I picked up “Spring Session M” by Missing Persons when it came out in 1981 because they had a really cool New Wave sound that I had started to get into. I had no idea they were also an offshoot from Frank Zappa’s band.
The name of their drummer, Terry Bozzio, rang a bell, but I couldn’t place where I had heard it before. The same went for guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and bassist Patrick O’Hearn. It wasn’t until I was listening to it with some Army buddies in the barracks at Fort Campbell when one of them said “this is so different from their stuff with Zappa, but I love it.”
I have to admit, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to who played with Frank Zappa through the years. I just paid attention to Zappa – but I guess not entirely. I recognized the names, so obviously something in my cranial gray matter had held onto them from a magazine article or album liner notes I had read at some point. After some digging, I found out that Missing Persons’ lead singer, the enigmatic Dale Bozzio (Terry’s wife at the time) had also sang vocals on Zappa’s album “Joe’s Garage”.
So, yeah, all but one of the members of Missing Persons (keyboardist Chuck Wild being the exception) had been a part of Frank Zappa’s band in the late ’70s. It’s no wonder I liked this album so much when I first heard it.
And I thought it was just because of the singles “Walking in L.A.”, “Destination Unknown”, and “Words”.
Perhaps one of the most unusual artists to gain popular success in the eighties was Laurie Anderson. “Mr. Heartbreak” is her second album. Like its predecessor, “Mister Heartbreak” is a combination of musical experimentation spun together with a combination of spoken word and sung lyrics.
It may take some people a couple listens to fully appreciate “Mister Heartbreak”, or any of Laurie Anderson’s music for that matter. The interplay of the words and sounds is unlike any album that had come before it.
With as different as “Mister Heartbreak” is, I am actually surprised the album did as well as it did, hitting number 60 on the Billboard top 200 album chart in 1984. Certainly, Adrian Belew (King Crimson) on guitar and Peter Gabriel (Genesis) appearing on a couple of songs didn’t hurt it having a broader appeal to some people, making them want to give it a listen. I am glad I was one of them.
I was never a big Neil Young fan – until I listened to “Decade”, the three album set that is the epitome of what a record set encompassing an artist’s retrospective repertoire should be.
Poetry, politics, emotion, power, and above all, passion, “Decade” defines better than any other compilation, what Neil Young’s music is all about. The songs were all hand-picked by Young, and with the exception of a few of the CSNY songs that had to be excluded due to contractual reasons, the choices are flawless.
It is an incredible achievement for any artist to leave three albums of worthy material from their entire musical career. It is absolutely amazing for an artist to be accomplished enough to do it from within their first decade alone. Then again, there have been few musical artists who have had the talent to exhume the poetry, politics, emotion, power, and above all, passion, of Neil Young.
Long live rust.
There never has been, nor will there probably ever be, and artist who combined Latin rhythms along with rock and roll better than Carlos Santana.
1973’s “Welcome” was Santana’s was quite possibly the most varied and experimental album for the renowned guitarist and his namesake band. Perhaps more than any other Santana album, “Welcome” combined jazz fusion, soul, and a little funk with the band’s already distinctive latino-rock sound.
“Welcome” also marked a significant change in the band lineup. Keyboardist and lead vocalist Greg Rollie had left the group along with second guitarist Neal Schon to form the group Journey. This left the band without their primary vocalist. Instead of replacing their former singer, Santana chose to feature a variety of guest vocalists for the songs on this, their fifth album adding to the album’s varied sound. The decision to use a variety of singers would be a hallmark of future Santana records as well.
Did you know that The Jimi Hendrix Experience was once the opening act for The Monkees, not once, but seven times? It’s true.
I remember as a very young kid watching the monkees on TV. I used to love watching the misadventures of this rock and roll band trying to make it in the music business. It wasn’t until years later that I first heard Jimi Hendrix.
The Monkees TV show aired once a week from 1966 to 1968 and looked very different from most other TV shows at the time. The scenes were typically edited in short clips that cut from one camera angle to another quickly. This was most evident during the selected song the band performed in each episode. Although it was not a style that was used by any TV shows that followed it, the video style became a precursor to many of the first wave of music videos on MTV in the ’80s.
Many people thought back then that the Monkeys on TV were merely actors and none of them could really play their instruments. That wasn’t true. Both Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork could play multiple stringed instruments, Micky Dolenz could play guitar, and David Jones was an accomplished drummer. The producers felt Jones would make a better frontman, so he was handed a microphone and tambourine, and Dolenz had to learn the drums.
While it is true that The Monkeys did not play the majority of the instruments on their first record, they did play on some of it and they were more than capable to have played it all. The problem was that filming a TV show back in the ’60s – especially one as time-consuming as The Monkees was, with the complex editing and camera angles, made it impossible forthe band members to have the time to be in both the recording and filming studios. After about of year of the band protesting they were eventually given more liberty to write their own songs and play the instruments themselves.
The Monkees went on their first live tour during the final year of the show and continued to record and tour until 1971. In one of the biggest mismatches ever in the history of rock and roll, a new up and coming band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was chosen to open for the Monkees on their 1967 tour. After seven shows, it was decided that the combination was bewildering audiences and not benefiting either group, so the team-up was cancelled.
No harm, no foul … except possibly to the concert promoter who set it up.
