Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hope I Die Before...Oh, Never Mind

Mick Jagger turned 65 this week. According to Reuters, due to British law he is now entitled to a raft of benefits as a senior citizen. The singer is eligible to claim £87 a week from the state, qualifies for a bus pass and other discounts. But he will have to wait another five years for free roof insulation -- that benefit is only available to people aged over 70. I'm sure he can't wait to use that one.

You feel old yet? Dig this - Madonna turns 50 next month.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

colorfield Rocks the Irvington Club

My band colorfield took kind of a long break between last October and this month. Heck, I had been in the band for five years and they were together prior to my joining for at least that long, so I wasn't too worried when we let things slide for many months after our last big show at the Wonder Ballroom last October. It felt like we all needed a break, and I am a firm believer in filling the well by having down time.

But now we are at it again, and it feels very fresh. We have had a couple of low key gigs and have now started to record some new stuff in drummer Dave's home studio, which he set up during the down time.

Me, I played gigs with Matt Vrba and did some solo shows. Wrote a couple of cool songs and got a new Taylor guitar. But now it's nice to have the colorfield stuff to look forward to again.

We played last Thursday at guitar player Pat's tennis club for part of its 110th year celebration. Pretty funny to set up gear on a tennis court and rock the neighbors.

But as with gigs that are a little different from the norm, this one was a hell of a lot of fun and based on the video, we played pretty well. Here are a couple of choice cuts. There are some pretty classic moments on the video as people walk by the camera - especially the dude with the limp. What can I say? A gig's a gig! Enjoy.



Monday, July 28, 2008

George Harrison Live In Japan

It's been seven years since George Harrison died but I am still discovering how prolific the guy was.

I recently got the remastered All Things Must Pass, Harrison's triple album released just after The Beatles' breakup, and it is loaded with great songs. He obviously had quite the backlog due to John and Paul's years of dominance.

But Harrison was a bit of a recluse when it came to live performing. He did a handful of benefit shows, the most famous being the Concert for Bangladesh - which of course paved the way for things like LiveAid much later. And he toured a bit in the 70s, but pretty much gave that whole thing up at some point in the middle of the decade.

I had heard that in the late 80s Harrison played with Eric Clapton's band in a series of shows in Japan but I totally spaced on the fact that he put out a live album from that mini-tour. I got it recently and it's really good.

Harrison is backed by Clapton's white-bread band of the time (very capable musicians but they smack of too much 'pro' not enough 'feel.'), and of course Clapton himself rips out a number of awesome leads and even provides vocal support.

But most notable is the set list. George dips back deep into the Beatles years with early tracks like I Want to Tell You, If I Needed Someone, and Taxman, and even busts out stuff like Old Brown Shoe and Piggies (!). Of course we get Something, Here Comes the Sun and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

And then there are the solo songs, all the way from My Sweet Lord, What Is Life, Isn't It A Pity and All Those Years Ago, up to songs from his most current album at the time, Cloud Nine.

He does pretty faithful versions of these songs, but also takes a few liberties, like adding a whole new verse to Taxman.

Poking around on YouTube, I found some live video clips from the album. But it doesn't look like you can get this on DVD yet. Enjoy this one, complete with a cool intro interview...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rush Plays Rush on Rock Band (and not so well...)

I have only tried to play Rock Band once and it was to Mississippi Queen, that classic love ballad from Leslie West and Mountain (great band name by the way - if you are a huge dude).

I pretty much sucked. My eight year old plays it about 1,000 times better than I can, as I found out on a display unit at Toys R Us a month later.

But now I don't feel so inferior. Check out Rush trying to play to their own song, as posted on the Colbert Nation fan site.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

KISS Help Identify Dead Man

Well, it's not like Gene and Paul went to the morgue to ID remains. But the band was... ahem... instrumental in helping police in Alberta, Canada figure out the identity of a person found last November.

Seems that the deceased was found wearing a jacket with numerous KISS badges, and once police circulated photos of the jacket, his friend came forward with a positive ID. From the story:

"Once I saw the jacket I knew that was my friend's jacket," says Ken Peterson, who grew up with Goodwin in rural Saskatchewan. "There's not too many people who have that amount of badges all on one denim jacket."

No word if Gene will donate a KISS Kasket to the man's family.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Who Needs Steve Perry? Or A Singer For That Matter?

