Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Orianthi Nails Eddie Van Halen Beat It Licks! Wow!

You may remember my earlier post about the shred-tastic Orianthi. And if you have seen the Michael Jackson movie This Is It (I have yet to see it), she is the blonde rocker in his group.

While I thought the over the top guitar in the Avril Lavigne-esque pop tune didn't really work, the below video strips away all of that and just shows her as she is - a total shredder. I mean seriously, I have never seen anyone get Eddie Van Halen's licks down that accurately.

The incredulousness of the DJ is funny too. Enjoy:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Abbey Road Studios NOT For Sale, Declared National Landmark

Contrary to my post last week, CNN today reports that Abbey Road Studios is not for sale. In fact, it has been declared a national landmark, which pretty much means "don't fuck with it."

The CNN story tells it all, but I love (and also was scratching my head) the photo of Nick Mason and Bill Wyman recording last year. What the hell was THAT all about?

Anyway, check it out here.

The Downside of Tech and Music

Lots of folks have pointed to how technology and the Internet have freed up artists from the shackles of record companies and big business.

Now, you can record a professional sounding demo or album using fairly inexpensive computer recording software and UIs. You can film and edit a pro video using HD cameras and computer software. And you can get the same widely distributed using the Internet, namely YouTube, and of course iTunes and a ton of do-it-yourself distribution services.

But the real question is, should you?

"Shine" by Final Placement from sharity world on Vimeo.

As one commenter said, "My ears just threw up."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Floydian Slips & The Eugene Ballet -- Videos

First up, apologies to those who have seen this in other places on the Web, as this has been flying around a lot this week.

But for those of you who are more casual followers of all things Isorski, I have been in a Pink Floyd tribute band called The Floydian Slips for about 13 years and we had a really cool milestone weekend the weekend before last.

This all started as a lark, playing off of an idea I and two college buddies had way back in 1988 to possibly play The Dark Side of the Moon live.

We realized that while sonically killer and obviously classic, the music was not that hard to play -- and I have tape somewhere of us doing Breathe, Time and Money (I think - it's been a long time).

Anyway, that project died on the vine after one rehearsal. Fast forward to 1997 when I was in between projects/bands. My buddy played bass and also happened to book The Wild Duck, a music venue in Eugene Oregon that held about 450 people and hosted nationally touring acts and local bands alike.

We put a group of local ringers together -- great players from other bands, and our friends too, and rehearsed Dark Side for real. The gig was booked and that was that.

Needless to say, the first show was a hit. We did all of Dark Side, Have A Cigar, One of These Days and Pigs and that was all we knew! For an encore we just winged it and jammed some songs.

Over the next 13 years we augmented the band, and tackled Dark Side and The Wall in their entirety, along with most of Animals, Wish You Were Here and Meddle, along with a smattering of pre-Meddle and post-Wall stuff (Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Learning to Fly etc).

The venues got bigger and we started selling out the Cuthbert Amphitheater and McDonald Theater in Eugene, The Aladdin Theater in Portland and the Triple Door in Seattle. We only play a couple of times a year to keep it fresh and kept the same core sound and lighting crew for most of the time.

New Years Eve and a summer show at the amphitheater were our usual big shows, though we did play on Main Street in downtown Eugene one summer (they closed the intersection so the stage could be set up there), as well as the Oregon Country Fair, a big hippie fest that happens every year outside of Eugene.

To avoid things getting stale, we kept pushing the musical boundaries, and recent musical additions include Dogs, Sheep and the epic Echoes.

But after every show, the feeling is, what's next? Do we keep doing this? How do we keep this from getting stale? The answer this year was easy -- The renown Eugene Ballet approached us to perform The Dark Side of the Moon. We would do the music live and they would dance in front of us.

The shows would be at the ornate and gorgeous Hult Center in Eugene, a concert hall that holds 2,500 and we'd do a evening show and a matinee.

Well, the gigs were last weekend and far exceeded everyone's expectations. The choreography was unreal and playing that big stage was a hell of a kick (we were on risers behind the dancers -- see the videos).

Saturday's show was to 2,100 people and we had 1,700 the next day at the matinee. Seeing dance interpretations of the lyrical and musical passages that make up Dark Side were very emotional for me and there were times I had a hard time singing.

I also was terrified I'd mess up the words or lose count in one of the instrumental passages but overall we put in a flawless performance. I was telling people that the last 13 years have been a dress rehearsal for these gigs! Hopefully there will be more. In the meantime, enjoy these videos from the shows:

Any Colour You Like - Brain Damage - Eclipse


Time - Breathe

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roger Waters to Tour The Wall in 2010 in the U.S.

