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Everything posted by JohnO

  1. As great as these live reunion shows have been, I can't help but wonder if the band's missing out on (maybe) a surefire way to get some quick cash. Bands such as the Pixies (on their latest reunion tour), the latest version of the Doors, Billy Idol, the Black Crowes and others have been using mobile recording studios to tape their live shows and sell recordings as soon as the shows are over, usually at $25 a pop or so for a double disk set. I suspect the major impediment to doing this would be the cost of the mobile studio, but I also think the Raspberries would have an instant demand by most concert attendees who've witnessed any of their excellent shows. Just a thought.......
  2. Bernie - While I really appreciate any extras we're going to get in addition to the already incredible Ultimate Fan Packs, like several others on this board, I haven't been able to access the bonus videos or associated audio files. Howsabout including something that everyone can access and enjoy (even us non IT-weenies), like a DVD or CD??? (NOTE: This assumes, of course, that we all at least have CD and DVD players......)
  3. Eric - Thanks for the personal note! We fans can tell that you guys deeply care, just by the quality of your live shows. After the 2 BB Kings/NYC shows, I made up my mind that I'd go anywhere within 200-300 miles (of Wash, DC) to see you live if I possibly could. After Atlantic City, I decided to plan my upcoming West Coast vacation around your shows...while it's disappointing about SD, I'm really looking forward to LA! Thanks for the music!
  4. Jim - Thanks so much for the personal message! At least we still have the LA show (and thankfully, I decided to stay in LA and drive down to SD on Saturday for that show, then drive back.....at least there's plenty to do in LA!)
  5. The thing that gets me is - Brian can still do it vocally in the studio. He still does most of the vocals himself, including all of the high harmonies. Yet, live, he's very much hit or miss, even if his band is always on (and...if you've seen him live, you know that Jeff Foskett is doing most of the high parts....while Brian falls somewhere into Mike Love's range in the mix live.) The band and Brian still put on a great show, especially compared to either the "real thing" (Beach Boys from the 70's-90's) or Love's (and Brian Johnston's) ersatz Beach Boys band that seems to tour non-stop. Why he chose to re-do "Smile" in lieu of releasing the original recordings has more to do with a decision to cut the remaining Beach Boys out of the picture...part creative, but mostly commercial. Per Al Jardine, he and Brian and Mike never meet anymore....it's just their lawyers getting together. A damn shame, because Al's band was damn near as good as Brian's - and he had both of Brian's daughters singing with him, until they were intimidated to quit by Brian's lawyers - and Al was forbidden from using the words "Beach Boys" to help promote his shows. Lastly....Brian's last studio CD "Getting In Over My Head" was a huge disappointment. Very little of it was new recordings. It was mostly songs from "Sweet Insanity" and the sessions with Andy Paley (all unreleased....except, of course, on tons of bootlegs). Brian claims he's suffering from writer's block. I believe him.
  6. I made the comment that Big Star's records perhaps haven't aged well, based on one simple fact - that several younger friends and acquaintances of mine had the exact same reaction as Tommy T. -namely, "what's the big deal?"....something that didn't happen when I turned them onto the Shoes, Twilley, the Raspberries and other bands of that type. Big Star's first 2 LPs, and especially the 3rd, don't have the immediate impact on first listening that some of the ones I just mentioned had. Now, that's not to say that if they go back and listen 5-6 more times, they won't "get it"....or, as in the case of one female friend of mine, that they won't appreciate Alex & co. immediately upon seeing them live. (That's also not to say that these folks wouldn't have gotten it had they grown up with these records, as I did, and obviously Pierson did.) Regarding Chilton's guitar sound, it was basically his strat or ES-225 straight thru an old Fender amp, with little or no processing or effects added. Compare that with the Shoes, for example, whose guitar sound was all processed (AND hard to replicate live). The mid-to-late 70's was the heyday of smaller and smaller amps coming out with master volume and gain controls, making it much easier to overdrive and dirty up the sound without resorting to ungodly volume levels (as one had to do in the late 60's).
