Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Turning forty

I turned forty this year. I think the most notable thing about being forty so far is the sheer number of people dying who make me at least momentarily sad.

So this news was kind of depressing.

Paul Davis was not a great singer. I do not own any of his CDs, nor do I plan to. But there is a place in Musical Valhalla for someone who turned out a few listenable tunes. "I Go Crazy" is still a wonderful love song, "Cool Night" is an axiomatically seventies soft rock song, and "'65 Love Affair" was just fun, putting cheerleaders in a song before Toni Basil ever thought of it.

Was Paul Davis a legend, a groundbreaker, an unsung genius? Well, put it this way; we're not likely to do a Paul Davis retrospective any time soon. Davis was just a Mississippi boy who liked doing country-rock and had a few successes doing it. But I still remember that smooth voice on the radio...

"Cool night, brings back memories of a good life, when this love was not so old..."

I wasn't this old, either.

RIP, Paul.

*Duke

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chinese Democracy: any day now, really, we mean it

Making fun of the industry joke that is the "band" Guns N'Roses is so easy at this point that it's become the moral equivalent of cruelty to small animals. So we'll give you the very latest with as straight a face as we can muster: Axl says the band is "in negotiations" for the release of the long-rumored album Chinese Democracy, and the band professes to have no idea why guitarist Robin Finck up and left to return to touring with his old band Nine Inch Nails.

Not that Axl's former bandmates have had much better luck with their latter-day frontman. What can you say but bad karma all around.

Friday, April 18, 2008

R.I.P. Danny Federici

His Boss called E Street Band organ, glockenspiel and accordion player Danny Federici "one of the pillars of our sound." Late yesterday word came that Federici had died at the age of 58, after a three-year battle with melanoma. Ten years ago, Danny Federici was my first professional interview, after DV Founder Christopher Thelen was kind enough to assist me in lining it up.

The interview, which took place concurrent with the release of Federici's first solo album, 1998's Flemington, is here. Chris's review of the album is here. You can read more about Federici's colorful life and tremendous musical accomplishments here, and see video of his last live performance with the band on March 20th here. I recommend having the Kleenex handy for the latter. Judging by their expressions, I think they must all have known.

Danny Federici was a remarkable musician and a true gentleman. Our condolences to his family, friends, and bandmates.

R.I.P. Danny.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Roundup

Thursday roundup? Why not! Certainly no shortage of items...
  • May 20 will see the release of Live From Chicago, the first-ever DVD from multi-Platinum selling recording artist the Steve Miller Band. The three-disc set will be comprised of two DVDs and a 12-song CD. The DVD, shot at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival in July 2007, captures the SMB’s sold-out, two-night stand with 5.1 Surround Sound and 17 high-def cameras. Disc one of Live From Chicago features performances of 20 classic hits, including “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Living in the USA,” “Jet Airliner,” “Abracadabra,” “Rockin’ Me,” “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Swingtown” and “Jungle Love.” The second disc contains a revealing documentary of the band’s traditionally reclusive namesake.

  • Virgin Group Founder and Chairman Sir Richard Branson recently announced the headline acts for the third Virgin Mobile Festival, the largest music and arts festival on the East Coast, being held August 9-10 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The festival headliners are Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots. Niiiice.

  • On April 7, Columbia Records announced that Bob Dylan was awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize. Dylan -- the first rock and roll artist ever to be honored by the Pulitzer Committee -- was recognized for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." In other Bob Dylan news, Todd Haynes' unconventional Dylan biopic I'm Not There will be released on DVD on May 6th. The soundtrack was released on Columbia Records; the two-disc, 34 song collection includes newly-recorded cover versions of Bob Dylan songs from the film by artists including Eddie Vedder, Sonic Youth, Stephen Malkmus, Cat Power, Sufjan Stevens, John Doe, Karen O, Jeff Tweedy, Willie Nelson, Antony, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova and more.

  • The festival the New York Times is calling "a breakout hit" -- the first annual Mile High Music Festival on July 19-20 -- rolled out a lineup that reads like a who's who of modern rock. Try John Mayer, The Black Crowes, Mike Gordon (of Phish), O.A.R., Michael Franti & Spearhead, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Steve Winwood, Spoon, Jason Mraz, Flogging Molly, Colbie Caillat, OneRepublic, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco, Hill Country Review, Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers, Ferras, The Whigs, and Eric Hutchinson. Plus local favorites Flobots, Rose Hill Drive, Meese, Born In The Flood, Railbenders and The Photo Atlas. Oh yeah, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will headline on Saturday, July 19th, with Dave Matthews Band topping the bill on Sunday, July 20th. You're best advised to be in the vicinity of the Outer Fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at the appointed time....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Noel Gallagher: Wankerboy

This just in from DV Staff Writer Bruce Rusk (who's going to get his own account any moment now so I don't have to keep posting these for him):


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Professional foot-in-mouth-head-up-ass practitioner and sometime Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher has launched his semi-annual "Hey! No one's paying attention to me so I'm going to dis an artist who is still relevant" press brief.

It seems Noel is very upset that Jay-Z was selected as the Saturday headliner for the annual Glastonbury Music Festival.

The alleged musician said it was "wrong" to have hip-hop at the event which is traditionally the domain of indie rock bands.

"Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music." Uh huh. Indie bands... playing guitars... hmmm. So in other words, white guys. Sure Noel, instead of the most successful and popular hip-hop artist of the day, let's prop up a dozen interchangeable, cookie-cutter four-piece white guy emo-rock Beatle poseurs with their mod hair-dos and acoustic guitars playing the same damn indie-rock rehash for 12 hours.

But Noel, didn't you hear the Neil Diamond is headlining on Sunday? Where's the hue and cry against the inclusion of aging white crooners?

Coincidentally, Noel is also performing at Glastonbury. But unlike Jay-Z, he wasn't invited. He had NME.com contact the festival organizer and ask them if he could perform.

So, to recap, Jay-Z was invited, wankerboy begged to be included.

At least he didn't call Jay-Z a nappy headed ho.