Monday, September 15, 2008

R.I.P. Richard Wright, Pink Floyd keyboardist

I had no idea he was battling cancer. He sounded great on David Gilmour's solo tour a couple years back. Here's the story from the Associated Press:

Pink Floyd member Richard Wright dies age 65

By MEERA SELVA, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock group Pink Floyd, died Monday. He was 65.

Pink Floyd's spokesman Doug Wright, who is not related to the artist, said Wright died after a battle with cancer at his home in Britain. He says the band member's family did not want to give more details about his death.

Wright met Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason in college and joined their early band, Sigma 6. Along with the late Syd Barrett, the four formed Pink Floyd in 1965.

The group's jazz-infused rock and drug-laced multimedia "happenings" made them darlings of the London psychedelic scene, and their 1967 album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," was a hit.

In the early days of Pink Floyd, Wright, along with Barrett, was seen as the group's dominant musical force. The London-born musician and son of a biochemist wrote songs and sang.

The band released a series of commercially and critically successful albums including 1973's "Dark Side of the Moon," which has sold more than 40 million copies. Wright wrote "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "Us And Them" for that album, and later worked on the group's epic compositions such as "Atom Heart Mother," "Echoes" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

But tensions grew between Waters, Wright and fellow band member David Gilmour. The tensions came to a head during the making of "The Wall" when Waters insisted Wright be fired. As a result, Wright was relegated to the status of session musician on the tour of "The Wall," and did not perform on Pink Floyd's 1983 album "The Final Cut."

Wright formed a new band Zee with Dave Harris, from the band Fashion, and released one album, "Identity," with Atlantic Records.

Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985 and Wright began recording with Mason and Gilmour again, releasing the albums "The Division Bell" and "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" as Pink Floyd. Wright also released the solo albums "Wet Dream" (1978) and "Broken China" (1996).

In July 2005, Wright, Waters, Mason and Gilmour reunited to perform at the "Live 8" charity concert in London — the first time in 25 years they had been onstage together.

Wright also worked on Gilmour's solo projects, most recently playing on the 2006 album "On An Island" and the accompanying world tour.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"You're a very pretty girl"

MySpace has this 'Artist on Artist' video interview series going on, of which I just took notice today when I saw Brian Wilson's mug on their site. Check the video below - he's interviewed by the young actress and indie artist Zooey Deschanel, who is clearly star-struck. If you remember Chris Farley's SNL sketch with Paul McCartney back in the day, you know what I'm talking about. It's totally awkward to watch, and funny at the same time. If this interview had taken place ten years ago, I could easily see Brian giving one-word answers to all of these questions (i.e. 'yes' and 'no'). But he's come a long way since he finally got SMiLE finished and released, and he takes it all in stride and appears to be enjoying himself. Best part is the compliment he pays Zooey at the end.

Artist on Artist: Brian Wilson & Zooey Deschanel

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Held hostage by wax

Two greatest things I've acquired this year: my new laptop, and candles. Seriously. I have typically only used candles for two purposes in the past. I've used them for parties, which was just great back when I had a bigger apartment. But I don't have parties at my own place anymore. I could, but I like wide open spaces (not the Dixie Chicks album). So since then I've used them only for romantic mood lighting. Which again, is great, love it. When I'm feeling it. But now? I'm using 'em to ease me out of day-job mode and into after-hours writing mode. There's just something about spinning a record with a flickering flame nearby that helps get the focus back on finishing a review for one of my freelance gigs. I'm constantly telling people "I'm busy" as it is, but I feel far less guilty about it now since I simply can't wait to get home, quickly scarf down my dinner, fire up the laptop and light up a candle. It's like a Beavis and Butthead punchline come true: "if I could [insert euphemism here], I'd never leave the house!" Danger! Danger!!