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

4Feb/100

Cruisin’ for Leah…

Written by:

Donnie Iris

Donnie Iris fans (c'mon, you know the song) will be delighted to read this week's Scene Magazine cover story, a profile of Mark Avsec, longtime songwriter/producer/member of Donnie Iris and the Cruisers.  ATV pal D.X. Ferris takes music fans under the hood for an interesting overview of Avsec's career - from the very beginning to current events - Avsec has a song on the expanded reissue of Santana's blockbuster Supernatural CD.  The interview features conversations with Avsec, Iris and all of the related players, making it a must read for fans, and anyone who's ever been curious to know a little bit more about that "Ah Leah!" guy.

Click here and check it out!

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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)

bc-broadcast-bean01.jpg

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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28Apr/096

Cage Match: Jefferson Starship vs. Joe Walsh

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Ola friends!

As we get going, let's start of by congratulating Steve in Nashville, who is the winner of the contest for the super-awesome Jane's Addiction vinyl reissues of Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual!

Congrats Steve!

You know what that means - it's time to give something else away! But you'll have to wait a little bit for the next one, because we've got some weekly business to attend to in the following post.

In the meantime, click here to order your own copy of A Cabinet of Curiosities, and check out my man Rob's rundown on the box set contents - it is slaaaaaaamin'!

P.S. - The MP3 version is only $18.99 at Amazon MP3 - that's crazy talk!

Remember how I was talking about those blog posts that come to you like a gift? This week's showcase showdown is very much in that vein. I was on my way out, heading to Detroit with a brief stop at the post office to pick up mail before leaving town.

In the mail, I got the new Jane's Addiction box set, A Cabinet of Curiosities (SWEEET!), and a package of musical love from Scene Magazine staff writer D.X. Ferris.

Inside the package was Par-Tay Mixxx G:9 #6 (2009) (download)

with the note Designed for linear or random play.

That's right, another mix disc from Ferris, in the tradition of DXMas, Danzig Slow Jams, and all of the many mixes that have come prior to those instant classics.

Unlike previous mixes, there was no track listing for this one. I popped it into the CD player, and without knowing it, I suddenly had this week's Cage Match locked, loaded, and ready to go. Oh, don't worry - I already had one on deck previously, but it got bumped.

The 1st contender: "Jane" by Jefferson Starship:

The track comes off of the 1979 album Freedom at Point Zero, featuring drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had departed from Journey the previous year (uh, nice career move,) and is also the first album featuring new lead singer Mickey Thomas.

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You know, the guy that also sang "Fooled Around and Fell In Love" with the Elvin Bishop Group, and would go on to sing on many Jefferson Starship/Starship hits.

Today, he continues to tour rib cookoffs, parties in the park, and 80s radio festivals across the United States, singing those hits. He's also available for your next bar mitzvah, as long as he can borrow your car to pick up the rest of the band, and oh yeah - dinner is included with that gig too, right?

Now, despite my previous snarky comments above, I actually really like Mickey Thomas as a singer.

This is a viewpoint that is not necessarily a slam dunk across the board with everyone else, however. There are people that think that Mickey Thomas is the devil, and these same people view the Knee Deep In The Hoopla album as a musical scud missile turd of an album from a band that wrecked two to three years of their formative period as a young adult.

This band was the band that delivered not only Hoopla, but also No Protection, an album that contained the dreaded Starship hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."

Now again, I actually like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." Quite a bit, actually. My pal Jason Hare at Popdose recently put "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" underneath the microscope for this revealing probe, identifying the track as one of the suckiest songs in the world.

I think that means that he liked it.

So how did "Jane" wind up as track one on Ferris's par-tay mix?

"Jane" is inspired from the opening of Wet Hot American Summer, which is 3 of my favorite minutes ever committed to film. Totally captures a moment there. the subtitle of the par-tay mix is "Wet Hot American Par-Tay." I make those every year to listen to in the garage, for outdoor chores, etc.

I STILL haven't seen Wet Hot American Summer - it's one of those films that I keep hearing about, and Bela Dubby even did a screening here in Lakewood at some point last year. Gotta check that one out, pronto. Ferris tells me that it is airing this month on cable via Starz or similar.

Now let's welcome in the 2nd contender: Joe Walsh - "Turn To Stone."

When Ferris and I were at the Rock Hall earlier this month watching a Q&A with drummer Joe Vitale, Vitale told some stories about the recording of "Turn To Stone," and then we heard a portion of the track played over the theater sound system, with that big fat drugged out 70s production featuring drums that were recorded so that they kick you in the face when you first hear them.

The drums are surrounded by blankets of reverb that make you wonder if there might have been acid in that Dr. Pepper that you drank on the way to the Rock Hall. You start looking around the room to see if it is really floating, and determine that it's just the song, not you. This time.

You know that was a good day in the recording studio, when they recorded that song. Between the stories for that one, and the stories about recording "Life's Been Good," Ferris and I left the Rock Hall realizing that it was really cool to be Joe Vitale back in the day.

So there you have it - Jefferson Starship or Joe Walsh. What's it gonna be?

P.S. - Download your own copy of Ferris's Par-Tay Mix.

