So I was making a song mix for a friend of mine, all stuff from the nineties. I would say “mix tape,” which is obsolete, but I was actually making a CD, which is also obsolete. And then Chris Cornell died.

I hadn’t planned to put any Soundgarden on the mix – I sold my only Soungarden album, Superunknown, for grocery money back during the Lean Times of 2008 – 2013. Nevertheless, that’s a classic album and I love the way they play together.

They played really well together. I never made the effort to see them; I think I missed something pretty special. This is an ongoing problem for me. I keep not seeing bands, and then someone dies and that’s it. Rule of thumb – if you like a band’s album, go see them live!

Audioslave, too. Another really good bunch of players. We lost a terrific musician.

My thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.

An album that did make the mix (and also survived the Lean Times, the Great Purge, the Hurricane, and all sorts of recession-related adventures) is Lucious Jackson’s Natural Ingredients.

I clearly liked the album enough to hang on to it, but don’t remember liking it as much as I do now. I may have been burned out on music a little at the time. I used to work in radio, and listened to as much new music as I could. But these days I’m not inundated with music anymore. I have a chance to step back a little, and revisit albums that I heard but maybe didn’t listen to.


The nineties was when you started seeing women in bands who weren’t just lead singers. Nothing against lead singers – I have been one frequently. But we also play guitar and bass and drums, and produce albums and haul gear.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of very silly conversations with beered-up guys about how I can possibly manage to play the bass without a penis. So I love that now it’s not even an issue.

 

 

Image courtesy of pexels.com

Advertisements

5/12/17: There’s Something Happening Here

I found out about this from Ken Michaels’s social media feed. Ken hosts the Beatles radio show “Every Little Thing,” which you should check out ASAP.

Eric Burdon of the Animals has released a cover of the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth.” Very appropriate, given the political crisis here in the U.S.

 

First of all, the drums. I love them. They’re just really interesting, and a nice sound.

And I like where Eric’s voice has gone. At 72, it’s only become more interesting. Of course, it’s always been unique. There’s a sternness to it, but he’s a good blues singer, too. He’s always kind of sounded like an old man. Here he is in 1965.

 
In 1970, Eric sat in with War for “Spill the Wine.” He is having so much fun in this video. I’m not sure it’s the original recording, but this is one of those songs where I think it really doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s a great performance, which it is.

 

And here’s the original “For What It’s Worth,” released in 1966 during a different time of political crisis. There are a lot of wonderful protest songs out there, but I wish there didn’t have to be any.

5/6/17: Rock & roll for grownups

There’s a lot of Who music going around the house these days. One of us is making a mix for a friend, and I just bought a Pete Townshend greatest hits album.

I’ve heard that girls supposedly don’t like the Who. I’ve also heard that about Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull, two bands I love, but in my case it was kind of true with the Who.

I always liked their singles, and I saw and loved both “Quadrophenia” and “Tommy.” But that thing that makes you really connect with an artist’s music was just missing from my relationship with the band.

Things are changing now that I’m old and pruny. I’ve grown to appreciate Ringo Starr’s drumming and Bill Wyman’s bass playing, and I’m listening to lots of Pete Townshend. There’s that emotional connection now, and I keep going back to his music.

So you know what’s going to happen now. I’m going to be hitting all the Who albums, and inflicting them on you. But that’s a great kind of infliction. Like getting hit in the face with a bag full of awesome.

In the meantime, here’s Pete. I love the lyrics – they’re great in his songs – and also the chord choices. Not too elaborate, but sophisticated.

This is a duet with Ronnie Lane (of the Small Faces and also the regular Faces).

 

And here’s “Rough Boys,” because it’s fun.

 

 

 
Image by Annie Mole. License: Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

 

5/1/17: Monday Funday Dance Party

It’s going to be one of those weeks; I can just feel it. The week when you do the thing you need to do.

This is the week when you’ll make that call, find that great job, finish the project and make it awesome. This is the week when you ask out that cute co-worker, sign up for skydiving lessons, or start a rock band (or all three). This is the week when you grab the world by the tater and twist until it does what you want.

With that in mind, let’s listen to some nineties Japanese electronica. Because it is AWESOME.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Elizabeth Walsh

4/26/17: The happiest man on earth

There’s a game going around Facebook today where you list nine bands you saw and one you didn’t. Your friends have to guess which band you didn’t see. Music nerd that I am, I’m having a blast with this (incidentally, the answer to mine is “Queens of the Stone Age”).

Anyway, this leading to that, I started thinking about Iron Butterfly, a band I had the unlikely opportunity to see. As a Gen X-er, I’m too young to have seen them in their late 60’s/early 70’s heyday, but in 1988 they did a reunion show at Atlantic Records’s 40th anniversary celebration.

