Category Archives: Articles

Missed opportunity: Come on Pixies, you know we love you!

You may have heard that the Pixies are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Surfer Rosa with a big box set.

Three CD and Three LP editions out on September 28th, 2018 with new artwork reimagined by original designer Vaughan Oliver and the bonus disc, Live From The Fallout Shelter – one of the earliest recordings of the band, a radio concert that first aired in late 1986 on WJUL-FM in Lowell, MA.

It’s cool that they’re digging up a rare old concert for this, but what a missed opportunity to reissue these classics with the respect they deserve by gathering up all the music they recorded during this era.

It’s easy to imagine what could’ve been.

We all know that Come On Pilgrim was originally recorded as a demo tape to try to get a record deal. It worked, of course, because 4AD heard it and signed the band. 4AD selected 8 of the 17 songs from the demo and released them as Come On Pilgrim, clocking in at a generous twenty minutes and thirty seconds of music.

Most of the remaining nine songs were subsequently re-recorded and released on later albums and singles. Songs like “Broken Face” and “Here Comes Your Man.” All of those nine original demo versions were eventually released by spinART Records in 2002. They’re awesome.

And there’s no reason they shouldn’t be included in a special deluxe anniversary edition. Especially since the 17 songs altogether add up to under 39 minutes.

Continue reading Missed opportunity: Come on Pixies, you know we love you!

When KISS rocked Cadillac, Michigan

Every single thing about this article from FOTO magazine is amazing: “When KISS Rocked Cadillac – KISS was on the cusp of superstardom when a small, conservative town in northern Michigan invited the band to visit. The rest is rock history.”

It sounds like a Hollywood screenwriter’s fantasy: a small-town high-school football team turns around a losing season, inspired by the music of wildly theatrical rock and rollers from New York. The team contacts the group with an unlikely ask: Would they consider visiting, so the town can say thanks? The band, on the cusp of superstardom, agrees — resulting in one of the most improbable, wholesome, heartwarming stories in rock history. But this was no movie: the year was 1975; the town was Cadillac, Michigan; and the band was KISS. Here, after unearthing never-seen photos from the event, FOTO celebrates an unrepeatable pop-culture moment, and speaks with a man who helped make it happen.

Cadillac is a small town (population: 10,000) in the middle of rural northern Michigan. As a kid we would drive through it on our way “up north” to nicer places like Petoskey or Mackinac island. The expressway ended right before you got to Cadillac so we’d often stop at the Dairy Queen or the Big Boy. We’d gawk at the sign for a place called Stopless Topless. But in 2001 MDOT extended the expressway all the way up to Manton and since then there hasn’t been any reason to stop in Cadillac.

But back in 1974 Cadillac High’s assistant football coach played the team KISS music in the locker room to inspire the team. They went on to have a winning season and the coach wrote to KISS to thank them. So the next year when KISS was on their Alive! Tour they were invited to participate in the homecoming parade and receive the key to the city.

This isn’t a new story. And there was a lot of local press around it in 2015 for the 40th anniversary. But FOTO has found a trove of previously unpublished photos taken by Irish music journalist Fin Costello, and they’re unbelievably awesome. See for yourself.

And then check out some of the previous coverage and photos, because it’s all great.

“When KISS Visited Cadillac High School in 1975” by Lou Blouin (Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, October 2015).

“Gene Simmons on 1975 Cadillac High School concert and parade: ‘It was almost as if we landed on Planet KISS'” by John Gonzalez (MLive, September 29, 2015) with an equally great gallery of 23 photos that were given to Coach Neff by KISS in 1975 with permission to use with no restrictions.

“Cadillac’s connection with Kiss endures 40 years later” by John Hogan (Detroit Free Press, October 8, 2015).

“KISS does a high school Homecoming” by Danny Arruda (ESPN, March 1, 2010) with a bunch of great photos, including some in color.

Jim Neff’s Cadillac KISStory

Cadillac KISStory Tour!

And check out a great video, below, featuring archival footage from 1975 as well as some interviews from 2010 with Gene, Paul, the coach, a couple football players, and the head cheerleader, who has a story that shouldn’t surprise anybody.