To keep with the spirit of the mix as I originally heard it, the tracks are only tagged with artist (D.X. Ferris) and album name ("Par-Tay etc.) I suggest that you should put it on, and rock out. Let the mix surprise you, as it did me.

I'll let you know, that when the mix crossed over into Canadian territory, I punched the dashboard with happiness and commenced air keyboards to the extreme. People that were driving next to me at that moment, gave me that weird look that says "Dude, go back to Cleveland - PLEASE."

NOTE: There's some extremely NSFW language in track 15. If bad words offend you, you're going to want to skip that one!

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24Apr/092

Quick Hits: Material Issue, Bruce Springsteen, Career Advice for Aging Rockers, Neil Diamond

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jgeilsband.jpg

Oh internet friends of mine, it's been a looooong time since we've done one of these Quick Hits type of posts. I'm getting ready to point my car towards Michigan for night #2 of the J. Geils Band reunion shows in Detroit, happening Saturday night. The band are reuniting for a pair of shows in their adopted home away from home, to celebrate the birthday of longtime classic rocker WCSX.

I'll be meeting up for the first time with fellow blogger Dan Kelley of Classic Rock FM and Okemos Brewing Company, to cross another longtime favorite off of my "never seen" concert list.

Also in the itinerary, a stop at Encore Recordings in Ann Arbor to drool over their majestically massive spread of compact discs and vinyl.

Sunday, I'll be back in the Cleve for baseball fun at the Indians game with Pat, a bunch of my favorite blogger friends, and the entire Music Saves clan!

But yeah, so what have I been digging lately? Check out these links of note:

At the top of the list, it was my turn to share a choice boot on "Bootleg City @ Popdose. I dug out a killer Cleveland broadcast featuring Material Issue, recorded in 1991 at the Empire Concert Club. Click here and check it out. I believe it will only be available for one week, so act fast! Thanks very much, to Jeff and Robert at Popdose for the opportunity!

Blogness on the Edge of Town guest blogger Deb Filcman gave us full coverage of the recent Springsteen shows in Boston which had some great moments, including no Patti (I kid, kind of,) and covers of "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" by ZZ Top, and "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones. So jealous. Must...see...Bruce...shows...SOON!

Michael Gallucci at Scene Magazine caused a bit of a stink (possible pun intended) with his post titled "Not Grateful For The Dead." I'm sure you can guess the subject, and the potential reaction to the post. But if all of it is over your head, you can read Gallucci's post while wearing a suggested flameproof Devo suit.

The recent Jeff Beck shows in the Los Angeles area were something to remember, with a surprise appearance from onetime band mate Rod Stewart, performing on stage with Beck for the first time since 1983.

The Regeneration Tour returns for another year of 80s flashbacks featuring ABC, Heaven 17, Wang Chung, Cutting Crew, and Berlin. Stuck in the 80s has the deets for ya here.

My comrade Brian has the Lollapalooza lineup for those of you that haven't seen it yet - and yes, we're thinking about going. I know a ton of Clevelanders that are already planning to make the trip - anyone else? Let me know in the comments!

Ol' Swap at The Frontloader shares some thoughts about "Spirit of 76" by The Alarm. Another group that I need to see live.

Kevin Estrada has some cool photographic memories of some of his early shots of Ozzy Osbourne, and the story behind them.

Darren at He's A Whore has a convenient fix for the Jane's Addiction squabbles.

While we're on the subject of musical helping hands, Popdose have some advice for Michael Stipe.

And my pal Jason Hare deals with the horrifying news of a new Timothy B. Schmit solo album in the only way that he can - by dissecting classic 70s Neil Diamond television!

We'll leave it there for now...

I don't want to tease you all, or anything - but stay tuned for a site announcement from Addicted to Vinyl, coming early next week!

And maybe, I'll finally stop slacking, and pick a winner for the Jane's Addiction vinyl. Maybe.

P.S. - I've posted a working link for the second volume of Radio Friendly Unit Shifter. Check it.

P.S.S. - Check out some great live J. Geils Band stuff here, if you missed it when I posted it originally this past September.

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17Apr/0922

Record Store Day is TOMORROW!

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It's been a fun week!

Wednesday night, I went to the Rock Hall with my pals D.X. Ferris from Scene Magazine, Sirius XM personality Dusty Street, and Pale Hollow drummer Nick Perry, for an evening of Q&A with drummer Joe Vitale about his book Backstage Pass.

If the goal is to leave 'em wanting more, Vitale did exactly that on Wednesday night at the Rock Hall, and certainly sold several stacks of books to everyone that was in attendance that no doubt wanted to fill in the gaps of what they had heard.

The hour 1/2 chat with Vitale flew by, and he had some great stories, including a classic story regarding the recording sessions for Joe Walsh's classic solo hit "Life's Been Good" with producer Bill Szymczyk. I've heard the track a million times over the years, and once I knew the story behind it, everything made a lot more sense.....for a Joe Walsh song, anyway.

My comrade Ferris posted a nice re-cap of the evening with Vitale that you can check out here. And if you haven't read Backstage Pass yet, grab a copy here!

My takeaway from the evening? I need to track down a copy of the Crosby Stills and Nash Allies album, which allegedly is being reissued on CD (for the first time domestically) later this year. I've got my fingers crossed that that is true! I also need to get my hands on a copy of Vitale's 70s solo disc Roller Coaster Weekend, and I'd love to track down the followup Plantation Harbor as well. The true work of a music geek is never done!

