Tag Archives: Beatles

The Crying of Lot 205

Friday, April 10, was the 50th anniversary of the breakup of The Beatles, so what better day than that to buy stuff?

Specifically, Beatles’ stuff.

Let’s face it, there hasn’t been a whole lot of interest in the actual music being put out by the two remaining people who had been part of the band, so that’s not driving a whole lot of revenue for anyone.

So a wide array of things that were associated with the once Fab Four were put up for auction at Julien’s Auctions.

In case you are wondering, that business is not operated by John Lennon’s son: he’s Julian. According to the folks at Julien’s, it is “the world record-breaking auction house to the stars.”

(And as we have a bit of time on our collective hands as we shelter at home, let’s think about that “auction house to the stars” claim for a moment. Also according to the firm, it “received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, the Marilyn Monroe ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress which sold for $4.81 million.” That happened in 2016. Ms. Monroe sang that song to John F. Kennedy in 1962. Ms. Monroe died that same year. So one of the claims to fame of the “auction house to the stars” has no benefit to the star in question, as both the star and the person to whom her slinky vocal stylings were directed have both been dead for more than 50 years. In addition to which, in terms of the auction that we will be looking at in a moment—honest, I will get out of this parenthetical remark soon—again, two of the stars are no longer with us, as John Lennon died in 1980 and George Harrison in 2001, so again, how are they going to benefit from the auction? In case you’re wondering about the first placement in the Guinness Book of World Records, that occurred in 2009, when it auctioned off a white glove that had been worn by Michael Jackson, “making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction.” Jackson died in 2009. It isn’t clear whether the glove sold before or after his passing. And the whole notion of a glove being owned by him is not worth thinking about too hard, or at all, for that matter.)

Back to the auction of the Beatles’ related materials.

Continue reading The Crying of Lot 205

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

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 24

Rolling Stone issue #24 had a cover date of December 21, 1968. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of the Beatles.

This is the final issue of 1968. By this time the magazine had firmly established its identity. It was now a professional publication with a copy editor (Charles Perry) and at last a managing editor in John Burks who would run the magazine while Wenner “focused on expanding the business and procuring the big interviews,” according to Joe Hagan’s Sticky Fingers. Burks was a real journalist, a former Newsweek correspondent whom Wenner hired to placate Ralph Gleason, who was “furious at [Wenner] for letting Rolling Stone come out late and riddled with errors…and leaving behind a trail of angry and unpaid writers” (pg. 119).

Over the next two years John Burks, with support from Greil Marcus and Gleason, would turn Rolling Stone into a serious journalistic enterprise, exemplified in 1970 by the in-depth coverage of Altamont in January and Kent State in May. (Of course, Wenner being Wenner, by the end of 1970 he fired almost everybody, including Burks and Marcus, and took back control.)

The opinions and priorities that he presented in these first 24 issues would continue to shape the rock and roll canon for the next forty years, although over the past ten years or so this canon has started to be questioned and re-evaluated. There was a lot more going on during the sixties than what was featured in the pages of Rolling Stone. But Wenner’s provincial attitude about the superiority of the San Francisco rock scene and his blind deification of John Lennon remains intact for a lot of people to this day. And not just Boomers!

One surprising thing about this first full year of Rolling Stone is how much coverage black music received. Throughout the 70s it got way, way whiter but at first there was a lot of coverage of soul, jazz, and R&B.

It also surprised me that there were woman on the masthead this whole time. Sue C. Clark was the New York Desk the whole year. The editorial assistants were mostly women from the get go including sisters Janie and Linda Schindelheim. (Jane was Wenner’s girlfriend whose dad gave her the money to help found the company.) Susan Lydon, Henri Napier, Elizabeth Campbell, and Catherine Manfredi all had early bylines. Not to suggest it wasn’t a total sausage fest, but Rolling Stone got a ton of support (and column inches) from women.

Features: “Beatles” by Jann Wenner (White Album review); “A Short Essay On Macrobiotics” by John Lennon; “Dion: Today I Think I Got a Chance” by Ritchie Yorke; “Three Short Short Stories” by Richard Brautigan; “Lou Adler” by Jerry Hopkins.

News: Beatles’ Record-Busting LP May be All-Time Biggest; Stones Plan World Tour, Xmas TV Show in Works; Doors New Riot-Concert Tour A Smash in Phoenix, Arizona; Graham Nash to leave the Hollies; New Motown Suit; Detroit Scene; Burdon Quits to make Flicks, Animals Hassled in Japan; Zeppelin Signs; King Elvis Figures the time is Right, Does Big TV Special; More Hassles for Family Dog.

Columns: Perspectives by Ralph J. Gleason (“So Revolution is Commercial”); Soul Roll by Jon Landau; Visuals by Thomas Albright (“The Portable War Memorial Commemorating VD Day”); Cinema by Roger Ebert (“Two Virgins and Number Five”); “Yoko Talks About It” by Yoko Ono; Random Notes on Aretha Franklin, Grace Slick, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Otis Rush, and Johnny Winter.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 24

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 20

Rolling Stone issue #20 had a cover date of October 26, 1968. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of the Beatles.

Features: “Books: The Beatles Authorized Biography” by Jann Wenner; “The Rolling Stone Interview with Cass Elliot” by Jerry Hopkins; “Doors, Airplane in Middle Earth” by Jonathan Cott; “San Francisco Going Strong In Spite of Bad-Mouthing” by Ben Fong-Torres; “Ray Charles in London” by Max Jones.

News: Los Angeles Near Clubless: Kaleidoscope Kollapses; Bill Graham Forms Talent-Booking Firm: ‘Millard Agency’; Bob Dylan Beats Elvis In British Pop Poll; New Beatles Double Album Due on November 16; Ex-Beatle Best Wins Playboy Libel Suit; Brian Jones Fined in Dope Case – But No Jail; Sly Stone’s Bum Trip to London.

