The BoDeans came rolling through Cleveland last fall for a mother of a show that featured legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff behind the kit. At that time, I spoke with longtime BoDeans vocalist/songwriter Kurt Neumann and I was interested to find out what it was that was bringing them through town. As it turns out, the tour had been planned to support a new album that had been pushed back to a 2015 release. I Can't Stop is that new album and you can finally get your hands on it as of April 21st.
With that in mind, I figured that I'd dig out that interview with Kurt, since he talks quite a bit about what fans can expect from the new record. (Which you can get a quick taste of via an initial song stream here.) The band will be back on the road in April for a tour supporting the new release (including a show at the Kent Stage here in the Cleveland area on April 29th).
I was excited to hear that there’s a new BoDeans record in the can, so I’d love to start there and hear whatever you can tell us about that.
The record’s called I Can’t Stop and it should come out in mid-February. It’s a pretty up-tempo record. I’m not one of those artists who makes a real moody record. The last couple that I’ve made have been really up-tempo and I find that they just translate really well to playing live, which you know, our shows are pretty high energy shows, which is why we have Kenny Aronoff drumming. It works out really well -- that way we have fun shows to play and good times. So for now, I keep the records more rockin’ and uptempo. So yeah, it should be out in February and I think it’s my 12th studio record, so it’s pretty cool.
Inspirationally, where were the songs coming from this time around?
I was talking a lot about rock and roll music and the music industry and stuff and where it’s gone and how I’ve spent my life kind of playing rock and roll music. The whole idea of I Can’t Stop is just that -- I’m 52 years old and I’ve played it my whole life and you really can’t stop at this point and say, “You know what, I’m going to be an architect or something instead” and just change your direction.
I mean, you could but this is what I do, you know? It’s kind of coming to terms with, like it or not, the music industry is not in a great, great place right now and I’ve seen it come and things get good and not so good, but whatever it is, the music is still good. What I do each night playing live rock and roll still feels like a great thing and a positive thing to do with my life even though it may not be real great for making a living these days, still it seems like a good positive thing to do. So there’s kind of that recurring theme on the record, I noticed. I don’t do any kind of conscious thing about it, you know, I didn’t set out to do that, but that’s just the way the songs kind of came out.
At the time that American Made came out, that was your third record in three years with the BoDeans. It’s been a very prolific period for the band in recent years. Can you pinpoint why that is?
Well, we had been in a state after we kind of lost our Warner Brothers contract in ‘98, where one of the other members of the band shut the band down so he could do a solo record and then we got into this big legal battle with our ex-manager and it just really was a dark place to be and it just really shut the band down. So when we came out of that in 2004, I just felt like I wanted to put stuff out a lot again and play a lot again and escape from the negative stuff that we had been in. So I was just constantly working and I was constantly in the studio, writing and stuff like that and we put out a lot of stuff to the point that when American Made came out, people were just like, “Slow down -- you’re giving us too much, too quick!” So on this record, I tried to slow it down a little bit and not put it out quite so fast so that people have a little more time to digest the new stuff.
One of the things that was interesting to me about the birthing process of that last album was hearing that you had to sell your truck to finance it. It seems like it would be challenging to keep a band going in the current climate of the music business, as you spoke about a little bit ago and hearing about that move really seems to offer an example of that.
Oh, absolutely. It’s really, really hard and it’s harder than I’ve ever seen in my life in the music industry and I really feel sorry for bands that are just trying to start out right now, because it’s almost impossible for them. They’re not making money in any direction on anything they do, to the point of how do you do any kind of job when there’s absolutely no income coming in for you? I just don’t know they do it.
There’s a slight little sliver of new bands that are lucky enough to have a big enough investment in them, whether it’s their families or a record label, but it’s gotten so very small that there’s just less and less music going around and there’s more people making music than ever, so I just don’t know how the system survives. I wish I had a big enough brain to figure it out, but i don’t! So I do what I’ve always done, which is I concentrate on the music and I try to focus on that and let the rest of the world kind of figure itself out a bit.
