By JG

Twenty-five years ago Barb Morrison ran away from her suburban life in Largo, Fla., to make music in New York. You could say she made it.

My high school friend and I got back in touch via MySpace a little less than a decade ago, but I’m not sure she knows that I fondly remember the first time I smoked weed in her bedroom, listening to avant-jazz.

I always looked up to Barb for her tireless brain and immense musical talent.
I am not a bit surprised that she became the successful iconoclast she is today.
Between the time I knew her and now, she has gotten off drugs, cigs and alcohol.

She has played in numerous bands, been a DJ, traveled throughout the Eastern and Western hemispheres and dated “every type except a straight male.”

Producer Barb Morrison with friends Deborah Harry and Perry Farrell

Producer Barb Morrison with friends Deborah Harry and Perry Farrell

She also became a prolific DJ and music producer is now one half of the Super Buddha recording team in Brooklyn, N.Y. Barb and her studio partner, Chas Nieland, have collaborated with Pink on the video “Hello Bonjour,” received their first gold record for “In the Flesh” on The Best of Blondie and charted at No. 5 on Billboard‘s dance chart for the remix of Deborah Harry’s “Two Times Blue.”

Her MySpace bio reads, “I am never bored. Ever.”

Last year she traveled to Greece, Turkey and Thailand. She even skateboards for kicks.The stylish gender rebel sports a spunky look that mixes up punk, urban and designer fashion, defying her 42 years of age.

You could say Morrison’s a punk rocker at heart with her finger firmly on the pulse of mainstream success. She doesn’t conform to any scene or subculture.
If that weren’t all, she’s a die-hard Tampa Bay Bucs fan, too.

Morrison shares some stories about her life back in Tampa Bay and as a busy music-maker today.

Early years: I started playing in punk bands at the age of 14. I was playing sax and drums. At 17, I saw the Pretenders play at Tampa Jai Alai. I jumped onstage and got to sing like two lines of a song before the bouncers tackled me. But that was all it took. The next day I went out and bought a beat-up acoustic guitar for $15 and learned on that ’til my parents bought me a fender Strat, and then it all started to make sense. I was collaborating with this genius bass player named Glenn Stevenson. We were getting our music played on WMNF (Community Radio in Tampa), so I figured it was time to try to get on the radio in NYC after that.

Onto bigger things: I left when I turned 18 in 1985. Like I said, my music was getting played on local radio stations in Tampa and at the time there wasn’t much of a scene the way there is now, so I thought NYC was the best choice for music. I left with $1,000, a suitcase, my Fender Strat and my sax. It was a pretty smart move. The first week I was in New York, I saw Salvador Dali hailing a cab on Seventh Avenue and I thought, “Okay, I can live here.”

Co-producing: Chas Nieland and I met back in the ’90s. Our bands used to play on the same bills together. We really wanted to collaborate on something together, something that wasn’t band related. Around that same time I got a call to do a 13-minute piece of music for a choreographer in Miami. So that was our first real project. That piece led us to our first film score for The Safety of Objects starring Glenn Close. Next we scored the pilot for the Showtime series The L Word and from there it just took off. All the while we were producing CDs for our friend’s bands while we were doing film score so it all kind of melted together. … We obviously work well together. We’ve been doing it for about 10 years. We just trust and respect each other’s ideas.

Some big names she’s produced: We started out producing all the bands in the East Village and then got our first break when Deborah Harry heard something we had done. She asked us to do a new version of the Blondie classic “In the Flesh.” She and the band liked it so much they added it as a bonus track on Blondie’s Greatest Hits: Sight & Sound and it immediately went gold. It was our first gold record so everything sprung from there. We’ve worked with Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen, Antony & the Johnsons, as well as continuing to do more film and television scores.

What are some CDs you’ve had in rotation recently?
I really like the new Kaiser Chiefs CD; the new U2 is growing on me. I also listen to the radio a lot. A lot of hip hop and R&B. Chas just told me he loves the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but I haven’t heard it yet.

You’ve commented in the past about how you don’t like some indie music. Please explain.
My goal is to get the artist’s message to as many ears as possible. So the indie crowd tends to be on a smaller scale than a mainstream pop crowd. I’m always thinking big. Also, I’ve always been a fan of lush arrangements and huge hooks. It’s what I grew up on.

What about bands like TV on the Radio, Arcade Fire or Spoon, which get pigeonholed in the indie genre but produce on a large scale, get good reviews and make TV and film appearances (soundtracks, SNL)?
Chas is much more fond of all those bands, which is a reason he and I work so well together. We’ve pretty much covered everything between the two of us. He will walk into work with Arcade Fire on his iPod while I’m listening to Ne-yo. The reason I think those bands aren’t in the pop genre is because of their lack of hooks, although chas will probably disagree with me. Pop music is short for popular music, and you can’t be afraid to really milk a hook. People love it. They always have and they always will.

What’s your take on the Bucs this year?
Well, I’m kinda getting sick of playing Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina. I miss being in the NFC Central, but I’m standing behind them while they rebuild, and I totally plan on being down there for that Giants game since I HATE the Giants!

What’s your favorite late-night food in New York these days? Let us live vicariously through you …

Late night is best for Little Italy. The best spot there is a place called Umberto’s, where you can get the best sauce, oysters, calamari and everything until 4 a.m. every night. It’s the real New York. Mob boss Joe Gallo was murdered there in the ’70s. The place is all vibe. Also for late night Chinatown is awesome. The best place is Wo-Hop. But you gotta go to the downstairs one. It’s been there since 1938 so you can imagine the stuff they’ve seen in there. Delicious and reasonably priced. An excellent choice if you’re stuck with the bill!
Yeah, I’m not really awake during the day!

By Gina Vivinetto

No Doubt performed live on the Today show yesterday. Here are links to the performance: “Don’t Speak,” “Spiderwebs” and “It’s My Life.”

They sounded okay, not great, but that’s got a lot to do with the horrible mix. And, yes, Gwen forgot lyrics. Damn. As a singer, I can say: it happens to the best of us.

The band was especially bleached three of the with all four No Doubters sporting peroxide blonde hair and Gwen clad in what looks to be my junior high New Wave boyfriend Tom‘s bleached trousers. Noted: Ms. Stefani wore her signature 1990s hair knots, signifying she is back in full-on band mode. As opposed to solo mode, which would entail her bringing along the Harujuku Girls.

In fact, everything about Gwen reeked of her No Doubt days — the clothes, the moves — except for the fact that fame and fortune have made her emaciated. Somebody wanna get Ms. Stefani a sandwich?

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Anyone going to see No Doubt on its reunion tour? I’m hoping to see them in a few weeks on my visit home to Florida. It will be my first time seeing Gwen with the band. If it’s as good as her solo show, I’m in luck.

Your thoughts?

By Cathy Wos

I blame Michelle. She was my best friend from high school and she introduced me to Mickey Rourke. To be more specific, 9 1/2 Weeks and apple schnapps from her grandmother’s alcohol cabinet. My life would never be the same.

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Now don’t get me wrong. I had already discovered the Bad Boy. In fact, I bonded with Michelle over our mutual Dead Crush, James Dean. But Mickey was ALIVE and he was raw and sexual and vulnerable and yes, he was crazy. These were the salad days: Pope of Greenwich Village, Angel Heart, Barfly (which I watched with my father ?!?!? and he nicknamed Mickey Snagglepuss). I will admit this here and only here – I even loved Year of the Dragon. Mickey was heading toward a long and prosperous career and then he gave it all up…for boxing.

I received tickets to see Mickey box a mechanic from Hialeah for my 19th birthday. Joe Queenan was Mickey Rourke for a day and smoked 81 cigarettes. Kim Basinger said kissing him was like licking an ashtray. I was undeterred.

I suffered through years of bad movies and bad personal choices. My personal shorthand for this time period? The Carre Otis Years. And don’t jump on my case. I am not blaming the victim or excusing Mickey’s bad behavior. There was a lot of shit going on in that relationship that I don’t pretend to understand. Although it is clear that they do NOT belong together.

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Mickey had become a punchline and I wore my love for him like a badge. There were glimmers of hope: Spun (which is a movie he apparently hates) and Sin City. But for the most part he was uninsurable and morphing into caricature through years of boxing damage and bad plastic surgery.

And then came along Darren Aronofsky.

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When I first heard the buzz surrounding The Wrestler I got that feeling. Here was The Redemption of Mickey Rourke. Here is the role I always knew he had in him, the role he lived. And sure enough, he’s been invited to The Big Dance. Will he win an Oscar? I placed my bet on this dark horse long ago. He does have competition among fellow Bad Boy, Sean Penn. And Mickey is still…Mickey. He has accepted a certain amount of politics in Hollywood, but he still refuses to play the game. He thanked his precious dogs in his Golden Globe acceptance speech.

His best friend Loki died this week. I wonder how he copes with losing his 18-year-old dog. I, myself, am in the process of saying goodbye to my own feline best friend who is sick. His name? Mickey. I think you’ve figured out by now that he’s not named after the Mouse.

Songs about women murdering men

Posted: January 12, 2009 by ginavivinetto in gender stuff, music
Tags: , , , , , ,

Our pal Lorna Bracewell, a popular musician, activist, and now blogger in the Tampa area, has written a fun blog post listing rock songs about women murdering men. It reads:

“The idea for this post was born of my accidental experiment with decaffeinated coffee a week or so ago. (You can read more about that here.) One of the completely random and wholly undeveloped thoughts that “seeped in and out of my foggy, throbbing brain” during the course of that experiment was the following: There are a lot of really good songs about women murdering men. I’ve decided to explore and defend this claim. Here’s a list of the songs I was attempting to think about and some speculation as to why I/we enjoy them so much.”

Lorna lists a few favorites: “Janie’s Got A Gun” by Aerosmith and the Dixie Chick‘s “Goodbye, Earl.”

Read the rest of Lorna’s post here and let her –or us– know what other songs about women killing the menfolk we can think of.

By Tina Federspiel

Living in New York city for the past two years has been one of the greatest experiences thus far in my life. For a music lover, it’s the ultimate city to live in. But it doesn’t stop there. If you love art, ethnic food, different cultures, and checking out the live music scene on any given night of the week, then this is the city for you.

I moved here from St. Petersburg, Florida for a job and, to be honest, I dreaded coming here at first and I’ll tell you why. The main reason was that I would have to become accustomed to doing my laundry at a laundromat and this really bummed me out. Never take for granted the fact that you can do your laundry in your home at any time. Like all things, it took some time getting used to. Now I’ve grown accustomed to doing it on a Friday morning and I bring a good book with me while people are watching. It’s very therapeutic. (There are some crazy fucked-up people in this city and they are FUN to watch).

