Saturday, July 15, 2006

Meet The New Who

Go ahead and insert your "Hope I die before I get old" joke here. Umm, yeah. Just another cliched opening line for a cliched article about the Who reuniting for a world tour. At least they were smart enough this time around not to call it a "Farewell tour." They used that moniker way back in the eighties. (Hey KISS, are you listening?)

For those of you that haven't heard yet, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, the two surviving members of the band announced that they will kick off their first world tour in over 20 years. Sure, they've toured the states, and played dates in Europe during that span, but they've yet to do one across the world. Apparently it's big news that the magic bus has stops in South America. Bonus too: They're touring to support the release of their first studio album since 1982's "It's Hard," tenantively called "Who 2." The new album is scheduled for release in October.

"Why make a record under 'The Who' brand if you like, unless we are really going to go out there and get behind it properly, do a world tour. All these years... I had a son in 1989, he is 16 now, he has grown up and that is why I am here, he wants to come and see 'The Who' at rock festivals so I come," Townshend said. That Pete, he sure likes his children! Yeah, I said it. What, you weren't thinking it?

So how will they sound? They'll rock. I'm just sayin. Take a listen to a yesterday and today version of "Won't Get Fooled Again," and you be the judge. The newer version is from a concert I attended at The Greek Theater in 2002, the other track is from disc 2 of the deluxe version of "Who's Next," and was recorded in 1971.

For your consideration:
Won't Get Fooled Again (Live, 1971) - The Who MP3

Won't Get Fooled Again (Live at the Greek Theater, September, 2002) - The Who MP3

Friday, July 14, 2006

Has Weezer Come Undone?

pictured from left to right: the lovers, the dreamers, and Weez.

"Really, for the moment, we are done,"
lead singer Rivers Cuomo said.
"And I'm not certain we'll ever make a record again, unless it becomes really obvious to me that we need to do one."

For your consideration:

Undone (The Sweater Song) - Weezer MP3

We Love It?

*picture taken July 12, 2006 outside a Los Angeles eatery.

For your consideration:
I Love L.A. - Randy Newman MP3

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Last Dance With Dani California

I'm always a sucker for a hook. As Blues Traveler once sang, "It's the hook that brings you back." (Side note, are those guys even still together?) A little background for those of you that don't know what a hook is, it's a term for the part of the song that grabs the attention of the listener. Just about every good song out there has a "killer" hook. It literally "reels" you in like you were a big mouth bass chomping on a worm. Think about your favorite song. Where's the hook? Likely it's the part of the song you know by heart. Hell, I don't know every word to "Sympathy For The Devil," but I sure as Mick's lips know the "Doo-Dooo" part. That my friends, is the hook.

Years ago my music snob friends and I discussed hooks in cheesy pop songs, and how much we appreciated them. Granted, we'd never admit to anyone in public that we actually liked these songs. Besides, how could someone who listens to Elvis Costello dare listen to N'Sync? Anyway, at the time I was claiming that "Mmm Bop" by Hanson was a great pop song with a hook that once started, could not leave your head for days. (You're humming it right now, aren't you?) We came to the conclusion that it was ok to like disposable pop songs with their killer hooks, but it was not ok to get caught with the windows down on the 405 belting out "I Want It That Way."

"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell is the worst (or is it best?) culprit of this sensation. Let's do an experiment. Finish singing (outloud) the lyrics to this part of the song: "Sometimes I feel I've got to..." I'll bet a hundred bucks that you just did that 2 drum beat before you sang "run away." Am I right? Forget the hun, buy me a Coke.

Ok, so now you know about hooks. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to get to the real point of this post, and that is the recent mishigas (yes dear reader, I use Yiddish) involving the similarities between the Red Hot Chili Peppers "Dani California" and Tom Petty's "Last Dance With Mary Jane." Rolling Stone Magazine asked University Of Chicago musicologist Travis Jackson about the songs and he said this: "The opening parts of both songs have very similar grooves, they use pretty much the same chord progressions and the ways the melodies are patterned are similar. And it pretty much stops there. Chord progressions are really hard to claim as a basis [for a lawsuit]. That's a pretty standard groove. You would have to do a lot more to say there's outright copying."

In other words, the hooks are similar but it wasn't exactly copied.

Petty was quoted in the article saying this: "I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock 'n' roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took "American Girl" (for their song "Last Nite"), and I saw an interview with them
where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, "OK, good for you" ... If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe (I'd sue). But I don't believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous law suits in this country without people fighting over pop songs."

Petty. What a man. He sings, he acts (King Of The Hill and It's Garry Shandling's Show, remember?), he does it all. See him live this summer if you can. It's a great show.