Did you have a producer for this new album? I know you worked with one on the last one.
No, again, I just couldn’t afford it. Myself and my other singer/songwriter/guitarist who is in the band now, Sam Hawksley, we were both producing it this time around. Which is a challenge -- I’m trying to give myself some distance from the material and still keep it uptempo and fresh and all of that stuff. But I just didn’t have the money to go and hire a producer and go in the studio for too long and do it the way records used to be made, you know, when I started this. So you figure it out and you do what you can. This one, we’re getting it out ourselves as best we can -- I’m working through Megaforce Records and stuff, but there’s no producer -- no big names.
American Made was the first one that you had a producer on in recent years after producing the previous two albums yourself. What led you back to working with a producer on that last one?
Well, I think it’s a really great thing to have on a record, to have an outside perspective on what you’re doing. I think if you can afford to do it, it’s a great thing to have to find someone who is really good at that process and can really fit in that role. It’s not a simple thing to do -- I wouldn’t advise people just hiring anyone to do it. There’s a few really good people that understand the process and can fill that role of a producer really well and it’s hard to do for yourself, it really is. But sheer economics dictate what you can do in that scenario and so that’s the way it is. I prefer to have someone there and I prefer to go into the studio for a good long while and just play and play and play and get some great stuff, but that’s not always possible. So the last record, that’s why I sold the truck, it’s just like I had wanted a producer for many records before and I had kind of gotten shot down by my old partner on it and so it was a chance to finally do that again and explore that. But it’s expensive.
The last album came after a pretty major shift within the group, so it would seem likely that you probably had an easier time approaching the idea of making a new album this time around now, because you probably have a clearer picture of where things are at and what this group is.
Yeah, well there was a lot of negativity going on for years and though I tried to keep things as positive as I could, you can only do so much. Other people have agendas and things happen and then you can’t stop that. So like I say, when I finally got to American Made, it was a chance to just let things be positive again and find musicians who really like to play together and stuff, which is what the new record is all about too.
Every show we play now and every track we record, it’s really about trying to maintain what I think music is about, which is that positive collective energy, you know, you’re trying to create something great and inspiring to people. That’s the focus for me and that’s the focus that I always wanted but wasn’t always able to get to. Because there are people out there who think they’re more creative under really negative circumstances and that’s not me. That’s not how I function well.
When Sam Llanas departed from the group, how much did you have to reconfigure and perhaps figure out your methods for creating BoDeans records as a songwriter after that? How much did things really change for you?
Not much. I was doing all of the records myself for years, even back in the ‘90s when I was putting together our live records, all of the way up to this latest record, I had always been the guy in the studio doing all of the recording. I mean, a lot of people don’t know it, but I played most of the instruments on most of the BoDeans records in the early years too -- I would always play all of the guitars on all of the records and stuff, whether it was acoustic or electric and basses and some records, I played the drums and everything.
So I was used to that and that was kind of the frustration, is that I found myself doing everything, putting the records together and all of the recording, putting the bands together for touring, going out there and putting all of the setlists together and everything like that, so when Sam left, it wasn’t that big of a change for me at all. I think the change was for people on the outside looking in, but I was still doing all of the work like I always did, so that didn’t change.
The band has worked with T-Bone Burnett several times across its career, at pretty interesting points --- for the first record, the Go Slow Down album and again on Still. Do you think that significantly influenced the path of the songwriting and producing that was happening with the band across the years as the career of the BoDeans progressed?
Oh definitely, yeah. He’s a perfect example, if you can afford it, of someone who will really bring a vision to your record and really help you simplify the whole process of songwriting and recording and stuff like that. He’s very talented at it and being around him and working with him, that rubs off on you and I’ve learned a lot from him from all of the years and times that we’ve worked with him. He’s a great person and you carry that with you and you try to apply it. I try to apply it to every record I make and yes, you still have some of your own visions, but you try to remember the things that you learned.
Overall, when you look back at the music that this band has made, do you feel like the group found its sound pretty early on?