The other reason was having to get rid of my car. Again, at first it took a lot of effort to get motivated to get on the train and go somewhere. But now, with this being the “green” era, I feel good about not owning a car and contributing to the deterioration of the ozone layer and global warming.

So in retrospect, moving to New York was a good thing.

And the music: Wow, where to begin? I never knew how many bands came out of New York: Ambulance LTD, The Damnwells, Yeasayer, MGMT, Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to name a few. And, you can almost guarantee that your favorite band will make it through this city more than once a year. How many times does that happen in your town?

I’m constantly looking for that ultimate band to move me at a live show. A band to leave me with an all-natural high that I’m still grinning about days later. A band so good, you have to buy a T-shirt. That’s right, I said it: I’m a T-shirt buying whore and I’ll wear them anywhere I want to.

One band to always get out and see if you get the chance is Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. If you know me, you know they’re my all-time favorite.

No new stuff this past year, but I always seem to catch a new song they recorded here and there. Worth the money for a ticket any time they play!

Best Gay Lady Albums

By Trish Bendix

Jennifer O’Connor, Here With Me
Folk rock with the focus on her guitar, JOC sings about her relationship with her girlfriend, and even puts her on the cover. The video for the title track is adorable – also starring her girlfriend. Someone is in love.

An Horse, Rearrange Beds
Australian duo with lesbian singer Kate Cooper, AKA Sara Quin’s new favorite band. Mine too. Dare I say, like Tegan and Sara’s brand of charming indie pop but better?

Sia, Some People Have Real Problems
Another Aussie but with some ridiculous pipes. She has as much quirk in her as she does soul, which is an interesting mix, especially on songs about her leaving her BF because he was on drugs. No gay-type songs about her new love JD yet, but I’m holding out hope for 2009.

Joan as Police Woman, To Survive
Bisexual chanteuse that’s still kind of under the radar; still prefaced in every review with “dated Jeff Buckley, played behind Rufus and Antony.” Still ruling on several instruments, including the viola.

Amanda Palmer, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
Will anyone care that the Dresden Dolls broke up as long as Amanda Palmer is still making music? Highly unlikely. This album is proof that she is/was the creative mind behind the operation. (Extra points for St. Vincent cameo.)

Yo Majesty , Futuristically Speaking…
Shunda K and Jwl B are apparently on the outs right now, which is the saddest news since their debut full-length was hot. It’s nice to dance to music about making eyes at chicks without it being blatantly misogynistic.

Kaki King, Dreaming of Revenge
I’m so glad Kaki broke up with someone to write this record. Serious points to whomever inspired her to want to be “pulled out alive.” Glad she’s keeping up with the lyrics and vocals because her writing is just as pleasant as her playing.

Missy Higgins, On A Clear Night
Australia = musical mecca of totally gay women. Missy Higgins gave Grey’s Anatomy a boner, and this album was originally released a few years ago. Ahead of the times, this Aussie.

Ponytail, Ice Cream Spiritual
Oh.my.god. Serious heart attack having. So good, so spastic, so refreshing. Molly Siegel owns Yoko Ono. Art rock for people who hate the term art rock.

Hercules and Love Affair, Hercules and Love Affair
My favorite song is “Athene,” sung by lesbo Kim Ann Foxman (who is, by definition a stone cold fox). The whole CD, though, is contemporary disco that is so queer, even straight people like it. They get all hypnotized by the hip electronicness of it all.

New Bloods, The Secret Life
Rumor is they are breaking up. I will not have it, because this PDX trio is punk riot grrrl modern and I am feeling it. I wanted to see them in a cage match with Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and some other Disney bitch. Raven Symone?

Bound Stems, The Family Afloat
A gay lady among men in this Chicago-band, Janie Porche is so obviously a dyke when she’s singing on this record. I might be able to tell it from her instrument playing, too, but I am too busy thinking how gay she is when she’s singing a duet. More Janie, B.S.!

The Organ, Thieves EP
Fucking teases. Way to release a post-humous EP that is amazing melodramatic Smiths-esque indie rock. You’re dead to me. (Your own fault.)

Thalia Zedek, Liars and Prayers
I find Thalia kind of scary, which is why reading her lyrics makes me want to cry. Her husky voice is perfect for her guitar-playing, though, which is pretty inaccessible. She’s the antithesis of any other lesbian singer-songwriter ever.

Tracy Chapman, Our Bright Future
I don’t know all the lyrics to “Fast Car.” I am an anomaly. But I also think Tracy’s genre-mixing on Our Bright Future is interesting, even though it’s been done before. Still, she brings something to the country-tinged tracks and the Broadway-infused rhythms on the song, “I Had It All.” I didn’t hate it.

By Carrie Waite

I like to think I’m a pretty connected person. What with MySpace (is anyone on there any more?), Facebook, RSS feeds, the “blogosphere”, Twitter and even good old fashioned email, one would assume that one would have heard about ones favorite band, Wilco, having announced news of an upcoming record, before today. One would be wrong. Somehow the news, that Wilco has nearly completed their next as yet to be named album, slipped through the matrix on it’s way to me. Until now. It’s expected to be available round June. Just in time for my birthday. Thanks, Jeff!

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This new record is stated to feature a guest appearance by Feist on at least one track, titled “You and I”, which makes me hope for more of the loveliness that kept my ears glued to their last record, Sky Blue Sky.

Rumored tracks, in no particular order and subject to change:

Deeper Down

Conscript (aka I’ll Fight)

One Wing

Solitaire

Wilco (the song)

Country Disappeared

Everlasting

Bull Black Nova

Sonny Feeling

You and I

 

Wilco performed their title song back in October on The Colbert Report, (Check it out here).

And if you’re not sick of Wilco yet, my pal Tracy and I are also heading down to the Sarasota Film Festival to pal around with Steve Buscemi (not really, but they say he’s going to be attending) and catch a screening of the upcoming Wilco documentary, Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live  directed by Brendan Canty (Fugazi) and Christoph Green. Canty and Green are the creative force behind the gorgeus Burn to Shine DVD series

Here’s my wishlist, just in case they decide to make a Burn to Shine here in Tampa Bay and need suggestions (in no particular order):

Dumbwaiters

Pink Lincolns

Ronny Elliott

Will Quinlan and the Diviners

Rebekah Pulley 

Blast and the Detergents

Mosley

Have Gun Will Travel

The Weapons of Ass Destruction

Giddy-Up, Helicopter!

Magadog

Car Bomb Driver

 

Who else should be on the list?

By Cathy Wos

I recently watched the 20th Anniversary Edition of Heathers and it’s still so Very.

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The Anti-Hughes teen movie blew apart sappy stereotypes and happy endings where the Prom Queen and the Juvenile Delinquent date and the Jock falls in love with the Freak. The Popular Girl and the JD may date in Heathers, but their teen angst bullshit has a body count.

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The script was the key.
The dialogue was so witty. The catchphrases timeless. To this day I still say: “Jealous much?” and “Great pate, but I gotta motor if I wanna be ready for that funeral.”

Daniel Waters is delusional.
The screenwriter really thought that Stanley Kubrick would direct Heathers. I mean, he really thought that. The Shining references make so much more sense now.

A new generation is discovering Heathers.
But will they get it? Is it still relevant? I hope so. There would be no Mean Girls without Heathers. (In fact, the director of Mean Girls is Daniel Waters’ brother, Mark.)

Young Adult writers Rachel Cohn and/or David Levithan must be equally obsessed with Heathers. The movie is mentioned in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. There is a band in N&ENKL called My Dead Gay Son. I wish I had thought of that.

Heathers was made at the right time.
This movie would never get the green light in a Post-Columbine world.

Foreshadowing?
When I heard this quote from the principal “Now I’ve seen a lot of bullshit… angel dust, switchblades, sexually perverse photography involving tennis rackets…” ) I always assumed that it referred to Robert Mapplethorpe. However, the legal battle in Ohio occurred after Mapplethorpe’s death and after Heathers was filmed.

I Don’t Patronize Bunny Rabbits!
The adults in the movie are caricatures. Until you get to the bunny rabbit scene. Veronica’s mother delivers the best speech of any parent in any teen movie. Take that, John Hughes!

“‘Treated like human beings'”? Is that what you said, little Ms. Voice-of-a-Generation?” How do you think adults act with other adults? Do you think it’s all a game of doubles tennis? When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it’s usually because they are being treated like human beings.

Be careful what you mock.
Jeremy Applegate (Paul Boyce) prays to never commit suicide. In 2000, he did so in real life.
Kim Walker (Heather Chandler) uttered the famous line “Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?” and died of one in 2001.

By Cherie Currie

GOD!!! I’ve been hearing of all these girls that claim they were a member of my band, The Runaways. Frankly, I don’t remember them! I will not name names, I don’t want to be cruel, but hey! In the midst of all that’s going on with the movie, all the blood, sweat and tears that were shed by us five girls: Sandy West — RIP, we love and miss you, baby, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, me, and Jackie Fox, I can’t think of a single person that deserves to carry the torch as the family that were, as Jackie puts it, “The Famous Five”.

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Yes, Vicki Blue joined after Jackie left. I only did a photo session and a rehearsal or two with her. She did go on tour and was a ‘part’ of the band. Micki Steele was a part of the trio before Jackie and I were involved but there was no deal. (So glad she succeeded with The Bangles. She’s a truly gifted artist).

Frankly, I’m sick of these women, staking their claim to something that we (the original five) made happen. And if you (meaning these girls) think that I’m going to stand by idle and let you bask in the sunshine that we five worked our asses off for, you are sadly mistaken.

This movie The Runaways is based on my book. I spent years working on the new version, which the movie is based on. I refuse to let these gals walk in and claim they were or are a part of it in any way.

I’m so proud of Joan Jett and Lita Ford that they continued on in this ‘heavier then hell’ business and made a success of themselves. You are true pioneers and I love you both with all my heart.

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The Runaways were five girls that kicked some major ass. We fought the male-dominated musical world against all odds. I refuse to let anyone other then us bask in glory of what was a fight like no other.

If you want to ‘stake your claim,’ you have to go through me baby… and GOOD LUCK!!!

Respectfully,
Cherie Currie of the one and ONLY, The Runaways!

By the way, with the hope that The Runaways be graced by the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, the ORIGINAL five members should be inducted. No one else.

Cherie Currie was the lead singer of The Runaways. She’s a professional musician, actress, author, and one of the few women in America who create chainsaw art. She writes Cherie Currie’s Guide to Life because she loves you.

By Carrie Waite

Growing up as a little one in the 1970s, my father ALWAYS had a beard. Always, in some form, in some various stage of growth, he was hairy and scary. I had this photograph of him that I was slightly obsessed with because you could actually see his bare face in it. It was either a mugshot or one of those photo booth pics. Let’s go with mugshot.  And I really hated his beard. Every time he’d pick me up for one of those “Dad Weekends”, he would insist on kissing my delicate little face and it felt like sandpaper ripping my skin off. But now, I seem to surround myself with the very thing that frightened me as a little girl. Hairy scary men.

