Friday, July 31, 2009

27-alan mcgee on the faces

and more from the major domo of whatz not and what iz in the isles of late britania, the man with the four-eyed tifter, mr. alan mcgee railing forth on why rod & the faces should give it another go.


"ZANI - We Need a Reunion

Being a Rod Stewart fan these days is tough. If you mention his name in company then the odds are you're going to get at least one guffaw and a "blues traitor" comment. Why so serious about Rod the Mod? This is a man who was one of the main influences on the Sex Pistols (in his Faces days) and therefore helped instigate punk rock.

The problems people have with Stewart's career seem to start around the late 70s (his Blondes Have More Fun era), when he was making commercial bids into disco crossovers and soft pop (moves that prompted rockists to label Stewart a joke). Joke? Hardly. I can easily mention some classics from this period: Young Turks, Baby Jane and Downtown Train.

The anti-Stewart arguments are tired and scurrilous. From mod urchin to international playboy, Stewart has always been the essence of rock'n'roll by following his own instincts. His early days saw some of the heaviest players in UK music working with him: Joe Meek, Ray Davies, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, Fleetwood Mac and Jeff Beck. Impressive. However, it was when he joined the Faces and started his solo career that he began his iconic white-blues phase (1969-1974), releasing one commercial and critical smash after another.

A career highlight for me was discovering Stewart was a fan of Creation Records (he went on to cover the Primals and Oasis for his When We Were the New Boys album)

Being a fan, I'm surprised by the lack of hoopla for a Faces reunion. And the possibility of the Black Keys reworking Stewart?! This is news! Big news! The potential for a Black Keys and Stewart collaboration is exciting, and I have been tracking developments since I first heard the rumours. The Black Keys have been in collaboration heaven for the past few years, from their almost-there work with Ike Turner to Rick Rubin bringing them in for his ZZ Top project. Yet when I heard the Akron-based psychedelic blues boys were teaming up with Stewart? That tops the lot.

I mean, was there ever a better rock'n'roll band than the Faces? Drunken, likable and out for the good times – they have had a huge musical impact on myself, the Black Crowes, Wilco, the Sex Pistols, the Replacements, Oasis and many others. Which is why I think a Faces reunion will mean a return to the halcyon days of yore, where Stewart had critical and commercial success. Not that Stewart probably cares either way. The magic of Rod is that he does what he wants, when he wants, and hey, if he wants to work with the Black Keys and reunite the Faces, then that's fine with me."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

26 - vatman and alan mcgee

please enjoy a blog from scottish impresario, pop-mavan on new jersey's second finest and a rare picture of our vatman doing his thing for the pope...




"Alan McGee on music: Why Bon Jovi are mythic New Jersey artists

I feel Bon Jovi have received a bad rap from people with who believe themselves to have rather superior musical tastes. Last month, I was hanging out with my friend Jerry Jaffe, an all-round legend in the music industry who was head of Creation Records in the US, managed the Jesus and Mary Chain and Saint Etienne, and signed iconic bands like Moțrhead and the Jam. Whenever I introduce Jaffe to friends by listing his achievements, he always adds, "Yes, but I also signed Bon Jovi Рharass me now". But, you know, signing Bon Jovi isn't that bad.

Bon Jovi. I guarantee that once you've heard these words, you suddenly have one of their songs in your head: Have a Nice Day, Livin' On a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name. Their name also makes me think of New Jersey.

Bon Jovi form part of a mythic pop-culture trilogy that has emerged from New Jersey. Alongside Bruce Springsteen and David Chase (creator of The Sopranos), they form an almost perfect triptych representing the inner workings of New Jersey's Italian American experience. What about Frank Sinatra? Born in Hoboken, Sinatra seems to represent the ideal of escape, whereas Chase, Bon Jovi and Springsteen have continually looked back to New Jersey for inspiration. Without these artists, New Jersey would certainly have been painted in different colours for the world, if thought of at all. These singers have helped give the state its own identity to such a degree that it often feels like an additional character in their narratives.

David Chase's Sopranos has had enormous pop-culture ramifications, influencing the way people view New Jersey. The opening credits make it immediately clear that the landscape is integral to the story. A Jersey native and only child of Italian immigrants, The Sopranos is based on both Chase's psychology and knowledge of Newark, transposed on to a specific criminal environment. Chase illustrates the daily lives of people living within New Jersey's mafia culture – whether it be the nature of violence, emotional brutality, and working-class men made good through mafia connections. Through violence, Chase explores significant ideas about redemption.

Funnily enough, Chase employed Springsteen's guitarist Little Stevie, aka Steve Van Zandt, as gangster Silvio Dante. Springsteen, of course, is well known for his interpretations of New Jersey life in song. Significantly, he also explores redemption in his songs, which are a tribute to the working class. His reincarnation as a stadium-rock Woody Guthrie expertly captures the tragedies of lives gone wrong and the compelling struggle for hope and salvation.