Speaking of that, how PSYCHED are you that Record Store Day is tomorrow?

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Here are a few links to get you primed for the experience:

Prefix Magazine have a guide with everything you need to know to have the BEST Record Store Day ever.

My buddy Brian is missing Record Store Day because of work, but he's got thoughts to share....

What are you going to do when Record Store Day is over? I'm guessing that you'll probably have a lot of awesome tunage to listen to (and watch.) And hopefully you will continue to visit your indie mom and pop record stores...because every day should be Record Store Day! If you're looking for some good reading material, I would suggest that The Vinyl Countdown might be just what the music-lovin' doctor ordered! Thanks to Jeff at Popdose for the tip!

The Cleveland Bachelor shares his side of the truth regarding everything Record Store Day-related in the Waterloo District at Music Saves, Blue Arrow Records and Books, etc. etc. etc.

It seems inevitable that CB and I will cross paths and maybe (*gasp*) even hang out. I'm not making any promises....but it has potential!

I'll be hitting up Music Saves and possibly Time Traveler Music in Cuyahoga Falls as well, depending on my schedule. Later that evening, I'll meet up with Bear and a few others for Jonah Koslen and Stage Pass Now at The Winchester.

Speaking of Music Saves, here is the latest and greatest informational rundown from TEAM MUSIC SAVES. Music Saves gets the 2009 award from me for the indie store that put the most effort into making RSD '09 really, really cool for Cleveland. Hopefully, all of you that are not in Cleveland have something cool going on in your city at your favorite local store that is comparable to Music Saves!

For all of the Music Saves Record Store Day deets - click here

You can also click here for a printable PDF version of the above information.

Other details from their latest email:

The other Record Store Day street events we know of so far (we’ll have flyers with a final event list strewn around Waterloo on Saturday):

Blue Arrow Records is offering 10% off everything in the store (except furniture - from noon-10pm) and hosting a FLOOR CONTEST to win a vintage Derek Hess poster!

This Way Out is offering 10% off everything in the store (from noon-8pm)!

If you spend $10 or more at MUSIC SAVES, This Way Out, or Blue Arrow Records, each of those 3 receipts is good for $1 off a beer in the Beachland Tavern! The Tavern will open at 11am with a special lunch menu PLUS the brunch cocktail menu!

At Shoparooni, bring in a mixtape (or mixCD) formed after one of these 3 themes: Porkchops & Awesome Sauce (Marlee), Glitter & Sequins (Steve), or Caught on the Spot (Heather) and get 30% off your purchase PLUS they’ll have a photo booth set up!

Expect the Arts Collinwood Gallery, Low Life Gallery, and the Waterloo 7 Gallery to all be open AND look for the debut of the new WATERLOO CAFÉ!

Announcing RSD Bonus WILCO Concert Download:
The news just keeps getting better. As an exclusive bonus to customers who purchase the DVD, Ashes of American Flags, at RSD participating stores, you will be able to download one complete concert drawn from the shows featured in the film. This exclusive concert download will only be available via an embedded link on the DVD from 4/18-4/27, before the DVD goes to wide release. This bonus concert download will disappear from the site at 11:59 p.m. on 4/27/2009. This is in addition to the 20 full songs featured in the DVD which are available to all customers via download!

SONIC YOUTH BuyEarlyGetNow preorder NOW at MUSIC SAVES!

WHAT YOU GET:

- pre-release stream of album on April 28
- bonus limited exclusive vinyl live LP on street date WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!
- bonus limited-edition poster on street date
- bonus exclusive MP3 outtakes and live tracks
The Eternal 2LP $49.98 list, YOUR COST $37.99 and CD $28.98, list YOUR COST $26.99
Only regular, dependable customers will have the option to pay later! The rest of you gotta pay when you preorder, sorry!

TIMELINE:
3/24 - preorder begins through indie stores ONLY!
4/28 - BEGN goes live with album stream
5/12 - First bonus MP3 on BEGN site
6/2 - Second bonus MP3 on BEGN site
JUNE 9, STREET DATE - pick up the album, your bonus live LP, AND bonus poster

That's enough for today, ain't it? We'll pick the winner of the Jane's Addiction vinyl early next week. And guess what, we'll have another contest after that. I'm going to try to keep the contest machine rolling on a regular basis.

Have a great weekend, all....and ENJOY RECORD STORE DAY!

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6Apr/095

The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies – Reflections from Cleveland

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Wow, what a weekend.

Guitar extravaganza closes out the Rock Hall inductions with, from left, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.

photo by Joshua Gunter / The Plain Dealer

I seriously had every intention of merely "swiping" and linking to Brian's overview of the event. And then, Friday night happened. My planned post for today was going to be all about Friday night's events, accessorized with a couple of personal thoughts about the induction ceremonies, with a link to Brian's stuff. After seeing the induction ceremonies, I realized that I really needed to break it down and give Friday its own special area, and put my induction related thoughts here.

D.X. Ferris from Scene Magazine got in touch with me and asked the following questions to wrap up our two week long Metallica "debate":

So Metallica is now officially in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before we shut up about the band and their monumental recognition:

What does Metallica's induction mean? To you? For metal?

