Hey Soul Mates,last night, Indie Airplay's weekly broadcast featured our song in the top 5 once again. That's right A Talent For Loving held tight at #2 for the second week in a row. You can veiw their top 5 chart online. Be sure to listen to the free streaming broadcast of Indie Airplay! Special shout out to DJ Jennifer Wicks for the support.
Don't forget we have a show on Thursday at the Gig on Melrose. This is a FREE show with our friends Pillow Of Wrongness. The night is being presented by Finlandia vodka. Ah, the Finnish. Immediately after us will be the Mojo Girls Burlesque show. That's right. No stripping to the nothings, but there is stripping. Actually there's more stripping in our show than in the Mojo Girls' but we're equal opportunity.
All for now. Try to beat the heat in LA, try to dry out deep south.
Love, Power, Peace
Hey Soul Mates,
last night, ABC reclaimed its place as one of my favorite bands. Here is a group I never imagined I'd see live and they performed a dream concert at the House Of Blues. It was a greatest hits revue spiced with a few choice later-day ABC tunes. At some point in life, I have owned all but one of their albums. I hyperventilated for much of the set and was probably one of the two the rowdiest cats in the joint. Only the one guy next to me knew as many words to their songs.
Martin Fry looked smashing in a smart robin's egg blue linen suit. He wore a matching shirt and tie: white with blue, gold and silver stripes. His belt buckle and cufflinks were pure bling. The rest of the group looked pretty sharp, too, in variations of white and black. The exception was original drummer David Palmer who had on jeans with a blue and yellow striped shirt. Palmer, by the way, looks like he's still in his 20's. And considering Martin bout with a severe illness in mid-80's, he looked damn good, feathered blond bangs and all. If I could choose one pop star to go shopping with it would be him!
We got to the HOB early enough to get front and center, about 5 feet from the stage. Afterward, I managed to get Martin's set list (which will help in this recollection), so here we go.
The show began with the lushly orchestrated Overture from Lexicon of Love. The curtains opened to reveal ABC launching into a brand new song The Very First Time, which was so catchy that I was singing along with the chorus on it's second go round. A very bold move for a group that most people think stopped making records in 1987. From that point on it was the veritable ABC jukebox.
Show Me was followed by a false start and then a full-run through their massively popular Poison Arrow. Martin was very humorous when he missed a lyric or two. Considering how infrequently ABC tour, no one seemed to mind. Arrow was followed by How To Be A Millionaire. With it's opening line, "I've seen the future I can't afford it," I was reminded of what a wonderful lyricist Martin is. Pop songs usually don't have that much depth. Of their catalogue, Millionaire was certainly my favorite song I thought they wouldn't tackle. They played the hell out of it.
ABC's most rock-oriented number came next, That Was Then But This is Now. Datestamp from Lexicon Of Love proved to be a challenge for the band, but from there the band hit their stride. The Night You Murdered Love was smooth. And then came the heavyweight tandem of Be Near Me and When Smokey Sings. Martin expressed his gratitude for both of the songs, basically saying "they've been good to me." Which I think is fitting and humble. Each of the tunes represented comebacks of sorts for ABC upon release. And of course, the audience (esp. me) went berserk and sang along.
Their version of the new romantic/new wave sound has aged very well. Part of that is attributable to ABC's current, muscular line-up (two keyboardists, guitar and bass players) led by Palmer on the drums. This allowed them to recreate the most ornate musical elements of their songs. Their most amazing instrument on stage belongs to Martin Fry. His voice has hardly aged a day. It's all there: the deep growls, the falsetto coos. His cheery demeanor and sauve presence made everyone feel as cool as him. And dang, he is suave.
The band slowed for a moment with a cover of John Lennon's Love. It caught everyone off guard. Martin said the band saw a picture of Lennon in their dressing room and were moved to learn it on the spot. They would do well to keep the song in the set. Love was a great showcase for Martin's voice with minimal accompaniment. The group returned to tear into Rolling Sevens from 1997's Skyscraping (and you didn't even know they'd put out a record that recently!). This version of Sevens was hellacious with better energy than the original.
