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


Rappin’ with Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett

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Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett about his new solo release, credited to Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants (also available on vinyl!).  Presumably, Shiflett was able to locate some new peasants, because he's currently out on tour supporting the new release, playing a series of shows that will bring him to Cleveland for a show on Thursday, August 5th at the Grog Shop, with Cleveland locals Ohio Sky supporting (paging Pat the Producer, are you listening?).

Shiflett will also be in St. Louis this coming Monday at the Old Rock House, so I spoke with him in advance of that show for the Riverfront Times to get some dirt about the tour and what fans can expect.  You can check out the first part of the interview here.  We also spent quite a bit of time nerding out about guitars and talked a bit about the new Foo Fighters album as well.  That part of the conversation will be online on Monday at the RFT music blog, so stay tuned...


Setlist: Paul McCartney in Kansas City, 7/24/10

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It's still the "greatest show on Earth" and I'm not talking about the Ringling Brothers.  After nearly 18 hours of bus and car travel, it only took a few seconds of "Venus and Mars" to validate what a great choice I'd made road tripping it to Kansas City to see Paul McCartney.  For three hours, McCartney dazzled a mixed crowd of both old and young that probably had no idea (especially the older set) exactly how much of a good show they were in for.  At 68 years of age, one could forgive Sir Paul if he were to choose to take the standard route and play a 90 minute set with a couple of encores.  You would excuse the lack of storytelling and settle for the hits, because after all, it's a former Beatle that we're talking about here!

But instead, we got a full three hours of both hits and rarities, and for the know-it-alls like me that were in attendance, McCartney even had a very cool story about Jimi Hendrix.  After tacking on a bit of "Foxy Lady" to the end of "Let Me Roll It," McCartney shared a vivid recollection about releasing the Sgt. Pepper album on a Friday, and seeing Jimi open his set with the title track later that same weekend.


Crowded House + David Byrne in NYC

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When I saw David Byrne at Bonnaroo last summer, it was damn close to a religious experience for me as a music fan.  So you can probably imagine my excitement when I saw that Byrne made a guest appearance with Crowded House during their NYC performance earlier this week.

According to the official Crowded House website, the band will begin selling USB sticks of their U.S. gigs as of this month (which means we should see them on sale any time now, right?), and if this is the case, I'll be putting down some cash for a copy of the New York gig, for sure.

In related news, the band also was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon recently to perform my favorite cut from Intriguer (no doubt in response to my personal request for them to perform the track on late night television), "Twice If You're Lucky," which is classic Crowded House, manic nirvana.


DVDs You Probably Need: Nils Lofgren “Cry Tough”

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Besides the recent release of Live in Hyde Park, things have been otherwise a bit quiet for Springsteen fans.  I've been amusing myself, attempting to collect the 2005 Japanese remasters, which are slowly starting to trickle onto the shelves at Half Price Books.  So far, I have (at $7.99 a pop) Nebraska, Plugged, Born to Run and The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle.  (For those that don't have the luxury of having a Half Price Books nearby, you might enjoy doing some shopping at DeepDiscount.)

And then I saw the news about Cry Tough, the new Eagle Rock DVD release that collects three Nils Lofgren Rockpalast performances from 1976, 1979 and 1991.  The two DVD set will be in stores on August 10th and thanks to the DVD gods, an advance copy showed up last week in my mail.

From the Amazon description:

Nils Lofgren's career has seen him achieve great success as a solo artist whilst also establishing himself as a guitarist for both Neil Young in Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. These three live performances from Germany were all filmed for the famous Rockpalast TV series and see Lofgren at differing points in his career. In 1976 he had released his debut solo album to considerable critical acclaim and was beginning to lay the foundations of his reputation. By 1979 he was well established as a solo artist and influential guitar player. For the third show in 1991, Lofgren had already done a substantial stint in the E Street Band and had just begun to return as a solo performer with his album Silver Lining . All three are great performances and catch the excitement and showmanship of one of America s finest guitar players live in concert.

The last sentence above is the understatement of the year.  As I've begun to dig deeper into Lofgren's discography over the past few years, I've been busy picking up the Lofgren solo albums that were missing from my collection.  The release of Cry Tough is a gift full of riches for all, whether you're a die-hard fan or simply a Springsteen fan looking to find out more about the individual band members.

With over 250 minutes of footage, Cry Tough will give you plenty of material to choose from, for your educational journey.  Priced at $17.99 pre-order via Amazon, it's a helluva good deal, considering I recently paid the same price for an Eric Johnson DVD that had barely an hour's worth of material. The 1991 footage is better quality than the footage from the '70s, but it's all really nice for the time period in which it was filmed and it's a nice showcase of one of the most under-rated guitar players in the biz.

One of my favorite highlights from the collection comes right at track one of the 1991 concert with Lofgren's solo acoustic opener of "Sticks and Stones" from Silver Lining.  Unfortunately, I can't find a clip on Youtube, but here's a nice version (very similar) from Boston in 1993.

Sticks and stones will break my bones
But your words, they break my heart...

