Last week I had an encounter with someone whom I never imagined that I would meet—not that I ever even thought about meeting with him. Ever.
I was flying from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. While in the scrum-turning-into line to board, I paid no attention to the person in front of me until I heard the woman who was scanning the tickets say to him, “I saw your show last week. I really liked it!”
His back was to me. He was about 5’10”. Medium build. Wavy reddish-brown hair. I glanced at his bag and saw a monogram: “DCO.”
And given where I was and where I was going, it struck me that I was next to Donny Osmond.
As a colleague had been upgraded to first class, and as I was boarding, as was Osmond, in coach, I said to Osmond that I was surprised that he wasn’t flying in the front of the plane. Which led to a bit of good-natured banter between the two of us about flying.
Osmond, of course, is an entertainer. He has been for the greater part of his 59 years, having appeared at age 5 on the “Andy Williams” show.
We grew up hearing snippets of the stories: first joints, flying tents, incorrect memories of the acts who played, and even a fabled master recording from the sound board secreted away in a friend’s basement (recently rediscovered). The event was more legend than an established piece of Michigan history, but staged almost exactly one year after Woodstock, the Goose Lake International Music Festival did indeed happen and it was glorious.
Annoying music bed and even more annoying local commercials aside, this 30 minute documentary has an oral history from organizers and attendees with fantastic archival footage of Michigan’s entrant into the 60s and 70s music festival culture.
All I want for Christmas is for Rod Stewart to go away.
I didn’t want to have Andy Sheldon, executive vice president of Television, Live Events and Creative for HSN—that’s as in “Home Shopping Network”—describe one of my former musical favorites by saying, “Rod is the ultimate entertainer”—which is the sort of thing that might be applied to Wayne Newton—and then go on to explain, “and we congratulate him on another record-breaking debut on HSN.”
Apparently, his new CD, Merry Christmas, Baby, shilled by the Mod himself on HSN, was moved by nearly 30,000 units thanks to his performance, described as “Rod performing from a beautifully decorated, holiday-themed set that even included snow fall during Rod’s lively performance of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
This isn’t his first turn on HSN, as he also used it to sell copies of his Fly Me to the Moon: Volume V. Then he moved 26,000. And maybe while he was there he picked up some CoEnzyme Q and a few Thomas Kinkade prints.
By my reckoning, Stewart pretty much put a period on his career as an ultimate rock performer in 1978 with the release of Blondes Have More Fun. Rod became an Object. Arguably, that led to greater popularity. As an act, not a singer.
And yes, I admit to being a snob who doesn’t want his precious memories of a performer to be besmirched by “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
And yes, I understand that the man has eight kids and has been married three times (two divorces), that he had throat cancer, and probably big medical bills, as well as alimony, legal fees, insurance payments, mortgage payments, and all the rest of simply not-rock-star existence. And that he probably makes more money singing “Moon River” than “An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down.”
Yes, I get all that.
And I understand that a very small subset of my generation reveres Gasoline Alley while a greater percentage of them get a big charge out of hearing Rod doing a duet with Michael Buble. And that Rod is not going to earn a living by singing “It’s All Over Now,” or at least as good a one as he is with “Makin’ Whoopee” (with Elton John).
Yes, I get all that.
But Christmas is about wishing, and just maybe Rod will get what he needs so that he’ll just get off the damn stage.
The Soft Parade was the fourth album from The Doors. It was released in 1969. Given that ’69 was the year of such releases as Led Zepplin, Kick Out the Jams, Beck Ola, Ramblin’ Gambling Man, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Tommy, and The Stooges, it is somewhat surprising that The Doors had the opportunity for redemption and were able to release Morrison Hotel the following year and hadn’t been driven off into the sketchy concrete wilderness of L.A.
One of the most peculiar cuts on what is a peculiar album is “Touch Me.” It was the first single from the album. And for some odd reason, it became the highest-charting of the singles from The Soft Parade. “Wishful Sinful” is beyond understanding.