Yeah, you know we’ve been through a lot of transitions, if you go through the records. You know, a lot of people talk about the shake-up a few years ago when Sam left, but I think the bigger shake-up was when our first drummer left after the first record. I think that’s when we had our purest sound.
We were just a three-piece at first and doing this weird kind of rockabilly/alt-country stuff at a time when check tape at 14:05 were playing. It was our thing and it was pure and stuff like that, but as you get signed to labels and as people leave and you go through the process, things change and you try to adapt and you try to make sense of it. But you know, you listen to our first record and our fourth or fifth record and they’re very different. Because that’s the way life is, it would be hard to just be one thing only, but certainly in this one. In the arts, you know, you want to change -- you’d be crucified if you don’t change and then you get crucified if you do change. So you’ve just gotta follow your heart in it.
I spoke with someone earlier this week who called albums a snapshot of the previous 12 months…
Pretty much. Like I was saying earlier, when you’re the guy in the studio playing everything -- even from the first record on, I was playing all of the guitars and stuff, really kind of defining the sound, so I think I have a good understanding of what the BoDeans sound is and what people relate to it and what they like about it, you know? So I’m always conscious of staying within that arena of stuff -- it’s not like I’m going to put together a rap record with just drum machines or something, just because I felt like it that year.
You know, you’ve got to be conscious of what you are and what you do and why people relate to you, but at the same time if you have some other things that you want to try [you can do that], but I try to keep always within that realm of what it’s always been, which is classic Americana songwriting and classic simple songs.
Way back in the day, Mike Campbell almost ended up producing the band. What are your memories of that time period? Why didn’t things work out?
I don’t know. I was a huge fan of him and Tom Petty and the records that they made and we tried and like I say, we lost our drummer and that had a lot to do with it, so when we went out to record, we were reeling without the 16:19 check tape of what we used to be and trying to find what worked. At the time, we had a lot of great songs to record, but we didn’t have the same unit and that might have been the problem, but for whatever reason, it just fell on its face and we had to try to find someone else.
What’s got you out on the road for this current set of tour dates?
Well, originally we thought the new record was going to come out in the fall, but because I actually have to sell my house now, I had to take about a month and a half off to kind of fix up my house to get it up for sale, so that put the release off and that meant that it wasn’t going to come out until February. But we still had these shows scheduled and I didn’t want to just go and reschedule and it’s always such a pleasure to come up here in the fall and play all of these small towns and stuff that we play, so we decided that we’ll just come out and do the run and tell people about the record coming out and maybe come back in the spring or summer again. But that’s why we’re here right now.
BoDeans image credit: Robert Luk
He also indicated that there are plans to put out expanded reissues of the band's last two albums, Some Other Sucker's Parade and Can You Do Me Good?
For those of you who already picked up the expanded reissues of Waking Hours, Change Everything and Twisted, you'll know that this is good news. Those reissues were packed with nearly all of the appropriate B-sides from the period...and even as somebody who had personally accumulated all of those B-sides, it was nice to have them collected in one place.
October will bring the release of Into The Mirror, the first official live album from Del Amitri -- you can pre-order signed copies (autographed by Justin and Iain) from the band's website.
Currie launched his U.S. solo tour on Sunday with a show in Nashville that was apparently broadcast on the radio (and I'm looking for a copy -- do you have one?).
Speaking of that, if you'd like to go see that Music Box show tonight --- drop me an email here with "Justin Currie Cleveland Concert" in the subject line for your chance to win. This contest will expire not too long after you read this, so move quickly and good luck!
It's hard to believe, but this year marks the 20th anniversary of the band Wilco. They've recently announced plans to celebrate the anniversary with a pair of releases, including the first-ever best of compilation from the group and also a collection of rarities that they say, "We're pretty sure you're gonna love."
They're also on the road playing a few shows to celebrate the milestone and as if that wasn't enough, frontman and creative mastermind Jeff Tweedy will release his solo debut under the banner of Tweedy on September 23rd.
Here's a sampling from the Tweedy album, a tune called "Summer Noon."