I'll leave you with three clips from Cry Tough.  Hopefully the concert gods will find a way to put a Cleveland date onto Lofgren's list of tour dates for this fall!


Back To Get Ya

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Welcome to summer in the city, where the days are long and the nights are sultry. If your soul is warmed by the familiarity of hot breezes through open windows carrying the sounds of music and chatter on the street, and your mind is enticed by a steamy barroom tapestry of smoke, drink, romance and emotion, then there is a new soundtrack for your overnights.

It is called Midnight Souvenirs, the latest release from Peter Wolf, a soon-to-be-classic which is filled with love, hope, despair and a large dose of adult perspective.

The seventh solo album from Wolf since he left the mighty J. Geils Band in 1983, Midnight Souvenirs displays a depth in songwriting, performance and production that most artists wish for and often never achieve.

The opening track, “Tragedy,” is so good, they could have stopped there.  A great melody complemented by Wolf’s cool yet heartfelt delivery, you’ll be singing along by the second listen. A gold star is attached to this one for bringing in the lovely and talented Shelby Lynne to lay down an achingly beautiful guest vocal.

The variety of stylings present throughout is impressive and very appropriate to Wolf’s musical personality. From the dance-floor heat of “Watch Her Move,” a surefire smash in days gone by, to the passively stark acceptance of love gone repeatedly sour in “Then It Leaves Us All Behind,” Wolf is always believable and in command of his wealth of influences.

Filling the space in between are smooth and swaying pieces of adult pop (“Always Asking for You,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Don’t Try To Change Her”), songs of hope and rebirth (“There’s Still Time,” “The Green Fields of Summer”), and a few visits to familiar places  including “Thick As Thieves," resurrected and reworked from Wolf's second solo record, 1987's Come As You Are.

Saving the best for last, Wolf teams up with living legend Merle Haggard for a last-call tale of life unfulfilled in “It’s Too Late for Me.” What seems like an unlikely blend is genuine in spirit and memorable in performance.

Here’s hoping that after six outstanding yet under-appreciated solo efforts, it’s not too late for Peter Wolf.  Midnight Souvenirs is an absolute gem deserving of great attention.


Random Video: Undercover Karaoke with Jewel

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It's time for another true confession - back in '95 or so, I had a major thing for Jewel.  It wasn't just that she was "hot," from my point of view - I also happened to really like her music.  And by association, Jewel's music led me to discover the music of Steve Poltz (her boyfriend at the time) and The Rugburns (who sincerely are one of the greatest bands ever - give me a reunion show sometime/anytime in Cleveland, please!).

I'm not sure where Jewel and I got off track, but it was probably sometime around the time that she released her Christmas album (you know, the one with the Xmas version of "Hands"? Ugh!).  She put on a helluva good live show back in the day, and as this video clip below proves, she's still pretty awesome, even if you don't know that it is actually *Jewel* providing the awesomeness.


Setlist: Cheap Trick and Squeeze in Cleveland, 7/11/10

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For most, Sunday night's pairing of Squeeze and Cheap Trick at the House of Blues (and also coming soon to a city near you) represented one of the greatest ideas for a power pop double header EVER.

For the rest of the crowd, it might have been a head scratcher, figuring out how the two bands wound up on the same bill. (Hell, just observe the musical contrast in the above video!)  In person, as much as I had been looking forward to the night of music, it was indeed quite interesting.  The self-proclaimed (and I ain't arguing this) "best f*cking rock band you've ever seen" (that's Cheap Trick, for those of you that are still trying to figure it out) came on stage at 8pm sharp and delivered a 75 minute set that was blistering.   The Cleveland date offered many the chance to get their first look at the band's new touring drummer Daxx Nielsen, (yes, he's related to Rick) who has been mysteriously planted on the drum stool formerly anchored by the band's iconic drummer Bun E. Carlos.

The band released a short statement in March prior to their appearance at South by Southwest (when the drummer change was made) and said simply that "Bun E. Carlos is not currently the touring drummer for Cheap Trick. Bun E. remains a band member. Everyone is healthy and Cheap Trick will continue to tour as planned." Cheap Trick fans are a passionate bunch, so you might expect them to picket every single show without Carlos, but the word got out early that like his dad, this Nielsen kid can play.


Enough about that Lebron guy….

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Here's some great related humor from John Mayer!


This Weekend: Mary Chapin Carpenter at the Kent Stage

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Cleveland-based lovers of great music will appreciate knowing that among the many great concert options to choose from in the area this weekend, there is at least one standout double bill featuring Mary Chapin Carpenter and Tift Merritt at the Kent Stage on Saturday night.  Touring in support of her latest release The Age of Miracles, it will be a real treat to see Carpenter playing such an intimate room.

This sounds like a lot of fun to me....which means that if you're thinking that right now, you should get a move on it and purchase your tickets.  According to the Kent Stage website, there are only 5 tickets left for the show.

Worst case, you could always go and rock out with Sweet Apple tomorrow night at the Grog, or perhaps the double bill of Cheap Trick and Squeeze on Sunday night at House of Blues is the dream double bill that you've been waiting for.  In other words, there are plenty of great excuses to go see some live music this weekend.