My reply:

When Chris and I were talking after the ceremonies, he made a good observation that until he saw the induction, he wasn't aware of how much the honor really meant to the Metallica guys. I've always had a huge amount of respect for how they've handled themselves as a band, particularly the way they've stuck with their management company Q Prime in the good times, the not so good times, and during times when other high profile clients (ex. Def Leppard) were bailing during the past few years for different management. Hey Def Leppard guys, how did that work out for you? They took a credibility hit with the Napster era, but recovered from it well.

I saw everything that I needed to see during Friday night's party at the House of Blues. It was really incredible to see that Metallica remembered completely where they came from, as demonstrated by the 150+ friends, current, and former associates that they flew in for the weekend celebration. They're still music fans - witness James Hetfield locked in conversation with Joe Perry from Aerosmith. They remember their friends, including one "friend" in particular - former RIP Magazine editor Lonn Friend, who famously chronicled the birth of the Metallica album via a series of articles in the pages of RIP.

Lars Ulrich talked to many throughout the night with giant bear hugs for quite a few of them, but spent most of the night talking to a circle of 3-4 friends in particular, who floated in and out of the conversations all night long. It was that same group of friends that was still there with Ulrich at the end of the night, still swapping stories and laughs about the old days.

The Metallica members are just people at the end of the day, and it was visually evident how grateful they are to have accomplished what they have accomplished as a band and unit, and they have gratitude for remaining relevant as a band during the same year that they are being inducted to the Hall of Fame.

What does Metallica's induction mean for Metal? That's hard to say. Hetfield obviously reeled off a list of bands that aren't in the Hall yet, and should be - Rush, KISS, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, etc. I think that those are all bands that might/should find their place in the Rock Hall eventually. C'mon, you GOTTA put Maiden in there! I think it is potentially a harder road for a band like Slayer, but if Slayer can win Grammy Awards, I guess that really, anything is possible.

I found myself wondering if it was any coincidence that they sold tickets for the induction ceremonies for the first time, on the year that Metallica was being inducted. For anyone that was in the building, it was evident how many of those 5000 seats were occupied by Metallica fans. I'll end with a plea - Public Hall really looked nice after 500k's worth of renovations for the induction ceremonies. It would be a great thing to see concerts return to both Public Hall and Music Hall in the coming months and years. So many legendary artists and concerts have passed through those two halls, and it is criminal that these beautiful facilities are so underused.

When induction tickets were going on sale, Brian reached out to me and asked me if I could pick him up a ticket, since he knew I would be going out to purchase tickets. Thing is, I wasn't planning to go. It wasn't a good time financially to shell out 75 bucks for a ticket, and I had other concerts on my radar that were higher on my list. When Brian called me, I thought about it for a second, and I caved. I didn't want to be one of the music fan schmucks living in Cleveland, not in attendance, fielding phone calls and emails asking "So, you're going...right?"

On the Saturday morning that tickets went on sale to the public in limited quantities at the Rock Hall, the Cleveland weather was crummy, and cold. I knew that I would have to get there early to even have a shot at getting a pair, because I knew they would go quickly, and there was no chance that I was going to score tickets via the main public onsale planned for the following Monday at Ticketmaster. Thanks to the weather, I think that a lot of people decided to stay home, and even better, the Rock Hall let us wait inside prior to the onsale time at 10am.

Friday night, and the beginning of the induction weekend - all of those details are summarized here. I got home about 4am and went to bed about 5am after the adrenaline of the evening wore off. I now have no voice, but my voice has a way of coming back after a night of sleep. Not this time.

Saturday evening, I head to Great Lakes Brewery with no voice (still!) and Brian - we're meeting up with the mysterious Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com, and I get to converse with Bear in what is sure to be a crowded Great Lakes atmosphere. I quickly explain bullet point details to Bear about my voice, and why it is how it is (importantly noting that this is not how I always sound!,) and we settle in for a nice evening of food and fellowship.

Heading over to Public Hall for the induction ceremonies, I run into Ferris, who high-fives me for my Friday night activities before heading off to the press room. We make our way eventually through crowded hallways to find our seats, which are better than I expected.

Now, the evening of events - here are a few of my highlights from the night:

Little Anthony & The Imperials - AMAZING. Anthony really defined every definition of what a "performer" is.

Cleveland native Bobby Womack. Wow. I was familiar with the name prior to that evening, and after that evening, I realized how much of Bobby Womack's music I was really familiar with, even though I didn't own it. Famously, "It's All Over Now" is a track that he wrote and gave away to the Stones. It's interesting to hear the differences between Womack's version, and the Rolling Stones version. Womack built the foundation, and in my opinion, the Stones made it memorable and tore the house down. After the ceremonies, I needed to acquire some Womack tunage pronto, and tracked down this nice double CD MP3 download for 13 bucks. Sold.

Run DMC: I grew up during a time when you heard Run DMC and Madonna on the radio right next to Autograph, Aerosmith, Glenn Frey, and the Rolling Stones. For me, it makes total sense for both Madonna and Run DMC to be in the Rock Hall. Eminem made a great notation during his induction speech, "for those of us that grew up listening to hip-hop, they were our Beatles." That's not the first time I've heard that statement, and I don't know that I would go that far personally, but I definitely do like me some Run DMC. Their greatest hits disc has been in my CD collection since the day of release, and being at the induction ceremonies, I realized that I need to add "Down With The King" to my Ipod.

