Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

30Jun/0915

Cage Match: The Boss vs. The Purple One

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I had a Cage Match picked out for today, and while you're waiting for me to tell you what it is, I will quickly reply to let you know that I will hold on to that info, and you'll find out more on another Tuesday.

Instead, Cage Match VP of operations Michael suggested a battle for this week with a car theme.

In this corner, we've got our good friend "The Boss," better known to all of you rookies as Bruce Springsteen.

Now, Bruce and I just hung out a couple of weeks ago at Bonnaroo, and during all of the time that we spent together, I can't believe that he didn't suggest this Cage Match track that we're about to talk about. It just didn't come up. We were talking about a few subjects, including the second volume of Tracks, and also the third and currently unreleased album in the previously unknown Human Touch/Lucky Town/Smell This trilogy, as recorded in the early 90s by Bruce and the "other band."

Similar to George Lucas, Bruce revealed to me his plans to record "pre-quels" to those three albums, set for release in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The albums will be recorded simultaneously, and a deluxe edition of Smell This with bonus tracks and also a bonus DVD on the making of the album will be released in early 2010 prior to the release of the prequel albums.

When Bruce figured out that I was backstage actually trying to perforate Patti's eardrum, he got a little bit mad, and I figured it was probably best to pick up our conversation on another day. But man, what an amazing weekend. I'm bummed that my blogging Bonnaroo comrade Brian missed that moment.

Anyway, one of the early musical quests for me as a music fan, had me hunting for a CD copy of the elusive Springsteen B-side "Pink Cadillac," which is most certainly one of the most bad ass and well known Springsteen songs to NEVER be a single.

Well, that's not completely true.

After beginning life as a B-side to Springsteen's smash single "Dancing In The Dark" in 1984, the track would be reborn four years later on the Billboard charts, but not quite in the way that you're expecting.

Soulstress Natalie Cole, in the midst of a comeback swing, landed a Top 5 smash with her own version of "Pink Cadillac" in 1988. So in the end, Springsteen wins because he still got paid, right?

We'll come back to Natalie with a future Cage Match, I promise you - we're not done with her, not by a long shot.

Although she's not returning my phone calls, so I'm pretty sure she is done with me. Oh well.

Back to Springsteen - here's another nugget for you all - Apparently AOL banned quotation of the lyrics in a Springsteen discussion group in 2001, because they felt the lyrics were too suggestive. If you were one of the affected in this situation, well that is your own fault for still being an AOL user in 2001. Come over to my house, and I'll show you what the real internet looks like, and how much faster it is.

I finally found my CD copy of "Pink Cadillac" via a 3-inch CD single import issued in Holland for "Spare Parts." And then my man Bruce put it out on Tracks. This musical smack in the face that came shortly after the taste of victory has happened time and time again since that purchase. It's cool. You get numb to the feeling as a professional music fan after a while. That's why we're cool with buying multiple versions of the same album over and over again.

Actually, now that I think about it, being a Star Wars fan might be part of what helps me out, personally.

Now, in the other corner, we've got "The Purple One." "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and Now These Days As Far As I Can Tell, Known As Prince Once Again."

I feel pretty cool these days, because I know someone that lives near Paisley Park, the longtime Minneapolis area nerve center for all things Prince. It's one step away from being able to say that I frikkin' know Prince, and that he's a bro of mine. Someday. And perhaps we'll play basketball with the Revolution.

I first saw the video for "Little Red Corvette" on Friday Night Videos, another episode of musical discovery during my early MTV-less existence as a kid.

Tell me that this doesn't bring back some memories..

What I didn't know, was that Friday Night Videos was on the air until 2002?

I was long gone by then.

"Little Red Corvette" captured my little rock and roll heart, and I had to hear more by this Prince fellow. I wouldn't have long to wait, because he was about to blow my mind with the release of Purple Rain in 1984, an album that turns 25 this year, by the way.

Check out the current issue of Spin Magazine for an in-depth look at the 25th anniversary of Purple Rain, and also a free Purple Rain tribute download featuring cover versions of each and every track on the album.

Before you get lost reading that, do tell me: Bruce Springsteen or Prince - what is your pick?

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29Jun/09119

Win Stuff: Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 25th Anniversary

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Hello again, my little rabble rousers!

