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  • feedwordpress 09:01:57 on 2017/11/28 Permalink
    Tags: Adundance, , , , Peter Diamandis, Philharmonic Hall, , rock, Ron Delsener,   

    “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little”*… 


    When I published Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think in February 2012, I included about 80 charts in the back of the book showing very strong evidence that the world is getting better. Over the last five years, this trend has continued and accelerated.

    This page includes charts and graphs that you can share with friends and family to change their mindset. We truly are living in the most exciting time to be alive…

    In “answer” to yesterday’s excursion into dystopia, a collection of evidence from Peter Diamandis that things are on the upswing: “Evidence of Abundance.”

    * Franklin D. Roosevelt


    As we look on the bright side, we might recall that it was on this date in 1968 that Jimi Hendrix played Philharmonic Hall in New York.  The concert, “An Electronic Thanksgiving,” was originally planned for Carnegie Hall, but the managers there got cold feet, fearful of a rowdy audience.  Promoter Ron Delsener scrambled:

    I had to convince Louise Homer, who was the Director of Philharmonic Hall,
    that I had to ‘marry’ Rock and Roll to classical music (eclectic music). I then moved the event to Philharmonic Hall… I had to do everything to convince them. I had to hire The New York Brass Quintet and a harpsichord virtuoso (therefore, an eclectic evening). Both would play during the first half of the program. They would be joined by one or two of Jimi’s musicians on several selections.

    I informed Michael Jeffery, as well as the attorney, Stevens Weiss, that Noel and/or Mitch must play during the first half of the program for several numbers with a classical group. Naturally, the show went on sale, sold out, and no one wanted to play the first half of the program with the classical musicians.

    I begged Mitch Mitchell to please sit in and ‘fake it’ as best as he could, which he did much to the delight of the audience. To Mitch, it was a ‘goof,’ to me it was a lifesaver. To the ushers at Philharmonic Hall, it was a frightening experience because everyone stood in front of their seats for the entire show and clogged all the aisles leading to the stage. [source]


  • feedwordpress 08:01:59 on 2017/09/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , post-truth, rock, tutti frutti,   

    “All that is solid melts into air”*… 


    The end of ‘The End of History’ arrived together with the end of belief in reality. The Cold War world was a world of warring ideologies; in the twenty-first century, both American capitalism and post-Soviet oligarchy employ the same public relations specialists catering to gangsters with political ambitions. As Peter Pomerantsev described in Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, in the Russia of the 2000s, distinguishing between truth and lies became passé. In this world of enlightened, postmodern people, ‘everything is PR’.

    Reality television has rendered obsolete the boundary between the fictional and the real. Truth is a constraint that has been overcome; ‘post-truth’ has been declared ‘word of the year.’ In Washington, the White House shamelessly defends its ‘alternative facts.’ At the beginning, American journalists were taken off-guard: they had been trained to confirm individual pieces of information, not to confront a brazen untethering from empirical reality. The New Yorker captured the desperation with a satire about the fact-checker who passed out from exhaustion after the Republican debate. He had to be hospitalized; apparently no one replaced him…

    Postmodernism was conceived largely by the Left as a safeguard against totalizing ideologies. Yet today, it has been appropriated on behalf of an encroaching neo-totalitarianism of the Right. Is French literary theory to blame? And can a philosophy of dissent developed in communist eastern Europe offer an antidote?…

    (Some of) the ironic roots of the situation that we’re in: “A pre-history of post-truth, East and West.”

    * Karl Marx


    As we consult the Wayback Machine, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955, at J & M Studio in New Orleans, that Richard Wayne Penniman– better known as Little Richard– recorded the song (that he co-wrote with Dorothy LaBostrie) that became his first hit: “Tutti Frutti.”

    A wop bop alu bop, a wop bam boom!


  • feedwordpress 08:01:12 on 2017/08/29 Permalink
    Tags: , Botswana, Candlestick Park, , , , , metal, , rock,   

    “Why would heavy metal ever go away?*… 


    Metalheads all the world over can agree on one thing: its culture, just like its music, eschews pretense. Nowhere is this better reflected than in Dumisani Matiha, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Metal Orizon, one of Botswana’s heaviest outfits.

    On an unseasonably warm afternoon, the 41-year-old is taking time out of his day job as a farmer to explain what distinguishes this metal movement from other scenes spread out across the globe.

