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Posts from June 2014

World's Worst iPod: Sugar Loaf "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You"

The trials and tribulations of a band trying to get a record contract are related in the 1975 hit "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" by Sugar Loaf. This song, which was actually recorded two years earlier, made it up to #9 on the chart.

What's not to love about this song? A cameo by Wolfman Jack, the touch tones of the White House phone number...a Beatle reference?  This song has that and more.

One little tidbit for you--Sugar Loaf was originally called "Chocolate Hair," which they changed when they got a record deal. Good move!

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Four days gone by too fast

Bonnaroo is over and as I unpacked my bags, swept out the tent and caught up on my sleep I can only think about how incredible my time in Tennessee was.

Before I even start to attempt to convey my time there I have to thank Triple M for sending me there and for setting me up with guest passes. To have those extra perks that come with guest passes made Bonnaroo that much more special. What special perks? Well, there was the camping area that’s not even on the map and is filled with lots of shade and free showers. Plus, a guest hospitality tent set up with a big screen live streaming the headliners; special entrances into Centeroo, Which Stage and What Stage; bleachers at the What Stage; and a back entry so we didn’t have to wait in a long line of cars waiting to enter the camping area.

I did get to see my top four acts and was not disappointed. I had a great spot for Jake Bugg’s set, where the only time he spoke was to say ‘thank you.’ Otherwise, he just performed and I swear he looked a bit unsure of how to react to all the attention from the crowd. He didn’t need to make his hour about anything other than his music.

Jack White was mesmerizing, bringing music from the White Stripes through his solo work on Lazaretto to the audience. I used the bleacher seating to my advantage and didn’t leave until the last final notes of his encore. I think he ended up going two and a half hours and kept saying if we wanted him to keep going, he’d keep playing.

Avett Brothers were as great as I expected them to be. I did spend a bit of their slot making my way through the crowd of who-knows-how-many-thousands of people to find some friends but it was hard to not dance along with everyone else as I wove around the sea of swaying bodies.

But, the best performance I saw at Bonnaroo goes to Sir Elton John who was joined on stage by Ben Folds for one song and had Two Cellos perform with him. When I saw Two Cellos on stage I’m pretty sure I squealed just a bit. Things just fit together too well, from the visuals on the screen to the fact he didn’t spend much time talking to the audience to the Buzz Lightyear balloon launch during Rocket Man.  The only downside was that when Elton’s two hours were up, he didn’t play any encores. So after his performance, the few fireworks that were lit seemed awful lackluster.

Since Bonnaroo is filled with so much, I missed out on a lot of great music due to checking out other acts. I heard Arctic Monkeys put on a great show and that a group of people almost took out the Miller Stage after climbing on top of it. But, each day I saw four full sets from different bands that I’d never seen perform before or had even heard prior to the festival. Suggestions had me checking out St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Valerie June and the Glitch Mob.

What made Bonnaroo special was more than just the great music – it was the people I met. First, there were the camp neighbors. We had a couple who worked with a video production company that was interviewing artists (I offered to help with the Damon Albarn interview), the couple with Crazy Mountain Brewing Company who freely gave out six pack samplers, the pair who were also recipients of radio station contest, and the guys from California whose roommate worked with the company that produces the festival. They all had suggestions on what band to see and understood the pain of there never being any toilet paper in the port-a-potties. And those were just the people next to us. Others I saw in guest camping included musicians and the guys responsible for the Terminator and Point Break movie events. I can say there is nothing quite like walking past The Unlikely Candidates on your way to the shower.

Then there were the staff I saw every day as I walked to Centeroo. The security staff worked 12-hour shifts so there was plenty to time to chat. One kid who stood out was posted at the main venue entrance. He was super excited to report seeing Skrillex walking around backstage a few hours before his set. After standing in the sun for 12 hours and occasionally having to deal with angry people I would probably have wanted to call it a day. This kid instead headed to the main stage to watch shows before getting a couple hours of sleep. He and I exchanged a lot of high-fives, the unofficial greeting of Bonnaroo.

I also had the chance to spend time with some friends and get to know them a bit better.

I could probably go on about all the conversations I had with friendly strangers I encountered, but I won’t. The word friendly though barely covers what I encountered at Bonnaroo. Maybe it was something in the water, but people seemed to be a bit nicer to each other at the festival; they looked out for each other. If someone was sleeping under a tree, you merely walked around them and let them be. You could always start a conversation with anyone by asking what performance they enjoyed the most, who they were most looking forward to seeing, what their opinion of Kanye was, or if they could hear Skrillex’s performance from their campsite.

So as I adjust back to regular life where you don’t randomly high-five strangers or run into musicians hanging out near the artist hospitality area I can only think that this won’t be my last Bonnaroo. Because I too hope to one day where a shirt with #Bonnagrannies  printed on the front.