I wish that they would have played (which is what everyone is saying,) and I'm a bit surprised that they didn't, since Rev. Run was out playing tunes from the catalog with Kid Rock last year. And DMC wanted to play. So if it was Rev. Run holding things back, where/when did things change in his mind?

Jeff Beck. Blew my mind at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in 2007. Tal Wilkenfield, Beck's young prodigy female bass player, also blew my mind at that same show. I couldn't wait for Brian to see Jeff and Tal. Unfortunately, I don't think the camera work for the video screens in house, really allowed one to fully appreciate Tal's onstage energy. If you were there, grab your self a copy of the Crossroads 2007 DVD, and be amazed. Beck also has a new live DVD and CD, Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's, that is a good educational piece.

By the way, credit and props to Beck for a very sly middle finger salute during his speech, dedicated to "those that haven't helped me over the years."

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Beck's speech from this weekend has been uploaded yet. Instead, I'll share with you his colorfully brief speech from 1993, when he was inducted as a member of the Yardbirds.

Billboard Magazine has an interview with Beck, and also additional reflections from Jimmy Page and Joe Perry.

Metallica - see my comments above for Scene Magazine. Performance was great - great to see Newsted back out there with the Metallica boys. The finale performance of "Train Kept A Rollin'" was amazing - Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Hammett, and Hetfield - SIX guitar players on stage, which led Hetfield to proclaim the night as a "rhythm guitar player's dream!" Also on stage, Jason Newsted, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who gave a great induction speech (I was originally critical of him being the choice to induct the band, prior to the ceremony) and dropped what I think was the first F-Bomb of the night.

Great night and good fun - I'm really glad that Brian reached out about going, and I'll echo his wishes to go again when the ceremonies are back in Cleveland.

My friend Pat is a big advocate for buying all-local, and supporting local industry, artists, etc. This weekend was SUCH a win for Cleveland as a city. The NYC board of directors for The Rock Hall finally "bought local" and bought in to Cleveland, bringing financial benefit and plenty of much-needed good vibes to the city. And you know what, I think that everybody that came to our little city, had a lot of fun.

Cheers to that!

More stuff:

Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com will growl out his Rock Hall induction thoughts at some point today in his Monday Rant.

Brian at Broken Headphones has his wrap-up here.

Plain Dealer pop music critic John Soeder has a ton of stuff here.

Cleveland Scene was there live-blogging the event.

Eric Olson from Blogcritics was live-blogging as well.

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6Apr/092

A magnificently Metallic night at the House of Blues

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"Why is everyone leaving me?" "Flemming, why are you doing this to me?"

The short middle-aged guy is leaning up against the bar, joking with Flemming at the end of what might be just another night at the House of Blues here in Cleveland. Except that tonight, we're talking about legendary Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen, the current subject of torment from Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who is still hanging out at nearly 3 a.m. at HOB's bar.

On the eve of Metallica's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band gather at HOB for a super-hush hush party hosted by their longtime management Q Prime, with only friends, Q Prime employees and select label execs on the invite list. Earlier in the week, rumors began to circulate that Metallica would play a secret show before/after the induction ceremonies. By the end of the week, rumors of the event had been downgraded to "private party" status and HOB employees did their best to appear completely unaware of the event, with one employee emailing me back the reply "I honestly haven't heard anything about that!" in response to my inquiry trying to confirm the event. Another associate spoke with Metallica brass and got the message "If Metallica doesn't know you, you're not getting in."

I was there with a label friend of mine that had a high placed connection with Megaforce Records founder Jonny Zazula, and a promise to get in the door on that evening. The only problem is that we've got a bad connection with Jonny's wife Marsha, who keeps answering Jonny's cell phone, unable to hear the caller on the other end.

After a few more phone calls, we decide that it's time to find another way into House of Blues. We encounter a quick roadblock with the HOB employees working the door/guest list, "Who are you" is the question that comes from the HOB employee. "Jonny Zazula" replies my friend. "Who is he?" is the question directed toward me. "Don't I get a plus one?" "No ... um ... well OK, go on inside."

And like that, we're inside. My friend immediately hunts down Jonny Zazula, hugs are exchanged, and Jonny laughs when he hears that we used his name to get in the door. Tonight's party is the best party you've never been to — free food, free booze and an audience with a dizzying list of future Rock Hall inductees, presenters, and tons of celeb friends.

No pictures is the rule, with the understanding that if you are caught taking pictures with your cell phone camera or otherwise, you'll be shown the door immediately. This allows for an atmosphere that finds all four Metallica members — singer James Hetfield, drummer Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bass player Robert Trujillo — to hang at ease with friends and family with minimal interruptions. It is without a doubt, one big giant Metallica family reunion, as the members of Metallica reminisce and swap stories with their longtime former and current business associates, musical comrades, and family.