So, tonight we started talking about how all the bands that are popping up in my iPod mix freaking have beards (maybe we’ll cover the ironic mustache trend in a future post, but don’t get me started on that right now). Half the magazine covers at Borders sport a beard (either a beard or Obama this week).

Death Cab For Cutie on The Big Takeover, Fleet Foxes on Under The Radar and even Zach Braff was all sorts of fuzzy on the cover of Geek Monthly. I heard your band must have at least one bearded member to get signed to Sup Pop nowadays and the New World Brewery is like a gang, no make that a secret club for boys with beards most nights. It makes me jealous that I can’t grow one.  

I admit it.  I think beards are pretty sexy, now. Even the scraggly, unkempt ones can have a certain Grizzly Adams charm to them. What is it about the beard? Is it simply a fashion accessory? A resurgent cultural phenomenon? Just plain laziness (this one gets my vote)? Damn manly though, if you ask me.  

Perhaps it’s a sign that my beloved indie-rock has become a “mature” genre. God forbid, are we getting old? Why do all my favorite men look homeless?

Carrie’s favorite hairy bands

The Dirtbombs
Lucero
Drag the River and Cory Branan
Band of Horses
TV On The Radio
Fleet Foxes
Turbonegro
Jeff Tweedy has had some adorable ones
and some really scary ones.
Most iconic beard goes to Lemmy
Sexiest beard has to be Dave Grohl’s

Some Blogs about beards:
John McNicholas even participated in a beard contest a few years back. He still has the stinkin’ thing. It’s adorable, John. 
And I hear jojoba oil is great for when you’re finally ready to rid yourself of the hairy beast on your face and shave it off.

But don’t.

By Gina Vivinetto

Remember Dave Stewart, the wooly guitarist of The Eurthymics, the 1980s British duo that also featured Annie Lennox?

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Stewart has been busying himself over the years with his solo music, studio and production work and, now, designing a custom sex toy.

According to The Sun, Stewart is the man behind a pricey new vibrator – 2000 pounds in England, which converts to…hold on…about $1,300 in the States.

Stewart, 56, has created the diamond-studded “Little Steel Tonight” vibrator. It’s made of solid steel, with a satin finish, and it’s got 28 diamonds adorning it along with the lyrics to Stewart’s new single, “Let Do It Again.”

Stewart also created a more affordable vibrator called the “Little Chroma Tonight” which retails for about $135.

Stewart, the father of four, was married to Bananarama‘s Siobahn Fahey from 1987 to 1996. He’s now married to Dutch photographer Anoushka Fisz.

By Tina Federspiel

Everyone has a favorite tune that just shakes you to the core. One that moves you in a way beyond reasoning and makes you look at life from a different perspective. A song with drums that hit you in the right spot and guitar that makes you want to take up lessons immediately. It’s amazing the effect that music can have on you.

And it’s different for everyone, which is so great.

While it may be a favorite tune at the top of your list, it may be at the bottom of someone else’s. And that’s ok. That person has their own favorite tune and so on and so on.

A great tune will never leave you. It won’t cheat on you and won’t leave you stranded or feeling lonely at any time. In fact, it will find you and take you to a safe place. It’s always loyal and will make you feel better no matter what kind of mood your in. For me, it has to be a rockin’ tune. It can’t be some mamby pamby shit. A slow song is appropriate in its own time and place, of course. But it’s the rockin’ tunes that brings life back into you and give you that second wind.

One of my favorite things to do is walk around this city with my headphones in and set my iPod to a great tune. its like I’m in my own little music video and I’m walking in slow motion. I notice so much more while walking around and I find myself smiling a lot. Which makes people smile back and puts me in a good mood. Anyplace is a great place to listen to a rockin’ tune, but the best places for me –and I do turn it up way loud — are riding on the subway, driving in the car, riding in a taxicab, at the gym, walking around the city getting from A to B or walking home from a late night out. The fact that the earphones are tucked in tight makes it all the better because it blocks everything else out. Sweet.

Some of my favorites songs that stay at the top of the list over the test of time are:

1) “What Ever Happened To My Rock ‘N” Roll?” by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
2) “Rock ‘N’ Roll Queen by The Subways
3) “I Wanna Be Adored” by The Stone Roses
4) “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” by Oasis (Notice a theme here?)
5) “New York Girls” by Morningwood
6) “No Easy Way Out” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Although I almost took this off the list when it made a cameo in the movie The Guardian. Way to let me down, boys)
7) “Life on a Chain” by Pete Yorn
8) “She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult
9) “I’ll Stick Around” by Foo Fighters
10) “It’s On The Rocks” by The Donnas

Great guitar riffs. Rockin’ beats. Head banging, air drum and air guitar playing! That’s what I’m talking about.

I guess as much as I try to act like I’m an alternative girl, I’m a Rock ‘N’ Roll Sweaty Bitch at heart.

By Gina Vivinetto

As anyone knows me knows: this is the most important day in rock ‘n’ roll. I’m going to take this opportunity to reprint an article I wrote for the St. Petersburg Times in 2004 when I was the paper’s pop music critic. It’s five years old, so don’t be fooled by the ages listed:

Raise a toast this day, rock ‘n’ rollers. It’s a special one for music lovers.

Jan. 8 marks the birthday of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll (today Elvis would have celebrated number 69), and the birthday of several more notables in rock history.

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David Bowie turns 57.

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The Doors’ Robby Krieger is 58.

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Little Anthony Gourdine of Little Anthony and the Imperials: 64.

R. Kelly celebrates number 35.

Terry Sylvester of the Hollies is 57.

Shirley Bassey turns 67.

Even the late concert promoter and Grateful Dead buddy Bill Graham, who devoted his life’s work to rock music, was born on this day in 1931.

Can you imagine what rock would be like if Jan. 8 were wiped off the calendar?

Think of the rock history we would have been denied: No “Hound Dog”, as done by Elvis, with leg wiggle. No Bowie dressed as Ziggy Stardust. No “Light My Fire.” (Krieger wrote the tune.) All those legendary Dead concerts at the Fillmore in San Fran – poof! Gone.

You wouldn’t be reading this article. My birthday, too, is Jan. 8, as I’ve been proud to say my whole life.

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As has Jeremy Gloff.

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The Tampa singer-songwriter turns 29 today. Gloff says he found out back in middle school that he’d been born on a special day. Already a music obsessive, “I bragged to everyone about it,” Gloff says. “If the day Buddy Holly died was the day music died, than Jan. 8 has got to be the day the music was born.”

With 12 albums under his belt, tireless Gloff shares a work ethic equal to that of Presley and Bowie.

Could it be a Capricorn thing?

Astrologists say Capricorns, folks born between Dec. 22 and Jan. 19, are a hard-working bunch. Like the goats who represent us on the zodiac, we see a mountain, and by golly, we climb it.

Unfortunately, Capricorns are also supposed to be uptight, prone to mood swings and gloominess, and fastidious to the point where it’s an unpretty line between our orderliness and others’ obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“My CD collection is totally alphabetized,” Gloff admits. “It’s sorted by release dates, all the albums in a row by the date they came out. Even CD singles are organized in between by the date. I’m totally Type A.”

When I spoke with Krieger last year while he toured with the Doors 21st Century, we discussed magic Jan. 8. We jawed about astrology – turns out, Krieger is into the stuff and, like Elvis and Bowie, always searching spiritually.

Krieger said that, like most Capricorns, he’s finding himself less gloomy and more playful as he gets older.

We giggled about how Krieger, in his 20s during the 1960s, believed all of the bad things going on in the world and in his life were part of a great conspiracy.

Paranoid? A Capricorn? Well, the astrology books say we’re “cautious.”

Cautious like Elvis, with his “Memphis Mafia” and rampant conspiracy fears? Walled up in Graceland, shooting TV sets, windows and anything else that reminded him of a reality he couldn’t deal with. Ultimately dying “down at the end of Lonely Street” in his bathroom, fat, bingeing, addicted to the drugs that were meant to combat the mood swings and gloominess and paranoia.

Or David Bowie, holed up, high on cocaine in Berlin during his 1970s recording blitz? Dressing in vintage war clothes as the Thin White Duke, his alter ego too “cautious” to blink in public.

Gloff’s no paranoid freak, but he does see similarities between Bowie and himself:

Like Bowie did during the 1970s, Gloff wears his sexuality on his sleeve or, in the case of Gloff’s pic on Romantico, his latest disc, across his chest. Gloff’s vintage iron-on T-shirt reads: Made for Loving Him. He also changes his look a lot. Right now, Gloff’s head is shaved, but his hair has been an assortment of colors, and he’s been known to wear electrical tape as part of his onstage wardrobe.

Also, as Bowie did several times during the 1970s and the 1980s, Gloff toys with a musical alter ego. When Gloff records his peppy, naughty electronica dance music, it’s under his J.Glo alias.

Gloff gives props to the King, too, but he’s says he’s not much of an Elvis freak. The King’s former queen, however, is another story.

“I’m a huge fan of Priscilla Presley,” Gloff says, “She always had good hairdos, even on Dallas.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, everyone. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll party. Get yourself a slice of cake, that is, if The King left any for the rest of us.

By Gina Vivinetto

Krautrock superstars Kraftwerk are in the news a lot this week. Billboard reports that the band has accepted the opening slot on Radiohead’s spring tour of Latin America.

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk

What a great bill that is for fans of songs about the technology, computers, robots and um, loving technology, computers, and robots. Except, in my opinion, it should be called a double bill because Kraftwerk is too important to be called anyone’s “support.”

Radiohead

Radiohead

Alas, Kraftwerk has probably sold a tiny fraction of the albums Thom Yorke and company have despite the fact that they’ve been around twice as long and have influenced countless rock and electronica musicians.

In other Kraftwerk news, according to the band’s official web site, founding member Florian Schneider, has left the group.

This leaves only one original member remaining in the band, Ralf Hutter. Geez, that will really change the live show. (I’m just kidding, because they all stand motionless behind behemoth keyboards and pretty much look identical).

Have you seen Kraftwerk live? Radiohead? Does this sound like double-bill heaven to you? Do robots go to heaven?

Miles Davis on fame vs. talent

Posted: January 7, 2009 by ginavivinetto in Gina Vivinetto, music
Tags: , , , , ,

By Gina Vivinetto

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“All you’ve got to do in this country today is just be on television and you’re more known and respected than anyone who paints a great painting or creates great music or writes a great book or is a great dancer. People were already calling me ‘Mr. Tyson,’ or saying, ‘I know who you are. You’re that guy who’s married to Cicely Tyson!’ And they would be sincere when they said that. It taught me that a bad, untalented person who is on television or in the movies can be more recognized and respected than than a genius who doesn’t appear on the screen.”