Those arguing about the current Arnel Pineda-led version of Journey versus the Steve Perry era need to remember that before Steve Perry, the band had three hot shit prog rock albums - with NO lead singer. Or at least not one out in front of the band.

Thanks to Dr. John for finding this face melting singer-less live tune from 1980. Perry had just joined the band and Gregg Rollie was about to leave. And Steve Smith on drums was the other 'new guy.'


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rush Rips It Up On Colbert Report

Rush fans worldwide had major wood last night as the band was the main attraction of the 30 minute Colbert Report. From the very beginning, when Limelight played over the opening credits, there was joke after joke about the band's appearance on the show - their first on American TV in more than 30 years.

As a great bonus, Colbert actually interviewed the band and the banter was hilarious. After talking about who the band's influences were, and noting that they are known for writing long songs, he asked the band, "Have you ever written a song so epic that by the end of the song you were actually being influenced by yourself in the beginning of the song?" Classic.

The show director (and main Rush fan on the show) asked if they could sign his host, so all three signed Stephen's hand. Then Neil says, "I better not see that on eBay." Colbert noted that the band isn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet and asked, "Have you considered titling your next album 'That's Bullshit'?"

Then they broke into Tom Sawyer. Wow - very interesting to hear Rush in a studio setting. The drums sounded really bad and there was little processing on the vocals or anything else for that matter. Having heard Tom Sawyer a billion times live and on live CDs, it was actually refreshing to hear this super raw rendition. I bet it was louder than all hell in the studio!

The only bummer is that they had to cut to a commercial right after Neil's epic drum fills at the end of the guitar solo. Very very big buzz kill. Seems like that could have been planned better but they weaved it into kind of a joke, so when the commercials were over, Rush were still playing and Colbert basically fell asleep at his desk while the credits rolled.

The whole thing was light hearted and it was very cool to see. Between that and the Rolling Stone article, it's nice to see Rush hitting the mainstream a bit. They deserve the props.

One of the things Colbert said in his intro is that Rush has the fourth highest number of gold records of any band. I did not know that, and that is highly awesome.

You can watch the segment here:

Ron Wood Hooks Up With 18-yr-old, Lands in Rehab

You know that when Keith Richards suggests you go to rehab, you are in trouble.

The Stones' Ron Wood fell off the wagon hard this week, apparently hooking up with an 18-year-old waitress on a drinking binge that included the two staying at his home in Ireland, drinking a couple of bottles of vodka a day. She posted on her Facebook page that he was leaving his wife for her because - well, that's what 18 year olds do!

The other Stones reportedly pleaded for Woodie to get his act together and return to his patient and oblivious wife of 23 years. More details here and here.

Honestly, I am not totally surprised. In my review of Wood's book, I noticed that he didn't seem to grasp the concept that as an alcoholic, he just CAN'T be around the stuff. He had the, "I can just have one drink" attitude that always seems to lead to a complete and total relapse.

Whereas from his book, Clapton seemed to totally get it, Woodie takes a 'boys will be boys' attitude that left me feeling at the end of his book that he might slide back into the booze.

Anyway, apparently he came to his senses long enough to ditch the jail bait and check back into rehab. Hopefully it will stick this time. Best of luck, Woodie!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rush Performs on Colbert Report Tonight

No, not Rush Limbaugh.

Just got an email from the Rush people that the band will be on the Colbert Report tonight at 11:30 PM.

The AP reports that the band will perform Tom Sawyer, and that they have not performed live on television since 1975. That is incredible, but I guess it's true!

Here is a press release from Atlantic Records announcing the news.

It's not my first mention of Rush and Colbert, either - remember this?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Accidental Drum Tech - Cool Neil Peart Story

This has been kicking around for a while but is a great read. Seems that on the most recent Rush tour, Neil Peart’s drum tech Lorne Wheaton (better known at Gump) had to leave the tour due to appendicitis. SABIAN Cymbals representative Chris Stankee had the terrifying honor of filling in last second. He posted a two part report on the SABIAN Web site and it’s a heck of a read.

Some of the highlights:

I have set Neil up a couple times for rehearsal and recording sessions using what I learned from Gump on the SABIAN-sponsored S.S. Professor tour after RUSH's R30 Tour. I also filled in earlier this year when Neil was finishing rehearsals for the tour by himself, so I wasn't entirely clueless. But I had never set up the electronic kit or changed the patches through his solo. I remember in those rehearsals when Neil said, "I won't rehearse the solo. I really need Gump here for that, to change the kits in the right spots."