  7. A friend of mine tried to get tickets within 20 minutes after the AmEx pre-sale started, and he got shut out - all tickets were apparently gone. I tried the next week when the "general" sale started, and was also unsuccessful.....yet, somehow, every scalper agency in the country appears to have hundreds of tickets for these shows, proced at 3-4 times their face value. I finally threw in the towel and decided to go see the Raspberries' west coast shows. I've heard all 4 of the London Cream shows, and, while I would have loved to have seen them in NYC, I ultimately would have to pay a fortune to get a decent seat. The Raspberries shows are an excellent consolation (I've seen their last 3 shows, and I believe they're better live now than Cream anyway....although it's definitely an apples vs. oranges comparison regarding the music.)
  8. There's some filler, as to be expected on a 16 cut CD. Had they pared down 4-5 cuts and put the remainder in different order, they could have made an VG to Excellent LP, I think. My favorite cut is the Muddy Waters sound-a-like, "Back Of My Hand", featuring Mr. Jagger on slide guitar, with "Streets of Love", "Rough Justice" and "Oh No, Not You Again" sounding very vintage Stonesy. An odd thing - my favorite cuts appear to be those where only Mick, Keef and Charlie are playing (with Mick & Keef doubling on bass, keyboards, etc.). Ron Wood's missing completely on 6 songs or so. All in all, much better than their last 5-6 studio efforts, I think.
  9. ...and speaking of Dictators alumni, don't leave out current drummer T-Bolt Patterson, or ex-drummers Frank Funaro or Stu Boy King.
  10. Interesting...the SLATE review is essentially what I posted earlier, about "In Space" being about half of a decent Big Star album, with the other half sounding like it was thrown together on the spot in the studio. Per the SLATE review, that's exactly what they did. I didn't really detect any cynical intent on the band's part, however...I just assumed it was Alex Chilton being himself! Maybe it's just a coincidence, and maybe it isn't....but I talked several years ago with Robert Gordon at a bookstore in Washington, DC, about his then-recently published book, "It Came From Memphis", which mentions Chilton quite a bit. I asked him about Chilton's sobriety (he was a well-known lush when he was in Big Star), and Gordon mentioned that Alex had given up drinking completely about 10-12 years before. I mentioned that his music appeared to go rapidly downhill about that time, prompting Robert G. to comment - "that's funny, but I think you're onto something!" This COULD be Chilton's problem now - perhaps he needs to take up drinking again to make great music! (NOTE: Not unlike one Eric Clapton, who, IMO, made his best music while being a raging junkie.....and starting making easy listening pap once he cleaned up his act...) A shame.....
  11. Bernie - Alex Chilton is an incredibly good and underrated guitarist. At various live solo shows over the years, I've seen him do the occasional jazz instrumental just to confuse the crowd. I kind of chuckle at your references to "pretty sophisticated and modern" in one sentence and the White Stripes in the next sentence, though. If anyone's interested in seeing where Jack White & co. (whom I affectionately refer to as "The White Hypes".....and I also referred to them in a review one time as a "retarded Led Zeppelin") got a lot of their ideas from, check out the Flat Duo Jets....Dexter Romweber started out as a classical pianist, then somehow evolved into a primitive guitarist and singer. He and his drummer Crow were doing the 2 piece R&R thing for 15 years before anyone heard of Jack White....only they concentrated more on Link Wray and 50's rockabilly music instead of blues and Dolly Parton. (Dexter's put out 2 great solo CDs in the past 3 years as well.) Lastly, I think a lot of Big Star's "wimpiness" can be attributed to their production. I suspect this may be one of the reasons that their records may not have aged all that well compared to those of some of their contemporarires. Neither the original band nor this latest incarnation are wimpy live.