Continue reading When KISS rocked Cadillac, Michigan

Return of the Village Green Preservation Society

As I am someone who has long enjoyed the music of the Kinks and the Doors, you might think that I would be over the proverbial moon with the recent announcements—one iffier than the other—that (1) the Kinks are reuniting and (2) there is a 50th anniversary version of Waiting for the Sun coming out this September.

As for the first, Sir Ray Davies (must give the man his propers) told the BBC that he was getting the band back together to record an album, having been inspired by The Rolling Stones’ recent spate of European concerts. The Kinks were formed in ’64, managed to get banned from touring in the U.S. for four years starting in ’65, and disbanded in ’96. The last bona-fide Kinks album, To the Bone, was released in ’94. In addition to Sir Ray, the band included his brother Dave, Mick Avory, and Pete Quaife. Quaife died in 2010. So the reunion would be of a trio, not a quartet.

As for the second, the Doors formed in 1965, and consisted of Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger. Their first album, The Doors, appeared in 1967. Waiting for the Sun was the third album, appearing in 1968. L.A. Woman was their last proper album, as it was released in April 1971 and Jim Morrison died in July of that year.

So while there is certainty that the Doors album will appear, whether the Kinks record or not is something that remains to be heard.

And I hope that they don’t.

Realize that the band hasn’t existed since 1996. That’s 22 years ago. The band itself existed for 32 years, which is a long run by any measure and the body of work that it produced includes some of the best songs of the late 20th century.

Continue reading Return of the Village Green Preservation Society

Sail On, Sailor

According to Cruise Market Watch, “Worldwide, the ocean cruise industry has an annual passenger compound annual growth rate of 6.63% from 1990 – 2020,” and for 2018, they’re estimating that some 26-million lucky people will be living the buffet life on the high seas.

And they’ve calculated that “Only 53% of the target North American market (or 24% of the whole U.S. population) have ever taken an ocean cruise.” Somehow the idea that 24% of the entire U.S. population has taken an ocean cruise strikes me as being more than moderately bizarre, but there it is.

That 47% of the target North American market that remains to set sail may be vastly diminished come February 14, 2019, because that Valentine’s Day, the “2019 Ultimate Disco Cruise” will embark from Fort Lauderdale to Key West to Cozumel and back, with a whole host of acts that will undoubtedly cause so much rocking on the Celebrity Infinity that Dramamine will be in short supply.

There is a lineup including the Spinners, Rose Royce (admit it: you’ve felt a foot twitch when you’ve heard “Car Wash” on the radio), KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool & the Gang, and a whole lot more.

And what’s more, this mirrored-ball-on-the-high-seas is going to be hosted by Deney Terrio, the man who brought “Dance Fever” to TV screens across the country. (No word if Terrio will be supported by his pair of talented sidekicks. . .Motion.)

Now at this point—or well before this point—some of you were sniffing with distain about this experience that is being put on by StarVista LIVE (not sure about the seemingly random typography, which could just as well have been sTARvista live, although that would seem to emphasize a viscous hydrocarbon).

But you’d undoubtedly take back that sniff were you to know that the organization also orchestrates the Malt Shop Memories Cruise, the Soul Train Cruise, the Country Music Cruise, Flower Power Cruise, ’70s Rock & Romance Cruise, the Southern Rock Cruise, Ultimate Disco Cruise, and Abbey Road on the River Festival.

Continue reading Sail On, Sailor

Fly Like a Butterfly, Sing Like Mariah

If you fly frequently you undoubtedly accumulate “miles” as part of a loyalty program. Given a sufficient cubic ton of these “miles” you’re able to book even more air travel, although you probably find that it is exceedingly difficult to schedule anything that goes anywhere you want to at the time that you want to go.

Airlines have cleverly come up with ways for people to use their miles for non-flying purposes, everything from magazine subscriptions to memberships in the airlines’ lounges.

Delta, the Macaulay air travel vendor of choice, has taken this use of miles to a whole new level with its “SkyMiles Experiences.”

