PIGSHIT: Deep-Catalog Purple

“Just what the world needs:  Another record company.”

And with those typically snide words, on the Seventh day of February, 1968, Bizarre Productions was duly incorporated, and two hundred shares of no par value common stock issued in the State of New York, thereby creating the first of several record companies Frank Zappa would oversee during his most colorful life and career.

At this very same point in time, 3500 miles and one ocean to the east, the world’s biggest pop group launched their very own Apple company, whose singles and albums were manufactured and distributed in North America by that granddaddy of all (once-) indie labels, Capitol Records. Of course, as they usually were, Capitol’s resident Beach Boys were already over a year ahead of the Fab Four in creating their own personal Brother Records imprint, ostensibly conducting business right out of that iconic Capitol Tower on the corner of Hollywood and Vine (though, truth be told, most Brother board meetings were held in Brian Wilson’s swimming pool or, if the vibes so dictated, under a tent in Brian’s living room).

Artists and Bands

Little Beirut on their Bush connection, Fear of Heaven, and the dream of playing puppet shows with Spinal Tap

Little Beirut, a rock/pop quartet hailing from Portland, Oregon, is breaking new ground with its new album, Fear of Heaven, due for release September 4. I recently got to chat with bassist John Hulcher and, contrary to the band’s provocative name, was met with an awesome down to earth attitude and witty sense of humor, and discovered why “Little Beirut: Not weirding you out since 2005” may very well be the band’s motto in the future.

Q: To start, how and when was Little Beirut born, and why did you choose that name?

A: To start, we were born just like any other band, having been dropped on a doorstep by a stork. Our stork was a serious rocker, though a real good dude. Edwin and Hamilton have been writing together since college. Their previous incarnation moved to Portland because they heard it was a great town, dragging twenty people and some cats and dogs with them.


Brian Ray on Playing with Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Etta James and His Upcoming Album

redbone1Brian Ray calls himself a “Reluctant Rock God and Guitarist” on his MySpace, but what’s perhaps even more impressive is that he’s scored one of the best gigs around: since 2002 he has been Paul McCartney’s bass player and yes, that’s The Beatles‘ Sir Paul McCartney. However, Brian Ray’s extensive career is not to be undermined. He’s accomplished many great musical feats and in the past has played with greats such as Bobby Pickett, Etta James and Smokey Robinson and, more recently, played on Chris Cornell’s solo album. He’s even released his own solo record, Mondo Magneto, and has a second in the works. Brian recently agreed to honor The Rock and Roll Report with an exclusive interview.

Q:  You just finished a tour with Paul McCartney, how was it?

A: BR: Yes, we finished a recent big stadium tour in the US [11 dates] and it was a fabulous time, including the new Citifield Stadium [home of the NY Mets] and the outdoor concert on the rooftop marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theatre [home of David Letterman’s Show].