–Late jazz great Miles Davis discussing what it was like being married to film star Cicely Tyson.

I once heard that Miles slapped a man across the face when he asked, “Aren’t you Cicely Tyson’s husband?”

By Gina Vivinetto

Oh no, I just read that Ron Asheton, legendary guitarist of The Stooges, has died. Ron was 60.

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Ron was found dead this morning in his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In recent years, The Stooges, which also included Ron’s brother Scott Asheton and the great Iggy Pop, had reunited and in 2007 the band released The Weirdness, a critically acclaimed album of new material.

By Simone Stenfors

Best live concerts/gigs:

1) Bad Manners

2) The Sonics

3) The Urban Voodoo Machine

4) The Jim Jones Revue

5) Rebel Yell

6) Girlschool

7) Autorama

8) The Glitterati

9) The Helacopters

10) The Delinquents

My Top CD’s:

1) Sixx A.M., The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack

2) The Barbarellatones, The Devil’s Dildo

3) London Egg, In The Beginning

4) The Jim Jones Revue, The Jim Jones Revue

And my tip for 2009 is:

The Ruby Friedman Orchestra
from Los Angeles.

Simone Stenfors is a writer, photographer, and muse on the London music scene. She is currently writing a memoir.

By Carrie Waite

Best Albums:

Beck, Odelay (Re-issue w/ Bonus Disc)
The Black Keys, Attack & Release
Calexico, Carried To Dust
The Dirtbombs, We Have You Surrounded
Dr.Dog, Fate
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
Flight of the Concords, Flight of the Concords
Have Gun Will Travel, Casting Shadows Tall As Giants
The Magnetic Fields, Distortion
Rebekah Pulley, Back to Boogaloo
Will Quinlan & the Diviners, Navasota
Sun Kil Moon, April
Lucinda Williams, Little Honey
Wye Oak, If Children

By Nikki Navarro, guitarist, Giddy-Up, Helicopter!

Top Albums (in no particular order):

1. The DodosVisiter
2. Land of TalkSome Are Lakes
3. Fleet FoxesFleet Foxes
4. Ra Ra RiotThe Rhumb Line
5. Wolf ParadeAt Mount Zoomer
6. Des ArkWXDU Volume Two
7. Mount Eerie, Julie Doiron and Fred Squire - Lost Wisdom
8. MirahThe Old Days Feeling
9. DeerhunterMicro Castle
10. First Aid KitDrunken Trees

Top Concerts:

1. Sunset Rubdown @ Empty Bottle (Chicago)
2. The Breeders @ SXSW
3. The Dodos @ SXSW
4. Ra Ra Riot @ SXSW
5. Black Mountain @ SXSW

Top Singles:

1. Land of Talk “Some Are Lakes”
2. Ra Ra Riot “Ghost Under Rocks”
3. Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal”
4. Beyonce “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”
5. Rihanna “Disturbia”
6. Estelle & Kanye West “American Boy”

By Deborah Frost

Lists are for pedants to make and for –I don’t know what you can even call anyone who actually reads them– a SUB-pedant?

If this is what editors are still ordering to be served up in daily or any other kind of publications, NO fucking WONDER they’re all hurting, if not going directly out of business. Who wants and/or needs this crap?

The only lists that should be allowed should be grocery and to-do ones. And frankly, I think the grocery list of Joe the Plumber woud be a million times more interesting than any combination of recording artistes — whether as mass as Britney or as esoteric as any smartypants can dream up just for the sake of someone thinking they actually LIKE this shit (and maybe they do, but I usually don’t want to hear it and neither do most listeners over the age of two who are perfectly capable of making up their own minds) — printed out by any rock critic in the world today or in history. And I’m talkin bout writers who once ACTUALLY had SOMETHING 2 say.

By Gina Vivinetto

Top Albums (in alphabetical order):

1. Deerhunter, Microcastle
2. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
3. French Kicks, Swimming
4. The Last Shadow Puppets, The Age of Understatement
5. Ra Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line
6. Santogold, Santogold
7. Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer
8. Wye Oak, If Children

Best singles:
1. M.I.A. “Paper Planes”
2. Santogold “Lights Out”
3. Rihanna, “Don’t Stop The Music”
4. whatever singles the Black Kids released

Best reissue to DVD:

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Actually, it’s never been on DVD before and this is why it took me nearly three decades to see it: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, a great little dramedy about the exploitation that goes on in both the media and the music industry. Best line: When teen age rock star Corrine Burns (as played by a 16-year-old Diane Lane) snarls, “I think every citizen should be given an electric guitar on her 16th birthday.” Another plus: great feature characters played by Fee Waybill of The Tubes, Paul Cook and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and Paul Simonon of The Clash.

Most interesting people:

Barack Obama: I can’t believe a black guy won.
Rachel Maddow: I can’t believe a lesbian hosts an MSNBC show.
Lindsay Lohan: I can’t believe a starlet came out of the closet.
Sarah Palin: I can’t believe this imbecile ran for VP.

By Cathy Wos

I was born a Soulless Media Whore. I was weaned on TV and Music is my Therapy.
One day I decided to use my powers for good not evil and I became a librarian.
Last year I moved to Seattle and I was like a kid in a candy store when it came to live music. When you live in Florida, most bands don’t make the extra trek down south.
It is hard to say no to a live show, but my money and schedule can only permit so much. I’ve attended Bumbershoot twice and love it. There are criticisms about the festival becoming too mainstream and expensive, but seriously I think the pros outweigh the cons. Some of my favorite moments at Bumbershoot are the unexpected, like the intimate show by John Wesley Harding in 2007 or Sherman Alexie’s performance and the tribute to Hall and Oates by Ellen Forney in 2008:

So here’s my Top 5 Concerts for 2008:

5. Old 97s
I saw the Old 97s twice this year – once at the Showbox and again at Bumbershoot.
I love this band. I don’t care how self-absorbed Rhett Miller is or how disillusioned.
Unlucky in love? You’re gorgeous, rich, famous AND married to a super model.
Yet, somehow I always buy it.

4. The Wedding Present
Considering that David Gedge lived in Seattle for a spell, I anticipated a bigger crowd for this gig at Neumos. Granted it was a Tuesday night (what I consider the “Hipster Day of Rest”) but there were probably only a hundred people at this show. Seriously? Is Seattle so jaded by the live music scene? Luckily for me, The Wedding Present wasn’t and put on a phenomenal show. Gedge takes it all in self-deprecating stride. When I remarked on how my friend saw him in Tallahassee he joked that he must of been the only one. Someone please tell me why this band hasn’t gotten their due.

2. Gogol Bordello
The gypsy punk band was the highlight of my Bumbershoot 2007 experience, so I had to check them out when they headlined at the Showbox Sodo. They did not disappoint with 2 hours of non-stop music and spectacle.

2. The Dodos
Fellow Sweaty Bitch Julie Garisto clued me into this San Fransisco band after she saw them in Portland. I had had a chance to see them at the Capitol Block party and they were phenomenal. They are so tight and really just a breath of fresh air. My only complaint? That they couldn’t play longer.

1. Jaguar Love
Jaguar Love consists of former members from Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves. I was able to catch them live at a secret show right before their European tour. It had the feel of seeing a high school band play in your grandmother’s living room, yet it was so loud and intense that I couldn’t hear for days and I waxing poetically about them for weeks. It was hands down the best show I’ve seen in Seattle so far. Look for these guys when they tour the States. I expect nothing less than World Domination.

By JG

Best Albums:

1. The Dodos, Visiter
If this decade were good for anything, it was for inspiring musicians to strip down and make much of little. Here’s a duo and a half (well, third member, Joe Haener, just became official) that create hypnotic and passionate pop with finger-picking guitar, fast tribal-like beats and ingenious twists, such as the tambourine taped to drummer Logan Kroeber’s foot. What’s more, Meric Long’s singing sounds timelessly great, I mean really great – a signature appeal also for band No.’s 2 and 3 on my list – hopefully signaling the demise of the mumbling indie rocker. San Francisco’s the Dodos, around since 2005, make folky rock and create an old-meets-new vibe that not only get your toes tapping, but they reach into your guts and heart and give them a long, hard tug too. “Primitive” and “visceral” get tossed around a lot, but if you take these qualities and combine them with the melodic sweep of Paul Simon or the Finn brothers, you’ll find yourself saddled with the unique and underrated genius of the Dodos.

2. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Sparklingly catchy and timeless pop, vocals you can sing along to. Every song sounds like a radio hit. That doesn’t happen often.

3. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
Not since the Beach Boys has a band harmonized so wondrously.

4. Throw Me the Statue, Moonbeams
I might be the only writer putting this plucky young band from Seattle on my list, but like Bobby Brown says, “That’s my prerogative.” TMTS combines the eccentric charm of early new wave, especially Talking Heads, and gloms on keyboards and strummy acoustics. The result is dark, light and swirly – a stunning contrast of moods and sounds.

5. She and Him, Vol. 1
My favorite male vocalist of nowadays, M. Ward, teams up with Hollywood sweetheart Zooey Deschanel for a duet masterpiece. I especially like their cover of the Beatles’ “Should Have Known Better.”

6. N.E.R.D., Seeing Sounds
This is way beyond the conventions of hip-hop and R&B. Pharrell and Co. give us a fun and funky amalgamation that doesn’t lose its soul and integrity in the translation.

7. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
The all-out rock, balladeer charm and glam luster of early ’70s Bowie on a high-tech 21st century platform – Robo Ziggy!

8. The Breeders, Mountain Battles
I love how Kim Deal’s voice has gotten rougher and raspier. It just adds to the raw mystique of the Breeders, a band that’s always had a knowing attitude while not taking itself too seriously to be weird. Theirs is a righteously cool evolution, and this album is proof.

9. TV on the Radio, Dear Science
Soulful, bizarre, topical, danceable. A super record from one of this decade’s supergroups.

10. Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer
Wolf Parade seemed like another fancy, esoteric Canadian band at one time but has won me over with its soulful, gutsy rock, sweetened by indelible melodies and intelligent lyrics.

11. The Delta Spirit, Ode to Sunshine
12. The Helio Sequence, Keep Your Eyes Ahead
13. The Old 97s, Blame it On Gravity
14. Lykke Li, Youth Novels
15. Dr. Dog, Fate
16. My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
17. Centro-matic/South San Gabriel, Dual Hawks
18. Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords
19. R.E.M., Accelerate
20. Duffy, Rockferry

On my list to check out further:

I’m thinking that if I had more time with these, the results could possibly skew a bit:
Common: Universal Mind Control; Q-Tip: The Renaissance; Thurston Moore: Sensitive/Lethal; The Rosebuds: Life Like; Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago; Beach House: Devotion; Langhorne Slim: Langhorne Slim; and Okkervil River: The Stand-Ins.