Just got my March 4 issue of Rolling Stone in the mail yesterday and flipping through could not help but notice this little sidebar on page 28:

Dates TBA -- Thirty years after Pink Floyd's legendary The Wall tour, Waters is going to re-stage the elaborate show -- which climaxes with the destruction of a giant wall -- on a U.S. tour. The original 1980-81 trek played only four cities and was infamously expensive. "Technology is much easier now," Waters says. "They were pretty heavy, those [bricks]. They would be easier to build now. Dates and venues have yet to be announced.

Holy shit! This is once in a lifetime if it comes true. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Abbey Road Studios Put Up For Sale

According to Classic Rock Magazine, Abbey Road Studios has been put up for sale by EMI to prop up crumbling finances.

According to the article, it’s expected that the complex could fetch around £20 million [~$27 million]. More:

The house, 3 Abbey Road, was bought in 1929 by The Gramophone Company, who later became EMI.

It opened as the world’s first custom-built recording studio in 1931, and became famous as the place where The Beatles recorded all their albums, except for Let It Be.

The Beatles also made the zebra crossing outside the studio legendary.

So many others have worked there over the decades, including Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

Hopefully the studio will stay open and functioning but I am bracing myself for the inevitable and the new owners turn it into a Chuck E Cheese or Hard Rock Cafe. Bleah.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Them Crooked Vultures on SNL; Rush at the Olympics

First up, I posted last week that Them Crooked Vultures would perform on SNL, which they did last weekend. Pretty good but the usual weird SNL audio mix. Too much guitar (did I really just say that?), not enough drums and dry, slightly buried vocals.

Still - so cool to see these guys on SNL, especially John Paul Jones.

And before we get to the video clips, Rush is rumored to be playing at the Olympics opening ceremonies this weekend. How cool would that be? But what the heck would they play? I am sure it'll be Tom Sawyer but I think By-Tor and the Snow Dog or Working Man would be a bit more appropriate given the event!

Mind Eraser

New Fang

Funny Dave Grohl Cameo

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flat Stanley Does Hell Hole

In the shameless self-promotional department, one of my musical endeavors is a cover band called Flat Stanley. We try to walk the line between playing things that are kind of familiar but have not been done to death.

So for example, we'll do The White Room, Cortez the Killer and Bittersweet (Big Head Todd) instead of Mustang Sally, Brown Eyed Girl and Jumping Jack Flash. So far the idea has been well-received.

We also do stuff for our own pleasure entirely, like Trains by Porcupine Tree or Mississippi Moon by King's X.

Or Hell Hole, by Spinal Tap. Enjoy:

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gene Simmons to Michael Jackson's Corpse: Guilty!

Gene Simmons when talking about KISS is rarely very surprising - he's always pimping the band, his TV show etc. He's got a limited tome of soundbites and he (and Paul Stanley) bang the drum loudly and frequently, staying on message throughout.

So when Gene steps outside of his usual talking points, sometimes it gets interesting as he minces no words and calls it as he sees it.

I stayed out of the whole Michael Jackson pedophile thing because the dude's life seemed like such a train wreck fantasy land that it made total sense that people would make up stories to get money out of him. Those suing him seemed as crazy as he was but then he sort of damned himself with his own words and actions during the trial, so who knows?

Anyway, Gene talked about it with Classic Rock Magazine. Check it out:

I knew Michael. I ran into him a few times. I met him the first time before he became the superstar, when he was sort of teenagey, when he was still a Jackson Five. But as time moved on, and no matter what my fond memories and fond images of Michael were, with one allegation of paedophilia after another and another and another... oh dear.

I knew some of the musicians he toured with, and specifically one who quit because of seeing boys coming out of the hotel rooms. And then you factor in that his travel agent was put on the stand and in court said that she was authorised to fly to Brazil and bring boys back to America for him...Well, you know, where there's smoke there's fire. There's no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt.

There's never been a single female of any age that I've ever known about who has ever made a claim that she has had a physical relationship with Michael, ever.In fact, while he was alive, I never heard about mature men ever making that claim either - and believe me, you can't keep it a secret. If you're a celebrity, somebody somewhere will say, 'Oh yeah, I shagged him'. The only sexual references ever made about Michael Jackson that were made by anyone, anywhere around the world, have always been made by kids, and specifically males usually ten to fourteen years of age; never females, that age or older, and never grown men.

I guess it doesn't matter now, and I'd personally hate to be convicted by hearsay, but I gotta admit he makes some good points.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rush May Return To Extended Pieces; Or, Neil Peart Sees Porcupine Tree

Not even sure what to title this post but either way it's exciting. Neil Peart was interviewed by the St Catharine's Standard and said Rush is currently starting to work on new material and the sky is the limit on what shape it may take.