Today, we're going to travel back 25 years to the time when Twisted Sister released a landmark slab of music called Stay Hungry. You own it. You've owned it. You probably even owned it in multiple formats. You bought the t-shirt, and you went to the concert.

The album defined the term "instant classic" in the minds of many a music fan, packed from edge to edge with soon-to-be anthems like "We're Not Gonna Take It," "I Wanna Rock," and other memorable moments like "Burn In Hell," and unquestionably, "THE PRICE."

Thanks to Stay Hungry, we were SMFs long before we became SDMFs, and though Mom wasn't entirely thrilled with the looks of our new friends, particularly TS lead singer Dee Snider, she let them come over anyway. Unless of course, your mom was Tipper Gore. But Dee eventually took care of her too.

After a period of inactivity, Twisted Sister have been back from their extended vacation for a while now, playing a few gigs here and there, and in between that, taking a good hard look at their legacy with an ongoing series of archival releases.

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Which brings us this 25th anniversary edition of Stay Hungry, newly remastered and expanded to 2 CDs with a full CD worth of bonus tracks - unreleased demos, outtakes, and even a brand new Twisted Sister track called "30" that stares hard into the rock and roll looking glass. And do they like what they see? Let your ears be the judge of that...

Twisted Sister - "30"

"30" was originally written by Dee Snider with Marc Beeman and Sharon Lawson for the reality series Gone Country. Dee says, "While '30' was my attempt at a country song for the show, the realization was that rock 'n' roll is a direct outgrowth of country music. Since '30' was written about my Twisted Sister experience, it seemed only natural for us to record it and rock it out."

And it's only natural that to further celebrate 25 years of Stay Hungry, Twisted Sister and Rhino Records are giving you the opportunity to replace your worn out vinyl copy of Stay Hungry with a limited edition vinyl reissue to accompany the standard CD and digital editions.

We're talkin' PINK VINYL, folks. With a bonus poster that you can put on your wall just like it is still 1984, and you know what? I bet your mom is still yelling at you to turn it down. Don't listen to her.

Thanks to your friends here at Addicted to Vinyl, we've got your chance to win a copy of this special vinyl edition of Stay Hungry. Send us an email with "Twisted Sister vinyl" in the subject line for your chance to win, and we'll select one lucky SMF to rock out. Turntable not included.

Purchase Stay Hungry on CD, limited edition vinyl, or MP3

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29Jun/092

The Monday Morning Mix – 40 Summers Past ’69 – 6/29/09

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Graphic by Rachael Novak

Click here for details on how you can be a part of The Monday Morning Mix and win some cool stuff!

About Today's Mix:

Today's Monday Morning Mix comes straight from our very own Mel! With 4th of July happening this week, I thought that this week might be a good time to drop a nice summertime mix. I got in touch with The Melness, and she agreed that she could put something worthy together.

Ah, summer. I love rolling down the windows and cranking my ridiculous playlists. Or a Basement Jaxx CD. I'll stick with the ridiculous for your Monday.

That being said, in honor of the official beginning of the summer, with a particular dedication to 4th of July about to mark our calendars, here is my Monday (It’s Still Very Morning to Me) Mixtape:

40 Summers Past '69 (download)

1. Summertime – Wiley (Crookers Remix) - from the single Summertime Part 2 – You just sat in the driver’s seat, ready to hit the road for a four-hour road trip warrior weekend. You need to start that drive off right – a wonky Crookers dance remix. Three shots of espresso are optional. The next rest stop is 48 miles away.

2. We Used to Vacation – Cold War Kids (Daytrotter version, I love) – But because I cannot drink anymore (and partially because I spent my savings on booze for the last five years), we will not be traveling to the beach this year. It’s a Stay-cation summer, kids!

3. I Come From the Water – The Toadies - from the album Rubberneck – I came from the water. I intend to not drown myself in the water on any of my summer weekends of which I may fall off a boat or a jet ski after suffering from waves of “heat exhaustion.” And damn, that sand does go on forever, doesn’t it? Especially when it gets washed into your swimsuit bottoms.

4. Back Porch – Presidents of the United States of America - from the album The Presidents of the United States of America – If you got a front porch, you can bring your one- or two- or no-string too.

5. Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes - from the album Violent Femmes – I always forget my SPF45 on my nose and scalp. And I get these funky streaks on my back. Big hands I know you're the one!

6. Fantastic Voyage – Coolio - from the album It Takes A Thief – C’mon all let’s get inside. I got a Ford, not a convertible or a broad. We can ride with the doors open on the side road. And I'll stop rapping now...

7. Cruel Summer – Bananarama - from the album Bananarama – Summer is truly cruel when August creeps up. Then, you enjoy more “bars with air conditioning” than “bars with patios.”

8. Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams - from the album Reckless. You seriously didn't know that? – I imagine ’69 was a good summer. It will also be a great one for the 69-year-old karaoke show-offs this weekend. Cougar. Rawr!

9. Hot in the City – Billy Idol - from the album Billy Idol – Damn. I can’t take it over 80 degrees. Move over. You’re too sticky.

10. 4th of July – Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers - from the album Glassjaw Boxer – Scene: Mel is driving. Playing around on her iPod, finding good songs to add to the Monday Morning Mixtape v. ‘69 Summer. Boyfriend plugs in his iPod and declares shuffle war. A great song by an unknown band plays. Mel likes. Then shrieks of delight upon the singing of the chorus, “How appropriate for my mix!” And then, it was added.

11. The Boys of Summer – Don Henley - from the album Building The Perfect Beast – I love these boys of summer. And Spring. You can take the Boys of Winter. They have too many clothes on for my liking. But that’s neither here nor there.

12. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream – from the album Disraeli Gears - I’ve been waiting so long… I’ve been waiting so long… Ladies & Gentlemen, break out the air guitars.

13. Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful - from the album Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful – Or your air keyboards, if you are so inclined.

14. Saturday in the Park – Chicago - from the album Chicago V – It’s such a cliché song selection to end the mix, no? But you know it’s perfect. Where is that man selling ice cream?

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26Jun/093

Going home + things to see and do

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I'm on my way out of town to clear my head, and I'll be remembering an old friend as I travel across the miles, while listening to some of my favorite music turned up nice and loud. The ultimate tribute in my book, from one music lover to another.

I'm going home this weekend to Joliet, IL, a trip that was previously planned prior to last weekend's tragic events. I've got the usual Motel 6 room booked, which I'm sure will make Brian at Broken Headphones snicker. Fair enough.

It might seem strange to call somewhere that you spent a mere two years "home," but that's the impact that that Joliet had on me personally. We lived in a majestic old house, in a wonderful city, and at the time, I couldn't have guessed how much I would love it. We had a wonderful group of friends, and though I won't see any of them on this particular trip, it's always somehow comforting just to be back in the old zip code.

And this weekend, I'm needing lots of that.

In the meantime, back here in Cleveland, I have a couple of things to recommend:

1. Go see The Church at The Beachland Ballroom tonight. I can't even believe that I'm missing The Church again. They are still on my list of bands that I haven't seen, and apparently will continue to hang out on that list. The Beachland have reaaallly kicked their blogging into gear with a ton of posts, and oh my God, they put ATV on their blogroll. I was totally geeked out when I saw that! I'm still a fanboy at heart. I think that comes through....

2. Waterloo Arts Fest is tomorrow. Go! go! go! My friend (ahem,) the Cleveland Bachelor, has a huge ass rundown of his picks of things to do and see at The Waterloo Arts Fest. Which brings us to...

3. The Cleveland Bachelor/Low Life Gallery This Is Cleveland (All The Stuff I See) Closing Party. The hootenanny kicks off tomorrow night right around the time that Waterloo Arts Fest will be wrapping up. Hit up CB for the details, and if you see him, give him a big hug from me. He'll be confused initially, but I promise you, he'll like it. Especially if you're hot.

Lets talk later, okay?

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26Jun/0910

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

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One of the largest icons of my generation is gone. Michael Jackson is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice both as a solo artist and a member of the Jackson 5. When I was growing up, there's no doubt that I had Michael Jackson fever just like every other kid, teenager and young adult in 1983.

As I write this, Thriller is sitting at the top of the US Itunes chart of top downloads.