The proto-house number One Better World and pure new wave Tears Are Not Enough got us to the climax of the night. ABC's best ballad, All Of My Heart was a show-stopper. They topped that by playing their signature song. Fry said, "20 years on and people still ask me if I've found true love" kick-starting The Look Of Love. Had ABC been a one-hit wonder, The Look of Love would be the quintessential throw-away pop song. But Martin Fry's performance gets the group beyond camp and the yelping "Yippee-Yi-Ya's" at the end are truly uplifting, a joyful new romantic noise.
It was an interesting contrast seeing ABC, a seminal MTV band, performing the night of the VMAs. The VMAs are vexing. MTV owes everything to acts from the 80's like ABC, the Durans, Culture Club, etc who put so much energy and fun into their videos. Now most videos are an exercise in vanity and who got da most ho's for they show. Annoying.
ABC, thankfully did an encore. I can think of 3 or 4 more songs I would have like to have heard, but I can't be choosey. Their encore, I kid you not, began with a brand new song, (One Way) Traffic. Again, this group is primed to release a spectacular new LP if they can; much like the Durans did last year. The last song of the night, and Martin had promised they might play it "10 times tonight," was a reprise of Poison Arrow. And everyone was thrilled. You wait 25 years to see a group play. They wanna play their best known song 3 times. Fine by me. I'll probably never see ABC live again. But I can sleep easier knowing that I did once.
ABC forever!The opener for the show was Naked Eyes. A relatively lesser-known 80's new wave group. They churned out hits like When The Lights Go Out, Promises, Promises and their chart-topping update of (and superior to Dionne's original) Always Something There To Remind Me.
I'm so very pleased that ABC finally made it back to LA. This is such a stylish and entertaining group. They are an inspiration to me to strive even harder to be as successful as they have been. If they are coming to your town and you're looking for an inexpensive ($22 tickets), hit-filled show, it's time to brush up on your ABC.
Love, Power, Peace
p.s. Happy Birthday to the King of Pop.
p.p.s I'd like to take a moment and acknowledge my thanks to Blogger. I've been at this for a year now, and I've almost figured out what I'm doing with this blog.
Finally, Lord have mercy on New Orleans.
Which Prince Era Am I?
Hey Soul Mates,
got this Prince quiz via MySpace. But since I don't have a personal page I figured I'd post the result here. Of course, there's no way of knowing what the answers to their questions add up to, but I am my favorite Prince album apparently. Must say I wasn't surprised.
We've been getting a nice response to the Gear HQ and all of the fun Rush Hour Soul stuff there. I already altered one item per requests. Ladies, that Doll-Baby baby doll now says what you wanted.
Have a great weekend. I'll check in with a review of tomorrow's ABC concert.
Love, Power, Peace
You scored as Parade Prince.
You are the Parade Prince. You know that you are funny and make everyone around you feel better. You're funny and smart and witty.
Parade Prince 100%
Dirty Mind/Controversy Prince 83%
Sign 'O' The Times Prince 83%
Purple Rain Prince 83%
Musicology Prince 67%
Grafitti Bridge 67%
1999 Prince 67%
Slave Prince 67%
Diamonds & Pearls Prince 50%
You're Not Prince... You're The Artist 50%
Lovesexy Prince 33%
Around The World In A Day Prince 33%
Hey Soul Mates,
so much is going on, I have to find a point to begin. This blog has quite a bit of information and at 3 seperate links to things going on in my life right now. Two are very exciting developments for Rush Hour Soul. The last is just what I'm feeling (musically). Here we go.
Got RHS? Well, I am officially announcing the GRAND OPENING of our new on-line merch storefront at CafePress! It's called the Rush Hour Soul Gear HQ. And it's open now! You can shop on-line for fantastic RHS souvenirs and clothing. I recommend that you browse through the entire selection. Enjoy the fun descriptions of each. The items range from mouse pads and magnets to hoodies and jerseys. Represent, Soul Mates!
Keep in mind, Cafe Press is flexible. We control the content of our shop. If there is a style you like, that we are missing or that you'd like to suggest, we may be able to accommodate it. Just tell us. It's been fun putting together the catalogue. All of the logos and images were designed by yours truly. That part is rather addicting. Hard to stop coming up with ideas for merch, as a result I was up til 4 am two days ago.