Tom does say something very interesting in his quote that got me thinking. Are the Strokes full of shit? Do they copy more than Kinko's? They already admitted they stole the riffs from "American Girl," when are they going to admit that they stole from my mother's favorite singer, Barry Manilow? Listen to The Strokes "Razorblade" from their new album, then listen to Barry's classic 70's ballad "Mandy." It's the same hook! I'm telling you dear reader, it's no coincidence.
I'm just sayin!

For your consideration:
Razorblade - The Strokes MP3

Mandy - Barry Manilow MP3

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Drop The Leash!

The good news is that Pearl Jam sounds better than ever. The bad news is that unless you've got incredible seats (no small feat for such a popular act) you might not actually get to see them.

Ok, so before I begin my gripe (and dear reader, you'll soon find out that I am quite the griper), here's a quick review of Pearl Jam's July 10th concert held at The Fabulous Forum in Inglewood California.

Simply said, the kids are alright.

One of the things that always plays a huge role in any concert you attend is how the audience feels and reacts to the band. Are they hyped? Mellow? Indifferent? This holds especially true for LA audiences. Typically filled with "industry types," LA audiences can be quite dull and nonresponsive. They've seen it all and nothing surprises them. Now mind you, these are the same people who arrive at Dodger games in the third inning and leave in the seventh (to beat the traffic).

I saw Eddie and the gang play at the Greek Theater years ago and was kinda disappointed by the show. See, the audience just wasn't into it. Perhaps the People's Choice Awards were being held that week and they were more concerned with what to wear. It wasn't really the bands fault, it was ours. I'll tell you why. Pearl Jam released all of their shows from that tour on CD. I bought the show at the Greek and love it. They sound great through my headphones and almost erase my memories of some duder on a cell phone calling his buddies during "Hail, Hail."

"Yeah, bro we'll hook up this weekend!" he repeated like 40 times, each time louder than the last. No wonder the rest of the country hates us.

Anyway, back to the show at the Forum. (Don't worry, I didn't forget, the rant is coming.) The audience was into it from minute one. I've never been to an LA show that could even compare to one of those European audiences, those audiences go friggin nuts (soccer hooligan nuts) but this one came pretty close. The more our crowd got into it, the more Pearl Jam got into it. Just listen (It's the link at the bottom of the post) to the audience sing along to Better Man. Awesome. Exhilarating and inspiring. Communal? You bet.

Now the gripe. We all know that certain items are not allowed into shows. Outside food, bottled water, alcohol and drugs are just a few items typically not allowed into a show. (We sneak them in anyway, right?) But since 9/11, the yellow jackets have taken it upon themselves to search every nook and cranny for any contraband. It's as if the "Event Staff" had read a press release stating that Osama thought "No Code" was indeed an underrated album, but doesn't compare to their earlier stuff. Let's face it, it's getting harder to bring anything into a concert these days. You think Rerun from "What's Happenin" could still sneak that big-ass tape recorder into a Doobies show anymore? Nope. They'd clamp down on him pronto.

Now as I said earlier, Pearl Jam sounds great, but if you don't have awesome seats, you can't really see them. You're thinking, binoculars, right? Well guess what? BINOCULARS ARE NOT ALLOWED. I'm not kidding. I walked from the parking lot to the gate, and waited at least 10 minutes in line only to be told by a smirking security guard that I could not bring them in. Binoculars. No, not a digital camera with a telephoto lens. A pair of binoculars! I was shocked... and awed. To add to the amusement of the security guard's job, he unfolded a list given to everyone on duty that contained items that are not allowed into the show. Beach balls. Recording devices. You know the list. It was a page long, and at about three quarters down it read "No binoculars." And here's the most startling part of the whole thing. It read like this:


You read that right.

It was not the Forum that didn't want us to see Pearl Jam up close from the cheap seats, it was Pearl Jam themselves! Could somebody please explain to me why Eddie Vedder doesn't want me looking at Stone and Mike play off each other or Matt bang the skins to oblivion?

Look's like we can keep rocking in the free world, but just not too close, ok? I'm just sayin...

Here's the set list for the show:

Walking The Cow

Set 1:
World Wide Suicide, Brain Of J., Animal, Marker In The Sand, Severed Hand, Even Flow, MFC, I Got Id, Corduroy, Daughter/(It's Ok)/(I Believe In Miracles)/(Blitzkrieg Bop), Sad, Garden, Down, Go, Better Man/(Save it for Later), I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, Porch

Encore 1:
Man Of The Hour, Off He Goes, Footsteps, Once, Alive

Encore 2:
Big Wave, Comatose, State Of Love And Trust, Leash, Rockin' In The Free World

For your consideration:
Better Man - Peal Jam 7/10/06 MP3

Monday, July 10, 2006