This allows you to use miles to “bid” on various things, ranging from attending a NASCAR race to having dinner at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant. While you probably would have zero problem getting tickets to the Quaker State 400, reservations at Per Se would be something else entirely.

At this point you may be wondering whether this is the GloNo Travel Tips section that you’ve accidentally stumbled upon.

No.

Continue reading Fly Like a Butterfly, Sing Like Mariah

Rose City ‘Til I Die

By the time this publishes I should be barreling down the road in a van packed with my wife, my son, three dogs, a cat and two of my most cherished guitars. We’ll be heading east, away from a city we love more than we could have even imagined when we moved here almost ten years ago. It’s a necessary move and one that brings its own level of excitement and opportunities, but one that breaks our hearts just the same.

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on December 5, 2008, just weeks before the biggest snowstorm to hit the city in 40 years. After a decade in Chicago, we were ready for a change but also ready for an adventure. So I found a job and five weeks later we packed up out two year old son, two cats, a crazy dog and my one most cherished guitar and headed west. The thing I like to tell people about Portland is that it lives up to the hype. What I don’t tell people is that the hype is killing some of the things that make Portland one of the truly most original and magical places I’ve ever been. But that’s the thing about change: it happens. And still, Portland amazes me in its creativity, its generosity, and yes…its weirdness.

Being a sometimes musician my entire adult life, I was excited to check out the scene in a city that was already well known as a creative hub. I couldn’t have anticipated what that scene would actually mean to our lives here. Yes, I’ve always had musician friends, but I have never had a community as tight-knit and supportive as what we found here. We found a monthly gathering of friends who get together and jam, and pass dishes around, and contribute to the community beer cooler and celebrate the spirit of simply being friends. Sometimes swelling to more than a hundred people, I never once saw a dispute, let alone a fight or aggression. I’ve also never received so many hugs. We all had our kids there and our dogs. It was incredible. I have a long-form piece I’ve been mulling for two years but if you want to get a taste of what The Hoot is and was, please read this post by my friend and everyone’s favorite Philly, Phil Favorite.

The curse of moving around is that it means you’re always leaving people you love. It was hard for me to leave my hometown for Chicago. And then it was hard to leave Chicago for Portland. And now it’s miserable to leave Portland. So why are we doing it? The truth is that it’s because for nine and a half years we’ve been missing people back in the midwest as much as we’ll now be missing our friends in Portland. And so we go.

Continue reading Rose City ‘Til I Die

Riot Fest: The Music Fest for Grownups

It’s not easy being a grownup music fan. And the older you get, the harder (and weirder) it becomes. Your peers (i.e., your neighbors and your kids’ friends’ parents) can’t even pretend to understand why you’d choose to stand outside in the dirt for three days and listen to bands nobody’s ever heard of. And it is impossible to justify. I love music fests, and yet even the greatest sets I’ve experienced would’ve been way better in a dark club or theater.

So what’s a middle-aged music fan to do? (Actually, let’s not say “middle-aged.” Let’s say “mid-century modern.”)

Here’s what: go to Riot Fest. They book a lot of bands that prominently feature guitars. That might seem quaint or old-fashioned, but if that’s your thing then Riot Fest is pretty much the only game in town.

Yesterday, they announced the “first wave” of the 2018 lineup. There’s a ton of good stuff. I’m especially excited to see Beck, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Liz Phair, Cat Power, Johnny Marr, Superchunk, Speedy Ortiz, Bully, and the Bombpops, but there’s way more that I’m interested in checking out.

One disappointing thing: by my count only 14 of the 82 acts announced so far (17%) are fronted by women. That’s worse than both Lollapalooza (38 of 183; 21%) and Coachella (56 of 166; 33%). Seems like they could do better than that these days when all of the most exciting new guitar music is being made by girls. Maybe next year…

Continue reading Riot Fest: The Music Fest for Grownups

Iowa Jam: The Grateful Dead at the UNI-Dome 2/5/1978

The word is it was a cold night with a biting wind that brought the real world temperature to around 20 below. The sky was overcast on that Sunday evening in Cedar Falls, Iowa and there was a chance of snow. It was a fairly common winter evening for this college town of about 50,000 residents nestled next to a river of the same name; some even perpetuated the myth that the University of Northern Iowa campus was the second windiest, trailing behind Loyola or some other Chicago-based college.