The lights go down and Neil runs up on stage. I remember to shine a light into the 6-inch opening where he gets into the kit and then the band kicks off. After the first song everything goes pitch black on stage. Uh Oh! I can't see him! What if he's asking for something?...The song finishes and he comes leaping off the riser looking right at me. "The snare drum head broke! Tell Dirk (Geddy Lee) to stretch it out between songs!" I dive into the riser and my radio tangles up in something. I remove the snare and pass it to Anson, then lock down the spare that was already prepared. Back to business in no time, but what are the chances of that happening to us tonight? It happens maybe once every 100 shows, Neil would tell me later. The head simply pulled out of the metal collar that holds it. What next? When the band starts into The Main Monkey Business, I lean over to Jim. "Do you hear a pigeon?" He gives me the are you nuts? look. Great. I can't hear a broken snare head and now I'm hearing pigeons. It turned out that Neil was trying to get the snare back into the correct place after I swapped it, and it made its way up against the DAUZ trigger activating a pigeon 'coo' sound every time he hit the drum. It was comical, but Neil wasn't laughing.

The second set kicks off with Far Cry. Neil and John, the pyro tech, warned me about the pyro in this song. There's a red light on at the side of the stage when it's about to happen. I cover up with a fireproof blanket, but I've got to peek. Bad idea. The pyro is a concussion bomb that sits on the back of Neil's sub monitor. I thought it was just going to be tall flames. I'm looking right at it from about five feet away when it goes off. It moves so much air that I feel my eyeballs change shape. COOL!

There are loads of great photos too. Check it all out here and here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

VH1 Rock Honors Who Fest - A 2nd-Hand Report

A friend of mine was lucky enough to score tickets to the VH1 Rock Honors show in L.A. over the weekend, where The Two (Daltry and Townshend) were joined by the Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips, Pearl Jam and other bands and actors to pay tribute to the band.

Since the one story I read today from E! misidentified Baba O'Riley as "Teenage Wasteland," I thought a partial report from someone who actually attended would be nice. So below is an excerpted email I got today.

I removed the gushing "Brandon Boyd of Incubus is so hot" stuff and wound up with the following (yes, my friend is a girl, and it's actually her friend's report, so I guess technically that makes this third-hand but whatev...):

Tai and I went around the back of Pauley Pavilion after the show and hung out waiting to see who would exit our way. Within seconds, a stealth Pete Townshend drove in on a golf cart, waved quietly to the crowd, and went home without fuss. We waited a bit more, then tons of other rockers came out. Roger Daltry signed a few autographs, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam spent some time with the crowd. We waved to Taylor Hawkins off in the distance. Kyle Gass (Tenacious D) waddled by (no wave to anyone). Jeremy Priven was in sight. Mila Kunis from that 70s show walked by. Sean Penn gave us a wave. Probably more I'm forgetting.

Last of all came "Mr. Vedder" whom everyone saw on and off again out in the distance. They gave us a small warning that he wanted quiet and no photographs. He came over to the rails and patiently signed autographs. I gave him Tai's ticket stub but I had nothing solid to put under the paper so he used my hand. It started slipping then he said, "No wait, please let me do this right" and proceeded to give Tai a very nice autograph all while holding my hand. How cool was that? Before he got to me, he kept telling the crowd, "Last one" so to insist on doing the autograph "right" was cool indeed. Thank you Mr. Vedder.

As for the show itself...AMAZING. Even though it was a tv event, it wasn't that awkward. I've been to worse. It ran much like a concert with only one or two gaffes, and they'd fill the time between bands with cool footage of the Who and all the rockers who were influenced by them. Powerful performances by all involved. I don't know if I should say more. I don't want to ruin the broadcast for anyone.

I know I sound like a kid, but that's how it feels to see these bands you've loved as far back as when you WERE a kid play great rock, then to see some of them 2 feet away (or closer). It was an amazing night in rock history and just plain fun.

Their photos are here.

The televised version runs on Thursday on VH1.