At the time of The Soft Parade, The Lizard King was in full bloat, resembling a boa constrictor in full gorge. One can imagine him rolling around in the studio—figuratively, although literally is not something that takes too much imagination—carrying not a long-neck, as would be appropriate for the next album, but a mixed drink. A martini would not be outside the realm of possibility were it that the drink was contained in a glass less shallow and thereby less likely to spill during an inertial turn of mass.
“Touch Me,” with its horns and sweeping, “I’m gonna love you. . .” passages, is a song that would not be inappropriately covered by contemporaries like Michael Buble. Yes, Morrison and Buble.
It has always seemed to me that “Touch Me” as performed by The Doors could be an audition for a months’-long gig at Las Vegas circa right now, had Morrison not gone the way of all flesh at an all-too-early day.
One survivor of that period—who covered Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” and “All Shook Up” on the aforementioned Beck Ola—, Rod Stewart, has opened an 18-concert series at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
After Stewart overcame his hiding-behind-the-amps shyness, he became quite the performer. And this leads to a question: is there a difference between “a performer” and “an artist”—or perhaps it gives rise to a series of questions, including, is there a continuum of when the artist morphs into a performer, or whether most all of the people that we use “artist” as shorthand for are really performers, and were they not we would not be aware of them. Can anyone listen to the 66-year-old Stewart, who has lived lifestyles of the rich and famous, sing, “Spent some time feelin’ inferior, standing in front of my mirror” and take it at all seriously anymore, or is it simply something that’s about having a laugh?
When Stewart isn’t playing at the venue (all of the shows aren’t sequential; there’s a split), Elton John will be, with a show titled “Million Dollar Piano.” Indeed.
Let’s say the Morrison hadn’t died. That Morrison was playing down the street at The Bellagio. Can we imagine a duet on “What Made Milwaukee Famous” between the two performers? And would it be good?
David Dyas is a nice southern boy who ended up in Portland, Oregon by way of New Orleans and Los Angeles. Despite a lack of riches, he’s living the dream most aspiring musicians conjure up as they load their gear into the back of vans and dank bars throughout their youth: he’s a professional.
February 23 marks the release of Dyas’ 4-song EP, Stag, which was recorded with the help of friends who run the gamut of his musical career. What he calls “a cavalcade of rogues” that he’s collected as a session player, hired band mate, copywriter and philosophy teacher. It’s a lilting acoustic folk-pop record with surprising arrangements that belie the seemingly simple structure and approach to the songs.
We caught up with Dyas in the GLONO West headquarters to talk about life as a hired gun, Rod Stewart, the city we all love to hate, and Scientology.
With recording of the EP and touring going on are you going to do any session work?
You know, I will do gigs that come my way that I’m interested in. I know it’s hard living by this but I’ve kind of set myself up in that I don’t have to take gigs I don’t want to. But I’ve never wanted to just be side man for hire guy. I either want to be doing my own music or be part of the band It’s a big part of why I moved up here [from Los Angeles].
So, is it more competitive down there, from a music standpoint?
I don’t know if it’s more competitive or if it’s more—and I got caught up in this too—this looking out onto the horizon for what’s next. Something better coming along. I grew up in this ethos that you grow up and start a band and that’s what you do and I guess I am stuck in this naïve paradigm.
It seems popular for people to say they hate LA. That’s the first thing anyone ever says, even people who have never been there.
That’s right, and that’s the genesis to one of my incredibly witty sayings, “You have to earn the right to hate LA.”
God damn the early 70s must have been fun. We’ve all seen Almost Famous and the life of a somewhat known (fictional) band looked great, so imagine what it was like to be in the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band! Well, in 1974 Woody had the best of all worlds when he started out as a member of The Faces with Rod Stewart and then jumped over to be a Rolling Stone when guitarist Mick Taylor left. In between he recorded a star studded solo affair that stands up as a case study what you can do when your best friends are rock stars.
