Written by: Matt Wardlaw
Thanks to my buddy Brian Boone for the tip on this one --- if you're a fan of Split Enz, you can nab a free Kindle download of a new book (released earlier this summer in June) by founding bass player Mike Chunn.
These free downloads are usually available only for a short time, so you'll want to act fast. If you miss out, we're willing to wager (after a quick scan of the book contents) that it would still be worth grabbing for the regular purchase price of $6.99.
Head to Amazon via this link to grab your copy.zero
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
Pardon me while I rediscover my own blog, won't you?
Today we're going to take a journey back to November of 1979 for a (nearly) full set from Foreigner, recorded live on the Head Games tour.
Tunes: Many of your favorites including "I'll Get Even With You," "Love On The Telephone," "Rev On The Red Line," "Fool For You Anyway" and oh yeah, all of the hits, too. But when I saw the previously mentioned album tracks in the setlist, I knew I needed to hear this show right away....and so do you!
Sourced from an FM broadcast, the sound is a bit rough around the edges, almost as if you got a dub from the guy who originally taped it back in the day (something that you get used to really quickly), but the setlist and performance make this one a winner. I'd probably rate the sound at around an A- or a B+ or even better, a bootleg that sounds pretty awesome, considering it is from 1979.
Former Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm has a new autobiography out which might make a good addition to your reading stack if you haven't acquired it yet. Check that out here.
The incredible songwriting career of Gramm and his co-conspirator Mick Jones will be celebrated this month as they are inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Certainly very well deserved!
Foreigner at the Omni
Long Long Way from Home
Blue Morning, Blue Day
I'll Get Even With You
Rev on the Red Line
Dirty White Boy
Fool for You Anyway
Cold as Ice
Feels Like The First Time
Love On The Telephone
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
As this year's edition of Record Store Day fades into the distance, you might enjoy some reading regarding the vinyl-making process at Cleveland's own Gotta Groove Records. I've read a lot of different profiles of the Gotta Groove operation but this one from the folks at Whopperjaw is my favorite, ranking at about 9 on the 10 scale as far as the level of music nerd info satisfaction achieved post-consumption.
As you'll read, the Gotta Groove folks are a big part of a ton of national vinyl releases that have been coming out in recent years -- the limited edition "bootleg" vinyl pressing (on double LP blue vinyl!) of the latest Dawes album Stories Don't End (a run of only 500 copies) is the most recent Gotta Groove production to land on my turntable.
There are so many good things happening in Cleveland, but the success of Gotta Groove is one particular good thing that I'm really proud of. Hopefully they'll be pressing vinyl for many years and decades to come!
Image via Columbus Underground.zero
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
How's your falsetto voice holding up these days? Because if you're like me, it's very likely that you'll be singing the chorus of Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You" as soon as you start reading this interview. And of course, the next logical step after that is to listen to "I Can Dream About You" about 80 times or so.
Here - let me help you out with that piece of things:
I picked up a huge trunk full of music magazines from the '70s and '80s last night from a friend, who is back in Cleveland, helping to clean out his old family home. Within those magazines was an issue of Modern Recording & Music from June of 1985.
Reading this interview, which was conducted by Jimmy Guterman, I decided to see if I could find a good program that would let me scan to text (which I did - it's called FreeOCR, for the interested tech heads out there.)
I found this to be a really interesting read, no matter whether you're a fan of the song or not, it's just an interesting snapshot look at one man's perspective on making records, circa 1985.
I'm jealous of Jimmy, who had the chance to use what might possibly be one of the best opening interview questions ever. "How did 'I Can Dream About You' happen?"
More recently, Jimmy wrote a book which will be of interest to fellow Bruce Springsteen nuts, called Runaway American Dream.
Here's the interview - enjoy!
Nineteen eighty four was a year of many rock n‘ roll comebacks. Tina Turner and John Fogerty got all the headlines (and rightly so), but they weren't the only artists who returned to the spotlight last year after a long absence. Of those less-celebrated, the most unlikely return may be Dan Hartman's. Hartman's public career started with the Edgar Winter Group(for whom he wrote “Free Ride") and led to a checkered solo career as an artist (the 1979 disco smash “Instant Replay"), writer (for Diana Ross), and producer (Plasmatics).