Next news item. Rush Hour Soul got it's first radio play. We made our new recording of A Talent For Loving available for the Indie Airplay podcast at Suite108.com. And we charted on our first time out! DJ Jennifer Wicks made the song her #2 for this week's "Indie Top 5 Picks." Although, she misannounced it as "Talent For Nothing," I'd call that an auspicious start for us. You can download this particular podcast (show #215 aired on 08.23.05.) at iTunes. It's free to listen to, so check it out. Our song appears at about the 10 minute mark. You'll hear about half the tune in their countdown. Ready for the big time? We are.
Finally, I've been listening to ABC quite a bit. I am going to see them on Sunday and I'm pretty excited. This is a group I loved as a kid. This will be my first time seeing them. Most of the British groups from the '80's avoided the Deep South. I'm still surprised that Duran Duran and General Public ever came to Jacksonville.
I actually own two copies of ABC's Poison Arrow 45. The first vinyl I ever bought overseas was their single for How To Be A Millionaire. I still have it. It came in a very colorful blue and yellow picture sleeve showing the group as cartoon characters. Visually, ABC always stood out. This was the first pop group I saw in tuxes and gold lame jackets. I can remember old MTV VJ, J.J. Jackson comparing their look to Roxy Music and thinking... "Of course! Who's Roxy Music?" Anyway, their LPs Lexicon of Love (playing right now) & How To Be A Zillionaire have always been favorites of mine. When I was home from school, I frequently played Zillionaire as cooking music. It's the secret ingredient for my acclaimed chili, that only Bruce Willis was strong enough to turn down. I could tell you how When Smokey Sings once cured a severe bout of depression, but that's for another day. I'll probably be moved to tears if they play it. At this point, the group is basically lead singer Martin Fry. But I'm still gonna get my ABC on.
Alright, I gotta run and press launch on our Store. Happy Shopping.
Love, Power, Peace
Hey Soul Mates,
it's been an adventure-filled day in Los Angeles. Or rather El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles. I have lived in LA for a decade and I love discovering new places and revisiting others. Today, we went downtown to the Fashion District off Olympic. There is lots to see downtown. Fantastic deco-era buildings, bustling streets and all types of faces. Mainly bargain hunters and buyers for boutiques. As the sun reached high noon, we were walking through the heart of the area, Santee Alley. It was jammed with people and felt like a third world bazaar. I've been to the Fashion District a handful of times, but today, I came up empty. But not for lack of looking. My favorite bit of window shopping came on Los Angeles St. where I found a men's clothing store selling the "Steve Harvey Collection." It recalled an episode of SNL where Bernie Mac did a biting fake advertisement for Steve Harvey's flamboyant, hepcat suits.
From there we hopped in the car and headed back up Main Street, but instead of getting on the freeway, we wound up at Olvera Street. Olvera is the oldest area of LA dating to the very late 18th century. It's currently celebrating it's 75th anniversary as a designated historical center. It's the home of the Avila Adobe house (ca. 1814), the oldest building in the city. This was El Pueblo's commercial heart. We got in a brief look at the Avila house. It was closing time, but since it was free we had to take a peak. It is fun learning new things about this town. Within a few blocks there's also the LA Mission (where I said a prayer for all of you), a large gazebo for live folklorico performances, and a marketplace with parallel rows of souvenir shops and authentic Mexican restaurants. We had lunch at El Pueblo Inn and my taquitos were savory. The shops, many of which deal in trinkets, also have some neat folk art and useful items. Today, I felt like I could truly call myself an Angeleno. No self-respecting citizen should go without visiting the true heart of city: downtown. Not Hollywood.
Union Station is only a hundred yards away from Olvera, so we walked through there, too. The train station is a triumph of interior design. Lots of vaulted ceilings and deco decor. It played the police station in one of my favorite movies, Blade Runner. Of course, as soon as I got home, I had to put on Blade Runner and check out the setting on film.
What a great day of sight seeing right here at home. Yesterday, I spent the evening with friends at the historic Hotel Figueroa, also downtown (two blocks from Staples Center). What a great town. And the full moon was a bright peachy orange, did you see it? It led us all the way into the heart of the city.