Wilco was in town this past Thursday (September 4th) for a rare Cleveland area show at the Akron Civic Theatre. It was Wilco's first area appearance since their show at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium in February of 2008. Their return was long overdue and it was great to have them back!
Our good friend Amy Weiser was there with her camera to capture scenes from a great night of music in Akron. Check out the gallery of photos below!
This show is the second of the one-two radio concert punch that broke Rush into Cleveland via WMMS and subsequently throughout the Midwest and beyond. It has been referred to by many names in bootleg form, including Rush Returns to Cleveland and Finding Prime. Featuring three songs from the upcoming May 1975 release Fly By Night, the show is energetic and also very early in the career of drummer Neil Peart, who joined the band not even five months earlier following the departure of John Rutsey.
The famous first radio show from August 1974, commonly seen as Fifth Order of Angels, just may show up here as a 2013 Christmas in July special so stay tuned.
Congratulations to the members of Rush (and Heart as well) for staying alive long enough to participate in their induction. Now how about we get to work on Kiss and Deep Purple and Grand Funk and the Guess Who and ELO and Todd Rundgren and …
Finding My Way
The Best I Can
What You're Doing
Fly By Night
Look out mama, there’s some greybeards comin’ up the river.
They may look like your old hippie parents or grandparents, but they are really one of rock music’s most enduring and consistent bands, Crazy Horse.
Playing as if the clock never moved over the last 40-plus some years, it was a treat to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse slip into their unique brand of rock and roll and get lost for a few hours.
With more than a nod to the Rust Never Sleeps era, the 21st century version of the “roadeyes” came out prior to the start of the set and began to put the finishing touches on the sparse but oversized set which included 20 foot tall Fender cabinets and an inflatable microphone placed center stage. While they dressed in lab coats and construction worker garb rather than brown robes, the crew worked diligently to get it all just right, backed by approving cheers from the anxious crowd at the Wolstein Center.
Following a pre-recorded rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Crazy Horse was now ready to rock.
“Love and Only Love” set the tone with its trademark Neil and Billy Talbot harmonies over layers of Neil and Frank Sampedro guitar wash. Veering a little further into the past, Young broke out the first of only a few classics with “Powderfinger.” Losing none of its original contempt, Young delivered the closing line “I saw black and my face splashed in the sky” with the same defiant surrender as he did nearly 35 years ago.
Moving ahead now to the yet-to-be released Psychedelic Pill, Young’s homage to his hometown, “Born in Ontario,” preceded the song of the night, a 20 minute throwdown called “Walk Like a Giant.” A nod to the failures and unfulfilled romantic ideals of the1960’s, the riff was huge as was the ending; over five minutes of droning power and feedback, seemingly simulating the sound of giants stalking the stage. A noisy testament to knowing from where you came and not conceding to the limits imposed by your age, your history or your catalog.
Going acoustic for a few, “The Needle and the Damage Done” inspired a mini sing-along and “Twisted Road” brought approval with its mentions of the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan. “Ramada Inn” was yet another reflective tune, looking back at life as a young traveler with nothing but ambition and contrasting that with the “what do we do now?” emptiness that pervades middle-age and beyond.
A fairly straight read of “Cinnamon Girl” preceded a wickedly welcome “F*! #in’ Up,” offering further proof that the band has lost nothing since that song’s debut over 20 years earlier on Ragged Glory.
Following “Psychedelic Pill,” Young commented that he forgot to introduce it as a new song while acknowledging that it didn’t matter because all of his stuff sounds the same anyway. He was certainly correct and that wasn’t a bad thing. The new songs would sound like vintage Crazy Horse to one who didn’t know better.
“Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)” reinforced Young’s notion that rock and roll will never die while also clearly illustrating that it’s just not being taken care of too well at the moment by those who don’t fit into a certain advanced age bracket.
“Mr. Soul” rocked hard and loud in the hands of the Horse. Interestingly, the fattening up of its original guitar melody brought light to the debt the song owes to Keith Richards’ great “Satisfaction” riff.