    “We see ourselves as warriors and poets,” says Dumisani. “This is a calling. We use metal to speak to our social conditions as Africans: the struggles, the climate we operate in… It might be cheesy to you but, to us, metal is just another way of speaking about romance. To us, love is hardcore, yo!”…

    Botswana is 70 per cent desert and most of its metalheads dress in old-school biker gear – made even heavier with studs, chains and all kinds of trinkets – topped off with leather cowboy hats. They are a throwback to a purer time, an era when no heavy metal fan would have dreamed of Metallica and Lou Reed making an album together, let alone calling it Lulu.

    Musically speaking, the metal scene in Botswana is neither heavy nor metal. It’s a combination that sounds impossible when articulated: a mix of African hard riddims, mid-70s Manchester punk, cacophonous dub, psychedelic swamp music, free-wheelin’ progjazz and some sped-up Ohio funk thrown in for good measure…

    Far beyond driven: “The hell bangers of Botswana’s underground metal scene.”

    * Scott Ian (founding member and lyricist of Anthrax)


    As we celebrate the shred, we might recall that it was on this date in 1966 that the Beatles said “thank you, and goodnight” for the last time– at the end of their last public concert, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (This is, of course, not counting the 1969 impromptu performance on the roof of Apple Records headquarters in London — the Beatles’ last public appearance together.)


  • feedwordpress 08:01:18 on 2017/08/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Prince, , Purple Rain, rock,   

    “Acting is all about big hair and funny props… All the great actors knew it. Olivier knew it, Brando knew it.”*… 


    * Harold Ramis


    As we dress the set, we might that it was on this date in 1983 that Prince played a 75-minute benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre at the recently re-branded First Avenue club in Minneapolis.  It was there that the budding pop star debuted many of the Purple Rain album tracks, and recorded the versions of “Purple Rain,” “I Would Die 4 U,” and “Baby I’m A Star” heard in the film and soundtrack.

    Screen shot taken from video of Prince and the Revolution’s debut performance of Purple Rain, August 3, 1983

    The night also included performances from the company, including a piece choreographed to Prince’s “DMSR.”

    More on this extraordinary evening, including a set list, here.


  • feedwordpress 08:01:20 on 2017/06/10 Permalink
    Tags: Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival, , , , , , rock,   

    “What do you do when your kid can only count to four? Buy him a drumkit and call him gifted!”*… 


    It may be that familiarity breeds contempt, and if that’s so, we should all be very glad of the wealth of excellent documentaries correcting the monolithic commercial story of punk, which goes something like this: The Sex Pistols and The Clash explode into the world in 1977 purveying anarchy and revolution and designer BDSM gear, and the status quo freaks out, then discovers many savvy marketing opportunities and here we are at our local punk boutique before the punk arena show at Corporation Stadium.

    That’s a boring story, mostly because all the most interesting parts, and weirdest, most violent, gross-out, angry, experimental, queer, black, radical, feminist, etc. parts get left out, along with nearly all the best bands. Even if we date punk from the early seventies in New York with Patti Smith and the Ramones, we’re missing key progenitors from the 60s, from Detroit, Germany, Tacoma, Washington…

    From the “liner notes” to a extraordinary Spotify playlist, “The Evolution of Punk in Chronological Order.” More background (on Open Culture), along with a link to download the Spotify app lest one need to, at: “The History of Punk Rock in 200 Tracks: An 11-Hour Playlist Takes You From 1965 to 2016.”

    [TotH to Brad DeGraf]

    * Frank Edwin Wright III (Tré Cool, Green Day)


    As we make three chords work, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that The KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival opened on Mt. Tam in Marin County, California, featuring Canned Heat, Dionne Warwick, Every Mother’s Son, P. F. Sloan, The Seeds, Blues Magoos, Country Joe and the Fish, Captain Beefheart, The Byrds (with Hugh Masekela on trumpet), Tim Hardin, The Grass Roots,  The 5th Dimension, Jefferson Airplane, and the Doors (in their first major appearance, contemporaneous with the rise of their first hit, “Light My Fire”), among many others.  At least 36,000 people attended the two-day concert and fair– the first of a series of San Francisco area cultural events known as “the Summer of Love.”  Admission to the festival was $2.00 and all proceeds were donated to the nearby Hunters Point Child Care Center in San Francisco.