We'll have more thoughts and posts next week - in the meantime, I'm going to grab my Michael Jackson CDs and remember a legend, just like many will do today. Here also are a few nice tributes that I've seen online already:

Roger Ebert's piece was the first item that I saw last night, and eloquently pays tribute to The King of Pop.

John Gorman remembers the infamous and controversial decision to play Jackson's music on WMMS.

Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, and others comment on Jackson's passing.

Plain Dealer pop music critic John Soeder has a nice tribute to Jackson online.

Our newest pal Annie Zaleski hits a lot of my favorite points about MJ with her piece for the Riverfront Times.

Ken Shane at Popdose pays tribute.

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26Jun/090

More BC – A Look At The Art Process

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Former Buzzard artist Brian Chalmers had one of the most brilliantly creative minds I've ever known. In any person, that trait combined with a love for music means that we're going to be friends for life.

In 2002, I graduated and moved on from WMMS to a new job and plenty of new projects. This gave me the ability to think of the various talented folks I had worked with over the years, and I finally had new reasons and opportunities to work with my friends again, even though we were no longer in the same building.

I've enjoyed this part a lot, because in my mind, it gives me a way to give back a bit to those that helped me out so much when I was first starting out.

Brian was one of the first people I reached out to - we had a project that I knew he could really take to the next level with his great artistic skills. While we didn't connect on that particular project, eventually I had another opportunity (although it was more of a side project) and this time, Brian and I were able to connect.

My friend Rebecca reached out to me - as a member of the board of directors for the annual Minneapolis radio conference The Conclave. The Conclave was in need of a logo for the 2008 conference theme - "At The Crossroads."

Rebecca asked me "Do you know anyone?"

I told her that I knew just the guy, if he was available.

I got in touch with Brian, and gave him some limited guidance based on the few details that had been given to me. The design would incorporate the theme of "At The Crossroads," with an old-fashioned road sign featuring arrows pointing different directions, each arrow featuring a different broadcasting term. As an added touch, it was suggested that the graphic should incorporate a pair of headphones that look like "the classic headphones that every DJ in the business has a pair of."

Before I show you the initial results, I should back up a bit for a further bit of backstory:

When I suggested Brian as the person that could take care of their logo needs, I told Rebecca to tell this group (made up of largely rock radio veterans) that Brian was the guy that had spent many years drawing The Buzzard for WMMS here in Cleveland.

Easy sell, right?

Rebecca came back to me, and sheepishly reported that the board wanted to see some samples of his previous work.

"He drew the frikkin' Buzzard!" I joked with her. "There's your frikkin' example!"

I asked Brian, and he sent over some samples, and we quickly moved on.

Once we began work on the project, Brian sent over this sample featuring the elements of what we had asked for in the design, and added an element of his own, a little character he referred to as the "Broadcast Bean." (Note: the text/fonts were just examples and roughly placed)

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Rebecca and I loved the Bean. LOVED it.

It was going to be a total slam dunk.

But the rest of the board wasn't as enthusiastic about the Bean. The design was more than what they were looking for - they wanted something a bit more simple than what had been presented.

Brian listened to their suggestions and feedback, and submitted this final design.

Take two.

Done.

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Brian's final graphic looked fantastic on everything that it was used on - from web banner ads, to the program guide that was given out to every Conclave attendee.

There's another story for all of you, and another peek into the talented and extraordinary individual that was Brian Chalmers.

Scene Magazine has a great piece online now featuring some really nice reflections from former Scene editor Mark Holan - check that out here.

Also, After The Gig has a really nice page of links and information.

A memorial for Brian Chalmers will be held on Saturday morning - click here for the information on services.

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24Jun/093

Memorial Details for Brian Chalmers Updated

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IMPORTANT NOTE - See below from Colleen Ventura, Brian's niece:

Due to the overwhelming response of his passing the funeral home has to move the service to a larger facility. If you could help pass the word.

Brian Chalmers's memorial service is now going to be at North Royalton Christian Church 5100 Royalton Road, North Royalton OH 44133. Saturday June 27. Visitation will be from 11 am-1pm. The memorial service will begin at 1pm. Call the church number for any details 1-440-237-4531.

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23Jun/090

No static on the radio

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An update of sorts - we're going to spend the rest of the week here remembering our friend Brian Chalmers with various memories, pictures, and a musical thought or two.

