Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week In Review; Slow Ride 40: Wieland, John Garner, Trump

The big news was Scott Wieland found dead in his tour bus on Thursday and all the tributes and antidotes came out to celebrate and honor his legacy.  Mary Wieland, Scott's ex wife had a different sort of tribute to her ex via a long and thought provoking "don't glorify this tragedy" post for Rolling Stone Mag. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/scott-weiland-s-family-dont-glorify-this-tragedy-20151207

Perhaps this gives the overall picture of today's society and how they perceive the instant gratification of when rock stars mess up.   Certainly media today have been predicting for the day that Wieland would overdose on drugs or have drugs contribute to his passing.  Hell, the media keeps asking Lemmy when he's going to die.  To which Lemmy would like them all to piss off.  Out of the voice of the grunge scene, the big 3, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and now Scott Wieland are now in the hereafter.  Stone Temple Pilots were my go to band of this sort of music.  Classic rock radio still plays the hell out of Plush or Interstate Love Song but I still like No 4 the best.  Radio doesn't play that to death.  I also liked Wieland's tenure with Velvet Revolver before he kissed and made up with Stone Temple Pilots to do one more album before going solo again.  I haven't paid much attention to his Wildabouts years or 12 Bar Blues, his Atlantic album, but Scott did do a Christmas album that sounded like he was having fun.  But it's hard to tell as Wieland would battle critics and fans and talked about getting back to STP in the near future, when the time would be right.  Alas for Scott, that time will be never come around.

Passings: Bonnie Lou, female rockabilly star, passed away after a long illness Tuesday.  She was 91. Her husband is Milton Okun, who figured into some of the folk stars of the 60s and early 70s (Peter, Paul And Mary, Mitchell Trio, John Denver). http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6792717/bonnie-lou-dies

John Garner was drummer for Sir Lord Baltimore, a Maryland band that made two albums for Mercury back in the early 70s.  Somewhat heavy metal  I recall having that on CD and not caring much for it.  Their first album is considered to be one of the early sounds of heavy metal and it was produced by Mike Appel (The Tokens, Tony Orlando And Dawn) and it was mixed by Eddie Kramer.  The second album was a little bit better but by then, the band failed to connect with critics and fans and after a disastrous opening slot in front of Black Sabbath, Mercury Records dropped them and the band called it a day.   Garner would later embrace the Sir Lord Baltimore legacy and even attempted a 2008 reunion, which fell through.  But he did give interviews about that band and here's a 2008 chat.  Garner passed away from liver failure at age 67.

John Trudell, Indian activist, poet and actor, and spokesman of the 1969 Alcatraz island occupation passed away from cancer Tuesday at age 69.  He recorded a couple CDs for Rykodisc. http://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2015/12/08/american-indian-activist-poet-john-trudell-dies-at-69?src=usn_fb

The link to John Garner got moved down here.


While the music press is gossiping over the news that Neil Peart has retired from playing the drums, I just don't believe it.  Over the years, Peart's complex drumming has influenced many drummers and no wonder, his playing took a toll on him and he has developed tendinitis over the past couple years.  The Rush 40 tour might have been the last we may have seen from Neil and the boys and Neil's daughter Olivia has said he's now a retired drummer, which Neil got a chuckle and said she might be right.   But for now, the logical guess is that Neil will take some time off but I don't forsee him giving up drums even just to practice off and on.  In the meantime Geddy Lee has mentioned he might come up with a followup album to his solo album My Favorite Headache, an album that I actually liked a lot.   But we're all are getting old.  Unless you're Scott Wieland, then you're dead.

Sports side of things:  While Iowa lost to Michigan State 16-13, they played well enough to convince the NCAA to penciled them in the Rose Bowl, the first time The Hawkeyes have been there in 25 years.  To which FOX Sports hack and ratings whore Colin Cowturd Cowherd blew a nut about the Hawkeyes going to Pasadena rather than Ohio State, who will be going to Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame and how the Hawkeyes have been a fraud all season.  This is where we quit giving the Ratings Whore anymore attention, the Donald Trump of sports talk. Anything to grab ratings.  We all know Cowpie would be bitching about it come Monday and he did once again. But enough about E.D. goofball, Iowa will get to play Stanford, which has been established as 20 point favorites according to Cowterd.  Michigan State for their win, gets Alabama, a 15 point favorite from the blond mellonhead.  Comedy aside, although the Hawks played a gallant game, the offense outside of that 85 yard TD pass, did very little in the three quarters after the first, and while the defense did their best, the offense's lack of plays doomed the defense in route of the world breaking record 22 play drive that MSU scored the winning TD.  That said, the only way to shut up Colin Cornhole is Iowa to win and win convincingly.  And to shut down Stanford wonderkind running back  Christian McCaffrey.  And history has not been on Iowa's side;  in the three rose bowls from 1981 onward, Iowa is 0-3. A far cry from the Hawkeyes of 1957 and 1959   who won those bowl games.   Stanford can be beat, just ask Northwestern, but Stanford got hot and got better as the season went on.  Going 12-0 has made the 2015 season something to remember, BUT Iowa didn't play Ohio State, nor Michigan and the Michigan State game they lost, even though they were both evenly matched up statwise. Until Iowa beats Stanford, this season will be considered a disappointment, although none of Iowa's doing due to Maryland and Rutgers coming in and screwing up everything according to the know it alls.   Iowa against the world once again.