Just look at the personnel listing according to Wikipedia:
* Ron Wood: vocals, guitar, percussion
* Keith Richards: guitar, vocals, percussion
* Mick Jagger: vocals, guitar
* Willie Weeks: bass
* Andy Newmark: drums
* Ian McLagan: organ, piano, synthesizer
* Sterling: steel drums
* Ross Henderson: steel drums
* Mick Taylor: bass, guitar, organ, synthesizer
* George Harrison: guitar, backing vocals; unconfirmed
“If we don’t do it very soon, one of us is gonna check out,” McLagan says. “I’m 64, for chrissakes! We’ve been waiting and waiting for Rod to say yes; now he’s finally said no. He’s busy doing other shit. So we’re gonna do it.”
The dude from Simply Red though? Really? I bet it would be a lot of fun to see Ron Wood, Ian McLagan, and Kenney Jones playing together, but it’s not the Faces without Rod Stewart, is it? Come on. They played a charity show a couple weeks ago and used a bunch of guest vocalists and Bill Wyman on bass. For a 2010 tour, since Wyman doesn’t fly, “McLagan says his first choice on bass would be original Sex Pistols member Glenn Matlock.” Okay…
Check out some YouTube footage of the reunion show at Royal Albert Hall on October 25 after the jump…
Remember earlier this year, when Daptone Records was robbed, how they threw out the teaser that the Dap-Kings were scheduled to lay down some music for Rod Stewart? We wondered if this could be a good sign of a return to form that he hadn’t even attempted since…when? 1974? Since he left Mercury Records? Who knows? It’s almost impossible to believe he was ever cool. But he was.
So we were hopeful about a potentially good Rod Stewart soul album. While we have yet to hear a single note, this blurb from Billboard has all but dashed any hope. Just look at the cast of contributors:
“Soulbook,” meanwhile, finds Stewart covering 13 R&B favorites and collaborating with Stevie Wonder (“My Cherie Amour”), Smokey Robinson (“Tracks of My Tears”), Mary J. Blige (the Stylistics’ “You Make Me Feel Brand New”) and Jennifer Hudson (Jerry Butler and Betty Everett’s “Let It Be Me”). […] “Soulbook” was produced by “…Songbook” collaborator Steve Tyrell and Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Keith Richards), who recruited an all-star cast of musicians for the tracks such as Motown veterans Bob Babbitt, George Bohannen and Ray Parker, Jr., Memphis heavyweights Willy Mitchell and Wayne Jackson, Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones, Toto’s David Paich and session aces Waddy Wachtel, Leland Sklar, Greg Phillinganes, Tom Scott, Ricky Lawson and others.
Not a Dap-King in site. No Faces either, while we’re griping. Just the tired gimmick of cramming a shitload of duets with one or more representatives of each targeted demographic. So lame. Rod needs to pull his head of Clive Davis‘ ass and realize that his legacy has vanished into the ether of late-night infomercials. He’s become Pat fucking Boone.
Sure, those Songbook travesties have sold like hotcakes to every grandmother in America, but is that really how you want to go out? Is that what it’s all about? You’re a joke, man! You need to call up Ian McLagan and Ronnie Wood before it’s too late and play some rock and fucking roll! Do it! Now. Make it happen.
Daptone Records was robbed, and the thieves made off with a bunch of the soul label’s vintage gear, as well as some computers, phone equipment, and an empty safe. Dap-King Gabriel Roth “would like to ask for everyone’s help first in keeping an eye out for all of our stuff showing up on ebay/craigslist/local music shops, and secondly (and more realistically) keeping an eye out for good deals on headphones, mics, pre-amps, etc.”
As an aside, Roth notes that they “have a session scheduled for Friday to lay down some music for (I know this sounds surreal) Rod Stewart, and I’m going to have to get the studio running by then.” Solo Rod, or could this be the first evidence that the rumored Faces reunion might actually end up sounding cool?
To get an idea of what kinds of sounds Daptone is responsible for, check out this free 14-song compilation, This is Daptone Records…
The NME is reporting that the Faces will reunite with all original members except Ronnie Lane, who died of pneumonia in 1997.
The band is set to meet for rehearsals next Monday, November 17, to run through their old hits but there’s no mention in the article of touring or recording so it could just be some buddies getting together and jamming. Not that the NME hypes non-stories or anything…
Let’s suppose for a moment they are getting ready to record again. Who would you like to see behind the board? I am putting my money on Jack White.