10 favorite singles:

The Dodos “Fools”
Flo-Rida “Low”
Fonzworth Bentley feat. Kanye and Andre “Everybody (Don’t Stop)”
Lykke Li “I’m Good, I’m Gone”
Throw Me the Statue “Lolita”
Common feat. Pharrell “Universal Mind Control”
People C’mon “The Delta Spirit”
The Breeders “Bang On”
M83 “Kim and Jessie”
Pictures and Sound “It’s You”

By Carla DeSantis

It’s December and thanks to bloggers and the free subscription my mother has somehow ended up getting from Rolling Stone, I’ve been looking over what I’ve missed this year on the annual “best of the year” lists.

Since ROCKRGRL’s demise at the end of ’05, I work at home and have musically become a bit of a hermit. I thought that maybe perusing these “best of” lists from friends and colleagues in-the-know would introduce me to music I might have missed and enlighten me to what’s going on outside the wheels in my head.

Anyhow, I’m looking at all these lists from all these people with very eclectic tastes and can’t help thinking: What happened to the rock? You know, the stuff that has been horrifying parents for generations.

Duffy and Fleet Foxes and Coldplay are fine, I guess, but their music has all the angst of a lullaby. Did angst go out of style when I wasn’t looking? How can this qualify as rock?

The current crop of buzz bands sound like rejects from the Lilith Fair tour. And I’m talking about the guys. Everything sounds like Jewel circa 1994. (And I hate Jewel.)

I know I risk sounding like one of those doddering elderly people waxing nostalgic about the good old days. Fair enough. But what I’ve always loved about rock is the raw power and emotion behind it. I need edge. And I don’t mean the guy from U2.

I just can’t believe that with the internet offering a world of variety, the baby-voiced singers on iPod commercials and television processed American Cheese Idols are the best we’ve got.

All I want is one artist, one song, that will make me excited about listening to music again. Despite her demons, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black is the last album that really did it for me. And I love Adele’s “Cold Shoulder” (produced by Winehouse’s producer, Mark Ronson) but the rest of the album is just sort of…eh.

So please, tastemakers, just find me the one artist that I will still love ten years from now. That’s all I ask. In the meantime, I think I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled hibernation until it’s safe to scare my parents again. Especially since Rolling Stone is after my mom to subscribe.

Carla Desantis is the former editor of ROCKRGRL.

By Gina Vivinetto

I read a recent article about The Vines canceling their tour because of frontman Craig Nicholls‘ deteriorating mental health. Nicholls was diagnosed with Aspergers in 2004 after his behavior had grown increasingly erratic and violent, but it looks like he’s getting even worse.

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For the record, I’m not sure Aspergers makes you act manic and out-of-control– Nicholls attacked a photographer among other things– but admittedly I don’t know an awful lot about the disease. Still, it sounds to me like Nicholls is suffering from full-blown bipolar disorder. Or schizophrenia.

Which brings up of a subject I find interesting: the notion of “outsider artists” in rock ‘n’ roll. There have been endless debates about artists like Daniel Johnston, whom I attempted to interview in 2003, a schizophrenic and bipolar musician whose behavior is often dangerous and combative – Johnston was once arrested for attacking his friend with a lead pipe because he believed him to be the devil, and also the late Wesley Wills, a schizophrenic black man who grew up in Chicago foster homes and later recorded childlike songs about Batman that white indie rockers adored. (Willis died in 2003 of chronic leukemia. He was 40).

Wesley Willis.

Wesley Willis.

There is ample footage of both men, Johnston in the acclaimed 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston and Willis in the 2003 documentary The Daddy of Rock ‘N’ Roll, where cameras followed him around as he talked to himself. (Another documentary was released about him this year).

I think it’s worth repeating that Willis sang his goofy songs to mostly white audiences, often college-age frat boys who were happy to oblige Willis when he asked them to bash their heads into his. Willis enjoyed head butts from fans so much, he walked around with a permanent knot on his forehead. For many reasons (which include the nefarious history of race relations in the United States), this image bothers me.

For as long as “outsider musicians” have been involved in the industry, critics have asked the question: is it okay to profit off these people? Or are we exploiting them?

Certainly, there are red flags that these artists have not always been taken care of by their management. Despite his indie rock cult stardom, Wesley Willis, who recorded over 1,000 songs and played to huge sell-out crowds, died with a total life savings of $300.

Where is Willis’ money? That question has still never been sufficiently answered.

Even more interesting to me is the criteria for an outsider artist. Which mentally ill musicians – and there are plenty – are to be considered outsider? Why are musicians like Brian Wilson and the late Kurt Cobain, no strangers to the manic and the depressive, considered mainstream artists when others are relegated to the musical looney bin?

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Where does Britney Spears, who had the world’s most public nervous breakdown, fit into all of this?

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The world monitored Britney’s bizarre behavior for all of 2007 and 2008. And now it’s acceptable to push her lucrative ass back on the road? Why? Because an untold amount of people make their living off her performances?

Britney attacked a car with an umbrella. She shaved her head as the paparazzi snapped pictures. Shouldn’t Britney be the Queen of the Outsider Artists?

That question would be easier to answer if Brit were not in such elite company. Many of the biggest musical stars of the last 20 years have suffered from mental illness (including bipolar disorder and depression): Spears, Cobain, Axl Rose, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor and I’ll leave it up to you to diagnose Madonna and Prince.

This is nothing new. The connection between creativity and mental illness has been written about for years.

But the music biz is not just about creativity, it’s a business. Like it or not, Britney Spears and Daniel Johnston, Kurt Cobain and Craig Nicholls, crazy as they may be, are products that we buy.

I don’t know how to determine who’s well enough to be in the industry and who’s not. Or which damaged people should be marketed as such and which should not.

But I applaud the decision made by The Vines’ members and management and I hope in the future, others reflect on it. Craig Nicholls may be a product, but he’s a person first.

We remember John Lennon

Posted: December 8, 2008 by ginavivinetto in music, politics
Tags:

john-lennon1

We’re sending love to Yoko today.

By Deborah Frost

I once walked into the dressing room of a very huge metal band — well, they were not quite as huge then as they are now, oh what the hell, they are probably the biggest band in the world — Metallica (and they didn’t get that way without airing their own dirty laundry very publicly from revealing in various cover stories tales of the drummer being fellated under the stage nightly during the bass solo to the somewhat drippier venereal complications).

Metallica in the late 1980s.

Metallica in the late 1980s.

Anyway, they were somewhere in the middle of the bill on one of those late 1980s “Monsters of Rock” concerts at RFK Stadium in Washington, I think it was. There was a lot of waiting around in the days they were all lumped together without their own private jets or drivers and everyone seemed to be in a grumpy mood, particularly James Hetfield, who was sitting next to two fairly unattractive girls who could have been models — only for one of those “BEFORE” acne-medication ads.

Instead of his usual warm greeting, James barely grunted at me that he was doing an “interview.” Which was a little strange, given that he was not really even having a conversation with the skinnier one of the two girls, who was not equipped with any of the usual tools of the trade, like a tape recorder or pencil or piece of paper, only a flimsy little sun-dress which was only remarkable in its cheapness and that it was fairly inappropriate for the weather but did reveal all of her other lack of equipment in every other department.

James suddenly got up, jerking her by the wrist, and disappeared toward the bathroom where other members of the crew and band were, eager to try out the brand new little video cameras (they had just come on the market) they had been playing with. Kirk Hammett also grabbed what I called my Helen Keller camera — one of those point and shoot 35 mm things (this was in the pre-digital era) that even she could have operated.

There was a great deal of commotion when James discovered that Kirk was holding them both over the top of the bathroom stall — where — well, several months later, when I had forgotten all about it and the prints came back from the developer, I was shocked to discover, right in the middle of some happy family vacation, exactly what he was doing with this young lady crouched on the toilet and could not believe that I had not been arrested for pornography. Then again, maybe that only happens if it involves pictures of children and it was VERY clear in vivid living color that James was NO child.

It was almost the end of Metallica as we knew it, when James suddenly roared out of the bathroom, grabbing Kirk by the throat with one hand and the video camera, from which he ripped the film, with the other, before stomping on it and practically smashing the guitarist’s head against the wall as he begged for mercy.

Dokken in the late 1980s.

Dokken in the late 1980s.

How my camera was handed off to me in all of the commotion I have no idea, but the drummer from Dokken swaggered into the bathroom just as the girl was coming out. Before she had a chance to make it to the sink, he grabbed her (they seemed to have been previously introduced) in a most amorous embrace, practically sweeping her off her feet– you might have thought it was one of those old fashioned romantic movies if only they’d had better costumes– as he shoved his tongue down her throat.

“Congratulations, ” I said, “You just blew James Hetfield!”

Legendary rock music critic Deborah Frost is the leader of the Brain Surgeons.

By Stephanie Koppel

A few days ago, I had absolutely no interest in seeing a film about teenage vampires, but as soon as I heard that the film’s star, Kristen Stewart, had been cast as Joan Jett in the upcoming Runaways biopic, I knew I needed to see Twilight.

stewardjoanjett

Stewart’s overall performance wasn’t terrible, but there was one scene at the end where she is stammering and I watched — I watched painfully. The Twilight producers wanted me to cry tears of sorrow here, but I nearly cried tears of laughter. And then I got a little scared — and not because of the creepy blood-sucking stuff. I asked myself: could I ever envision this girl playing the toughest chick in rock ‘n roll? (Let’s review Stewart’s recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman).

But then I realized, avid Runaways fans like myself are going to be Stewart’s toughest critics. Even if she’s handled by the most astute stylists — who will replicate Joan’s signature leather getup — and treated by skilled make up artists, who will bury her in eyeliner, we will probably never be satisfied. Even if Stewart becomes our Joan, we’re still going to critique her voice, her swagger and her guitar playing; we’ll probably even dissect her scowl.

In any case, Twilight is an enormous hit; it raked in nearly $70 million in its opening weekend, and as a result, Stewart has gained a huge teen fan base. Almost all of the Twilight fans I interviewed had no idea who Joan Jett was (and the few that did had never heard of The Runaways), yet nearly every single one of them told me they would see The Runaways just because of Stewart’s involvement in it. They are so Kristen-crazy that they’d also run to buy her album if she decided to release one. But this promising legion of Stewart fans may be completely shut out if The Runaways receives an R rating (and sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll have never really been PG).

bandn11

The Runaways will be directed by famed music video director Floria Sigismondi and executive produced by Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna. Reportedly the filmmakers have secured the music rights. This makes me wonder: will Kristen and the other Runaways actresses lip synch or will they try their hardest to nail “Cherry Bomb”?