Bon Jovi entered the arena with the 1986 hit Livin' On a Prayer from the album Slippery When Wet. This classic song shares a similar backdrop to Springsteen's Born in the USA, both anthems offering hope during a time of economic struggle and recession. Bon Jovi sing about two working-class characters, Gina and Tommy, who struggle to make ends meet but decide that "it doesn't matter if we make it or not/we've got love and that's a lot". Bon Jovi have returned repeatedly to these fictional characters, following their lives in the songs 99 in the Shade, Fear, Lie to Me, It's My Life and Novocaine.

You may scoff, but even Springsteen recognises Bon Jovi's talent. They often share a stage and the vibe is very much about working-class Jersey Boys done good. I truly believe Jon Bon Jovi deserves critical recognition for his abilities as a world-class songwriter, but instead people focus on the
poppy hair-metal genre in which he previously worked. Bon Jovi are easily one of the three creators who have made New Jersey a place of inspiration, creation and expression for those seeking universal salvation and hope."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

25 - al kooper & dr. john,

a show we should all have caught. lucky albany...


July 25th, 2009 - Albany, NY
Al Kooper on organ, Dr. John on piano and in a rare appearance Ziggy, the drummer from The Meters tear it up for an appreciative audience.


bill nighy is a terrific actor. from the time i saw him in 1998's STILL CRAZY with billy connolly and all his other great stuff, i fell in love with the geezer. he is also a super fan of the stones and conducts himself well. he also gives a funny and informative interview so i thought i'd share it with you. enjoy, o

CLICK HERE for interview with bill.

clip from STILL CRAZY:

Monday, July 27, 2009

24 - the sweet sweat of success

and something from back in 65 when a couple of beatles tried to jam in austria.....



here's the story compliments of Harvey Kubernik:

"When the Fabs were in Austria filming "Help!"
John and Paul decided to sit in
with the band in their hotel one night.

They got thru two songs
before the bar manager asked them to get off stage
and threatened to fire the band
if they ever let them up again ;-)

AMAZING that there happened to be a camera present
during those ten minutes:

We take it for granted in this age of cellphones
that Anything and EVERYTHING can be preserved for posterity;

but not so in the least
in '65.....

in the Alps....."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

23 - get back, johnny burnette and head to body size ratio

my dear pal and magno performer Al Kooper (fellow Aquarian, born just five days after moi) sent this writing and video. it's from a very special moment in our shared (that's all of us) of our shared musical pleasure and history. the beatles and billy preston and "get back", plus a few guests.... enjoy and thanks al. best, o

from al:

"Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did. The history of the song
made it even more interesting.


Here's a clip you likely have never seen. The recording of 'Get Back'
for the 'Let It Be' album.
In their early days, The Beatles played in clubs for hours most
nights, but by 1967, they stopped touring. This single was advertised
as "The Beatles as nature intended."

McCartney: "We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of
thin air... we started to write words there and then... when we
finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song
to roller coast by."

The character "JoJo" was based on Joseph Melville See Jr., Linda
McCartney's first husband. He was from Tucson, Arizona, and killed
himself there in 2000.

The missing verse from Get Back: "Meanwhile back at home there's
nineteen Pakistanis, Living in a council flat/Candidate for Labour
tells them what the plan is/Then he tells them where its at".
("Council flat" is the British equivalent for "housing project").
Early versions include the line "I dig no Pakistanis." The song began
as a commentary about immigration, telling people to "Get Back" to
their own countries. It was meant to mock Britain's anti-immigrant
proponents. Paul McCartney thought better of it and made the lyrics
more obscure.

Paul looked at Yoko in the studio when he sang the line "get back to
where you once belong." John thought he was disrespecting her. There
was a rare quote by Paul that said "I don't take any notice of her.
She's John's wife so I have to respect her for that, but I don't think
she's the brightest of buttons. She's said some particularly daft
things in her time. Her life is dedicated to putting me down but I
attempt very strongly not to put her down." They eventually became
friends even if it did have to be after John was murdered. Ringo was
the only one who would accept Yoko in the beginning when she first
came in picture, during and after The Beatles.

Billy Preston played piano and became the only guest artist to get a
credit on a Beatles single - "The Beatles with Billy Preston." George
Harrison had left the recording session one day and saw Preston in
concert with Ray Charles. The Beatles had met Preston back in 1962
when they were both playing in Germany, but they hadn't seen each
other since. Harrison asked Preston to come by the studio the next
day. Having him in the studio eased the tension and made it easier for
The Beatles to put personal conflicts aside and record the album.

On the clip you can briefly see a young Mick Jagger & Charlie Watts
from the Rolling Stones in the booth. Phil Spector was the guy with
the glasses."


and thanks to jason mcphail, the trainspotting bestest sammy glick of a manager from glasgow this side of wee alan mcgee, for reminding us how great the johnny burnette rock and roll trio, rip into " honey hush".


and here's another hip tip from jason.....

"Her head to body size ratio will have Gered doing cartwheels. As Kenny pointed out 'We're talking Bruce Springsteen ratios here'"