The Grateful Dead’s winter tour in the early months of 1978 had just played Madison and Milwaukee, making Wisconsin the lucky recipient of the band’s weekend mojo. The University of Northern Iowa was fortunate enough to book the band for the Sunday night in their large athletic arena called the UNI-Dome.

I should note that I am an alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa, so I’m very familiar with the campus and the area itself. I continue to live in the Cedar Valley and enjoy living here.

I’m also a fan of the Grateful Dead, to the point where my family rolls their eyes when I ask Alexa to play the band in the kitchen. But fuck those guys. I’m cooking them dinner and I want to hear “Jack Straw” sometimes while I’m boiling water.

Acknowledging both of these things is important, because it makes me a barely credible source regarding the time the Grateful Dead rolled into Cedar Falls and performed a concert at a regionally iconic venue/sports complex at the same university that let me walk away with a B.A. in Communications after only five completely underachieving years.

While I wasn’t present for the performance, I was very aware of the folklore of the show while attending the university a decade after it actually happened. The recollections were (literal) half-baked musings or suspect recounts of someone how knew someone who had a friend who went to the show.

Continue reading Iowa Jam: The Grateful Dead at the UNI-Dome 2/5/1978

Sounds Like. . . ?

Apparently there is a museum in France dedicated to the works of a late 19th- early 20th century painter, Étienne Terrus.

The museum, located in Elne, France, in the Pyrénées, is full of paintings by Terrus.

Or at least many of the 140 paintings are by the artist.

And even more of them are, as has recently been discovered, fakes.

Experts have come in and determined that 82 of the paintings were not executed by Étienne Terrus, who died in 1922.

One of the clues in one of the landscapes: buildings that weren’t built until after the artist died.

You would think that something like that might be noticed.

But you often don’t see something unless you are looking, even if you’re looking right at it. And arguably there have been hundreds of people looking at those paintings, thinking to themselves, “That’s a nice Terrus.”

As the tagline for this site is not “Gouaches Can Change Your Life,” you are probably wondering what the Terrus Museum has to do with anything.

It got me to wondering about how we actually know whether music that we think has been recorded by an individual or a band really is aural evidence of that.

Continue reading Sounds Like. . . ?

Listen: JTL FM ii

Spotify: JTL FM ii

I don’t want nobody hurt, but I made an exception with him.
–Cherry Glazerr

Making a mess is easy when you think you know it all.
–Jessica Lea Mayfield

The color of your mind, you feel it coming right through you.
–Beach House

When you talk to my face you speak politely. I know you’re only following to bite me.
–Tayla

Is she a stripper, a rapper, or a singer? I’m busting bucks in a Bentley Bentayga.
–Cardi B

I don’t want a secret, secret life. I have no idea what I really wanna be.
–Speedy Ortiz

Take over me, I’ll never be the same.
–Ashley Monroe

Major league chemicals make her grave.
–Unknown Mortal Orchestra

So I fall into continents and cars All the sages and stars, I turn all of it to just a su–
–Lorde, Run The Jewels, El-P

It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault like you say it is. It’s not my fault, because I told you long ago that I wouldn’t put up with your bullshit.
–The Regrettes

For all that we know, the heart is pumping rhythms that are not our own.
–Natalie Prass

Even if you got somebody on your mind, it’s alright to be alone sometimes.
–Kacey Musgraves

I don’t wanna worry no more. I just wanna ball like the big leagues. I just want a nice house on the shore. I want a big house like Gatsby.
–Diplo, Lil Yachty, Santigold

Jordan 23, guarantee you’re gonna wanna leave with me.
–Camila Cabello

I remember the first time I was in love. It was only back in 1997.
–MO///

Lean back. Lean back. Lean back.
–Fat Joe, Eminem, Lil Jon, Mase, Remy Ma

You want some me so bad? Come get this body.
–Tinashe, Ty Dolla $ign, French Montana

Continue reading Listen: JTL FM ii