Tag Archives: charity

Gibson Guitars for Good

One of the things that is nearly inexplicable in our time is that there is a land war in Europe right now and although we have more access to information with more immediacy than the last time that happened to this extent and global consequence—back when Elizabeth II was still a princess—it seems as though that it something that we all once sort of knew about but which has been replaced in our infosphere by things of another sort. Most people probably know more about what’s happening in Mar-a-Lago than in Kharkiv. One is a continuation of the clown act that could have some devastating repercussions. The other is a place where, as I write this, the BBC reports: “On Saturday, the Russian-appointed head of Kharkiv region, Vitaly Ganchev, said his troops have started to evacuate civilians in Kupiansk and Izyum.” The Kharkiv region is Ukraine sovereign territory; the Russian-appointed head has absolutely no right to evacuate “civilians” from Ukraine–except that those “civilians” are undoubtedly members of the Russian army.

But there it is.

What’s more: Do we think that those people left homes, schools, stores, restaurants, infrastructure and the rest in anything but shambles?

While I have been critical—to say nothing of puzzled—of and about auctions of rock-and-roll-related memorabilia, from October 11 to November 11, 12 and 13 there will be an online auction taking place that is being organized by Gibson that is titled “Guitars for Peace.”

100% of the monies raised by Gibson Gives, the instrument company’s philanthropic arm, through this program will be donated to humanitarian undertakings for the people of Ukraine.

This auction goes far beyond someone being able to have something on display in their rec room. This auction matters. Matters as in life or death. Literally. Russian troops aren’t evacuating civilians in the Kharkiv region because they’re being nice.

Luthiers at Gibson have created four special Les Paul guitars that are painted with the azure blue and gold colors of the Ukrainian flag.

These guitars are being used by a wide array of touring musicians–Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones,  Slash, Fher Olvera of Maná, Nile Rogers of Chic, Mark Knopfler, Lzzy Hale, Margo Price, Alex Lifeson, Blossoms, The Fratellis, Kasabian, Madness, Maisie Peters, Paloma Faith, The Charlatans, The Vaccines, Toyah, My Chemical Romance—and the instruments are accompanied by autograph books that the musicians sign (thereby not having the guitars covered with Sharpie ink).

Continue reading Gibson Guitars for Good

New Belle and Sebastian video: Unnecessary Drama

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “Unnecessary Drama”

Directed by Kasparas Vidunas & Eric J. Liddle. From A Bit of Previous, out May 5 on Matador.

Unfortunate timing for poor Belle and Sebastian! Just as they’re ramping up to announce their first new album in seven years, the Russians invade Ukraine and start a war and make everything else seem meaningless or silly. They released this video for “Unnecessary Drama” and then immediately followed it up with a Ukrainian fundraiser where they pledged to donate all artist income from “If They’re Shooting At You” to the Red Cross, including streaming, digital sales, and publishing royalties.

So now that our priorities are established, we can get back to enjoying “Unnecessary Drama,” an upbeat B&S jam with a relentless harmonica line (humorously ripped on in the video when the band’s therapist requires Stevie to hand over his harp because it’s distracting the session).

There’s an array of douchebags lining up
To play their stupid parts.

I love it when Belle and Sebastian act tough and mean.

Belle and Sebastian: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Belle and Sebastian video: Unnecessary Drama

The Physical Impossibility of Making It in the Environment of Financial Sharks

Damien Hirst’s artworks go for millions of dollars at auction. By several accounts, he is the richest visual artist in the world. The old caution that parents made to children: “Don’t be an artist. You won’t make any money until after you are dead” clearly doesn’t hold. Hirst is 56 so he has a long way to go, adding to his ~$400-million personal valuation.

Hirst is an artist who creates works that, by and large, are large such that they aren’t things that he can personally execute. Take, for example, what is arguably his most famous piece to date, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which is a 14-foot-long tiger shark in a large aquarium (84 x 204 x 84 inches) that is filled with formaldehyde. Unlike those sailfish that are mounted on the walls of paneled basements that are meant to speak to the piscatory prowess of the residential fisherman, Hirst didn’t go out on a boat in subtropical waters, catch the shark, then bring it back to his studio, where he wrested the dead, slimy object, which probably weighs just under a ton, into the tank.