And, Rolling Stone actually put a good article together here. After this and their awesome recent article on Rush, I have to say I am starting to appreciate the magazine again. Anyway, thanks Tai for the report!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Concert Review - The Police (again)

My wife and I drove to Seattle to see The Police at the very beginning of the band's reunion tour last year. We thought they were fantastic, but a bit rusty.

It was only the fourth or fifth show on the tour and they were still working out many of the drastic changes they made to their repertoire. I noticed a lot of hesitancy, eye contact and tentative "are we there yet" kinds of stuff.

Some of the new versions of the old songs - in different keys and at different tempos - worked well and others just didn't seem to be quite there yet. I posted a full review here at the time.

Well, I caught the band again on Saturday, now at the tail end of the tour. And after playing pretty much non-stop all around the world since the Seattle show, this was very different band.

They were tight, confident and pretty frickin awesome. They dropped a few of the songs that were not really working early in the tour, such as Spirits in the Material World and Synchronicity II (bummer to miss that song, actually).

They changed the set list quite a bit as a matter of fact. And sadly it was much shorter. In addition to Spirits and Synch II, they dropped The Bed's to Big Without You, Truth Hits Everybody, Murder by Numbers and Walking in Your Footsteps. They added only two - Demolition Man and Hole in My Life.

I really missed Bed's Too Big and Walking in Your Footsteps and I think they should have left those in the set. Those songs went over really well in Seattle and by reducing the set list by a total of four songs, the show felt way too short.

Otherwise, what they DID play was overall pretty awesome. Like with Seattle there was a lot of jamming. But this time, it was tight - sounded like a band that's been playing on the road for a long time.

Andy Summers took some extended solos and used way more distortion and punch than I remember from The Police's 80s heyday. Stewart Copeland was completely insane. I have never seen a drummer quite like him. He hits those drums so hard it's ridiculous. He is by far the most captivating performer in that band.

Sting's voice was awesome and almost made you forget that they lowered the keys on most of the songs. But his bass playing was where I noticed the most difference from the start of the tour. Just like with Paul McCartney, Sting's unique voice and stellar songwriting make it easy to overlook the fantastic bass playing.

Oh, and he had a stellar beard. Not a nice, trimmed, dyed beard. Rather, it looked like he hadn't touched a razor in a couple of months and was going for the 'lunatic Hemingway' look. It worked. He looks pretty cool with a beard.

There were some pre-recorded vocal backup parts, a-la Rush, but we also noticed Sting using Taurus pedals (again, a-la Rush) to play some keyboard sounds with his feet to back up the trio's sound.

Harmolodic will kill me for this, but we missed Elvis Costello due to schedule mix ups and crappy traffic. Very bummed about that but it is what it is.

Anyway, it's rare that I am able to catch a band when it is loose and unsure at the start of a tour and then see 'em again near the end when they are tight.

It was cool to be able to do that on this tour, and the evolution of The Police from the start to the end of the tour is just another testament to the importance of bands playing night after night on the road if they want to get any good. Too bad gas prices are so high that young, unestablished bands are starting to lose this option.

Set List:

-Message In A Bottle
-Walking On The Moon
-Demolition Man
-Voices Inside My Head
-When The World Is Running Down
-Don't Stand So Close To Me
-Driven To Tears
-Hole In My Life
-Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
-Wrapped Around Your Finger
-De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
-Invisible Sun
-Can't Stand Losing You/Regatta de Blanc

encore one:
-King Of Pain
-So Lonely
-Every Breath You Take

encore two:
-Next To You

There are some YouTubes from just a couple of weeks before my show. Here are a few of great ones that will give you an idea of where the band's at right now (plus Sting's wicked beard).

Oh yeah, and you Rush fans out there - check out Andy Summers' solo and tone in Demolition Man below, and you will see where Alex Lifeson got his guitar tone and approach right around Grace Under Pressure!

Walking on the Moon - 2:30 to 4:40 is goosebump time here. Stewart Copeland goes OFF.

Demolition Man

Can't Stand Losing You/Regatta de Blanc

Wrapped Around Your Finger - Another very cool version of a classic song.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Who to Tour the States This Fall

Got an email just now that said the following:

The Who will be touring the USA this fall. The first 2 dates to be confirmed are:

Nov. 8 Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 9 Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

More dates will be confirmed very soon! Stay tuned. will be offering an exclusive fanclub presale as well as special VIP packages. These will be available on Monday, July 14 at 10:00AM PDT.