    While the (much more completely documented) Monterey International Pop Festival is widely remembered as the seminal event of that epochal summer, the KFRC Festival took place one week before Monterey and is considered to have been America’s – if not the world’s – first rock festival.



  • feedwordpress 08:01:28 on 2017/05/15 Permalink
    Tags: , collecting, , , memorabilia, , , rock, Rock and Roll Music,   

    “Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not”*… 


    From the moment Elvis Presley landed, we wanted every piece of him. This turned his old records into vinyl and shellac gold. While the value of discs by other popular mid-century artists such as Cliff Richard and Frank Sinatra dropped as time passed, Elvis’s didn’t. As an omnipresent figure, the prices of the King’s records rose to astronomical levels.

    Unearthing an original “That’s All Right” record became a £4,000 lucky strike; a set of five original Sun singles at one time fetched £25,000. This made them a sort of pension for many collectors. They packed items away, hoping one day to exchange them for a caravan in the Dordogne. However, this has all begun to change…

    As the King’s fans die of old age, and their collections hit the second-hand market, vintage Elvis records have never been cheaper: “Can’t help falling in price: why Elvis memorabilia is plummeting in value.”

    * Stephen King


    As we feel our age, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that Chuck Berry recorded “Rock & Roll Music” at the Chess Studios in Chicago.  (Some websites report a recording date of either May 6 or May 21, but Steve Sullivan’s Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings affirms May 15 as the date of record.)

    The tune reached number 6 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart and number 8 on its Hot 100.  But its impact continued to grow: it was covered by dozens of artists including Bill Haley & His Comets, the Beatles, the Beach Boys (who had a top ten hit with the song in 1976), Dickie Rock and the Miami Showband, REO Speedwagon, Mental As Anything, Humble Pie, Manic Street Preachers and Bryan Adams.  In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Berry’s version number 128 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”; and the song is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.


  • feedwordpress 08:01:07 on 2017/04/01 Permalink
    Tags: April Fool's Day, , , , , , rock,   

    “For every prohibition you create you also create an underground”*… 


    In November 2016, this former public toilet, once known as “ground zero” to locals, was reopened in downtown Reykjavik to do what it was maybe always meant to do: tell the story of Icelandic punk…

    A tiny museum with a sizable collection– visit the “Icelandic Punk Museum.”

    * Jello Biafra


    As we muse on moshing, we might recall that today is April Fools’ Day.  A popular occasion for pranks and hoaxes since the 19th century, it is considered by some to date from the calendar change of 1750-52— though references to high jinx on the 1st of April date back to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392).

    “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

    – Mark Twain

    An April Fools’ Day hoax marking the construction of the Copenhagen Metro in 2001



  • feedwordpress 09:01:17 on 2016/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: , Edward L. Cahn, , , It, Outer Space, rock, scince, Shake Rattle and Rock!, ,   

    “There is in souls a sympathy with sounds”*… 


    We know that there is sound on planets and moons in the solar system – places where there’s a medium through which sound waves can be transmitted, such as an atmosphere or an ocean. But what about empty space? You may have been told definitively that space is silent, maybe by your teacher or through the marketing of the movie Alien – “In space no one can hear you scream”. The common explanation for this is that space is a vacuum and so there’s no medium for sound to travel through.

    But that isn’t exactly right. Space is never completely empty – there are a few particles and sound waves floating around. In fact, sound waves in the space around the Earth are very important to our continued technological existence. They also they sound pretty weird!…

    More– including another, different opportunity to listen in and info on how you can help– at “What does empty space sound like?

    * William Cowper


    As we prick up our ears, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that American International Pictures released Shake Rattle and Rock!, a comedy-drama (featuring the music of Fats Domino) directed by Edward L. Cahn, who went on to notoriety, if not fame, two years later with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, the film that inspired the 1979 film Alien.



  • feedwordpress 08:01:16 on 2016/07/20 Permalink
    Tags: Alvin Krolik, Beat Brothers, , , Heartbreak Hotel, , Mae Boren Axton, Mersey Beat, , rock,   

    “I get so lonely, I could die”*… 


    Elvis, with the Gold Record he received for his first Number One single

    The story has been repeated thousands of times, with minor variations, in magazines, books, blogs and documentaries. In some versions, the heartbroken man shoots himself; in others, he leaps to his death from a hotel window. There are occasional references to a failed romance and to the destruction of all traces of identification before the fatal act. There’s always a one-line suicide note: “I walk a lonely street.”

