out of the
refrigerator. Bob's been opening up all the condiments and pissing in them
everywhere we stay." So I did; haven't been able to eat mayonnaise since." -
Peter Buck

Speaks for itself.......

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Submersing myself in the Replacements took me to the Mid West. A lot of great music came from middle America. In fact, probably more so than the left and right coats. One of the giants of Rock that came out of the in between states is Joe Walsh. I'd go so far as to say that Joe and the 'Mats have quite a bit in common.

Born in Kansas, Joe grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He started playing in bands in the Cleveland area while attending Kent State. In 1969 he landed a gig in the already established local act, The James Gang.

Joe quickly became the major force within the band as it became obvious that he was a fucking genius.

Three studio LPs, and a live record were released over the next two years including 'James Gang Rides Again' which features the classic 'Funk 49', and 'Thirds' which includes 'Walk Away'.

It had become Joe's band, but the band didn't think so. Joe left.

Joe put together Barnstorm with bassist Kenny Passarelli and drummer Joe Vitale in 1972, and released their eponymous debut. 'Barnstorm' was hit-less, though 'Mother Says' is included on Joe's first greatest hits package. It's a hard record to find. I don't own it. I wish I did.

Passarelli and Vitale stuck with Joe as he dropped the band moniker, and in 1973 they released the career making 'The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get'.

Everyone should own 'The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get."

'Rocky Mountain Way', 'Meadows', and 'Dreams' are highlights from a fantastically good Rock record. Joe's uncanny simpatico with the studio environment is only rivaled by the likes of Pink Floyd and Steely Dan.

'So What' followed in 1974. Joined by the evil twins Don and Glen among other friends, Joe delivered another great Rock record. Though the hits 'Turn to Stone', and 'Time Out' found airplay on the Joe friendly FM radio, it wasn't as successful as it's predecessor.

A live record followed, 'You Can't Argue With a Sick Mind', in 1975. It's okay. It should be better.

Then Don and Glen called, and Joe joined the Eagles.

The result was 'Hotel California'. Joe's contributions are evident. He lifted the band to another level, although the sole Joe Walsh composition, 'Pretty Maids All In a Row' is kinda weak in comparison to both the rest of the record, and Joe's solo work.

Joe must have been saving his good songs because his 1978 solo LP, '....But Seriously Now Folks', is a towering feat of sonic genius.

Back with his core band of Passarelli and Vitale, and long-time producer Bill Szymczk (who Joe brought to Don and Glen), Joe put together a perfect record. Every song is great, you'll never lift the needle until the side ends. The best thing about '....But Seriously Now Folks' is not the hilarious cover art, not the mind blowing classic hit 'Life's Been Good', nor is it the truly awe-inspiring guitar work; it's the fact that the record sounds like it was a lot of fun to make. It is certainly a lot of fun to listen to.

Meantime, Don and Glen were still working on the follow up to 'Hotel California'. Joe's tune was done well before 'The Long Run' was. 'In the City' was first heard on the soundtrack to the movie 'Warriors' in 1979. The rest of 'The Long Run' was a belabored effort, but it did produce a mess of hit songs as it was supposed to do.

The Eagles broke up in 1981, the same year that Joe released 'There Goes the Neighborhood'.

'There Goes the Neighborhood' is a lost great Joe record. Much of his post Eagles career isn't given much consideration, which is sad because, like this record, there is a lot of wonderful stuff. 'Life of Illusion' dominates the record, but the whole is listenable, and 'Down on the Farm' is a delight.

Around this time Joe starts to show the inevitable signs of too much good times. A legendary bon vivant, Joe was notorious for displays of public, and private intoxication. It had been a concern for some time. Joe is not stupid, he knew he was the problem he had, so he hired a martial arts expert and body guard who's sole responsibility was to take Joe's drugs way from him. Joe got a hold of himself, and the Kung Fu dude went to work with Belushi.

In 1982 Joe put out 'You Bough It, You Name It'. The album is just not very good. It has it's moments, like on the opening track, 'I Can Play That Rock and Roll', which features the lyric:

"You can check out any time you like

Just call me Joe"


'I.L.B.T.s' is fun. Joe tells us that he likes big tits.

"I like 'em for lunch

Or a noon-time snack

I like tits for breakfast

Big tit attack"

On 'Space Age Whiz Kids' Joe breaks down the effect video games have on society. ......I think.

Joe seems to have taken some well spent time off before the 1985 release of 'The Confessor'.

Much more focused, 'The Confessor' shows a Joe Walsh back on top of his game. The epic title tracks starts off the record, and though the remainder doesn't meet the bar set by 'The Confessor', it's a much improved and listenable record.

I987's 'Got Any Gum' followed, and then Joe took it easy until 'Ordinary Average Guy' in 1991.

In the mid-90's Don and Glen called again. Since then he's been fairly busy with both the Eagles and Joe Walsh projects.

