Andrew Romano – “The Beach Boys’ Crazy Summer” (2012)

June 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Beach Boys)

A Newsweek article dated May 27th…

He heard voices, did drugs and fell apart. Can the band’s reunion help put Brian Wilson back together again? 

Brian Wilson, the lumbering savant who wrote, produced and sang an outlandish number of immortal pop songs back in the 1960s with his band, the Beach Boys, is swiveling in a chair, belly out, arms dangling, next to his faux-grand piano at the cavernous Burbank, Calif. studio where he and the rest of the group’s surviving members are rehearsing for their much-ballyhooed 50th Anniversary reunion tour, which is set to start in three days. At 24, Wilson shelved what would have been his most avant-garde album, Smile, and retreated for decades into a dusky haze of drug abuse and mental illness; now, 45 years later, he has reemerged, stable but still somewhat screwy, to give the whole sun-and-surf thing a final go.

Before that can happen, though, the reconstituted Beach Boys must learn how to sing “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” the first new A-side thatWilson has written for the band since 1980. They are not entirely happy about this. Read the rest of this entry »

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John 5 – “Black Widow of La Porte” (Video – 2007)

June 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm (Music)

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Jas Obrecht – “Eddie Van Halen: The David Lee Roth Years” (2010)

June 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles, Van Halen)

An article about Eddie Van Halen’s early days in Van Halen, dated July 5, 2010 from Jas Obrecht’s website… 


With the release of 1978’s self-titled Van Halen album, 23-year-old Eddie Van Halen rewrote the rules of rock guitar. His sheer speed, unusual note choices, inspired finger tapping and whammy work, and fiery tone inspired guitarists everywhere. His impact was especially felt among crotch-rock guitarists in big-name bands, who saw their dreams of becoming “the next Jimi Hendrix” blown away in the 1:42 it took to listen to “Eruption.” Within months, it was virtually impossible to go into a music store or listen to a garage band without hearing some guitarist doing a rough approximation of Eddie’s groundbreaking instrumental. While the band’s rise seemed meteoric, the musicians had, in fact, spent years perfecting their act.

In the Beginning . . .

Eddie Van Halen and his older brother Alex were born and raised in Holland. Their father, Jan Van Halen, was an accomplished clarinetist in big band and classical styles. At age six, Eddie began taking classical piano lessons from a strict Russian master who’d slap his knuckles with a ruler whenever he made a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »

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Robin D. G. Kelley – “The Sweet Funk of Burnt Sugar” (2002)

June 2, 2012 at 11:01 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

An article dated Aug. 29, 2002 from the Seeing Black website…

If the history of music is a struggle for freedom, imagination, the liquidation of all barriers and boundaries, then the future is here. Greg Tate’s latest project, “Burnt Sugar (The Arkestra Chamber)” is the big band of the new millenium. Flexing at times to over a dozen on the bandstand, “Burnt Sugar” is a kind of gypsy band of young musical masters (regulars and guests) who mess with all manner of electric and acoustic instruments—Michael Morgan Craft, Rene Akhan, Kirk Douglass, Vernon Reid among the electric guitarists, Nioka Workman working the cello, Suphala on tablas, drummers Swiss Criss and Qasim Naqvi, Vijay Iyer on piano, Bruce Mack synthesizing, bassists Jason di Matteo, Jared Nickerson, Maximina Juson, Lewis Flip Barnes on trumpet, Micah Gaugh on tenor, a flock of floutists including Atiba Wilson, Monet Dunham, Satch Hoyt, various vocalists—singers, poets, moaners and hummers—ranging from Justice X, Lisala Beatty, Eisa Davis, Shariff Simmons, to Latasha Natasha Diggs, and DJ Mutamassik on the “wheels of steel,” and still too many music-makers to mention.

Burnt Sugar is Tate’s extension of Bitches Brew, what we might call his homage to Miles Davis. And he is committed to building on what Miles started in the late 1960s—groove-based, funky, free improvisation rooted in a true musical conversation rather than a dozen cats all talking at once. Tate, who plays Read the rest of this entry »

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Billy Sheehan – “Bass Solo” (Live – 2009)

June 2, 2012 at 10:34 am (Music, Van Halen)

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John 5 – “Beat It” (2011)

June 2, 2012 at 10:29 am (Music, Van Halen)

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Pete Cosey (1943-2012)

June 2, 2012 at 9:55 am (Life & Politics, Miles Davis, Music)

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Doc Watson (1923-2012)

June 2, 2012 at 9:50 am (Life & Politics, Music)

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