Thursday, April 10, 2008

10-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

i had decided that lou reed wasn’t so difficult after seeing him in the Q & A at SXSW. then i received a "care package" from steve belgard at the STARZ network. (steve often sends a box of goodies down to colombia to make sure i'm up to date on stuff) this time it was the "ROCK' AND ROLL HALL OF FAME 2008" show which had been misbroadcast earlier on VH1 , a channel i do not get here in bogota.

the opening inductees were kenny gamble & leon huff. the duo are the first recipients of "the ahmet ertegun award". they were graceful and cool in their acceptance speech. they have an incredible body of work, the artists they have written and produced include the o'jays, the soul survivors, harold melvin and the bluenotes, archie drell and the drells, bunny sigler, diana ross, jerry butler, the jacksons, billy paul and dusty springfield…

and the songs...let's get lost in the songs! "if you don't know me by now", "me & mrs jones", "love train", "i'm gonna make you love me" and so many more!

then on rolled patti la belle to “murderiah carey” her way through "if you don't know me by now". i hated it! there is nothing worse than a bunch of rich white folk acting up as if they are in church and patti, you led 'em there. the original record by mr. melvin & the bluenotes just sat there and kept you grounded, it progressed meticulously slow, it was taking it's time, it incrementally took over your heart with it's sound and story. simply red later homogenized it into a sorta hit, but patti la belle threw it away with tricks. good tricks, but nonetheless tricks. hard not to do, but an easy meal at the waldorf astoria ballroom where the audience are gonna get off just to justify the price of the meal. however, it can be done…done without the vocal juggling and box of tricks.

i remember a few year ago going to the awful MOTOWN 45th or 50th anniversary in hollywood. it was saved by beyonce (or was it kelly rowland) doing diana ross and the supremes featuring mary wilson. amazing. sexy. the works. she was diana ross and it was a throwback to magic. the other thrill was gladys knight and the pips who did the sexiest, low key, low roller version of "i heard it through the grapevine" just like the record.... no tricks... no extra unneeded bonbons, just the record, ma' am and it was sublime.

lou reed was a disgrace, he seemed unprepared, although that could have been part of his preparation, he quoted lyrics and rambled, he made it about himself as opposed to the artist he was inducting, leonard cohen, who may have no place being in the RRHoF anyway. but cohen did show up and the least he could have done was sing one of his songs instead of leaving to damien rice to sweat and pine his way through "hallejujah". it needs a fellow to sing that song, not a young fop.

the ventures, all geezers as old as cohen at least picked up their instruments and played and gave us an example of why they had been inducted. the best act of the night was john mellencamp, that's how bad it was. he was inducted semi-hilariously by billy joel who, from his anti-music business rant either has a very secure recording deal, or is not looking for a new one. the best spark of the night was joan jett, she looked and played feisty in a tribute to the dave clark five. there was a moment when, and no, i'm not quoting the shangri-la's, there was a moment when she had a glint in her eye that was pure rock'n roll magic ---- which she is.

tom hanks went on too long in his induction of dthe dave clark five but it was nice of him to do so. the kathleen turner award from yours truly goes to madonna who, regardless of all the lame protests and shrill attempts to justify her induction has as much business being in the RRHoF as leonard cohen. gent of the evening was dave clark. his acceptance speech was hearfelt, the right length, graceful, eloquent and he spoke on behalf of himself, his five and us all.

so basically this years RRHoF was schlebville with a few highlights. perhaps they'll make up for it by inducting next year the hollies, donovan, manfred mann and a list of should-be's that rocks on forever.....i had decided that lou reed was not so difficult after seeing him in the Q & A at SXSW then i received a "care package" from steve belgard at the STARZ network, steve often sends a box of goodies down to colombia to make sure i'm up to date on stuff. this time it was the "ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME 2008" show which had been misbroadcast earlier on VH1, a channel i do not get here in bogota.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

09-SXSW, Glen Falls

SXSW Logo 2008

i finally returned to bogota yesterday after nearly two weeks in both austin,
TX and upstate NY. i was in austin attending the 22nd SXSW music festival the and in the glens falls area, attending to my families health at the natural health improvement center.

in glens falls and we were taking care of some of my wife's wellness issues at our friend lenny chiriboga's biosync and healthQuest location in the same town. the
weather was march snows so my son max and i headed over to west mountain and took some snowboarding lessons with aaron. by the second day max was at the top of the mountain snowboarding down and i was on my second lesson. it was an exhilarating way to follow the exhausting wonderful SXSW.

ALO Max Snowboarding 01

we arrived home to more bleatings from equador against colombia, a
continuence of the three week ago crisis between colombia, venezuela and
equador. the crisis was over colombia having killed a FARC leader and 18 followers who were entrenched just inside the equadorian border. life is never dull here and it will be even less so later in the day when i go to the dog resort and pick up our dog gruff.

SXSW was very successful. it has been for 22 years. this year the new york
times reported an attendence of 1700 bands ( which is more than SXSW
reported but if you include all the street buskers and " nearly performed"
brigade it might be so). in 2001 only 700 people registered, this year the
number was 12,500. the suppressive ones love heaping, " it's over" at SXSW,
they've been at it a good dozen years. it's not, in fact…it's just getting it's second or third wind.


the biggest reason sxsw has been freed up is how rapidly the record companies have sealed their own tombs over the past two years. they just seem hell bent on burying themselves dead. of course, they can still serve some acts, but for fresh young bands it is now as though the record companies invented the wheel. the record companies still think they are the same giant, while the rest of the world has wings. this factor, the not needing to bother factor, has freed young
bands of the luggage of even looking into record companies. unless you bleat
in way that would attract mark ronson or clive davis your route is the internet... and vinyl.

Lou Reed SXSW 2008

the keynote speaker was lou reed, interviewed in a Q & A by producer hal
willmer (with whom i've had the honor of sharing marianne faithfull). lou was
blunt and fun and was an example of obsessing on yourself as a brand and a
career when all the other obsessions have been said goodbye to before they
killed you. the couple of clips we were allowed to see from the julian
schnabel directed "BERLIN" (lou reed’s) were rivetting and magno. I hope the
rolling stones " SHINE A LIGHT" does the same for me.


well, just wanted to let you know i survived my reunion with kim fowley, (seriously it was a great catch-up) , but now i've got to go get the dog. be back later in the week with the rest of my SXSW news.

PS it was a simple pleasure of grace to be back in the kindness and
hospitality of america. nobody does it better!