There are staff photographers on hand, hired to capture the evening's events on film. Legendary guitarist Jimmy Page is holding court, talking with Anthrax members Scott Ian and Charlie Benante. Hetfield is deep in conversation with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who is walking with the aid of a lavish wooden cane, the result of recent hip surgery. Others in attendance: legendary Metallica producer Bob Rock (no hard feelings about the trash can drums, I guess,) rock photographer Ross Halfin, former RIP Magazine editor Lonn Friend, syndicated radio personality Eddie Trunk, Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel, longtime Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke and a couple of former Metallica bass players.

That's right, Jason Newsted AND original Metallica bass player Ron McGovney are both in attendance for the evening. With Rock and Trujillo there, we've got all four bass players from Metallica in the same room. It's good to see Newsted there, and Father Time has been good to him — he doesn't appear to have aged a day since his 2001 departure from the band. For anyone that was wondering the current state of relations between Newsted and Metallica, it's apparent that things are currently all good, at least for this weekend.

Celebration is the focus for not only the pending Rock Hall induction, but also the incredible legacy of Metallica. And that's why tonight feels so good, because nearly all of the principal players that helped Metallica carve out that legacy, are at House of Blues. It appears that no one was left off the guest list, and nearly all have come to Cleveland to celebrate — current and former Q Prime staffers, the previously mentioned musical friends, and some important living breathing footnotes in Metalli-history, including "Metal" Joe Chimienti and "Rockin'" Ray Dill. As members of the "Metal Militia," Dill and Chimienti gave crucial early support to the band and also gave the band a place to stay in their early days. Chimienti's house was also the birthplace for many of the writing sessions for a little album called Ride The Lightning.

During an impromptu roast late in the evening, Dill stood in front of a giant ice sculpture in the Metalli-appropriate shape of a "middle finger salute" (there was also an ice sculpture of "devil horns,") and recalled selling his New Jersey home to a group of young adults. When he told them that James Hetfield had gotten sick in the bathroom, the kids paid attention, remodeling the entire house, except for the hallowed bathroom, which would remain untouched.

McGovney spoke, recalling that the band would refer to themselves as the "young metal attack," a phrase that was used on some of the band's earliest T-shirts and merchandise — "Young because that's what we were, Metal, because that's what it was, and Attack, because that's what we did to each other." There were no speeches from the members of Metallica — there would be plenty of time for that during Saturday's ceremonies — tonight was all about having fun.

For Metallica, it was an evening that also showed they hadn't forgotten where they came from, or the people who got them there. And how many times do you get the chance to bump elbows with Joe Perry and Jimmy Page in the same room? It was a night to remember for all in attendance, and from this guy here, I'll rate it at two metal horns, way up. Best. Night. Ever.

Originally written for Scene Magazine - 4/4/09

From METALLICA.COM:

We got our invitations to the family reunion a while ago now, and leading up to last night's festivities and tonight's induction ceremony, there was a lot of excitement and the odd ripple of trepidation.

Managers, tour managers, record labels, A&R men, promoters, old OLD skool metalheads from the underground fanzines and media, close friends and family, the relationships between everyone stretched well over two decades in most cases, and it was most certainly emotional. A tremendous thing. Old faces suddenly became new ones again, long lost friends found each other making contact again and vowing to stay in touch, some people had teenage children since the last time they saw their fellow Metallifamily members, and others had just lived through different lives and arrived at a new one. There'd certainly been no need for it. The unifying factor amongst the roughly 150 people who congregated at the House Of Blues on Friday night? Metallica. And who else would actually have the magnitude to bring so many members of their family together like this? No-one. It's what this band has always been about, doing the right thing as THEY know it and not as someone tells them it should be.

Metallica.
A unifying force.
An expression.
A family.
A lifestyle.
For us all.

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4Apr/098

Everywhere I look, all I see is Metallica

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I have to say that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction weekend here in Cleveland is off to a good start for me personally. Last night was an EPIC night of fun for this music fan, and I'll fill you in on all or most of the details after the weekend is over. I'll tell you this much: Last night, I spent some time hanging out with legendary Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke.

True music fans will know Fricke's name without the Rolling Stone tag attached, and will appreciate how cool it was. More on all of that will come in the coming days. P.S. - longtime rock photographer Ross Halfin is just as grumpy in person as he appears via his blog. But he has an unbelievable body of work, and I guess that he's earned the right to be a bit sour. And chances are, if you had to put up with some of the egos that he's been with over the years, you might be the same way! Total props to Ross.

Tonight, Brian and I are headed to the induction ceremonies. I'm stoked to see Jason Newsted back on stage with Metallica, and there are a lot of other surprises that I've started to hear about, that are going to be very cool. I'm DVR'ing the coverage on Fuse, because I'm sure that I will want to watch it again before the weekend is over.

In the meantime, here are the last couple of rounds of our Metallica debate, over at Scene Magazine's music blog C-Notes.

Round 5 - Best Metallica Song and Worst Metallica Song

Round 6 - The band's personal bests - What were the best albums and classic moments for each member?

I spent Friday listening to a ton of live Metallica stuff from LiveMetallica.Com, getting pumped for the weekend. It got me stoked for the Metallica show here in Cleveland, later this year.

One of my favorite tunes so far from Death Magnetic in the live setting, remains "Cyanide." The lyrics are more than just a bit cheesy on this one, but the tune itself is a total jam. Here's a live version of "Cyanide" from the band's surprise show in Austin, TX at SXSW, the very same show where my good pal Rob sprained his ankle in the pit, all in the name of metal!

