Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley

What a huge loss today. He really did put the rock in rock and roll.

Bo Diddley December 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008

It is with great sadness that I learned that rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley passed on this morning. He was not only one of the inventors of rock and roll, but a legend that never outgrew his fans. I'm proud to have met him and shaken his hand.

I trolled him in much more depth here.

Rest in peace, Bo. You were awesome, you were necessary, and you will indeed be sorely missed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Trolling the Underground: Astronomy Domine

I recently found this online in DVD format, and transferred it to .avi just for you. Here is Pink Floyd's very first television appearance, recorded on May 14, 1967 for the Look of the Week program. Evidently, they also did Pow R Toc H and an interview but this was captured during a re-broadcast and those two parts didn't make the cut. The transfer seems to have heightened the contrast in the picture a little - I'll have to work on that for future posts.

This is the original Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett on guitar and vocals. They play the song much like they later would on the Piper at the Gates of Dawn album. This means it's a little mellower and trippier than it would become with David Gilmour ripping into the solo the way he did.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The TtU Lyrics Quiz!!!!

As Miz UV has amply demonstrated, you all like these lyrics quizzes! Hers are always very popular, but for me, frustrating. This is not only because I never see them until they're mostly answered, but also because she and I have different tastes in music, and all my encyclopedic knowledge does me not one damn bit of good. So for this one, it doesn't matter what music you normally listen to, because for all of these questions, I've already given you the answers.

You see, all of these lyrics came from songs I've posted on Trolling the Underground. All of you can access those (I did not use any songs posted on the Wordpress blog, although I think there was just one. All of these songs came from here or my main blog.) And no matter your tastes, I'm sure you've been downloading them all and giving them a close listen.


Here they are:

1 - They bend the facts to fit with their new stories of why we have to send our men to war.

"Send back my dream test baby, she's my main feature."

3- Baby, let me check your valves, fix your overdrive. (Trampled Underfoot, Led Zeppelin, Fez)

4- Distant bells, new mown grass smells so sweet. (Fat Old Sun, Pink Floyd, Jodie K.)

We asked you what you'd seen. You said you didn't care.

She always liked to sing along. She's always handy with a song. (Dixie Chicken, Little Feat, Annie)

7- I'm one of nature's children. (....., Beatles, Fez)

8- When the fish scent fill the air, there'll be snuff juice everywhere. (Wang Dang Doodle, I posted the Ratdog version, Annie)

9- I will now receive my comfort, conjured by the magic power of wine.

10- And if Warhol's a genius, what am I? A speck of lint on the penis of an alien.

You're trippin' on a shoe lace - racin' to each new place...

But they've turned the nature that I worshiped in from a temple to a robbers den.

13-Give me your lips for just a moment and my imagination will make that moment live. ( A Kiss to Build a Dream On, my post was Louis Armstrong, Jodie K)

14- I talk on the telephone for hours with a pound and a half of cream upon my face! (I Enjoy Being a Girl, Tiny Tim, Miz UV)

15- If silence was golden, you couldn't raise a dime.

16- Eyes are moving but there's no life showing.

17- We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy like the hippies out in San Francisco do. (Okie from Muskogee, I posted a Grateful Dead/Beach Boys version, Annie)

18 - They put a jug beside him and a barrel for his stone.

There lies a land I once lived in and she's waiting there for me. (Question, Moody Blues, Miz UV)

The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street. (Synchronicity II, The Police, Fez)


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn't Roll Stones

The very picture of health, isn't he?

If you think that Natalie Cole was out of line in her criticism of Amy Winehouse, just check this out.

She's being panned by none other than Keith Richards (see his blog here) and Mick Jagger. Here's the stupidest part:

"When we were experimenting with drugs, little was known about the effects," Jagger said. "In our time there were no rehab centers like today. Anyway, I did not know about them."

Umm, sorry, mooselips. Acid may have been new in the 1960s, but cocaine and heroin were both old hat, and the dangers of both were well known. VERY well known. No excuses for you.

I don't know what's up Richards' ass. He's known for just spouting gibberish, so maybe it's that. Maybe he needs all of his blood replaced again. It certainly is a hypocritical stance for him, considering that it's been less than a year since he made that "joke" about snorting his dad's ashes, a "joke" that no one in the world had a moment's problem with believing. I mean, given his history, why would such a thing be hard to believe?

