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PIGSHIT: They Ain’t Heavy…

Never as naughty as the Rolling Stones, nor as pin-up perfect as Herman’s Hermits; seldom as musically adventurous as the Yardbirds, nitty-gritty as the Animals, or full-on bombastic as The Who. Of course, as truly no-one was, they just weren’t as precociously talented as those Beatles either.

In fact, throughout the entire artistic marathon which was 1960’s pop, perhaps their only true competition – in the vocal department at least – would be the all-American Beach Boys. And, like them, it seems the only true “crime” The Hollies ever committed during their illustrious decades-long career was that they solely concentrated on, well, just making good records

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PIGSHIT: In the Bee Gees’ time – A new documentary on THAT band

2010 marked the 50th (!!) anniversary of the Bee Gees’ career as fully professional all-singing, all-playing musicians, songwriters, and performers.

This January 12 marks eight years since self-styled “man in the middle” Maurice Gibb’s tragic passing. And in this new year of 2011, remaining Gibbs Barry and Robin are actually threatening to continue recording, and perhaps even tour the globe, beneath the hitherto-mighty Bee Gee moniker.

This is a proposition I frankly find quite incomprehensible to fathom, let alone purchase three-figure tickets to witness in person. Though with Messrs. Pete and Roger insisting on conducting business both on stage and off as [sic?] “The Who,” I do suppose anything is possible (if not exactly practical and/or ethical).

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PIGSHIT: Through the past, smartly

For those who arrived at the party rather late – meaning the first new Stones record you ever bought had a big red tongue splayed across its label – the five years and ninety-nine minutes contained within Chrome Dreams’ fine new Rolling Stones: The Mick Taylor Years DVD will serve as a more than welcome addition to all of your recently-acquired Exile On Main St. collectibles. In fact, should you consider yourself a part of the ever-expanding constituency who swear the Stones’ best work was done during that key half decade between the death of Brian Jones and the arrival of Ronnie Wood, this is one documentary which absolutely deserves your undivided attention.

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You may know him from Rooney, but now Taylor Locke reveals his alter ego that rocks out with The Roughs

You may know him as the guitarist and vocalist from power pop / rock band Rooney, but Taylor Locke has also just released “Grain and Grape”; a solo project featuring his own backing band, The Roughs.  The Rock and Roll Report recently had the opportunity to ask Taylor a few questions:

Q:  Most people have their hands full being in just one band, but you manage to succeed being in two! What is it like to live this “double-life” as a musician?

A: It’s quite fun and interesting to live this double-life, as you say.  My roles in each band are quite different from one another. Also, one group has lots of history and a loyal following, while the other is just beginning on a grass roots level. As far as making time, I just look at the calendar and fill in the holes.

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Rock and Roll is Alive! Part 1 – An Alive Records Natural Sound’s Round-Up

Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days.

Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fan-bases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time.

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Thoughts by The Millions, About The Late Alex Chilton

Alex Chilton - Photo by Jim Newberry

As a preface to the little article/remembrance below, know that I seem to be all over the place because my mind still is jumbled concerning Alex Chilton’s death. I could certainly talk all day about how much his music meant to me and how much I am shocked by his passing. Below are just some thoughts running through my head these last few days, nothing more but nothing less……

It’s been a rough few days, that I can tell you with all the certainty I am able to muster. I had always promised myself as a music journalist never to let my own personal fandom interfere with the job, to let it affect me. I made it a personal vendetta never to let my giddyness show when I met someone I looked up to and idolized, whether it be Colin Blunstone, B.B. King, the guys from Sloan or anyone I had written about or reviewed/interviewed and then had the pleasure to actually meet face to face. I had made myself a promise I would never turn into a quivering wreck when one of my heroes passed. Since they were human, I had decided they had a right to eternal peace just as everyone else did and I would neither hold it against them, bemoan the fact they died before their time (whatever that means), or spend days, weeks or months “getting over” it as if I actually knew them or had a personal connection to them in some selfishly imaginary way. We tend to think of our heroes as our friends because their work affects us in untold ways. People die all the time and I felt it was needless to get worked up about it and to just let their music or their art I enjoyed so much allow them to live on as if they would always be there, which, in theory, they would.

But I never counted on this.

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Reviews and Suggestions

You want great Rock and Roll? Just say SHAZAM!!