Joe claims to have never had a job other than musician.

Joe is the only guitar player who can play both guitar parts of 'Dear Prudence' simultaneously. He claims he was too stoned to realize that there were two guitar parts.


"Paul and Bob got into a bloody fight one night on stage at the Entry. They were probably arguing over who was drunker or which song to do. They punched each other, rolled around on the stage and both got up bloody. Tommy and Chris kept whatever song they were playing going. Then they were like sailors reporting for duty, back at the mic and on lead guitar. I think the set went OK after that, like they both needed to throw up and felt better after they did." - Jay Walsh

Part of the mystique has been the band fights on stage. After Bob was kicked out, Paul's attention turned to Chris. Chris didn't feed off it like Bob did. I see now what Stinkrock means when he says that the band ended with Bob's departure, although I still maintain that 'Don't Tell A Soul' is a great record, it's just not a great Replacements record.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


"We named it 'Tim' for no reason at all. We had
other titles kicking around; this was the first time we named an album after it was done. We sat around a bar, we were gonna call it either 'Whistler's Mammy', 'Van Gogh's Ear', or 'England Schmingland'. I think I said 'Tim', and we sat and laughed for a few minutes and then we said, "Why not?" No one's really done that. It took us dumbos to come up with that." - Paul Westerberg

I always thought there must have been a 'Tim' that the record was named after. This is much more satisfying, though I think I like 'England Schmingland' better.


Oh damn, I hit 'publish' instead of saving as I had intended, oh well, y'all get another nugget of rock wisdom today. Don't worry, I saved a few for the days ahead.

"We're Making money, but we don't see it because you got
like lawyers and accountants and fuckheads." - Paul Westerberg

...and booze, and coke, and damaged hotel rooms........


Okay, I can't hold back until tomorrow, so I'll post one more today, but then you - and I, will just have to wait until tomorrow.

"To like us, you have to try and understand us. You
can't come in and just let your first impressions lead you, because your first
impression will be a band that doesn't play real well, is very loud, and might
be drunk. Beneath that is a band that values spirit and excitement more
than musical prowess. To me, that's rock and roll, and we're a rock and
roll band." - Paul Westerberg

What you read time and again in this book - this oral history, is that people took to the Replacements because they saw themselves in the band. They felt the band was for them, that they were the band as much as the band was the band. With this quote, Paul could be describing every single band I have ever been in. I'm a Replacement too.


A recent feature on AVC lately has been the 'Deriot Quote of the Day', and since Fred sent me a copy of 'All Over but the Shouting: an Oral History', I though it fitting to do a similar feature here.

Much like my brother's posts, they won't all actually be Paul Westerberg quotes, but they will all be about the Replacements, so in turn, they will be about Paul in some respect.

"Anita wanted Replacements songs played at the wake.
When I walked up to the casket, 'Johnny's Gonna Die' was playing." - Paul Westerberg

Life is death. The Replacements were life, and now they are dead. Technically they died before Bob, and in many ways Bob predeceased the band, but as long as some grasping misfit kid finds 'I Will Dare', they will always be a life giving force.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Dinosaurs on the Ark?

What irritates me so is rhetoric like this:

"Evolutionists have certain beliefs about the past/present that they presuppose, e.g. no God (or at least none who performed acts of special creation), so they build a different way of thinking to interpret the evidence of the present."

The tactic used here is to paint those of us who use reason to guide our belief systems as godless, or anti-god.

Jackson is not anti-god, though it would not be unreasonable for someone who reads this blog to assume that I am. So, for the record; I believe in god. It's just that I think that those who profess to know god, speak for god, and tell me what I should believe about god are full of crap.

Again; to quote noted scholar of humanity, Chan Chandler, "I got no problem with Jesus, it's his fan club I got a problem with."

The creationists use this ruse much the same way the Bushies use the 'with us, or against us' ploy. It's an old game, it's plays on prejudices, it's divisive, and does no service to the human race.

Turning the tables on Ken Ham; here's my defense when asked why I think the Bible is more fairy tale than fact:

Why can't evolution be the tool with which god created the universe?

Of course Ken and his gang would be incapable of responding. It would put him out of a job.

CHANGE? RIGHT............

Near death, in response to the apparent Obama victory, Senator McCain mumbled through what teeth he has left that he was the candidate for 'right change'. The only change Senator Boneyard has any knowledge of is when his undocumented domestic worker changes his adult diaper.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Who says there are no real superheroes? Talk about sedan delivery.......
(Editor's note: I was in a rush this morning, blogging on the corporate dime on 3 hours sleep after consecutive 20 hour work days, pardon the now corrected mis-spellings)

Monday, June 02, 2008


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To trash his house and drink some beer....



.....the good time music, the Bo Diddley beat.

Nobody has left a bigger mark on popular music than Bo. He will be missed. Jackson plans to mourn in celebration of his life and legacy. Yup, Grand Marnier tonight.....

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