  12. TOMMY T - The Dictators live CD, "Viva Dictators!" has been out for a couple of months already - it was done from a couple of NYC area shows (Maxwells in Hoboken and the Bowery Ballroom, I believe). It's excellent! It appears they've gone back to being a 5 piece band again most of the time. (Scott Kempner or Top Ten moved to LA about 2 years ago, and they had been playing as a 4 piece until Scott returned last August at Little Steven's Underground Garage Fest at Randall's Island.) Scott's definitely on the new live CD. After the Fest, BTW, literally hundreds of us crammed into Manitoba's for drinks and Hell-raising. - John
  13. Billy - You need to check out the reviews at Amazon.com of the new DVD release. It looks like Francis Ford adding a new soundtrack has created somewhat of a s***storm for some of these people.....who post that the new soundtrack isn't appropriate, or it ruins the film for them, etc. Personally, I found the original orchestral soundtrack to be a bit overblown and ponderous for a teenage juvenile delinquent movie...it sounded more like something that belonged in "The Godfather." Now I'll have to go out and rent this or buy it, and see what the fuss is about. (I'm pretty sure I'll prefer the new soundtrack!.......) - John P.S. I especially like the reference to the new soundtrack as "death metal" in one of the Amazon reviews!
  14. Tommy - I guess the only answer is the hackneyed cliche - different strokes for different folks. Of your list, for example, I much prefer the Raspberries, Ramones, Shoes, Twilley, Badfinger, and Dictators over Big Star, but have never understood the fuss over the Cars, Blondie, Records or especially the Knack...and I'm in my 50's and remember all of these bands quite well from their first records. It all comes down to personal taste....the record either does it for you or it doesn't. I personally loved the first Big Star LP, having heard Alex Chilton only in the context of the Boxtops...and I preferred Chris Bell's songs on that LP to Alex's. By Radio City, Bell had departed (to die in a car crash shortly after that), leaving Chilton in charge...and I actually like that LP better than their first one. Now, I never much cared for the third one, which was initially universally panned, then re-discovered later and declared an underrated masterpiece. To me, it just sounded like a lot of drunken and/or drug-addled nonsense at the time. Chilton's solo LPs over the years varied wildly in quality. The band's newest CD, 30 years later, is, to me, a disappointment, especially in light of adding Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies (to me, the only Seattle band in the 90's that could really sing) to replace Andy Hummel and Bell. I've seen this lineup 3 times over the past 7-8 years, and they've always been excellent live. Oh well.....
  15. LC - Coming up with the silly questions is just a game that several of us are playing....if BW actually called me on the phone, I'm sure I would behave in an appropriate manner....assuming I'm not so awe-struck that I'm unable to get anything out at all.....
  16. Yeah, I also met him after a show in 2002, and he appeared to be somewhat medicated. Judging from the postings on his web site from recipients of his phone calls, it sounds like he's just calling to say "thanks", ask what you do for a living, and ask if you have any questions about his music....nothing overly complicated. Various friends of mine and I are trying to come up with questions that might throw him off a bit...for example, asking him what he thinks about that punk band a couple of years ago who named themselves "The Fat Chick From Wilson-Phillips"....that might p*ss him off!...or maybe ask him about whether he ever runs into Dr. Landy or Mike love, etc., etc.
  17. Yes, I got it the other day. The key to enjoying it (or not) depends on your expectations. If you're expecting the second coming of "#1 Record", or "Radio City", you'll be disappointed with about half of the new CD. If you really liked their 3rd CD, "Sister Lovers", you'll probably also be let down. About half of the songs (including the first 4) fit into the tuneful, melodic power pop mold of their first 2 albums. Starting with the 5th song, "Love Revolution," things start getting a bit weird. It's Alex C.'s homage to 70's disco/funk, although, thankfully, with no throbbing bass or drum machine. The majority of the songs on the 2nd half of the CD appear to have been written on the fly in the studio, while the band was jamming - several hard rockers of the 3 chord variety with seemingly improvised lyrics. In other words, the 2nd half is kind of like one of Chilton's quirkier solo albums. A disappointment to me, considering the level of songwriting talent in that band. With the addition of the 2 Posies (Auer, Stringfellow), I was also expecting more vocal harmonies - and there isn't too much, once you get past the first half of the CD. On the other hand, I suspect they had a lot of fun making this album, and I think a lot of it will translate better in a live setting. I listed to it 3 times, and I'm still not too crazy about it as a whole.