He had help.

So because Hirst is as much an entrepreneur as artist, he cleverly created a company named “Science (UK)” that includes staff that at the end of 2020, numbered at 156. As was the case in the U.S., the U.K. had a government program established to address potential job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Companies would get money in order to protect employees.

Turns out, according to ARTNews, that Science (UK) received £1.31 million (a.k.a., $1.77 million) in 2020.

The same year it gave the shove to 63 of its employees.

Continue reading The Physical Impossibility of Making It in the Environment of Financial Sharks

Bonamassa Raising Money for COVID-19-Affected Musicians

Joe Bonamassa, at age 12, in 1989, opened for B.B. King. Imagine: not only was he 12 but there he was, playing guitar ahead of one of the guitar-playing greats.

That worked out well. Bonamassa has become something of an axe-wielding phenomenon in the 30 years since.

Speaking of the situation that COVID-19 has brought on, Bonamassa said: “Musicians have a tough road ahead and this will help them regroup until they can head out on the road again when everyone gets a green light.”

He is talking about a live-stream fundraising event that he is holding tomorrow night (May 14, 8 pm EST).

Bonamassa is going to perform and talk about his vintage Fender guitars.

The proceeds will go to his Fueling Musicians Program, which is an emergency relief plan that was created by his 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, Keeping the Blues Alive (KTBA).

The program will provide musicians with financial assistance for living expenses as well as pre-paid fuel cards so they’ll be able to literally get on the road.

The Fueling Musicians Program is being supported by Fender Premium Audio and Volkswagen. (VW offers Fender audio systems in many of its vehicles.)

The event will be on the VW Facebook page.

Over the years I’ve cracked car companies on their sometimes-craven use of music.

Not this time.

Musicians need all the help they can get, and credit to VW for its support of Bonamassa’s efforts.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in contributing to the Fueling Musicians Program or if you’re a musician who needs help and would like to fill out an application form for assistance, go here.

(Photo: Christie Goodwin)

New Wilco song: All Lives, You Say?

Bandcamp: Wilco – “All Lives, You Say?”

Proceeds will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the memory of Jeff Tweedy’s father, Robert L. Tweedy (1933-2017).

“My dad was named after a Civil War general, and he voted for Barack Obama twice. He used to say ‘If you know better, you can do better.’ America – we know better. We can do better.” – Jeff Tweedy

This gesture, of course, takes on pointed connotations in light of the deplorable events in Charlottesville and our orange fuhrer’s tepid reaction.

Continue reading New Wilco song: All Lives, You Say?

Can’t Explain: Roger Daltrey Designs Rolls-Royce for Charity

Roger Daltrey was a member of The Who, a band that he fundamentally established in 1964 with John Entwistle, Keith Moon and Pete Townshend.

Some people might argue that Roger Daltrey is a member of The Who, given that at the recent Desert Trip concert (a.k.a., Oldchella), a band named “The Who” performed.

Without going all Abbott & Costello (or a Hortonesque Dr. Seuss) about it, how can there be The Who when 50% of the band no longer exists: who’s left? Keith Moon died in 1978. John Entwistle died in 2002. (Daltrey had a bad case of meningitis last year and it almost seemed as though he’d be the answer to who’s next; fortunately he recovered and seems to be back on his game).

If we look at the band that is masquerading as The Who, know that Keith Moon was replaced by Kenny Jones, who was with the three original members starting in 1978. He was replaced in 1988 by Zack Starkey.

As for the bass position, that was taken up in 2002 by Pino Palladino.

So when does a specific “band” stop being that band in more than a marketing sense?

Isn’t the elimination of 50% of the musicians—especially musicians of the caliber of Moon and Entwistle, and with all due respect, does anyone actually think that Jones, Starkey and Palladeno are as good as those two were?—good enough to argue that it is something other than it once was?

After all, if you heard that a band was “decimated,” you’d probably think, “Geeze, there must not be much left.”

But that would mean that only 10% was eliminated, a far cry from the 50% of The Who (and it could be reckoned that with the replacement of Jones by Starkey, it would be a change of on the order of 65%).

Would Paul McCartney and Richard Starkey—I mean Ringo Starr—constitute “The Beatles”? Even at his most mendacious, it seems that McCartney doesn’t think so, either.

