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The True Story of The Stooges at Goose Lake Tapes

Today marks the release of The Stooges Live at Goose Lake 1970, a release so unlikely it kinda boggles the mind. Not only are there very few live recordings of The Stooges, but this particular recording of this particular performance is so drenched in legend that to even suggest there was a clean documentation of it sounds like a tall tale. 

I’ve been very lucky to be friends with and play in a bunch of bands with Joshua Rogers. We met in the early 90s and quickly established a musical kinship that took us through dalliances with glam, mod, garage rock, Americana and beyond. Early on we dubbed him “Gadget,” not just for his love of technology but for his impeccable timing as a drummer. It’s almost as if he were designed to be a drummer–programmed, as such.

If you knew Joshua well in those days you also knew his dad in some way. Jim Cassily loved Josh’s musical projects and loved facilitating them however he could. In addition to being a king storyteller, Jim was an inventor with a specific interest in how rhythm has residual benefits relating to motor skills, balance and lots of other stuff I don’t understand. The Interactive Metronome became a key piece of his technological legacy, something Joshua knew well as his dad would have him clap along with a metronome as part of his learning the drums.

And the stories he would tell…Our early bands spent time recording with Josh’s dad and that meant hours of exposure to the various tales he would weave throughout the process of setting up for a recording session. I was a natural skeptic in my youth and basically considered “adults” to be full of shit. Especially Boomers who took any opportunity to tell us how much better everything was in their day, so I was probably more dismissive to his storytelling than I had any right to be.

“Dad was such a legendary bullshitter that it was hard to sort of keep the stories straight,” Josh joked in a recent call where we caught up on this crazy adventure. 

As a kid it was sometimes hard for Josh to discern fact from his dad’s colorful fiction. “Friends laughed at me because I told them he was a member of the Oak Ridge Boys.” This bit of fantasy was likely the result of Josh’s conflating some joke Jim may have told him about having sung with the Oak Ridge Boys and the fact that he could sing in the same register to hit the most famous part of their most famous hit, “Elvira.” When you’re a kid sometimes you miss the nuances of a joke. 

There were also brushes with fame that would sometimes get jumbled up in the telling or retelling. “I thought he had dated Janis Joplin, but mom says no. He–like everyone else–thought she was scuzzy. He did work with her though, but I’m not sure to what capacity. And he did date Debbie Harry.”

Wait, what? 

“Mom jokes that he chose her over Debbie Harry. That’s what he would tell her.”

“Eventually, I started to take dad’s stories with a big hunk of salt.”

The original Goose Lake recordings, stored in a vodka box.

The Stooges’ performance at Goose Lake was pure rock and roll myth. It was the last show with the original line-up. Bassist Dave Alexander was summarily fired from the band by Iggy immediately after leaving the stage because he was so stoned or scared or whatever that he couldn’t play. At least, that’s how the story went.

But at what point does a story become history? Sometimes it’s just when it’s been told enough times by enough people and sometimes it’s when there’s some corroborating evidence. Such is the tale of how a box of tapes in a farmhouse basement in Michigan made its way to Nashville, via Chicago.

Continue reading The True Story of The Stooges at Goose Lake Tapes

Midnight Caller Episode 5

He was a spaz. So bad that he once slapped a teacher right across the face. We couldn’t believe it. The whole class froze for a moment. And then sped up very fast like an old film projector breaking loose from a jam. There was David, running around the room while we lost our minds, screaming like chimps until Mrs. Oatman caught him and threw him in the bathroom where he tore it up until he went quiet. Nervously, she opened the door to check on him and he was out like a shot and running down the street; running home again.

David was a year older than us but in the same grade. He had a frenetic energy that fueled kids and exhausted adults. He came by it naturally. His dad, Dave Sr., would scream from the sidelines of our baseball games. “Run, you pollack! Run!” We couldn’t believe he called him that, his own son. But the more we laughed, the more the veins in his neck bulged. “Run you pollack! Run!”

While Sr was screaming, Jr was whispering. It was a creepy habit he’d picked up that summer. He’d heard it on the radio and thought it was hilarious to come up behind you, quiet as a black cat, and whisper in your ear: “Be quiet, big boys don’t cry. Big boys don’t cry.” We were in 4th grade and despite our recently acquired trucker mouths, we were not big boys. The act of one of our classmates whispering that in our ears was unnerving and he knew it. That’s why he did it. He was a year older, after all.