Jagger's a little easier to figure out. He has to put on this more conservative front now that he's got that entirely meaningless "Sir" in front of his name. I guess we have to expect a bit of hypocrisy from the aristocracy. His claim that they didn't know the dangers is self-serving, however. How could someone be so inspired by the blues without knowing what happened to the old cats that supposedly inspired him?

Now, it would be easy for me to get on my own high horse and say that this will change my buying decisions and I wouldn't listen to the Stones anymore, but what would be the point? I'm not ANYWAY. These guys have been dried-out husks for at least 15 years now. Sheer has-beens. Bill Wyman knew what he was doing when he made the Steel Wheels tour his last. He also knew what he was doing when he kept his mouth shut for all the years before that.

As for Mick and Keith, I have some advice for them, too. Look up Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry. They can teach you how to grow old with grace, and how to hold on to your place in rock history without making stupid, obnoxious, hypocritical asses of yourselves.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Defined A Decade?

Being a music geek means being comfortable with thinking up themes like "The Bands That Defined A Decade." I'm talking rock bands here. This is something I've been toying with for quite some time, and I'm always tweaking. For now, I'm settled on these picks.

The 50's - I'd love to just say Elvis and get it over with, but he's not a band, even though he was almost as big as one by the time he died. No, I'd have to pick Buddy Holly & The Crickets as the rock and roll band that defined 50's. No, they weren't first on the scene, but Buddy's sound as well as his songwriting took rock and roll to the next level.

The 60's - The Beatles - These guys were the 60's, hands down.

The 70's - Led Zeppelin - Possibly the rockingest band that has ever existed. Their legendary excesses even helped spawn the punk movement.

The 80's - Here's where it gets a little tougher to pick, but I have to go with U2.

The 90's - Another tough decade to wade through. I want to say Pearl Jam, but they only rode in on the coattails of Nirvana. Nirvana brought grunge front and center, and every band tried to be them.

The 00's - I cannot even pick a band who might define the first 8 years of this century. My first inclination is to pick The White Stripes, though, since their garage rock revival has spawned scores of imitators, and hoards of rock snobs continue to cry out, "If it ain't indie, its' shit."

Thoughts?? Contributions?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Trolling the Underground: The Night I Met XTC

Ah, yes. I remember it as if it were only 18 and a half years ago.

It was May, 22, 1989, a Monday, and I was off work that evening. My friend Mike called to see what I was doing, and if I'd heard that XTC was going to do a live show at WXRT radio studios that night. I was just sitting around with a fellow who had been known at various times as Lima Bean, Big Bird, and Secord, and no, I hadn't heard.

Feel like going to see if we can meet them, asked Mike? Mike was an artist - a painter, and a damn good one, which of course meant that he was entirely unsuited to anything else resembling work. He had time on his hands, was good for finding goofy shit to do, and always needed a ride. Well, we had nothing to do that evening, and stalking rock stars seemed novel enough for a lark. Why not?

I'd been a fan for about six years at that point, having learned of XTC when I left the rural clime of my childhood and went to college. Bloomington, Il. wasn't exactly what anyone would call urban, but being in school exposed me to people from all over the state, including Chicago and St. Louis, so I heard a lot of new things. Our campus radio station, WESN, had a "new releases" format, and I became acquainted with XTC's freshly pressed Mummer album through my weekly three-hour show. I didn't like it, and it's still one of my least favorites.

I heard much better stuff at parties, though. Drums and Wires, Black Sea, and English Settlement were all getting a lot of play on campus, and that stuff was easy to love. Rough, loud, and angry, it was also thoughtful and clever, with a sly joke thrown in for those listening carefully. With their attitude and their skill, they were one of very few bands that could bring the punk rockers and I to the same place.

I'd never had a chance to see them, however, because they stopped touring entirely due to frontman Andy Partridge's near crippling stage fright a year prior. While they continued to produce albums over the years, even kicking up quite a stir when their song Dear God hit the radio, they never set foot on a stage.

That didn't go too well with their record label, as it didn't help increase sales. They were in danger of getting shelved when they had a bit of a hit with their Oranges and Lemons album, and the single King for a Day. The personnel changes and the maturation of the band members had smoothed over the band's rough edge, and their newer, more harmonic approach was getting radio attention. They had to capitalize on that momentum while they had it, so a compromise was reached. In lieu of a traditional tour, they did a tour of radio stations in America's major cities, and on MTV, where they could do interviews and play "live" without all the live show rigmarole, and without an audience. They could get some media exposure without going crazy.