Finishing with the nostalgia and realism of “Roll Another Number,” the band stood on stage for an extended period soaking in the cheers and communal atmosphere. They had given it up in the name of rock and roll and Cleveland couldn’t have been more appreciative.
Love and Only Love
Born in Ontario
Walk Like a Giant
The Needle and the Damage Done
F*! #in’ Up
Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)
Roll Another Number
Playing the role of supporting act, Los Lobos caught fire early and could have played all night. Their seven-song set provided a brief overview of their career, hitting five of their 19 original albums: 1984’s How Will the Wolf Survive?, 1992’s Kiko, 1996’s Colossal Head, 2006’s The Town and the City, and 2010’s Tin Can Trust.
The opening strains of “Will the Wolf Survive” were familiar to many in the crowd, which grew larger over the course of their set thanks to the show’s early start time. Moving through a spicy version of “Chuco’s Cambia” into the hypnotic “Tin Can Trust,” guitarist Cesar Rosas then broke things open with a stompin’ take on the blues shuffle “That Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore.” A surprise followed in the form of the Blasters classic “Marie Marie,” recorded by the band on their 2004 EP of cover songs, Ride This.
Heading back to Kiko for a second dose with Rojas’ ominous “Wicked Rain,” they closed things up with the rocker “Don’t Worry Baby” and an all-out freak out on “Mas Y Mas.”
A brief but infinitely potent set from one of America’s finest. Catch them next time as a headliner for thorough exposure.
Will the Wolf Survive?
Tin Can Trust
That Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore
Don’t Worry Baby
Mas Y Mas
Since we last left our heroes Sons of Bill, they've been quite busy. Their new album David Lowery-produced album Sirens was officially released in March and made its debut in the Billboard Top 200 (not too shabby, guys!). They're touring currently in support of Sirens and recently announced that they will go to Europe this fall to play shows, starting with two weeks of dates in Germany.
Before that, they have a summer full of U.S. tour dates including a Cleveland-area show at the annual Painesville Party in the Park on Friday, July 20th, where they will join in on three days of musical entertainment including music from Cleveland locals Tom Evanchuck, Oldboy, Hedgehog Dilemma and Alex Bevan, just to name a few.
Sirens is also available on vinyl, as I recently discovered when I got this at my P.O. Box.
The pictured note below says "we hear you've been enjoying our record (and given the name of your blog) thought you might enjoy it even more on vinyl. Thanks for listening and keep in touch. All our best, Sons of Bill."
Sounds like friends forever, doesn't it? Thanks so much, guys!
I finally had a chance to participate in "Sofa Sundays" with Glen Phillips last night via the fine folks at StageIt, which is a whole 'nother conversation. But while I was checking that out, somebody in the chat room mentioned that Fuel/Friends had recently posted an entry in their Chapel Sessions series featuring Glen, which I was completely unaware of!
[Clearly, my Toad radar is on the blink, dammit.]
Glen's going to be on the road in the coming weeks with a Cleveland date (which I can't wait for) at the Winchester on Saturday, May 19th.
Here's a link to check out his complete schedule of upcoming shows....including some dates later this year with Grant-Lee Phillips!
Until he makes it to your fine city, I'm sure you'll enjoy this session.
Heather from Fuel/Friends writes (and I agree):
Glen is one of the most lovely, wrenching songwriters that I know of who is still plugging away intelligently from those bands I loved in the ’90s. There is a specific timbre his voice hits that other longtime fans will understand when I say just slices through all those deadened layers that calcify around my insides. Just a straight shot through. As the years pass, I hear him harnessing a certain type of weariness –no, quietness, maybe– but also there is still that bubbling current of hope and a satisfaction with the lives we have woven together from all of this crazy life.
Click on over and check it out here.
By the way, a recent interview updates the status of the in-progress Toad the Wet Sprocket reunion album and Phillips says that “it could be out later this year and that will be something since we haven’t made an album in 16 years.”
Having heard a couple of the new songs during the band's performance here last year at the Kent Stage, the new album should really be something to look forward to.
Glen pic via Opticality
The song selection was delectable, the offbeat sense of humor seemed to be fully intact and overall, it was just nice to have Fountains of Wayne back in Cleveland.