“I’d prefer lipsyching so the real Runaways music can be heard and enjoyed by the masses,” said one long-time Runaways fan. The majority of Runaways fans seem to be hoping for the Milli Vanilli route, whereas Kristen Stewart’s fans, unsurprisingly, want to hear her sing in the movie.

Hopefully The Runaways will turn out to be an exciting and accurate account of one of my all-time favorite bands. And since Joan is in the producer’s chair, I know I won’t be disappointed.

So who do you think should round out the rest of Runaways? Which actress do you think is worthy of squeezing into Cherie Currie’s corset?

By Eve Naskale

(Editor’s note: We asked Eve to share this story with us after we saw this item about a sewing machine signed by members of Metallica. Big whoop. Eve got John Waters to sign her pink KitchenAid mixer).

The best thing that has ever happened to my dream future kitchen is breast cancer. I know that’s not a nice thing to say, but it’s true. I own a ton of pink kitchen things, and as soon as we can get into a house where a pink kitchen will work, I will put it all out and paint my cabinets pink.

The center piece for said future pink kitchen is Betty Whipple, my Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer. I don’t get to use it much, but I stroke it lovingly every time I walk by it. Especially now that it’s a marvel of kitsch pop-culture history.

John Waters, the director of cult classics like Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Serial Mom and (my favorite) A Dirty Shame, came to town to perform his man show called “The Filthy World.” Essentially he goes through the ins and outs of how his crazy ass movies were made, the pitfalls, the insane stories, and people he’s met along the way. Afterwards, there was to be a “memento signing”.

I didn’t want any CDs signed, and I don’t collect DVDs. I have a couple of signed CDs and they just get tucked away along with the rest of my musical library. I did want him to sign something, but I wanted it to be special. I wanted to take something ordinary and create a museum piece. At the risk of ruining it, I decided on Betty Whipple.

At the time I was recovering from a shattered elbow and was in a horrible arm brace, but I put it in a big bag and lugged it along. For those of you who may have one of these mixers, you know they aren’t light. At all. Thankfully I had a couple of friends with my, and they helped me carry it.

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When I brought it up to his desk, he didn’t bat an eye. He went after it with his Sharpie. I smacked his hand away and gave him a paint pen I got for this occasion, as I didn’t think a Sharpie signature would last. John happily signed it and did a beautiful job of it. Other than making him switch pens, I don’t even know what I said to him, I was so excited. I was a babbling idiot. As my friends and I walked away with it, I could feel the mad jealousy of fellow John Waters fans who wish they brought their mixers too.

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Although I’ve wondered what it would now sell for on eBay, I’ll never know because it will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands. John Waters created an heirloom for me, and I love him even more for that.

Eve Naskale is an avid mountain biker who wants to be the Karaoke Queen of the Universe. She and her husband Daryl and their two dogs are forever renovating their house in St. Petersburg, Florida. One day she dreams of having a pink kitchen and an infinite supply of colorful socks.

By Nancy Quatro Glass

I was only 15, on tour with the The Pleasure Seekers, and quite innocent to the ways of musicians.

Nancy Quatro with tambourine performing with The Pleasure Seekers, 1966

Nancy Quatro with tambourine performing with The Pleasure Seekers, 1966

Does anyone remember the band Iron Butterfly?

Iron Butterfly in the 1960s.

Iron Butterfly in the 1960s.

Picture me walking down the hotel hall to my room, all of the doors open with the smell of pot all around, and out walks the guitar player from Iron Butterfly into the hall wearing only a towel and carrying a watermelon.

He bends down to roll the watermelon down the hall to me and his towel drops. He is standing there buck naked. (That is the first time I ever saw a man’s penis).

I turned and ran the other way cause I thought it might do something scary to me!

I learned very quickly that I would see many more musicians in much the same way as they seem to want to bare all as often as possible.

Nancy Quatro Glass spent her teen years singing and playing bass in The Pleasure Sisters, a popular 1960s all-female Detroit garage rock band formed by her sisters Patti, Suzi, and Arlene. Nancy and Patti went on to form the hard rock band Cradle and are currently at work reissuing an album of Cradle’s music.

By Gina Vivinetto

Have you had a gander at the album cover for Morrissey’s 2009 release Years Of Refusal? Check it out:

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Why the hell is Morrissey holding a baby? Is this his inner child? Is it merely another installment in a series of Pictures of Morrissey Doing Things We Never Thought Possible, for example, his 2004 album cover for You Are The Quarry in which he’s brandishing a tommy gun.

A tommy gun, fine, but a BABY? That’s just creepy.

And what’s with the ink on the kid’s forehead? And Morrissey’s arm? Is he a cutter now?

What’s going on?

Do you have an interpretation?

By Gina Vivinetto

Some pranksters are circulating “videos” of David Lee Roth‘s bare vocal tracks from a few of Van Halen‘s classic tunes. It’s pretty weird listening to him yelp and squeal and holler without the accompaniment of thunderous drums, thudding bass and Edward Van Halen‘s guitar wizardry.

For example, “Runnin’ With the Devil”:

It’s nice to finally make out some of those lyrics. As far as Dave sounding lousy, I don’t agree at all. I wish he sounded this good when I saw the band in concert earlier this year.

What do you think?

By Vanessa Briscoe Hay

Back in 1980 or so, my band Pylon was on a short tour through the Midwest and parts of Canada with post punk legends the Gang of Four. The two bands have been friends since the summer of 1979 when we had opened for them in Philadelphia and in New York City on our first trip out of Athens, Georgia.

Pylon performing in the 1980s.

Pylon performing in the 1980s.

Both bands had stopped for the night at an enormous Holiday Inn near the Canadian border. The generic corridors seemed to stretch for miles. The next day, we were making our first trip across the border to our first Canadian show. The members of Pylon and our roadie/soundperson were all staying in one room. Guys two per bed. I got the rollaway cot, but it was my own bed and not the floor. We were used to sleeping on floors. Actually getting to stay in hotels for the whole tour was a huge step up for us.

Hugo Burnham (the drummer for the Gang of Four) and his brother Jolian, (GO4 tour manager), invited us to come watch TV and hang out in their room. I noticed that Hugo had a nicely typed-up list of their equipment and serial numbers sitting on top of the TV. I became worried because we hadn’t done anything like that. I brought it to the attention to the rest of the band so we could make an equipment list too. I remember drinking beer, chatting and watching a documentary about Jimi Hendrix on the television. I’m sure that some Rebel Yell was available too. All great fun!

The British band Gang of Four.

The British band Gang of Four.

After awhile, most of the members of Pylon had drifted back to the hotel room. Curtis Crowe (Pylon’s drummer) and I remained behind. Eventually realizing that it was getting late, we decided to head back to our room. I guess we were inebriated — as a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that we were! On arrival to our room, we suddenly realized that neither of us had a key. We banged on the door for awhile to no avail. Our fellow bandmates were sleeping pretty deeply and obviously didn’t hear us. Curtis and I put our heads together and decided that we should go back to Hugo’s room and ask if we could sleep on the floor.

Heading back down the hall, we passed an open door. On the bed lay Jon King (the lead singer of the Gang of Four) fully dressed and sleeping on his back with the lights blazing overhead. Curtis and I both agreed that Jon wouldn’t mind. He was our friend! It was very convenient, too. We carefully locked and latched the door for him and turned off all the lights and crawled into the other bed fully clothed and went to sleep.

Sometime, early the next morning someone was shaking me. I blearily opened my eyes. Cold, early morning light was pouring through the window. Ouch! A guy was angrily yelling “Who the fuck are you?!” Curtis and I both sat up and looked at each other and realized, yikes! THIS WAS NOT JON KING! Just someone that looked a little bit like him.

We jumped up. Apologized. And ran back to our room. This time when we knocked on our door, someone woke up and let us in.

Vanessa Briscoe Hay is the lead singer of both the influential alternative rock band Pylon and the more recently-formed Supercluster. Vanessa is married to musician Bob Hay. They have two daughters.

By Gina Vivinetto

In an earlier post, we wrote about Spencer Elden, the little baby on the cover of Nirvana‘s Nevermind album who’s now a 17-year-old young man.

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Well, we just found an recent interview with Heather DeLoach, the little Bee Girl from Blind Melon‘s whimsical 1993 “No Rain” video.

Let’s refresh your memory:

Heather is now a 25-year-old actress living in California. Here’s the Bee Girl all grown up:

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Heather appeared in the flicks A Little Princess, Camp Nowhere, Anywhere But Here, and on the television programs Tracey Takes On, ER, and Reno 911.

Heather says, naturally, people don’t recognize her as the Bee Girl:

“When I casually meet people, they don’t know and I don’t display it to them,” she says. “But within an hour, someone is bragging about it, like my boyfriend or my friends, and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s you?’ “

But she doesn’t mind:

(It’s) the best thing that happened to me. At 80 years old, people are still going to be wondering what I’m doing,” she says. “It’s opened so many doors with acting and my personal life, it’s been a blessing.”

Nice to catch up with you, Bee Girl!

By Gina Vivinetto

If you’re in New York tonight, please consider swinging by the 3rd annual Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls auction at 6 p.m. at the Zipper Factory. Everyone’s favorite showbiz personality Murray Hill will emcee the live bidding, with proceeds going to the camp’s scholarship fund.

The show cost $50 to get in and features live performances by the always riveting Meshell Ndegeocello

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and super-talented Erin McKeown:

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To learn all the details, check out this flyer (Click the title of this post to expand the page):

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To lear more about Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, click here.

Remember, these little girls are tomorrow’s Sweaty Bitches of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

By Cherie Currie

Predators.

Now this is a subject where I feel things that jerk me from my seat, want to grab my gun and check out the newest torturer devices online. Movies like Saw and Hostel 1 and 2 start flipping through my head at lightning speed and I have to calm myself before my heart explodes. Yep, that’s me when I think of a predator. Screwdrivers, a ball peen hammer and pliers come to mind FIRST. Then the gun.

Child predators. Hell, all predators are pure EVIL and deserve the harshest of punishment. When I hear of these children gone missing, found but no longer with us, woman maimed and worse, all I can think of is how much I’d like to introduce the low-life scum that inflicted this horror to my two best friends, Smith and Wesson.

Nope. I’m not the forgiving type. No, I’m not the understanding ‘He’s sick and we should feel sorry for him’ type.

Yes, I am the vigilante type that wouldn’t blink as I ended the life of the man that hurt my child (or anyone else’s child for that matter) or loved one. I mean, I wouldn’t blink.