Metallica - Cyanide (live in Austin, TX, March 2009)

"All Nightmare Long," another one of my favorites from Death Magnetic, doesn't quite pack the same punch live as it does on the album, at least in this live version from Chicago earlier this year. Hopefully they'll continue to rock that one in the setlist throughout the year, until it attains the necessary crunch by the time they get to Cleveland.

Metallica - All Nightmare Long (live in Chicago, January 2009)

Purchase these two shows, and many others at LiveMetallica.Com.

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29Mar/0914

New Music: Cracker, Jenny Owen Youngs

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Hello kids,

Thought I would spotlight briefly, a couple of things that have been in my ears this past week.

First, a few links of interest for your enjoyment:

Leading up to the Rock Hall induction ceremonies, I've been talking Metallica with my former radio comrade Chris Akin and Cleveland Scene's D.X. Ferris. The first installment can be found on Scene's newly re-born C-Notes Music Blog here.

Also on the Scene site, Anastasia Pantsios shares details from the opening night of Blue Arrow Records and Books. As one that doesn't really enjoy the opening night crush, (unless it is Van Halen or Springsteen,) I haven't been yet myself, but it's on the schedule for this week!

My buddy Ryan has a chance for you to win the new live CD and DVD from Stevie Nicks. Get your name in the hopper by going here! Smashing!

The Lemonheads covers record that was scheduled for release late last year, is finally scheduled for June.

Michael Penn talks about a lot of things during a SXSW interview, including a total flashback to the days of Hypercard!

Locally, Don Henley spent 20 minutes on the phone with Bill Lewis/WNCX, the day before the Eagles concert at Quicken Loans Arena. After the show, my good pal Bear posted a great recap on his Cleveland Rock and Roll website.

Finally, I'm quite stoked to read about a two CD "legacy" edition that is on the way for the classic Lenny Kravitz album Let Love Rule. I want one.

Cracker - Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey

Cracker have more than just a little bit of sneaky nature bundled inside the works of the Cracker machine. They have this knack for dropping new Cracker albums on the unsuspecting music fan, seemingly from out of nowhere. Such is the case with Sunrise in the Land of Milke and Honey (pre-order from Amazon,) the new Cracker album that will be released on May 5th. I believe Cracker have at least one more great album in the tank, and while this isn't it, it is DAMN good.

Continuing the solid groundwork laid by Greenland (2006) (purchase), Sunrise is the no-bullshit straight up rock record that music fans have been waiting for. Blasting through 11 tracks in under 40 minutes, Lowery spits out rapid-fire lyrics that are signature Lowery.

From the album opening "Yalla Yalla" (I had a girl, Nantucket Massachusetts. She had a lisp, but man her ass was perfect,) to "I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right" (Don't you look down in that hole, cause the devil come out, and keep you for his own,) Lowery really brought his A-game on this album. Cracker axeman Johnny Hickman spreads his unmistakable guitar licks all over Sunrise, and grabs a solo writing credit with "Friends" (Well, I'd never sleep with your ex-girlfriend, even if she starts to flirt with me again,) one of the finer tracks on the album.

Cracker reeled in a ton of special guests for this album, including John Doe (vocals on "Shine a Light,") and a slew of special guests for "Darling One," which features Kevn Kinney (Drivin' n' Cryin',) Adam Duritz and David Immergluck (Counting Crows,) and singer-songwriter Shannon Worrell, to name a few. Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey is the band's first album for new label 429 Records, and hopefully we'll get to see some full-band shows supporting the new album, if we're lucky.

BEST TRACKS:

"Yalla Yalla"
"Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me" (the first single) (download)
"Friends"
"I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right"
"Hand Me My Inhaler"

BONUS LISTENING:

"Something You Ain't Got" (download) from Greenland

ADDITIONAL HOMEWORK:

Greenland (2006) (purchase)
Gentleman's Blues (1998) (purchase)
The Golden Age (1996) (purchase)
Kerosene Hat (1993) (purchase)

Cracker official website

Cracker on the Live Music Archive

Jenny Owen Youngs - Led To The Sea

My apparent love for potty-mouth female singers led me to the music of Jenny Owen Youngs via "F*ck Was I" from Batten The Hatches, an album I bought via Itunes on a whim, after hearing the track from a friend. Youngs' Nelly cover of "Hot in Herre" was an additional purchase I had to make while hanging out at Itunes. Some of you might be familiar with Youngs, from hearing "F*ck Was I" on the hit television program (just wanted to use those three words to sound like "announcer guy nerd") Weeds, a spotlight slot that ultimately helped score Youngs a record deal with Nettwerk. If you missed all of that stuff....well, that's a shame - but now's a great time to catch up!

New Jersey-born Youngs is about to release her second album Transmitter Failure on May 26th, produced by Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, April Smith, The Woes.) Her earlier work is more acoustic-based, and Transmitter Failure will flesh that sound out for the first time with a multitude of instruments including keys, horns, digital drum tracks, flute, glockenspiel, and even a full string section on some tracks. For those that are anxious to hear the new album, (me! me! me!) Youngs will preview the new album with an EP release, Led To The Sea on April 7th.