It was also the summer of the Atlanta child murders and even though we were 1200 miles away, we were enthralled with horrified fascination. They were our age, some of them. And they kept disappearing. One after another. Sometimes found, sometimes not.

“He’s gonna get us,” Dave would cackle as we raced back to our houses when the street lights came on. “He’s gonna get us!”

It didn’t matter how many times we explained that Georgia was a 12 hour drive away and that he seemed to target black kids, Dave would talk about how he was going to get us. There were countless ways he was going to get us too. In our beds, in our garages, reaching up to pull us down just before we reached the top stair. He was there and he was going to get us. Dave talked about this non-stop. HE was in every conversation, every drawing, everywhere. Dave talked and talked and talked about him.

Until one day Dave disappeared, and we never saw him again.

Songs featured:

“One of These Nights” by Eagles

“Angelina” by Daystar

“I’m Not in Love” by 10 CC

2018 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Streams

I’d been holding off on releasing this post until Billboard published Ed Christman’s year-end wrap-up online, but it looks like it’s going to be print-only. So go out and buy the magazine if you want Ed’s perspective on these numbers.

For 2018 Billboard changed the way it calculates streaming equivalent albums. From 2014 through 2017 they counted 1,500 streams as equal to one “album consumption unit.” The idea was that the average payout per stream was $0.005 so 1,500 of those added up to $7.50, i.e., the wholesale price of an album.

This year they’re complicating things by separating paid from ad-supported streaming, with paid subscription audio streams equating 1,250 streams to 1 album unit and ad-supported equating 3,750 streams to 1 album. So it makes it difficult to compare 2018 to the years before…

This also makes you wonder about how much revenue streaming is truly generating. Does anybody really believe that YouTube pays out $7.50 for 3,750 streams of a song? I don’t.

So I’m no longer reporting total music “consumption.” It’s a bullshit metric that doesn’t really mean anything. The industry can manipulate the numbers to tell whatever story they want to tell. Sales and streams, that’s all we really know.

Another complicating factor is that 2018 was a 53-week year, so when Billboard shows volume comparisons to the previous year they use a corresponding 53-week period. This makes me a little nervous about some of the old data we’ve reported, since we sometimes have used the prior year’s numbers. We continue to update this as new information becomes available throughout the year as we try to fill in any holes or correct any mistakes, so if you see any inaccuracies or anything weird please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Total U.S. Album sales (physical + digital in millions)

Total Album Sales (physical + digital albums)

2018: 141 million
2017: 169.15 million
2016: 205.5 million
2015: 241.39 million
2014: 257.02 million
2013: 289.41 million
2012: 315.96 million
2011: 330.57 million
2010: 326.15 million
2009: 373.9 million
2008: 428.4 million
2007: 500.5 million
2006: 588.2 million
2005: 618.9 million
2004: 666.7 million
2003: 667.9 million
2002: 693.1 million
2001: 762.8 million
2000: 785 million
1999: 754.8 million
1998: 712.5 million
1997: 651.8 million
1996: 616.6 million
1995: 616.4 million (I’ve heard the figure is 616,957,000)
1994: 614.7 million (I’ve heard the figure is 615,266,000)
1993: ~573 million (1994 was 7.4% increase over 1993)

Continue reading 2018 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Streams

Luther Russell – Medium Cool

We get a lot of press material at GLONO. Like…a LOT. Back in the days before press kits went digital, Jake and I would get hollered at by the postal workers where our PO Box was in Chicago because they’d have to haul out all these overflow bins full of CDs, band photos and one-sheets. I am embarrassed to say we had to just dump a lot of that stuff. [I sold a ton of them on half.com – Jake.] We simply didn’t have the capacity to get through it all. Especially the really cliched press releases.

My least favorite press release trope is where someone tries to describe a band as “If [Well known, well respected artist A] and [Well respected, but somewhat obscure artist B] got together in [Exotic locale, hip town, or fictional setting] and had a love baby!”

I get it, it’s hard to come up with creative ways to describe a sound that will still resonate with the reader–it’s kinda the whole point of this site. But sometimes, I just wish they’d be straight and say, “Yeah, these guys sound like Badfinger.” I guarantee I would listen to that record.