Based on the last show I saw (and reviewed), I probably won't go unless it falls into my lap. I am excited for the Rock Honors show coming up, though. And yeah, of course the Foo Fighters are part of it. WTF!?

Nuts Almost Kill David Lee Roth

Canadian police officers pulled over David Lee Roth last month in Oakland, Ontario and when they approached his car, they realized he was in anaphylactic shock - in layman's terms, having an allergic reaction to nuts.

The officers have been credited with saving Roth's life after he suffered the severe allergic reaction.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that:

The officers called an ambulance and kept Roth calm until paramedics arrived on the scene. Constable Chris Thompson admits he didn't realize that he was dealing with a famous rock star when he attended to the crisis.

He says, "At the time I wasn't star struck, I was just trying to help him. The guy stuck out like a sore thumb. He was wearing a little silk scarf and flashy clothing -- it's not something you see in Oakland too often."

Oakland, Ontario they mean.

So I guess the Van Halen rider should say no PEANUT M&Ms...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bad Company to Reunite to Protect Name

The three surviving members of 70s rock unit Bad Company have announced a one-off reunion gig on August 8.

Paul Rodgers will join guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke for the show at the Seminole Hard Rock & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

It's a one-time only show, with no plans for new material or any kind of reunion tour. The band is being very straight about why they are doing this gig, actually.

Rodgers told Billboard:

"What I'm doing is protecting the legacy that we have built ... cementing the rights to the trademark Bad Company for touring," explains Rodgers, acknowledging that the group has learned of plans for at least one bogus Bad Company planning to hit the road. "I can't really go into that because it's kind of in the hands of our lawyers at the moment. But there are a lot of things that make it necessary to reinforce our rights here.

He continues, "By doing this one-night stand with Bad Company, we will be cementing our right to the trademark 'Bad Company' for touring, and anyone who attempts to challenge us and tour misuing our trademark and mislead the fans will be liable to legal action."

But the show will be recorded for a DVD that will accompany a Bad Company compilation expected out later this year, according to the article.

I dig Bad Company and I am glad they are doing this. That band had so many great songs and was just a great blues-rock outfit. They rarely strayed from their formula of simple rock and roll with soulful vocals and crisp, live production.

And of course they were the only band I knew of at the time that shared Zeppelin's label, Swan Song, which made them extra cool in my mind when I was a teenager!

Bad Company is a band you could just picture in the studio, playing these songs live with few overdubs. In fact, here you go:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Balloon Travel is Risky

Not hot air balloons. Party balloons.

Two stories today about people travelling by party balloon. One had a nice ending, the other not so much.

First up, Kent Couch from Bend, Oregon rode a green lawn chair supported by a rainbow array of more than 150 helium-filled party balloons all the way to McCall, Idaho, about 230 miles east, travelling at about 20 mph.

To control his ascent, he shot at the balloons with a pellet gun and dumped 45 gallons of cherry Kool-Aid he carried as ballast.

It was his third flight. In 2006, he had to parachute out after popping too many balloons. And last year he flew 193 miles to the sagebrush of northeastern Oregon, short of his goal.

Said his wife, Susan: "He's crazy. It's never been a dull moment since I married him."

Then, on the not so funny side, in an effort to raise funds for a local charity organization, Father Adelir de Carli from Brazil planned to stay for more than 19 hours up in the air using a thousand party balloons, taking a GPS with him to communicate his position in case of emergency.

He took off last April, and his last known communication was the following:

I need to contact someone who can teach me how to operate this GPS, so I can give the latitude and longitude coordinates, which is the only way that people on the ground can know where I am.

Over the weekend he was found dead in the middle of the Atlantic.

I am going to stick with other kinds of alternate fuels for now, or I will at least learn the GPS machine before I take off via air balloon.

More about these stories here and here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Journey's Steve Perry and Neal Schon Hash It Out in GQ

I have posted twice about rare interviews with ex-Journey manager Herbie Herbert (here and here) and found his interviews pretty fascinating. But I also got the distinct impression that they were very one-sided.

This is old news to Journey fanatics, but in late May, an extensive interview with Steve Perry posted to GQ. I get the impression he doesn't do a lot of interviews these days so I was pretty riveted to hear what he had to say.