But now in their 52nd year of playing together, Daltrey and Townshend soldier on.

To be sure, they’ve done things other than play in the cover band known as “The Who.”

Ever since he appeared in Ken Russell’s 1975 film Tommy, Daltrey has been an actor, a performer on stage and screen (Who music isn’t just used as theme music for the various C.S.I.s; Daltrey has performed on the show as many characters, including playing, for reasons I can’t begin to understand, a middle-aged African-American woman).

Perhaps even more remarkable than that bit of acting is the fact that in 2008, late-middle aged American president George W. Bush awarded Daltrey and Townshend with the Kennedy Center Honors.

My interest in Daltrey was piqued by the recent announcement that he is collaborating with Rolls-Royce on the car manufacturer’s “Inspired by British Music” vehicles. It won’t be a “Roger Daltrey” edition, but “The Who” edition.

Continue reading Can’t Explain: Roger Daltrey Designs Rolls-Royce for Charity

Brent DeBoer – The Farmer

Brent DeBoer - The FarmerBrent DeBoerThe Farmer (Headness)

It’s hard to get overly critical of an album that’s intended more as a fundraising item than an artistic statement, so allow me to mention first that Brent “Fathead” DeBoer’s first solo offering is being released to provide financial assistance to the Oregon Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

DeBoer is better known as the well-maned drummer for the Dandy Warhols, and The Farmer is an extended-play collection of material that he’s been working on with Dandy’s colorist Brian Coates for several years. At Coates’ urging, DeBoer released The Farmer to help with the MS cause, a condition that is unfortunately close to Brent’s home as his father suffers from the autoimmune disease.

Continue reading Brent DeBoer – The Farmer

Buy the Whites Stripes Marimba

Whites Stripes Marimba

You’ve still got a few days to bid on the marimba used by the White Stripes on their 2005-06 Get Behind Me Satan world tour. All proceeds go to the Nashville Chapter of the Red Cross to help victims of the recent floods. At this time, the current bid is $3,050. Bidding closes on May 24.

Note, this is not the same marimba used to record the album: “that marimba was deemed too large and not red-and-white enough to be used by the band live.”

See Jack’s instrument in action below…

Continue reading Buy the Whites Stripes Marimba

Shane MacGowan Debuts Haitian Relief Video

We’ve already ruffled some feathers with our views of bands who seemed to have used the disaster relief efforts in Haiti as promotional fodder so we’ll just let this video speak for itself.

Shane MacGowan, Johnny Depp, Mick Jones, Nick Cave, Primal Scream‘s Bobby Gillespie, Chrissie Hynde and Paloma Faith team up for a cover of Screaming Jay Hawkins‘ 1956 hit, “I Put a Spell On You.”

Video: Shane MacGowan & Friends – “I Put A Spell On You”

Via The NME.

Spoon Debuts at No. 4: Not Too Shabby

Spoon - TransferenceThe big story with this week’s sales data is the fact that the Hope For Haiti charity album is the first digital-exclusive set to top the Billboard 200. Billboard also points out that “as Hope for Haiti is sold through indie digital distributor INgrooves, it gives the Billboard 200 back-to-back independently distributed No. 1 albums, following Vampire Weekend‘s Contra last week.” So how about that? Hope for Haiti is the 13th “indie” album to top the chart.

And there’s even a legitimate indie debut this: Spoon‘s Transference (Merge). So along with Contra, that makes three independently distributed albums in the top ten. That’s gotta be a first, right?

1. “Hope For Haiti” – 171,000 (debut)

2. Susan Boyle – “I Dreamed a Dream” – 86,000 (up 12%; cume: 3,357,000)

3. Lady Gaga – “The Fame” – 62,000 (down 3%)

4. Spoon – “Transference” – 53,000 (debut)

5. “2010 Grammy Nominees” – 49,000 (debut)

6. Vampire Weekend – “Contra” – 43,000 (down 65%)

7. Alicia Keys – “The Element of Freedom” – 40,000 (down 16%)

8. Ke$ha – “Animal” – 35,000 (down 47%)

9. Black Eyed Peas – “The E.N.D.” – 35,000 (up 7%)

10. Taylor Swift – “Fearless” – 32,000 (down 5%)

Additional sales data via Yahoo.