Hartman's return to the charts with “I Can Dream About You,” one of the few listenable songs from last summers Streets of Fire soundtrack, places Hartman ?rmly in the center of the pop zeitgest. With co-producer Jimmy lovine and new songwriting collaborator Charlie Midnight, Hartman's new LP has spawned two dancefloor hits (the aforementioned title track and “We Are the Young”). I Can Dream About You has its share of obvious moments, but it is still an effective show-case for this self-proclaimed “studio rat's" skills. Modern Recording and Music sat down with Hartman in late March at New York's Top Cat Studios, where he was rehearsing for his first tour in the past decade.
Modern Recording & Music: How did “I Can Dream About You” happen?
Dan Hartman: Jimmy (Iovine)and I have known each other foryears. He worked on the Edgar Winter Group’s Shock Treatment album as assistant engineer for Shelly Yakus, and we stayed in touch over the years. One time I was in California and he was producing Stevie Nicks’ Wild Heart in the same studio I was working in. I saw him in the hallway and he told me he was working on the Streets of Fire soundtrack and he’d like me to submit something. I had a tape of “I Can Dream About You” sitting around the studio as a demo. I sent it to him and he loved it. The version on the record is mostly my demo version, even though the original demo was much more electronic-sounding. The electronic drums at the beginning are there for the whole track. Jimmy added a real drummer, a real bass player, and a real guitar player. He gave it a more human rock element to complement my electronic dance element. It's got the best of both worlds.
MR&M: Why has it been ten years and why now?
DH: The ‘now’ question is easy. I'm making music I’m excited about that can be played live. I never stopped making music because I have the studio in my house, but I didn’t have the means to play them live. I was doing a lot of dance music that I couldn't play live and honor it as an art form. What I’m doing now can be played live with a rough rock n‘ roll band. The two kinds of music that are prevalent today, rock and dance music, have finally come together. That’s where I am—rhythmic dance rock n’ roll.
MR&M: What's your approach to synthesizers?
DH: I prefer synthesizers without a sequencer. I don’t like the sequencer to play the part. I like to play it live-it feels better.
MR&M: Do you think you'll be working with Jimmy Iovine in the future?
DH: I don't know. People change between albums. When it comes time for the next album, I don’t know if he'll have the time. There are so many variables. When the next album comes up, there’ll probably be more steps I want to take. It's difficult to produce yourself. You have to keep a wide enough perspective and you have to be ruthless and cut and edit. Sometimes you get confused and need an outside ear. I recognize that. Some artists don't recognize that and come out without something sounding weird because of it.
MR&M: How do you hear “Instant Replay” almost a decade down the road?
DH: I'm successful at communicating When I‘m in the studio messing around, I don't think, “This sounds commercial." I just turn the music up to 10 and have a party. My natural inclination is what lifts me off the floor. With your own studio, you can either get real lazy or become a workaholic. When I play “Instant Replay" now, I listen to something that at the time communicated in the best way I knew how. It incorporated the trend of the time with real communication. I did that song because I was in love and I was elated. I did the whole thing in one week as a gift. It reflected the times.
A lot of my rock friends said at the time, “That‘s a hip record." If you listen to the disco records of that time, “Instant Replay" had more of a rock edge. I just put together a new version that we'll be doing on this tour. It will reflect the sounds of the Eighties now, instead of sounding like 1978 disco. I‘m still proud of the original. The vocal performance is great and it achieves a feeling. That's the most important thing. The song communicates.
MR&M: With “Instant Replay," you were a rarity, a white man with a disco hit in the midst of the racist ‘Disco Su--s’ movement." With the new album. you seem to be making a conscious effort to integrate stereotypical “black” and “white” styles.
DH: That's right. It's not so much a conscious effort as the consciousness of my focus. On “I Can Dream About You," the idea was to establish myself as a vocalist. I want to make mainstream records—I don’t want people to miss my message. I don't want to be too weird. I want to be heard—I want to communicate. I'm a rock n’ roller, but I also love rhythm n’ blues and soul. I love the spirit, the passion, and the sexuality of R&B much more than headbanger rock n’ roll—even though some of my favorite albums are Pyromania and For Those About To Rock. They’re headbanger albums,but they also have soul.
Two years ago. I fired everybody around me. I fired my manager, my lawyer, everybody. I got away from everything. I wanted to carry forth a concept of dance rock n‘ roll and the people around me wanted to do the same stuff again. I wanted to do a Big Bam Boom. They weren’t behind me. so I quit and disappeared for eighteen months. I lived my life. Along theway, I was writing. “I Can Dream About You" is what I was trying for. It’s crossover, black, white, rock,dance, and has a great vocal. It’s everything. Remember, it looks like black people do “I Can Dream About You" in the video. People saw the picture sleeve and said “Huh? He's white. This can't be Dan Hartman.” If they like the music, that's all that matters.