If you've got anything that you'd like to share, send it our way or leave a comment. We welcome all participation, thoughts, and comments.

Regular updates and features will return on Monday morning.

Click here for some of our BC stuff that's been posted so far, and visit this link for details on the memorial service happening on Saturday morning.

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23Jun/0928

Brian Chalmers – Rolling Stones and KISS

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Thanks to my good pal and former co-worker Charlotte, for this:

Here's a scanned picture of the Rolling Stones t-shirt that Brian did, that I mentioned in this post:

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Charlotte's comments:

This t-shirt reminds me of all the copy-and-pasting Brian did with pictures... we laughed a TON about Jerry Hall's pic in the NO!!

Charlotte also shares a scan of the classic Buzzard shirt that Brian did for the initial reunion shows at Gund Arena when KISS came back in makeup, which I guess was 1996, if I recall correctly. While the scan cuts off parts of the picture, you'll get the point.

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This was without a doubt, the most popular Buzzard t-shirt that WMMS did in the 90's (in my opinion.) The station made a really small number of these the first time around - maybe 250, no more than 500 at the most. Like the Rolling Stones and Petty shirts, we gave these away to concert goers on the air, and on the way to the venue.

I was really low on the totem pole at this point, and had to work hard to get hooked up with one of these shirts, which is still one of my personal favorites.

We did a 2nd pressing of these shirts later towards the end of the decade. At that point, the station was owned by Nationwide Insurance, and they made us put their logo on all of the shirts that were being made - so the back artwork for this one was later accessorized with a Nationwide logo in the bottom corner, which sucked. Still, Buzzard and KISS fans ate these shirts up, logo or no logo - this was a hot one.

Dig the classic script on the WMMS lettering!

I'll try to dig out my t-shirt in the next few days to take a picture of the full artwork.

P.S. - If anyone has other cool scans/pictures of Brian's stuff that they would like to share, email me and I'll try to get it posted here on the blog.

And a reminder for all, that Brian's memorial set for this Saturday, has a new location. Updated details are here.

Cheers!

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22Jun/093

More BC – Rough Diamond and David Byron

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As we continue to remember Cleveland artist/photographer Brian Chalmers following his unfortunate passing over the weekend, a number of stories and memories have been shared via email, on Facebook, and on the phone.

Fans, friends, and family will have an opportunity to share more of those stories on Saturday morning from 11am until 1pm at a memorial for Brian Chalmers. Here are the details from John Gorman's site:

Updated details for the Brian Chalmers memorial:

Due to the overwhelming response of his passing the funeral home has to move the service to a larger facility. If you could help pass the word.

Brian Chalmers's memorial service is now going to be at North Royalton Christian Church 5100 Royalton Road, North Royalton OH 44133. Saturday June 27. Visitation will be from 11 am-1pm. The memorial service will begin at 1pm. Call the church number for any details 1-440-237-4531.

Brian's invaluable assistance to Cameron Crowe and Dreamworks during their work for Almost Famous wasn't an isolated incident - it was Brian being Brian, offering whatever assistance he could offer to whoever needed it. On that particular day, it happened to be Cameron Crowe's people on the phone.

On another day, we got a call at the radio station from a random Uriah Heep fan. If you know anything about Uriah Heep fans, they are VERY passionate about all things Heep.

And word had gotten around within the fanbase that WMMS had broadcast a 1977 Cleveland Agora concert by Rough Diamond, the short-lived project featuring former Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron. With very little known memorabilia in existence for the project, the Heep fans were very excited to find out that there was a possible radio broadcast recording that might exist of the concert.

At this time, I was usually the guy that got to field random phone calls, and when I got this particular call asking if we had a copy of the Rough Diamond concert, it was something I had no idea about, but I knew that if anyone would know, it would be Brian.

And this is so Brian - he had a cassette recording of the Rough Diamond broadcast, a copy of the interview they had done with Scene Magazine, and pictures of the gig. All these fans were hoping for was MAYBE a copy of the show, and they ended up with so much more.

I wanted to share this story, because it really illustrates what I was saying in my previous blog entry about Brian's trademark handwritten notes - How excited would you have been as a fan of a band to open a package and get such a nice note like this one?

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The group of Uriah Heep fans were ecstatic to say the least, and you can read their entire story via this link.

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