So, instead of hoping it wouldn’t happen, praying it doesn’t happen, I took steps with my child to make sure it would NEVER happen. The way I raised my child was with pure love and selfishness. I knew that if anything ever happened to him I wouldn’t survive. I mean NEVER and frankly, I would have to take on the Jodie Foster role in The Brave One before I met my maker.

There is nothing more gut-wrenching then the loss of a child at the hands of a motherf*cking, low-life scum bag. There isn’t a day gone by that I don’t thank the lord for not having to say, ‘How could this happen to me?”

I made sure of it, as sure as God made green apples. I made sure my son Jake knew as early as he could understand that they are out there, they are waiting and they would hurt him and bad. We can talk about Teen Sex, but if we lose them because we didn’t want to “scare” them, what’s the frigg’in point, right?! We have to keep our children ALIVE!

It’s not always the scary looking guy our kids have to fear. It’s the lollipop toters, the ice cream men, and the puppy peddlers that lure these unsuspecting innocents right from under our ignorant noses!

This is MAJOR people, as major as it gets, and, in my opinion, parents don’t give their children the credit they deserve. Kids are smart and the earlier you teach them the less affected they will be when all the other tidbits of life come marching through.

My own story:

I had my first close encounter with a scum demon when I was 10-years-old walking from the market with my girlfriend Kelly, who was 8. He pulled up to us in his VW Bug, pants-free, with evil, bad intent. I had to pull my friend away from his car as she was transfixed on the ‘thing’ between his legs that she had never seen before. He followed us as we ran home, chasing us, cutting us off at street corners. He was so calm, so unaffected by our fear. I’ll never forget his eyes. He had dead, scary, vacant eyes. Like that line in Jaws: “and when they bite you, they roll over…” Yeah, those eyes.

We called the police and the two young officers had to contain their giggles as a crying Kelly told them he had no ‘pee pee hole’. ECCHHHH! GOD! Traumatized she was, educated she wasn’t. I shouldn’t have had to drag her from the car. She should have known we were in danger. Worse yet, had I not been there: easy pick’ins like fruit from the vine.

You don’t leave a child to wander alone around a swimming pool. You gate it, lock it up, and you teach the child to swim. A no brain-er. Why is it so taboo — and some parents think cruel — to teach a child the fundamental facts of survival at a young age? Life’s not all Cinderella and Scooby Doo, people! That’s the fantasy we so wish for our children, but the truth? NOT!

Let them enjoy the cartoons and play time. But, educate them on the TRUTH. A little fear they can take! Not the horror they will face if not given the absolute facts. The boogie man is alive and well just outside the door, at in the parks, in the malls, the playgrounds. Never, I mean, NEVER leave your child alone, not even for a second. That’s all it takes, and your life, as you know it — all the hopes, the dreams — are over.

Be selfish! I had a woman tell me she thought I was a bad mother for “scaring” my child. My response was, “I’ll have my son when he’s sixteen. Will you?”

Though Jake’s school was just across the street I watched him till he got there safely and never let him go anywhere alone. I told him about the Bad People and the terrible things that could happen to him. He asked a lot of the questions. I gave him tough answers. Was he scared? Yes. That fear turned into awareness and with awareness came contentment. You do the right thing, the safe thing and you have a better chance of survival.

Give your kids a fighting chance.

I have seen it all first hand. Experienced the fear and brutality close up and personal. I survived because I was lucky. My friend David said to me today, “The past will shape us. We don’t have to let it control us”. Words to live by as long as you pay it forward and share your experience.

Killer bees, pit bulls, the West Nile virus, they all get the much-deserved headlines. They are killers, they’re out there. We tend to forget The Night Stalker, The Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy and the John Wayne Gacy‘s of the world (who dressed up like a clown to lure his victims). Believe you me, they are still out there in force with different faces, stalking, waiting, and they have their sights set on your children. And you!

If I could put people with Uzis around every school, park, community pool and Chuck E. Cheese with a banner that said, “Come On You Pedophile Rapist Punk! Make My Day!”, I would. But society won’t allow it.

Ozzie and Harriet are long gone. Sold their house to Freddy Krueger . The days of sending your child to the corner market for milk are over.

You say you don’t want them to grow up too fast? NOTHING will strip away a childhood like the hands of a predator. Don’t let it happen to your child. They will thank you for it. Jake thanks me to this day. He is observant and tactical. Best of all, he’s undamaged, he’s alive. And so am I.

Be safe! NOT stupid!
Love your child enough to scare them smart!

Cherie Currie was the lead singer of The Runaways. She’s a professional musician, actress, author, and one of the few women in America who create chainsaw art. She writes Cherie Currie’s Guide to Life because she loves you.

By Carrie Waite

Monet   Monet (last sold for $80.4 million)
Stradivarius (last sold for $3.5 million)

Stradivarius (last sold for $3.5 million)

Crusty Ass Sex Pistols T-Shirt (last sold for $375)

Crusty Ass Sex Pistols T-Shirt (last sold for $375)

I’ve been obsessively mulling over the sales from the Punk/Rock Auction at Christies last Monday. Note that’s Punk/Rock, not Punk Rock. The majority of the auction was your typical Beatles/Elvis memorabilia. And does a violin signed by The Three Tenors classify as either Punk or Rock? Um, no.

The cultural implications of this type of auction didn’t really register when I first read about it last week in the New York Times.  Then the headline came across my RSS feed reader again today and I was curious just how much someone would pay for an original Clash Poster ($2,750 apparently).  I mean, Christies Auction House symbolizes the tippity top of the upper-echelon, right? Who else could afford to pay $13.5 million for a Basquiat that used to belong to the drummer from Metallica?

If the hippies became the yuppies, then what have the punks become? The puppies? Yeah, I know, that’s stupid.  I think we need a new term for the former anti-establishment. Any ideas?

As it turns out, after looking through the lots, it’s obvious that the upper-crust isn’t ready for the filth and the fury. Most of the “Punk” items sold for far less than their estimated value, except for the photo of Debbie Harry which sold for more than 5x the estimate.

A few highlights:

The highest selling “Punk” item of the auction, an autographed photo of Debbie Harry , sold for $8750 (estimated value $1,000 – $1,500).

The first two issues of “Bomp“, sold for $63 (estimated value $500 – $700).

Limited edition signed photo of Lou Reed from the cover of Transformer by photographer Mick Rock, sold for $1875 (estimated value $2,000 – $3,000).

The lot I wish I’d been there to purchase, a pair of rare Patti Smith poetry books, sold for $125 (estimated value $300 – $500). 

By Gina Vivinetto

I’m sure Beatles fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when the Vatican announced recently that it had forgiven John Lennon for saying 40 years ago that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.

What a crock-of-shit media spin that was.

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Lennon said in the spring of 1966 what many ordinary people say regularly nowadays: Jesus was all right, but his followers are a drag.

Here’s the exact quote:

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. We’re more popular than Jesus now – I don’t know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was alright, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

But of course, idiotic journalists spun it to suit their needs and make a huge controversy out of it.

Here’s a not-quite-contrite Lennon a few months later explaining what he meant by the comment:

Lennon’s Jesus comment was also a critique of young people around the world putting more emphasis on the words of John Lennon than they did the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Now, the Roman Catholic Church, in its latest effort to appear less stodgy, has “forgiven” him, which is ironic because John Lennon’s music has done more to promote the ideas of universal peace, harmony, and love in the past 40 years than the church has done in its history.

By Trish Bendix

Barack Obama has won his place in the White House, so naturally, the next topic of discussion: What music will he be Barackin’ to at his inauguration?

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Beyonce and her boo Jay-Z have already been secured, and rumor has it Britster Leona Lewis will also be on hand, but what about Obama’s hometown pride? Most media outlets and blogs have nominated a handful of Chicago-based artists (those recognized in the mainstream, anyhow) and they all look very similar:

Fall Out Boy
Kanye West
Wilco
Smashing Pumpkins

One thing these dudes all have in common? Well, they’re dudes. (As of press time, D’Arcy still hadn’t rejoined the Pumpkins but that could certainly change at a moment’s notice. Also, Pete Wentz still counts as a dude, I don’t care how andrgynous your tween sister says he is.)

Jennifer Hudson would be a great Chicago pick, as she wowed with the National Anthem at Barack’s request for his accepting of the democratic party’s nomination. However, family issues might be keeping her out of comission as of now, and I can understand why it might seem insensitive to say, “Hey, Jen. Care to come croon for our country?”

Obama Music

Judging from Rolling Stone’s profile of the president elect, I can conclude that he might enjoy more dude performers, generally:

“…growing up, he listened to Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire but that Stevie Wonder was his ultimate musical hero during the 70s. The Stones` track “Gimme Shelter” topped his favorite songs from the band. His selection also contained 30 songs from Dylan.”

However, there was also a mention of having Sheryl Crow on his iPod. Sheryl Crow, not from Chicago. (Sorry, Obama.)

So if he were to stay true to Chi-Town, he’d most likely be picking a singer-songwriter with a little pop-edge to their soul, and maybe someone over the age of 30. If he really wanted to get crazy, he could choose someone not only older, wiser and with some amazing chops, but with some civil rights history of her own.

How about Mavis Staples, Barack? I urge you to consider her. Her songs echo basically echo is campaign: “Have a Little Faith,” “We’ll Never Turn Back,” “Eyes on the Prize.” Beat that, Beyonce. Just try and follow one of those songs with “Bootylicious.”

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One of the original Staples Singers, Mavis recently released a statement about Obama’s election, saying, “It is so surreal, so completely overwhelming. This young black man has inspired and brought the country together. There’s something about him that makes me feel he is the chosen one. There’s something about his leadership that makes people feel calm and safe.”

Someone get Mavis on the phone. (I bet she still has a 312 area code.)

And if all else fails, Sheryl Crow was born in Missouri. That’s close enough, right?

By Gina Vivinetto

Apartment Therapy is a lovely site featuring snapshots of beautiful homes and decor. Every once in a while the site tosses in a nutty, priceless piece like this one where they’ve dug through an old Life magazine and reprinted photos from an article showcasing the homes of parents of 1970s rock stars including Elton John, David Crosby, Eric Clapton and Grace Slick.

These were some of the era’s most flamboyant stars, so, naturally, it’s fun to see their parents’ utter normalcy.

Here are a few that I liked (click on any picture to enlarge):

Here’s Frank Zappa with mom and dad:

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Elton John with his mum and step dad:

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Grace Slick with her mom:

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That nice, young man Eric Clapton with his grandmother:

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David Crosby with his dad (the grandad of Melissa Etheridge‘s kids, when you think about it):

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There are several more on the site. Click here to see the homes of the parents of Donovan, the Jackson 5, and others.