Meteor by The Shazam

Shazam – Meteor
Not Lame

Not only does this new album from rockers The Shazam mark the long-awaited return of one of the best power pop groups of the past twenty years or so but it also marks the return of THE best power pop label ever, Not Lame, if only temporarily. Two great treats in one! Seems the great folks behind Not Lame have decided to partner with The Shazam on this new CD but have no plans to revive the label outside of this release. Boo! Then again, if there was ever a reason to bother to start (or revive, as in Not Lame’s case) a label it is for a band as deserving and overlooked as The Shazam. For over a decade now, this powerpop juggernaut led by guitarist/songwriter/singer Hans Rotenberry have been at the forefront of the New Power Pop which sprung up in the mid-’90’s thanks to pioneering bands such as Jellyfish, The Posies and The Smithereens – bands who took the combination of melody and guitar bombast The Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star, and early Who represented and decided to bring it forward while giving it a much-needed kick in the ass with some modern technology and post-punk attitude. That the band hasn’t become more of a household name is very unfortunate as their distinctive blend of arena rock with razor-sharp pop hooks should have been the perfect bridge betwen the kind of FM hard rock fodder listeners have suffered through for over thirty years and the alternative rock of the mid-90’s and beyond. In fact, if Fountains of Wayne, Weezer and Foo Fighters were combined, it would sound like The Shazam.

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Stuart Epps Toured America with Elton John, Produced and Engineered Records for Led Zeppelin and Paul Rodgers and is Now Focusing on the Next Generation – Part 2 of 2

staurt… Continued from Thursday, November 5th

Q: Over the years has there been one artist that’s particularly stood out as the best or most interesting to work with?

A: Definitely the main one is Elton: the most amazing songwriter and singer and all around artist and performer that I’ve ever met. But I’ve been very lucky; I’ve worked with lots of great bands. Jimmy Page was another one I learnt a lot from and Paul Rodgers is probably the best singer I’ve ever worked with […] he made an album with Kenney Jones, the drummer from The Who, and they had a band called The Law and he’s definitely one of the best artists I’ve ever worked with. Not the easiest [but] usually the best artists aren’t the easiest to work with. Chris Rea who I worked with and sang with, I sang on backing vocals on his album […] I’ve been very lucky. I have worked with Oasis, and I worked with Robbie Williams and, you know, I worked with some pretty big artists and it’s always, even if you’re not into their music, it’s always interesting to see what makes them the way they are.

My big hope now is to be able to […] come across an artist for myself who’s in the early stages of their career that I can then use all my experience to help fulfill and hopefully make into a similarly big recording artist, which is what we’re trying to do with Kendal Sant at the moment. […] You know I still love making music with people, still love making records, still good fun. Which is a bit surprising really because you think it’s something you might grow out of, but it’s still good fun.

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Pigshit by Gary Pig Gold – SEVEN YEARS TOO LATE THE HERO: JOHN ENTWISTLE – 9 October 1944 – 27 June 2002

entwistle1966There is a Zen expression that advises the way to go through life successfully is to “move like a cow.”

Or, in this case, an ox.

Forever surrounded, at least on stage, by the testosterone-soaked circus which were Messrs. Townshend, Daltrey and especially Moon, it could often be too criminally easy to overlook The Man, The Myth, dare I say The Ox which was, and forever shall be, John Alec Entwistle. In more ways than one he WAS the George Harrison of The Who I suppose, yet Entwistle never ever took a musical back seat to his more prolific (or at least pushier) bandmates, employing his mighty four strings to not so much play songs as attack them, deftly bulldozing his basic bottom-heavy end up to an indisputable place of sheer sonic equality within the critical Who picking order.

In that process John became, it’s been said, the Jimi Hendrix of the bass guitar. Well, yes, all that I guess you could say, but SO much more as well. For one, the man’s abundant compositional skills remain nothing to be sneezed over. Sure, we all know and love “My Wife,” “Boris The Spider,” and my own personal favorite slice of backyard blue-balling, Ox-style: “Someone’s Coming.” These, along with the brace of less immediately recognizable Entwistle gems, always served to deflate with a wry, macabre smirk – just as Moon that Loon would OFF record – any and most every lofty pretension emanating from that Townshend corner of the band’s equation. Prime example? Without Uncle Ernie or Cousin Kevin, “Tommy” would play as just another “Jesus Christ: Pinball Star,” now wouldn’t he?