Oh, I have to tell you this. Last night I wrote my first Letter To The Editor. This week's new Rolling Stone came in the mail. There's a great multi-page article on rock & roll legend, Bo Diddley. That is one fascinating cat. Bo is still performing, writing & recording. He's apparently an electronics whiz and as eccentric as Chuck and Richard. But then I realized, Bo is not on the cover. Anywhere. They gave the cover photo to Coldplay. They namecheck the Rolling Stones, R. Kelly, the crappy Dukes Of Hazzard movie, Death Cab For Cutie and (?) Fall Out Boy. But NO BO!?!?!? That's not right. Bo is directly responsible for the Rolling Stones, at least. So I wrote Rolling Stone to say, "What's up widdat?" I recommend that everyone else who cares do the same.
Here's their e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and here's what I wrote, feel free to cut and paste or paraphrase:
Subject line: Who Do You Love?
Dear Rolling Stone,
Thanks for giving us the latest on Bo Diddley. But why didn't Bo get any love on your front cover? In fact, how about a cover featuring Bo, Chuck Berry & Little Richard while these rock & roll titans still walk amongst us mortals?
Alright, that's it for tonight. Adios.
Love, Power, Peace
Hey Soul Mates,
last night was a cool night at the Greek Theater. We went to check out one of the hottest and oddest couples in rock history. For the uninitiated, imagine if Sonny and Cher said they were brother and sister. And imagine if they loved the blues and feedback. And only dressed in red, black or white. And imagine Cher was virtually rhythm-free, but surprisingly watchable. And that Sonny, moustache and all, was a musical genius. Well, that would be them.
This one's for my buddy, Mike.
The White Stripes kicked off the set with The Hardest Button To Button. Rudimentary drummer Meg White and her shrieking little brother Jack (tricked out like a 4 year old in a cowboy suit from Hell) played amidst a backdrop of palm trees, oversized floating apple (a motif from their album art) and instruments in their trademark Red, White & Black. Yes, lots of instruments. Jack shifting from guitar to guitar to piano to marimba to mandolin and back. It looked like there was junk on stage he didn't even get to before the night was done.
Their set continued with their unique take on the blues and classic rock sounds, with songs like Hotel Yorba, Jolene, & Black Math. Don't quote me on the setlist or it's order. There were a half-dozen songs I didn't recognize being a WS neophyte. Early on, Jack White sat down and pounded at the piano on their latest single My Doorbell. My Doorbell is a wonderfully catchy modern blues about waiting & waiting for that special girl to ring (what else?) his bell. It was the first song they performed from their new disc Get Behind Me Satan. The album is filled with these songs of emotional and sexual frustration. He longs for teases: from this girl to Rita Hayworth to an actual ghost, even to his "sister". Jack White really wants to you understand that he has "the blues" and that these various women are the cause of it all. How primordial.
Eventually, Jack took to the marimba - like a madman. He only used it for the new song The Nurse, but he played it with virtuoso flourishes. The nurse in question, is another one of Jack's female tormentors obliterating his heart. The rock show continued with Little Ghost, a slice of Appalachian folk with Jack on mandolin and the Whites sharing lead vocals. Now, how many rock acts play marimba and mandolin in the same set, if at all? Zero. This is part of the genius of the Stripes. The blues, country, bluegrass, Americana, classic rock: these two get it. As my friend Steph likes to say they are "going to the well."
Ball & Biscuit was the musical high point of the set. Here, the Stripes revisit, deconstruct and bionically rebuild delta blues mythology into a metal-infused behemoth. They are not only heirs to Son House, but Led Zeppelin as well. My jaw dropped watching the furious guitar playing. Jack powered through the solo sections with what should be called reckless abandon. But the whole damn show is about reckless abandon. There is no other band out there (on a national level) taking as many artistic risks or liberties than the White Stripes.
Another highlight was Death Letter. I'd be willing to bet there are few acts pulling off a century-old song as defiantly and singularly as the White Stripes tackle this one. Meg's vocal spotlight, the ultra-creepy Passive Manipulation (with Meg on tympani) showed up twice in the set. They also played There's No Home For You Here and the whole of the Greek Theater joined in the massive sing-a-long of the gentle You've Got Her In Your Pocket.
It's quite a treat to see a favorite album's tracks brought to life. Especially when the material is still so fresh for my ears and the artists'. Get Behind Me Satan is already the best thing I've heard all year. And after seeing much of it performed live, it's going to take a freight train of an LP to derail the Stripes.
