I’ve always said that this was my first concert, but I’m pretty sure I’m wrong. I saw the Oak Ridge Boys at the Ionia Free Fair around the time of “Elvira” and the internet tells me that must have been on August 5, 1981. (I think I also saw Cheap Trick there, which would have been August 2, 1983).
But the Jacksons Victory Tour was the first concert that I was super excited about. I was 12 years old and I was a very big fan of Michael Jackson. Like everybody else on the planet I had been completely captivated by Thriller. I had watched all of his videos and cheered for him on the American Music Awards and the Grammys, but this was the chance to see him in person! At the time of this show I don’t think I had yet listened to Off the Wall and I had definitely never heard Destiny and Triumph (still haven’t). All I knew was that I was going to see Michael Jackson!
Getting tickets was something else. First of all, they were $30 each which may seem cheap now but was crazy at the time. Especially for my recently widowed mom. And you couldn’t just buy them. There was some convoluted process whereby AAA members could purchase blocks of four tickets. My mom’s best friend had AAA and she had a babysitter who was about my age and liked Michael Jackson too. We came up with a plan where the babysitter would stay in line all night and buy the tickets for us. In return, my mom’s friend would buy her a ticket.
This seems preposterous to me as I think about it today. We dropped an 11 or 12 year old girl off in the evening to wait in line all night long with a bunch of strangers? With $120 in cash? Her parents let her do this? Really?
Continue reading Ticketstubs: The Jacksons Victory Tour, 1984
Video: The Rentals – “It’s Time To Come Home”
I love the Rentals. I still think Return of the Rentals is an underrated 90s classic. Maybe “Friends of P” had “one hit wonder” written all over it (one minor hit, of course: it peaked at No. 82 on the Hot 100), but it works great in the context of a perfectly conceptualized and executed album. Neither Return of the Rentals nor its 1999 follow-up Seven More Minutes charted on the Billboard 200 but they both rank pretty high on my personal all-time Top 200 Albums chart.
This site’s first real interview was with Cherielynn Westrich back in 2001, and we caught up with Matt Sharp himself in 2003 while he was doing his solo project. The Rentals released an EP in 2007 and some kind of multimedia project in 2009, but just last year they released their first full-length album since 1999: Lost in Alphavile on Polyvinyl. I pre-ordered it on Coke bottle colored vinyl.
And it’s good. None of the people from the first two albums other than Matt Sharp have anything to do with it, but the guy from the Black Keys plays the drums on it, so that’s kind of a big deal, right? It came out last August, but they finally got around to making a video for it, and it looks like a bunch of semi-futuristic, quasi-scientific mumbo jumbo, so it’s pretty much perfect!
If you would’ve told me back in 1991 that the Charlatans would still be making music twenty-something years later, I would have scoffed. Back then, as much as I enjoyed their Some Friendly album, it was obvious to anybody reading imported copies of the NME that these guys were total bandwagon-jumping posers. The Stone Roses were the real deal and everybody else was a sad imitation. But time has a funny way shaking things out. So here we are in 2015 and the Charlatans are still touring and releasing albums and making videos.
Video: The Charlatans – “Let The Good Times Be Never Ending”
…in which our boys walk around Japan and show off their terrible haircuts. Modern Nature is out now.
Continue reading The Charlatans are still around
Video: Desaparecidos – “City On The Hill”
Conor Oberst leads his “political punk” band on a cheerful little ditty about how everything is bullshit and we’re all doomed.
All the founding fathers
sowed their seeds into servant girls
All the godless heathens
had to leave to make a newer world
So we could live together in America
Justice is blind and so is love
Good times. From Payola, due June 23 on Epitaph. Directed by Rob Soucy.
Video: Morrissey – Kiss Me a Lot
Good old Moz. He scheduled a new tour and has released a new video for a song from his latest album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, which he pulled from iTunes and other digital services back in August of 2014. The “Kiss Me a Lot” single, however, is now available on iTunes.
The video looks kinda crappy with bad lighting and egregious shots of half-naked women. But you know: gotta get those eyeballs, right?
Right. Cross your fingers for the old grouch to stay healthy and make all of his upcoming shows.
Continue reading New Morrissey video: Kiss Me a Lot
It was 1984. I was 13 years old. I went with my mom and a couple of pals from school.
It was a bold move to invite pals from school to a Christian rock concert. Although I had accepted Jesus into my heart as my personal savior a few years before and I knew it was my obligation to spread the gospel, I had kept my faith pretty much to myself at school. I felt a lot of guilt about this because I knew that if I was ashamed of being a Christian, the Son of Man will be ashamed of me when he comes in his Father’s glory (Mark 8:38).
But I was in junior high. And in junior high you never want to stand out from the crowd. It’s all about fitting in and not rocking the boat.
I have no recollection of how I invited these two friends to the concert. I must’ve warned them that Steve Taylor was a Christian rock singer. Did I play them the Meltdown tape at my house beforehand? Who knows. But photographic evidence proves we all stuck around after the show and met the band, and we’re all smiling, so they must have had a pretty good time.
I know I did. I loved Steve Taylor.
Continue reading Ticketstubs: Steve Taylor and “Some” Band, 1984
Video: The Muggs – “Applecart Blues”
Several years ago I saw the Muggs open up for my beloved Quasar Wut-Wut in Chicago. Being drunk and being in Chicago, I naturally heckled the band. It’s what we do. By the end of their set they had won me over with their high energy Detroit rock and roll.
One interesting feature of the Muggs is that the bass parts are played on a Rhodes keyboard. You might think this is a clever affectation. But you’re wrong. Turns out their bass player had a stroke and the right side of his body is paralyzed, so instead of quitting the band he now uses his left hand to play bass on the Rhodes. And it sounds awesome.
“Applecart Blues” is from their new album, Straight Up Boogaloo, out now. Buy it from the band or on vinyl from Bellyache Records.