MR&M: How is getting ready for a tour different from preparing to record?
DH: I don’t actually get ready for records. I just do ‘em. It’s day to day; I live in it. For the tour. it's been easy and fun for the band to master tracks that are mostly just me on the album.
MR&M: How has producing or engineering other peoples work affected your own records?
DH: When I do somebody else's record, I'm a totally different person. I feel more of a responsibility to make sure nothing's messed up. Like my own work, I try to go for the magic, the essence of that artist. But I am more careful.
MR&M: You've said you want to play mostly small venues on this tour. Can you make money doing that?
DH: No. I'm not going out to lose money—who wants to bleed?—but I don't think it's all about money. I don't necessarily want to make money on the road. I've been lucky to make money from my records. When I go out on the road, I pay my band all the money. I don't make any money. My manager gets his cut, the expenses get paid. and I come back with the same amount I left with.
MR&M: But you do get to play in front of people.
DH: Yeah. that's it. The thing is to translate the studio excitement onstage. You've got to live what you're doing onstage. It's got to be raw energy. It doesn't have to be perfect. If it was. it would be boring.
MR&M: What inspires you?
MR&M: That's a great motivator, but anything else?
DH: I'm inspired because people are starting to hear me. I want to be heard. When no one's listening, I'm not real motivated. I'm motivated by listening to Chaka Khan. She's the Jimi Hendrix of our age. She'll sing and sometimes it sounds like Hendrix's guitar. It's the same essence of freedom he had in his solos. She's a major vocal influence and inspiration. I love Foreigner, Vangelis,Robert Palmer. Lotsa stuff.
MR&M: “I Can Dream About You" became a hit mostly because it fit snugly in the current dance/rock sound that's all over CHR. Was that calculated or accidental?
DH: It was luck. I do not consider these things when I'm recording. I just do what I want to do.
MR&M: Do you and Charlie have a writing method?
DH: I met Charlie eighteen months ago when I cut myself loose of the corporate leeches. I met him through some people at CBS and tried some songs together. Those songs had a real uniqueness. When we write a song, we have a reason. I like songs that have no reason at all, but they don't wear very well. If you want to say something and mean something you'd better have something strong to say that'll reach people. We usually start with a title. discuss it. He'll go off somewhere and come up with the lyric and I can read his lyric and hear the music. I don't fight it—I just get it down on tape.
MR&M: What kind of music canwe expect from you and Charlie next?
DH: We're discussing topics. We want to get strange, but still communicate. It'll be weird.
MR&M: What do you consider weird?
DH: When you get into the areas of eroticism, politics, and belligerency, you have to be careful. Some of it will get out. Both Charlie and I have slanted minds. If “Relax” or “Sugar Walls" can be hits, there is a place for that kind of stuff, too. It's fun and interesting to write about that. Or with politics: Third World people own the bomb. That's probably where the nuclear war will start. They have nothing to lose. You can write about that. It'll be just another record from a romantic cynic.more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
As a music geek, it’s only natural that you might pile up a few rock and roll regrets along the way. For all of the great experiences you’re privy to, there are also a few that you miss out on and sometimes, you kick yourself later for the opportunities which were right there in front of you.
One of those for me is the fact that I never saw the Ramones in concert and I certainly had several chances to do so, including the band’s headlining performance at the WMMS Buzzardfest in 1995 at Blossom Music Center.
I came late to the Ramones party, but one of the first songs that really made impact with me was “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio” from 1980’s End of the Century.
“This is rock and roll radio/ c’mon let’s rock and roll with the Ramones” was the album opening greeting from the “DJ,” voiced by Sean Donahue, which opened the door to End of the Century. It was such a cool intro that I found it completely necessary to place it as the starting track on one of my mix tapes at one point.
It was an interesting period for the band, who were working with legendary producer Phil Spector for the first time, a move that not everybody in the group was on board with. When The Wall of Sound Met The New York Underground: The Ramones, Phil Spector and the End of the Century is the tantalizing title of a new ebook from Frank Meyer which attempts (very successfully) to shed some light and detail on the experience.
Meyer brings a good amount of cred to the table, having written liner notes for a good chunk of the Ramones reissues in recent years and additionally, he co-authored the book On The Road With The Ramones with former Ramones tour manager Monte A. Melnick.
