Friday, March 31, 2017

Sign "O" The Times at 30

Shut up already! Thirty years ago today, Prince unleashed the funkiest, most amazing artistic statement of his career: the double album "Sign 'O' The Times." Music does not get better than this. I still get chills spinning this. I remember buying Sign after school the day it came out and racing home to play it undisturbed in one sitting. Mesmerized. It contains Prince's utterly genius "Housequake" and "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and so much more. Go dig it.

A Favorite Album For Each Year of My Life

This took me a while, because I love music and I listen to a lot of it and I think about it almost as much as I listen to it. My friend Phillip Mottaz put me up to this and I accepted the challenge. Here are my Favorite Albums by Year for Each Year of my Life. I went by actual release year, not peak of popularity. They were not necessarily my favorites at the time of release. A few, like 1984, were no brainers (a right answer, as Phillip says). 1970, 1985 and 1994 became Sophie's Choice. As a result some of my all time favorite records are absent. Some favorite artists recur, proving they made consistently great albums that have influenced my listening habits perpetually. Steely Dan is here twice, but not my favorite Steely Dan record. I apparently enjoy Franz Ferdinand far more than I would have guessed. If I tackle this exercise again in 5 years or 5 weeks, I would expect about 3 or 4 to change. Here we go, as of today...

1969 - Abbey Road - The Beatles
1970 - ABC - The Jackson 5
1971 - What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
1972 - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars - David Bowie
1973 - Band on the Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
1974 - Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan
1975 - Main Course - Bee Gees
1976 - Royal Scam - Steely Dan
1977 - Saturday Night Fever - Bee Gees, et al.
1978 - Some Girls - Rolling Stones
1979 - Off The Wall - Michael Jackson
1980 - The Game - Queen
1981 - Computer World - Kraftwerk
1982 - 1999 - Prince
1983 - Let's Dance - David Bowie
1984 - Purple Rain - Prince and the Revolution
1985 - Rain Dogs - Tom Waits
1986 - Parade - Prince and the Revolution
1987 - Sign 'O' The Times - Prince
1988 - It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
1989 - Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys
1990 - Fear of a Black Planet - Public Enemy
1991 - Diamonds and Pearls - Prince and the New Power Generation
1992 - O+> - Prince and the New Power Generation
1993 - Sons of Soul - Tony Toni Toné
1994 - Parklife - blur
1995 - What's The Story (Morning Glory) - Oasis
1996 - Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop - Stone Temple Pilots
1997 - In It For The Money - Supergrass
1998 - Hello Nasty - Beastie Boys
1999 - Battle of Los Angeles - Rage Against The Machine
2000 - Stankonia - Outkast
2001 - "Love And Theft" - Bob Dylan
2002 - Life On Other Planets - Supergrass
2003 - The Black Album - Jay-Z
2004 - Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand 2005 - The Emancipation of Mimi - Mariah Carey
2006 - Bright Idea - Orson
2007 - Magic - Bruce Springsteen
2008 - Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
2009 - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
2010 - Brothers - The Black Keys
2011 - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 - Beastie Boys
2012 - Tempest - Bob Dylan
2013 - The Next Day - David Bowie
2014 - Art Official Age - Prince
2015 - Paper Gods - Duran Duran
2016 - ★ - David Bowie

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roll Over, Beethoven and Thank You, Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry = Rock & Roll. My three cents.

My first rock and roll 45 was "My Ding-A-Ling." A Christmas gift from a hip uncle and Chuck's only #1. 

The first rock and roll number I performed on stage with a band was the Beatles' arrangement of Chuck Berry's "Rock And Roll Music." I've never looked back.

For my 19th birthday, I bought myself a ticket to check out Chuck Berry in DC. Some college classmates laughed because I was going to see a 60 year old has-been. I saw the duck walk.

I don't think Chuck Berry wouldn't want nobody to cry over him, he'd want you to turn that record up!

Roll over, Beethoven and make way for Mr. Chuck Berry.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Tour In The UK With Pacific Soul Ltd. #6

Leaving London this afternoon following a successful fortnight of musical adventures. Pacific Soul Ltd. had a nice run of shows from North to South. I enjoyed each show. They were all gratifying and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to return to the UK to perform.
Cavern Pub made for a superb warmup/introduction for the band and for playing with Jon. We were in good hands with his steady beat. What a profoundly cool person and top musician.
The Cavern Club show was a barn burner. The energy and the audience were on point. The most fun I've had playing there yet. Thanks, IPO!
Our gig at the Jacaranda was a welcome surprise. Getting to play on a true relic of the Beatles' halcyon days was indescribable. So I won't try. Our harmonies were tight at the Jac.
Rolling out to Bradford was an Amazing Race. Driving on the right side of the car/left side of the road on a bit of a Magical Mystery Tour. Ate some good curry up there. The audio difficulties we had were countered by the good times we had with old and new friends.
While we were in Liverpool, I picked up some new vintage clothes. Always looking for cool vintage clothes to wear on stage, especially the British-type. Fab gear. I also found a couple of record shops and tea houses throughout the tour that added to the fun.
Croydon was the next stop and that show felt almost like a homecoming with Peter opening for us and a great vibe/sound in the room. Also, you have to love any venue that will do tea during a rock show.
Our gig at Medway required a little travel via train. Two big highlights of the trip occurred. I spotted and possibly scared Pulp's Jarvis Cocker in St. Pancras Station when I clearly recognized him and gawked like a superfan. Second, when the highspeed train pulls into Richmond you see a ruined Castle! Then the show was 2 hours of raucousness, soul and harmonies. PSL makes that a thing.
To wrap up my run, after more afternoon teas than an episode of Downton Abbey, we hoofed out toward Highbury for our set at 12 Bar. 12 Bar were wonderful hosts in an eclectic venue that looked like an electric church thrust into a split-level concert hall. Surreal.
My favorite moments consistently in the shows were the performances of "Your Majestic Rejection"/"Portland." Close runners up would be anytime Adam, Teresa and I sang harmonies; or watching Jon play the drumkit so tastefully.
Time to power down the phone. What a ride. Can't wait to do it again Britain. I have to do this ever time, but thank you family, friends, fans and bandmates. You have all supported me in my continuing recovery and in the pursuit of my dreams. Cool. God is great.

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