 
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World's Worst iPod: Rocky Burnette "Tierd of Toeing the Line"

Rocky Burnette was the son of legendary rockabilly artist Johnny Burnette and was part of a resurgence of rockabilly in 1980. This song made it up to #8 on the chart.

You may not agree with Kitty that this song is awesome, but you've got to attest that the cheesiness of this video elevates the song to epic status.

 
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Beatles albums return in glorious mono!

Good news for vinyl junkies and Beatle fans. The Beatles organization is finally re-releasing the British versions of the band's catalog in mono!

What's the big deal about that? In the 1960s, the British economy was a bit sluggish, so most people who bought albums bought the mono versions, since they were around a buck cheaper. And so to the Beatles, the mono mixes of the album were much more important. For example, when the Sgt. Pepper album was mixed, all four Beatles were in the studio and had a say in the finished product (along with George Martin of course). But when the stereo version was mixed, no Beatles were present and it was done much more quickly.

What's extra cool about this re-release is that the records were cut without using any digital technology using detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers, using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine  to play back the precious tapes, and the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.  The original album art and packing is also being recreated.

If you are a Beatle fan and have never heard the mono versions, you are in for a treat! There are so many differences on the Sgt. Pepper record alone. For example, the song "She's Leaving Home" is actually recorded at the correct speed!  The stereo version came out much slower than the band intended.

These mono LP's will come out September 9th on 180 gram vinyl, available individually or in a super fab box set (that will only set you back $374.98 and includes a free T-shirt!)  You can pre-order them now on the Beatles website.

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Listen to music, help kids!

Remember the '90s band Sister Hazel? Well they're going to be in Madison at the Majestic Theatre this Friday night (June 20th) for a benefit for Gio's Garden, along with opener Kings of Radio.

What's Gio's Garden? It's a great non-profit organization that helps families with special needs children up to age 6, helping them get access to needed services, and providing therapeutic respite care.

My buddy John Urban made this extremely cute video promoting the event. Be sure to watch until the end. It will definitely put a smile on your face.

Click here to buy tickets.

ROCK FOR RESPITE - THE RETURN OF BENICIO from John Urban on Vimeo.

 
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World's Worst iPod: Gunhill Road "Back When My Hair Was Short"

This song only made it up to #40 on the pop charts in 1973, but it's been seared into Kitty's brain ever since.

Alas, it was the best chart position ever attained by the trio called Gunhill Road.

It's one of the first examples of pop culture talking about hippie disillusionment. At least that we know of!

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Kitty just educated me on 'Thong Cape Scooter Man' ~Stevi

While discussing my anticipation of heading to Bonnaroo, Kitty casually mentioned one 'thong cape scooter man'. After laughing histarically, I looked him up on YouTube (if you haven't the visual of thong cape scooter man, you must), and laughed some more. I assured Kitty I would take many pictures and videos of comparable Bonnaroo goers and post them.

~ Stevi

 
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Who else read Gone Girl?

The book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was on bestsellers list for more than a year, and finally came out in paperback. I kept looking for it at used book stores, and finally got ahold of a copy last week. I read it in two days.

It tells the story of a man whose wife goes missing on their 5th anniversary. I can't tell you much more, I will give it away.

One thing I will tell you:  I have never before been so manipulated by a book. I was very excited to read this book because opinions on it were so far separated.

On the website goodreads, I gave it four stars, but did so reluctantly. The book completely sucked me in, but was driving me crazy at the same time. Who the heck is the protagonist here? I'm not accustomed to switching allegiances so many times in a book. This book was on the New York Times bestsellers list for over a year; I wonder how many people who bought it threw it across the room at some point!

What did you think of Gone Girl? I'd love to hear your opinion. In the meantime, check out this trailer of the movie version. It's coming out in October.
 
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It's a hater's ball

Well...they're spewing a lot of hate.  Do you agree?


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A Kinks comeback? This could be awesome

So it looks like the Kinks may be getting back together. Both Ray and Dave Davies say they've been talking about getting the band back together, recording a new album and going on tour, and that drummer Mick Avory would be part of it.

Now the Davies brothers are famous for not getting along, but it looks like they agree that they don't want to reunite if it's just an "oldies tour," and Ray says he'd like to do some writing with his brother again.

A few years ago, I had a chance to interview Ray on the phone, and he told me he'll never run out of song ideas, because most of his songs are about characters he meets--and he carries a notebook around to jot down ideas at all times.

No timeline was announced for this reunion, but hopefully Ray and Dave can keep the fisticuffs to a minimum long enough for it to happen.

And I'm keeping my fingers crossed about them playing some of the old hits on the reunion tour.

Here's the last comback hit for the Kinks. When "Come Dancing" charted, they hadn't had a hit for ten years.


 

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