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


Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head…

"Rain," "No Rain," "After The Rain,".....there have been many songs about the rain, but in this story we won't hear any of them. In fact, we won't hear many songs at all. The story begins with a trip home to my old stomping ground of Joliet, IL seems like the perfect way to unplug, recharge, and refresh a bit. And indeed it will be all of these, but since this is me we are talking about, there will be a few complications before we get to the happy ending.

All good.

We'll start with Friday night, and my arrival at Motel 6 in Joliet after nearly six hours of driving. Night Ranger is playing the first of two Illinois area shows about 25 minutes away in Downer's Grove, a nearby suburb, but I'm cashed out from the drive and thinking about a good nap, and not more driving. I am aware that Eddie Money is playing a couple of minutes away from the motel, and that seems like more of a possibility post-zzzz time.

After checking in at the front desk, I head to my room to zonk out. I've stayed here before, and while I wouldn't subject others to these accommodations (not anymore, anyway,) this Motel 6 works fine for my typical trip to Joliet as a place to put my head at night in between the daytime activities that keep me otherwise engaged.

Ever since Tom Bodett told me back in the 80s that he'd leave a light on for me, I've found comfort at Motel 6.

But now, Tom and I are going to have to have some words.

Walking into the room, I kick on the air conditioner, which powers up with a sound that is unholy, and reminds me for some reason of bad experiences renting a moving truck - you know, the truck that you get where everything is broken - air conditioning, brakes, radio, power steering. This is the air conditioner version of that. But I decide to humor the AC unit, and see if it will come around to my way of thinking. And it does, although it continues to make more noise than an AC unit should, a blessing in disguise because that same noise will lure me off to a rock solid sleep very shortly.

But first, let's check out the internet here at Motel 6.

Not working.


*calling front desk*

"Good evening sir."

"Hi, is there internet in the room?"

"Sir, this is Motel 6."

Wow. Can't even believe this exchange just took place. Hanging up phone, and going to bed now. Reminding self that this trip is more about events outside of the motel, and I try not to think of the sign that says "free wireless internet in room" hanging in front of the neighboring Budget Inn Express that I could be staying at for the same exact price. Next time.


Alarm goes off, and I shut it off. Eddie Money and I won't be hanging out this time around.

Saturday morning, and I hop into the car to head to Rockford, two hours away from Joliet, to pay visit to Toad Hall, yet another beloved record store from my youth. I haven't been inside Toad Hall in 21 years, and you can be assured that there will be a separate post devoted to the Toad Hall visit that will follow.

Rockford is the birthplace of Cheap Trick, and the band have paid tribute to this in several ways - they shot their Silver live DVD there, and even named their most recent album Rockford. It's been 21 years since I've been to Rockford, and I want to believe that they have a sign at the front of the city that says "Rockford, IL, home of Cheap Trick," complete with the classic Cheap Trick logo. That would be cool, right?

They don't.

After a few hours, I head back to Joliet to meet up with my longtime pal Mark Zander, a fellow 80's music lover. I suggested a few months back that we should get together to check out Night Ranger at their scheduled Joliet date, happening at the Taste of Joliet festival.

So here we are. After grabbing some food, we made our way over to the local football stadium for the gig, also featuring Joan Jett & The Blackhearts in the headlining slot. I personally think that Night Ranger should have been headlining, but since I've always been a Joan Jett fan, and haven't seen her up to this point, I was excited to get a chance to finally see her.

Storm clouds in the sky. Big storm clouds.

We're handed wrist bands on the way in that will not get us backstage to drink vodka with Night Ranger, but instead, will get us back into the stadium if it starts pouring rain, and we want to leave.

Night Ranger are onstage. Zander gives the thumbs up to new recruits Christian Cullen (keyboards) and Joel Hoekstra (guitar.) The band open with their mashup of "This Boy Needs to Rock" featuring a healthy slice of "Highway Star" in the middle. The band are approximately seven songs into their setlist with "Eddie's Coming Out Tonight." Problem is, Eddie won't be hanging out very long tonight. Just as the band is about to hit the second verse, city officials wave frantically for the band to stop playing.