By Carrie Waite

Every Thanksgiving, after we gorge ourselves silly on turkey (or Tofurkey) and pumpkin pie and make our way to the bottom of the mashed potato mountain, we sit around and watch Christmas movies. Usually it’s Ralphie.

Sometimes it’s Rudolph and Hermie. Once in a while we’ll go with a more adult themed flic like Badder Santa (only the unrated version will do).  

But this year, we now have the ultimate Christmas movie for music nerds. It’s finally here. That movie you’ve been waiting for just like you waited for Return of the Jedi  when you were a kid. The Flaming Lips have released Christmas on Mars. And it’s freaking awesome. What else can I say? There’s a living space station partially made out of Cool Whip containers, super aliens and babies incubating outside of their mother’s wombs. And speaking of mothers…there’s quite the symbolic display of female body parts in there too. 

It does get a little gross once in a while, but it is really quite amazing for being filmed in Wayne Coyne’s back yard. The soundtrack’ll give you the best addition to your holiday mix tape, since the children singing from A Charlie Brown Christmas.


Go play the game if you haven’t gotten your copy of the Mega Deluxe Edition yet.

(from the Christmas on Mars Message Board )

WTF?!?!?!?!
Nov 22, 2008 / Joel
“That is really, really aggitating that I might have to wait another 30 DAYS!!!!! Every day since it was suposed to have been shipped has been the longest day of my life. And knowing that I might not have it for another month is just the worst feeling ever……..”

Don’t end up like a Joel. Order yours now!

By Carrie Waite

Rock n’ roller. Music geek. Audio file. I’m not really any of these things.  And don’t you ever fucking call me a hipster.  Scenester is nearly as criminal a term.  I’m just looking for a little inspiration, ya know?  That’s all.  Just a little.  I get it from music.  From my friends.  It’s cliche to say but it is my church.  The music,  the spirit,  the communal feeling.  And it’s got to be live music.  It’s got to be organic.  I’m sorry but your sorry ass MP3s and IPODs just don’t cut it for me.  I want the real thing.  

These moments of inspiration come in such small doses and oh so infrequently, that I had to figure out a way to capture them, put them in my pocket and take them home with me.  How can I make these little morsels of actual living last long enough, so as to get me through the cold, lonely, day to day rat race?  I’ll take a picture of it.  Make it last longer. Har. Har. 

As my introductory blog, I’ll give you a little sampling from when I first began taking pictures.  This picture of one of my all time favorite rock/punk bands, Nutrajet, was my first ever published photograph. It was Feb or March of 2002 for Weekly Planet aka Creative Loafing. Nutrajet were drummer, Jeff Wood, on the left, and guitarist/singer, Greg Reinel, aka Stainboy, on the right.  Their shows were raucous and rebellious and never ever predictable.  Jeff passed away last year after an agonizing struggle with brain cancer.  He gave it all, every show.  We miss you, Jeff.  You were THE Jeff Wood.  The only one.  

These are Jeff’s hands after a Nutrajet show at the Copper Rocket in Orlando.

So happy to be a sweaty bitch,
Carrie

By Gina Vivinetto

You can kill a lot of time at Sleeveface.com. Readers send in funny images of themselves staged with vintage vinyl album covers. (Yet another reason vinyl records are better than CDs).

Here are some of our favorites (click on any pic to enlarge):

Freddie Mercury:

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Simon & Garfunkel (Look at the scarf! Such attention to detail):

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Janis:

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John Lennon:

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Bob Dylan:

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You can do a search for your favorite albums, artists, or just browse the site. What a great idea!

By Gina Vivinetto

Are you on Myspace? Are you curious about Chinese Democracy, the new Guns N’ Roses album, but you don’t want to pay for it?

gnrchinesedemocracy

Good news, the band’s profile page is streaming it for free.

Axl Rose and his rotating cast of session musicians began recording this album 16 years ago – hey, that’s a year after Nirvana‘s Nevermind came out. Lots of things have changed since the early 1990s. For instance, here’s the baby from Nevermind’s cover now, his name is Spencer Elden and he’s 17:

nirvananevermind_l1

I’m reminded of this, naturally, because Axl and Kurt got along so famously.

Give Chinese Democracy a listen and tell us what you think. Was it worth the wait?

Today’s fake band names

Posted: November 26, 2008 by ginavivinetto in Deborah Frost, music
Tags:

By Deborah Frost

* LEZBOLLAH

* Shiva for Snowy

Now you add more.

By Gina Vivinetto

Mark your calendars, rock ‘n’ rollers for Rockrgrl Day at the Institute of Musical Arts in Goshen, Ma. on Dec. 6.

Rockrgrl Day is an all-day symposium organized by Carla DeSantis, editor of the groundbreaking Rockrgrl magazine. It’s a day of sharing ideas and networking for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the music industry during these economically bleak times.

The event kicks off at 10:30 am with DeSantis interviewing keynote speaker Robin Lane (Robin Lane and The Chartbusters, A Woman's Voice).

The rest of the day includes the following panels:

1-2:30: Are the Glory Days of the Music Industry Behind Us?
Moderator: Ann Hackler, (IMA Executive Director). Panelists: Nini Camp (musician), Liz Borden (DJ) and Norma Coates (professor, Media Studies)

2:45-4:15: How To Make a Living In Tough Economic Times
Moderator: Emily Lichter (Public Emily management/promotion). Panelists: Brooke Primont (Cherry Lane Publishing), Kudisan Kai (vocalist/ teacher Berklee) and Kristin Bredimus (promoter/NEMO/BMA)

4:30-6:00: Tomorrow: What Will A Career In Music Look Like?
Moderator: Leah Kunkel (artist/attorney). Panelists: Beth Tallman (VP Rykodisc), June Millington (musician/producer/IMA cofounder) and Marci Cohen (music journalist).

The event costs $75 for adults, $50 for students.

For more information, or to register, go to Rockrgrl Day at IMA.

By Cherie Currie

Legalizing gay marriage will ensure children will be educated on the fact that they are NORMAL if they are attracted to the same sex. Hell, it may not seem normal to some of you folks, but to me? We all — I don’t care who you are — have pondered that idea at one time or another. I have swung both ways, as they say, a few times in my life and I’m GLAD I DID! I am glad I gave myself the chance to find out who I am.

Feeling different and acting on it can be devastating to a younger person. But guess what?! It’s NORMAL!!! That’s right people!! It’s just a part of growing up, learning who you are! This is the time for change. The time to get your head out of the frigging sand and face up to life.

So many of my best friends are lesbian and gay. To hell if I’m going to think they are different. Anyone who wants to stop people from getting married because of gender is an ignorant fool and worst of all scared. Fear stops the best things from happening. Acceptance is the key to all our problems today.

I pray that schools start educating our children, like, “Guess what? If you are attracted to the same sex, that’s okay. You are not crazy. There is no need to hide, no need to hang yourself, take that overdose, use daddy’s gun that you found under the mattress. You are accepted. You will be treated as every human being should be, with respect, dignity and love!”

THAT IS WHAT WE HOPE FOR OUR CHILDREN, PEOPLE!!

If you’re that frightened about change, maybe you’ve had some inner desires for the same sex and feel ashamed or you’re just too ignorant and selfish to live and let live? For those out there that voted Yes on Proposition 8 in California, I feel sorry for you. Worse yet: I feel sorry for your children that have to live under fear.

Marriage is about LOVE and COMMITMENT! Nothing more, so GET A GRIP!

I’m sure I’ll get some hate mail on this one, so BRING IT ON, BABY!! I’m ready to fight!

America is supposed to be The Land of the Free and the Home of The Brave!

Be brave, so we can all be free!

Cherie Currie was the lead singer of The Runaways. She’s a professional musician, actress, author, and one of the few women in America who create chainsaw art. She writes Cherie Currie’s Guide to Life because she loves you.

By Stephanie Koppel

Can you imagine going to a Stones show without getting any “Satisfaction”? How about an Aretha show with no “Respect”? And even if you can’t stand the song—or the singer—you’d probably be a little annoyed if Amy Winehouse did a gig without checking into “Rehab.”

Warrant lead singer, Jani Lane, once said in a VH1 interview: “I could shoot myself in the fucking head for writing [“Cherry Pie”].”

Artists like Lane are aggravated that their careers become entirely defined by a hit song. But if he didn’t write it—or make that equally cheesy video with the hot model who he would later marry—no one would even be talking about his band nearly two decades later.

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Go and approach any random ten people on the street, mention the name Joan Jett, and I bet at least half of them will bring up “I Love Rock ‘n Roll.” And how could they not? It topped the Billboard charts for two straight months in 1982 and essentially launched Jett’s solo career. And she’s still performing it live (along with the rest of her hits) over 25 years later.

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A few years ago, I sat through soul singer India.Arie’s two hour set, waiting patiently for two of her hit singles (“Brown Skin” and “Video”). She didn’t do either of them. Keep in mind that “Video” had been nominated for four Grammys three years earlier. It’s only her biggest fucking song. The audience didn’t seem too disturbed. I watched as they rose to give her a standing ovation and I was outraged.

The only thing worse than cutting a hit is when a performer butchers their hits. Just last week I witnessed Kenny Lattimore do a HOUSE version of one my favorite R&B songs. Do I even need to explain? It was utterly horrifying.

But back to Joan Jett. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” is an anthem. As soon as she plays the opening chords, the energy of the crowd completely changes. Everyone leaps to their feet, pumps their fists and sings along. Anyone who buys a ticket to her show expects to hear it. Joan knows this and she’s not a performer who’s going to disappoint. Though some of her die-hard fans see the song as a cue for bathroom break (but that’s another story).

I’m one of the fans who lives for the big finish and for the popular songs.

But how do you feel?

Tittyshakers: Home of the Sleazy Sound is where you’ll find everything you need to know about the saucy 1950s jazz music that women in old movies always disrobed to.

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In the author’s words:

“The roots of tittyshaker can be traced back to 50’s America where in major cities through to backwater shacks and pit-stop bars the juke box would be wailing out sleazy, lo-down and dirty rock n’ roll or equally gritty Jazz music to provide the rhythm for a neighbourhood girl to get up on stage to entertain the locals by performing a striptease, commonly she would only go down to her lingerie, the emphasis was on the dance and the tease.”

Yes, the site has a history of the genre – and pictures of naked women! Go!

Here are links to two recent interviews with rock critic, musician, and Sweaty Bitch contributor Deborah Frost:

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The first is Deborah’s spotlight interview in the “Women Who Rock” section of Life, Words, Rock ‘N’ Roll and the second is a recent chat with Blizz of Rock where Deborah’s band the Brain Surgeons were chosen as Artist of the Week!

Congrats, Deborah. We’re throwing up devil horns in your honor.