You’ve likely heard by now: Van Halen is back. Not Van Hagar or some version with a different singer from another second-tier 80s band—VAN HALEN, with Diamond David Lee Roth. Debuting the old-new line-up at the Café Wha? in New York city earlier this month, VH also debuted the first new single with Roth on vocals since we were all wearing pegged jeans and some fans are miffed.
Debate among the hardcore VH crowd rages around whether “Tatoo” is just a rehash of a 1977 outtake called “Down in Flames.” What? Seriously? We’re bitching about new Van Halen sounding like old Van Halen? I thought that’s what we all wanted!? Sounding like 1977 Van Halen should be a dream come true! I mean, it could be worse. It could sound like 1987 VH (between 5150 and OU812) or 1997 VH (after the awful Van Halen III). Seriously, shut up!
I actually expected this to be a lot weirder than it is. It’s a surprisingly faithful rendition of the Beatles classic, considering the stripped-down nature of the effort. It’s almost entirely driven by the fuzzed out Rickenbacker bass, but Drozd fills in all the sound effects with his own mouth.
I can remember buying the Beatles’ “Blue Album” on vinyl from Believe in Music on Plainfield Avenue. I was in junior high, and it made a big impression on me. “Walrus” was my favorite. The lyrics blew my innocent mind. I had never heard anything like it with its self-references (“See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky”) and its graphic, gory images (“Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye”). It’s an intense song.
The Lips do it justice, reveling in the psychedelia, but not taking themselves too seriously. It’s a rock song, and these guys emphasize that. People are too reverential about the Beatles. Putting them so high up on a pedestal obscures the fact that the Beatles were just four guys who wrote and played cool songs. You don’t have to be a God to do that. You just need to find someone to pound the shit out of a drum set.
Speaking of drummers, dig that Tonight’s the Night shirt!
This video illustrates so much of what I love about independent music makers in general and Daptone Records specifically.
Celebrating ten years of service to soul music, Daptone Records takes you on a tour of their Brooklyn studio and HQ with stories of their humble beginnings and continued humility as they do what they love. See Sharon Jones wiring the control room, Charles Bradley roughing in the live room, and label chief Gabriel Roth showing off his pride and joy. Great, great stuff.
Noel Gallagher’s first solo effort debuted at #1 in Great Britain, moving 122,000 units in its first week. While a nice feather in Noel’s cap and a stick in the beady ey of his brother (who debuted at #3), it’s unlikely to rival the sales of Oasis’ catalog but this is a different time, isn’t it?
Speaking of…brother Liam Gallagher has said he’d be open to a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s chart topper What’s the Story Morning Glory.
Liam told Rolling Stone, “In 2015, if we can put our shit aside, we can tour and play the album in its entirety for the 20th anniversary,” he says. “I’d be up for that, if it’s on our terms. There’s got to be two-way respect.”
It appears Noel still knows the songs since he played nine Oasis tunes in his live debut. Maybe the hoopla around the Stone Roses has got the old boy thinking…
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds North America Tour Dates:
November 7 & 8 @ Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
November 11 @ Philadelphia, PA @ Academy of Music
November 12 @ Boston, MA @ Wang Theatre
November 14 & 15 @ New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
November 17 & 18 @ Los Angeles, CA @ Royce Hall
November 19 @ San Francisco, CA @ Orpheum Theatre
Sadly, the story of uninsured musicians is all too common with tales of some going broke from the situation to others trying to barter for needed medical attention. They are among the many casualties of a healthcare system that continues to be debated and alternately labeled as “the best in the world” or “a broken bureaucracy.” And so, another character enters the story. And make no mistake, he’s a character.
Chicago’s own vagabond balladeer, Kevin Junior has written bitter sweet epic ballads with a variety of partners, most notably with The Chamber Strings. His heart bleeds melody and now that heart needs some expensive attention. According to the GoFundMe website set up by “Friends of Kevin,” Junior has a serious heart condition called Endocarditis, which is a bacterial condition affecting heart valves. Treatment includes medication, open-heart surgery and at least two months in a nursing home—all of which adds up to big bucks. A variety of fundraisers are being planned, including one tonight in Chicago. Performers include Dorian Taj, John San Juan, Ellis Clark, Phil Angotti & Carolyn Engelmann, Lou Hallwas and Andy Hansen (Penthouse Sweets) and Kevin Junior himself.
“The world can be split into two camps: people that like Neil Young and people that don’t. And the people that don’t are fucking idiots. Mind you, I wish he’d spend more than a week making an album.”
–Noel Gallagher, Mojo Magazine, September 2011