What’s the first band that comes to mind when you think of the British invasion? Probably The Beatles. Now, what’s the second? The Stones? Fair enough. But you should also consider The Dave Clark Five.
The Dave Clark Five was the second band from England to appear on the Ed Sullivan show. The Beatles of course, were the first, appearing on the show three weeks in a row, marking the start of the British invasion. Right on their heels was The Dave Clark Five, stealing the spotlight for the next two weeks. They would make repeat appearances on the show more than any other band; an amazing ten times!
Combining ’50s doo-wop with pop music of the ’60s, The Dave Clark Five’s music lost popularity going into the ’70s. But with hits like “Do You Love Me”, “I Like it Like That”, “Bits and Pieces”, and “Glad All Over”, and the others on this album, their influence can still be head today.
The J. Geils Band is one of the most underrated bands in the US; except in Boston and Detroit. Boston is understandable. Geils after all, comes from that city. You always love your hometown hero. But Detroit was equally, if not more enthusiastic about The J. Geils Band’s combination of blues, rock, funk, soul, and pop from day one; and Geils loved them right back. They even at one point during an interview, referred to Detroit as their home away from home.
Geils was first and foremost, a live band. If you never saw them perform live, you have no idea what they were all about. Perhaps the album that came closest to capturing their live sound and energy in the studio was their tenth record, “Sanctuary”.
I can’t even pick a favorite song on this album. Every song is my favorite off of it. “Sanctuary” is one of those albums that, when I ignorantly thinned down my record collection, converting everything to compact disc, I never considered parting with. Yes, I eventually bought it on CD, but I was never not going to own this album.
To me personally, “Sanctuary” is memories from my ignorant teenage party days, the album I took refuge in during my early adult years when I felt down and betrayed, and the record I always pulled out when I just needed to f’ing crank it up and jam out.
Musically, it has been and will always be my “Sanctuary”.
“Deadwing” is essentially the soundtrack to a film that has yet to be made. Whether it ever is, remains to be seen. Steven Wilson wrote most of the songs on it as music meant to accompany a screenplay he had written with director David Bennion. Although they were unable to get funding for the film, Wilson decided to record and release the songs in 2005 as part of Porcupine Tree’s eighth album, “Deadwing”. Because he still hopes to have the film made, Wilson has never released all the details of the storyline or the concept behind the songs.
From the songs on “Deadwing”, it’s easy to deduce that the story has a somewhat dark theme to it. The album artwork was also created around the story and has that kind of feel to it and Steven Wilson has confirmed that the songs on “Deadwing” tell a ghost story of sorts. Both Wilson and Bennion have remained fairly tight-lipped about the “Deadwing” storyline, although they did make the first fifteen pages of the screenplay available on the Internet:
Reading experience part one: DEADWING script by Steven Wilson & Mike Bennion (first 15 pages)
I don’t know a lot about the movie making process, but I have to guess that as more time passes, the likelihood of the film “Deadwing” ever being made becomes slimmer and slimmer. Even if the movie never happens, I’m glad Steven Wilson decided to release “Deadwing” as an album. It would have been a tragedy to leave music this good unheard.
Oh, those crazy conspiracy theorists. Sometimes it seems the stuff they can conjure up and try to piece together is amazing. For example, did you know that the cover art to Supertramp’s 1979 album “Breakfast in America” was an attempt by the Masons to subliminally prepare us for the future 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center? Its true, at least according to a 2016 video posted by one such theorist.
According to the video, Stanley August Miesegaes was a 33rd degree Mason who hid clues about the future imminent attack in his cover artwork for “Breakfast in America”. The cover, which is one of the most well-known from popular music, shows a waitress posing as the Statue of Liberty with the New York city skyline, depicted by various breakfast items, behind her.
According to the video, one of the clues is the “Masonic” pendant the artist is wearing in a picture taken of the artist. Also, there’s the glass of orange juice that marks the Twin Towers as the target of the event to come, and its color is emblematic of the fireball that would later engulf the buildings. Another clue is that the bottom of the “U” and “P” in the band’s name are cut off and consequently, when viewed in a mirror, resemble 911, the planned date of the attack. Also, planes were used in the attacks and the cover art is clearly shown from the perspective of sitting in a plane.
If that’s not “proof” enough for you, well, just watch the video for yourself.
Here’s a big reason you should own ZZ Top’s third album, “Tres Hombres” on vinyl and not on CD: they are not the same recording. Sure, the songs are the same, but when Warne Brothers originally decided to release Tres Hombres digitally, someone felt it would be a good idea to remix all the songs, giving it a more ’80s feel.
It was a very bad decision.
The Vinyl version is the way ZZ Top intended “Tres Hombres” to sound. There’s a reason it became ZZ Top’s breakthrough album in 1973 – it was mixed to capture their sound and style perfectly. This was not an ’80s album. It’s mix of Southern roots, Texas blues, hard rock, with a touch of funky Chicago blues had the ’70s written all over it.
Fortunately, someone at the record company must have seen the err in their ways. When “Tres Hombres” was made available on iTunes, they went back to the original 1973 mix.
Even though the album and digital download are the same version again, I still prefer listening to this (and really any album) on vinyl. I love the touch and feel taking the record out of the jacket and sleeve and there’s something magical about dropping the needle in the groove.