Columns: Jon Landau on Albert King. Random Notes (bits on Rick Danko’s car accident; Nicky Hopkins; Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield; a mention of a new group “featuring Stephen Stills perhaps accompanied by David Crosby, Graham Nash of the Hollies and maybe Eric Clapton”; the Turtles “I hope that today’s so-called hip audience will see that these cats are truly hip”; the Who; Aretha Franklin; Joan Baez; Johnny Cash). No Thomas Albright “Visuals” column this time, but he’ll be back in issue 22 and will continue to contribute to the magazine until 1972. Ralph J. Gleason will also be back in issue 22 with a new “Perspectives” column.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 20

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

New Welles video: Hold Me Like I’m Leaving

Video: Welles -- “Hold Me Like I’m Leaving”

Welles - Hold Me Like Im Leaving [Official Video]

Directed by Mafalda Millies. From Red Trees and White Trashes, out now on 300 Entertainment.

Jesse Allen Wells calls his band Welles. He used to call himself Jeh Sea. So spelling is a loose concept for him. As is originality.

Wells told Billboard that, “I had this Beatles ditty in my head from The White Album, ‘Cry Baby Cry,’ that’s been stuck in my head all these years. So I just wrote (‘Hold Me Like I’m Leaving’) from that, added a melody, chorus and pre-chorus and wrote the song.”

The song that was stuck in his head was clearly Paul McCartney’s hidden track “Can You Take Me Back,” tagged on to the end of John Lennon’s “Cry Baby Cry.” And Wells totally re-purposes its melody for his verses. Nevertheless, he retains 100% of the songwriting credit. Talent borrows, genius steals, right?

Despite the outright theft, or maybe because of it, this is a jam.

“I’m not trying to bring rock and roll back or anything like that. This is just how I talk. This is my musical language, and if you want to have a conversation with me you’re gonna have to listen to some rock and roll, I reckon.”

Can you dig it?

Welles: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Welles video: Hold Me Like I’m Leaving

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

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Jann Wenner, Beatles Fanboy

I’ve been reading Sticky Fingers, Joe Hagan’s new Jann Wenner biography and it’s really fascinating. One of the things that has surprised me was how DIY those first several issues of Rolling Stone were. It really was a bunch of volunteers hustling to pull those 24 pages together. Granted, some of those volunteers might not have realized they were volunteering until they never got paid, but still. DIY.

It’s also interesting to read how provincial toward San Francisco bands Wenner was, balanced only by his fanaticism toward the Beatles and the Stones. Looking back at those early issues it’s not surprising that many of the ads were local. Television station KQED took out full page ads. So did Bill Graham, promoting shows at the Fillmore.

Local record stores advertised too, including one called “Music 5 is Alive” at 887 Market Street, who in issue #4 boasted a “Special Price on the New Beatles LP.” Although their ad doesn’t specify the price it does include a psychedelic illustration that I’d never seen before.*

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Jann Wenner, Beatles Fanboy

My rock and roll library update

The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label by Barry Miles (Harry N. Abrams, 2016)

Do we need another Beatles book? Is there any facet of the Beatles’ 12-year existence as a group that hasn’t been written into the ground? Well, at least until Mark Lewisohn completes his definitive multi-volume history, it looks like we’re going to continue to get more. This one is a specific first-person look at the big-idea, short-lived subsidiary label that the naive idealists formed to release experimental recordings. Miles was hired to record poets such as Charles Bukowski, Laurence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg. Spoiler alert: Zapple ended up only releasing two records (vanity projects by George Harrison and John Lennon) before new manager Allen Klein fired everybody and closed shop.

The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America by Michaelangelo Matos (Dey Street, 2015)

I’m probably not the intended audience for this book since I don’t really know the difference between house and techno and jungle and dubstep, and I don’t particularly care. Dance music people are very into genre differentiation, but it’s still rock and roll to me. I do, however, enjoy reading well researched and engaging history, and this book is full of that. Lots of young people doing their own thing, making their own scenes, getting loaded, and digging music. Despite the fact that Matos has claimed “The book is not about recordings,” I could have really used a soundtrack when reading it since virtually all of the music was unfamiliar to me.

Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces… by Glyn Johns (Plume, 2014)

It’s rare that I start but don’t finish a book. This is one of those rarities. For all the characters and events this guy witnessed, you’d think he’d be able to come up with some interesting insights or at least a few good stories. Nope. It’s just tame and boring. Which is a shame because I’ve read interviews with Johns where he’s been hilarious and opinionated. Unfortunately, this book — at least the first half — doesn’t reveal any of that.

Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski (Back Bay, 2008)

I picked up this book after reading Patoski’s Oxford American article about drummer/character Paul English, “Watching Willie’s Back.” Willie Nelson is an American hero whose greatness has only occasionally been captured on tape despite the fact that he’s got 50+ years of recording under his belt. This book goes a long way in explaining what it is about Willie that makes him such a compelling and unique figure. He’s as close to the Buddha as this country is every going to produce.

Continue reading My rock and roll library update

Paul McCartney at Pappy and Harriet’s Looks as Amazing As You’d Imagine

How many times have you watch a bar band cover The Beatles? How many times has that band actually included a Beatle?

On his way to Desert Trip, AKA Oldchella, Paul McCartney and band stopped off to play a quick set at Pappy and Harriet’s, a high desert bar with a capacity of 300 people. Yes, three HUNDRED people.

By the looks of this fan video of the band playing “A Hard Days Night,” I probably would have peed my pants and then exploded had I been there.

Paul McCartney A Hard Days Night live at Pioneertown 10/13/2016

Photo via Paul McCartney’s Facebook.