For a shitty 6-6 season Arizona State got rewarded quite nicely; A January 2nd Cactus Bowl vs West Virginia in Phoenix, at Chase field.  Which means they stay home.  West Virginia has the better record 7-5, they beat Texas and Texas Tech and gave Oklahoma State all they can handle before losing in overtime, and Kansas State beat them 24-23, but the teams they beat were not that impressive either.  Arizona State's big wins were against UCLA and Arizona, but they blew games with Oregon, Washington State and Utah.  In other words, this game is for fans only.   So I suspect I'll watch it.

35 years ago on the 8th, John Lennon was shot by a asshole with a gun. http://nodepression.com/article/john-lennons-been-shot-marshall-tucker-bands-ghosts-christmas-past

This years best of 2015 ratings were better than the 2014 best of 2 to 1, 100 views compared to 48 for last year's best of.   Hard to say why last year's best of wasn't read as much but then again,  I think we had better music this year than last year, judging by the feedback from the inbox.  Since the major labels aren't releasing great albums anymore, the underground independent labels and local artists are taking matters into their own hands.  The future lies there despite Corporation Radio's blatant attempts to restrict things to dated beats and autotuners and bad rap.

Nazism lives and it's in the form of Donald Trump.  I have mostly ignored the ignorant blowpiehole through his bullshit run for President and he is a bullshit artist that runs his mouth.  In the meantime every day has brought some sort of shootings and massacres around the world and in this country. Trump for many years have thrown his bullshit on TV with the stupid assed reality unreality crap The Apprentice (which you can get the first season complete for a dollar at Half Priced Books this week) and then somebody gave him the idea of running for President, to which he hoops and hollers and quote Mein Kampf and repeats lies in the hopes that the uneducated and halfbreeds would get his vote.  While a couple of lowlifes killed 20 people in San Bernardino last week, Trump says if he's President he will ban all Muslims coming into the country.  What Mr Big Mouth and No Brains forgot was that some white redneck went to a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood and shot and killed a couple people there.  A strange contradiction of facts, that all Muslims are Terrorists and white guys aren't.  While Trump makes sense on one or two things, if you look at his method of ways, it's very similar to what the Nazi's used in Germany in the 1930s when Hitler rose to power.  Take lies and repeat them that people believe.

For a while Trump was leading the polls here but his rhetoric has gotten to be tiring and people are beginning to see through his bullshit.  Even Joe Scarbrough got tired of Trump's yacking on the phone lines and cutting away to a commercial.  I certainly don't want Trump for President, I never liked him in the first place and even less when NBC added more Trump reality shit, before coming to their senses and dropping him.  Just another spoiled rotten rich kid, turned into Tin Foil Hat goofus who has done more for ISIS just by spitting out things like banning all Muslims, or make them wear pins or labels.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/08/the-philadelphia-daily-news-front-page-goes-there-on-donald-trump/

I don't know about you, but I can really do without the Viagra commercials or anything about pecker pills.  Nothing is more American is seeing Bud Light Lemon Lime and the Viagra lady touting the pill that will give you a stiffy.  For that matter Big Pharma touts every fucking pills they can think of to make an already drugged America to "talk to your doctor to see is such and such pill is right for you" and spend 45 seconds of an minute spot to mention the side effects (may include death, makes you want to try that out right?).  It seems each day we have more and more pill spots and sporting events tout drugs to get Mr Happy stand at attention.  By all means if the Viagra lady pops up at my door, I would not need any pills to get it up, and I'm sure those who need that jagged blue pill are entitled to have it.  Just don't shove the fucking spot down our throats every time, The NFL takes a time out for an injury or jock wedgie.   Another reason why the TV stays off most of the time.

When I see this in the kitchen, God know I wouldn't need Viagra.  Not sure about you though.