Previously, it had been reported that Rush was going to possibly abandon the album format and just record and release stuff on the Web. This would allow them to do, say, a four-song project and just get it out the door.

But the article indicates that Neil saw Porcupine Tree recently and apparently saw the same set list I saw in Portland when they did their whole new CD The Incident all the way through. Neil said:

I went to see a band called Porcupine Tree not long ago. And I was talking with (singer-guitarist) Steven Wilson. They just put out a 55-minute piece. That's a finger to the whole iTunes shuffle thing, and he intended it as such. And I thought, 'Yeah, that's another way of rebelling against it -- by just saying no.' There's too much lost in giving up the integrity of an album -- what it represents to you as a musician, and as a human being, for that matter. So I like that approach. That's very possible for a band like us. So there are no limitations; we might go big or we might go small.

What is uber cool about this is that in past interviews Neil has always been the one to dump cold water on Rush doing long pieces of music again, saying they have already done that and he doesn't want to go backwards. So this could be good! Check out the whole interview here.

Paul Stanley's Son Kicks Ass

I am always amazed at the shit I see on the Web. Take the below video. It's a nine minute blues jam between Paul Stanley's son Evan and the whole of KISS, sans makeup at a soundcheck. Get past the first 50 seconds until he starts to play. The kid is good! I also like how when he motions for his dad to take a solo, Paul passes it over to Tommy Thayer! Gene looks bored, but after all it is a blues jam.

I wonder if we'll see Evan filling his dad's sizable shoes in KISS one day?

Also, GREAT fro.

PS - Pretty sure that is rock photographer Ross Halfin snapping shots...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

My Superbowl (Who) Prediction

The Who are scheduled to play some kind of medley at the Superbowl this afternoon. Here is my guess at which songs will be included:
--My Generation
--Pinball Wizard
--Won't Get Fooled Again
--Who Are You

I bet I get at least three of these four correct.


I got 3 out of 4 right. They did:

--Pinball Wizard
--Baba O'Rielly
--Who Are You
--The intro to See Me Feel Me
--Won't Get Fooled

I was not terribly impressed by the performance. It was cool to see them do this, but they jumped the shark a while ago. I have been very impressed with the current lineup in certain situations and not so much in others, like today. Daltry's scream was pretty epic though! What did you all think?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Them Crooked Vultures on SNL This Weekend

Would mark the first time I have watched SNL in a few years. Jumped the shark ages ago, but to see TCV on will be kick ass!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Neil Peart: Rush Makes Money From Touring, Not Records

Hey did'ja all read my post on the Grammys? No? That's because I didn't watch them and don't give a shit. I read later that Jeff Beck, AC/DC, Neil Young and Judas Priest all took something home but of course none of that was shown on camera. Fuck The Grammys. Besides the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame, the Grammys are the most irrelevant music organization and became so the second Jethro Dull (instead of Metallica) won a Grammy for best heavy metal album. Doooouuuh!

Anyway... posted some scans of a Guitar Center circular that had an interview with Neil Peart. It's a great read, and Neil has all sorts of interesting stuff to say as usual.

The part RushIsABand highlighted was one of the more interesting tidbits to me too. It's about how the music biz has changed over the last 35 years. Neil said:

I know that the mechanism that brought us up doesn't exist anymore," he says. "For instance, a perfect example of how reversed it is, in those days we made no money touring for a long time, even into the successful years. You counted on record sales and songwriting to make your living. And touring was a way to publicize that. Suddenly, in the last 10, 15 years all that turned around and our income is entirely from touring, and recording is an indulgence. In a band like Rush, no one's going to pay us to make a record. It's going to be an indulgence. Even Snakes & Arrows basically paid for itself and that's it, and if we want to make a living beyond that we have to go on the road and tour.

Touring is also the best way to establish relationships with your fans (not what you are thinking, but yeah that happens too). You can Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and email me all you want but experiencing the band melting my face off live is the best way to keep me loyal.

I remember I toured with a band called The Samples and they were signed to a big label and then were dropped. Usually that would have been the end and it would have been coffeehouses and tier three church basement gigs from there on out but they had toured so much, it didn't matter. They had grown a huge, loyal fan base. They stayed popular and actually wound up signing with another label even!

Of course they sucked so the inevitable happened and now you can see them in your local church coffeehouse. But you get the point - touring is the way to go.

Unless you have four kids and are 41, which is my excuse. Those days are over for me!

By the way, MY copy of Guitar Center's marketing rag had Tom and Chris Lord-Alge on the cover, whoever the hell they are.