And so I’ll tell it to you straight: This new Luther Russell album sounds like Big Star. It does. And I fucking love it. And why shouldn’t he have a bit of a Big Star thing going on? We all LOVE Big Star and Russell currently collaborates with Jody Stephens in Those Pretty Wrongs.

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Who Do They Think They Are?

Although I have been MIA from this page for some time now, something that needs to be addressed has come to my attention, something far worse than I had originally thought as I looked into things a bit more.

As you are probably aware, “The Who” are going back on tour. It is called “Moving On!” Odds are that they’re moving on to still another tour.

As you are probably also aware, I put “The Who” in quotes because while half a band may be better than none, as I’ve argued many times, when you have half a loaf you have, well, half a loaf, not the whole thing. Daltrey and Townshend are certainly much of the substance of the mix, but let’s not kid ourselves: that label is about marketing. That is, while there are probably people who have picked up The Who T-shirts at their local Target and who are wearing them proudly, were you to ask them who Daltrey and Townshend are, they might answer, “Uh, law firm . . .?”

No, I am not going to go down that well-rutted road again.

But I am going to express my dismay at what it has come to for those veteran performers.

Upon receiving an email from Ticketmaster announcing the opportunity to getting tickets for “The Who” sooner rather than later, I looked into the “VIP Packages.” Go big or don’t go, right?

There are three packages.

And at this point, I must warn you: If you are a fan of The Who you might want to stop reading right now because otherwise you may be so disturbed that you will bin, erase or otherwise dispose of your collection.

The packages are, from top to bottom: “Baba O’ Riley Ultimate Soundcheck,” “My Generation Soundcheck” and “Who Are You Premium Seat.”

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Introducing the Midnight Caller Sound Magazine

I like sound collages. I always have. Well, at least since I got my own copy of the White Album and listened through “Revolution 9” with more than a little bit of excited fear. Not to be too artsy-fartsy about it but there is something fascinating with the deconstruction/reconstruction of sound when you change the context in which it was originally created. Suddenly, the innocuous turns ominous.

I originally started the Midnight Caller sound magazine as a creative way to promote my band Daystar. Maybe it’s because we’ve been running GLONO for almost two decades and I am just numb to press releases, but the idea of typing up our influences and recording process just felt so torturous. So instead, I created a sound collage at the prompting of our bassist Kelly Simmons. And I love it. I love the process of creating these broadcasts and the weird twists that come out of it. So now it’s more. This is what the inside of my head sounds like, and you’re welcome to it.

The first three episodes are live now and available via Soundcloud and iTunes with more to come.

Continue reading Introducing the Midnight Caller Sound Magazine

Ticketstubs: Marilyn Manson in Grand Rapids, 1999

I miss having a friend with access to a corporate luxury box at the local arena. It’s the perfect way to see artists you don’t care about enough to pay for your own tickets. [DP disagrees. -ed.]

I know this sounds gross, but stick with me.

Back in the late 90s I had a good friend who was the pop and candy buyer for a large regional grocery store chain. Coca Cola had a box at the newly opened Van Andel Arena and my friend could get us in to pretty much any concert that came around.

We were in our twenties and like all members of Generation X we were very concerned about selling out. Especially now that we had decent jobs that paid pretty well. So when we got into the box my friend was adamant about refusing to allow the sales reps to talk business. That way we could maintain our punk rock integrity despite the fact that we were sitting in a luxury suite in a venue named after the co-founder of America’s greatest pyramid scheme. The only interaction I remember having with the Coke dudes was them offering us drinks and pizza.

We were subverting the capitalist system from within. We were sticking it to the Man! (We were young and silly.)

But we saw some good shows from that box (Tom Petty, Cher) and some mediocre ones (Aerosmith). The only time I really wanted to go to something but couldn’t was Britney Spears; the pervy old salesmen and executives didn’t have any spare tickets for that one.

But the best was when my friend would request seats to shows the sales reps absolutely would have never attended for any other reason than to nurture their relationship with a big client. And that’s how I got to see Marilyn Manson.

Continue reading Ticketstubs: Marilyn Manson in Grand Rapids, 1999

The Chain, Broken

Two of the things that have long fascinated me are (1) what makes a band a band and (2) why performers continue to perform long after ordinary people move on to something else in their lives besides that which created their livelihoods.