    But there’s never a name. For 60 years, the true identity of the man whose death inspired “Heartbreak Hotel” has remained a mystery. Florida songwriters Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton always claimed the creative spark forElvis Presley‘s first-ever Number One hit was a 1955 newspaper story about an anonymous man’s suicide and his cryptic note about that “lonely street.” (The paper cited is usually The Miami Herald.) And yet, no one has ever turned up the article, or even provided much clarifying detail.

    This is surprising, considering that “Heartbreak Hotel” had a colossal impact – both on Elvis’ career and on rock & roll history. It was Elvis’ first nationwide hit after a string of regional successes, and it changed the lives of countless future stars – John Lennon, George Harrison, Keith Richards and Robert Plant have all proclaimed its transformative effect. Elton John, recalling the day he first heard the song, said, “That weekend, my mum came home with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and that changed my life. … Elvis Presley changed everyone’s life. I mean, there would be no Beatles, there would be no Hendrix. There would be no Dylan.” Paul McCartney once declared it nothing less than the most important artistic creation of the modern era…

    Finally, the full story at: “Solving the Mystery of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’.”

    * From “Heartbreak Hotel,” written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton.


    As we walk down a lonely street, we might recall that it was on this this date in 1961 that Bill Harry’s pioneering English music paper, Mersey Beat, announced that the Beat Brothers had signed a recording contract. The Beat Brothers?  They had performed with another British musician, Tony Sheridan, in Hamburg for several months earlier that year; but while the partnership worked, Sheridan chose to remain in Germany when the quartet returned to Liverpool. We know the group better by the name they soon after adopted: The Beatles.  Two years later, on this very day, they would go to No. 1 on the U.K. album chart for the first time.

    The Beat Brothers in Hamburg (with Pete Best on drums); Tony Sheridan, seated



  • feedwordpress 08:01:09 on 2016/05/24 Permalink
    Tags: , fanzine, , , Mark Smith, , , rock, Sniffin Glue,   

    “I certainly was one of the originators, but I don’t think you can blame me for everything”*… 


    In advance of an appearance at London’s ICA (which, in the event, didn’t happen),  a conversation with Mark Smith, musician (The Fall) and founder of the legendary punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue— which quickly became a vital outlet for punk in the 70s.

    It’s different today because you’ve got the internet. If we want to have our say on anything we can go straight online to our blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter. But remember, in the 70s there wasn’t any of that. If you wanted to get your voice out there, you had to actually do something. When you started a fanzine in the old days, you had to actually cut and paste. You used felt-tip pen and cow gum to physically cut and paste it together. And then you’d go down the local photocopying shop. In those days, nobody had their own photocopiers. I mean, nowadays most printers can photocopy and in those days, you had to get up off your bum and go down the photocopying shop. It was more of a hands-on process. I don’t think there’s any need for fanzines, in the same way, these days because people can just start blogs and that, can’t they? You can put it all on YouTube. There are more ways of getting your voice out there nowadays and in the 70s there wasn’t, so you had to go and start a fanzine…

    More first-hand history– and more cover art– at “Tracing the beginnings of the punk fanzine.”

    * Mark Smith


    As we we give ourselves over to Submission, we might spare a thought for Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington; he died on this date in 1974.  A composer, pianist, and bandleader, Ellington is generally credited with elevating the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other more traditional musical genres.  In a career that spanned 60 years (he wrote his first song,”Poodle Dog Rag,” in 1914, at the age of 15 while working as a soda jerk in the Poodle Dog Cafe in Washington, D.C.), Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions– the largest recorded personal jazz legacy– many, many of which become standards (“Mood Indigo,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing [If You Ain’t Got That Swing],” “Take the A Train,” and many, many others).   As a performer, his career spanned continents, and ran from The Cotton Club to Carnegie Hall.  As a recording artist he sold millions of records and won 12 Grammy Awards, plus the Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and membership in the Grammy Hall of Fame (among many other Hall of Fame memberships and musical laurels).  He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1999.

    And, as regular readers may recall, he had something to teach us all about the fine art of eating.



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