Record Reviews of the week:

Steven Wilson-Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope 2015)

Wilson is the face of progressive rock today.  He can borrow something from Yes or Rush, add some 90s style HM lead guitar and then return back to a Pink Floyd trance groove.  His last effort had Alan Parsons on it, this new one Wilson runs the show and the Yes/Rush progressions 3 Years Older and the title track even sounds like pop.  But the record is all over the place and loses focus on Routine, which has a coda that reminds me of The Great Gig In The Sky and not in a good way, I never cared much for Great Gig.  While Marco Mannenman is a fairly competent drummer, some of the songs he gets carried away, he's no Neil Peart or Gavin Harrison for that matter.  Ancestral, the other 13 minute workout seems to a bit better on the prog rock but Happy Returns isn't so happy and the record ends on a minute and half new age that may as well be 1:54 of silence.  Hand.Cannot.Erase. might be Wilson's most uneven album, not bad in spots, some great moments but most of the time it leaves me cold.  Plus the digipack sucks.
Grade B-

The Best Of Jon Butcher-Dreamers Would Ride (Razor And Tie 1998)

His best work was on Polydor, but his best known songs were off Wishes, the album that got played a lot on the late great Beaker Street.   Butcher started out playing rock in the way of Thin Lizzy and Robin Trower, in fact Butcher sounded like Jimmy Dewar.  Each ensuring album Butcher got too much into the faceless blend of dated keyboards and Glen Ballard, the 1989 selections from Pictures From The Front are the worst and Ocean In Motion is missing.  For an overview it shows that Butcher is one of the underrated stars of the 80s, Life Takes A Life, Holy War, Stop and Saving Grace are his best works, as well as his theme song Wishes.  Plenty of outtakes as well, of course the obligatory Hendrix cover of May This Be Love, which reminds me more of Robin Trower's Waterfall.  And I'm also thinking that Butcher is more Trower than Hendrix, which is not a bad thing at all.
Grade B+

Roy Buchanan-Loading Zone (Atlantic 1977)

Stanley Clarke produced this and while it was nice to see Roy hook up with jazz/fusion master Stanley Clarke and Narada Micheal Walden, the better songs are the ones that Steve Cropper and David Galbaldi plays on.  Even Duck Dunn appears on a version of Green Onions that can peel wallpaper, a battle of guitar wits between Cropper and Roy.  Buchanan was never blessed as a lead singer, but his guitar does a fine job of talking all its own.
Grade B+

Miles Davis-Pangaea (Columbia 1975)

Two 40 minute collages of fusion jazz and even hard rock.  Sonny Fortune is the sax player, Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas the guitar players, Mike Henderson on bass, Mtume with all sorts of percussion and congas and the great Al Foster on drums.  And Miles making fart noises on horns, really it's a showcase of the other guys rather than Miles. Zimbabwe starts out with some hard rocking drums from Foster and bits of heavy metal as well and probably better than disc 2's Gondwana which takes about 15 minutes to get going.  Fortune loses me on the flute parts and the quiet ambiance that concludes both songs leaves the listener hanging.  Good in spots but I agree that these songs needed some sort of banding, to pass over the boring stuff to get to the rock and funk that Davis was good at getting out of his hired hands in the mid 70s.
Grade B

Sonny James-When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (Columbia 1976)

A surprise.  James revisits more R and B and rockabilly on this album, which would find Sonny moving over to Monument a year or so later.  James has done R and B before, Bright Lights, Big City but he tackles Sam and Dave on the title cut and Otis Redding on I've Been Loving You Too Long.  His ballads I could do without but they do have a certain charm of their own, but it's the uptempo Come On In which rocks a lot harder than country radio would liked.  Plus engineer Ron Reynolds adds (count em) four of his own songs, including a rockabilly take on Poor Boy and Sonny reveals a sense of humor on Ain't Nothing Else That Can Go Wrong (which is blues) including what sounds like a slip up at the end, or a record skip and needle drag.  Somebody's been listening to Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief.
Grade B+

Porter Wagoner-The Bluegrass Story (RCA 1964)

Porter has played hillbilly music most of his career and he revisits some of them in this 1964 effort. The polished Nashville sound that RCA and Chet Atkins is famous for is here and while I like hearing Howdy Neighbor Howdy up to date, it does pale in comparison to the mid 50s classic.  And for that matter Uncle Pen was more bluegrass in it's 1956 version and more rawer.  But give him this, he was still hard core country, even on Country Music Comes To Town, which is more country than bluegrass.  He can't touch Bill Monroe or even Flatt And Scruggs but he does come close at times (Cotton Fields, Will You Be Loving Another Man)
Grade B

The Allman Joys-Early Allmans (Dial 1973)