Youngs shares the following info regarding the new album:

“I wanted to make something that would move people emotionally, but also move them physically. I did not want to end up touring for another three years on a record that wouldn't offer people the opportunity to move. So. Dan and I set out to make something that was, quite simply, more fun to play live. In the process, my writing took turns I didn't expect.”

Dig that. Jenny Owen Youngs will hit the road for a tour with Jukebox The Ghost that goes all over the place with sadly, no tour date for me here in Cleveland. But for the rest of you, check here to see if Jenny is coming to your neck of the woods!

Here's the title track from Led To The Sea, for your enjoyment. Hope you enjoy it - it's my favorite thing that I've heard this week!

Jenny Owen Youngs - Led To The Sea

BONUS LISTENING:

(video)

ADDITIONAL HOMEWORK:

Purchase Batten The Hatches from Amazon - CD or MP3

Jenny Owen Youngs on Twitter

Jenny Owen Youngs on Myspace

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19Mar/094

Some Links To Know About – The Jigsaw, Propaghandi, The Alarm, + Bruce Springsteen

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I've been ill over the past 24 hours after reading D.X. Ferris's rundown of the downward spiral of Phil Lara and the Jigsaw Entertainment Group. In the past couple of years, Lara has purchased or taken a controlling interest in 4 prominent Cleveland-area landmarks - The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, Peabody's Down Under, The Hi-Fi Concert Club, and the world famous Cleveland Agora.

What sounds like a recipe for trouble has become a lot worse, and Ferris chronicles the downfall, with several big reveals, including this:

Since Lara's team took over, the Agora has bounced checks for big shows, including a December concert by Dragonforce and a sold-out, two-night stand by Akron's Black Keys, with tickets at $28.50 a pop. "I don't think we will ever play there again," says Keys drummer Patrick Carney.

and this:

Lara declines to guess how many checks his clubs have bounced. Laeng, the former Jigsaw GM, estimates the number around 500. He says he's never knowingly written a bad one. One of his last loyal soldiers says that's possible.

I'm not going to comment on this much, except to say that it makes me sick to have a lot of friends that have lost employment as a result of this mess, during the current economic times where finding employment is already challenging. Some of my worst fears regarding the business practices of the Jigsaw Entertainment Group have come true, with the potential loss of The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, a Parma staple and landmark for over 30 years, and the amount of damage that has been done financially, and credibility-wise, to the Cleveland Agora.

I'm disappointed but not surprised to read the quote from Patrick Carney. I would have expected to read a quote like that from a national band, but not from a "hometown" group like The Black Keys. I can understand why they would be pissed about getting screwed on payment for two completely sold out shows, but in the context of this article, which is about an individual, Carney's statement is a heavy quote that has little to do with Phil Lara, and one that will go far beyond the Scene article and ultimately hurt the Agora's ability to get shows.

Read the complete article here.

And in other news.....

On a much lighter note......let's continue onward with some musical stuff!

In less than a year, my good pal Brian from Broken Headphones has turned out some pretty cool interviews with folks that you don't hear a lot about these days, including Stompbox (one of my personal faves,) Face to Face frontman Trevor Keith, and his most recent interview with Todd Kowalski of Propaghandi.

Propaghandi is one of those bands that make me think of high school, and my friends Casey and Steve, who were both fans of the band. Thanks to them, I knew plenty about them, and they also introduced me to bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, All, Season to Risk, and so many more.

That's probably one good reason why Brian and I are such good friends - he writes about a lot of music that I'm not personally familiar with, but thanks to Brian, I've learned a little bit more after I read his stuff. Broken Headphones also has a review of the new NOFX DVD Backstage Passport. Check that out right here.

Sound The Alarm!

Good ol' Swap over at TheFrontloader.Com takes a look at one of my favorite bands, The Alarm, and their Strength release. Life for me got a little bit better the first time that I heard The Alarm and "Sold Me Down The River" from the Change album. As compilations go, The Alarm Standards package is one that pops up fairly often in my musical listening travels. "Devolution Workin' Man Blues," "The Stand," "The Road," and of course, "Sixty-Eight Guns" - love 'em all! I'd love to see a show from Mike Peters and crew in my neck of the woods someday soon!

The Alarm - Sold Me Down The River

Swap also has some tunage for you from John Mayer, someone that I've become a big fan of in the past few years. Standing in Illinois at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007, I finally paid attention to John Mayer, and quickly became a convert.

Bruce and Bono = Paradise

Pete at Blogness had a bit of fun churning up the rumor mill with this post, and what I really enjoyed about it all was the tasty video rendition of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" that was at the end of the post. Taken from U2's 2005 Rock Hall induction, how did I miss this one? I must have been sleeping during all of the coverage pre/post, and during the ceremonies!

The Ultimate Drinking Mixtape!

I almost left this one out! Popdose made sure that St. Paddy's Day 2009 went down in style with a mixtape featuring "116 minutes of pure malt goodness" featuring tunes from Social D, The Hold Steady (Hey Jason, Hey Narm!) The Replacements, my man Willie Nelson, and many, many more. Even if you're drinking nothing stronger than Dr. Pepper (the officially endorsed drink of Addicted to Vinyl,) you'll enjoy the heck out of this one.

Drink up and be merry! Welcome to the China Club!

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