As for the first point, the issue is that of membership and then lack thereof: if there is a “critical mass” that makes a band what it becomes known to be, does the absence of one or more individuals change the chemistry, as it were, of the band? Does the band contain an individual or individuals such that with out them the band would be something other than it had been? For example, consider The Beatles. If Lennon or McCartney had left the band while it still existed, would it have still been The Beatles? What about Harrison or Starr?

The existing members of a band (or perhaps their manager and/or promoters) typically, when losing a key member, find someone who seamlessly integrates so that there is little difference: Consider Journey post-Steve Perry and Yes sans Jon Anderson: their replacements are cover band material extraordinaire.

Lindsey Buckingham was, in effect, recently fired by his band mates in Fleetwood Mac. And he was, in effect, orally and audibly replaced by two people, Mike Campbell, formerly of the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn, he of Crowded House.

Presumably, Campbell and Finn got their positions (jobs?) because they would be resonate with what can be considered the “sound” of “Fleetwood Mac,” a band that Buckingham was part of for 33 years: 1975 to 1987; 1997 to 2018. After all, Buckingham was instrumental, literally and figuratively, when it put out Fleetwood Mac, which solidly established the band in a way that resonates today (“Say You Love Me,” “Landslide,” “Rhiannon”) and Rumours (“Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain”).

With the departure of Buckingham, the five-person group has become six.

Continue reading The Chain, Broken

Riot Fest 2018: Whole Lotta Shakin’

I’ve been attending big music festivals in Chicago every summer since 2005, but it’s been many many years since I arrived anywhere near early enough to see the opening wave of bands. There’s always bands I’d kinda like to see who play before 2:30pm but 3-day music festivals are work and you have to make sacrifices for your health and sanity.

Riot Fest scheduled Liz Phair to play at 2:10 on Friday this year. That’s early. Especially for a Friday. And even more so since I no longer live in Chicago. But I love Liz Phair, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen her in concert. In fact, I had tickets to see her in Detroit on Thursday but once the Riot Fest lineup was released, I decided to skip it. But that made it mandatory to arrive in Douglas Park in time.

I didn’t need to worry. Getting in to the park this year was easier than ever before. In fact, we made it inside with plenty of time to see festival opener Speedy Ortiz, who coincidentally is opening up for Liz Phair on her current tour. They were fun and cool. And their 30-minute set flew by.

The best thing about Riot Fest is that it’s got a small enough footprint that you can run around from stage to stage in no time. Five or ten minutes is all you need to get from one to the another. Unfortunately, this also means there’s soundbleed from other bands if you’re not standing directly in front of the stage. But it’s great to be able to skip around and get a sampler platter of everything that’s happening.

Continue reading Riot Fest 2018: Whole Lotta Shakin’

The Resolectrics – Open Seas

Any bluesman will tell you it’s a game of sleight of hand. They all employ little tricks that confound and surprise you, which is essential for keeping music that is based on simple structures and patterns exciting.

The second album from Portland, Oregon’s The Resolectrics is a study in sleight of hand. One of my favorite live bands in a city filthy with great live bands, this three-piece has an uncanny ability to get sometimes stodgy Pacific Northwest audiences shaking their moneymakers. They do it with an infectious blend of blue-eyed soul and swampy blues they’ve developed over a few years of bouncing up and down the coast, which is what you’d expect to find in their sophomore release. And you do…but also so much more.

Photo © Tim LaBarge 2018

An equilateral triangle has three equal sides, which can be leveraged in architecture distribute weight and provide strength and stability. The foundation of The Resolectrics is certainly centered in rhythm & blues, but a foundation is something you build upon and what this band has built goes well beyond what you’d expect from the recent crop of bands hoping to be the next White Stripes, Black Keys or any other variation of black and white. The Resolectrics’ power is in the gray areas; the musical corners that aren’t as easily defined. It’s in these shadows where The Resolectrics confound and surprise you. They just as easily weave in Pet Sounds and Revolver as they do Electric Mud.

It’ll be interesting to see what other tricks they bring to bear and if this album is any indication, the skies will be wonderfully gray as they continue to sail their open seas.

The Resolectrics: Web, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Spotify