Jack is clearly a brilliant, petulant child playing with his toys. He even grabbed a Jack White-esque doll from atop an amplifier and made it "walk" to his pedal boards to begin the feed back for the riveting Blue Orchid. He seemed very comfortable performing, but didn't say a whole lot between songs. He inhabits his own universe and the stage is his room. For much of the show, it's as if he's invited us over to play tea party and his tea party rocks!
The White Stripes' nearly 10-song encore began with Jack alone at the piano singing his country ballad I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet). That was followed by a loopy trip through their breakthrough hit Fell In Love With A Girl; Burt Bacharach's I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself; and Red Rain from the new disc which brings together the classic sound of slide guitar with toy xylophone. And yes, it really rocked. This was the last show of a four night stint at the Greek, so they let loose for the encore.
The emotional crest for the show was their second to the last song Seven Nation Army. Heavy on the guitar and loads of strobe light. Strobe light. I hadn't seen strobes at a show in I can't remember how long. But it was effective. The White Stripes are a spectacle; a force unto themselves. Much has been written about how unlikely they are. True, but this duo is destined for the Rock Hall in my estimation. If they come to your town, put the parents to bed and run out to see them.
The non-musical highlight of the night? When we pulled into the parking lot of the Greek, a car jumped in front of us to get a plum space. With my window rolled down, I blurted "That John C. Reilly-lookin' dude just took my spot!" It was John C. Reilly. And yes, he and his girl heard me. Nothing but love, Mr. Cellophane. Nothing but love.
Love, Power, Peace
Rush Hour Soul EP Megamix Preview
Hey Soul Mates,the time has come. New music from RUSH HOUR SOUL will be available exclusively on MySpace. The track is being formatted by their programming, so it should be ready for you to hear within 24 hours of this post. Granted, it's a 35 second sampler of what we've been creating in the studio. You'll hear a taste of what we've been up to this Summer. Hopefully it will further pique your curiosity and whet your appetite for the complete songs. The new tracks will be available for download in their entirety soon. We are thrilled to be able to share this snippet with you. The songs represented are A Talent For Loving, Done Lost My Mind & Down By Love.
If you are not a member of MySpace, the track will be up on RHS.com in a few weeks, as well. We had to remove a track, so we chose Love Someone (sorry, fans of that song). The Rush Hour Soul EP Megamix is the 4th song available on our MySpace page. Please feel free to leave us comments and recommend our websites to your friends.
Tomorrow, I have a meeting with the good folks at BB King's to work on the details of our next appearance there. We are looking forward to our next show at BB's. But don't forget, we've got a FREE show @ the Gig coming up in 3 short weeks.
OK, stop reading and head straight to MySpace and dig the new sounds of Rush Hour Soul.
Love, Power, Peace
Hey Soul Mates,
we're burning the midnight oil and sleeping with one eye open. The whole world is about to learn about your Rush Hour Soul. Big things are brewing and it smells like success. La dolce vita, hm hmm.
Last night, Bryan came over with the final mixes of our new songs. We listened through the different mastered versions and selected the ones to release. We are very pleased. And you will be too. The tracks really came out well and I'm very proud of how they've turned out. Bryan's solos are going to drive you to learn air guitar and Doug's bass drum foot is dead heavy, y'all.
We are in the process of putting together some huge events and we want all of you to be a part of them. Details will be revealed as we are able to finalize them. Love, Power, Peace
Into The Night: Show Recap
Hey Soul Mates,first of all. I'd like to thank each and everyone of the 200+ people who were in BB King's last night. You made the energy of the room crazay. We so thoroughly enjoyed entertaining all of you. Thanks for singing along and for your great response to our music, especially the new song we debuted. That's a wonderful stage to perform on and to look out at all of the faces. There are lots of pictures to go through and I'll be posting them over the course of the weekend. Great action shots and pictures of the beautiful Soul Mates.
I also want to thank Elle Grace, the booker, and her crew for making the night an event. And an extra-special thank you to DiMarko Chandler, the GM of BB King's. What a compliment to have the general manager of the venue come up on stage to give us an encore. That is a first in our experience. BB's is going to have us back (details to follow). They were pleased with us and our fans. You all are the best. You show true support for us (by singing and dancing) and the venues we play (by drinking and being gracious). Wow.