He draws on that experience for certain tidbits and interview quotes from the members of the Ramones and their former associates, some of which are previously unpublished, to create a documentation of the End of the Century experience that is essential reading for both music fans and Ramones fans alike.
When The Wall of Sound Met The New York Underground is a musical literary dissertation in defense of both End of the Century and the related Rock ‘N’ Roll High School movie that will immediately make you want to own both if you don’t already and at the very least, you’ll be pulling out your copies to revisit them after reading it.
End of the Century was Meyer’s introduction to the band and as he recalls, it was an album which “wasn’t nearly as brutal and scathing as I thought punk rock was supposed to be.” It was this fact which left a large portion of their existing fanbase feeling really pissed off for what they viewed as their punk heroes selling out to the mainstream.
Certainly, End of the Century was indeed an attempt by the Ramones to take things in a direction which was more mass appeal, but as Meyer explains, the album doesn’t deserve the slagging that it received. It deserves in his opinion, a higher ranking within the Ramones legacy and during the course of the book, he makes a really good case to support his argument.
The band’s union with the notoriously quirky Ramone (really, we would have no idea until much later, it turns out) found the producer brandishing firearms as a way to threaten the band members into doing what he wanted them to do. But the Ramones were willing to push back, to a point.
As Marky Ramone shares, “we weren’t the Righteous Brothers - he couldn’t push us around.”
The sessions however, paired with Spector’s wild mood swings, temper tantrums and unorthodox methods of getting things done would drive some of the band members (especially guitarist Johnny Ramone) to the brink of near-insanity.
In the midst of all of this, the Ramones were also making the Rock ‘N’ Roll High School movie, which was budgeted at a very modest $300,000 that didn’t begin to cover a lot of the outside expenses associated with the film. Because of the costs of housing the band in Los Angeles while they worked on the film, they also played a number of gigs during that same time period to help offset the cost.
They certainly had a lot going on and it’s fascinating to read the tales behind the movie and the album and the high expectations attached to both, nearly all of which would fail to be realized upon completion and release
But End of the Century was a valuable experience for the band, because as Meyer writes, they grew up during the process of making the album. Calling it the album where they were “swimming with sharks” as opposed to jumping over them, End of the Century was the sound of the “greatest punk band there ever was, stretching their wings and flexing their musical muscles.”
Wall of Sound reveals that when you consider everything behind the scenes that the Ramones were facing during the making of End of the Century, they made an album that was pretty damn good. Even if there had been nothing but sunshine moments during the sessions, the Ramones created something that remains a crucial listen. When The Wall of Sound Met The New York Underground is a nice companion piece for that listening experience.
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
My friend John Hannibal recently conversed with another friend of mine, Joshua Jesty.
There were at least four or five moments in the interview that were funny, hopefully to others besides just me.
RH: What do you do 9 to 5?
JJ: Wait tables, plan my escape.
RH: Where at?
JJ: I'll be mysterious and say file not found.
Here's the complete interview for your reading pleasure.
Josh recently wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign to master his latest album 'Portugal' and I'm thrilled to say that I've made my choice for the song which he will cover and put on Youtube as part of the reward for my Kickstarter donation.
What is it?
Oh, you'll find that out when I post the video here, sometime soon!
For now, there's this.more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
When I was growing up here in Cleveland, I couldn't imagine a day when I wouldn't be spending many of my concert nights attending shows at the Cleveland Agora, but shifting times, financial issues and politics eventually drove the Agora into its current state of relative inactivity.
Among the clubs that have filled the void, I've really enjoyed watching what the folks over at the Beachland Ballroom have been able to build up over their 11 year history of booking shows. Offering an eclectic mix from the very beginning, they've impressively grown through the years, booking quite a few shows that at an earlier time, you might have said "that would be a great show to see at the Beachland, but it's probably too big for the room."
But as their foot traffic grew, so did the word of mouth spreading from band to band regarding the hospitality given to those groups/artists who were playing gigs there and the Beachland's star began to rise. It remains true that if you're good to others, they'll be good to you.
I hate reading about their current issues with the city and I'm sending lots of good vibes in their direction that things will work out in their favor, because as this week's Cleveland Scene cover story points out, they've done a lot of good for the area...besides just bringing a great mix of live music to the city.
