Book Review

I’ve been asking a co-worker for several months to bring in a book to which she contributed several pictures.  The book is about growing up in the suburbs of Minneapolis in the 1980s.  Tuesday, I was lent that book.

It’s called Live…Suburbia by Anthony Pappalardo and Max Morton.  It features blog-style memories recounting growing up in the 80s and accompanied by pictures of those experiences.  From what I’ve read so far, there are accounts of video arcades, bike ramps, and of course rock ‘n’ roll.

The book clearly isn’t for everybody, but I’m happy that there’s a book out there like this that portrays life a little more extreme than my experiences.


Gold fish shoals are nibbling at my toes….fun fun fun in the sun sun sun

This song came up on my ipod today, which is why i was thinking about it.  For those of you who don’t know where this song comes from, shame on you.  Take some time and acquaint yourself with the wonders that is Red Dwarf.  It’s a comedy set in space and is all about the last human and fellow members onboard the same ship.  Oh, and in (basically) ten seasons of the show, there are no aliens.  There are only things which man created:  cyborgs, robots, life forms evolved from cats, genetically engineered life forms, holograms…

Behold, the theme song voted as the number two theme song of all time. Ahead of:  Batman, Mission Impossible, Gilligan’s Island, Sesame Street…

From way in the vaults

Everybody who listened to music in the mid-1990s knew the band Counting Crows. Mr. Jones, Anna Begins, Perfect Blue Buildings, Rain King, Sullivan Street. All good songs from a very good album
What several people know is that the lyrics on the front and back cover of August and Everything After is from a song of the same name, which conspicuously doesn’t appear on said record.
What fewer people know is that this song has been played live….twice… I have audio of the first time the song was performed live, in 2003. The crowd was rowdy, seeming to have a birthday celebration celebrated nearby the bootleg recorder. This video is from the other time the song was performed live.

i know i lose some of what little punk cred I have for liking this album, but damn the lyrics to many of the songs on this album are good.

Wanda Jackson

For those of you who may not know, Wanda Jackson was to female rockabilly in the 1950s what Elvis Presley was to male rockabilly during the same era.  She sang songs that some viewed as too risque for “kids these days”.  Oh, and she could play guitar as well.

Wanda Jackson was largely ignored by rock history, but she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, the same year as Metallica and Run DMC.  Her induction may have been overshadowed by those popular performers, but many believed it was about time.

In early 2010, only a few weeks before I first began using iTunes, Wanda Jackson released a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”.  Really, the cover was perfect for her rockabilly style and history.  The success of the single led to an album being released in early 2011, less than six months before Amy Winehouse was found dead of a drug overdose.

Here’s to a rock and roll survivor.

Attention, Attention

Bob and the Dangerous Brothers have booked their 10th anniversary show Friday May 23rd at the 2bit Saloon in Ballard 4818 17th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107.

I will move heaven and earth to be there, as I wrote some of the liner notes for their 10th Anniversary seven inch single “We Are The Bob” b/w “Ooooh, Bob (2014 whole band version)” and “Jos’ Song” (which some may recall was my 13th favorite song of 2013). The single, as I understand, will be available for purchase for the first time at this show. Jos’ Song, I’m told, will be played for the first time live at this show.

A few months ago, I was asked to MC the night, which I basically assume will be introducing the band and several of the songs. I’ve not yet decided whether I’ll do so, but I’m still doing my part to get word out.

Do you know where you’re going to/do you like the things that life is showing you?

I’ve been holding off on posting something about this because eventually I’m going to get the gumption to post 25 great cover songs.  In 1975, Dianna Ross released a song on the soundtrack to a movie called Mahogany.  The track was titled, creatively enough, Theme from Mahogany.

Jump to several years later…I heard about the lead singer of Green Day having had a side project concurrent with early Green Day releases and revived several times throughout the years.  I had recently bought their compilation album “Kick Over the Traces” and one song in particular stood out.  It was called Mahogany.  Turns out, they were covering Diana Ross.

Who knew?

Sublime covers Bob Marley

I remember Sublime’s first single “What I Got” from a summer job i had in 1996. They seemed to be a promising new band from the southern California scene. Before the end of that same summer, lead singer Bradley Nowell had died of a drug overdose, before their major label debut had even come out.

That album contained several good tracks, and clearly showed the promise of a band that still should have had more to say. Ten years later, the album was released as Bradley Nowell had originally intended, with Sublime’s cover of Trenchtown Rock as the leadoff track (it wasn’t on the album as originally released) and several of the tracks appearing in a different running order.

“One good thing about music/is when it hits you/you feel no pain”. Hit me with music, brutalize me with music…

This post is serving two purposes

Purpose One:

I was just sent a youtube video the other day.  Apparently, in 1985, the Cut the Crap album line up of The Clash did a series of acoustic shows at small clubs.  Now, as big a fan as I am of The Clash, I’ve never bothered to hear their last album, but I quite enjoyed the audio of a song called Straight to Hell from the acoustic video.

Purpose Two:

The evolution of a hook.  Straight to Hell

was used as the beat for M.I.A.’s Paper Planes

of which I posted a live Street Sweeper Social Club cover about a week ago.  Now, I love both of these songs.  Using the guitar line of a song about the collapse of western civilization in a song about lawlessness in Sri Lanka, the home country of M.I.A. is a genius move.  Undoubtedly, she heard Straight to Hell and bent the original meaning of the song to her own purposes.

Enter T.I., a rapper who released the at-times-excellent album Paper Trail, which features the song Swagger Like Us.

Swagger Like Us uses one line from Paper Planes “no one on the corner has swagger like us”, wraps it in further beats, brings in high powered guest verses from Jay Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.  Unfortunately, the song takes the meaning of the first two songs and turns it into a 5.5 minute song about how these rappers are better than other rappers, with the proof being that they can afford nice things and flaunt them.  They could have made a much better song if they’d instead rapped about making it in the business BECAUSE they knew they were good at what they did, not being in their position and simply having swagger and flaunting it…I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong…

I’d like to think My Chem are telling us all something here…

…but sadly I don’t think so. My Chemical Romance put out 4 albums and a collection of 5 seven inch singles as a band. Their first 3 albums are top notch pop punk. Their third, The Black Parade is one of my favorite albums of all time (oh please, re-release it on vinyl, come on guys). Their 4th had stellar moments, but was a let down after the previous album. The collection of 5 singles, in hind sight, was trying to get unreleased songs out before they announced that they’d broken up.

Allegedly, this track is the last song they ever recorded as a band. I’d buy the Greatest Hits on vinyl for $39.99 if I was convinced that their actual albums weren’t going to be re-released any time soon…