  18. Agree with Hosskratz - The Ramones basically took power pop songs, dumbed down the lyrics, and turned up the amps to "10", creating "punk rock" in the process. (an early critic referred to them as "Beach Boys in black leather jackets, playing at a deafening level"). While I was (and still am) a huge Ramones fan, they owed a great deal of their sound to the Raspberries, Badfinger, etc. (and a large debt to fellow New Yorkers The Dictators, as well). The Ramones got into the HOF on the strength of other, more commercially successful bands influenced by them who followed in their footsteps (and were publicly singing their praises)...plus the fact that Joey R. was dying at the time. (Here's hoping that Mike Smith's health issues help the DC5 finally get into the Hall! God knows, they deserve it!). Agree with the Spoonful comments as well...both they and the Raspberries belong in the HOF. (Too bad Zal Y. won't be around to see it if it ever happens....)
  19. If so, go to wwww.brianwilson.com, and see the details. If you donate $100 or more to the Katrina response charity listed there (via Paypal), Brian and his wife will match your contribution, and Brian will personally call you and thank you, and talk to you for a couple of minutes. When you send the money to Paypal, you include your phone # and the best time frame for the phone call. The catch? - the last day to contribute is the day after tomorrow, 10/1, and Brian's last day for making calls is 10/8.
  20. Billy - Very cool!!! What are the chances of Coppola & co. releasing a new soundtrack CD of the revised film? - John
  21. Darlene - I did the M&G at Atlantic City, and it was great!....for the Friday night LA show, though, it sounds like everything's taking place after the show - no soundcheck (worth the price of the M&G alone!) and it sounds like no priority seating. I already have a GA ticket, and I guess I'm trying to justify shelling out another $160+ to meet the band again. The AC M&G tickets were much more reasonable - $100, including soundcheck and premium seats. Still, I might go the M&G route again.....John
  22. From the Ticketmaster and HOB web sites, it appears that all tickets for the LA/Sunset HOB show are standing room only....even the Meet & Greet. Is this true? (I'm cutting this show close, flying into LAX that afternoon, with a scheduled arrival time of around 5:30 PM) - although it looks like the HOB is only about 15 miles from LAX. It also sounds like the M&G will be after the show, not before it. If the M&G tickets are for actual seats, plus meeting the band, I'll definitely opt for those (assuming any are still available). It sounds like even the M&G tickets are standing room, though. Anyone here know? - John O.
  23. Hey - I fully agree that EC shouldn't be smoking, that it's bad for his health, etc. Per the interview (it was in the latest issue of "Big Takeover", BTW), it sounds like he just does it before he needs to sing...and I hope that's the only smoking he does, but it does tend to get addictive. I'm just the messenger here, repeating what I read.....John O.
  24. It was either in an interview or perhaps in liner notes (EC's Ultimate Collection maybe?) where Eric mentioned that he first took up smoking in order to get the proper raspiness for his singing voice as quickly as possible. He stated that he always did his best singing after he had been yelling/screaming/singing for a long time...and his vocal cords were starting to fray. A friend suggested to him that a much quicker way to accomplish this was to smoke. He tried it and voila!
  25. Billy - I got your CD from CD Baby shortly after the two NYC shows at BB Kings. Eric introduced you guys, and I googled you (hope it didn't hurt!) and found the CD. Excellent CD, BTW! - John
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