We looked up WXRT in the phone book for the address, and took off. I was cursing myself for having lent my Black Sea CD to an out-of-town friend, as it was the only one I had (in 1989 my CD collection was barely beginning). I brought along my LP of Black Sea, instead.

The station was easy enough to find, and we were not at all surprised to find that about 20 or 30 others had the same idea. It was a mellow crowd, though, and everyone just sat around and listened to the the radio and waited. By the time the show started, we had a little XTChead community going, and we listened to it all as the sun set. Then, after the show, we just waited.

And waited.

Well, they must not have minded, because rather than call the police to chase us away, they came out to greet us. Andy's legendary shyness had made us wonder quite a bit. When they came out the side door, there was a brief, awkward moment when he saw us all and took in the panorama of the parking lot, but his face warmed up and he immediately became approachable.

The others, Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory, were quietly polite and signed all the autographs that were requested, but Andy surprised us. He wasn't just tolerant. He was downright gregarious, talking and joking with fans as if it were his heart's desire, although we were pretty sure it wasn't. As he was getting the lion's share of the attention, the others were able to slip away from the crowd - after signing the inner sleeve of my LP, of course. As I got closer to Andy, they started coming around and dropping hints at him that the car was waiting, and to our surprise he blew them off rather than begging off from us. As the girl in front of me got his autograph, Colin came by and made another request that Andy break away, in a rather cryptic way so as not to offend us. Andy looked at us and said something very sarcastically spy like, as if it were a code, which got the crowd laughing at Colin's expense. He went away and didn't bug Andy again.

I remember asking him what comics he'd enjoyed the most as he signed my record jacket. I'd read that Andy was a comic book fan (and several of his song titles indicated so) and I was in the prime of my collecting days at the time. He expressed a strong fondness for the works of classic artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko (the guys who helped put the Fantastic Four and Spiderman, among others, on the map) and then looked at me and said "Adam Strange" in the same way that someone my age might look at me and say "Speed Racer." And then he was on to someone else.

That was my first experience with meeting someone I listen to, and I've been lucky enough to repeat it several times with folks like Adrian Belew, Bo Diddley, Marcia Ball, Charlie Musselwhite, Stanley Jordan, and Mose Allison.

These recordings are fairly easy to find, and seem to make the rounds on the bit torrent sites. They all sound great since they were either recorded from the FM broadcasts or taken from the radio station's tapes. I haven't tried to get them all, but I do have a couple from Boston and the one from WXRT. They all include the interviews and acoustic versions of some of their more popular songs. In fact, XTC being a rather open minded band, there is a website called XTC4U that offers many choice live shows for free download. You don't need to know BT for these, either, they're just point and click downloads. There are some real gems there. Go get you some!

Now, to the music. You can get the acoustic GreatFire/Dear God/Big Day medley at XTC4U, so I won't post that, nor will I post any of the interview. While it was all pretty interesting, and the band members were all in a jovial, wisecracking mood, we're about the music here at TtU. So I'll share two musical cuts.

The first is the other medley they did - Senses Working Overtime/Grass/Love on a Farmboy's Wages. The acoustic guitar and lack of thundering drums gives Senses an entirely different sound, and that difference extends to the second track I'll share tonight as well. That track is the show's finale. It starts with them coming back from a record, chatting for a moment, playing an acoustic version of The Mayor of Simpleton (one of their best "pop" tunes, IMO), and saying goodbye.

While Dave Gregory has since then bid the others adieu, Andy and Colin are still together and have stated plans to continue recording. Here's to more music from, and more success to, XTC.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Music Hath Charms........

Found here at Froggy's.

At last, the taser industry has given us what we've been screaming for - the combination Taser and MP3 player! Never again feel the embarrassment of trying to disable your opponent with an accidentally-grabbed iPod! Now you can listen to your favorite tunes and disrupt central nervous systems with only one gadget!

Of course, this begs the question...... What would be the MOST appropriate song to listen to while stunning someone into a jelly-like state?

For me, Shock to the System by Yes was the first song to jump to mind, followed very quickly by Peter Gabriel's Shock the Monkey. Or maybe......

  1. Big Electric Cat - Adrian Belew?
  2. Electric Avenue - Eddie Grant?
  3. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment - The Ramones?
  4. Shock & Awe - CSNY
  5. Electric Guitar - Talking Heads?
  6. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) - Jimi Hendrix?

What tune would YOU like to groove to while disarming your attacker?