In the course of the two hour interview he covers everything from his joining the band, all the success they had, leaving the group, the reunion and why he left again, all the way to how he feels about all the replacement singers and his former band mates.

The writer also popped a follow up call to Neal Schon and pretty soon we had the whole Perry-Schon battle raging again. There are tons of nuggets in these interviews, such as this very small tip of the iceberg:

Perry says:

...when we did the VH1 thing, I said there was quite some time where I never really felt part of the band. And people didn’t understand what that meant. And what that meant was that there was a period of time where I always felt, from Neal, that I had to prove myself worthy of the position I was trying to occupy in the group. And not until it really took off, I think, did that question really get answered. But along with this, you have to print that I can’t blame them. Because they’d had a certain amount of success without me, and they were wondering, once I joined, “Is this the right direction?” I could tell that. I didn’t have years of being in Santana under my belt, like Neal and Gregg. Ross Valory had played with Steve Miller and people like that, I didn’t have that. Aynsley Dunbar had played with everybody. I didn’t have that under my belt. So, yeah. I was the new kid. And I think that proving myself was something that went on for quite some time with the band members.

I think the beginning of the end was when Neal started his solo career. Neal did a solo album way before I was thinking about it, with Jan Hammer. And I said to Herbie, the manager, “I think this is a bad idea”—that it would fracture the band on some level. And he said “No, he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. I’ve tried to talk him out of it, but he wants to do it.” And then he did his second one, and I said “OK, look, if he does a second one, I’m probably going to end up doing one.”

I said “Look, you go call whatever you wanna do with whomever you’ve checked out something else. Call it the J-Boys. Call it anything. But don’t call it Journey, y’know? Because I am gonna get this [hip surgery] done, eventually.” But I needed to be ready to lay down and do this thing. And it took a few more months, until October, and then I was ready, and found the right doctor for me...But in January, Jon told me on the phone, “I just wanna know.” And I said, “Don’t call it Journey. Because if you do, you will fracture the stone. And I don’t think I’ll be able to come back to it if you break it. If you crack it—it’s got so much integrity. We’ve worked so hard. Can’t you just, y’know—not do that?” And, he asked me again: “We wanna know when you’re going to surgery. Cause we wanna get out there.” That particular set of words. I said “Okay, you do what you gotta do, and I’ll do what I gotta do.” And I hung up the phone, and when the dial tone came back, I called my attorney, and I said “Start the divorce.” And he said, “What divorce?” And I said, “The divorce.” And I told him what happened. When somebody says, “We’ve checked out a few singers,” it’s like your wife’s saying, “Look, while you were gone—I know a few guys, and I just wanna know what you’ve decided to do, because I need to know.”

And Neal has this to say:

The label said, “We think you need a frontman. Otherwise we don’t think that we can ever get anything on the radio.” They wanted us to get on the radio. And sell some records. And so they gave us an ultimatum—you either get a frontman, or we’re gonna drop you from the label. And at that point we’re all thinking, “Oh, wow. This is a drag, after all this hard work.” And Herbie [Herbert] had received a tape from somebody at the label, of Steve Perry. He was in another band, at that point, and apparently they were getting ready to get signed, and his bass player was in an awful car crash and died. And I think what Steve felt at that point that he wanted to fold the band and go back to working on his grandfather’s ranch. So Herbie got his tape, and he played it for us, and he goes, “This is your new singer.” [laughs] And we’re all looking at each other going, “Really. Okay.” So we’re listening and goin’, “Wow, this guy’s got an amazing voice, but does he fit with us?” Because it was a radical change.

He’s saying, y'know, “If these guys wanna go on, I think they should just start something new and not use the Journey name.” Don’t crack the stone is what he kept on saying. Don’t crack the stone. Don’t go out and play these songs with someone else and crack the stone. Well, he did the same thing, way before we did! He went out on a solo tour, a solo Steve Perry tour, where none of us were invited. Actually Jonathan Cain tried to go down and go in and see him in San Francisco and they wouldn’t let him in the building! And he was playin’, I think, nine Journey songs and three of his original songs.

The interviews are really, really long - block out some time.

But probably the most interesting thing about the GQ post though are the extensive comments from fans who are highly passionate and land firmly in either the Perry camp or the Schon camp.

This is well beyond the "Bill Bruford is the only drummer for Yes even though Alan White has been in the band for 30 years argument; Or who's better - Sammy or Diamond Dave?" These fans are some the most impassioned and opinionated I have seen.