I guess as a warmup show, they played at the Chance in Poughkeepsie. And I went with some friends from college and we had a great time.

The Cult Brothers, which was two members of Blue Oyster Cult and two other guys, opened up the show. Their drummer was not a member of BOC, and looked like he was about 20. And while they were onstage, that guy was the happiest man on the planet. He was having a blast. He was twirling his sticks and throwing them up in the air and catching them, and he was playing with BLUE! OYSTER! CULT!!! it made me happy just to watch him being happy.

I hope that guy had a long happy career in music, and I’m dedicating these two songs to him.

 

 

Image courtesy of the British Library.

4/23/17: Rain and Sun and Led Zeppelin IV

Up here in the Northeast, April can feel like November. But not as bad.

The difference is what’s coming next. Flowers are already out now, and the trees are blooming. Springtime and sunshine and all that happy stuff are on their way, and nothing can stop it. No even a gloomy cold thundercloud day.

We just had one of those days; rainy and cold and grey and Novembery. So I made tuna casserole with my super-secret ingredient* and put on Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. And I heard this, the second movement of the first Brandenburg (as opposed to the first movement of the second )

 

And I thought, what a great piece of music for a gloomy cold rainy night in any month.

 

April being what it is, the next morning was sunny and warm and perfect. And this came on my iPod Shuffle and I thought, what a great piece of music for a perfect spring day:

The universe is providing me with a soundtrack.

 

 
*mustard

 

Image by Elizabeth Walsh (copyright 2013)

4/14/17: Dean Drummond

I’m a day late, but then again I usually am. Dean Drummond died four years ago, on April 13, 2013, and I will not forgive him for it.

Dean was a fantastic composer, who worked with microtonal music. His ensemble, Newband, used the Harry Partch Instrumentarium to create wild, complex music. He invented the zoomoozophone.

I studied with Dean while I was working towards my masters degree at Montclair State University. He was a really tough teacher, with a very direct approach to both teaching and interacting with his students. He pushed me really hard in a good way – thanks to him, I can articulate why I write what I do, which helps me to improve my work.

I wrote a few pieces using the Partch Instrumentarium, and he made me conduct them. I hate conducting. But there you go. That’s Dean.

The years 2008 – 2012 were tough ones for me, and I really only communicated with Dean occasionally, when I wanted to use the Instrumentarium. Then in 2013, I saw the post on Facebook. He died. Way too young, from an awful cancer.

The Partch Instrumentarium continues to be in good hands, and is now located at the University of Washington. I assume Dean is now working on ever more complex and beautiful music over on the Other Side.

Here’s one of his works, “Congressional Record” (using actual government records for vocal text):

 

And here’s one that I wrote. I never thought I could take composing in this direction, and am so grateful for the opportunity to do so. RIP Dean; the world is less fun without you.

4/10/17: Monday Funday Dance Party

My favorite things about this song? Inez Foxx’s fabulous voice, first of all. It’s like honey, but is so powerful. And she’s got great vocal control.

 

The rhythm track is great, too. There’s so much going on, you just get pulled into the music. And the next thing you know, you’re dancing on top of your desk while you sing into a fake mic made out of a paper towel holder. Then you have to have a meeting with your boss, but it all turns out okay because he also loves the Foxx siblings, and he has his own fake mic/paper towel holder.

Sometimes, it all works out.

April 4, 2017: Kansanthrax

It’s another one of those cold, gloomy April days when you know spring will never come. Everything’s dank and grey and brown and ick.

On days like this, the best thing to do is make yourself a nice cup of tea or vodka and crank up the Anthrax:

You can tell they love that song; I found it via the Aquarian’s interview with Charlie Benante.

Ebeth fun fact (sort of): I love to compare and analyze different versions of songs. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of U.S. folk music and the different ways it’s been interpreted over the years, but I’m always interested in how one band interprets the work of another.

Like “Carry On My Wayward Son” – Anthrax’s version is very respectful, and it really brings out just how well the guys play.

There’s another cover song they do that I love: Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time.”

I remember when I heard this for the first time. It was at an Anthrax show at Roseland. I didn’t know they covered it, and it was like getting slapped in the face with a wet sock full of awesomeness.

Roseland is a great place to see bands, by the way. Although I’ve got to say I think the shape of the room could bring out the bass too much in a live band. And I say that as a bass player.

But you know what? Sometimes too much bass is not nearly enough. I also saw White Zombie play at Roseland, and there was so much bass that night. Soooo much bass. And it was perfect.

 

 

 

 

Image: Screen Capture from Anthrax’s “Got the Time” video