With a couple of raindrops beginning to fall, the city is pulling the plug on Night Ranger's set until the storm passes through. First time I've ever seen a band get yanked mid-song. And during one of my favorites, to boot. Elsewhere on the following day while attending Taste of Chicago, David Lifton is hoping for the same results with The Lovehammers. No dice. But hey, we're getting distracted. This is MY night. Let's get back to it.

About 15 minutes later, the announcement comes from the stage that the remainder of the evening has been cancelled. No more Night Ranger, no Joan Jett. Damn.

We find our way to one of the local bars in Joliet for more musical conversation. Including lots of conversation about music blogs. How music blogs are the new artist development. Music blogs ARE the new radio. Thanks to aggregators like The Hype Machine, you can punch in any band name, hear a couple of tracks from a band, and make up your mind if you like that band. Music blogs are the new radio single.

In further conversation, we spontaneously nail down the next two contenders for next week's Cage Match, two bands that might be the most bizarre pairing to date. Stay tuned to next week's Cage Match to find out who they are.

Now, the drive home to Cleveland. And some thoughts regarding the music that provided the soundtrack for the drive home.

This weekend, I've rediscovered my love of Mary Chapin Carpenter's music. Brought four of her albums with me, amidst the stacks of music that I brought with me, and listened to all four. I haven't heard the last few albums that she has done, and after this weekend of listening, I'm not sure why I tuned out. Always have wanted to see her live.

I'm thinking that Dance.....Ya Know It! by Bobby Brown is still one of the best dance remix albums from the period, right there with Paula Abdul's Shut Up And Dance. Yes, I just said this out loud.


Pump by Aerosmith gets a spin, and many of you are aware how much I love this band, and love this album. Aerosmith are performing complete albums on this summer's tour with ZZ Top. Pump is 20 years old this year. Wouldn't it be awesome if they pulled this one out for a night? I'm saying yes. D.X. Ferris is asking me something about hearing loss. Not really, but I wonder how much hearing I've lost listening to this album at full volume as I am right now?


Listening to Cradlesong, by Rob Thomas, an album that I'm really digging that hit stores yesterday - Cradlesong is closer to MB20 territory, and not quite as experimental as Something To Be, the solo debut from Thomas was. I'm a fan. Thomas writes some great songs, and some great hooks, and you'll find plenty of both on Cradlesong. Try not to think about how Thomas looks like the Grim Reaper on the cover of the new disc. Better yet, buy the download so that you never have to see it. For Thomas completists, there also is a live DVD from the Something To Be tour in stores now as well.


Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, the new album from David Byrne and Brian Eno continues to impress these ears. Byrne played a magical set at Bonnaroo a couple of weeks ago that has me begging and pleading for a live documentation of the full show from this tour. There's a live EP available now that is merely a cruel tease. I can't even think about it.

I'm home in my driveway now. It was a good weekend, despite the abbreviated amount of live music - this weekend was really all about my two favorite f's - "fun" and "fellowship." And I got plenty of both.

Next up: Doobie Brothers and Bad Company in Detroit tonight!

  • ferris

    No Night Ranger AND Joan Jett? That’s some start-a-riot sh*t right there, sir. You showed admirable restraint.

  • Jack

    Cheap Trick’s latest album is…wait for it…The Latest. Have a safe trip to Detroit.

  • Kristi

    Man…. the rain seems to be following you everywhere you go. I’m glad you had a good time with your friend and got plenty of your favorite f’s in – sounds like a successful trip even without a full show.

    Hopefully tonight goes smoothly for ya – sounds like a fun time!

  • Norm

    Great post as always – and yep get back into MCC great artist.

    Could not agree more about david Byrne, I was lucky enougfh to catch at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and it was one of the best gigs ever and the great news is he is coming to Edinburgh Festival so going to that too. The interaction with the dancers and musicians was fantastic.

    Live album please Mr Byrne!