Such as this little gem:

When Neal was on the road banging women I'm sure he knew that the whole time the women were wishing that it was Steve.

Classic! Meow!

I am still digging the current lineup and new album, and got my ticket to the Portland show in September. I will for sure be writing a review.

Check out the GQ interviews here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Neil Young Touts New Digital Format

Good old Neil. Jamming out blistering live renditions of Beatles tunes and searching for alternative fuels aside, now he has told the Financial Times that he is "talking to record companies about licensing an alternative digital platform that he had been working on - something, he claimed, of far higher quality that could provide an alternative to the download world and perhaps even a new business model for music."

Neil is a dreamer, and his "why can't I do this?" attitude is to be admired. So while sometimes I look at his big ideas with a big of a grain of salt, you also have to take the guy seriously. Because he is dead serious about his ideas.

From the article, Neil says:

"We're in discussions right now about developing our own media platform based on that," he said. Something record companies can sell their artists' works on. Something that can't be downloaded, something that's got much more depth.

"It has every media component you could want, and they're all married together in a platform. That means other artists could use it, other record companies could use it and gain the knowledge of our 15-year development curve."

This needn't be limited to music, according to Young. "How about the history of the civil war? How about the British empire? If you have a career spanning 40 years, maybe it's George Washington's life. It could be a lot of things. There's so much to this that we can't tell, that you can't see in one sitting. Maybe there's a structure there that could save the music business - a new thing, where it is creating new products."

Neil is great example of a guy who throws his weight behind ideas with relentless passion, and doesn't give up, even against long odds. The fact that he kept his Archives project on ice for more than 15 years until technology caught up with his vision is admirable.

If even half of Neil's ideas pan out, good things will happen! Go Neil!

Rolling Stone on Rush - Here It Is

This is probably one of the best articles I have read about Rush. And leave it to those bastards at Rolling Stone to run it. They have hated Rush for so many years but wow, did they make up for it with this one.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

McCartney Does A Day in the Life too

OK, so Neil isn't the only one doing A Day in the Life live right now.

According to Rolling Stone, Paul McCartney has dusted off this mostly Lennon tune from Sgt Pepper and is doing it live. At a June 1 concert in good old Liverpool, Paul and his band did a pretty good rendition (outside of Paul messing up the lines in his own piece of the song - not Lennon's!).

They keep flashing to Yoko in the audience. And yeah, Dave Grohl played with the band at this gig. I am not kidding - read about it here. He has now jammed with Queen, Zeppelin and McCartney that I know of - and his drummer Taylor Hawkins played with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush as we know. WTF?

To see Paul do A Day in the Life, here ya go:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Neil Young Does Day In The Life

Neil Young is one crazy mo-fo. A Day In The Life is one of those songs that you just don't cover. It's so rooted in its studio version that even when Sting did it live (really well, I might add), it was still a little flat.

But as usual, Neil makes it all his own. His singing in the verses is great - he's like a little kid. Like how he sings I Am A Child - with a lot of youthful innocence in his voice. It's endearing.

But of course the reason I am posting is due to what he does with the orchestral parts that lead into and out of the Paul McCartney part of the song (woke up, fell out of bed/dragged a comb across my head). It's full blown Neil on 11. Dig the end of the song - I think he has broken at least three strings.

Neil can still kill it at 62. For those of my readers in Europe, try and catch his tour if you can. The video below is from Dublin, Ireland on Sunday. His tour dates and set lists for the tour are here.

Pigs Fly and Ice In Hell: Rolling Stone Runs Rush Article

...and it's not a total slam! Sure, they invoke the whole 'geeks dig Rush' theme, but it's a far cry (pun intended) from how the magazine has either ignored or slammed the band over Rush's 35 year career.

I mean, they have been ruthless. I think that when the last album sold enough copies to land it in the top ten, instead of giving credit where credit was due, Rolling Stone said something like, "350,000 Rush fans came out of their mother's basements long enough to buy the new album" or some shit like that.

But someone pulled their head out of their ass long enough to realize that the band has more than earned its due - so we get a four page fairly positive spread on the band, called Rush Never Sleeps (clever). I have yet to receive my copy in the mail but someone scanned the whole article and posted it to RushIsABand. Enjoy!