I thought it was 2009...but no, it was 2007 that was the year of my last Fountains of Wayne encounter. There were two great encounters that year in fact, one of them being a performance at the Virgin Festival that found me seeing FOW and Cheap Trick back to back. Now that's an awesome day.
Since then, there have been road trip worthy shows that I've missed, including the mouth watering acoustic tour (damn! damn! damn! I should have gone!) and finally a new album this year, the crowd pleasing Sky Full of Holes.
As is the case with any Fountains of Wayne album, you develop favorites and a hit list of songs both old and new that you hope they might play live.
When they came to the Beachland Ballroom on Tuesday night (with frontman Chris Collingwood wearing a trucker's hat, looking somewhat like he'd wandered in straight from a hunting expedition), they did a pretty good job of covering the bases with a setlist that served up a choice selection of songs from the new album ("a fairly recent release by our standards," they quipped from the stage) and some great deep cuts and favorites from the back catalog.
If you've heard "Hate To See You Like This," you'll appreciate the humorous mismatch of the venue disco ball that they chose to feature during the song. Or depending on your point of view, perhaps it was completely appropriate.
As Girlfriend Annie said, they just need to rock out the classic rock covers album and get it out of the way - the mid-song medley of rock classics in the middle of "Radiation Vibe" was an extremely convincing argument in favor of such a project - we think they'd knock it out of the park. [Honorable mention to bassist Adam Schlesinger who pulls off an awfully convincing Frampton lead vocal when he's not helping to co-write awesome power pop songs.]
The setlists have been fairly fluid with songs rotating in and out, so if your favorites aren't present here, there's a good chance that they still might pull it out on an upcoming night when the tour hits your city.
It's a show not to be missed.
Little Red Light
Someone To Love
Red Dragon Tattoo
Leave The Biker
No Better Place
The Summer Place
Richie and Ruben
Fire In The Canyon
A Dip In The Ocean
Hate To See You Like This
Radiation Vibe (with excerpts from: Everybody Wants Some (Billy Squier), Double Vision (Foreigner), Jet (Wings), Do You Feel Like We Do (Peter Frampton), Twilight Zone (Golden Earring), White Wedding (Billy Idol)
Sink To The Bottom
(80 minute set)
This picture says quite a bit....
While this picture adds a few more details...
....and this article fills in the rest of the gaps.
As a rock and roll geek for life, it's no shock that I love moments like this...and it's even cooler when they happen right here in Cleveland. Take that, Cleveland bashers, rest of the world, etc.
When I got a chance to see Joe Walsh last fall, it was a make good on several levels. First, it made up for the James Gang reunion shows that I had missed in the past 10 years. Also, it answered a question that I was unsure about. Could Joe Walsh still rock?
It turns out that solo Joe Walsh is still a very different animal than the Joe Walsh that you see on stage these days with the Eagles. And yes, Mr. Walsh most certainly can rock and then some.
His new solo album Analog Man has just been confirmed for a June 5th release date (what's this CD/DVD "deluxe edition" that I'm reading about now?) and even with the Eagles celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Walsh will be playing at least a few scattered solo dates in support of the new album, which is his first solo release in 20 years.
Dates are starting to pop up and based on what I saw last fall, you'd do well to schedule yourself some time with Joe if he's coming to your area.
Stream the title track:
Pictures via Lava Room Recording in Cleveland
Hasn't it been way too long since Fountains of Wayne played a Cleveland show?
The folks at the Beachland Ballroom apparently must agree with that thought, because they've booked FOW for a Ballroom show on Tuesday, April 24th.
[Details of which were shared mere minutes ago in their fine email newsletter which you should be subscribed to.]
*dancing and celebrating commences now here at the ATV compound*
FOW are touring in support of their latest album Sky Full Of Holes and their tour schedule seems to indicate that perhaps there might be additional dates added in April to go along with the dates presently listed on their site.
Tickets for the Cleveland show go on sale on Friday, February 3rd at 10 A.M.