Hey folks, just a little update on what’s going on around here. The current lineup of Blue Oyster Cult is booked into November of 2015, playing shows with April Wine and Vanilla Fudge among others. The federal minimum wage is a sad fart joke. We are still mostly human. Soon the giant ants will come. The NRA is still a thoughtless, ignorant bully of an organization.
Closer to home we forge ahead. Things are pretty good. With the help of certain sealants and adhesives, our travel trailer is holding up like a champ under the recent inclement weather. Today is me and my wife’s third anniversary. We had some buckwheat pancakes and coffee for lunch. It’s a beautiful day. It has rained so hard so many times lately that you can almost forget how bright a sunny day can get in Texas.
I have a new solo record in the works. I’m starting to assemble recordings, shards of jetsam and lyrical hooey and shooting for a vinyl release in the late Fall of this year, if all goes well with further recording and mixing. I am stoked to once again be back working on a new project.
After that happens, my plan is to turn my attention to making another record with The Bremen Riot. Possibly some more solo touring between now and then. It’s been cool doing the acoustic thing again lately after laying off it for a while. In particular I had a great time this past March playing a show with Past Prayers in Chapel Hill, and sitting in with Jimmy, Claude and Charlie of The Gourds as “Fancy Dux” (pictured above) last weekend.
Recently I went to some concerts here in Austin, put on by rock legend types of the 1960s. Here are my totally unsolicited thoughts on two of the shows I saw.
THE WHO Frank Erwin Center 4/27/15
The crowd was somewhat staid at this one I thought, enthusiastic but sort of reserved. The cheap seats pushed out more volume than the high dollar ones. The PA too was at far less than the ear-splitting volume one would have expected thirty years ago. But it sounded good. Pete Townshend seems kind of ageless. He hopped around and windmilled his ass off the whole show and his playing was real expressive. Daltrey was good also. He paces himself now somewhat – the corners he cut early on were in the service of bringing some blast at key moments in things like “Love Reign O’er Me” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. He’s a very gracious performer. There is still a slight thugginess about him. He seems genuinely pleased to still be the lead singer and microphone twirler in this band, even as he huffs and puffs. It was a career-spanning set so there were many high points for me. A Quick One. Eminence Front. Pictures of Lily. Starkey’s a great drummer for this thing. Pino Palladino quotes Entwistle liberally but he wisely doesn’t try for an outright copy. Most weirdly emotional moment I had, “See Me, Feel Me”. It was a great show. Any sense of danger in the Who has been replaced with a kind of easy-going generosity. I think it suits them. It was dignified and it had power. I do believe that this is actually, really the last time we’ll see these guys do this still frankly astounding material on tour in arenas. Joan Jett killed in her opening 40 minutes. I LIKED IT.
BOB DYLAN Bass Concert Hall 5/6/15
This was the 11th time I’ve seen Bob Dylan play. The first time was in 1987, the most recent before this one was in 2006. This show he’s doing these days is really something. It has this weirdly dim, eerie Hollywood deco lighting and set design, and a kind of self-conscious, swinging burlesque-band feel musically, even on the few old hits he plays. He does an extensively revised “Tangled Up in Blue” and a 6/8 country “Blowin’ in the Wind”, a couple other oldies but otherwise it’s all stuff from his last few albums. Lyrically ashen blues dirges and and 1930s style swing stuff. Generally dark and at times sinister things are yelled out. He says nothing to the crowd at all. He still cuts a clownish, almost mystical figure on stage and affects a kind of sullen, easy command. His voice is super gravelly now. Then he does a couple of tunes from his recent Sinatra record and it’s pretty much clear as a bell and full of depth and sadness and beauty. Dylan’s an amazing singer. Always has been. The band is great, the sound was great. I really respect that he doesn’t give a shit what nostalgia trip anybody’s on. He brought what he wanted to bring, inhabited it fully and went away. This felt like living breathing art instead of a dead old museum. Pretty cool. I LIKED IT.
That’s all I got for now, see you all soon
My (mostly) monthly webcast The Gadfly Hour returns on Wednesday July 15th with an episode featuring Sabrina Ellis – pictured here with her band A Giant Dog, a tight and ferocious hook machine I have admired for a long time for their wild live shows and the great tunes brought to the table by Sabrina and her songwriting partner Andrew Cashen. Their other, more densely populated band Sweet Spirit just got off a tour supporting Spoon and have released a very cool debut EP, which you can check out HERE.
Sabrina and I have been acquainted for years through the scene and mutual friends, and I’ve always been knocked out by her killer voice and stage presence. Once I saw her do a low-key acoustic gig and she was great so I thought I’d ask her if she wanted to sit down and pick and grin or scowl and howl or whatever seems appropriate when the time comes. As a huge fan of her work I was super stoked when she said yes. So here’s the deal – Wednesday July 15th at 7pm central standard time… Sabrina and I are gonna play some music live on the web for an hour and all you have to do to watch it is go to our Concert Window page and log in. The show costs $1 or you can pay what you want.
There’s a virtual tip jar and an interactive chat thing if you are so inclined, to make requests or say hi or tip us if you dig what we’re layin’ down. Thanks to Sabrina for being up for this. The Gadfly Hour, episode #6. Lookin’ forward to it!