Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em

Ran across this old chestnut recently:

Has rap lost something?

— CL

A Little Willie

I Never Cared For You from Willie Nelson’s killer-diller Teatro LP.


Austin With Eyes Wide Open

A pretty sharp essay on SXSW from a member of the band Fucked Up (which, a million pardons, but I’ll always prefer another band who chose such an unprintable name, back when it was more genuinely transgressive):

The music industry is by definition an operation invented to divert money spent on music away from actual musicians – the problems that the music industry is currently facing have specifically to do with the fact that the money that would usually flow directly to the bigger economic actors is now going somewhere else

At the end you’ll note the author’s quaint apology to “3rd year economics students” — I’d be surprised to see Capital on any U.S. University Econ syllabus. Yet more evidence of the difference between us and our friends to the North?

— CL


One novel argument for bands taking major label deals in recent years has been that the labels act essentially as “banks”, lending sums of money to artists for recording and touring that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. (The odious terms of those “loans”, which would make a mob loan shark blush, aren’t quite as enthusiastically touted.)

Well it now looks fairly likely that EMI’s basket-case finances might prove that notion a self-fulfilling prophecy: alongside Warner, Sony, and Universal, we may soon see the newest “music” company: Citigroup.

[Story from the Wall Street Journal]

— CL

Skypin’ Neil

Amusing interchange between Neil and his bud Jonathan Demme in the New Yorker.

That’s the test, the audience test. “How long are these guys gonna play?” It doesn’t matter how long it is, because it’s only convention that dictates how long a song should be. We don’t have to play by those rules. We aren’t competing in that arena. We just play. It goes on for a long time. It’s like jazz, or fusion. I don’t know what the hell it is. It’s what we do, and the older we get the more we do it.

— CL

Schooling Spaniards to Dig Bikes!

christinaIn addition to writing a ‘bonita coleccion’ of new songs for a soon-to-be-recorded album in Hoboken, NJ, Christina Rosenvinge was recently awarded the Spanish Bike “Oscar” for being a strong activist/promoter of the bicycle as an alternative transportation option in Madrid. This is significant because Madrid is a very car crowded, polluted and noisy city without any bike lanes or biking regulation. En Espanol


attempting first ever blog

hello people of blog. i come to you in peace and friendship and will attempt to communicate in your planet’s form of dialogue:

i remember buying and readin that rolling stone issue back in the 70s that reviewed neil’s newest record then ‘on the beach’. they gave him a lot of shit about his one note solo in “vampire blues”. i loved that solo. i think also in that issue was the first ever mention of a new new york band called the ramones. they called them ‘mook rock’. in fact, now that this blog has jogged, i think i still have that same issue. i think it was the only issue of rolling stone i ever kept. i think i saw it around here 10 or 15 years ago still, with its crumpled yellowing pages shoved in a cabinet i never have to look in. can i plop that issue on this space somehow ? how do you stick it in a flap top ?

that’s it for now. thanks for having me.
your pal,
howe gelb

um .. shortly after the above time frame … hearing about a relative secret solo tour neil had set up, i decided to hitch up to berkley, california where he was rumored to be playing to ask him for a job playing piano. i was 19. it was the late 70s. i began my trip from tucson, and then struggled up highway 1 for a 3 day hitch. when i got there, the show was sold out and i couldn’t afford the scalper’s tickets of 35 bucks. so i went off to sulk. but as i walked away i heard music wafting on the breeze. i followed it down an alley and up a flight of fire escape stairs to a heavy wooden door. it was neil on the other side of that locked door. i planted myself there with my hitchin friend and shared a doob, listening to his set through the wonderful acoustics of that vibrating wooden door and planning on asking neil, when he’d get done and come out this obvious stage door, for a job playing piano. the stars were shining above. the bricks in the alley were painted red. the music was solo neil sublime. i was happy.

then the show was over and my head got bonked by that door opening. it was the exit door for the audience. the flow of people dragged us down the stairs like upstream trout that that had already spawned. no more neil.
i would have to start my own band.

the end.


I have vague childhood memories of the 1981 Irish hunger strikes, and remember asking my parents some no doubt awkward-for-them questions about what was going on. So Hunger was a film I was excited about seeing in the theater last year. But despite winning awards galore from Cannes and elsewhere, it seemed to come and go in about a week and I missed it. Finally screened it on DVD last night and was very impressed.

Continue reading »

That Was Quick

Shop’s been open a little over a week and we get some unexpected press. Take it where we can, I suppose…


Jim Marshall 1936-2010

The music world lost another great the other day when it was reported that Jim Marshall passed away at the age of 74. I had no idea who he was until I was visiting my buddy, Jim Dunbar’s apartment on Canal Street in the mid ’90s. I saw some great pictures on his wall and he told me they had been taken by Jim Marshall. With his name on my mind, I realized that many of the great pictures of my favorite artists were taken by none other. The Johnny Cash “finger” picture? Jim. The Allman Brothers, “Live at the Fillmore East” cover. Jim. The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and many, many more.

In a year where we’ve lost some super talented and some legendary musicians, this one hurts on a different level. Jim Marshall’s contribution to the documented history of rock is remarkable.

— JA

(here’s the  NYT obit of Jim Marshall by Ben Sisario)