Thursday, April 24, 2008

Funcrunch live performance videos

At long last, they're here! Full video clips of all nine songs (ten if you count the opening medley as two songs) from my recent band workshop performance are now up on YouTube, thanks to Julie. Watch, listen, enjoy, complain, comment, relive the night, pretend you were there, etc.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Popdose Guide to Badfinger is here!

Head over to Popdose and check out my latest contribution there: an overview of the recorded output of Badfinger. They wrote some amazing songs, had a few hits with them, and met with a lot of tragedy in the end despite being the most successful artists the Beatles signed to their Apple label. Lots of archival video footage linked from YouTube to sift through... Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Reviews update, upcoming show, Myspace, etc.

Another week whirls away... in its wake, I have left behind:

A review of the second full-length disc by Seattle pop-rockers Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity at Bullz Eye.

A couple of entries in this month's edition of West Coast Performer Magazine, including a small part of their Noise Pop feature, and an online-only review (scroll to the bottom) of a February show at the Hemlock Tavern featuring the Speakers, Correatown, and Chris Robley and the Fear of Heights (pictured above, photo by April Chick).

And speaking of Chris Robley, he will be appearing at Cafe du Nord next Sunday, April 20, with fellow Portland-ites Norfolk & Western, along with openers Weinland. If you haven't seen him yet, this will be a nice, intimate intro.

And in the spirit of shedding light on the absurd, since all but one of the artist links above are Myspace links, I'd like to point you in the direction of Lila Nelson's side-splitting song about Myspace, called "I Accept Everybody," which you can hear... on her Myspace page, of course. Lila is from Aracta, and I heard her perform this song at her early set at Portland's Mississippi Studios back in February, prior to Rachel Taylor Brown's headlining trio set that evening...

- - -

Finally got my hands on a copy of The Last Waltz on DVD. After hearing one of my coworkers talk it up fairly consistently since I've known him, and then recently finding out that he was actually at the '76 concert in question, I had to check it out. Plus I had seen Scorsese's other big concert film, Shine A Light, last week, so it was due to happen. My appreciation for The Band has been upped since watching it. It's very easy to forget, without actually seeing them, that they were all pretty much multi-instrumentalists and singers. I found myself wishing that they were the full-time backing band for all of the artists who appeared at the show. Of course they did their time with Dylan, but would that they had longer associations with Van Morrison, Neil Young and Emmylou Harris. Neil Diamond, eh, he could have toned himself down a bit. I like him much better now as an old vet working with Rick Rubin and the Heartbreakers. But if The Band were all alive and active today, they would have been the ideal choice for Diamond's comeback records.

Now at some point I need to finish watching Alejandro Jodorowsky's Fando & Lis. WOW. I don't know how I'm going to distill that one into a short synopsis, but I will try once I've absorbed it all...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Anyone have a spare $1,300?

I used to be a ravenous record collector, but my buying has slowed to the rate of what one might call that of a "normal person," i.e. just once in a while. It's not for lack of interest, mind you. It's more a matter of time and storage space. And yes, money.

I have a handful of items I still look for regularly, and have continued searching for enough years that I don't remember when I started. There's the stock copy of Queen's second U.S. single, "Liar" b/w "Doin' Alright" on Elektra. There's the final U.S. edition of Paul McCartney's Tug Of War LP, pressed with the standard stock red-and-gold Columbia labels, as opposed to the custom design labels on the original (I do have a Canadian pressing to hold me over, but I will not rest until I have my hands on a U.S. copy). And then there's the stock copy of the first Genesis single on Atco, and last with Peter Gabriel: "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" b/w "Counting Out Time." Like the "Liar" 45, I do have a white label promo of this last one, with "The Lamb" on both sides (one side stereo, one side mono). I probably paid no more than $15 for it. Sounds like a lot for a 45rpm record, huh?

Well, tonight I performed one of my infrequent eBay searches for these three items, the three remaining records that I care that much about to search for. Lo and behold, I FINALLY found a stock copy of the 45 of "The Lamb"!

There's just one small problem: I'm not exactly thrilled with the price it's commanding.

As of 11:36 PM Pacific Time, this little styrene 7" record, offered for auction by U.K. seller "stairofsirius" on eBay, has a high bid of GBP 625.00.

In U.S. dollars, that's $1,246.69.

And I thought $600 for "Liar" was outrageous!

Granted, this record does have a version of "Counting Out Time" on the b-side with a clean intro (it segues from the previous song on the LP) that has not been issued on CD, but really... $1,246.69? That's $246.69 more than the price of the second state Beatles Yesterday And Today "butch cover" LP, one of the most valuable and sought-after Beatles collectible LPs, currently for sale at Amoeba Records in San Francisco.

(Yes, I know I just pictured a first-state butcher cover, but really, who wants to look at what was pasted *over* the bloody slabs of meat?)

So, needless to say, I'm going to pass on this auction. That is, of course, unless someone wants to gift me with $1,300.00 before the auction closes. Ha!

Funcrunch in review

Though seeing beyond the bright lights was difficult, we did hear shouts of approval on Monday night when Julie, Ziggy, Mike A., Rex, Steve and I took the stage at Cafe du Nord as 'Funcrunch.'

This was the fifth band wokshop in which I have participated through the Blue Bear School of Music, not counting the one class I took in 2005 where we learned Beatles songs on acoustic guitar, and performed them on stage as a group without the aid of a drummer.

It certainly was what I would call a special group: excepting Steve, all of us knew each other already or at least had met each other enough times to know we were cool with each other. Ziggy was quite adept at switching between a bunch of different keyboard sounds. Mike A. and I locked into a good groove -- I had played guitar with him before, and as I suspected, playing bass with him was a breeze and a lot of fun. Best of all, Rex, Julie and Steve sang in harmony together. I had wanted to play in a band workshop with three-part vocal harmonies, and finally got my wish. I also added some harmony to one song with Rex, since the bass line was simple enough that I could divide my attention without losing track of what my fingers were doing.

As with my last couple of performances, the results were filmed. Video should be available within a few weeks.

If only we could do this every day!

Our set list:

Medley: Money For Nothing/Walk Of Life [Dire Straits]
Doesn't Remind Me [Audioslave]
You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As Your Told) [The White Stripes]
Edge Of The Ocean [Ivy]
Owner Of A Lonely Heart [Yes]
Working On My Soul [original song by Rex]
To The Tender (Beauty Marks/Blisters) [Mind Science Of The Mind]
I Don't Believe You [Bob Dylan]
Ramble On [Led Zeppelin]

Photos from the evening:

Photo by Eric Zuckerman

Photo by Eric Zuckerman

Photo by Eric Zuckerman

Photo by Julie Bernstein

Photo by Eric Zuckerman

Photo by Eric Zuckerman

Photo by Julie Bernstein