If it's been a while since your last Beachland visit, now would be a great time to plan for your next one. And of course, the Scene article can also help you spend some time getting to know your favorite club a little bit better.zero
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
I'll admit that I was a tad jealous of Kevin's good fortune - he put up a post about a missing Bruce Cockburn Christmas broadcast that he'd enjoy having a copy of and just a short time after that, we had an email in the ATV mailbox offering up a download of the broadcast.
So I'll try my luck on a similar tip - might there be any readers of ye olde ATV with plans to go see the great alternative rock group dada on New Year's Eve in Philly? Fans in attendance at the NYE gig will receive a complimentary download of the show, a set that promises to be epic (for any of you that are huge dada fans like me). The band is taking requests and there will be a mini-Beatles set within the show. While I'd love to go to the show, a dada road trip unfortunately isn't in the cards this time around.
If you're going, this is me groveling for a copy of the show download, because I really want to hear it. Get in touch!
The dada boys will open up a brief run of December dates with two sold out shows in Chicago starting tomorrow night. Next up: New album in 2011...and believe it or not, the band will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2012. Wow.more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
The Winchester Music Hall and Addicted to Vinyl are pleased to present a tribute evening to a longtime Cleveland favorite, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Springsteen, happening on Saturday, November 20th at The Winchester (doors are at 7pm). Tickets are $10.00.
With the forthcoming release of The Promise, Bruce Springsteen's incredibly massive box set dedicated to his classic Darkness on the Edge of Town album, we will have a listening and viewing party to finally experience what many of us have been waiting for over 2 years.
Come meet Lawrence Kirsch, publisher of the Bruce Springsteen books The Light in Darkness and For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen's Legendary Fans. Lawrence will be signing copies of his book The Light in Darkness. This is a limited edition book only available on line or at The Winchester the night of the show. (You can read our interview with Lawrence about The Light in Darkness here.)more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
I found myself at Classic Park in Eastlake last summer, the result of a last minute chance to catch Bob Dylan's summer tour with John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson. Like capturing a lightning bug in a bottle, I had been on a semi-quest for a few years, hoping to experience that sometimes elusive yet often rumored "great" Bob Dylan show. And on that night in Eastlake, Dylan had the mojo of 86 blues men working for him, even though I needed a translator to navigate my way through figuring out exactly what song he was singing at certain points.
Dylan has been a constant curiosity for me since I was a kid - as someone who is revered for all that he has done in the past, all of the trails that he has blazed and the walls that he continues to knock down with new albums that are still surprisingly relevant, resonating with multiple generations of music fans.
If you're curious to know how all of this came to pass, you'll be very interested in Bob Dylan in America, the new book from American historian Sean Wilentz. While there are plenty of Dylan books already out in the marketplace, Wilentz has unique knowledge on the subject as the official "historian-in-residence" for BobDylan.com. Hearing the story of how he got that gig might be worth the price of admission by itself, but that's only getting into the first few pages of the book! The book presents an interesting account of Dylan's career through the years from the earliest moments to present day and connects the impact of Dylan's music on American culture. This is a very different kind of Bob Dylan book and after you read it, you'll be glad that you did.
Bob Dylan in America hit stores earlier this week and I've got five copies of the book to give away to lucky ATV readers. If you'd like the chance to win one, send me a note here with Bob Dylan as the subject line. Good luck! (And if you'd like some advance reading, you can check out a sample chapter of the book here.)
P.S. - Here's a few heavy hitter endorsements for the book:
“Unlike so many Dylan-writer-wannabes and phony ‘encyclopedia’ compilers, Sean Wilentz makes me feel he was in the room when he chronicles events that I participated in. Finally a breath of fresh words founded in hardcore, intelligent research.”
“A panoramic vision of Bob Dylan, his music, his shifting place in American culture, from multiple angles. In fact, reading Sean Wilentz’s Bob Dylan in America is as thrilling and surprising as listening to a great Dylan song.”
“This should have been impossible. Writing about Bob Dylan's music, and fitting it into the great crazy quilt of American culture, Sean Wilentz sews a whole new critical fabric, part history, part close analysis, and all heart. What he writes, as well as anyone ever has, helps us enlarge Dylan's music by reckoning its roots, its influences, its allusive spiritual contours. This isn't Cliff Notes or footnotes or any kind of academic exercise. It's not a critic chinning on the high bar. It's one artist meeting another, kick starting a dazzling conversation.”
—Jay Cocks, screenwriter for THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and THE GANGS OF NEW YORK