That said here's the set list from last night:
Down By Love
U Had the $ (debut)Everything My Heart Desires
A Talent For Loving
Hold On, I'm A-Comin'
Done Lost My Mind
Encore: Everyone's Ingenue
We had fun as you may have guessed. It was our first full-fledged concert. So many first-timers who enjoyed the show (one who dearly wanted my pink Barney's tie. Sorry, maybe the next one). People of all ages got into the act. There was the table full of "Showtime at the Apollo"-worthy hecklers, who wound up complimenting us. We had a gentleman ask for Doug's sticks (another first) and I saw his son air-drumming with them on the way out. His little brother's jaw dropped when I shook his hand to say "hello." This little boy replied "y'all were good." Wow. It's the best reward in life to know that we can bring good entertainment wherever we go.
We also have the final results of our Evite polls. You told us that as grand prizes go you want to "attend an RHS rehearsal" over "dinner with the group." The poll also revealed that of the Monkees, Duran Duran, Pink & Biz Markie: Duran Duran is your favorite "Guilty Pleasure." Apparently, more of you are Hungry Like the Wolf than Just A Friend!
This thing is really building steam. The next few shows will be crucial. If you are in LA, you should pick up a copy of this week's LA Weekly. Our picture is featured in the BB King's ad, with a photo of B.B., no less! We are going to make you all proud. Stick around, the ride is getting fun! Our next show, presented by Finlandia Vodka, is a FREE show at the GIG on Melrose, Thursday Sept. 1. Check RHS.com for the details.
Love, Power, Peace and pictures at 11.
p.s. special props to my longtime friends Dave (who drove in from Vegas. I'm rappin', Son!) and Jeanne (the oldest friend I have here in LA, who'd never seen me perform before).
Hey Soul Mates,
last night I went to the world premiere of Iain Softley's new film The Skeleton Key. We walked the red carpet which is always a gas. Saw star Kate Hudson in a hot, very low cut in the back dress. Keep your eyes peeled for me in the background of any photos.
I had fairly low expectations for the movie, as I'm not a big fan of horror films. Little did I know this is actually a piece of good old American Southern Gothic in all its glory: conflicted heroine, haunted mansion, tales of dementia & plenty of live oaks with Spanish moss. The acting from the 4 leads is fun, notably John Hurt (Elephant Man) as a near mute stroke victim Hudson is hired to care for and his turn-back-the-clock wife, Gena Rowlands (Gloria). This is not a blood and gore slasher film. This is a well-crafted "suspenser" that delves into folk magic or "hoodoo" & the power of persuasion. Not your typical ingredients for a Summer film. I was pleasantly surprised and shocked by Softley's building of tension, as Hudson's character delves deeper into the mystery of the house and the local color. I will give away none of the twisty plot, but suffice it to say, Softley does not sell out to popular taste. This movie climaxed they way it was supposed to and I can't wait to see it again. I was first to applaud when his title card came up at the end. On my highest recommendation for possibly my favorite movie of the season, go peep Skeleton Key.
After the picture, we went to the after-party. It was held in the Latin Quarter at Universal Studios. There were tarot readers, a brass Dixieland band and a nice jambalaya on the menu. So that was my evening. Tonight we have rehearsal. The set list for BB's has been chosen. Can't wait to reveal the mystery. We are going to have a fun show. There are several dear friends coming in from out of state for the gig. We may have a MAJOR publication present to review the show. So once again: be there as we all make history together. Also, be sure to check out tomorrow's LA WEEKLY and the BB King's ad.
Love, Power, Peace
and a little brick dust around the doorway.
p.s. I nearly forgot. Yesterday at the studio, I saw Andre 3000 from Outkast learning a tapdance routine for their new musical My Life In Idlewild. The number is Harlem Renaissance-era Outkast, with 'Dre on the lead vocal. The set is a huge art-deco ballroom with giant stair cases, silver & white decoration and lots of dancing girls decked out like Josephine Baker. Hey Ya!p.p.s I placed a hot link to the Skeleton Key Site above. Try to see the movie before you check it out. Regardless there is lots of fun information there. And watch out for the 78 rpm records. They's good ones and mean spirited ones.