Another dollar LP at Half Priced Books, this is what is the beginnings of Gregg and Duane Allman, originally known as The Escorts, Dial Records did issue a single, a version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful (Dial 45-4046) which is now a collector's item.  Even for a teen, Gregg Allman's vocals were more world weary and sounded more older than he was, but on side one, he's sounds more like Lee Michaels on Gotta Get Away and shows hints of what he could do on a cover of Old Man River. The Allman growl is noted on Doctor Fone Bone to which new producer John Hurley, replacing John Loudermilk pushes Gregg toward a more soulful sound.  He's not there yet, and most of the demos are works in progress and for Allman audiophiles only.  But it is fun to hear how the Allmans started out.  Somewhat in the hippy dippy Psychedelia pop side of things, but everybody has to start somewhere.
Grade B-

Bulletboys (Warner Bros 1988)

Hair metal with a thump thump thump.  They're best known for Smooth Up On Ya and a clunky version of For the Love Of Money. They managed to corner Ted Templeman and Jeff Hendrickson to produce and record and that's the highlight.  Something akin to Eat Them And Smile with Diamond Dave, however the biggest difference is Marq Torien's big mouth, and I do mean big mouth.  He don't sign, he SHOUTS, he SCREAMS, he BELLOWS and makes Kevin DeBrow sound like a crooner.  A nice rhythm section, a good lead guitarist. For corporate hair metal not bad but not something I'd play all that much.  They would get better on their next couple WB platters but grunge and public indifference regulated them to the cutouts in record time.
Grade C

Music Of My Youth-Slow Ride 40th Anniversary by Foghat

4 decades away, I was a freshman in high school but basically I fucking hated High school.  I couldn't do sports, the jocks would punch me out in the hallway, I didn't smoke or drink so the hoods would punch me out in the driveway.  The girls in high school were too damn stuck up and I recall a certain high school cheerleader promising a date with me during Homecoming but went with somebody else instead.  The only salvation was the radio and what came out for new music.  Back then it was 45s, not the steaming thing that sweeping the nation nowadays.   I was a big fan of Foghat back then, still am today, Roger Earle has continued to band onward 15 years after the death of Dave Peverett.  My aunt had a copy of Rock and Roll Outlaws to which when she moved down here, I would borrow it time and time again.  Eight Days On The Road and the title track were classics, although neither came out on 45.  So it was late 1975, when I turned on KCRG (or maybe it was KLWW since they were a little more rock than KCRG but anyway) and a new song grabbed my attention like no other, or at least not since Trampled Underfoot came out by Led Zeppelin.

Thump...thump....thump....thump, and then the guitars started up.  And then.

Slow ride....take it easy, (repeat three more times)

Oh my, this rocks!  It's funny how something so simple lyic wise would turn into an anthem of sorts.

I'm in the mood, the feeling is right
Move to the music, we can roll all night

Not exactly Like A Rolling Stone, but it's easy to see how Lonesome Dave managed to pen these words out in 5 minutes.   Basically Slow Ride pretty came from a jam with Rod Price thinking up some guitar lick and Roger Earle pounding the beat and Nick Jameson channeling his inner Bootsy Collins.   The bridge really don't provide much thought process either.

Slow Down, go down, got to get your loving one more time
Hold Me, Roll Me, Slow Ride woman you're so fine

and then repeat the only verse and repeat the chorus and you got a 3 minute AM hit single.  And for a while I got to know the edited version but some FM station played the next five minutes of jamming, complete with Dave's patented heavy breathing on the slow down, go down part later on.  And then ending to a wild and whacked out ending of Rod Price's slide guitar and Dave whooping it up.

I always thought that the live version from Foghat live was much better, particularly due to Craig MacGregor's driving bass but the studio version lives on at Foghat concerts and on classic rock radio. In terms of silly lyrics, Slow Ride is basically no different than any of the silly stuff that was out there, anything by KISS, Gotta Keep A Running by The Godz to name others.  It's hard to explain, but Slow Ride did solidify Foghat and got them that major hit that kept them going for another 7 years before Bearsville cut them loose. By then Jameson did return to produce the final two platters for Foghat (In the Mood For Something Rude and Zig Zag Walk (under the alias Eli Jenkins/Franz Lipkin) before they took a break and throughout the 80s both Dave and Roger Earle had their own version of Foghat before burying the hatchet and returned in the mid 90s for Return Of the Boogie Men, produced by Nick Jameson after Rick Rubin bowed out and remained together till Peverett's passing in 2000 and Rod Price 5 years later.

Nevertheless Slow Ride, despite being overplayed to death on radio and on comp albums still has that charm that if I let it take me away for a minute, return me to the days of AM radio and crap times at Marion High School.  A silly song, but it captured the classic rock moment history of time.  And still does today, although in much more limited plays.  There's other things to listen to.

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